The two-day Bharat Bandh called by employee unions on 20 and 21 February seems set to go ahead with talks between the government and unions failing.
The trade unions says that the strike has been called against the anti-people and anti-workers policies of the government. The unions have also sought an increase in their salaries, pointing out that inflation has been rising at an alarming rate. Nine bank unions are also supporting the strike.
Who has called the strike: The strike has been called jointly by the Bhartiya Majdoor Sangh (BMS), All India Trade union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC) and other affiliated organisations.
So what does this mean for you?
No banks: Nine employee unions in banks are participating in the strike and workers who are members are set to stay away from work. What this could mean is a lot of your state owned banks could be shut thanks to this strike. However, if you have an account with a private bank or internet banking and aren’t in a city that has long power cuts, you may be able to manage your financial needs without needing to visit the branch. However, cheques and other transactions may not be cleared instantly.
No BSNL, MTNL, gas, etc: Gas cylinder was to arrive tomorrow? Make alternate arrangements or ask your neighbour if you can mooch off them for a couple of days. All services ranging from gas deliveries, insurance offices, telephone services and post will not be available for the next couple of days.
Trains to remain operational: Indian Railways should be functioning normally with no cancellation of trains. However, don’t be surprised if your train is running later than expected if protesters choose to block tracks. In Mumbai, the arterial suburban train service is expected to function normally. In Delhi, metro rail services are expected to remain unaffected.
Auto rickshaws largely to stay on roads: In many parts of the country the ubiquitous three wheeler may stay off the road barring states in which the bandh has been opposed. In Mumbai, some auto-rickshaws could stay off the roads but will be in smaller numbers nonetheless. In Kolkata, with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee vowing to ensure the state does not grind to a halt, you might just get your autorickshaw tomorrow. In many other states and cities, however, they may stay off the roads.
State bus services to remain operational: State transport busesare expected to function normally with few employee’s unions affiliated with the unions that have organised the strike. In metros like Mumbai, Delhi and Kolkata bus services are expected to remain operational.
Taxis to remain operational in most major cities: Taxi services in metros are expected to function normally during both days of the strike. In Mumbai the largest union has said it will not back the strike and fleet taxi services are also expected to remain operational.
Hospitals won’t shut doors to patients: State run and private hospitals are expected to remain functional through both days of the bandh.