Shutdown hits life in Himachal

Shimla, July 5 (IANS) Shops were closed in many parts of Himachal Pradesh Monday and road and rail services affected as the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) workers protested the recent fuel price hike.

Road traffic was hit in Shimla, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Una, Dharamsala, Kangra and Solan. In Shimla, schools and educational institutions were closed.

A train on the Shimla-Kalka track was also stopped as CPI-M activists protested.

‘A train on the way to Kalka from Shimla was stopped at 9 a.m. in the Summer Hill area (in Shimla) for more than one-and-half hours by the activists of the CPI-M. However, there was no damage to property,’ a railway official told IANS.

Cadres of the ruling BJP along with opposition parties enforced the shutdown in most districts of the state, forcing shops in most towns to down shutters.

‘We have made elaborate security arrangements. There was no report of violence anywhere in the state,’ Inspector General (Law and Order) S.R. Mardi told IANS.

Tikender Panwar, a state CPI-M leader, said: ‘Everyday a large number of people in the state commute by bus, the main mode of transport, and a hike of petrol and diesel would make the going tough for them. The central government must rollback the hike.’

The Left parties and the BJP-led NDA have called for an all-India strike against the hike in fuel prices.

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 per cylinder.

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