The 12-hour Bahanaga bandh called in protest against the move to establish new tehsil office near Gopalpur of the district passed off peacefully on Monday. People here have been demanding construction of Bahanaga tehsil building on the campus of block office.
Business establishments, schools, colleges, post office and banks remained closed in spontaneous response to the bandh call. A rally of over 200 bikes was also taken out and the protesters led by Bahanaga block chairman Saroj Raj and action committee convener Kalandri Barik congregated before the tehsil office which is now functioning inside the campus of Soro tehsil.
The establishment of the new tehsil office has been a bone of contention between the residents of Bahanaga and Gopalpur, the major trading centres of Bahanaga block. Both the groups have blocked NH-5 and launched agitations several times demanding the tehsil office in their respective areas.
While the block has 21 panchayats and the block office functions from Bahanaga, people of 14 panchayats want the tehsil office at Gopalpur. The agitators alleged that despite court orders to set up the tehsil office at Bahanaga, a conspiracy was on to shift it to Gopalpur.
Sources said in a notification issued on August 6, 2008, while formation of 84 new tehsil offices were made in their respective block headquarters, the government chose Gopalpur for Bahanaga.
The Government had recently asked a high-power committee to decide on the spot and the latter had selected the office to be set up on one acre of land at Paikasta near Gopalpur.
The protesters also submitted a memorandum addressed to the Chief Minister demanding the tehsil office at Bahanaga.
They warned that the bandh would be observed on every Monday till their demand is fulfilled.