Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday launched the “Ama Gaon, Ama Vikash” yojana directly connecting with panchayat level people, talking to them by way of video-conferencing and to cap it all clearing project proposals on the basis of suggestions and problems voiced to him by the people in minutes.

The Chief Minister interacted with panchayat representatives of areas in four districts and cleared 32 projects entailing an expenditure of Rs 2 crore on Monday.

The direct approach system will be a held twice every week and projects up to Rs 10 lakh will be sanctioned on a need based approach. In fact the Ama Gaon, Ama Vikash programme was earlier announced in May last year by the ruling BJD. It was a party programme in which MLA’s were asked to meet panchayat level people and redress their problems.

On Monday, it was converted to a government programme with the CM directly talking to people and assuring them of resolving their problems.

It was done to mark the Panchayati Raj Divas celebrations on Monday which is held on 5 March every year to coincide by the birth anniversary celebrations of late Biju Patnaik.

Launching the Yojana through video conference, from the state Secretariat, Mr.Patnaik said it is a people’s programme and would be implemented with the funds of the Odia people.

Mr Patnaik directly interacted with the people of four Panchyats—Narayanpatna in Koraput district, Khairabad in Jajpur, Sasan in Sambalpur and Sankuda in Ganjma district through video conferencing and discussed their problems and about the development of their villages.

After listening to their problems, the Chief Minister approved 32 projects worth Rs two crore and stressed on early completion of the projects.

The development projects, such as construction of ponds and temples and mosques, will be in the range of Rs 1 lakh to Rs 10 lakh, he added.

The villages were selected on the basis of infrastructure development, requirement and feedbacks. Talking to villagers, the Chief Minister said 5 March is the birth day of Biju Patnaik adding that the contribution of Biju Patnaik for the development of villages and strengthening of panchayati raj system cannot be forgotten.

Opposition Congress and BJP however dubbed it as a pre-poll stunt. Congress leader Narasingha Mishra pointed out that after 18 years in power the CM ought to realise that he has not been able to provide even drinking water in every village.

Such announcements and schemes will not help , what is needed in action at the ground level, he remarked.The BJP too said it was a gimmick. After 18 years in power, the CM has thought of talking to the people, chided the BJP.

Earlier on Monday, the CM attended a host of functions organised to celebrate the birth anniversary of Biju Patnaik. A mini-marathon from Forest Park to Kalinga Stadium was flagged off by sports minister Chandra Sarathi Behera.