ROURKELA: Normal life was hit for five hours on Monday at Rourkela and rest of industrial district of Sundargarh with the ‘Hak Ki Hartal’ of the ruling BJD to protest fuel price hike evoking total response.
In Steel City, BJD activists staged road blockade at different places and paralysed life from 7 am to 12 noon, but emergency services were relaxed. At Bisra Square, they burnt large posters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Petroleum Minister Dhramendra Pradhan. Commercial vehicles stayed off the roads, while State and Central Government offices, educational institutions, shops and other commercial establishments remained closed during the strike. The agitators also symbolically detained a train at Rourkela railway station.
Sundargarh District BJD working president and Rourkela Development Authority chairman Sarada Prasad Nayak said people of the district responded overwhelmingly and warned the BJP-led NDA Government to refrain from testing the patience of the people. Nayak attributed the hike in fuel prices to anti-people and anti-poor policies of the Modi Government and said as a cascading effect, commodity prices have shot up, while rise in transportation costs have affected the poor.
Sambalpur: Vehicular movement was disrupted on the NH and SH passing through the city. BJD workers blocked NH-6 and NH-55 at Ainthapali Chowk and Dhanupali Chowk here respectively preventing movement of vehicles on the highways. Traffic was disrupted on SH-10 connecting Sambalpur with Rourkela and SH-15 connecting Sambalpur with Sonepur. Train services were also disrupted after protestors stopped several trains at Sambalpur and City railway stations. District BJD president Pramod Rath said the hartal evoked spontaneous response. Normal life was also badly hit due to strike in Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Sonepur and Nuapada districts and the hartal evoked spontaneous response.
Dhenkanal: The district witnessed road blockades and closure of business establishments due to agitations by both BJD and BJP. While BJD observed a five-hour hartal protesting fuel price hike, BJP organised demonstrations and road blockades demanding the State Government to declare Dhenkanal as drought-hit district. District unit of BJP, led by former Rajya Sabha member Rudra Narayan Pany, former MLA Krushna Chandra Patra and district president Bibhuti Bhusan Pradhan blocked the SH and NH at different places. While public transport was completely paralysed, hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on the roads.
Jajpur: Party supporters, led by Dharmasala MLA Pranab Balabantray, Jajpur MP Rita Tarei and district president Naresh Chandra Mohanty resorted to road blockade at Jaraka Bazaar along NH-16 by burning tyres. Women activists led by ZP member Mamata Dandpat also participated in the hartal shouting slogans against Modi Government and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan. Sukinda MLA Pritiranjan Ghadei along with party workers staged road blockades at Danagadi, Sukinda and Kalinga Nagar while Binjharpur legislator Pramila Malik led the agitation in block headquarters. National Highways were blocked at Mulapala, Panikoili, Jajpur Road and Haripur. Similarly, Akash Dasnayak led the agitation in Jajpur Road, Bari MLA Debasish Nayak resorted to agitation in Bari block.
Coal mines paralysed
Angul: The hartal affected coal production and despatch at Talcher coalfield while in other parts of the district remained peaceful. All the 10 coal mines at Talcher were stopped forcefully by the BJD workers affecting the production. MCL authorities estimated a loss of about 80,000 tonne of coal. However, operation resumed after 12 noon. Similarly, BJD workers blocked national highways passing through the district. The strike was peaceful with no untoward incident, said SP Brajesh Rai.