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Normal life affected in Odisha due to nationwide strike

Bhubaneswar, Jan 8 (IANS) Normal life has been affected across Odisha as 10 central trade unions supported by different political parties observed nationwide strike on Wednesday. The trade unions resorted to shutdown on 14-point charter of demands including social security, minimum wages, and employment among others.

Educational institutions remained closed in most of the districts while the commercial establishments and banks also remained shut in several parts of the state. The strike affected several entrance examinations including the JEE Main 2020 in Odisha. Candidates of JEE exam were seen arriving at exam centres much before the scheduled time in order to avoid inconvenience.

Transport like bus and train services have been adversely affected due to the shutdown. However, emergency services continue to remain unaffected. Commuters suffer as buses remain off the road as the private bus owners’ association has decided not to ply buses on Wednesday.

Air passengers bore the brunt of Bharat Bandh agitation as they remain stranded at Bhubaneswar airport. Officials and staff were seen coming to offices before the scheduled time as the protesters resorted to picketing at several central and state offices. Some ministers took a pillion ride to make it to the state secretariat here.

Train services affected at several railway stations including Talcher, Bhubaneswar, Brahmapur, Bhadrak and Keonjhar, said an official of East Coast Railway (ECoR).

The ECoR informed that several trains have been detained en route which include Bhadrak-Brahmapur passenger at Bhadrak, Kendujhargarh-Bhubaneswar passenger at Kendujhargarh, Bhubaneswar-Balangir Inter City at Bhubaneswar, Howrah-Yesvantpur Express at Brahmapur, Ichhapur-Cuttack MEMU at Brahmapur, Puri-Rourkela passenger at Bhubaneswar, Nayagarh Town-Bhubaneswar Seva Express at Rajsunakhala, Chennai-Howrah Coromandal Express at Bhubaneswar, Ahamadabad-Puri Express at Balugaon, Jagadalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express at Balugaon, Hyderabad-Howrah East Coast Express at Nirakarpur, Secunderabad-Howrah Falaknuma Express at Sompeta, Palasa-Bhubaneswar MEMU at Mandasa Road and Bangalore Cant.-Bhubaneswar Express at Palasa.

“The Centre is amending labour laws for the interest of corporates and neglecting workers. Its policies have been unable to control rising prices of commodities,” said Rama Krushna Panda, national secretary of AICTU. The state unit of Congress, which is supporting the nationwide strike, said that the central government has failed to check the price rise and economic slowdown.

“The Central government is bringing anti-farmer and anti-labour policies in the country. It has also failed to check price rise of essential commodities. We are sorry for the inconvenience to the people for the shutdown. However, emergency services continue to remain unaffected,” said Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) president Niranjan Patnaik.

The police said adequate security arrangements have been made in view of the shutdown.  “The shutdown is peaceful till now and we are ensuring that untoward incidents do not happen during the Bharat Bandh,” said Bhubaneswar Deputy Commissioner of Police Anup Sahoo.