Rail, road services hit in Bihar amid shutdown

Patna, July 5 (IANS) Several trains were halted and road services hit in Bihar Monday as workers of the Left parties and the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) protested the fuel price hike in the country.

Supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Janata Dal-United (JD-U) and the Left parties stopped over a dozen long route trains at the Patna, Hajipur, Gaya, Darbhanga, Jehanabad, Araria, Bhagalpur, Ara and Muzaffarpur railway stations.

‘Several trains were halted to enforce the shutdown,’ a police officer told IANS.

Roads, particularly National Highways 31, 28 and 30, were blocked at various places. In Patna, busy roads like Ashok Rajpath, Bailey Road and Fraser Road were blocked by the shutdown supporters.

‘Road services were also hit. No long route buses are plying. Highways are deserted as trucks halted at different places,’ the police officer said.

Government and private schools and colleges were closed. ‘Exams scheduled for the day in schools and colleges were also cancelled,’ said an official of the education department here.

Shops, markets and offices stayed shut. In the busy income tax square of Patna, dozens of people were beaten up by the BJP workers.

In Patna, hundreds of women activists, including homemakers, from the non-political group Rashtriya Mahila Brigade took to streets and protested. They held placards, posters, banners and swords, shouted slogans and demanded withdrawal of the fuel price hike.

They disrupted train services at the Rajendra Nagar terminal here for over three hours by squatting on railway tracks and then blocked the busy Dak-Bungalow Square in Patna that hit road traffic completely.

‘The state administration have made elaborate security arrangements in view of the shutdown,’ said a senior government official.

In Bihar, shutdown is likely to be total as BJP and JD-U are the ruling parties and the Left parties have strong support base in half-a-dozen districts.

The opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal and Lok Janshakti Party have not joined the shutdown and have instead called for a separate shutdown July 10.

The central government ended government curbs on petroleum pricing and hiked the prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas. The price of diesel went up by Rs.2 a litre, kerosene by Rs.3 a litre, petrol by Rs.3.50 a litre, and cooking gas by Rs.35 a cylinder.

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