Fuel price hike: Bharat Bandh hits normal life

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May 31, 2012

The nationwide bandh called by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by BJP and the Left parties has begun to affect the normal life as it started on Thursday with the other political parties also joining the agitation to protest the recent hike in petrol prices.

May 31, 2012

The nationwide bandh called by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) led by BJP and the Left parties has begun to affect the normal life as it started on Thursday with the other political parties also joining the agitation to protest the recent hike in petrol prices.

The main opposition BJP, Left and other regional parties will lead major protests across the country in protest against the recent hike in petrol price – the steepest ever in recent times. Today’s agitation is expected to evoke sharp response in NDA strongholds like Bihar, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. Today’s agitation is evoking sharp reaction in NDA strongholds like Bihar, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.

Delhi

The national capital is likely to be severely affected with today’s agitation called by the BJP. As part of the agitation, several BJP leaders are leading the agitation in various parts of Delhi. BJP workers have blocked traffic and are staging demonstrations at several places. The National Highway (NH-24) has been blocked completely and Delhi-Rohtak rail route has been choked by BJP workers. Senior BJP leader Sanjay Joshi is steering the protest near the Akshardham temple in Delhi.

The BJP, which recently took control of three municipal corporations in Delhi, is also protesting against the introduction of Value Added Tax (VAT) on Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) by the Congress government.

Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit had announced to levy a 5% VAT on CNG further escalating the price of the fuel from Rs. 35.45 per kg to 37.20 per kg. This had evoked sharp response from the auto-rickshaw unions, which have also decided to halt work today despite Delhi government’s warning.

As per reports, at least 55,000 autos and 15,000 taxis will stay off the road in Delhi today. The BJP leadership has threatened to block traffic at about 100 areas across the city.

Uttar Pradesh

In Uttar Pradesh, the ruling Samajwadi Party (SP) has also called for a statewide bandh today in protest against the petrol price hike. In Allahabad, SP workers staged protests on railway tracks, blocking trains and raising slogans against the Centre. In Allahabad, Samajwadi Party and JD(U) workers have blocked rail routes in Allahabad and Patna. The Saket Express and Ganga Gomti Express were stopped in Allahabad. The SP workers have also burnt effigies of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, demanding a rollback in the price of petrol.

Maharashtra

In Maharashtra, Opposition parties, including Shiv Sena and the Left, are also supporting the BJP-sponsored bandh in protest against the rise in petrol price. Though shops and other establishments will remain shut in view of today’s bandh, the BJP and Shiv Sena have assured that essential services would not be affected by the agitation. The Congress government has stationed at least 48,000 cops in various parts of Mumbai with major deployment in sensitive areas like Chembur, Dadar, Jogeshwari, Govandi and Byculla.

The state government has also issued preventive detention orders to ensure peace during the day-long agitation. Though taxi and auto-rickshaw unions have earlier declared that they will not participate in today’s bandh, drivers are not likely to venture out on the roads, fearing violence and damage to vehicles. The city's famous dabbawalas, too, will be joining and won't be delivering tiffins.

West Bengal

Protestors in Kolkata blocked the East-West by-pass. Blockades were also put near the Howrah station, but were lifted by the police.

South

The Bharat Bandh has turned violent in Karnataka as protestors burnt three state-run buses and damaged 11 buses. All schools and colleges have been closed in view of today’s bandh. Meanwhile, BMTC has decided to halt its bus services in the city for a day.

In Tamil Nadu, the demonstrators have set four public transport buses on fire meanwhile, anti-corruption activist Anna Hazare has also called on his supporters to support the agitation. The NDA and the Left called for a nationwide bandh after the government raised petrol prices by Rs 7.50 per litre. The last Bharat Bandh that was called by the Opposition on July 5, 2010 had cost the economy Rs 13,000 crore.

The decision to this effect was announced by the NDA's acting chairman and senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, LK Advani, at the party's national executive meet in Mumbai on May 24.


Courtesy: PTI