UPA and I not anti-Orissa: Jairam Ramesh

Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh rubbishes the ruling BJD`s charge projecting him as "anti-Orissa".

Bhubaneswar: Rubbishing the ruling BJD`s charge projecting him and the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre as "anti-Orissa", Union Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Friday claimed that neither he nor the Centre was against the state.

The Union minister said at a function marking launch of the World Bank funded Rs 227 crore Integrated Costal Zone Management Project (ICZMP) at Okilpal, the entry point to the Bhitarkania National Park in Kendrapara district.

Stating that Orissa was the first among the coastal states in the country where the ICZMP was being launched, Ramesh claimed that this amply demonstrated the Centre`s concern towards Orissa`s development.

"I want to make it clear that the allegations against me and the Centre are false, fabricated and baseless," Ramesh said while referring to the ruling BJD`s charges against him.

The minister also pointed out that of Rs 227 crore to be spent in the state under the ICZMP, the Centre would bear the burden of Rs 200 crore while the state`s share was only Rs 27 crore.

"Those who say that the Centre is against the state, they are wrong," the minister said.

Ramesh`s remark came in response to the ruling BJD`s ongoing "Sava Orissa" campaign launched after the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) last year rejected environmental clearance to the proposed bauxite mining project at Niyamgiri hills for Vedanta`s alumina refinery in Kalahandi.

BJD had held rallies across the state telling people that the Centre was against the interest of the state and alleged that the MoEF headed by Jairam Ramesh used different yardstick for Orissa projects while the same was not applicable to Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh.

Even the ruling party MLAs in recent budget session of the assembly criticised him for allegedly going against the state`s interest.

After arriving here on a two day tour to the state, Ramesh had said: "Polavaram project has also been issued stop work order. Same yardstick is used for Orissa and other states, same for the BJD and for the Congress."