Bhubaneswar, Aug 26
Normal life was paralysed in Sambalpur as rail and road communications, shops and offices remained close on Monday in response to the 12-hour bandh call given by the Koshal State Co-ordination Committee (KSCC) demanding a separate Koshal state comprising 10 districts of the western region.
Meanwhile, an all-party meeting convened at the behest of the Sambalpur Bar Association today decided to boycott polls till the demand for a permanent bench of the High Court was conceded.
The one-day shutdown evoked good response in the districts of Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Nuapada, Bargarh, Boudh, Jharsuguda and Bolangir. Shops, business establishments and educational institutions remained closed while people from all walks of life took out rallies and staged demonstrations at many places. They also picketed before central and state government offices, banks and other financial institutions.
The agitators obstructed trains and highways, as a result of which passenger trains remained stranded at several places. Both government and private buses remained off the roads. Fuel stations, cinema halls, malls and other commercial centres remained closed in the district. Koshal Kranti Dal (KKD), Koshal Raijya Kriyanushtan committee, Koshal Sena and Koshal Parishad had jointly given a call for bandh in the region over the demand of formation of a separate state.
Nirmal Das, spokesperson for KKD said: “Now the Union Government and Government of Odisha should take immediate steps for creation of a separate Koshal state. Otherwise, we will intensify our stir”. The agitators had staged a rail roko on June 1 and a road blockade on June 9 in Western Odisha to press this demand.
Mishandling of the long pending demand for establishment of a bench of High Court in Western Odisha by the Odisha government is fuelling the separate statehood issue, said former Congress MP Sriballabh Panigraghi. (PTI)