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Bank Strike hits normal life; Bengal, Kerala among much affected

Normal life was affected in various parts of the country, including West Bengal, Tripura, Kerala and Karnataka, as 10 central trade unions today went on a day-long nationwide strike to protest against changes in labour laws and privatisation of PSUs.

Trade union leaders claimed that around 15 crore formal sector workers are on strike in support of their 12-point charter of demands. BJP-backed BMS and NFITU however stayed away from the strike.

The strike affected transport, banking operations and other services in various parts of the country.

Normal working at banks was affected as 23 public sector banks, 12 private sector banks, 52 regional rural banks and over 13,000 cooperative banks have joined the stir except SBI, IOB, ICICI Bank, HDFC Bank and Axis Bank who choose to stay away from the strike.

Over half of the 10 lakh banking sector workers have gone on strike, All India Bank Employees Association General Secretary C H Venkatachalam said.

Cases of small skirmishes were reported in West Bengal and National Capital Region among other places

In Kolkata, partial impact was seen on suburban trains while shops, markets and business establishments in most areas remained closed.

State administration was plying a large fleet of public buses while partial impact was seen on operations of private buses and taxis.

In the National Capital, commuters faced problems as a large number of autos and taxis remained off the roads.

In Kerala, public and private bus services, taxis and autorickshaws were off the roads. Only private cars and two wheelers were seen on the roads. Shops, hotels and even small tea stalls were closed in the state.

In Tripura, vehicles did not ply on the roads, while markets were closed. Banks and other financial institutions, schools and colleges were closed and attendance was thin in government offices as well.

The entrance gates of ONGC facility and the Tripura Jute Mill were closed.

In Karnataka, government transport workers also joined the strike objecting to the proposed motor bill. Buses and autorickshaws kept off the roads causing inconvenience to office goers and those travelling to far of places.

While impact of strike was visible in Puducherry, Tamil Nadu was largely unaffected. .