Bhubaneswar, May 16 - Vehicular traffic was partially affected in Naxal-hit areas of southern Odisha today during a country-wide bandh called by Maoists which evoked a lukewarm response in the state.
Security was tightened in red-hit zones of Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Gajapati, Nawarangpur and Ganjam districts to prevent any untoward incident during the bandh called by Srikakulam-Koraput division of CPI (Maoist).
While opposing the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), the Maoists are demanding halt to Operation Green Hunt and combing operation and closure of CRPF camps.
Though government buses were suspended in the Naxal affected districts of Koraput, Kandhamal, Gajapati, Rayagada and Malkangiri, private buses and other vehicles plied as usual in these areas, official sources said.
Impact of the the bandh could be felt only in interior pockets amid closure of shops and business establishments, while in urban centres including small towns, life remained unaffected, they said.
The state-owned Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) did not operate vehicles in the Red-hit zones, particularly those passing through Gumuda in Rayagada district during the night hours. At least five long-route buses of the OSRTC are plying via Gumuda.
"While some buses passing through Gumuda were cancelled, some other Malkanagiri bound buses were diverted", divisional manager, OSRTC Berhampur division A K Mishra said.
Police had sounded an alert in the Maoist hit areas. "We have sounded an alert and asked the police to keep a close watch on the movements of the ultras," DIG (southern range) R K Sharma said.
Vehicles were being checked in Kandhamal district in view of the bandh. The security forces were also deployed in the vulnerable areas in the district, Kandhamal SP J N Pankaj said.
Combing operation was intensified in border areas of Ganjam-Gajapati-Kandhamal district by security forces.
In Koraput district, an alert was sounded and a thick security blanket thrown to prevent any trouble. "We are prepared to meet any eventuality. Patrolling has been stepped up," SP Awinash Kumar said. PTI