Mrunal Manmay Dash

The Bhadrak Bus Syndicate halted bus services in the district on Tuesday alleging police inaction over extortion by miscreants on the pretext of Durga Puja.

Bus services in the district came to a grinding halt after the call for strike making it hard for travellers going out and coming into the district. Passengers, particularly students who were set to head for Puja holidays had to suffer the most by the strike.

As per reports, the bus syndicate had many times in the recent past complained about the extortion of money (Dada Bati) by some local miscreants on the pretext of Durga Puja donations. They have alleged that not only extortion but the miscreants have gone on to the extent of manhandling the drivers and conductors after they denied giving in to their demands.

On Tuesday, the syndicate decided enough is enough and halted the bus services across the district.

Speaking to the reporters, Shantanu Sethi, a student, said, "I am a student at a local educational institution here. I do not know why, but not a single bus is plying today from Bhadrak. I have an urgent work at home and I fear I might miss it."

Similarly, another student, Kavita Das said, "Our hostel closed today for Puja holidays. So I had to move out. But looking at this bus strike, I think I will have to go back again and share my friend's house till the hostel reopens."

While buses originating and terminating at Bhadrak have been cancelled, the busses passing through the district from Balasore and other places have not been affected.

(Reported By Partha Sarathi Nayak)