Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik rebutted BJP president Amit Shah’s charge of apathy and neglect of western Odisha districts saying his government has never neglected any region.
We have done a lot of work for western Odisha districts, said the Chief Minister while debunking Amit Shah’s accusations. In fact Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik laughed when asked to react to Shah’s claims of forming the next government in Odisha with over 120 seats.
“ I certainly cant see any such thing happening”, he remarked while terming the claim as baseless. But sharpest counteroffensive was launched by veteran Congress MLA and former law minister Narasingha Mishra when he pointed out that Shah and the Modi government has a lot to answer on western Odisha development.
Both the BJD led central government and the state BJD government have neglected western Odisha districts, charged Mishra. He pointed out that several central schemes like the KBK long term action plan ( undivided Koraput, Bolangir, Kalahandi districts) was shelved by the Modi government.
Similarly, the Backward Region Grant Fund which came in handy for the region has been stopped. There are several other central schemes which have been stopped and the Modi-Shah combine owe an answer to the people of western Odisha, he said.
Shah has forgotten that the BJP in alliance with the BJD was ruling the state for nine years from 2000-2009 . Was western Odisha developed during that period ? , he asked.
In fact, the BJP had several ministers – industries, urban development, education, revenue etc during that period and yet western Odisha districts were deprived of industries, schools did not have teachers and so on, charged Mishra.
Mishra blamed the Naveen Patnaik government in equal terms saying irrigation projects, education, health care , drinking water, electricity and all sectors were neglected in the region.
The commission appointed to ascertain causes of regional disparity submitted its report, but many of its recommendations have not been implemented by the Naveen Patnaik government, he charged.
He pointed out that it was during the Congress regime at the centre that KBK action plan and other schemes for western Odisha had been introduced.
Shah can make false claims, but people of the region will not get swayed by such talk. Similarly, Naveen Patnaik can rebuff Shah but the fact remains that vast areas of western Odisha remain backward and deprived, noted Mishra.