SAMBALPUR/JHARSUGUDA : Life came to a standstill in major parts of Western Odisha on Thursday due to 48-hour ‘Mahabandh’ called by the Central Action Committee (CAC) of All Western Odisha Bar Association (AWOBA) over the demand of opening a permanent bench of Orissa High Court in the region.
The lawyers have been resorting to cease-work and closing the State and Central government offices since November 19 over the demand. On the first day of the ‘Mahabandh’, they closed banks and financial institutions, educational institutions, markets, shops and business establishments along with the State and Central government offices.
Hundreds of vehicles remained parked along national and state highways due to the agitation. The lawyers picketed to ensure closure of all offices and institutions and make the Mahabandh successful.
The lawyers also staged rail roko and trains passing through Sambalpur were stopped at Sambalpur railway station, Sambalpur City railway station and Hirakud railway station. They are camping at both Sambalpur railway station and Sambalpur City railway station to continue the rail roko on Thursday night and Friday.
Official sources said the Railways cancelled 11 trains including Sambalpur-Puri Intercity from both directions, Sambalpur-Rayagada Express, Bhubaneswar-Balangir Intercity, Sambalpur-Jharsuguda Passenger, Sambalpur-Koraput/Junagarh Road Passenger, Titlagarh-Sambalpur Passanger, Sambalpur-Jammu Tawi Express, Rourkela-Sambalpur Passenger, Bilaspur-Titlagarh Passenger, Rourkela-Koraput Express and Koraput-Rourkela Express. Besides, six trains were partially cancelled and 10 Express trains diverted. Spokesperson of CAC, Sureswar Mishra said the Mahabandh evoked spontaneous response in other W Odisha districts also.
MCL sources said 21,000 tonnes of road sale coal from Samleshwary and Lakhanpur open cast mines couldn’t be dispatched due to the bandh. Hundreds of vehicles remained stranded on both sides of the SH-10 and NH-49. However, no incident of violence was reported in the district, said SDPO K Acharya.