OST Political Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Oct 21:
With the opposition parties baying for its blood for the alleged mismanagement of relief operations after the cyclone and the subsequent flood in the state, the ruling BJD today sought to turn the tables on the Congress, the principal opposition party, by pointing to the fact that neither has the central government provided any financial assistance for the twin calamities nor has the Prime Minister or any senior Central minister bothered to visit the state yet. This, the ruling party said, was yet another instance of the gross apathy and step motherly attitude of the Congress-led UPA government to the state.
“Whenever there has been a calamity elsewhere in the country, the Prime Minister and top Congress leaders have rushed to the affected area immediately. But no senior Congress leader, the Prime Minister or any Minister has so far visited the affected areas of our state,” BJD vice-president and Panchayati Raj Minister Kalpataru Das told reporters at a joint press meet attended by Revenue and Disaster Management Minister Surya Narayan Patro and party deputy chief whip Sanjay Dasburma.
Terming the attitude of the UPA government as unfortunate, Patro said even though Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had asked the Centre to release Rs 1000 crore immediately for emergency relief and reconstruction work, it has neither released the amount nor sent a competent Minister to assess the loss.
The minister also threatened that people of Odisha, already angry over the neglect of the Centre in everything from Railway budget to mineral royalty, would not tolerate any further neglect.
Highlighting the plight of the fishing community after the cyclone, Dasburma demanded that the departmental minister and secretary should visit the state immediately and assess their loss.
However, the Congress has refuted the allegation of Central neglect saying the regional party is in the habit of accusing the Centre without any reason. “The Central government has been providing all necessary assistance to the state. The allegation is politically motivated,” state Congress president Jayadev Jena said.
The severe tropical cyclone Phailin in the Bay of Bengal, which made landfall on October 12 night near Gopalpur in Ganjam district, and the floods that followed in its wake killed at least 44 and affected 1.2 crore people in 18 districts of Odisha, leaving behind a trail of destruction.