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Bharat Bandh: Trains stopped, public transport disrupted in WB

Kolkata: Life in the city and elsewhere in West Bengal was disrupted by a 12-hour bandh called by Left parties to protest diesel price hike, FDI in multi-brand retail and cap on subsidised LPG.

Though airport services were normal, train services in Eastern Railway and South Eastern Railway were disrupted, officials said.

Running of trains in South Eastern Railway to and from Howrah were disrupted since 8.30 am due to obstruction caused by protesters at Ramrajatala station.

Howrah-Pune Duranto Express, which started from Howrah on time, was stopped by the squatters here, railway sources said.

PTI

Eastern Railway spokesperson said that train services on Howrah division of ER were disrupted as bandh supporters blocked rail tracks at several stations. The obstructions were made at Katwa, Jougram, Agradeep, Ahemedpur, Bagnapara, Bhadreswar, Baidyabati and other stations.

Six long-distance trains reached Howrah this morning before the bandh started. He said that in Sealdah division of ER, train services were disrupted as bandh supporters obstructed rail traffic at Bongaon, Hasnabad and Diamond Harbour sections, he said.

However, train services were normal in Sealdah-Dankuni, Sealdah main line upto Kalyani, Namkhana-Sealdah and Budge Budge-Sealdah sections.

Services of the underground Metro rail, the city's lifeline, were normal, officials said.

Airport sources said the flight operations were normal in Kolkata airport, except cancellation of two Indigo flights - Kolkata-New Delhi and Kolkata-Agartala which were scheduled to fly in the morning.

Seven long-distance trains arrived at Sealdah and Kolkata stations before the bandh started.

Very few private buses were on the road but taxis were mostly off the roads in view of their 72-hour strike starting today in support of fare price hike. State-run buses and trams plied normally.

Educational institutions, shops and business establishments were by and large closed in the city.

Joint Commissioner of Police (Kolkata), Jawed Shamim told PTI that there has been no untoward incident so far in the city.

Police pickets have been set up in various parts of the city to check any untoward incident.

Officials of West Bengal government said that normalcy would be ensured during today's general strike called by the Left in the state from 6 am. The strike coincides with NDA's Bharat Bandh over the same issue.

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had yesterday asked the Left not to go ahead with the strike.

Banerjee had said, "West Bengal would be further affected if bandhs are held. The previous Left Front government has crippled the economy. Going by the GDP rate, I can tell you that the state loses Rs 1737 crore on a bandh day. Taken together, the loss is around Rs 2000 crores."

She said that three years back her party had decided against calling bandhs.

PTI