Shops and business establishments, banks, schools, colleges and other educational institutions remained closed in most places, including Sambalpur, Balasore, Berhampur, Cuttack, Puri and Baripada.

Vehicular traffic also came to a grinding halt in many areas during the 12-hour bandh as passenger buses, trucks, auto-rickshaws and private vehicles were off the roads in many places.

The areas under the jurisdiction of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) were, however, exempted from the purview of the bandh in view of the urban body elections on Wednesday, Congress leaders said.

"There is only a symbolic protest in the BMC area in view of the urban body elections to ensure smooth preparation for the polls," Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Jaydev Jena said.

The strike remained peaceful so far and no untoward incident has been reported from any part of the state, police said.

Elaborate security arrangements had been made with deployment of forces in all sensitive areas of the state, including the state capital in order to prevent any disturbances during the strike, he said.

The private bus owners association had already announced the operators were not prepared to take the risk of running vehicles across the state. About 14,000 private buses ply in the state.

Stating that Shah panel's report has vindicated the stand taken by OPCC on the multi-crore mining scam which had been alleging massive loot of precious minerals in the state under BJD government's patronage, Jena said.

"As Naveen Patnaik's role in the mining plunder is now exposed, he must resign as Chief Minister forthwith and should be arrested," he said, adding Congress party would continue agitation till Patnaik resigns.


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