Nationwide strike cripples life in Tripura
Agartala, Feb 20 : A two-day nationwide strike called by 11 major trade unions demanding concrete measures for containing inflation, ensuring jobs and enforcement of labour laws crippled life in Left-ruled Tripura Wednesday.
The other demands of the central trade unions include: Universal social security for unorganised and organised workers; stoppage of disinvestment in Central and State Public Sector Undertakings; payment of minimum wages of Rs.10,000 per month; abolition of contract labour and payment of equal wages and benefits to contract workers at par with regular workers.
"The strike was total and successful with all levels of workers and general people expressing their anger against price rise, retrenchment, underpayment, poverty and many of the economic policies of the UPA (United Progressive Alliance) government," Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) leader Pijush Nag told reporters here.
Most markets, shops and business establishments, government offices, educational institutions, banks and financial institutions were shut. Roads were deserted and rail services between Tripura and the rest of the country were also affected.
However, air services on the Agartala-Kolkata and Agartala-Guwahati routes have been operating normally, an Agartala airport official told IANS.
"The 48-hour shutdown remained peaceful. No untoward incident was reported from anywhere," police spokesperson Nepal Das told IANS.
Buses between Tripura and Bangladesh and other northeastern states were also hit.
Eleven major trade unions, including CITU, backed by the state's ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), BMS (Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh), the All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) and the Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), have called the strike in support of their demands.
Their demands also include removal of all ceilings on payment and eligibility of bonus, provident fund, increasing the quantum of gratuity, assured pension for all, compulsory registration of trade unions within 45 days and immediate ratification of ILO Conventions 87 and 98. (ILO Convention 87 deals with the freedom of association and protection of the right to organise, while 98 also includes collective bargaining.)
CITU leader Pijush Nag said that in Tripura two more issues were included: Deprivation of over Rs.10,000 crore to Tripura by the 13th Finance Commission and rejection of foreign direct investment.
The main opposition Congress has opposed the strike in Tripura, saying that most of the demands can be met by the state government itself.