Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, Dec 17:
The jamboree is abruptly – and prematurely – over. A day after the state Assembly was adjourned indefinitely, cutting short the winter session by a good 10 days, the Lower PMG square, the seasonal of protestors of all hues, wore a deserted look on Tuesday.
Gone are the over 60 tents pitched at the place. The 15-20, 000 people, who crammed the space for weeks, are now nowhere to be seen. The loudspeakers have fallen silent while policemen, who swarmed all over the place till Monday, are conspicuous by their absence.
Hundreds of protestors, who had pitched their tents at the place and were mentally conditioned to stay put there for the next week or so, had to make hasty plans for their return to base after the Assembly was suddenly adjourned sine die on Monday. Some packed off on Monday itself while others left today.
In the meantime tent and sound houses had removed many tents which they had given for rent to the protestors, besides police personnel were seen absent around Assembly as well as at dharana places.
There was a tinge of sorrow at the sudden – and unexpected – turn of events for those returning though their stay inside tents was anything but comfortable.
“The 15 days we spent in tents were very painful, especially as winter had already set in. But then that is the only way we could have drawn the attention of the government to our plight,” said Himanshu Gahir of Nuapada district, who left the city on Tuesday.
Chakradhar Jagat, one of the hundreds of Gaon Sathis agitating at the Lower PMG Square for days together, was thoroughly disappointed with the sudden end to the Assembly session. “It was sad that the Assembly session ended abruptly. Assembly sessions should always end as per the schedule,” Jagat said, holding his luggage at the Bhubaneswar railway station. Protestors from across the state were seen trudging, their bags on their shoulders, towards the railway station nearby and the bus stands.
Protestors, however, were not the only category of people who were disappointed with the sudden end to the Assembly session. Vendors of a variety of goods also rue the premature end to their thriving seasonal business.
“We lost business for eight days after the Assembly session ended,” said Rahul Das, who sold woollen stuff to the protestors.
Not all agitators have left the venue though. “We will vacate the dharna place tomorrow after getting orders from the minister as they have given us word to convene a meeting to decide on our said demands,” said Pratibha Nayak, State Coordinator of State Model Cluster School Coordinators’ Mahasangha.
Protestors agitating under the banner of All Odisha Computer and Tailoring Teachers Association (AOCTTA) continued their agitation at the Lower PMG for various on Tuesday to press their demands like regularrRemuneration, declaration of permanent service, compulsory education in very school, special importance to computer and tailoring education and immediate supply of computer machine to every school.
Dillip Kumar Nayak, president of AOCTTA said, “We have sought permission for today to hold protest to get our demands fulfilled.”