KOLKATA: The nationwide six-hour strike called by the Congress and the Left Front sponsored 12-hour general strike in West Bengal evoked a lukewarm response on Monday as people came out in numbers on the streets while public transport was available in the city and suburbs amid tight security arrangements.
The Congress and its allies called the strike from 9 a.m. against the rising prices of petrol and diesel along with the depreciating rupee, the CPI-M (Communist Party of India-Marxist)-led Left Front too called the strike starting from 6 a.m. on the same issue.
However, it was business as usual in the city and suburbs where thousands of office goers hit the streets as the day progressed. The districts also remained largely active barring stray incidents in some places like Howrah district's Dasnagar industrial area where the strike supporters tried to put up road blockades and clashed with the police.
Banks, educational institutions including schools and colleges mostly remained open while trading activities at Burrabazar in the city were more or less normal.
According to a state official, the attendance at the state secretariat Nabanna was over 95 per cent and overall attendance in state government offices was 97 per cent.
Train services in Eastern and South-Eastern Railways were largely normal though the Left Front supporters tried to block the rail tracks in Hooghly district's Sreerampore, Kolkata's Jadavpur station and Sealdah division's Lakshmikantapur lines.
Additional police personnel have been deployed throughout the state to prevent any disruption or violence in connection with the strike. However, the Left Front and the Congress took out rallies in some places in support of the strike.
The ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the state supported the issues on which the shut down has been called, but opposed the strike in the state in line with the party's stated policy against any kind of strikes.
State Minister and Trinamool's Secretary General Partha Chatterjee had said that the government would take all measures to maintain public utility services.
State-run transport corporations are running more buses than usual to ensure that commuters are not inconvenienced, a state official said.
A special arrangement has been made with a nationalised insurance company to extend insurance benefits of up to Rs 75,000 to the owner of any vehicle, damaged by miscreants on Monday, a state official said.
The owner of the vehicle would have to file a complaint within 12 hours of the incident and will be reimbursed within 72 hours, the officer added.