Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, July 12:
Coming down hard on the NDA government’s unilateral decision to raise the height of the controversial Polavaram dam, former president of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Niranjan Patnaik today demanded reconsideration of the decision.
Patnaik alleged that the interests of Odisha had been completely ignored while passing the Andhra Reorganisation Bill in parliament yesterday. The Centre had taken the decision unilaterally without consulting Andhra Pradesh or the three other states which would be affected by it, he said expressing grave concern over the fact that 307 tribal villages would be completely submerged by raising the height of the project.
“Earlier, both the BJP and BJD used to complain that the Congress led UPA government was neglecting Odisha. Now that there is a BJP led government at the Centre, who is to be blamed for this anti Odisha anti tribal decision?” he asked.
Blaming the ‘weak’ leadership of the state for Odisha getting a raw deal, the senior Congress leader said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has always tried to shift the blame to others in an effort to hide his incompetence.
“Naveen Babu will use this serious issue for political gain. His party will stage demonstration on the issue. But instead of trying to face the situation nationally on such an important issue, all that he would try to do is to play with the sentiments of the people and augment his vote bank in the process. Even if the people of the state meet a watery grave, let the BJD vote bank continue to grow – this has been the policy that Naveen Babu has followed for the past 14 years,” Patnaik said.
For someone who has been the Chief Minister for 15 years, Naveen Patnaik has grossly failed to place the demands of the state forcefully in Delhi, the former minister said. The state is suffering only because of lack of leadership in forcefully making Odisha’s case and influencing the administration, he added.
Pointing out that the adequate financial allocation had not been made for Odisha either in the Railway budget or the general budget to bring the state into the national mainstream, Patnaik called upon the Chief Minister to present Odisha’s demand strongly before the central government rather than trying to shift the blame to others.