CM to visit Malkangiri today; BJP, Cong call for bandh

Bhubaneswar: Amidst the bandh call given by Congress and the BJP, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik visited Malkangiri district today and laid foundation stones and inaugurated various developmental projects worth Rs 224 crore.

Patnaik also attended a general meeting held at the Dnk Playground and provided assistance to beneficiaries of various schemes. He also reviewed the steps taken to prevent Japanese Encephalitis (JE) that has killed over a hundred children in the district.

On the other hand, the district Congress and BJP observed a bandh protesting Patnaik’s visit. Shops and other business establishments were closed during the bandh. Some Congress activists staged a road blockade at Balimela by burning tyres. However, the district administration made strict security arrangements to avoid any untoward incident in the Maoist-dominated district during the Chief Minister’s visit. Inspector General (Operation) RP Koche and SP Mitrabhanu Mahapatra visited the CM’s meeting spot and inspected the security arrangements. The district boarder were also sealed whereas a total of 32 platoons of police force were deployed.

Meanwhile, police detained 15 BJP activists for showing black flags to the Chief Minister at the meeting spot. Earlier in the day, police detained 10 Congress and five BJP activists, including their party district presidents ahead of Patnaik’s visit. On Friday night, police had detained some Congress activists.

Th Congress condemned this act of the district administration and further alleged that while the Chief Minister did not turn up earlier to review the JE situation in the district, he visited today only to woo voters in view of the ensuing Panchayat polls.