Protesting the government’s new labour and farm laws, central trade unions have called for a nationwide Bharat Bandh today. In West Bengal and Kerala transport services have been hit. Left-backed trade union members blocked railway tracks in some areas of Bengal while in Kerala, there are few buses on roads and markets are closed in many areas including Kochi. Protesting trade union members will gather at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar at noon today. Trade Union leaders have said around 25 crores of workers in the country are part of the Bharat Bandh today.
Ten central unions including the Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Co-ordination Centre (TUCC), Self-Employed Women’s Association (SEWA), All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU) and others are participating in the Bharat Bandh. The RSS-affiliated Bharatiya Mazdoor Sangh (BMS), has said that it will not participate in the strike.
Central trade union leaders on Wednesday said that the Bharat Bandh will be successful in West Bengal. According to a report in news agency Press Trust of India, sources in the protesting trade unions said the strike in key sectors like jute, port, tea, coal and banking sectors will be successful.
In Bengal, the trade union wing of the ruling Trinamool Congress, is not opposing the Bharat Bandh. In a note, the Bengal government however said it is against bandhs and all its offices will remain open today.