Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Rourkela, Jan 20:
Shops remained closed in some places while schools and colleges remained open and movement of vehicular traffic was normal in Odisha’s Steel City despite a call for an economic blockade beginning today by the ‘Adivasi Mulabasi Bachao Manch’, an organization of original tribal inhabitants of the area which is opposing the move to give corporation status to the city municipality.
The Manch, which has been opposing the government’s move ever since the announcement was made, has threatened to continue its agitation till the government withdraws its notification.
The district administration has tightened security in the entire district in view of the possibility of a law and order situation. While prohibitory orders under section 144 CrPc has been clamped in certain sensitive areas, 30 platoons of policemen and three battalions of reserve police force have been deployed in Sundergarh district to maintain law and order. The administration yesterday took several persons under preventive detention as a precautionary measure.
Shops remained closed in Vedvyas, Bisra and Bondamunda areas while schools and colleges remained open and vehicular movement was normal.
“Some original adivasi inhabitants have called for a blockade opposing declaration of Rourkela municipality as a corporation. We have clamped section 144 here in Vedvyas Chhak. We have five officers and a magistrate monitoring the situation here and will not allow them to succeed with their blockade,” said Tusharkanti Jena, DSP Rourkela.
The Manch has exempted all government and private offices, passenger vehicles and school and colleges from the purview of the blockade. However, Manch members will block movement of transport vehicles and trains, its office bearers said.
Birmitrapur MLA George Tirkey, who is spearheading the Manch, had said on January 15 that declaring Rourkela Municipality as corporation was totally unconstitutional. He had said the government had not paid any heed to their opposition since the day it was notified. He had then said if the government didn’t withdraw its notification by January 19, the Manch would go for indefinite economic blockade from January 20. The Manch had decided to stop movement of trains and commercial transport vehicles.
On November 25 last year, the Manch had blocked the road at Vedvyas Chhak for a prolonged period protesting against the declaration of Rourkela municipality as a corporation.