After a brief lull, the demand for separate statehood, ‘Koshal’ state, has once again gained momentum in Western Odisha with people staging dharna in around 10 districts.
People across Jharsuguda, Sundargarh, Bargarh, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Deogarh, Sonepur, Boudh and Bolangir staged dharnas and also hit the streets seeking formation of a separate Koshal state.
The agitators were also seen picketing in front of several offices holding banners today. Shops, business establishments and even educational institutions remained closed due to the bandh.
While road transport came to a grinding halt in most of the areas, train services were also partly affected.
On the other hand, people came out against the bandh call in some parts of Sambalpur alleging that in the name of Koshal state, attempts are being made for ‘koshalitisation’ of the Sambalpuri language, culture and literature.
“We will not let anyone suppress our Sambalpuri language and culture. We strongly condemn such efforts,” said a local in Sambalpur.
“A conspiracy has been hatched against our culture and tradition, but we will not let anyone succeed in such malicious efforts. We will continue to fight for it,” alleged another local.
On the other hand, the ruling BJD claimed that attempts are being made for ‘koshalitisation’ of the Sambalpuri language, culture and literature in the name of Koshal state.
“This is a malicious conspiracy against Sambalpuri culture and tradition. But we will not let anyone succeed in such malicious efforts. We will continue to fight for it,” a local against the protest said.
Commenting on the issue, Tukuni Sahu, Minister of Commerce & Transport Department said, “Odisha is one of the major developing states in India under the leadership of CM Naveen Patnaik’s 22 years of rule. Naveen also has been awarded the best CM for his work and commitment to the state. He gives importance to each and every corner of the state. He has always acknowledged the problems of Western Odisha and taken steps to work for it. He has always looked at all parts of the state equally. Separate state isn’t a solution, so whatever be the issue, we will try our best to acknowledge that and sort things out with CM’s help.”
Similarly, veteran leader Narasingha Mishra said, “From the beginning, I’m of the opinion that there is no need for a separate state. But this is true that except for some places in Western Odisha, other places are ignored. The amount spent in the development of Western parts is comparatively less as compared to coastal regions. However, I’m against the formation of another state. I don’t want another state but the disappointment of the people of western Odisha should be addressed as soon as possible. Despite repeated complaints, the state government is not listening. This might soon divide the state into two parts.”
On the other hand, the Leader of Opposition, Jayanarayan Mishra slammed the government and said, “People staying away from Odisha capital are being neglected. There is no scope of development there. There is no development all over the state and that is a fact. Especially, rural and inaccessible areas are ignored by the government. So, it is obvious that people will protest and demand for a separate state.”
On Wednesday, hundreds of agitators picketed in front of several offices holding banners. Shops, business establishments and even educational institutions remained closed due to the bandh.
Road transport came to a grinding halt in most of the areas, while train services were also partly affected.