Congress strike over mining scam partially affects Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Jan 7 : A dawn-to-dusk strike called by the opposition Congress in Odisha Tuesday over the alleged multi-crore mining scam evoked mixed response in the state, police said.

Shops and business establishments remained closed while private and state-run buses and other vehicles were off the roads in many places. Trains services were also affected as protestors squatted on the tracks.

Although the Congress decided to keep Bhubaneswar out of the strike call in view of the Wednesday polls to the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC), hundreds of party workers staged symbolic demonstrations at various places of the city, including at the railway station.

"It (the strike) had a mixed response. Train, bus services were affected in most of the urban areas, including in Sambalpur, Rourkela, Angul, Cuttack, Bolangir, Bargarh and Jagatsinghpur towns. People blocked roads," a police officer posted at police control room in Cuttack, about 26 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, told IANS.

"However, there was no impact in many rural areas," he added.

The Congress claimed the strike was total and spontaneous.

"It was a complete success. People responded to our call. The chief minister must resign and order a CBI probe into the mining scam," former state Congress president Sarat Patnaik told IANS.

The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), on the other hand, said the strike call of the Congress did not have any impact.

"People have rejected the Congress call," Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Surya Narayan Patro said.

The Congress, the main opposition in the state, has been demanding resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik following the alleged indictment of his government by the Justice M.B. Shah Commission that probed illegal mining in many states, including Odisha.

The commission submitted its final report on Odisha to the central government July 1. Citing the report, excerpts of which were leaked to a section of the media recently, the Congress said the chief minister must resign and sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the mining scam.

--IANS (Posted on 07-01-2014)

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