UPA grant to Bihar for Nitish Kumar's support: Odisha govt



Bhubaneswar: Unhappy with allocation of Rs 250 crore per annum for the poverty stricken KBK region in the state, the Odisha government on Friday accused the Congress-led UPA government of granting Rs 3,000 crore per annum to Bihar in expectation of possible support from Nitish Kumar.

"This is unfortunate on part of the Centre to discriminate against Odisha. The UPA government granted Rs 3,000 crore per annum to Bihar only to get support from Nitish Kumar," Odisha's Panchayati Raj Minister Kalpataru Das told reporters.

He alleged that the UPA government has failed to perform its federal responsibilities. The minister was reacting to yesterday's Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) decision to allocate funds under Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF).

"They allocated only Rs 250 crore per annum for the Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) region of Odisha for the next four years," Das pointed out. The amount was same as in the 11th plan period, he said, adding Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh also got Rs 1100 crore per annum.

Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertiliser, Statistics and Programme Implementation Srikant Jena, however, said: "It is habit of the BJD government in Odisha to blame the Centre on every occasion. I can claim that UPA government has sanctioned maximum funds to Odisha than any other previous governments".

Congress MP Pradeep Majhi also pointed out that the state government often blamed the Centre on every occasion. "It should build a cordial relationship with the Centre," Majhi said.

Senior BJP leader and former minister B B Harichandan hit out at both the Centre and the state government for inadequate funding for Odisha. "Odisha government must learn to deal the issues diplomatically," Harichandan said.

Meanwhile, the youth wing of the ruling BJD announced holding demonstrations in all the district headquarters of KBK region. "While Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi claims himself as a solider of tribals, the UPA government ignores interest of backward and tribal dominated districts," said BJD youth president Sanjay Dasburma.

PTI