CUTTACK: Normal life came to a standstill in the Millennium City as the Bharat Bandh, called by the NDA and the Left, and the Odisha Bandh by the BJD, evoked near-total response on Thursday.
Offices, shops and business establishments, markets and educational institutions remained closed throughout the day as public transport system was completely paralysed. Buses and vehicles stayed off the roads while train services were severely disrupted due to blockades by the protestors at several places.
The bandh, however, passed off peacefully. Activists of the BJP, the BJD and the Left parties, including CPM, CPI and SUCI, held demonstrations and picketed different junctions and major thoroughfares protesting the petrol price hike and demanding its rollback. They burnt tyres and blocked National Highway - 5 at Khapuria and roads at Badambadi, Buxi Bazaar, College Square and Railway Station.
While private offices were closed, Government ones witnessed skeleton staff. Banking operations were severely affected as branches were shut anticipating trouble. Major business hubs of the City like Choudhury Bazaar, Buxi Bazaar, Haripur Road, Nandi Sahi, Link Road and Mangalabag remained shut as the roads wore a deserted look for the major part of the day.
Malgodown, the largest commodities market of the State, along with the vegetable and fruits ‘mandi’ of Chatra Bazaar was also remained closed. The impact of the day-long bandh has been substantial with more than Rs 100-crore business lost. Banking transactions, worth several crores of rupees, were also stalled due to disruption in cheque clearances, sources said.