12-hr bandh in Odisha for separate Koshal state

Various local organisations demanding a separate Koshal state in western Odisha observed a 12-hour bandh in the region on Monday which affected normal life.

The organisations are demanding a new state consisting of 12 western districts, all of which bore the brunt of the strike.

Business establishments, schools and colleges remained closed in all the district headquarters towns and rural pockets of the region. Traffic was thin and demonstrations by Koshali activists on highways running through the region halted vehicle movement there as well. Demonstrators also blocked railway tracks. 

A week-long agitation by lawyers demanding a High Court bench in western Odisha further paralysed day-to-day life, besides halting court activities. 

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and some of his senior cabinet colleagues, including finance minister Prasana Acharya from the western Odisha region, met representatives of lawyers based in the region’s major town of Sambalpur here on Saturday to end the strike. 

However, negotiations broke down and the lawyers carried on with their strike action. 

The strike has already affected the region’s preparation for urban local bodies’ polls to be held across the state next month.

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