Cong-called Odisha shutdown finds support

Daily life was affected at several places as the Odisha unit of Congress on Monday observed statewide shutdown in protest against fuel price hike and other issues including law and order problem.

Vehicular traffic has been disrupted in many parts of the state as the party workers resorted to road blockade during the six-hour (7 a.m. to 1 p.m.) bandh.

While educational institutions remained closed following the shutdown, the shops and other business establishments also remained closed in several places in the state.

In Bhubaneswar, the party workers led by MLA Sura Routray resorted to rail blockade at Bhubaneswar railway station.

Hundreds of buses and heavy vehicles are lined up on the National Highway-16 following the shutdown. Passengers were seen stranded at the railway stations and bus stops.

However, emergency vehicles including ambulance, milk van, and marriage party vehicles were allowed.

“Both the Centre and the state government are imposing unreasonable taxes on fuel, leading to a steep hike in their prices which in turn lead to an increase in the prices of other essential commodities,” said Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik.

He said the Narendra Modi government is not paying any heed to the plights of poor and middle-class.

“I thank the people of Odisha for supporting the bandh,” he added.

State Transport Minister Padmanabha Behera said the rising fuel price is affecting the common people.

Due to the rising fuel price, several sectors have been impacted including the transport sector. Besides, it will impact the price of essential commodities, said the Minister.

On the other hand, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) decried the bandh call by the Congress.

“The Congress party is observing the shutdown for its existence in the state. The crude oil is being imported from other countries. Once Goods and Service Tax is implemented, the fuel price will decrease,” said BJP MLA Bishnu Charan Sethi.