Lawyer agitation in western Odisha delaying inauguration of projects

Sambalpur:  The ongoing agitation by lawyers in western Odisha, especially in Sambalpur, over demand for establishment of a permanent High Court bench in the region have not only thrown normal functioning of government offices and courts out of gear, but also have delayed inauguration of several developmental projects.

With the lawyers unrelenting, projects like the new bridge over Mahanadi River are yet to be formally launched; even though vehicles are already plying on the bridge. The bridge is one of the most awaited projects for the people of the city and many believe it to be an important indicator of development and expansion of the city.

Not only that, the ropeway facility on Hirakud Dam is also awaiting inauguration.

The lawyers have warned that till their demands are not met, they would not allow any state and national-level leaders to launch any projects in the city.

Sureswar Mishra, spokesperson of Central Action Committee, which is spearheading the agitation, said “In the coming days, if the State government wants to organise any programmes in our area, it will have to face severe protests because it has cheated us.”

Last year, lawyer groups showed black flags to Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera and Cooperation minister Surjya Patro during their visits to Sambalpur.

Meanwhile, local MLA of ruling-BJD, Raseswari Panigrahi has urged the agitating lawyers to withdraw protests so that offices and courts can function normally. “Suffering of people has become a matter of bigger concern than that of inauguration of new projects. So I would urge the lawyers to stop their agitation at least for the time being,” said Panigrahi.