Kolkata, Jan 17 (Calcutta Tube / IBNS) Traffic across West Bengal came to a standstill on Monday with the trade union arm of the ruling Communist Party of India (CPI-M) and main opposition Trinamool Congress separately protesting with rallies and strikes against hike of petrol prices.
Whilst the CPI-M’s labour wing Centre for Indian Trade Unions (CITU) called a three-hour transport strike in West Bengal between 12 am and 3 pm, the TMC staged protests at different junctions demanding roll back of the hiked price on fuel.
The CITU said it would not prevent public and private vehicles carrying passengers during period, but stop plying the empty cars. But most private buses remained off roads fearing protesters damage their vehicles.
Commuters, especially office-goers and students, faced extreme harassment being stuck in traffic for long hours on the first working day of the week.
TMC chief and Railways minister Mamata Banerjee said that her party would hold procession in the city against the price rise and protest in every block of the state.
[ReviewAZON asin=”B004I6DGO4″ display=”inlinepost”]She criticised the UPA government at the centre, of which TMC is a partner, for not being taken into confidence over the rise, but also attacked the ruling Left Front government in West Bengal for levying new taxes.
She alleged the government led by the CPI-M always take advantage of the price rise of essentials.
Leader of Opposition in West Bengal assembly Partha Chattopadhyay said: “The state government has completely failed in controlling fuel price rises. Trinamool Congress will take up the matter with the Centre.”
With fear of possible disruption of traffic during the day, heavy rush was noticed at many important junctions like rail stations, bus terminus and on roads in the metropolis early on Monday as people took advantage of the first hours.
Traffic police made elaborate arrangement to keep the road free from any congestion in the early hours of the day to clear rush.
The TMC claimed that it was not consulted or called for discussion over the price hike of petrol.
“In fact, our leader Mamata Banerjee met Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee last evening (Saturday) at the airport and even there the decision on hiking prices was not communicated to her. It really hurt her,” said Trinamool MP Sudip Bandopadhyay.
“We are of the opinion that any such decision should be taken at the meeting of UPA II. A meeting in three months should happen to discuss the ideas of different parties who are very much involved in running UPA”, T Bandopadhyay said Sunday.