Bandh hits normal life in North East

SHILLONG, Sept 21 – Normal life was affected here in Meghalaya today during the 12-hour Bharat bandh called by Opposition parties. Even though some BJP activists were taken under preventive custody today, there was no report of any untoward incident.

Normal life was affected with business establishments downing the shutters and vehicles, including the ubiquitous local taxis, weren’t plying on the roads here. Government offices, both State and Central, schools and colleges remained non-functional.

Employees and workers of various sectors, under the banner of Meghalaya Joint Council of Trade Union Associations, staged a dharna in front of the State Additional Secretariat in support of the bandh.

During the demonstration, representatives of teachers, bankers and other unions, displayed placards and shouted slogans against the diesel price hike, foreign direct investment in retail market and rationing of LPG cylinders. The gathering demanded a total roll back of the government’s decision.

Our Imphal Correspondent adds: The nation-wide Bharat bandh also hit normal life in Manipur today as the Manipur State councils of Communist Party of India (CPI) and Bharatiya Janata Party and other like-minded parties enforced the bandh in the State.

The busy Imphal town and important roads wore a deserted look since morning till afternoon as all the inter-State and inter-district passenger services stayed off the road. Similarly, almost all the business establishments and educational institutions also remained closed for the day.

The bandh, however, couldn’t affect the functioning of normal air traffic in Imphal.

Our Agartala Correspondent adds: Normal life came to a grinding halt in Tripura following the bandh today.

Since morning, Agartala took a deserted look. Vehicles were off the roads, including the Assam-Agartala National Highway (NH 44). The city shops kept their shutters down and the markets remained closed. Air services on the Agartala-Kolkata, Agartala-Guwahati and Agartala-New Delhi routes were badly disrupted due to strike. Passengers flying to Kolkata and other destinations from Agartala faced serious problems as no vehicle was available for them.

Train service on the Agartala-Dharmanagar-Agartala routes was cancelled while banks and financial institutions also remained closed. The attendance in government offices and Civil Secretariat were virtually zero despite opposition from the State government.

“The India-Bangladesh trade was also badly hit as hundreds of trucks were stranded on both sides of the Akhaura check post near here due to the shutdown,” a customs official here said.

PTI adds from Itanagar: The Bharat bandh also affected normal life in Arunachal Pradesh. Itanagar and its adjoining areas, markets, shops, educational institutions, banks and private offices remained closed, while all sort of private and public vehicles were off the roads, police said. However, the government-run ones were seen on the road with security.

Attendances in government offices were recorded thin.

Elaborate security arrangements were put in place with security personnel deployed on the city streets and at vital installations and vulnerable areas across the state, sources said.