Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Aug 19:
While the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has left no stone unturned to disrupt the proceedings of the monsoon session of the Odisha Assembly session on the pretext of Central apathy towards Odisha, the reason why the party supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik is yet to open his mouth on this issue remains a mystery.
Contrary to the announcement of a special package of Rs 1.25 lakh crore to Bihar by prime minister Narendra Modi yesterday, the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre has stopped special assistance to the Odisha government for the development of undivided Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput (KBK) region.
The Centre has also stopped the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) and Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for development of the Maoist prone areas of the state.
As against the demand of the state government to sanction an additional assistance of Rs 3500 crore to continue the ongoing developmental works in the state, the Centre is yet to sanction a single pie. Besides, out of Rs 1500 crore sought by the state government for Nabakalebara developmental works, the Centre has sanctioned only Rs 50 crore.
Adding salt to the injuries of the state, the Centre has considerably slashed its assistance to the state under Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP), Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) and Sarva Sikshya Yojana (SSY).
It may be mentioned that the Raghurajan Committee, in its report, has recommended that the Centre should provide more financial assistance to Odisha since it is the most backward state in the country.
Though the prime minister has reiterated that the Centre has given top priority to the development of eastern states, the Centre till date has neither accorded special category status to Odisha nor provided any special assistance package.
Despite the gross apathy of the Centre, the state government has been mysteriously squeamish about making its displeasure known to the Centre. In the process, it has sacrificed the interests of the state to safeguard the narrow, short-term political interests of the BJD supremo who needs Central help to stave off action against him and his paryy men in a series of corruption scandals.
Though the NDA government has assumed power since 15 months, the ruling party has neither opened its mouth against the Centre and nor has it come to the streets protesting the gross apathy towards the state.
The state government, which never tired of shouting ‘Central neglect’ from the rooftops throughout the tenure of the Congress-led UPA government, has been surprisingly tongue-tied since the beginning fo the current term in May 2014.
Talk of a ‘deal’ between the Narendra Modi led NDA government at the centre and the BJD supremo has dominated political discourse since the start of Naveen Patnaik’s fourth term as Chief Minister. Naveen’s silence and the support of his party to the NDA in parliament is said to be the price he has paid for winning a reprieve in corruption cases including the mining, coal and chit fund scams.