For the first time that I can remember India is to go on a 48 hour strike (called a bandh locally) as 11 trade unions and national federations of various professionals.cutting across party lines decided to go ahead with the 48-hour strike on February 20 and 21, which was declared a while back. The labour unions who have called the stir on issues of price rise issue and violation of labour laws, which they see as a failure of the current government. The strike has been called jointly by Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh (BMS), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre ( AIUTUC) and other such organizations. The Independent Federation of Workers and Employees too has joined the protests.
So taxis, autos, public buses will stay off the roads during these two days. State Transport Corporations (STC) are gearing up to ensure normalcy of bus operations in Tamil Nadu. Any college & university level examinations have been postponed. Schools will remain closed and some exams have been postponed. Milk is exempted from the bandh call. So there will not be any disruption in the milk supply, said an officer from the KMF. Petrol pumps could also run out of gas for those two days, as oil and gas supplies will be hit. Road transport, telecom sector, coal production and supply, oil and gas supply, power sector defence production, are going to participate in a big way in the 48-hour strike, the trade union leaders said, while addressing a joint press conference last Saturday.
In Kerala, my home state which is no stranger to strikes & harthals (almost every month we get atleast 1) the two-day strike is going to give the public a tough time as all services — excluding drinking water supply, milk, newspaper and hospital – will come to a standstill. All public transport vehicles, including autorickshaws and taxis, will keep off the roads and all services, including banks, will be non-functional.