Orissa CM's visit triggers clash, 34 injured

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Puri, Nov 20 (UNI) As many as 34 people, including 15 policemen, were injured in a clash between police and Congress activists at Brahmagiri bazar, about 23 km from here today.

While the injured policemen were rushed to the Puri District Headquarter hospital, the Congress activists were treated at the local Public Health Centre.

The Congress activists were opposing the foundation-laying ceremony of the multi-canal system of Gobardhanpur barrage by the Chief Minister.

As per schedule, the Chief Minister along with Panchayati Raj Minister Raghunath Mohanty landed at Kerendia helipad and went to lay the foundation at Gobardhanpur under tight police security this noon and held a meeting at Kerendia.

The Congress activists wanted to present a memorandum to the Chief Minister, alleging that the project was underbudgeted.

A clash erupted between police and thousands of Congress activists after the former prevented them.

Police resorted to lathicharge, teargassing and firing of rubber bullets to quell the irate Congress activists.

However, the motorcade of the Chief Minister passed without any problem and the meeting was held at Kerendia peacefully.

Addressing the gathering, Mr Pattnaik focussed on irrigation and its future benefits to the farmers.

Local Congress Legislator L B Mohapatra said the canal project was estimated at Rs 90 crore but the Chief Minister was misled and asked to do it within Rs 30 crore.

Mr Mohapatra described it as an election ploy to woo the voters.

He said the project would not do any good to farmers and would be ineffective.

UNI XC-BD SJC PK AS1745

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