ECONOMIC LOSS DUE TO SHUTDOWNS QUANTIFIED
In a Nutshell
* Assam bandhs 68
* Part Assam bandhs 9
* District bandhs 32
* Locality bandhs 21
* Loss per day Rs 4,328 lakh
* Total loss Rs 2,943.125 crore
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Oct 10: Altogether 68 Assam bandhs called by different organizations in Assam in 2014 inflicted a collective loss of at least Rs 2,943 crore.
According to a report submitted to the Gauhati High Court by the State's Home and Political department, while different organizations had called a total of 68 state-wide bandhs during 2014, there were as many as nine part-bandhs (like central Assam bandh, upper Assam bandh, etc), 32 district bandhs and 21 local area or town bandhs too. The loss was calculated on the basis of GSDP at current prices of 2014-15, as per which the loss due to the loss due to bandh is Rs 4,328 lakh per day.
The figures, along with a sector-wise and district-wise breakup of the losses suffered due to different bandhs were placed before the High Court here on Friday. The court had asked the State government to submit details of the loss in connection with a PIL that was filed by public activist Arun Pathak in 2012.
The statistics also revealed that gaon remained the worst sufferer among the 27 districts in terms of economic loss in 2014. While gaon incurred a loss of about Rs 170.86 crore, Sonitpur came second with a loss of Rs 135 crore due to bandhs totaling 35 days.
Other districts that suffered major loss due to district bandhs include Kamrup (Rs 101 crore), Kamrup Metro - including Guwahati city (Rs 73 crore), Tinsukia (Rs 82 crore) and Barpeta (Rs 81 crore). Hailakandi district had the least number of bandhs (only three days) in 2014, with the loss working out to about Rs 4 crore.
The Gauhati High Court had in January 2010 declared bandhs illegal in Assam and Meghalaya. While a division bench of the Gauhati High Court had then also asked the Assam Government to take steps for preventing infringement of fundamental rights of the citizens on account of bandhs, no step has been taken so far. In May this year, the Meghalaya High Court had in another order also warned the media of contempt charges for carrying news of bandhs, hartals and road blockades.
The Aruchal Pradesh government on the other hand informed the High Court that the state suffered a loss of about Rs 263 crore due to bandhs during 2014-15. Submitting a year-wise statement of loss due to bandhs in that state, it said while 2012-13 had witnessed the highest loss (Rs 570 crore) due to such bandhs, the total loss between 2011-12 and 2014-15 stood at over Rs 1,050 crore.
Senior advocate Bhaskar Dev Konwar, who is representing the petitioner, said that the Supreme Court has declared bandhs illegal and unconstitutiol which result in widespread disruption of public life. The PIL was filed seeking intervention of the High Court to deal with the mece of bandhs which results in violence, death, injuries to persons and properties, fincial loss, loss of earnings etc.