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Cong calls for Odisha bandh on Feb 15 over rising fuel prices

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 10: The Congress gave a call for a seven-hour Odisha shutdown on February 15 to protest against the rising prices of petrol and diesel.

Blaming both the Centre and the Odisha government for the rising fuel prices, state Congress president Niranjan Patnaik said on Tuesday that the shutdown would begin from 7 am and continue till 1 pm.

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Vehicles will stay off the roads, shops and other business establishments will also remain shut during the period, he said. Patnaik said that his party is aware that people will face various inconveniences due to the bandh but there is no alternative to protest against the government's "habit" of hiking fuel prices.

Seeking the support of the public for the bandh, Patnaik said the state government should reduce tax on petrol and diesel in order to give some relief to the people who are already sustaining hardship due to the pandemic.

He alleged that both the Centre and the state government are imposing unreasonable taxes on petrol and diesel, leading to a steep hike in fuel prices that in turn resulted in increase in the prices of other essential commodities.

"The two governments must be held accountable. Only a sharp reduction in fuel prices will give relief to the common man," he said.

Patnaik said the Congress will also raise the issues of the border dispute between Odisha and neighbouring states, the Mahanadi water dispute and political killings in the state.

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    "Under the BJD government, 'jal, jungle aur zameen' (water, forest and land) are in danger in our state. In recent years, killings have become rampant. Our mothers and sisters are not safe on the streets. We need to raise our voice. I appeal to the people to support the bandh," he said.

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