Though around 1,500 workers on Wednesday marched through the streets of Panjim, in support of the two-day All India Bandh call given by National Convention of Workers, by striking work, normal life was unaffected in most parts of the state. The rally flayed government policy paralysis on containing inflation and recession and decried its efforts to invite foreign capital through the back door and doling of concessions to them.
The workers from various factories, industries, shipyards, port, banks, insurance, telecom, etc associated with several labour unions, participated in the protest rally in the Capital city under the banner Goa convention of workers, which commenced from KTC bus stand, and concluded at Azad Maidan. The labour unions were protesting against the anti-people and anti-labour policies of the UPA government at the Center and BJP-led government in Goa.
The agitators protesting against the stoppage of mining activity also joined hands with the striking labour unions.
The public transport system, which was likely to be disrupted most, following a strike notice by Kadamba Transport Corporation Limited workers, also functioned smoothly.
Schools and colleges functioned as usual. However, nationalised banks, offices of LIC and Provident Fund were closed. The decision of the government to invoke ESMA showed results as all forms of transport including ferry services ran smoothly. The KTCL management claimed that though workers had given a strike call, the corporation managed to run all buses with the staff they had.
Addressing the rally at Azad Maidan, GCW convenor Christopher Fonseca criticized the State and Central Government for having failed to create a social and physical infrastructure such as quality education and health care, housing, sanitation, transport and food security. The protesters demanded immediate roll back of the increase in food prices, petrol, diesel, LPG cylinders, and abolition of contract labour system and minimum wages of Rs 10,000 per month for unskilled workers.
“The people across the country are living on the periphery of hunger and joblessness. The government has no policy to curb the price rise and contain the recession. Government is only inviting foreign capital through the back door and doling out to them huge concessions,” Fonseca said. The Labour union claimed that All India Bandh was a great success in Goa.
MORMUGAO: Except for a few nationalised banks which were paralysed due to the Bandh, the port town was seen doing business as usual. All the schools and colleges and government offices functioned normal.
Speculations that the public transport might stay off the road were laid to rest as private city buses and KTC buses were seen plying normally. All the private banks in the port town functioned as per the schedule and no inconvenience was caused to most small business establishments besides some corporate houses who are having their accounts in these banks.
CURCHOREM: Business establishments including shopkeepers and hawkers operated as usual in Curchorem, while public transport, buses and rickshaws were seen plying throughout the day. All the educational institutions in Curchorem and surrounding areas functioned smoothly. Banks were also opened except for nationalized banks.
According to Curchorem Police, everything was carried out peacefully as no untoward incident was reported.
OLD GOA: The All India Bandh call evoked lukewarm response in Old Goa. Most of the KTC and private buses were seen plying along the Ponda-Panjim highway. Old Goa Police said they had made elaborate arrangements to avoid any untoward incident.
VALPOI: Life in Valpoi was not in any way affected by the nationwide Bandh. Transport facilities were available to public as usual, while shops and business establishments remained open throughout the day. All the banks were opened, school children attended schools as usual. No untoward incident was reported at Valpoi Police station.
PONDA: All the nationalized banks and post office, BSNL, LIC and a couple of multi-national companies remained closed in Ponda taluka.
However, the strike had little impact on day-to-day functioning as the market and other establishments functioned as usual. No untoward incident was reported. Post office staff demonstrated outside the post office for some time. The strike was peaceful in Ponda taluka and police were also monitoring the area. [H]