Heavy commercial and passengers vehicles stayed off the roads, while shops, business establishments, and offices were closed in many places, a senior police said.

Activists of more than 100 non-government and political organizations blocked roads with burning tyres in many towns including Bolangir, Sambalpur, Bargarh and Rourkela, he said.

Rail services were hit briefly at Sambalpur road railway station but have now become normal, said Jyoti Prakash Mishra, chief public relation officer of East Coast Railway.

"We have been demanding a separate Kosala state comprising 11 western districts because the region has always been neglected by both central and state government," said Bunde Dharua executive president of the Kosala Kranti Dal.

The Kosala Kranti Dal and several other local organisations are demanding statehood for 11 western districts Bargarh, Bolangir, Boudh, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Koraput, Nuapada, Sambalpur, Subarnapur and Sundergarh.

The region, known as Kosala, is poor and backward, the protesters said.

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