Naveen to meet CAC over HC bench on Aug 24

Bhubaneswar: In a bid to clear the current impasse in western Odisha, the State government has decided to hold a discussion with the agitating lawyers over setting up of a permanent High Court bench in the region on Saturday.
 
“CM Naveen Patnaik will hold a discussion with the representatives of All Western Odisha Bar Association (AWOBA)'s Central Action Committee (CAC) on August 24 at the Secretariat. We hope the discussion would bring normalcy in the places where strike-related unrest have been reported”, Law Minister Maheswar Mohanty said on Thursday.
 
Earlier in the day, Mohanty had informed the State Assembly that the chief minister would hold talks on Friday with the CAC members of AWOBA, which is spearheading the agitation. But the change in date followed after a consultation with the agitating lawyers.
 
“The CAC representatives are not agreeing for the Friday meeting citing that the government's call is too early for them to discuss among themselves over the issue”, Mohanty added.
 
The government’s decision came after the State Election Commission (SEC) permitted for such a discussion with the agitating lawyers. However, before the government’s decision, the CAC had given a hint about its inclination for a meeting with the State government earlier in the morning.
 
"On July 28, the CAC had intimated the Chief Minister about its decision for agitation in western Odisha if their demands are not met. Though the SEC notified dates for the Urban Local Body (ULB) polls on August 12, the CM did not show any interest for talks before August 12…Whenever the CM will ask for a discussion we are ready for that," said Niranjan Tripathy, secretary of CAC.
 
Accusing the Chief Minister of taking the plea of model code of conduct for the ensuing urban poll to foil the agitation, CAC convenor Ashok Das asked, "When the state government could hold discussion with private bus owners association, why not with the agitating lawyers?"
 
"The Chief Minister has been trying to weaken the agitation and mislead people over the demand for establishment of High Court in the region," Das alleged.
 
Meanwhile, the agitating lawyers on Wednesday rejected an appeal from the CM to end the strike which has thrown normal life out of gear in the past three days. The lawyers under the banner of AWOBA have boycotted work in courts and government offices in seven Odisha districts.