Continuing their demand for separate Koshal state comprising 10 districts of western Odisha besides Athamallick sub-division of Angul district, several organisations led by Kosal Kranti Dal (KKD) staged rail roko at different places on Saturday.
The KKD activists resorted to rail roko in Sambalpur, Bargarh, Balangir, Jharsuguda and Rourkela. The agitators gathered at the Sambalpur Road railway station and stopped Bhubaneswar-Balangir Intercity Express besides a goods train for about half-an-hour.
The Koshal Sena and students of Gangadhar Meher College and other colleges of Sambalpur participated in the agitation.
Sambalpur district president of KKD Upendra Mohapatra said, “If the Union Government does not declare separate statehood for the region immediately, it should institute a State Reorganisation Commission (SRC) to look into the demand.”
Talking to Express, working president of KKD BN Mishra said the rail roko was successful at all the five places. He said a delegation will soon proceed to New Delhi to meet President Pranab Mukherjee on the issue.
He said KKD has two major demands - formation of SRC and making Mohanty Commission report public. Regional imbalance is the main cause of regional imbalance and it is unfortunate that successive State Governments have failed to reduce the widening gap, he added.
On August 3, the KKD had staged road blockade and a signature campaign has been launched since July 15 over the issue.
The KKD has decided to collect one crore signature and hand it over to the President along with a memorandum to press their long pending demand.
In Balangir, more than 100 KKD members led by central committee advisor Pramod Mishra staged rail roko at the railway station. The activists detained the Sambalpur-Rayagada Tapaswini Express and Bilaspur-Raipur passenger trains.
“The Kosalanchal has been neglected by the State Government in all sectors. We are demanding a separate state and for that we are ready to sacrifice our lives. If the Central Government can agree for Telengana state, why not for Koshal,” said Mishra.
Another KKD member Dolamani Pradhan said Koshalchal has its own identity. Its culture and language are different from rest of Odisha. Formation of Koshal state will solve many problems and the area will be freed from poverty and malnutrition.
In Rourkela also, a group of KKD supporters staged a symbolic rail-roko at the railway station. A small group led by KKD working president BN Mishra stopped a passenger train for 10 minutes and reiterated the demand to carve out a separate Koshal state.