Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 18:
The Odisha unit of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) today described Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s announcement on the Malakangiri-Nabarangpur railway line and his claim that his government had made provision of Rs 485 crores for it as a ‘political gimmick’.
“Has he made provision for the Rs 485 crore in the state budget? In writing to the Union Railway minister after the budget is passed, the Chief Minister is just trying to keep the issue of ‘central neglect’ alive,” BJP spokesperson Samir Mohanty said in a statement here.
If the state government had made provision for it in the budget and had announced its decision to provide land for the project free of cost before the budget was finalised, the Union Railway ministry would have definitely taken it into consideration, Mohanty said.
“But the people of Odisha know that despite their demands, the state government had neither convened an all-party meeting nor met the Prime Minister or Railway minister in this regard before or during the preparation of the rail budget,” the BJP spokesperson said.
Mohanty said the Chief Minister’s announcement was designed to divert attention away from the tragic suicides of Kanakdei Bhatra and Sunita Raita, the first because she could not pay her school fees and the second because her stipend dues were not released by the government.
Since the Central government had already announced compensation of Rs 2 lakh each for the dead and Rs 50, 000 each for the injured in the recent floods in the state, the state government had made this announcement in the middle of the financial year to hide its failure in providing timely relief to the people, he said.