Mixed response to bandh in Pune; traders rue closure for one day

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The Maharashtra bandh called by the three ruling parties in the state – Congress, Shiv Sena and NCP – to protest the Lakhimpur Kheri violence, evoked a mixed response in Pune on Monday.

Wholesale vegetable and fruit markets and commercial establishments in central parts of the city remained shut till the afternoon.

Commuters, however, had to face some hardship as the public transport service, PMPML, decided not to run most buses during the morning hours to prevent any untoward incident.

While all essential services operated smoothly, some shops on Laxmi road, Tulsibaug and Jungli Maharaj road chose not to operate in the morning hours.

The three parties, which are part of ruling Maha Vikas Aghadi (MVA) government took out mini rallies and demonstrations at various places, even as no untoward incident was reported in the city, much to the relief of police.

At Gultekdi’s Market Yard (wholesale vegetable market), the traders’ association along with labourers and transporters decided to participate in the bandh.

Police were on bandobast since the morning at the main gate of Market Yard

“Maharashtra bandh appeal and its impact has been good as all of Market Yard and all its stakeholders have supported the bandh,” said Santosh Nangare, secretary, Market Yard Kamgar Sanghatana.

Citizens purchased vegetables, fruits and flowers for the ongoing Navratri festival from hawkers on the Market Yard road, who were allowed to operate without any hindrance.

“I come every day to Market Yard to purchase vegetables and flowers for Navratri pooja, but as the market was closed we had to purchase it from outside, and that too with a higher price,” said Meghna Bhandari, a resident of the area.

A few of the shops on Bajirao road and Laxmi road were open, but the Tulshibaug market remained completed closed.

Speaking anonymously, one of the shop owners who was open said, “I pay rent of 1.5 lakh per month. Currently our festival season is going on and keeping the shop closed for one day is not affordable. We have already suffered huge loses due to lockdown. Calling for a bandh is easy for political parties, but its impact on common people and traders like is big,”

Nitesh Chopada, secretary, Laxmi Road Ganpati Chowk Traders association said, “The shop owners and traders kept their shops closed, mostly because they didn’t want any violence or to have losses. Certainly the financial impact of one day during the main Navratri season is heavy and this is the time when we are able to cover up our losses of the last one year.”