Staff Reporter

Train, bus services hit; government establishments function normally

BHUBANESWAR: The 12-hour bandh call given by the Left parties protesting against the recent hike prices of petroleum products evoked mixed response across the State on Friday.

Movement of trains and buses was severely affected in the morning while the bandh had no impact on government functioning. East Cost Railway controlled several trains at different stations and rescheduled timings of trains due to the strike. Long-distance buses also rescheduled their timings to avoid any hostility.

Workers detained

Some 1,000 workers of the Communist parties who participated in the bandh were detained by the police in the State. As high as 400 supporters were taken to custody in Cuttack while 200 Left activists courted arrest in Bhubaneswar. In Rourkela, Khurda, Puri, Baripada and Bhadrak, activists were seen blocking roads.

Left parties workers demanded immediate rollback of hike in petroleum prices. “The fuel price hike will push inflation further up. Essential items such as edible oil, potato, onion, kerosene and rice will become costlier,” veteran CPI (M) leader Shivaji Patnaik said.

CPI (M) workers picketed in front of the Reserve Bank near Rajmahal Square, PMG Square, Vani Vihar, CRP Square and different filling stations here. Security was tightened around Secretariat and outsiders were not allowed to enter the premise. A government communication said attendance in the Secretariat was 86.7 per cent.

Many banks in the capital city, however, preferred not to transact any business keeping in mind the dawn-to-dusk bandh.

Similarly, train movement at Berhampur station was severely affected for one hour in the morning as activists squatted on the railway track. State Polit Bureau member of the CPI (M) Ali Kishore Patnaik led the agitation at various places.

The bandh also affected truck movement in mineral-rich districts in Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts.