Bhubaneswar: Even though the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) had announced earlier to observe a peaceful hartal instead of bandh to avoid disrupting essential services, normal life across State was reportedly affected as the activists resorted to rail roko at different stations. The auto rickshaw and bus communication was also disrupted due to the dawn-to-dusk hartal.
According to reports, ruling party activists obstructed many buses and auto rickshaws on their way following which daily office bearers and travellers struggled hard to reach their destination. Picketing by the party activists at many places are going on which prompted the vehicles to remain indoor.
Even the bikers were not allowed on the road to travel. “My bike was damaged as the activists attacked it on the way. This is not a peaceful hartal. They must learn to respect women”, rued Annadatri Jha who was on her way to return home.
Similarly, BJD workers were found picketing at different places of Rourkela, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Balasore and Cuttack. All the commerial establishments have been closed and market places wore a deserted look.  The party on Thursday had appealed business establishments, bus-owners, students, women, labourers, intellectuals, working class and lawyers, among others, to make the hartal a success.
The BJD had called for a State wide 12-hour bandh on April 20 in protest against the Central government’s apathy towards Odisha. The party has been alleging that the Centre not only ignored Odisha’s demand for a special category state status, but also it deprived the State of adequate funds under different central schemes.