Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today resorted to a five-hour hartal across Odisha protesting the hike in diesel and petrol prices.
Though the party claimed observance of a ‘peaceful’ hartal, many BJD activists were seen staging road blockade in various towns of the state by burning tyres thereby disrupting vehicular movement.
Several BJD workers were seen forcibly stopping commuters at different junctions.
Emergency services were excluded from the ambit of the hartal, from 7 am to 12 noon. However, two ambulances were reportedly stopped by BJD workers at Palasuni here and one at CRP Chhak.
Similarly, an SUV bearing BJP flag was allegedly damaged by BJD workers at AG Square here.
Bus and other vehicles remained off the road at several places while railway services were also affected as BJD activists staged protests at several railway stations.
School children and office-goers bore the brunt of the strike as protesters blocked roads in Bhubaneswar and other parts of the state.
On the other hand, the state government has issued an advisory to close all schools and colleges in view of the hartal. Schools scheduled to hold examinations today have been asked to conduct the same on a different date.
The BJD has taken to streets today against the fuel price hike imposed on consumers by the Petroleum Ministry at a time when the price of crude oil has decreased in the international market,” said BJD spokesperson Sanjay Dasburma.
“The consumers are suffering while private oil companies in the country are earning crores,” he added.
While the international crude price has fallen, the NDA government has failed to take steps to reduce the price of petrol and diesel, BJD spokesperson Prasanna Kumar Acharya said.
Countering BJD allegations, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Prithviraj Harichandan said the state government should write to the central government to bring petroleum products in the ambit of Goods and Services Tax (GST) so that the fuel prices come down.