Four Policemen Injured As Drivers Protest Turn Violent

Last Updated: March 16, 2023, 23:01 IST

The drivers strike in Odisha. (News18)

The drivers strike in Odisha. (News18)

The protest has been raised by the Opposition parties, including the BJP and Congress during the state’s budget session.

Four policemen were injured as the drivers strike, called by the Drivers’ Ekta Mahamancha continued for its second day across Odisha. The protest turned violent on Thursday, resulting in a scuffle between the people and the policemen.

The injured police officers have been admitted to the MKCG hospital for treatment.

The protest has been raised by the Opposition parties, including the BJP and Congress during the state’s budget session. Both BJP and congress MLAs protested in the house supporting drivers’ agitation.

Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to initiate steps to resolve the issue on Thursday.

The protest turned violent in Pokadibanha of Berhampur. Long-route passengers were stranded at the Barmunda, Badambadi at Cuttack, Balasore, Puri, Berhampur, Rourkela, Sambalpur and other districts.

Tourists also faced hardship in Puri and other places. The supply of essential commodities, vegetables, fuel and gas was badly hit in the state. More than 400 truckloads of vegetables, fish and eggs are stranded at different locations. Vegetable mandis like Chhatra Bazar in Cuttack, Unit-I market in Bhubaneswar, the biggest vegetable and fruit wholesale market, are also staring at a shortage of vegetables and fruits.

Consumers have to purchase vegetables more than double the price. Byabasayee Mahasangh predicates that the situation will worsen if the strike continues.

Similarly, long queues of bikes and vehicles have been seen near petrolpump at several places.

“Skyrocketing price of all vegetables and fruits has become headache for us. Though thousands of drivers are agitating on roads, no one is taking any steps to stop it. It is a matter of concern for all. The issue should be solved soon,” Shiba Prasad Das said.

Chhatra Bazar Vegetable vendors secretary Debendra Sahu said, “Vegetables and fruit-loaded vehicles are being unable to reach here. The situation will worsen if the strike continues.”

“If the problem is not solved today, all the tanks will be closed tomorrow. The drivers association is requested not to stop the oil tanker. If the tank stops, everyone will face problems, and emergency services will be affected,” said Utkal Petroleum Dealers Association General Secretary Sanjay Lath.

Even though the bus owners’ association had assured that private buses will ply as usual, bus services were also affected. In view of the situation, the Association said that they will hold a token strike on Friday. If the state govt will not provide security, bus service will remain closed, they said.

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