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Sharmili Mallick

Sambalpur: Protesting the State government's action against the controversial director of Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR) Aswini Kumar Pujahari, the Burla Sachetana Nagarik Manch today observed a 12-hour bandh in the town today.

It may be noted that the Junior Doctors’ Association (JDA) of VIMSAR had been on strike since November 19 demanding ouster of Pujahari for his alleged autocratic style of functioning and giving unproven therapies to patients at the hospital.

On Friday, the Odisha Health department Commissioner-cum-Secretary, Pramod Meherda served a show-cause notice to Pujahari. The secretary also asked Pujahari to furnish reply within three days on the findings of the inquiry committee which was earlier constituted to investigate the allegations.

Pujahari was also asked to go on leave till his reply to the show-cause notice is received and subsequent disposal by the government.

As per reports, the shutdown has been backed by many social and political organisations including the BJP. The protestors have been demanding withdrawal of the government's decision and reinstatement of Pujahari till his tenure ends.

The agitating members of the Mancha picketed and burnt tyres at Petrol Pump Chhak in the town as mark of their protest.

Normal life came to a grinding halt in the region due to the bandh since this morning. Shops, educational institutions, government and non-government offices, business establishments and markets remained closed due to the shutdown. However, emergency services have been exempted from the purview of the 24-hour bandh.

Earlier on Sunday, the local unit of BJP staged a demonstration at Golbazaar Chhak in Sambalpur town protesting the government’s move. The saffron workers also burnt the effigy of Sambalpur MLA Raseswari Panigrahi.

“Sending the director on leave indicated that Madam (Raseswari Panigrahi) has a nexus with the doctors. This is a wrong decision and if the order is not revoked, we will intensify the agitation,” threatened President of Sambalpur BJP Yuva Morcha, Rikan Patnaik.

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