Bhubaneswar: Though Orissa is rich in
mineral resources, its people continue to remain under acute
poverty as they do not get benefits from the developmental
activities, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi said on Thursday.
"Orissa is not poor, but its people are deprived of
benefits from the resources," Gandhi said at a public meeting
here while winding up his two-day tour of the state.
"You have iron ore, bauxite and many other precious
minerals. But surprisingly poverty among people of Orissa is
highest in the country," the AICC general secretary said
blaming the BJD government in the state for not giving poor
their genuine dues.
Terming direct export of minerals from the state as
"wrong" Gandhi said the poor people do not get any benefit
from this process. "You should get the benefit from the
mineral wealth here," Gandhi said.
Citing instance of Posco project, he claimed that the
Centre had sent the South Korean steel major to the state for
setting up its mega steel plant and the basic objective was to
provide jobs to the poor.
"Let not rich alone take advantage from Posco project.
The poor should also get the benefit," Gandhi said, adding
he was pained to know that the poor children were fed inferior
dal in their mid-day meals in schools.
Giving instances of Congress-ruled states, Gandhi pointed
out that poor people in Maharashtra, Delhi, Haryana and Andhra
Pradesh were getting direct benefits from the developmental
programmes while they were denied such facilities in state
"MGNREGA, MDM and other schemes are working in full swing
in Andhra Pradesh while CBI is probing rural job scam in
Orissa," he said asking people to oust the "corrupt" BJD
government in order to help the poor to come out of poverty.
UPA governemnt was planning to bring Right to Food Bill,
Rahul Gandhi said and wondered if it could be properly
implemented in Orissa. "I fear whether the Orissa government
can implement the food rights perfectly," he said.
Dubbing the ruling BJD as a government for rich people`,
Rahul Gandhi asked the gathering to spread the Congress
message in villages in order to oust the state government for
a better tomorrow.
Earlier in the day Gandhi participated in two youth
interaction programmes at Khurda and Bhadrak where he asked
young men and women to join Youth Congress to change the fate
of the state.
"Congress means development of poor, tribals, dalits,
backward and minorities," Gandhi said.