Talcher: Coal mining and transportation was severely affected as Talcher Suraksha Manch launched an indefinite bandh from Friday in Talcher over its 16-point charter of demands.
Members of the outfit along with locals staged dharnas at various locations in the town, brining mining operations to standstill.
Business establishments, banks, offices, schools and colleges remained closed during the bandh. Vehicular movement came to a halt while several coal-laden trucks remained stranded on either side of the National Highway-53.
The strike affected coal extraction from more than 10 mines including the ones at Hingula, Balaram, Jagannath, Lingaraj, Bhubaneswari, Bharatput, Anant and Kaniha. Coal-laden trucks on their way to NALCO, TTPS and NTPC were also halted.
Locals alleged that despite repeated pleas, the district administration ignored several problems plaguing the region.
Earlier, the members of Talcher Suraksha Mancha had called for talks with the District Collector. However, they said their demands were not met.
Among their various demands included—amendment to the resettlement and rehabilitation policy, 2006, implementation of decisions taken at the 10th RPDAC meeting, establishment of a new Talcher Coalfield company, beginning of academic session in the local medical college in 2019-20, re-engagement of 131 contractors in Jagannath railway siding, a fly-over from Bankadhara square to Balahar square and 4-laning of the road upto Banrapal.
Their other demands are underpass on Talcher-Bimalagarh railway line and 4-laning of road from Talcher to Hingula temple.
“Unemployment is a major issue and we want the government to address it,” the agitators said. They demanded job opportunities at the MCL for unemployed youths of families who have been displaced by the company.
The protesters also brought forward the demand for tackling high level of pollution which has made life unbearable in the mining town.
Besides demanding commencement of Talcher Medical College, locals have also urged the government to make provisions for regular stoppage of express trains in the local station.
“Condition of town is worsening as people are leaving the area while local businesses are also suffering,” said a resident.