Shimla: A complete bandh was observed in Himachal on Monday as shops and educational institutes remained closed. Rail and road traffic was affected as BJP and CPI-M workers protested against the recent fuel price hike.
Road traffic was severely hit in Shimla, Bilaspur, Hamirpur, Una, Dharamsala, Kangra and Solan with protesters sitting on the roads and disrupted the traffic. Private and state buses remained off roads.
In Shimla, schools and educational institutions were closed. All shops, tea stalls and dhabas observed a complete bandh in the state capital. Supply of milk was also affected in the morning as milk vans too chose to remain off roads in most of the places.
A train on way to Kalka from Shimla was stopped at 9 am in the Summer Hill area in Shimla for more than one-and-half hours by the activists of the CPI-M.
Cadres of the ruling BJP along with opposition parties enforced the shutdown in most districts of the state, forcing shops in most towns to down shutters.
As per reports received, CPI-M protesters staged demonstrations in Bhawanagar in Kinnaur , Rampur, Theog, Rohru, Manali, Sainj, Banjar, Patlikuhl and Kullu in Kullu district, Ner Chowk, Sundernagar, Jogender Nagar, Sarkaghat, Jhanjheli, Karsog and Balichowki in Mandi district, Una, Bilaspur, Chamba and Bharmour in Chamba district, Dharamshala, Darlaghat and Solan in Solan district, Nahan, Renuka in Sirmour distirct and in Hamirpur
In wake of the bandh, the Himachal Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal walked to his office from his residence expressing solidarity with the bandh supporters.
"We have made elaborate security arrangements. There was no report of violence anywhere in the state," Inspector General (Law and Order) SR Mardi was quoted in the media.
However government offices and banks remained open but there was a very thin attendance due to lack of buses on roads.
Tikender Panwar, a state CPI-M leader, said: "Everyday a large number of people in the state commute by bus, the main mode of transport, and a hike of petrol and diesel would make the going tough for them. The central government must rollback the hike."
He further said, ”There was a complete strike in the hydel projects in Kullu, Rampur and Kinnaur region. Hotels and restaurants were completely closed in Shimla town.“
The central government ended government curbs on petroleum pricing and hiked the prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas. The price of diesel went up by Rs 2 a litre, kerosene by Rs 3 a litre, petrol by Rs 3.50 a litre, and cooking gas by Rs 35 per cylinder.