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Featured Image: State Bank of India Park Street branch in Silchar in Barak Valley under lock and key during the pan-India PSU bank strike on Friday. 

By Our Newsmen

Kolkata/ Silchar, 29 July: ALONG with other parts of the country, public sector banks today remained shut throughout West Bengal and the Bengali-dominated Barak Valley in Assam following a day-long strike convened by the United Forum of Bank Unions (UFBU).

In some parts, employees of private sector bank branches too downed shutters in solidarity with their PSU bank counterparts.

UFBU, which has under its umbrella nine trade unions of bank employees and bank officers ~AIBEA, AIBOC, NCBE, AIBOA, BEFI, INBEF, INBOC, NOBW, and NOBO ~ had convened the strike to protest the Centre’s “move to privatise public sector banks on the pretext of banking sector reforms.”

In specific terms, the strike was convened called to oppose the proposed merger of SBI associate banks with the mother organisation, decrying the appointment of private individuals as executives to nationalised banks, and demanding punitive steps against corporate loan defaulters.

In Kolkata, all PSU bank branches remained shut throughout the day. In a few branches, the striking bank employees put up posters on the main doors and shouted slogans in favour of their demands. The scene was not any different in other parts of West Bengal such as Howrah, Kalyani, Asansol, Durgapur, Burdwan, Behrampore, Malda, and Siliguri.

In Silchar, which is the hub town of Bengali-dominated Barak Valley in Assam, employees of public sector banks did not even go to their branches. Rather, cutting across all PSU banks, their branches were under lock and key throughout the day. In a handful of branches there were posters and banners put up in favour of the strike.

Notwithstanding the pan-India strike, thankfully, most ATMs of the PSU banks dispended money and thus people were saved of the consequential harassment of the shut-down.

But tomorrow being holiday at PSU banks as it is fourth Saturday of the month, and the next day being Sunday, the ATMs are likely to go dry crunching the pockets of people.