SAMBALPUR: Western Odisha bandh called by Koshal State Co-ordination Committee (KSCC) on Friday demanding separate Statehood evoked mixed response in the region. It had no impact in Sambalpur while the shutdown was felt in Bargarh, Sonepur, Boudh, Nuapada and Jharsuguda districts. The bandh was partial in Deogarh.
In Sambalpur, markets, schools and colleges, banks, courts, government offices, shops and business establishments remained opened. The vehicular movement was also normal in the Sambalpur town despite the bandh call. Though KSCC appealed to the people to observe bandh on August 26 over separate statehood, many organisations of Sambalpur including Hirakhand Samukhya, Sambalpur District Bar Association, Sambalpuri Bhasha Sanskruti Parishad and Bharati Samaj had requested people not to take part in the bandh.
“We oppose the word ‘Koshali’. The language of the region is known as ‘Sambalpuri’. However, efforts are being made to change the name of the language to ‘Koshali’ on the pretext of a separate Koshal state. We do not oppose the demand of creation of a separate state but, we cannot accept the change of the name of the language,” said joint convener of Hirakhand Samukhya, Deepak Panda.
President of the Sambalpur Bar Association, Atanu Ghosh also reiterated the sentiment and said, “the people of Sambalpur decided to abstain from the bandh. We extended our support to the people of Sambalpur.”
However, normal life was paralysed in Bargarh, Sonepur, Boudh, Nuapada and Jharsuguda due to the bandh.
Educational institutions, banks and financial institutions, State and Central Government offices, shops and business establishments remained closed in the districts. Movement of public transport was also hit due to the agitation in these districts.
The bandh evoked partial response in Deogarh district. Bandh supporters obstructed movement of vehicles on the NH-49 in Deogarh for around an hour in the morning. Ten bandh supporters were arrested from the spot.
Life hit in Balangir
Normal life was hit due to the bandh call in Balangir. Koshal activists picketed in different parts of the town. The bandh was also total in Kantabanji, Titilagarh, Patnagarh, Bangomunda, Sindhekela, Chudapali, Saintala, Belpara Turekela, Muribahal area of Balangir district.
Chairman of the Central Advisory Committee of Koshal Kranti Dal (KKD) Pramod Kumar Mishra described the movement for the separate Koshal state as a struggle of Independence for the region.
No impact in Kalahandi
In Bhawanipatna, the bandh had no impact. Government offices, markets and educational institutions remained open. Earlier, members of Mahakantara Kriyanusthan Committee had stated that people of Kalahandi are not in favour of being included in the proposed Koshal State.
They had held a meeting on Wednesday and said Kalahandi should not be included in the proposed Koshal State considering the district’s historical, linguistic and economic differences with other areas of Western Odisha. Koshal region is considered to comprise Boudh, Sonepur, Balangir, Nuapada, and Kalahandi. However, members of Mahakantara Kriyanusthan Committee said Kalahandi was historically never a part of Koshal region.