Bhubaneswar, Feb 26: CPM MLA from Bonai Laxman Munda today initiated an indefinite hunger strike in front of the Orissa Assembly to demand immediate repair of the Rajamunda-Panikoili and Kaleiposh-Koida road in Sundergarah district.
Mr Munda, who sat on a dharna in front of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's residence yesterday, later withdrew it following a discussion with Mr Patnaik.
During the discussion the Chief Minister had assured to depute an efficient officer to expedite the work. However, the CPM leader said he would not budge until the government started the work and resumed his indefinite fast before the Assembly.
The party supporters yesterday blocked roads at Kalta, Roxy, Joda, Bimlagarha, Barsuan, Raikela, Lahunipada and Kaleiposh in support of their demand.
Party sources said as many as 56 party activists were arrested from Roxy, Barsuan and Lahunipada areas during the agitation.
They also demanded the extension of Puri-Rourkela passenger train upto Kiribur, Bhubaneswar-Sambalpur intercity upto Rourkela, early completion of Talcher-Bimalagarha rail line, attachment of second class coach in Barsuan-Biramitra Passenger and steps to run the Ranchi-Bhubaneswar Garib Rath at the earliest.
Mr Munda said the roads were damaged as around 20,000 trucks carrying minerals to different ports and plants use the route every day.
He said the passenger traffic had almost been stopped in three districts putting people in difficult situations. The students were the worst hit and the patients sometimes lost their lives due to traffic jams.
Moreover, owing to the bad condition of the road, the iron ore transporation from the Kalta iron ore mines to Roxy loading point was almost paralysed causing starvation to more than 3,000 workers, he alleged.
Despite repeated appeals no step had been taken to improve the situation, Mr Munda alleged.
He alleged that though both the Centre and state government were earning crores of rupees from the area, they were not spending adequate funds for its improvement.
The CPM MLA said the road blockade and hunger strike would continue till the government commenced the work.
He said party state committee member Shivaji Patnaik and Bishnu Mohanty were scheduled to meet Union Shipping, Surface Transport and Highways Minister T R Baalu and take up the issue with him today at New Delhi.