Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Rourkela/Bhubaneswar, Jan 21:
‘Adivasi Mulabasi Bachao Manch’, an organization of original tribal inhabitants in Odisha’s Sundargarh district which is opposing the move to give corporation status to the Rourkela municipality, today decided to call off its indefinite economic blockade following talks with the district collector.
During the agitation that began yesterday morning, train services were completely paralyzed on the Howrah-Mumbai for nearly 30 hours as agitators picketed on railway tracks at two points near Bondamunda Kukuda Gate and TCI Square. While at least five long distance trains were stranded on the tracks, 14 express trains. including Tapaswini and Rajyarani Express, were cancelled while several others were diverted or short terminated causing immense inconvenience to commuters.
Manch office bearers announced calling off of the economic blockade after talks with Sundargarh collector Bhupinder Singh Punia at the ARM office of the railways at Bondamunda here today. It was decided at the meeting that the district administration would discuss with the tribal leaders their grievances and a delegation will meet the Urban and Housing Development minister.
“The meeting was held in a very cordial atmosphere. This could have taken place earlier, but did not. Anyway, finally it has happened. District administration will take initiative and will discuss our demands with the Urban department and a delegation of ours will meet the minister. We will place our views and if still it’s not sorted out, we will think about our future course of action. We again thank the district administration for the fruitful meeting,”, George Tirkey, MLA Biramitrapur told reporters after the meeting.
“We requested them that whatever grievances/demands they have are beyond the level of the district administration. We will apprise the Urban Development department of their grievances and fix a meeting with the Minister following which they have agreed to withdraw their agitation. A delegation of their leaders will meet the minister and place their demands soon,” said Bhupinder Singh Punia, Sindargarh Collector speaking to newsmen after the meeting.
Local MLA and senior BJP leader Dillip Ray has opined against forcible inclusion of areas within the proposed corporation limits.
“This is a tribal dominated area. Opinion of our adibasi brothers and sisters should be taken before taking any such decision. Interaction between them and the administration is needed. Nothing should be done forcibly. They should be informed about the benefits of a corporation. No such efforts have been made so far.The consent of the local inhabitants has to be taken on the araes to be included in the cororation. No arbitrary decision should be taken,” said Ray.
OST Bhubaneswar correspondent adds:
Meanwhile, Housing and Urban Development Minister Puspendra Singhdeo today said the state government is always open to discuss and find a way out.
“It has already received the Governor’s assent. Let them come with their demands. We at the government are always ready for discussions. Let them come and we will try to sort it out,” said Singhdeo.