A nationwide Bharat Bandh strike is currently underway against various policies of the central government. The bandh has been jointly called by 10 central unions including the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS). However, the Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS) is not participating in the protest.
Earlier, the Uttar Pradesh government had extended the Essential Service Maintenance Act (ESMA), banning all departments and corporations under it for going on strike for another six months.
Here are the latest updates on the Bharat Bandh:
1. In West Bengal, members of the Left trade union blocked railway track at North 24 Parganas’ Belgharia railway station and also staged a demonstration in Kolkata. Meanwhile, railway track was blocked by members of the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist) , CPI(M) and Congress in Jadavpur.
2. In Odisha’s capital Bhubaneswar, members of Odisha Nirmana Sramik Federation, All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) and All Orissa Petrol and Diesel Pump Workers protested against the labour laws brought in by the Centre.
3. In Kerala, where the ruling Left govt has backed the bandh, bus services were affected and markets closed in the city of Kochi. Supporting the strike, state health minister KK Shailaja tweeted, “These along with the whole sale privatisation of the public sector sound the death knell to our self reliant economy and our toiling people. All these are meant to serve the corporate cronies, domestic and foreign.#MazdoorKisanStrike.”
4. Around 25 crore workers are reportedly participating in Thursday’s demonstrations. The various demands of the protesting unions include, among others, cash transfer of Rs 7,500 per month tor all non-income tax paying families, 10 kilograms free ration per person per month to all needy people, expansion of MGNREGA, withdrawal of all “anti-farmer laws and anti-worker labour codes.”