Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 3:
Concerned over the increasing number of rail rokos and road blockades in the state, the Odisha government has issued a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) to concerned officials to prevent such incidents to minimize loss to life and property.
The state witnesses at least 2000 instances of rail roko and road blockades put up by agitators causing inconvenience to citizens and loss to public property in case of violence.
As per the SOP, the standing committee under the chairmanship of district Collectors would meet to take a call on this issue.
The Collectors would work out a strategy as and when the situation arises. Initially, they would attempt convincing the agitators to stay away from blockade citing how it affects the rights of fellow citizens and the loss to public property. However, in case it doesn’t lead to a solution, they can take the help of local police to use force to remove the blockade.
Besides, the SOP mandates that forces and intelligence units need to be deployed on the spot in consultation with the Superintendent of Police. Further, senior police officials need to be present on the spot to keep a vigil on agitators and avoid any untoward incident.
In addition to this, it asks the state police headquarters to remove such blockades on a priority and has asked it to facilitate adequate forces to the ground units whenever the situation demands. As per the SOP, the police headquarters would need to make a senior officer available on such occasions to maintain proper coordination with district police administration.
Moreover, it lays guidelines to videogarph the agitations and those involved in it.
Notably, the Supreme Court of India on Nov 22, 2011 had warned that it would pass orders for creating special courts to try agitators blocking rail and road traffic as they paralyze normal public activities causing inconvenience to people.