Bhubaneswar, Jan 08: The 24-hour Bharat Bandh called by 10 Central Trade Unions (CTUs) protesting hike in price of essential commodities, unemployment and “anti-people” policies of the NDA government hit the normal life in odisha.
Train services and bus services were worst affected in the state as the bandh supporters squatted on the tracks at various railway stations and blocked the state highway as well as the national highway at several places. Educational institutions were closed in 15 districts by the respective district collector to avoid any untoward incident and keeping the safety of the students.
Business establishments were also closed at several places and the government offices reported thin attendance as the office goers found it difficult to reach their office due to road blockade by the bandh agitators. Banks and Insurance offices were also found closed in the state .The bandh supporters carrying placards and posters were seen staging demonstrations before the central government offices, RBI,Banks and Public sector undertakings. However, emergency services continue to remain unaffected as the trade unions have announced that these services will be kept out of the purview of the Bandh.
The East Coast Railway(ECoR) authority was forced to detain,control and divert several long distance trains and cancel some trains as the bandh supporters squatted on the railway track near Balasore, Bhubaneswar, Talcher,Berhumpur, Bhadrak and Keonjhargarh railway stations. The life in the state capital was affected as the bandh supporters burnt tyres, sat on dharna and obstructed the movement of vehicles.
Several leaders of Congress and left partries including the PCC Chief Niranjan Pattnaik, CITU state President Janaradan Pati were arrested while trying to proceed in a rally from the Master canteen square to the state secretariat in violation of the prohibitory orders . Bhubaneswar Cuttack Commissionerate of police sources said nearly 200 people including leaders of Congress and left political parties were arrested and about 500 people were rounded up from various places in the city.
The Opposition Congress had not only extended support to the bandh call but also actively participated in the bandh.However, the ruling BJD did not support the bandh call ECoR sources said train services were affected in the state for some hours due to picketing by the bandh supporters .The movement of trains however started after the intervention of government railway police (GRP) personnel.. Official sources said there has been no untoward incident reported from anywhere in the state so far. (UNI)