Normal life was disrupted in Odisha, barring the western region, due to disruption in train and road traffic during a bandh called by BJP and Left parties to protest diesel price hike, FDI in multi-brand retail and ceiling on subsidised LPG.
State government offices, banks and insurance offices remained closed on the occasion of ‘Nuakhai’
Schools, colleges and other educational institutions remained closed due to the festival celebrated with gaiety in western districts like Sambalpur, Bolangir, Bargarh, Sonepur, Jharsuguda and Deogarh.
Describing the bandh, being observed as part of a country-wide programme as a success, BJP state President Jual Oram said, “We have decided to exclude all activities related to Nuakhai festival from the purview of bandh.”
Over a dozen trains were stopped at several railway stations including Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Khurda Road, Bhadrak, Balasore and Berhampur as bandh supporters staged dharna on the tracks, an official of East Coast Railway (ECoR) said.
Vehicular movement was disrupted in many parts of the state as passenger buses, trucks and auto—rickshaw remained off the roads, police sources said.
A large number of passengers were seen stranded at railway stations and bus stands at many places, while roads wore a deserted look during the shut-down.
City bus services in many places like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri were suspended.
In Bhubaneswar, supporters of BJP and left parties staged blocked roads and picketed separately at different places in a bid to enforce the bandh called by them.
Shops, business establishments and commercial centres downed their shutter in major areas including Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Balasore, Baripada, Bhadrak, Jagatsinghpur and Puri.
Elaborate security arrangements were made by the police with heavy deployment of force throughout the state to prevent any untoward incident during the shut-down.
“The situation is peaceful and no untoward incident has been reported from any place. We are keeping a close vigil,” a senior police official said.