Bandh Observed In Western Odisha Demanding Separate Koshal State

Balangir: Normal life was disrupted due to a shutdown observed in 11 districts in western Odisha ion Saturday in support of the demand for the creation of a separate ‘Koshal’ state

The bandh call given under the banner of Koshal Rajya Milita Karjyanushtan Committee was supported by different social and cultural oraganisations as well as political parties, including Congress and BJP, to mount pressure on the government for separate statehood for the region.

Shops, business establishments and educational institutions in the region remained closed as bandh supporters were seen picketing since 6 am in several places in Bargarh, Balangir, Kalahandi and other districts. Vehicular movement was also affected during the bandh with protesters staging road blockade at several places, sources said.

The bandh remained peaceful with no untoward incident being reported from anywhere so far, police sources said. Security has been tightened in the region amid deployment of adequate police personnel to prevent any untoward incident.

The effect of the bandh was felt in Balangir in the morning with the agitators seen picketing from 6 am. The agitators also locked the gate of the head post office in Balangir district.

The protestors hit the streets and blocked the roads in Rampur and Dunguripali areas holding banners and shouting slogans demanding separate statehood to ‘Koshal’.

Private bus services have been halted in Bhawanipatna and Kesinga areas. National Highway has been obstructed at Rairakhol in Sambalpur. Several vehicles have been stranded on both sides of the road.

However, essential services like medical and education have been excluded from the bandh.

Chairman of Koshal Rajya Milita Karjyanushtan Committee. Pramod Mishra alleged that the state government has been neglecting the western region. As a result, no developmental activities are being undertaken, he claimed.

Therefore, the only solution is to grant separate statehood to ‘Koshal’ region and the bandh has been called to press for the demand, he said.

However, the bandh seemed to have little effect in Sambalpur where bus services were normal and most of teh shops and businesses establishments remained open in the city.

it may be noted here that Hirakhand Front and Sambalpuri Language & Culture Council are not supporting the bandh, opposing the use of name ‘Koshal’ by the protesters.

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