Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhawanipatna, Apr 6:
A dawn to dusk bandh called by Odisha unit of Congress over shifting of Narla wagon factory today paralysed life in Odisha’s Kalahandi.
Agitators were seen picketing across various places of the district in general and Bhawanipatna, Narla towns in particular to make the bandh successful. Hundreds of Congress workers including AICC Spokesperson Bhakta Das were arrested while marching towards the collector’s office.
While vehicular traffic came to a standstill, most shops and government offices remained closed. Passengers were seen stranded in bus stops.
Even though there have been no reports of violence so far, security measures have been beefed up to avoid any untoward incident.
“The project was brought here when Bhakta Das was the Railway Minister. It was supposed to create jobs here and boost the local economy. However, the Central Government took the project away to Visakhapatnam. This is a conspiracy against us. The State Government is equally responsible for this. We demand the project to be brought back to Narla,” said Vice President of Kalahandi District Congress Committee Prashant Nayak.
BJP Spokesperson, however, said that the negligence of the State Government is responsible for the relocation of the factory.
“I fail to see what the State Government had been doing all this while. The project was announced in 2013 and this is 2016. They didn’t follow up properly and failed to facilitate the necessary infrastructure. That is why the project was relocated,” said BJP Spokesperson Sajjan Sharma.
Interestingly, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik yesterday wrote to Union Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu seeking clarification over the status of the factory.
It may be noted that earlier on March 23 the Congress workers had staged a Rail Roko in Narla protesting against the Central Government’s decision to shift the rail wagon repair factory from Narla to Visakhapatnam.