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BJD takes to streets against Central apathy towards Odisha

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Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 2: 

Trumpeting drum about apathy and overlooking state’s demands, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today launched a state-wide agitation alleging neglect of Odisha in the Union Budget.

BJD dharnaThe three frontal organisations of BJD– Biju Yuva Janata Dal (BYJD), Biju Mahila Janata Dal and Biju Chhatra Janata—staged a protest in front of the Raj Bhawan here.

Besides, the protest meetings will be held at district headquarters from tomorrow, party sources said.

The ruling party has hit out at the Centre for not announcing special package for the state, financial assistance for Nabakalebara festival and ignoring backward KBK region wherein it has announced special package for poll-bound West Bengal and Bihar worth Rs 20, 000 crore.

‘‘Odisha’s demands have been completely ignored in the Budget and there is no provision for backward KBK region in the state. Besides, the Centre has not announced any package for the forthcoming Nabakalebara festival of Lord Jagannath in June this year,’’ president of BYJD, Sanjay Dasburma said.

The Centre has delinked various schemes including Backward Regions Grant Funds (BRGF) from Central assistance. In addition to this, Odisha’s share in tax devolution would come down resulting in a loss of about Rs 4,600 crore over a period of five years, Basburma added.

‘‘While special assistance of Rs 20,000 crore has been declared for Bihar and West Bengal, Odisha has been completely neglected. Besides, the cyclone Phailin and Hudhud assistance has also not reached the state. There has been repeated negligence from Centre towards the state,’’ state Law Minister Arun Kumar Sahu said.

Several ministers, party leaders and members of other frontal organisations of the party are protesting in front of the Raj Bhawan.

‘‘We will launch the protest in district headquarters across the state. The Centre has overlooked our demands,’’ Minister of State for Energy Pranab Prakash Das said.

It may be recalled that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had termed the Union Budget ‘disappointing’. No central allocation for Nabakalebara-2015 of Lord Jagannath has been made even though there has been a flow of resources for improvement of facilities in nine other heritage sites in the country, Patnaik had told media persons on Feb 28.

‘‘We will take this agitation to block level protesting towards central negligence. It has hurt our religious sentiments as it has not allocated any funds for the Nabakalebara festival in the Central budget,’’ Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said.

It may be mentioned that Union Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan yesterday rebutting the contention of the Odisha government that the state would lose substantial revenue on the basis of the recommendations of the 14th Finance Commission. The state would receive about Rs 8,000 crore more funds from the Centre per annum as compared to the allocations recommended by the 13th Finance Commission, Pradhan claimed.

Odisha would get Rs 24,416 crore as per the recommendation of the 14th Finance Commission as against Rs 16,630 crore recommended by the 13th Finance Commission. Besides, the state would get additional revenue from coal and other minerals through auction process, Pradhan added.