Normal life was crippled in Western Odisha districts for the second day Friday due to a two-day shutdown called by lawyers demanding setting up of a permanent High Court bench in the region, police said.
While train services were disrupted, vehicular movement virtually came to a grinding halt in the region during the "Maha Bandh" since Thursday called by the Central Action Committee (CAC) of All Western Odisha Bar Association (AWOBA).
At least 18 trains were cancelled, three others short terminated and five trains diverted as bandh supporters stopped services at several places such as Sambalpur, Hirakud and Sambalpur City, an East Coast Railway official said. Roads wore a deserted look like the movement of vehicles including passenger buses and trucks came to a standstill at least in seven districts - Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Deogarh, Subarnapur, Jharsuguda, Bargarh and Nuapada, the police said.
A large number of commuters were left stranded at several places due to disruption of train services and non-plying of passenger buses. Shops and business establishments, educational institutions, hotels, restaurants and government offices remained closed due to the bandh, officials said. Spokesperson of the Central Action Committee of AWOBA, Sureshswar Mishra claimed the bandh was supported by political parties including the ruling BJD, the Congress and the BJP.
Trade unions, farmers' outfits, civil societies and several social and cultural organisations have also extended their support to the bandh, he claimed.
The long-standing demand of establishment of permanent High Court bench in western Odisha must be met without further delay and both the state government and the Centre should take quick steps in this regard, Mishra said. Meanwhile, Balangir Bar Association has decided to launch a separate agitation for setting up of the High Court bench in Balangir and called for a bandh in the district on December 3.
(With inputs from agencies.)