The West Bengal Government issued a notification on 18.02.2013 stating that all State Government offices should remain open and all government employees should report for duty on February 20 and 21 when trade unions have called for a two-day all-India general strike.
“State Government employees won’t be granted leave on these days,” said the notification, signed by the State Chief Secretary, Sanjay Mitra.
“Attempts to forcibly close government offices, markets, and educational institutions will be firmly dealt with,” the notification said. It further said, “Wide publicity may be made through miking at the local level that forcible stoppage of normal life has been held illegal by honourable High Court. Police and administration would provide necessary security and assistance in accordance with the instructions that follow. All precautionary measures should be taken to ensure that there is no violation of that and no untoward incident takes place.”
The state government, for the first time, has issued such order asking district administrations to give wide publicity to the High Court’s directive that “forcible stoppage of normal life” is illegal.
Emergency services like the Fire Brigade have been alerted to stay prepared to deal with arson, the order said.
However, the Coordination Committee, the CPI-M dominated employees’ union, has said that they would observe strike on 20 February and will stage a sit-in the next day. Banking operations in the country will be affected due to the two-day bank strike from 20 February called by the United Forum of Bank Unions. In the Darjeeling Hills, the Gorkha Jan Mukti Morcha has decided to keep life normal during the two-day strike. Owing to the strike, the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations has rescheduled ISC examinations.
“The financial health of the state is in dire straits because of the huge loan burden left by the previous government. We are already finding it hard to pay the interest on the loans and another strike will only add to the troubles,” she said while addressing a gathering at Aamtala in south 24 Parganas today.
“People who support strikes have no sympathy for people and do so to serve their own purpose. We will not tolerate any more disruptions and would ensure that life remains normal on both the days,” she said, asking its party supporters to practice restrain even on being provoked by the bandh supporters.
“It is my humble and sincere request to educational institutions, business community and serviceman not to get bothered with the calls of the bandh and come out to work without fear as the government will make necessary arrangements and deal seriously with mischief mongers,” she said.
Ref: Department of Personnel & Training, Govt. of India, dated 15.02.2013
Source: The Statesman, The Hindu