Strike partially affects normal life in Odisha

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Bhubaneswar, Nov 26 (PTI) Normal life was affected partially in several parts of Odisha on Thursday due to the countrywide strike called by many trade unions in protest against the new farm and labour laws.

Vehicular movement was disrupted as trade union activists staged road blockade in different places including state capital Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Bhadrak, Balasore, Khurda, Rayagada and Paradip to enforce the day-long strike that began at 6 am.

The protesters holding placards and banners took out rallies and held picketing and demonstrations in different areas of the state asking the shopkeepers and business establishments to down their shutters during the strike.

Buses, trucks and other vehicles were stranded on highways and other roads in different places as the strike supporters staged demonstrations and road blockade.

In Bhubaneswar, the agitators held road blockade in some places including Acharya Vihar square preventing movement of vehicles, while many protesters staged picketing near the regional office of the Reserve Bank of India and other central government establishments.

Shouting slogans against the Centre's economic policies, they demanded immediate steps for withdrawal of 'anti-farmer' and 'anti-worker' laws and measures and privatisation of public sector units.

The agitators also demanded a halt to measures towards corporatisation of government-run manufacturing units as well as and service entities like railways, ordnance factories and ports.

The strike remained peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from any part of the state, a senior police officer said.

In the state capital, necessary security arrangements including deployment of forces have been made in view of the strike, DCP Umashankar Dash said.

The strike has been called by a joint platform of 10 central trade unions, including Indian National Trade Union Congress (INTUC), All India Trade Union Congress (AITUC), Hind Mazdoor Sabha (HMS), Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU), All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), Trade Union Coordination Centre (TUCC) and Self-Employed Women's Association (SEWA).

Besides protesting the new farm and labour laws as well as the central government's economic policies, the trade unions are raising other workers-related issues and various demands.

The Odisha unit of Congress extended support to the strike. 'We are supporting the strike wholeheartedly and staging protests against the central government's anti-farmer and anti-labour laws. Its economic policies are aimed at benefiting a handful of corporate houses,' state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik said.

The strike called by the central trade unions and federations has evoked overwhelming support from the people, claimed CITUs All India Vice-President Bishnu Mohanty. PTI SKN RG RG