Bharat bandh cost Rs 10K cr: India Inc

The industry says the national protest by Opposition is "odd & absurd", apart from being costly.

Updated: Jul 05, 2010, 18:34 PM IST

New Delhi: Stating that the national strike
called by the Opposition against fuel price hike has cost the
economy around Rs 10,000 crore, the industry today said the
protest is "odd and absurd".

"It (bandh) is not justified at all. Political parties
interfering and disturbing day-to-day work is not at all
appropriate. The protest is quite odd and absurd. They will
only lose their political ground," Godrej Group chairman Adi
Godrej told PTI.

According to Assocham, the strike eroded the national GDP
"by a production loss of nearly a full day which in monetary
terms can be roughly estimated at Rs 10,000 crore." The
calculation is based on assumption that the GDP would stay
around Rs 50 lakh crore with a growth rate of over 8 per cent
in current fiscal, Assocham added.

The CII on the other hand estimated the total loss to the
economy on account of the national strike "would be greater
than Rs 3,000 crore."

The entire Opposition has called a national strike today
against the recent Rs 2 per litre hike in diesel prices and
decontrolling of petrol prices that led to an increase in
price by Rs 3.5 a litre.

While stating that the increase in prices of petroleum
products will naturally put some additional burden on the
common man, Bajaj Auto chairman and Rajya Sabha member Rahul
Bajaj said, "I believe the government had no choice but to
take this step, which was long overdue. Otherwise, oil
companies would have been in serious difficulty." He, however,
said bandhs are against national interest and also cause
serious inconvenience to the common man.

"I can understand some protests by the Opposition parties
to this step. However, I am against bandhs," he added.
Supporting the government decision, CII director general
Chandrajit Banerjee said the chamber "has been a strong
advocate of market-linked pricing and taxation of petroleum
products and hopes to see the reforms in this direction
completed in the course of the year."

While the leading chamber FICCI did not comment on the
national strike, PHDCCI said transportation was severely
hit in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan.

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh High Court`s bench of
Justice Arun Mishra and Justice S C Sinho has issued notices
to Bhartiya Janata Party and other parties on a PIL filed by a
social worker Satish Verma over the call for today`s bandh
given by them.

Normal life was disrupted in
several parts of the country during the `Bharat Bandh` called
by a combined Opposition today in protest against fuel price
hike with the greatest impact felt in NDA and Left-ruled
states and Maharashtra.

-PTI