Four trains affected by the bandh, according to ECoR officials

Members of Jhodia community observed a dawn to dusk bandh in Kashipur block of Rayagada district on Wednesday demanding Scheduled Tribe (ST) status for their community.

Jhodias had got together under the banner of their organisation ‘Paraja Sanmaj’ for this agitation. This bandh call affected railway traffic between Rayagada and Koraput. Vehicular traffic was completely hit in Kashipur block as the members of the community blocked roads throughout the area by putting up road blocks and burning tyres. Shops and other establishments in most of Kashipur block remained closed due to this bandh call.

The agitating Jhodias reached the Tikiri railway station and did not let trains pass through. According to officials of East Coast railway (ECoR), four trains were affected by this bandh call. The Bhubaneswar-Jagdalpur Hirakhand express had to return from Rayagada. The Koraput-Rayagada passenger was cancelled. The Howrah-Koraput Samaleswari express did not travel to Koraput as it returned back from Titilagarh. The Jagdalpur-Durg express train had to run late by two hours and 20 minutes due to the bandh call.

They also organised a public meeting near Tikiri railway station. Rayagada Sub-Collector also reached Tikiri to hold discussions with the agitators. He held discussions with Jhodia leaders, who handed over a memorandum to him.

It may be noted that since the past many years Jhodia community of Rayagada district continued to demand ST status. Jhodia families of Rayagada district who mostly live in the Kashipur block are considered OBCs. Around 50,000 Jhodias live in Kashipur block. But Jhodias of Koraput and Nabarangpur districts are considered STs in official records and are availing all the benefits meant for tribals. According to the administrative officials, Odisha government had already recommended to the Central government to include Jhodias of Rayagada district in ST list. The Tribes Advisory Council (TAC) of the Odisha had also supported the demand of Jhodia community of Rayagada district. But till now Jhodias of Rayagada district had not got ST status.

Jhodia community had boycotted the last panchayat polls for this demand.

  • Around 50,000 Jhodias live in Kashipur block

    Jhodias of Koraput and Nabarangpur districts have already attained ST status