Society Magazine

Ban Bandhs in Bengal

By Saurav2006complex @saurav_complex
Ban Bandhs in BengalIt’s been almost 64 years since India got it’s independence from the British and the western part of Bengal province took its shape as West Bengal state of Indian Union. Since then it wasn’t a smooth way for West Bengal, as it had lost all the jute growing areas to East Bengal and was left with only the jute mills which had no raw materials! Still then Bengal picked up pace and West Bengal was India’s pre-eminent industrial state, with highest per capital real GDP among other states in the 1950’s.
Then shutting down of factories/jute mills etc led to frequent strikes (Bandhs) in Bengal (Bn: বাংলা বন্‌ধ)  . Bandhs were called by all the political parties to show their power. As a result it was the general public who were suffering due to these Bandhs and the State’s image was severely hampered internationally as well as nationally. It had somewhat become a synonym i.e. B for Bengal and B for Bandhs!

Ban Bandhs in Bengal

Road blockage during a Bandh [courtesy: Bengalnewz]- 

The Bandhs disrupt normal public life by forcefully shutting down all business establishments like shops, malls, multiplexes, Offices causing huge losses to the business. Due to forcefully disrupting transport services (busses, trams, rickshaws, taxis etc they not only led to a tangible loss of hundreds of crores of rupees a day, but an equally massive intangible loss by way of a damage to the state’s image and negative signals to potential investors..!
Bengal is the state with maximum bandhs in India, where the average number of bandhs per year is 40-50 (ranging from a couple of hours to a maximum of 2 days per bandh). This is one of the main reasons why people from other states and other countries have a negative image about state of affairs in Bengal.
The political parties in Bengal need to realize:
  • What message they are sending to the International and the Indian business community by intimidating and forcing people to stop their work...!
  • Bandhs are not solution to any problem it only cripples the state and leads to deterioration of the prevailing conditions.
  • Instead, the state should make more efforts to attract investors as Bengal suffers from poor infrastructure thus they need investment in infrastructure - multilane highways, overpasses, bridges and additional ports. They can achieve this if and only if they SCRAP the “BANGLA BANDH” CULTURE!
  • The government should stress on the Tourism industry too! Bengal has a large number places with historic importance and is also a treat for nature lovers.
Some of the Eminent Personalities of India INC criticizing Bangla Bandhs:(Source- Economic Times )·   Birla group of companies chairman B K Birla warned: “It’s very unfortunate to have strikes and lockouts. It doesn’t help anyone in the long run. On the contrary, it will have an impact on the state’s economy.”
·   RPG vice chairman Sanjiv Goenka virtually seconded the Birla patriarch’s emotions. “Anything that disrupts normal life and activity should not be encoraged. I personally don’t subscribe to the bandh as a means of protest,” he said.
·   Leading academics in the city seemed equally dis-enchanted by the latest turn of events and minced no words. For instance, Prof Anindya Sen, Dean, programme initiatives at IIM (C) said: “I’m utterly shocked and dismayed. Whatever the reason, we simply cannot afford to go on having bandhs every other day. It’s disastrous for the whole economy. At one level, it’s like the whole situation has been reduced to a game of one-upmanship. So, if somebody calls a 24-hour bandh one day, another goes a step further and calls a 48-hour bandh. What’s next? An indefinite bandh? Elaborating, the IIMC Dean said: “People are getting fed up now, which is why many are braving these bandhs and going to work. Besides, the ruling party has now called for a dialogue, and even third-party intervention. There’s no point in such frequent attempts to shut down the city. The atmosphere is just not conducive for work. People can’t go on functioning like this.”
·   S.K. Khullar, president, HRAEI (Hotel & Restaurant Association of Eastern India) said: “There have already so many bandhs in a row: one total and two partial recently, and things really can’t go on this way. For one, the hotel and restaurant industry suffers great losses, anything between Rs 30-40 crore for a total bandh. And even for the partial ones, sales are only half of a regular day’s. What’s more, it’s not just restaurants which suffer, but also the little street side stalls, which are deprived of a day’s earnings.”

Ban Bandhs in Bengal

Telegraph's Truth Test about The Bandhs on the People at Power !

It’s also the responsibility of common public living in Bengal to demonstrate against these “Bangla Bandhs” and irrespective of the political party calling the Bandh!
The youth should also understand the ill effects of these Bandhs on their future and criticize Bandhs instead of playing Street Soccer / Cricket!
We want development, and we want a progressive change in Bengal – we want a progressive & Bandh free Bengal!
আমরা বন্ধ মুক্ত বাংলা চাই , আমরা প্রগতি চাই !

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