Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Sundargarh, Nov 7:
A 24 hour bandh enforced by Truck Owners’ Association of Sundargarh demanding a ban on coal transport by multi-axle trucks today brought the town to a standstill.
Section-144 has been imposed on eight places of the town including three key junctions such as Rani bagicha bypass, Toll gate bypass and College bypass. Besides, section-144 remains in force in places like Ujjwalpur, Banki bahal, Coal mine area, Gopalpur and Bileimunda. 11 platoons of forces have been deployed to maintain law and order during the period.
“We are taking necessary steps to keep a tight vigil on any developments and avoid any untoward incident. Section-144 has been imposed at eight places and 11 platoons of cops have been deployed across the town including various government and private institutions. We will take immediate action as provided by the law as and when required,” said SDPO of Sundargarh Prashant Kumar Mohanty.
The cops had arrested President of Truck Owners’ Association Gyanaranjan Hota last night as a precautionary measure.
Even though largely peaceful, the effect of the bandh was visible on business establishments, public transportation, educational institutions and government offices of the town. Passengers were seen stranded at bus stops as most vehicles stayed off the road.
Notably, the three associations including the Truck Owners’ Association of Sundargarh had been demonstrating in front of the collector’s office protesting against coal transport by multi-axle trucks to Jharsuguda based Bhusan Steel and Power.
The Truck Owners’ Association of Sundargarh claimed that they had to go for the bandh to up the pressure on the administration, as it had been neglecting their demand.
“Coal transportation continues on 18 and 22 wheelers trucks. We had been demanding for a ban, but the administration didn’t care. We had been staging a peaceful demonstration since past 40 days, but that went unnoticed too. After nothing worked, we had to go for the 24 hour bandh. The bandh has been successful as the people have closed down their shops and have stopped working to support our cause on their own,” said Sachindra Bishwakarma, member of the Truck Owner’s Association.