October 3, 2005

Left strike hits all

Planes Off, Banks Shut; FM Says Don’t Worry (har, har)


New Delhi/Mumbai: A Left hook to protest the UPA-government’s economic policies left a trail of disruption on Thursday. Nearly 100 flights were cancelled nationwide as trading volumes fell to a trickle with millions of government employees striking work.
   Though the exact loss to the industry from the Left-sponsored strike is yet to be ascertained, exporters said shipments worth Rs 4,000 crore are blocked in ports.
   “With transactions at banks coming to a standstill, it is estimated that export merchandise worth Rs 4,000 crore can’t leave the country, conveying negative signals to the foreign buyer,” Federation of Indian Export Organisations president O P Garg said.
   The worst hit were travellers brave enough to venture into the airports. Many international and up to 40% domestic flights were cancelled with 20,000 airport employees striking work opposing privatisation of Delhi and Mumbai airports. Most flights to Kolkata were grounded and only Indian Airlines operated two flights. Passengers who landed in Kolkata were stranded as public transportation had gone off roads in the CPM-controlled city.
   The impact was felt in the remote Northeast too. Twelve Guwahati-bound trains were halted at different stations around Bengal.
   While banks were totting up the cost of the strike, FM Chidambaram said the impact had been marginal.


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