BHUBANESWAR: The dawn-to-dusk State-wide ‘hartal’ observed by the rulling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Friday demanding Special Category Status to the State partially affected normal life across the State. The communication was hit as the BJD supporters resorted to rail roko at different stations, stopped auto rickshaws and buses to ply on the road.
According to sources, rulling party activists obstructed many buses and auto rickshaws on their way. Picketing by the party activists at many places on Friday prompted the vehicles to remain indoor. Hartal supporters in the capital city and Cuttack reportedly damaged some vehicles while preventing people on vehicle to ply on the road, police said.
In the city, the activists staged road blockade at the busy and important squares and prevented the office goers to attend the offices. The city bus services were off the road in the city. Petrol pumps were also closed.
Big shops and business establishments remained closed in many places while attendance in banks, offices and other organisations was thin and it was seen that office goers reached office early to get respite from the picketers.
Train services were disrupted for three hours as the activists staged demonstrations and blocked rail tracks in various places including Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Brahmapur, Khurda Road, Baleswar, Bhadrak and Sambalpur, said the sources.
However, work in industrial sector, public sector units and Paradip Port remained unaffected. Two wheelers and some autorickshaws were seen on the road and small shops were opened at various places except big business establishments.
Notably, the BJD had initially planned for a 12-hour Odisha bandh, but later the party changed it to hartal to avoid legal hassles. The party had also declared that essential services like ambulance, power, drinking water supply and exams in schools and colleges to be kept out of the purview of the hartal.