Bharat Bandh impact: Markets remain open, nationwide shutdown evokes mixed response

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The day-long ‘Bharat Vyapar Bandh’ called by the Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) evoked a lukewarm response on Friday with most shops and commercial establishments open.

However, CAIT in a statement said the shutdown was a “grand success” as more than 8 crore small businesses belonging to about 40,000 trade associations across the country kept their shutters down and no trading activity took place in any commercial market.

Impact in Uttar Pradesh

The Bharat Bandh call against rising fuel prices, the new e-way bill and Goods and Services Tax (GST) evoked negligible response in Uttar Pradesh.

The All India Transport Welfare Association (AITWA) — the apex body of the organised road transportation companies — had announced support to the Bandh but in Uttar Pradesh, transporters were apparently divided and in several cities, trucks were seen operating even after the ‘chakka jam’ began at 6 am.

“We cannot stall trucks without prior notice. We have commitments to fulfill to our clients and deliver goods on time,” Daljeet Singh, a truck operator from Haryana who was seen with his truck in Lucknow told IANS on Friday.

Commercial establishments in almost all major cities, including Lucknow, Meerut and Agra, were open on Friday.

“There was no clarity in the Bandh call. Besides, our business is already in doldrums and we cannot afford more closures,” Raj Kumar Chaudhary, a businessman in Meerut told IANS.

Meanwhile, a heavy deployment of the police force was seen at Transport Nagar in Lucknow on Friday. The Transport Nagar is the centre of transport activity in the state capital and a meeting point of transporters.

Bandh impact in Delhi

Various markets in the national capital remained open on Friday during the ‘Bharat Vyapar Bandh’ called by traders’ union with many saying that despite supporting the cause, they did not want to suffer another day of losses.

Although various market bodies said they support the cause for which the ‘bandh’ was called, they, however, could not shut down their shops or outlets due to multiple reasons.

The bandh was not enforced at Connaught Place market.

Impact in Punjab, Haryana

Businesses remained unaffected in Punjab and Haryana on Friday during the Bharat Vyapar Bandh, with many saying though they supported the cause, they could not afford to down shutters.

In Punjab’s Hoshiarpur, Amritsar and Tarn Taran, shops and commercial establishments remained functional as usual and the impact of the bandh was not seen.

All markets in Amritsar, including the cycle markets at Railway Road, Ram Bagh area, cloth market inside the walled city and even the wholesale and retail medicine markets, were operational.

There was no impact of the bandh in Haryana’s Ambala and Kurukshetra as well. All major commercial centres and markets remained open.

The sarafa (jewellery) market, grain market, wholesale cloth market and other commercial institutions in Ambala functioned as usual.

Impact in Assam

In Assam, the majority of the shops and commercial establishments across all the 34 districts, including the main commercial hub Guwahati, remained opened barring some business establishments.

Vehicular movements were normal in all the districts, even as buses were seen plying in limited numbers.

However, a large section of traders and transport operators claimed that they were not aware of the shutdown call.

It was a muted response to the bandh in other northeastern states, even as many traders’ bodies supported the shutdown call.

All Tripura Merchants’ Association General Secretary Sujit Roy told IANS that thousands of their members have not participated in the strike.

Bandh impact in Odisha

Shops and other business establishments across Odisha remained closed as the Odisha Traders’ Association extended support to the Bharat Bandh.

The impact of the strike was seen at various places in the state. Shops and other commercial establishments remained closed in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Balasore and Berhampur and other places.

However, essential services and vehicular movements were not affected due to the shutdown.

Traders at some places also took out rallies in support of the Bandh.

Impact in Karnataka

Meanwhile, in Karnataka, the day-long strike in support of the Bharat Bandh-call given by the CAIT was largely successful as majority of trucks and goods-carrying vehicles did not ply on highways across the state. The Karnataka State Lorry Owners and Agents Association (KSLO&AA) came out in full support of the Bharat Bandh-call.

KSLO&AA President GR Shanmugappa said that around 75,000 trucks that operate in Bengaluru — both up and down — were off the roads.

Reason behind Bharat Bandh

The CAIT as well as AITWA are seeking scrapping of the new e-way bill or eliminating certain rules from it. The e-way bill system has been introduced nationwide for inter-state movement of goods with effect from April 1, 2018.

They have also appealed to the government to withdraw heavy taxes on fuel prices and make it uniform across India.

Calling the GST ‘one of the most complex taxation systems’, the protesters want a review of the GST system and simplification of the tax slabs.

(With agency inputs)

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