Life comes to halt in W.Odisha due to bandh for HC bench

Bhubaneswar: Normal life was thrown out of gear in several western Odisha towns on Thursday as a 12-hour bandh was observed in response to the call given by Central Action Committee (CAC) of All Western Odisha Bar Association agitating for establishment of a permanent bench of the High Court in western region of the state.

Shops, schools, banks, government offices, courts and commercial establishments remained closed. Hundreds of passengers were seen stranded at different railway stations of Western Odisha as trains were not allowed to ply on the routes falling in the region.

Advocates along with supporters took out procession in all the places giving slogans for establishment of the HC bench and blocked roads. Vehicular movements remained off the roads throughout the region.

Meanwhile, the bar associations of Kalahandi and Rourkela did not join today’s agitation.

"As per the decision of CAC and Sambalpur Bar Association we observed a bandh today. People of the western region fully supported our decision and joined the strike," said Sureshwar Mishra, member, CAC.

The bandh of the agitating lawyers coincided with polling at 66 Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) in 21 districts. The State Election Commission (SEC) has already suspended elections in 6 western districts in view of the law and order situation there.

The lawyers have been agitating since August 20 demanding permanent high court bench in western Odisha. However, in view of the Nuakhai and Ganesh Chaturthi, the CAC had decided to relax the agitation from September 1 to 15 and refrained from paralysing the state government offices and judiciary during the period.