IMPHAL, February 20: The two-day nation-wide general strike which began from today, launched by 11 trade unions recognized at the national level after joining hands with other trade unions and workers has disrupted the normal life in Manipur to a great extent.
Eleven organiszations All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Bharat Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), Hindustan Mazdoor Sangh (HMS) together had called the general strike which has began from today and will continue till 21, pressing for demands which include: awarding exemplary punishment to corrupt persons, to recover black money diverted/transferred outside the country following an investigation, provide 35 kgs of rice to all families at Rs 2 per kg not to differentiate between APL and BPL, not to entrust power to private companies through power privatization, reform minimum wage Act, increase minimum wages of un-authorized workers to Rs 10 thousand, provide social security, withdraw/remove ceiling in eligibility and payment of Provident Fund, enhance the amount of gratuity, provide maternity benefit to all women, provide 200 days of NRGES work and pay Rs 200 as wage per day, reduce the price of the essential commodities and to not hike the price of petrol and diesel.
More than 100 unions, associations and federations extended support to the general strike commencing from today and consequently all inter-district and inter-state passenger service vehicles remained off the roads in the state today.
Educational institutions remained closed.
Attendance of employees at the offices under central and state governments were very thin.
Movement of vehicles and traffic was very low while business establishments and banks remained shut during the first day of the bandh.
The markets wore a deserted look and all the entertainment programs including cinema, did not take place.
However no untoward incidents have not been reported till late night in the state even as All India General strike has affected Manipur adversely.
It may be mentioned that a historic general strike was called on 28 February 2012 by trade unions joining hands together and pressing for their demands.
There were further agitations like railway service shutdown, march to parliament etc. including jail bharo.
As part of the general strike in Manipur, bank employees staged a protest rally at the campus of the State bank of India (SBI) located at Mahatma Gandhi Avenue, Imphal.
Participating in the rally, national vice – president of INTUC, CPI leader Dr M Nara elaborated on why trade unions launched general strike all over India and expressed gratitude and happiness to the employees over making the strike a success by participating in the rally.
He also appealed to the employees to extend full support to further agitations to be undertaken tomorrow. At the close of the protest rally, bank employees shouted slogans to meet their demands which they have been demanding. The general strike is being seen as a political statement in the run up to the budget session 2013-2014 of the Lok Sabha.
However, the 48 hours nation-wide general strike called by 11 recognized trade unions did not leave its mark on the daily life of the people in the district, though inter-district traffic was hit.
Markets and business establishments remained open without any hindrances as the ongoing VDF bandh had been relaxed in the district in view of the Zoumi Namni celebration that was held in Bungmual and Singat with a contingent of people from Lamka going to those place.