Berhampur, July 28 (LocalWire): Public transport in southern Odisha’s Maoist-infested areas was hit on Sunday, the beginning of Martyrs’ Week observed by the Maoists.
The state-owned Odisha state road transport corporation has decided not to ply its buses in the Naxal-hit areas of Gajapati, Malkanagiri, Koraput, Nabarangapur, Rayagada and Phulbani from Saturday night.
Every year, Maoists observe 28 July to 3 August as martyrs’ week in memory of Charu Mazumdar, founder of the Naxal movement and several other cadres.
They pay homage to their dead compatriots by erecting temporary martyr pillars.
Police said they tightened security by deploying additional forces in vulnerable areas to thwart any untoward incident triggered by the Maoists in Kandhamal and Gajapati districts.
The vehicle checking border areas have already started in the districts like Gajapati, Kandhamal and Boudh.
‘We have asked the unit heads to take decision on whether to ply buses after keeping a watch on the situation,’ said OSRTC’s deputy general manager KK Behera.
‘We decided not to operate the buses in Maoist-hit areas and OSRTC buses via Gumuda in Rayagada district have been cancelled till the end of the martyrs’ week,’ said the corporation’s divisional transport manager (Berhampur) Rabindra Kumar Behera.
As many as 11 long routes of Malkanagiri and Koraput-bound buses from different places, including Berhampur, Bhanjanagar, Cuttack and Bhubaneswar will be cancelled during the week-long period.
Similarly, OSRTC’s Phulbani unit has also stopped operating its buses in the 11 routes during the period.
Similarly, Berhampur (3), Bhanjanagar (3) and Paralakhemundi (3) have cancelled buses during the period.
‘We have decided to stop plying buses to avoid any untoward incident on the occasion of matryr’s week,’ Behera said.
The rebels had set ablaze four OSRTC buses at Raipanka in Gajapati district on 27 December 2009.
The ultras proved their presence in the tribal-dominated Kandhamal district by sticking posters from time to time.
Though their movement was in Gajapati district, the ultras did not indulge any untoward incident for last few years.