IMPHAL, May 31: Normal life was crippled in the state today owing to the twelve hours general strike called by opposition parties against petrol price hike which commenced from 5 am today.
However, there were no unwanted incidents during the strike called by state BJP and CPI and other left parties. Trinamool Congress and Manipur Peoples Party and Janata Dal (United) also supported the general strike.
Aside from some passenger and private vehicles, motor traffic along the roads came down to a trickle. Several government departments and educational institutions were also affected by the strike. TheKhwairamband Keithels and other main shopping centres of Paona Bazar and Thangal Bazar also remained shut. Inter-state passenger vehicles also were affected and entertainment centers remained closed during the day.
Oil pumps also were closed while members of the Trade Union also held a sit in protest at Thangal Bazar and Marwari Dharamsala. Police personnel were deployed in greater numbers to prevent any untoward incidents.
Prominent leaders of the State Communist Party of India including state secretary Dr M Nara carried out a drive along the city market areas and appealed the shopkeepers to halt business activities for the day and to give solidarity to the nationwide protest.
It may be mentioned that the main Opposition parties, the BJP and the Left, have called for a Bharat bandh today to protest last week`s hike in petrol prices. The hike was the steepest ever at Rs. 6.28 plus local taxes, and the demand for a rollback has been universal.
State BJP President S Shantikumar said, “The Government cannot manage its own administration. From A to Z, the government policies are not people friendly.”
The state BJP president opined on the fuel price escalation that the plight of the public remains ignored and the government is only looking at tax profits from the oil companies.
He maintained that even though crude oil prices have dropped, the price hike is in a status quo.
MPP leader O Joy said, “The policy of the Government is a blunder, the issue should have been discussed in the cabinet and Parliament sittings. MPP opposes the price hike.”
Joy further said that all road communications depends on fuel. The hike will affect all sections of society especially to the poor, as there will be subsequent rise in prices of other goods and in transportation. CPI leader M Narasaid, “The Congress is financed by the corporate houses and hence in return given free rein to carry out their neo-liberal economic policies. Is the country run by businessmen or the elected?”
He added that as common people is burdened, there may be unrest and some may even eventually take up arms which would further affect the law and order scenario.
Trinamool leader Dr I Ibohanbi said, “Steep increase in the fuel price is anti people and should be rolled back.” The consequences of the price rise will gradually become more and more unbearable to the public, he said.