Bhubaneswar: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
enquired from a Congress delegation about the situation in
Kandhamal, the scene of last year`s communal riots, during his
brief visit to the state, surprising those who tried to raise
issues like multi-crore mining scams and farmers` suicides.
"How is the ground situation in Kandhamal?” Singh asked
the delegation, led by the leader of opposition Bhupinder
The Congress delegation, mostly comprising sitting MLAs
of the Orissa Assembly, which tried to impress upon Singh on
the multi-crore mining scam and a series of farmer suicide
incidents in the state, were instead asked whether normalcy
had completely returned in the district.
"Have all the people returned to their villages?” the PM
asked, according to a member of the delegation.
Though there had been no violence in the district since
last 15 months, all those who fled the region were yet to
return to villages, they informed the PM adding, those
remained in the district were still under apprehension of
"The sense of fear still continues among the people
belonging to minority community," the delegation told the
The riots had claimed at least 38 lives besides burning
of hundreds of houses and churches in the aftermath of the VHP
leader Swami Laxamanananda Saraswati last year.
Singh had earlier dubbed the incident as a "national
During its about 20-minute meeting with the Prime
Minister, the Congress delegation sought his intervention into
the mining scam.
"We wanted the PM to do something so that the case would
be probed by the CBI instead of the state vigilance", said an
The delegation which met Singh at Raj Bhavan here
between his two programmes - inaugural function of Indian
Economic Association and foundation stone laying ceremony of
the new campus of the NISER, also drew the Prime Minister`s
attention to the distress sale of paddy in the state.
The delegation informed the PM about the plight of
tribals, dalits and other backward class population in the
state`s KBK region besides drawing his attention to the
increasing Maoist violence here.