Caught between price rise & bandh

Sushant Panigrahi had come from Aska in Ganjam to gets his eyes checked at a private hospital in Patia. He reached Baramunda on Monday morning, but the 43-year-old failed to could not reach the hospital as the bandh called by the Congress and the Left parties had paralysed normal life in the city.

By LELIN MALLICK
  • Published 11.09.18
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Buses stranded at Baramunda (top) and (above) commuters walk with their luggage as public transport stayed off roads in Bhubaneswar on Monday. Pictures by Ashwinee Pati

Bhubaneswar: Sushant Panigrahi had come from Aska in Ganjam to gets his eyes checked at a private hospital in Patia. He reached Baramunda on Monday morning, but the 43-year-old failed to could not reach the hospital as the bandh called by the Congress and the Left parties had paralysed normal life in the city.

"After reaching Baramunda I could not find a single autorickshaw or taxi. I waited for hours hoping to get a transport to the hospital. I requested a few bikers to give me a lift but they refused. Now I have to wait till Tuesday to see the doctor," said Panigrahi.

Several others were stuck at the railway station, airport and bus terminals as they waited for transport. Trucks remained stranded on the stretch of the NH-16 that passes through the city. Congress workers picketed at various traffic intersections, including Vani Vihar, Acharya Vihar and Jayadev Vihar.

Baring a few incidents, police said the bandh was largely peaceful. Tension ran high on NH-16 near Satsang Vihar after protestors intercepted a vehicle of Saheed Nagar police station. The protestors allegedly misbehaved with two police personnel and fixed a party banner on the vehicle's bonnet.

While the East Coast Railway had cancelled 19 trains, demonstrators staged a rail blockade at the Bhubaneswar railway station for more than four hours. Five trains were partially cancelled.

Deputy commissioner of police Anup Kumar Sahoo said adequate police personnel were deployed in the city in view of the bandh.

"The protest was peaceful and no incidents of violence was reported in the state capital. However, we would advice commuters who faced harassment during the protest to lodge police complaints," said Sahoo. The effect of the bandh was visible with most city roads wearing a deserted a look. Shops remained closed, while a number of commuters walked to their destinations.

"It is true that the hike in fuel prices have badly affected the people, but at the same time harassing commuters in the name of bandh will not solve the problem. The Opposition parties must mount pressure on the issue but without disrupting the transport service," said Rakesh Jena, a commuter. Tourists also suffered as many of t hem were stranded at the Sun Temple in Konark. A number of visitors were also stuck at various tourist sites in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar and Puri.