Odisha town shuts down against irrigation project delay
Normal life was hit in Odisha's district headquarters town of Bolangir Friday owing to a 48-hour shutdown to protest the delay in revival of an irrigation project in the region, police said.
Vehicles remained off the roads and shops downed shutters in Bolangir, about 325 km from here. Most government and private establishments and educational institutions also remained closed.
According to a plan conceived in the early 1990s, a dam was to be built on the Suktel river to provide water in drought prone areas of Nuapada, Bolangir and Sonepur in the western region of the state.
The state government said the project was delayed due to land acquisition problems. The estimated cost of the project has shot up to Rs.1,040 crore from Rs.217 crore.
Although the state government set several deadlines in the past to start work, it has been facing problems related to displacement of people in the project area.
Accusing the state government of deliberately not reviving the project, the Lower Suktel Action Committee (LSAP) has called a two-day shutdown in the town starting Friday. Some LSAP members are also on hunger strike for the past three days.
Tension was running high in the town after three fasting leaders, including committee president Gopaljee Panigrahi, were admitted to hospital after their health deteriorated.