WEDNESDAY JULY 7, PUNE
A day-long general strike disrupted normal business activities across India, affecting key sectors of the economy and causing losses anywhere between a conservative Rs.3, 000 crore (USD666 million) and a humongous Rs.13, 000 crore (USD2.8 billion) to the country.
While Mumbai, the financial capital of the country, and several industrialised states including Maharashtra, Gujarat, were affected, the impact was partial in many other states like Tamil Nadu and in the national capital Delhi.
The 12-hour strike was called by the Opposition parties to protest the fuel price hike and rising inflation. The dawn to dusk all-India strike, the first such challenge for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's government, called separately by the Left and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) cost about Rs.10,000 crore, said the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham). Satisfied by the strike's success, both the Left and BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) vowed that this was not the end .The bandh is estimated to have cost the nation close to Rs 13,000 crore in terms of GDP loss," industry chamber Ficci said in a statement. Another industry body Assocham put the losses at Rs 10,000 crore, while CII pegged it at Rs 3,000 crore.
The bandh on Monday evoked a mixed reaction from the common citizens. Many did not favour the bandh but some were more accepting. “Whoever had called for a bandh,it was really a very bad idea because it caused India 10000 crore loss. Even if anyone was on Manmohan Singh’s place he would have increased petrol, LPG rates as oil is not produced in our backyard. We have to import it. Opposition parties had chance to oppose it in parliament, though there workers forced common people to follow bandh. They shouldn’t have damaged public property which belongs to us (common man) instead they should have burn the cars and bungalows’ politicians have built with our money.” , says IT professional Suyog Chaudhari.
But, a house Sharda Raghunathan says , “ Manmohan Singh is the worst PM ever. The labourer who gets rs.100 for 8 hours can`t even think of basic necessities. PM is only concerned about Sonia, Rahul and America. So this bandh was necessary.”
Incidents of stone-pelting on buses and trains were reported from the city. Schools, colleges and business establishments remained closed as groups of protestors hit streets trying to enforce the 12-hour bandh. Many buses were broken. But no injury is reported. Many citizens hoped the bandh would bring a reduction in prices. “The price of crude oil is around $76 per barrel. 1 barrel = 42 gallon, 1 gallon = 3.89L. Thus, 1 barrel = 42 x 3.89 = 163.38 Litres. $1 = 46RS (76 x 46 = Rs 3496). Thus, the actual cost of crude is around Rs. 21.50/ litres. Add 35% to that actual cost to add for the refining, transporting to petrol pump, taxes, etc. Thus: Rs. 7.50. So the total comes to be 21.50 7.50 = Rs. 29.00/ liter. Every common man who is paying a fortune of money for transportation must be aware of this fact. This Bandh should act as eye opener for the Government,” says economics student Amit Srivastava. As many as 109 buses of the Pune Mahanagar Parivahan Mahamandal Ltd (PMPML) were damaged during the Bharat Bandh on Monday. The repair of these buses cost a whopping Rs 15 lakh and nearly 85 buses are back on roads after repairs in two days.