28 November, Kolkata
A 12-hour general strike, called by the Left parties to protest demonetisation, did not affect industrial and manufacturing activities across sectors in West Bengal, industry players said on Monday.
From plantation industries like jute and tea to collieries to small manufacturing sector to logistics, attendance of workers remained “normal” and production was not “halted”, they said.
Opposing the strike, manufacturers of small and medium enterprises said it would practically delay the gradual stabilisation process which was started after two weeks of demonetisation.
“We have not taken the strike on a good spirit. The small industries, particular who are directly linked to the consumer products, have been suffering from lowering sales, resulting from demonetisation move. But we hope the move would usher a positive gain in the long run. But the strike is of no help,” Federation of Small & Medium Industries’ President Biswanath Bhattacharya told IANS.
“Manufacturing activities remain normal and workers’ attendance in the factories is nearly 100 percent. We have not faced any difficulties for transportation of inputs and finished products,” he said.
Tea gardens in North Bengal remained open without any unwanted incidents.
“There was no impact of strike in tea gardens. Daily production in tea factories was also normal. Attendance of workers was as usual,” Indian Tea Association’s Secretary General Arijit Raha told IANS.
Likewise, daily operations in 90 odd jute mills in state were also normal.
“Strike has not affected the production. Demonetisation has its impact in raw jute supply but payments of workers have already been roped in the banking system. So demonetisation impact is settling gradually and there is no point for going for a strike,” Sanjay Kajaria, former Chairman, Indian Jute Mills Association, told IANS.
Loading and unloading at the Kolkata Port trust was also not hit by the 12-hour strike. “There were 14 vessels at work on Monday in Kolkata Port and Haldia dock. Departure and arrival of vessels was according to the schedule. No demonstration and unwanted incidents were reported,” said a trust official.
Collieries functioned normally too. “Coal production of Eastern Coalfields was not impacted as majority of production is done by contract workers. Strike has no impact on the attendance of contract workers. However, some of workers in Coal India were absent, which has a minor impact in daily activities,” said S.Q. Zama, secretary-general of National Mine Workers’ Federation.
Swarna Shipo Bachao Committee’s working President Bablu Dey said: “The gems and jewellery sector has not hit by the strike. There is no impact in terms of attendance of workers and staff of the jewellery showrooms. Manufacturing of jewellery ornaments has been normal as we have to meet the delivery obligation in current marriage season. But customers flow in showrooms is negligible, which could impact daily sales.”