Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Public transportation services were affected as the protesters held picketing at the railway stations and bus stops in Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, Rayagada, and several other places. (HT Photo)
Normal life came to a grinding halt in Odisha as the dawn to dusk Bharat Bandh, called by dozens of trade union bodies, farmer organisations seeking repeal of three new farm laws, stopped all movement of trains, trucks and other vehicles on Tuesday morning. The Bandh is supported by opposition parties such as Congress, CPI, CPM, SUCI, All India Forward Bloc, CPI (ML), CPI (M) and AAP, among others.
In Bhubaneswar, vehicle movements came to a stop as bandh organisers burnt tyres at Master Canteen Square and Jaydev Vihar Square while others picketed on train tracks in Bhubaneswar railway station. At Jaydev Vihar square, hundreds of inter-state trucks and ‘night-coach’ buses were stranded between Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.
Movement of auto rickshaws and taxis was also stalled. In Baramunda bus stand, passengers had a torrid time as no buses were plying on roads. Several office goers in Bhubaneswar too faced difficulties as the Mo Bus service of the state government remained off the roads due to bandh.
Public transportation services were affected as the protesters held picketing at the railway stations and bus stops in Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, Rayagada, and several other places. Vegetable markets, shops, shopping malls, petrol pumps were shut as the Federation of All Odisha Traders Association have also extended its support to the farmers’ cause.
“The BJP government is against the farmers. If Narendra Modi believes in democracy, he must repeal the new farm laws,” said CPI leader Narayan Reddy.
Though the Naveen Patnaik-led BJD government did not publicly support the bandh call, the party indirectly supported it shutting down all the government offices in the state. The party hoped that all outstanding issues can be resolved through dialogues between the Centre and the farmers’ groups.
“The party has always been demanding doubling of Minimum Support Prices as suggested by the Swaminathan Committee and will continue to do so for the benefit of our farmers,” a BJD leader said.
The state home department has asked district collectors to take all preventive measures to maintain law and order and ensure maintenance of essential services in the districts in view of the Bharat Bandh.
Meanwhile, the General Studies Paper-I and General Studies Paper-II of the Odisha Civil Services-2019 Main examination scheduled for Tuesday has been rescheduled in view of the Bharat Bandh. As per the new schedule, the OCS 2019 main exam for General Studies Paper 1 and Paper 2 will be held on January 2, 2021.