Work in Government offices and courts here was paralysed on the first day of the nine-day agitation launched by lawyers of Sambalpur Bar Association on Tuesday.
Demanding a permanent bench of the Orissa High Court in western Odisha, they picketed in front of the office of the Revenue Division Commissioner (North) and collectorate and restricted entry of Election Officer Jyoti Kumar Lakra from going inside. The Municipality office was also locked up and none turned up to file nomination for the ULB polls.
Members of Central Action Committee (CAC) led by its Convenor Ashok Das, members of the bar association and other organisations fighting for the HC bench, began a relay hunger strike in front of the RDC office.
Former BJP president Suresh Pujari and District Congress Committee president Raj Kishore Das and BJD State executive member Siddhartha Das visited the dharna site.
Former president of the Sambalpur Bar Association Pramod Rath, who gave fresh impetus to the agitation during his two successive terms as president, said demand for a High Court bench is 40-year-old and accused the State Government of misleading people.
Citing a letter from the Secretary of State Election Commission D Satpathy, he said it has been mentioned that any effort of the State Government to hold discussion with the agitating lawyers would tantamount to violation of model code of conduct.
Hence, there was no question of the lawyers moving the State Government for a discussion on the issue.