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Bharat bandh: Which state loses how much

Last updated on: April 27, 2010 17:22 IST

Image: Police detain an activist of Samajwadi Party during a protest against rising inflation in Allahabad.
Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters
Time and again our life's schedule is disrupted by bandh or strike calls given by various political parties in protest against some issue or the other.

And if you are in West Bengal, you are sure to lose at least 15-20 days of work a year because of imposition of 'no-work' diktat announced by several political parties.

A bandh is supposed to be in support of a cause. But does it actually serve that cause? One just cannot be too sure.

A forceful state-wide bandh means disruption of rail and air traffic, closure of central establishments, poor collection of central excise and customs duty and many more. These add up to a huge loss for the nation.

This bandh 'business' in India is growing daily because it is the easiest way for the party to get free publicity without any capital investment.

A 12-hour nation-wide bandh called by 13 non-National Democratic Alliance and non-United Progressive Alliance parties on April 17 to protest against price rise hit life and affected air and rail services in Left-ruled states of West Bengal, Kerala and Tripura.

To know the amount of loss that this bandh caused the nation, click NEXT. . .


Bharat bandh: Which state loses how much

Image: Protesters hurl bricks at glass windows of a passenger bus.
Photographs: Rupak De Chowdhuri/Reuters

Bandh threw life out of gear

The Bharat Bandh which began at 6 am on Tuesday had some impact in Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Sporadic protests marked the bandh elsewhere in the country, including in New Delhi.

Streets in West Bengal and Kerala where educational institutions were also closed wore a deserted look.

Besides the four Left parties, the 13-party group which gave the call for the bandh consists of All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, Biju Janata Dal, Samajwadi Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Telugu Desam Party, Rashtriya Lok Dal, Lok Janshakti Party, Janata Dal-Secular and Indian National Lok Dal.

The group is pressing for a roll-back in the hike in prices of petrol, diesel and fertiliser.

. . .

Bharat bandh: Which state loses how much

Photographs: Reuters

Orissa recorded a loss of over Rs 120 crore

Vehicular movement was paralysed across Orissa as bandh supporters blocked national highways, state highways and other roads, putting a halt to plying of passenger buses, trucks, taxis and auto-rickshaws, police sources said.

Rail services were also affected as trains were stopped at different stations for a brief period, they said.

The loss to the state exchequer was estimated to be more than Rs 120 crore (Rs 1.2 billion).

Security was tightened throughout the state with deployment of about 2000 security personnel in various places to deal with any eventuality during the strike called by seven non-Congress and non-BJP political parties in the state.

In Bhabaneswar, shops, business establishments and commercial outfits remained closed during the bandh.

The strike affected work in central government offices, public sector units, including NALCO, post offices and banks as bandh supporters resorted to picketing and prevented staff from entering their offices, sources said.

Work was also affected in East Cost Railway headquarters because of picketing by bandh supporters, but emergency arrangements had been made by railway authorities to maintain basic functioning, an official said.

The shutdown also affected life in various places like Cuttack, Berhampur, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Balasore, Puri, Balangir, Baripada and Khurda.

. . .

Bharat bandh: Which state loses how much

Image: Activists of Samajwadi Party shout slogans after blocking a passenger train.
Photographs: Jitendra Prakash/Reuters

Tripura: Bandh had partial impact

Shops and markets were closed and vehicles were off the road across Tripura, but there was no report of any untoward incident, official sources said.

The bandh caused the state lose about Rs 80-90 crore (Rs 800-900 million).

Schools, colleges, banks and financial institutions remained closed and no attendance was registered in the Civil Secretariat in Agartala, the sources said.

Train and air service were also hit.

. . .

Bharat bandh: Which state loses how much

Photographs: Reuters

Life paralysed in Assam

There was no report of any untoward incident from any part of the state but shops, business establishments, schools and other educational institutions remained closed, official sources said.

Attendance in the state secretariat and other government offices was thin, they said.

Vehicles remained off the roads with long-distance buses and city service buses not plying.

Train services have been affected with Rajdhani Express, Saraighat Express, North East Express, Kamrup Express and some other trains rescheduled.

Air services have been also affected with several incoming flights from Delhi and Kolkata not arriving. Return flights have been either cancelled or rescheduled consequently.

. . .

Bharat bandh: Which state loses how much

Photographs: Reuters

Bharat bandh=Rs 500 crore loss for Bengal

The 12-hour nation-wide bandh called by the ruling Left Front in West Bengal on Tuesday against price rise will lead to a production loss of close to Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) to the state.

"According to a rough estimate made by the Indian Chamber of Commerce, the total loss because of a 12-hour bandh in West Bengal is approximately Rs 496 crore (Rs 4.96 billion) of the gross state domestic product," ICC senior vice-president P Jayanta Roy said.

"Annually the percentage loss per bandh to gross and net SDP stands at 0.21 per cent and 0.2 per cent respectively. Quantification of non-economic loss is, however, not feasible," Roy said.

"This mainly includes loss of investors interests, damage to states impression to prospective investors, damage to industrial climate, socio-political unrest etc.

Two train passengers were injured as a clash broke out between travellers in Ganga Sagar Express and bandh supporters at Pandua station in Hoogly district.

Road and rail services and flight operations in the state were badly affected and shutters in commercial areas were down.

Hundreds of passengers were stranded at railway stations and airports for want of transport.

Airport sources in Kolkata said only ten out of 25 domestic and international flights took off this morning.

They included flights of Air-India, Jet Airways and Jetlite.

Kolkata's IT sector saw only 40 per cent attendance.

An Eastern Railway spokesperson told PTI that because of obstructions put up by bandh supporters at several stations, train services were disrupted at Howrah and Sealdah division.

Long-distance trains were stranded at various stations as bandh supporters sat on the railway tracks.

. . .

Bharat bandh: Which state loses how much

Image: A boy selling Indian flags.
Photographs: Reuters

Situation in Kerala no better

Rail and road traffic in Kerala were badly hit by the dawn-to-dusk bandh, causing severe hardship to people paralysing normal life in the state.

Hundreds of passengers coming from other states as well as domestic commuters were caught unawares as the protesters picketed trains in various stations, including at entry points like Palakkad and Kasargode, resulting in late running of long-distance trains by nearly two hours.

Police said at least 29 cases of train picketing had been reported and the protesters were removed.

Six passenger trains were cancelled and three inter-city express trains partially cancelled due to disruption caused by the strike, a divisional railway spokesperson said.

All modes of public transport were off the roads across the state and shops remained closed.

The agitators placed road blocks in many places and forcibly closed even petty shops.

The shutdown, however, did not affect flight services from Thiruvananthapuram International Airport in the morning.

Attendance was poor in government offices and banks while universities postponed the exams scheduled for the day.

The protesters, however, justified the strike saying though it caused some difficulty to people it was called for a genuine cause to protect the interests of the masses.

Barring isolated incidents of stone-pelting at branches of banks, no violence was reported from anywhere.

Total loss caused to the state was estimated to be Rs 90 crore (Rs 900 million) approximately.

. . .

Bharat bandh: Which state loses how much

Photographs: Reuters

Bandh affects life in Jharkhand

Life in several parts of Jharkhand was affected on Tuesday following the 12-hour nationwide strike called by the Left and other Opposition parties against price rise and the second day of the 48-hour shutdown by the CPI-M.

Bandh supporters squatted on railway tracks in Jamshedpur, Jamtara, Giridih and Koderma as railway authorities cancelled half-a-dozen passenger trains in

Jamshedpur, according to railway authorities.

The Railways had already cancelled or diverted some trains since Monday due to the Maoist-sponsored bandh.

Bandh supporters blocked GT road in Giridih and put up hurdles in Hazaribagh town, Koderma, Jamtara, Godda and Bagodar, police said.

"The bandh is spontaneous. Even in Ranchi, shopkeepers did not open their shops on their own since morning," CPI-M Central Committee member J S Majumdar told newsmen.

Majumdar led a group of party supporters at the main road in Ranchi.

"Response in Koderma and Jhumritalaiya is remarkable," claimed RJD leader Annapurna Devi.

According to rough estimates, the state made a loss of Rs 110-Rs 120 crore (Rs 1.1 to Rs 1.2 billion) approximately.

. . .

Bandh affects life in Jharkhand

Image: IT sector in Bengal saw 40 per cent attendance.
Photographs: Reuters

One bandh and the nation loses millions of mandays

According to a recent Assocham report, frequent bandhs caused West Bengal to lose 12.5 lakh (1.25 million) mandays in 2006, the year for which data about manday losses have been calculated by different state governments.

In the same period, Andhra Pradesh registered manday losses of 240,000, Rajasthan saw 130,000 mandays being lost, and Tamil Nadu lost 70,000 mandays.

In 2006, Tamil Nadu topped the strikes' list, having called 50 bandhs, followed by Bengal (29), Gujarat (23), Andhra Pradesh (18) and Haryana (14).

. . .

Bharat bandh: Which state loses how much

Image: Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, chief minister of West Bengal.
Photographs: Jayanta Shaw/Reuters

Loss of wage a cause for concern

As for wage loss because of bandhs, Bengal topped this list, registering a total loss of Rs 35.8 crore (Rs 358 million), followed by Andhra Pradesh with Rs 26.3 crore (Rs 263 million), Karnataka with Rs 13.2 crore (Rs 132 million) and Tamil Nadu with Rs 14.9 crore (Rs 149 million).

A parallel survey done by West Bengal Applied Economic Research for 2007 and 2008 had a similar story to tell.

According to it, mandays lost through disruption in Bengal stood at over 30 lakh (3 million) in 2007 and 19.5 lakh (1.95 million) last year.

The figures assume more alarming proportions if one takes into account the fact that there have been more than a dozen bandhs in Bengal the past 39 months, excluding those in pockets like the hills and the forests.

Loss incurred by these bandhs would jack up the total loss incurred by West Bengal because of strikes to Rs 11,000 crore (Rs 110 billion) since August 2006.