Mumbai commuters hit as autos join nationwide strike

Mumbai, Sep 7 (Calcutta Tube) Commuters rushing to their workplaces Tuesday morning were badly hit as a section of auto-rickshaw and taxi drivers joined the nationwide labour strike called by various trade unions.

While many auto-rickshaws remained off the road in the eastern and western suburbs, a few metered and private taxis were seen plying in the southern parts of Mumbai.

The public transport, BEST buses, were running to packed capacity as commuters crammed in to reach the nearest railway station and catch a suburban train to go to work.

Police said the situation in the city and elsewhere was calm and peaceful and there were no reports of any untoward incidents.

Trade and commercial establishments as well as hotels and eateries started opening for the day early morning.

However, banks and financial institutions, both in the public and private sector, have responded wholeheartedly to the strike call by over 30 top confederations of trade unions, said Vishwas Utagi, the secretary of the All India Bank Employees Association.

As bank staffers kept away from work, banking services were hit from the branch levels to the head offices of various banks in Mumbai.

According to Utagi, around one million bank employees are protesting a host of issues, including foreign direct investments in public sector banks and entry of foreign banks in the country.

The trade unions, which are supporting the strike include Congress-affiliated Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-affiliated Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) of the Communist Party of India, and the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS).

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