SAMBALPUR: Normal life was affected in the district on Sunday due to a 12-hour dawn to dusk ‘Bharat bandh’ called by Bhim Army against the Supreme Court verdict on reservation. The apex court had ruled that States are not bound to provide reservation in promotion and also quota is not a fundamental right. While shops, markets and business establishments remained closed on the day, vehicular movement including public transport was also disrupted due to the bandh.
Movement of vehicles was affected on NH-53 and NH-55 along with Sambalpur-Rourkela Biju Expressway due to the agitation. Activists of Bhim Army could be seen picketing at several places in the city. They also staged rail roko and detained the Sambalpur-Puri Inter-city Express for around one hour at Sambalpur railway station.
State president of Bhim Army Lankesh Ravan said the outfit is against the ruling of Supreme Court. "Reservation is for those sections of the society, which have been oppressed for years. Reservation is fundamental right of such people and should also be applicable in private sectors," he said.
The bandh also affected life in neighbouring Bargarh district where shops and business establishments remained closed. Agitators blocked NH-53 at Haldipali Chowk and Main Road of Bargarh town at Gandhi Chowk. However, there was no effect of the bandh in Deogarh district.
BALANGIR: ‘Bharat bandh’ call given by Bhim Army was total in Balangir, Sonepur and Nuapada districts. All private institutions, business establishments, shops, malls and daily markets remained closed. Roads wore a deserted look on the day. The merchant association of Balangir also extended its support to the bandh. The supporters of Bhim Army burnt tyres at several places to obstruct traffic.