Odisha bandh: Educational institutes to remain closed on Monday

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 14 (PTI) All the schools, colleges and universities across Odisha will remain closed on Monday for the safety of students during a six-hour statewide shutdown called by the Congress to protest against the rising fuel prices, a minister said.

The authorities of technical institutes and industrial training centres will also not open their premises for students on February 15, School and Mass Education Minister SR Dash said.

'The government has decided to shut all the educational institutes on Monday in view of the safety of students during the bandh. Also, there will be no classes on February 16 for Saraswati puja,' he said.

The government also announced the closure of all the institutes under the higher education and skill development departments on Monday, the minister said.

After a gap of about nine months, schools across Odisha had on January 8 reopened their classrooms to students who would shortly be appearing for their board examination, amid strict adherence to COVID-19 guidelines.

The institutes also resumed physical classes for students of 9 and 11 standards from February 8.

Blaming both the Centre and the Odisha government for the rising prices of petrol and diesel, state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik had said that the shutdown would begin from 7 am and continue till 1 pm.

All the essential services, movements of patients and marriage parties will be kept out of the purview of the shutdown, he said.

Meanwhile, the BJD government has taken a slew of measures to tighten the security arrangement in and around the state capital to avoid any untoward incident.

The government also advised its employees to reach their workplaces before 9.30 am on Monday, an official said.

All Odisha Bus Owners Association also announced that the passenger vehicles of their members will stay off the roads till 1 PM on February 15.

Patnaik alleged that both the Centre and the state government are imposing unreasonable taxes on petrol and diesel, leading to a steep rise in fuel prices.

He said prices of essential commodities have shot up due to the spiralling fuel costs.

Stating that the shutdown will be peaceful, the Congress leader appealed to the people to support their call.