Vehicular traffic came to a halt in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack today during a 6-hour ‘Chakka Jam’ called by the Congress in protest against steep hike in the prices of petrol and diesel. A large number of buses and trucks were stranded on the national highway connecting the twin-cities due to the protest from 6 am to 12 noon. Bus stands in the two cities were crowded with stranded passengers, the police said.
Auto-rickshaws were also off the roads, while people avoided taking out their own vehicles and some two-wheelers were seen plying the streets. Congress activists were seen picketing near Vani Vihar and Rasulgarh holding placards and flags and by burning tyres on the road and urging people not to ply vehicles as a mark of protest. Several protesters were detained by police near AG Square while trying to stage a demonstration, they said.
In Cuttack, Congress activists held picketing in several areas including Madhupatna Jagatpur, Sikharpur and Badambadi and requested the people to avoid using vehicles during the ‘Chakka Jam.’ The protest remained peaceful as the police had made elaborate security arrangements and deployed force in strength to prevent any untoward incident, they said.
Odisha Congress holds strike & protest against fuel price hike in Bhubaneswar. Nirajan Patnaik, state Congress President says,”Consumers are at loss & a few traders & manufacturers are gaining from price hike. Both Centre & state govt are least bothered about people’s plight,” pic.twitter.com/RTxJXTSJmv
— ANI (@ANI) June 4, 2018
Besides asking the Centre to slash oil prices, Congress activists said the state government should also cut VAT to reduce the fuel price. The Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik said common people were hit hard due to sky-rocketing fuel prices.
Patnaik said the Centre should reduce excise duty on fuel in order to provide relief to the common people. The state government should also cut VAT on petrol and diesel to provide some relief to the public, the PCC chief said. Patnaik said Congress had requested the people of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack not to use their vehicles from 6 am to 12 pm as a mark of protest against unprecedented rise in prices of petrol, diesel and LPG and the call given by the party was supported by the public.
Cuttack district Congress President Mohammed Moquim said the protest evoked overwhelming support from the people who were badly affected by soaring oil prices.