Gearing up for Vidarbha bandh
NAGPUR: Through an all-out shutdown on January 20, Vidarbha may be looking to part roads with Maharashtra, but the ‘bandh’ will also mean roads empty of almost all autorickshaws . These three-wheelers are considered lifeline of the city’s public transport system because buses still do not reach everywhere.
They will join the strike but the autorickshaw union leaders are yet to decide about what to do with emergency cases. Vilas Bhalerao, an auto union leader, told TOI, “We have instructed all our members not to take out their vehicles during strike. We will be meeting on Tuesday to decide what is to be done with emergency cases like people in need of urgent medical attention.” Naresh Dagade, an autorickshaw driver, concurred with the decision.
“It’s no use taking the auto out on that day. Besides, the cause of a separate Vidarbha is close to my heart, therefore, I will do my part to show my support,” he said. The real reason why he has decided to remain home that day became clear when he added that his auto is brand new and it would be a pity if it was damaged by some miscreant.
Chandu Badiye, another autorickshaw driver and a resident of Anant Nagar, said that although he did not see any benefit from a separate Vidarbha state, he would keep his three-wheeler off the road on Wednesday. Like Dagade, he too fears damage to his vehicle. Bandu Hemke, another driver, had a different point of view. “I have told my regular customers that I won’t be taking any of the children to school that day. Some parents tried to talk me into taking their children as usual, but I told them the little ones might get hurt if miscreants tried to stop the vehicle,” he said. “I still plan to go around my regular business on Wednesday, in case any passenger wants to be ferried. If a mob attacks, the passenger will understand,” he added.
Cops' notices to Vidarbha leaders before bandh
NAGPUR: City police seem to be gearing up for Vidarbha bandh on Wednesday. Cops are learnt to have issued notices to senior Vidarbha activists saying that they would be held responsible for disruption of the law and order situation and damage to public and private property during the all-party bandh demanding statehood. The notices were served through respective police stations.
In a meeting of senior officials, the blueprint of the security arrangement is likely to be discussed on Tuesday. Force deployment would be finalized under the supervision of city police chief Praveen Dixit and joint commissioner D Kanakratnam. Police, anticipating support from the citizens and traders communities, is trying to concentrate on government offices where percentage of employees reporting for duty is likely to be higher. Cops on the road shall be alert to protect the government vehicles including state transport and city buses from damage.
Apart from the possible clash between supporters of Shiv Sena and pro-Vidarbha parties, the cops are learnt to be also wary of the cadres of the parties representing the backward section. Several top leaders shall be kept under watch and closely shadowed during the period.
With additional five companies of state reserve police force already here, city police are also set to take the support of the 600 homeguards including 100 women. The two quick response teams of city police shall be ready. City police have also upped their intelligence gathering network across the city and outskirts. Apart from different sensitive locations, highways shall be kept under vigil to ensure that activists do not block the corridors and paralyze interstate and inter-district traffic.
In the city, assistant commissioners and deputy commissioners of police will supervise the arrangements. Railways security forces have been also been put on alert against any attempts to disrupt train services.
Most pvt businesseswould remain shut
NAGPUR: Most private business establishments, especially retail and wholesale shops, are expected to remain shut on Vidarbha bandh, just a coup
of days away. Nag Vidarbha Chamber of Commerce (NVCC), the largest business association of the region, has extended support to the bandh. NVCC covers over one lakh trading establishments in the region. The bandh is expected to receive maximum response in the business areas of east Nagpur, such as Itwari, Gandhibagh, Maskasath and so on. Nagpur Chamber of Commerce Limited (NCCL) has already supported the bandh.
Most wholesalers such as those dealing in foodgrains, edible oil, and grocery items have extended the support to the bandh. There have been also cases where businessmen shut down the establishments only to avoid trouble as it is an all party bandh. A number of showrooms in west Nagpur and other plush localities may also remain shut on the bandh day.
A quick survey by TOI revealed that not just showroom and malls but even local corporate organisations were supporting the bandh. Padmesh Gupta of the Gupta Group, having stake in coal business, said he was in full support of the statehood and may decide on giving his employees a day's leave on the day. A senior executive of Big Bazaar store in the city said he would prefer to wait and watch before taking a decision. "If it looks unsafe to continue, we may shut down," he said. Girish Mulani, a prominent retailer having garment stores in the city, said that the estabshments run by his group would remain closed.
Amitabh Khanna of Vidarbha Software Exporters Association (VASE), says this association of IT firms, will support the bandh if the other industries' associations back it too. Favouring statehood he said, after Mumbai was congested the spill over investment from the IT sector remained focused in Pune only, while Nagpur remained neglected.
B L Shaw of NECO group, one of the oldest industrial organizations of the city, too expressed his support to the movement. As far as industries are concerned, they would remain closed anyway as January 20 falls on a Wednesday which is off day for industrial units. "Even as the units will be closed as a matter of routine, industrialists are wholeheartedly supporting the statehood cause," said the president of MIDC Industries Association Chander Khosla.
Support also came from chartered accountants and stockbroking firms and mutual fund agents. Kailash Jogani, a chartered accountant, said not only his office but a broking terminal run in the same premises may not function for the day. There were similar views by a chartered accountant having an office in Gandhibagh. Jogani, a former president of NCCL, said he would urge other chartered accountants and brokers to keep their offices closed on January 20.
An official in a private insurance company said though no decision was taken so far, a decision may be taken on Tuesday. A trade leader added that the bandh would be restricted only to shops and other similar establishments and corporate organisations having a nationwide presence may function normally.