By Alex Guite
LAMKA, April 15: The state-wide bandh called by the Village Defence Force had been a success in Churachandpur town with most shops along the busy Tiddim Road remaining closed for the day and only few vehicles plying.
Meanwhile, leaders of the VDF Welfare Association have also informed that the bandh will end this midnight but will be immediately followed by a 48-hour economic blockade.
Vehicles seen plying were those few which had been exempted from the purview of the bandh including medical transportation, school vans and water supply.
It is also evident that the public`™s sympathy was with the bandh as the area which is usually against any such bandh diktats remained closed for the day.
At the same time, the district police under SP Mangkhogin Haokip were seen patrolling along the roads. CCpur OC inspector Thangzamuan and his team was also seen dousing fire set on by the bandh supporters and clearing the road of any debris.
The VDF personnel have been demanding pay increase among other demands from the government and had resorted to the bandh after the government failed to meet their demands.
Bandh supporters had burned tyres on the roads at five different spots in the town and were also seen blocking roads using sand bags and woods at many places.
They also locked the SDO and the ZEO offices among other government offices and stamped placards which read `fulfil our demands- VDF.`
However, there were no reports of violence or untoward incidents during the bandh. Bandh supporters had been known to use brute force to enforce their diktats in the past using stones and sticks, however all such actions were missing today.
A volunteer on conditions of anonymity said they had seek co-operation and help from all organisations for the bandh called.
The VDF will continue to launch other forms of agitations in case the government fail to meet our demands, he said adding that the personnel have been serving the State with dedication for almost a decade now.
A father of a VDF personnel who wanted not to be named said, his son is being paid less than Rs 5000 and after deducting all other expenses like the mess fee, he brings home only about a quarter of the same.
The family is unable to meet their expenses with the meagre amount, he added.
He also said that since the VDF personnel are mostly from poor families, their demands are justifiable.
Meanwhile, not all were in favour of the VDF`™s bandh call as many shopkeepers and other daily wage earners were heard grumbling that the VDF`™s have no right to trample on their rights to earn their livelihood by calling the bandh for their own interest.
Many lamented that calling such bandh will not benefit the people.
On the other hand, the 600 or so VDF personnel in CCpur joining their state-wide cease-work strike call has badly affected policing in the district, which has been admitted by the district`™s SP. He had said that he was handicapped by the absence of the VDF and their service.
Meanwhile, the general secretary and the president of the VDF Welfare Association in a statement has said that they have submitted a memorandum to the Speaker of the State Assembly demanding that their salary be increased to Rs 10000 or be treated as a skill labourers.
The leaders of the association has also informed that the bandh will end by 12 of this night but will be immediately followed by economic a 48-hour blockade.