The Telegraph
Wednesday , February 20 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Strike blow to daily life

Bhubaneswar, Feb. 19: Life may be thrown out of gear across the state with all-India strike called on February 20 and 21 by the 11 registered trade unions.

With various independent unions of the state, including Bank Employees Federation, All-Odisha Auto Chalak Mahasangha and Utha Dokani Mahasangha supporting the strike, citizens may find it difficult to go about their daily activities.

The Odisha Private Bus Owners’ Association has declared that bus operations will be normal, while the Utkal Petroleum Dealers’ Association has also decided to keep petrol pumps open during the strike. But sources said petrol pumps and private buses are not likely to function.

However, the authorities of the city bus service said bus services would not be disrupted. “All petrol pumps of the state will remain open tomorrow. But if the agitators start picketing nearby, we will be forced to shut them down,” said general secretary of Utkal Petroleum Dealers’ Association Sanjay Lath.

Police officers said there would be tight security throughout the state in view of the strike.

“There will be heavy police deployment and trouble makers will be taken into custody,” said an officer.

Trade union leaders said they would shut down all services, including railway services and road transport. “Barring essential services such as medical services, all others will be shut down. Around 3,000 protestors will take part in the two-day strike,” said Naba Kishore Mohanty, a trade union leader.

Of the 11 registered trade unions, the state currently has seven trade unions, which will take part in the agitation.

The trade unions are protesting against price rise, poor implementation of labour laws, disinvestment in public sector undertakings and increase in foreign direct investments in various sectors. Similarly, the unions have also demanded pension for all along with the removal of ceiling on bonus and provident fund.

The strike has also cast a shadow on examinations scheduled to be held on the two days. While some private colleges have postponed their exams, the authorities of Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) are also considering postponing its examinations.

“Exams of the first and second semester are scheduled on February 20 and 21. We are waiting for the decision of the vice-chancellor. The exams will probably be postponed,” said registrar of BPUT B.L. Agrawal.