Bargarh: Demand for a city hospital here gained momentum as thousands of locals today staged a demonstration in front of the old district headquarters hospital building.
Clashes occurred between the slogan-shouting agitators and the police when the latter tried to evict them.
On the other hand, the BJP has blocked national highway no. 53 at Bandutikra-Ghulipali Chowk on the same demand. The blockade of the national highway has resulted in traffic coming to a standstill on both sides.
While palpable tension prevails agitators have threatened to continue with their agitation until a city hospital has been established at the old district headquarters hospital building.
Shops and establishments, schools, colleges remained closed in the town in support of the demand for the establishment of a city hospital. Agitators set fire to old automobile tyres at different squares of the town to stall movement of vehicles.
Efforts of senior BJD leader and Bargarh MLA Debesh Acharya who had come to the dharna site to hold discussions with the agitators failed to yield any results.
The locals of this district headquarters town have opposed the shifting of medical equipment from the old district headquarters building to the new one.
The locals are of the view that Bargarh being a large town, a centrally located hospital is a necessity.
It is worthwhile to mention here that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated a new six-storey building of the district headquarters hospital having a bed capacity of 300 built at a cost of Rs 45 crore at Tukurla on the outskirts of Bargarh town.