Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Apr 4:
Not to be left behind in showering sops for the voters of Odisha, the Congress released its election manifesto for the state at the Congress Bhawan here today. The party has gone a step ahead of its two principal rivals, the ruling BJD and the BJP, in announcing sops for the voters.
The Congress promised to build a prosperous and self reliant Odisha with a transparent and accountable government if it is voted to power.
The party’s election manifesto, which was released jointly by the PCC chief Jayadev Jena and deputy in-charge of the party in Odisha Subhankar Sarkar, promised protection and proper utilisation of mineral resources of the state.
It says the party would hand over mines to the state agencies for exploration and no second and subsequent lease would be given to any lease holders.
The party said it would implement the recommendation of the Justice MB Shah Commission and auction the properties of mine owners to recover the Rs 60,000 crore lost due to the mining scam in the state.
The manifesto says it would hand over the probe into the series of scams, including the mega mining scam, to the CBI if voted to power.
The manifesto has promised to strengthen the Lokayukta system in the state for a transparent and accountable government in the state.
The manifesto said the the party would complete fresh enumeration of the 17-year old BPL list in the state within a year of coming to power.
The manifesto announced conversion of each and very revenue village in the state into a panchayat.
In an obvious bid to woo the farmers in the state, it has announced implementation of a ‘Farmer Pension Scheme’ for the nominal farmers, disabled and landless farmers while promising loans to farmers at 1% interest and waiver of loans of up to Rs 25,000. It has also promised free electricity to farmers and reconsideration of the MoUs signed by the state government to provide water to industries.
The party has also promised to renovate all defunct medium and minor irrigation projects in the state, besides construction of cold storage in each and every block.
Taking a leaf out of the BJP manifesto released yesterday, it has announced a Rs 300 as bonus to farmers over and above the minimum support price for paddy.
Aping the BJP manifesto again, the party has promised an Odia University in the state for development and promotion of Odia language. Moreover, all government transactions will be done in Odia language if it is voted to power, the party promised in its manifesto.
The party has also promised to make computer education compulsory in the state . It announced to provide Rs 500 as allowance to Green Card holders in the state.
The party has further promised to set up two permanent benches of the Odisha High Court one each in western and southern Odisha. In another move to win the support of the people in these regions. it announced setting up of four medical colleges in western and southern parts of the state.
While promising more funds for the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) the party has promised to shift the headquarters of the Council to western Odisha.
The Congress, in its election manifesto for the state, promised to provide land pattas to all the landless in the state while announcing implementation of a Food Security Act within six months if it is voted to govern.
The manifesto also promised interest free loan of Rs one lakh to educated youths living under BPL and has promised to fill up all vacant posts of teachers in all schools, colleges and universities. In order to attract the minority community, the party has promised to set up a minority commission.
The Congress is the last among the three principal parties to announce its election manifesto just six days ahead of the first phase of polling in state on April 10.