The countrywide half-day shutdown enforced by Left Democratic Alliance (LDA) protesting the recent gas price hike passed peacefully on Sunday (Jul 7). The alliance also announced a fresh programme that it would lay siege to the power, energy, and mineral resources ministry on Jul 14, if the government did not withdraw its decision on increasing the gas price immediately, local media reported.
During the general strike (hartal), supporters of LDA, a coalition of eight left-leaning political parties, took position at the capital’s key points in the morning and blocked Shahbagh and Purana Paltan intersections for about five hours, causing gridlocks on surrounding streets.
Chanting slogans against the gas price hike, the pickets brought out processions and paraded through Purana Paltan, Nightingale intersection, Zero Point and Jatiyo Press Club areas.
The protesters said the government illogically increased the gas price and the hike would raise people’s daily expenditures.
According to the new gas price effective from this month, households using a single burner will pay Tk 925 instead of Tk 750 a month. Double-burner users will pay Tk 975 instead of Tk 800. The average gas tariff for all users, including households, industries and businesses, rose by 32.8 percent.
Several opposition political parties, including Bangladesh Nationalist Party - BNP, Gonoforum, and Jatiyo Samajtantrik Dal (JSD Rob), extended their support to LDA’s strike.
Meanwhile, Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said hartal lost its appeal as people hardly responded to such programmes.
“Hike in the gas price is realistic …,” said Quader, also Bangladesh Awami League general secretary, while addressing a press briefing in the capital Sunday.