Banks, government offices, postal services and courts remained closed in Kalahandi district on Monday in response to a bandh call given by lawyers demanding establishment of a bench of the Orissa High Court in Kalahandi.

Educational institutions, business and transport were exempted from the purview of the Bundh. The Kalahandi Bar Association president Lokanath Nayak said the government had been ignoring the genuine demand of people of Kalahandi for a bench of the High Court.

It is time for the government to act and initiate the process for setting up the bench here. Kalahandi is ideally located for it as it is located in KBK region. He referred to the Pal Commission report and the Jaswant Singh Commission report on the matter.

Kalahandi is the most suitable place for the purpose but unfortunately the state government is ignoring Kalahandi. Depicting total population & tribal population of different KBK districts and distance of different districts in KBK region from Kalahandi a Map has also been released by the Action Committee justifying the establishment of permanent bench of High Court in Kalahandi.

It is pertinent to note here that there is along pending demand for a bench of the HC in western Odisha. But the fact that several districts of western Odisha like Sambalpur, Bolangir, Kalahandi are vying with each other has queered the pitch.

Few years ago, in a pre-poll stunt, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote a letter to the Union Law Minister Kapil Sibal requesting him to set up a bench of the Orissa High Court in western and southern Odisha. The Chief Minister did not mention the district where it is to be located.

He managed to temporarily assuage the agitated lawyers who started blaming the centre for the delay. Sibal however exposed it all when he pointed out to the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik that such matters are to be routed and processed through the Chief Justice and that the letter was vague as it did not even suggest the place where the bench is to be set up.