Nationwide trade unions’ stir affects normal life in Odisha

Bhubaneswar/ Cuttack/ Rourkela/ Sambalpur: The nationwide strike called by trade unions in protest of the anti-people policies of the central and state governments affiliated crippled normal life across Odisha.

The strike call by 10 trade unions against changes in labour laws and privatisation of public sector units affected banking services as bank and insurance employees joined the agitation, protesting the anti-worker policies of the central government.

“We are protesting against the anti-trade union policies of the Modi government at the Centre. Our agitation would be intensified if the government does not bow down to the demands,” said Mahendra Parida, state secretary of All India Central Council of Trade Unions.

Political parties such as the Congress state unit and Left parties, too, supported the bandh call in Odisha.

Trade union activists blocked roads by burning tyres in major locations of the capital and other major cities of the state. Hundreds of vehicles were also seen stranded on the national highways.

Activists demonstrated in front of various banks and corporate houses, and resorted to picketing at railway stations.

A railway official said several train services got delayed as a result.

In Bhubaneswar, the Puri-Bikaner Express, Bhubaneswar-Bolangir Inter-City Express and the Duronto Express got held up, said the official.

Banks remained closed in many parts of the state. Even though State Bank of India did not participate in the strike, trade union activists and bank employees were seen picketing before the bank branches.

“The banking sector remained paralysed in the state, affecting business,” said Jyoti Bhusan Mohapatra, general secretary of National Confederation of Bank Employees, Odisha chapter.

Meanwhile, hundreds of activists courted arrest following the bandh call.

In the Steel city Rourkela and other parts of the Sudergarh district were also affected by the Bandh. The mines and factories in Bonai, Rajgangpur, and Biramitrapur areas of the district were also shut due to the strike.

In Cuttack, demonstrations were seen at many places. Picketing by protestors was also reported from various places of the city. Members of the trade unions were also seen demonstrating in front of the Ravenshaw University. The Cuttack Badambadi bus terminal was inoperative during the day.

Normal life was also thrown out of gear in Sambalpur. Protestors staged demonstrations at the Khetarajpur railway station and disrupted the services of Sambalpur-Puri intercity express for half an hour.

Similarly, other parts of the State were also affected by the bandh.