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Bandh hits normal life

By Staff reporter

GUWAHATI, July 5 � The 12-hour nation-wide bandh called by the BJP, its allies, and Left parties paralysed normal life in Assam, with protest action taking place in some places, including Guwahati. The impact in government offices was near total, business was hit hard, and the transport sector was seriously affected.

Government offices registered a dismal presence of employees, and banks and commercial enterprises had to bear the brunt of the strike that was called to protest sharp rise in the price of petroleum products.

In Guwahati and adjoining areas, buses and other commercial vehicles kept off the road, and a skeletal service was run by the ASTC. Many long distance coaches stopped their service between the city and other parts of the state, making the state capital inaccessible to scores of people. Some private vehicles, however, were seen plying during the strike. But with all petrol stations shut, the number of such vehicles was limited.

Train service was jeopardized by the bandh, during which 41 passenger trains under the NF Railway were held up in West Bengal and Assam. According to S Hajong, CPRO NF Railway, the movement of at least three major passenger trains was affected in Assam, including the down Rajdhani Express, detained in Rangiya junction.

He added that the up Manas Rhino and down Kamrup Express were among those that suffered long delays.

However, the running of trains between upper Assam and Guwahati was described as �normal�. To counter the cascading effect of the protest action in West Bengal, the NFR has rescheduled a number of trains.

The bandh saw a sudden increase in the number of passengers at Guwahati Railway Station, who could not move out for long hours due to scarce transport services.

In Guwahati, BJP state president Ranjit Dutta was detained by the police along with party members after they tried to disrupt vehicular traffic on the RG Baruah Road. They were taken to the Basistha police station from where they were later released.

Among those worst hit by the bandh was daily wage earners, and small shop owners. Most stalls close to arterial routes chose not to open, but some small shops in residential areas did business during the bandh.

Our Correspondents report:

DIBRUGARH: Local MLA Prasanta Phukan and several members of the BJP were held by the police from different parts of the city and at Chabua town during the 12-hour bandh called by the Left Parties and National Democratic Alliance today. They were later released.

The bandh totally paralysed normal life in the district, affecting business, office attendance and vehicular movement. All financial, educational and commercial establishments remained shut for the day. No untoward incident has been reported.

RANGIYA: Local MLA Ananta Deka blocked the movement of the down Rajdhani Express for nearly five hours during the 12 hour bandh called by the Opposition to protest the recent sharp hike in the price of petroleum commodities. Around 280 protesters were arrested by the Police, who were later released.

Vehicular traffic on the NH 31 and Rangiya Bhutan roads also stood affected. Government offices, banks and educational institutions remained closed.

DERGAON: The 12 hour Bharat Bandh called by the Opposition in protest of hike in fuel prices was total and peaceful at Dergaon. During the bandh no passenger vehicle plied on NH 37 and all the business establishments stayed closed.

NALBARI: All offices and business establishments in Nalbari district remained closed during the bandh, and vehicles stayed off the road on major roads including the NH 31.

JAMUGURIHAT: The Bharat Bandh called against general price rise and the hike in the cost of petroleum commodities evoked total response in the Jamugurihat area. All modes of transport were off the road, offices including banks and post offices stayed shut. No information about any untoward incident has been reported from the region.

SILAPATHAR: The strike called by the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) and Left parties to oppose the steep rise in prices of petroleum products like diesel, petrol and LPG, affected normal life in Silapathar and nearby areas. The bandh passed off peacefully with no reports of any major incident.

UDALGURI: The dawn to dusk Bharat Bandh evoked total response in every nook and corner of Udalguri district, and passed off peacefully.

According to sources in Orang, Mazbat, Rowta, and Harisinga, offices and business establishments remained closed.

BIHPURIA: The bandh was total and peaceful in Bihpuria. All business establishments remained closed and vehicles were absent from the roads.

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