Vikash Sharma

Bhubaneswar: Protesting steep rise in the prices of petrol and diesel, the State unit of Congress on Tuesday announced to observe Odisha bandh on February 15, 2021.

Addressing a press conference in Bhubaneswar, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik said that the party had no option than to call for the state-wide shutdown as the fuel price hike has started to affect the common man.

Despite the genuine problems, no tangible action has been taken by both the BJP-led government at the Centre and ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in Odisha to provide respite to people, alleged Patnaik.

“We know that the decision will create problems for people but we have decided to observe Odisha bandh on February 15. The shutdown has been called to create awareness among people,” said Patnaik.

According to the party, the bandh will be observed 7 am to 1 pm on February 15, 2021.

The Odisha Congress chief informed that apart from prices of petrol and diesel, there has been steep hike in the prices of LPG and other essential commodities.

Patnaik also took a dig at BJP for not being able to reign in the fuel prices despite sharp fall in the prices of crude oil in the international markets.

“Both Centre and State government is imposing taxes on fuel for which there has been steep hike in prices of petrol and diesel. We had urged the State government to reduce taxes by Rs 10 per litre. The reduction in prices will not affect the state exchequer as a lot of heavy vehicles plying through Odisha will be interested to fill fuel from the State,” said Patnaik.

Patnaik also alleged that Odisha government has failed to protect State’s land, water and forest for which several states like Chhattisgarh, Andhra Pradesh and others are intruding upon the territories.

“For the first time, Andhra Pradesh has dared to hold panchayat polls in Kotia village. I want to ask the State government what it is doing to protect the interest of the State,” questioned Patnaik.

Meanwhile, the comments of BJP and BJD leaders could not be obtained over the allegations of the Odisha Congress.

(Edited By Suryakant Jena)