Economic blockade: Orissa High Court asks  Collector to decide fate of truckers

Residents of Taparia village under the banner of Janshakti Bikash Parishad (JBP) had stopped movement of coal-laden vehicles on the road on January 19.

Published: 22nd February 2021 08:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 22nd February 2021 08:31 AM   |  A+A-

Orissa High Court

Orissa High Court

By Express News Service

ROURKELA: The Orissa High Court has directed the Collector of Sundargarh to decide the fate of truck owners as the impasse over transportation of coal on Bankibahal-Taparia road in Hemgir block has left hundreds of these carriers stranded. 

Residents of Taparia village under the banner of Janshakti Bikash Parishad (JBP) had stopped movement of coal-laden vehicles on the road on January 19. On February 10, the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC), acting on a petition filed by the agitators, ordered district administration to restrict movement of empty or loaded trucks on the road till April 5. 

Acting on the order, Sundargarh Sub-Collector Abhimanyu Behera on February 14 clamped prohibitory orders at Taparia for two months following which the economic blockade was called off. However, JBP leaders Rajendra Naik and Ramesh Jaipuria along with 15 others were arrested for allegedly assaulting a truck driver on January 26. They were released on bail on February 19. 

On February 7, the protestors through a PIL had sought intervention of the High Court to stop coal transportation on the road. On February 11, the Bistapita Gadi Malik Sangh (BGMS) had filed a writ petition in the court stating that the truck owners were under financial stress as their vehicles are lying idle. Acting on the petition, a single bench of the court comprising Justice B Mohanty on February 15 directed the Collector to take a decision on the matter as per law within three weeks. 

The Collector was also instructed to provide reasonable hearing opportunity to the petitioner and opposite parties - JBP president Birendra Pradhan, secretary Tejram Sa and leaders Rajendra Naik and Purushottam Pradhan.  Sa said the Collector has not yet called the JBP leaders for a meeting. The outfit, in the larger interest of the villagers, sticks to its demand of not allowing trucks to ply on the road which is used for transportation of coal from coalmines of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd to Chhattisgarh.

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