Bharat Bandh hits normal life in Odisha

Bhubaneswar : Normal life was paralysed in Odisha as the Congress and other opposition parties observed a Bharat Bandh against the rising fuel prices on Monday.

Hundreds of Congress activists were arrested following protests at several places including the state capital Bhubaneswar.

Vehicular movement came to a halt across the state as Congress workers resorted to road blockades at various junctions. Passengers were stranded at major bus stands across the state.

Train services were also affected due to the nationwide shutdown. Congress workers staged rail roko at several railway stations including Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Sambalpur, Rourkela, Balangir and Bhadrak.

The East Coast Railways cancelled at least 12 trains in the state.

Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) suspended examinations of all professional courses while schools and colleges remained closed following the shutdown.

Tourists at the Konark Sun Temple in Puri could not enter the monument after Congress and CPI(M) activists locked up the ticket counter.

Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Sudip Bandyopadhyay was stopped in Pipili due to the road blockade by Congress activists on NH 316.

In Bhubaneswar, senior Congress leaders along with the party workers protested at various places disrupting vehicular movement.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee President Niranjan Patnaik and hundreds of party workers protested near the main gate of the Odisha Legislative Assembly and at the State Secretariat.

Speaker P.K.Amat adjourned the House for the day as Congress members shouted slogans and created a ruckus protesting against the fuel price hike.

"The bandh is being observed peacefully across Odisha. The people of Odisha have extended their support to the bandh call. The rise in fuel price has affected the common people across the country. The Central government led by Narendra Modi is favouring the corporate houses," said Niranjan Patnaik.

On the other hand, the BJP said the hike in fuel prices is due to the rise in crude oil prices in the international market and the falling rupee value against the US dollar.

"The state government should reduce VAT on petrol and diesel like Rajasthan government to provide relief to the people," said state BJP vice-president Samir Mohanty.