Bhubaneswar: Normal life was thrown out of gear in the state following the nine-hour Bharat bandh observed by the Congress today in protest against the steep hike in fuel prices by the BJP government at the Centre.
The bandh which began at 6 am will continue till 3 pm. The impact of the bandh was felt in the twin cities of Bhubaneswar-Cuttack.
To maintain law and order situation, at least 20 platoons of police force have been deployed at various key points in the city. In addition to that, senior police officials have been deployed on duty to keep strict vigil on various sensitive places.
In Bhubaneswar, the Congress activists picketed at Master Canteen Square, Rajmahal Square, AG Square, Satsang Vihar Square, Vani Vihar Square, Acharya Vihar Square, Satya Nagar and Baramunda. Scores of passengers were seen waiting at the Baramunda Bus terminus.
In view of the country-wide bandh, the vice-chancellor of Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) cancelled the examinations, which was scheduled to be conduted today under all its affiliated technical colleges across the state.
Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Chairman Niranjan Patnaik along with other activists and Congress leaders sat on protest in front of Congress Bhawan.
Train services were badly affected in the state as CPM joined hands with Congress and observed ‘Rail Roko’ at Cuttack, Puri, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Keonjhar and Jaleshwar Railway Stations during bandh observation since morning.
The Congress activists staged road blockade at Badambadi in Cuttack and also detained the Howrah-Chennai Superfast Express at the railway station.
Sambalpur-Puri and Sambalpur-Rayagada Intercity train were halted at the Sambalpur station. Similarly, Ispat express at Bolangir station and Howrah-Khurda at Jaleswar station was stopped.
This apart, the Congress and CPM activists staged picketing and blocked the roads at different places across the state including the districts of Bhadrak, Kalahandi, Angul, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Nabarangpur, Sundargarh, Malkangiri Rayagada, Kandhamal, and Nuapada.
Congress has called the country-wide bandh to protest the steep hike in fuel prices in the country, dubbing it as Rs 11 lakh crore ‘fuel loot’. It is demanding that petrol and diesel be brought within GST along with reduction of central excise duty and excessive VAT charged by states to put an end to the problem.