Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, July 28:
The Congress today ridiculed the Odisha Government’s claim about reducing poverty at a faster rate in the state and said the populist sops declared by it would not eradicate poverty.
“If you (government) claim to have reduced the poverty by 24.6 per cent, then why hapless couples sell their children and why people migrate to other states to sustain their livelihood?” asked Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra while initiating the debate on the Odisha Appropriation Bill, 2014, tabled by Finance minister Pradip Kumar Amat in the assembly.
Mishra said lacking as it does the political will to take long term measures to eradicate poverty, the government has announced several populist schemes.
“This government has no specific programme to reduce poverty. The rates of poverty can decline only if there are programmes and schemes in the health, irrigation, agriculture and education sectors. Providing cheap rice, umbrella, blanket and uniform to school children may help the poor survive, but this cannot eradicate poverty. The BJD government has failed to perform,” said Mishra.
The Congress leader also slammed the tall claim of the government that the state is revenue surplus. “If Odisha is indeed a revenue surplus state, then why over 75,000 posts of teachers have remained vacant? The education system in the state is in complete disarray with huge vacancies in schools and colleges,” said the Bolangir MLA adding that a large number of teachers’ posts remain vacant even in poverty stricken KBK region.
The Congress leader said the state government had failed to uplift the agriculture sector.
“Can the state government now say how many blocks have received 35 per cent irrigation facilities. The CAG report has pointed out on the state’s failure in achieving the target in irrigation,” said Mishra.
Mishra said irrigation projects which were initiated before 2000, are yet to see light of the day. “The Aung and Lower Suktel projects also suffer due to negligence of the state government,” he said.
“There has been no provision for long term measures to fight poverty,” Mishra said and claimed that the state government does not have its own figure on the number of poor families living in Odisha. “In the absence of a specific figure about the poor, how can the government make plans and programmes?” he asked.