Chandigarh: Shops, markets and other commercial establishments in most cities and towns across Punjab remained shut Monday, following a call given by the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to protest recent hike in prices of diesel, kerosene and cooking gas.
The ruling alliance claimed that the shutdown was complete in all major cities and towns, including Amritsar, Jalandhar, Bathinda, Ludhiana, Patiala, Hoshiarpur and other places.
Commercial activity across the state was affected with most shops and other commercial establishments remaining closed till 1 p.m.
Road and railway traffic was not affected in any part of the state as the alliance parties had exempted these from the shutdown.
The shutdown was called by the Akali Dal-BJP combine to protest the failure of the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government at the centre in tackling spiralling prices, Akali Dal general secretary Prem Singh Chandumajra said here.
"At most of the places, the traders and owners of commercial establishments had closed the shops on their own. Everything remained peaceful," an Akali Dal leader said in Patiala, 80 km from Chandigarh.
The central government had recently announced a hike in diesel and kerosene prices by Rs.3 and Rs.2 per litre respectively. The cooking gas price was hiked by Rs.50 per 14.4 kg cylinder.
Police had made security arrangements across the state to ensure that the shutdown remains peaceful.
A high-level delegation of both parties led by Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal would meet Punjab Governor Shivraj Patil Wednesday to present a memorandum addressed to President Pratibha Patil to pressurise the UPA government to roll back the increase in fuel prices, Akali Dal spokesman Daljit Singh Cheema said here Monday.
The delegation will include top leaders of both parties, all Members of Parliament and legislators.
Elections to the 117-member Punjab assembly are due February-March next year.