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Western Odisha bandh ‘partial’


Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Sambalpur, Feb 19:

The 12-hour western Odisha bandh call given by the Central Action Committee (CAC) of All Western Odisha Bar Association (AWOBA) demanding a permanent bench of the Odisha High Court in western Odisha met with partial success today, as several lawyers’ associations in the region did not join the protest .

While the bandh had its impact in Sambalpur, Rourkela, Deogarh, Bargarh and Sonepur, it had little impact in Bolangir, Kalahandi and Nuapada districts. The lawyers in Bolangir however, are on a cease-work agitation and that explained why the courts and the tehsil offices were shut.

Secretary of the Bolangir Lawyers Association told reporters that they were not with CAC and that their sole demand was the establishment of a High Court bench in Bolangir.

But it Sambalpur the shutdown was near-complete.

The city came to a standstill today as business establishments, government offices, banks, schools and colleges, barring the ones where examinations are being held remained shut.

Vehicular traffic remained off the roads and two trains Sambalpur-Puri Intercity and Sambalpur-Rayagada Express remained detained at Khetrajpur station as agitating lawyers picketed on the tracks.

However hospitals and essential services have been spared from the purview of the bandh.

Pradip Bohidar, a member of the CAC told reporters that the state government was not sending a comprehensive report to the Centre on the permanent bench issue giving details of the location etc.

He said establishment of the High Court’s permanent bench was intrinsic to the development of western Odisha. Comparing the development of western Odisha with that of coastal Odisha, he said the fact that western Odisha lagged on many fronts clearly exposed the claims made by the state government about its commitment to the development of western Odisha.

Rourkela lawyers Association on Tuesday had lent its support to the bandh call given by the CAC.

The state government on the other hand had appealed to the Central Action Committee (CAC) on Tuesday to withdraw their ongoing agitation as it has sincerely taken up their demand for a permanent High Court bench with the Centre.