Naveen protests negligence, BJD calls bandh on April 26



Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday decried the paltry allocation for Odisha under the Backward Region Grant Fund, while the ruling BJD called a 12-hour bandh in the state on April 26 in protest.

"It is most unfortunate that the Central government is discriminating against Odisha on political considerations. This is a clear case of negligence of our state once again," Patnaik told reporters here.

Patnaik was reacting to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approving allocation of only Rs 250 cr per annum for the poverty stricken Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) region in the state.

Finance minister Prasanna Acharya, who is also BJD Vice-President, alleged that the CCEA gave virtually nothing to Odisha while allocated Rs 12,000 crore for Bihar and Rs 4,400 crore for Bundelkhand in Uttar Pradesh.

"CCEA allocated only Rs 250 crore per annum for KBK during 12th plan period as during the 11th plan period," he said.

He claimed that the state has sustained a loss of Rs 5,000 crore already as the UPA government reduced the percentage of allocations in the 13th Finance Commission to 4.78 per cent from 5.15 per cent in the 12th Finance Commission.

The state also lost about Rs 2,550 crore in the 2012-13 fiscal due to slash in the central budget, he said.

"This Rs 2,550 crore included Rs 600 crore as grant towards Accelerated Irrigation Benefit programme. The Centre had asked us to spend the money, but did not pay it back," Acharya said.

Similarly, health minister and another BJD Vice-President Damodar Rout said, "While the Centre sanctioned Rs 1,000 crore to West Bengal during cyclone Aila, Bihar also got Rs 1,200 crore for floods in the river Kosi. But, the UPA government did not give any special grant for floods in Odisha".

Rout also claimed that though the Indian Railways earned a good amount of revenue from Odisha every year, it did not spend the required amount for expansion of the rail network.

"We have been neglected in all sectors," Rout said. The BJD would also hold a dharna before Raj Bhavan on April 22 and demonstrations in all district headquarters on April 23.

The party has decided to collect signature of one crore people demanding special category state status and against central negligence, BJD Youth wing president Sanjay Dasburma said.

Resolutions supporting special category state status for Odisha would be passed in all the 6236 gram panchayats, 314 panchayat samities and 30 Zilla Parishads, he said.

PTI