Public services in western Odisha hit as lawyer agitation for HC bench continues

Alleging State government's callousness, the lawyers have pledged to continue their strike

Sambalpur: The indefinite strike by lawyers in western Odisha especially in Sambalpur continues to affect public service delivery in the district throwing normal life out of gear.

Demanding establishment of a permanent bench of Orissa High Court in Sambalpur, lawyers of the region have launched an indefinite stir in the district by hindering government functioning. Due to the protests, not only administrative works have been affected, but also judicial, non-judicial and revenue-related works have come to a halt.

Upendra Pradhan, a resident of Jujumara who works as a heavy vehicle driver has been unable to get his driving license renewed despite several visits to the RTO office. A frustrated Pradhan said he may lose his job.

In case of any mishap, my family members will not be able to claim for any settlement or compensation if I don’t renew my papers. Besides, the owner of the company is also reluctant to employ me because of the lack of valid driving license papers, rued an anxious Pradhan.

Retired army personnel, Sumant Munda applied for the job of a security guard at a private company, but he has been unable to process his retirement papers from the Zilla Sainik Board due to the strike.

Sumant said that he is shocked to see the office closed due to protests by the lawyers. “I thought only judicial services were shut down, but now I see that all kinds of public services have been hit due to the stir.”

At a time when the lawyers are showing no signs from backing out until their demands are fulfilled, state government’s lack of sincerity to resolve the issue has sparked concerns among the public.

Asked about the misery of the general public, Sureswar Mishra, spokesperson, Western Odisha CAC, which has been spearheading the agitation, said “We will not call off our strike until our demand for a HC bench in the district is fulfilled. It is a matter of our dignity and self respect.”