Bihar Bandh Demands Rollback of Power Tariff Hike, Revision Of Socio-Economic Census, Cancellation of Liquor Licences

The Bihar Bandh organized by the CPI(ML) on 23 February to demand rollback of hike in power tariff, revision of socio-economic census, and cancellation of liquor licences was a huge success. The major National Highways passing through the State including the GT roads at Barachatti in Gaya and Kamabigaha in Aurangabad were blocked from early morning, markets remained closed, and rail traffic at several places was obstructed.

At 11 AM in the capital Patna, thousands of bandh supporters led by senior Party leaders took out a procession from the Gandhi statue at Gandhi Maidan. Passing through Fraser Road, Dak Bangla crossing and station circle, the march returned to Dak Bangla crossing where a meeting was held. Bandh supporters from various parts of the city poured into the streets of Patna sporting red headbands.

In Patna the bandh was led by Party State Secretary Kunal, Politburo member Dhirendra Jha, Samkaleen Lok Yudh Editor Braj Bihari Pandey, and other leaders. Addressing the meeting at dak Bangla chowraha, these leaders along with 1000 bandh supporters were arrested and detained at the local kotwali thana. Around 5000 activists were arrested across Bihar.

Bandh participants expressed anger against the fake power bills and steep power tariff proposed by the Nitish Government. They pointed out that first the government sent false bills to the consumers and then slapped false cases on about 4000 consumers.

The speakers said that the issue of government licences to run liquor shops in villages and the decision to encourage continuous increase in liquor consumption is destroying rural life and has a very adverse effect on socio-economic development.

CPI-ML leaders said that apart from the above issues there are complaints of grave irregularities in the ongoing socio-economic census in Bihar. There is a big conspiracy afoot to distort the census and thus deprive large numbers of poor from their due benefits. In Patna and other places urban poor, handcart and footpath vendors are being evicted in the name of removing encroachments.

At Darbhanga bandh supporters stopped the Sampark Kranti Express in the morning itself and prevented its running for an hour. At Jehanabad and Ara trains were stopped and traffic on these rail section was completely paralysed. Trains were also stopped at Jhanjharpur, Islampur, Hilsa and Muzaffarpur causing obstruction for hours.

In Ara district bandh supporters closed main roads at Hasan Bazar, Bihata, Piro, Sandesh, sahar, Bihiya, Shahpur, Gadhani, Koilvar, Charpokhli and other places. Traffic on the NH-30 at Ara was obstructed and in Ara town CPI-ML LS candidate RYA President Raju Yadav led thousands of bandh supporters on to the streets. Roads were blocked at Vikramganj, Karup, Godari, Nasriganj, Dehri, Tilauthu, Dinara and Sasaram in Rohtas district. In Kaimur the bandh had pervasive effect at Bhabhua, Durgawati, Kunjra, Chainpur and Mohaniya. 240 bandh supporters were arrested while making the bandh successful at Ekta Chowk in Bhabhua. At Dumraon in Buxar road blocks were done at Dumraon-Vikramganj road, NH-30 in Sonbarsa, NH-28 in Brahmpur and Dinara-Buxar road in Dhansoi.

At Siwan about one thousand bandh supporters took to the streets in town. Apart from this main roads were blocked in Mairwa, Guthni chowraha, Aandar, Raghunathpur, Hasanpura, Tarwara, Badahiya and other places. At Betiya the bandh had widespread effect in Betiya, Narkatiyaganj, Belwa, Manjhariya, and Mainatand. Roads were blocked at 5 places in Gopalganj, traffic was obstructed on NH-28 and about 100 people were arrested. Road jams were done at Mirganj, Bhore, Dighwa, Dighauli and other places in Vijaypur block. Motihari bazaar was totally closed. A meeting was also held at Meenabazar chowk. Major commercial establishments of the town remained closed. At Chhapra the Nagarpalika chowk was blocked by hundreds of people for 1 hour. At Vaishali a 200-strong procession marched from the Party office to station golambar and blocked station chowk.

In Patna district, Dhanrua, Masaudhi, Bihata, Naubatpur, Paliganj bazaars remained fully closed. At Arwal NH-98 (Patna-Aurangabad road) and NH-110 (Arwal-Jehanabad road) were blocked after which a meeting was held on the road itself, attended by 1000 people. Main roads were blocked in Kurtha, Kaler, Karpi and other places. At Arwal Party State standing committee member Com. Mahanand led the bandh programmes. At both Jehanabad and Dhanrua traffic on NH-83 was blocked. At Jehanabad the markets in Shaho Bigaha, Ghosi, Jehanabad, Hulasganj were fully closed. About 350 bandh supporters were arrested at the Arwal mod in Jehanabad.

At Gaya traffic was paralysed on the Gaya-Islampur road at Khijarsarai, NH-83 at Belaganj, Gaya-Chatrara road at Dobhi, and other places. Party activists were on the streets from early morning at Imamganj, Gudaru, Manpur and District HQ’s. 150 people were arrested at Belapur. At Nalanda bandh supporters poured into the streets in Silao, Biharsharif, Hilsa and Islampur. There are reports of the arrest of about 500 bandh supporters in Silao. At Aurangabad road blocks were done on NH-98 in Obra and Gaya-Daoodnagar road in Pachrukhiya.

At Madhuban, Madhuban-patna and Madhuban-Phulparas roads were blocked. At Darbhanga traffic was paralysed on NH-57, Darbhanga-Jainagar, Darbhanga-Samastipur, Lehariyasarai-Bahedi, Darbhanga-Supaul and other roads. At Muzaffarpur NH-57, Gayaghat and Bochaha and Muzaffarpur-Shivhar road at Meenapur were blocked. From early morning CPI-ML activists were on the streets in town. At Purnea, Purnea-Bhagalpur road and Rupauli and Birauli markets were fully closed. At Beguserai NH-31 and Ballia and Gadhpura roads were blocked. At Bhagalpur marches were taken out in support of the bandh at Bhagalpur, Jagdishpur, kahalgaon and Navgachhiya. 70 bandh supporters were arrested while blocking the NH at Bhagalpur where the bandh was led by CPI-ML CC member Com. Saroj Choube. The effect of the bandh at Sitamarhi was also pervasive.