Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday lashed out at the Odisha government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik over the lack of development in the state at a public meeting at the foothill of the historic Barunei hill near Khurda.
The PM, who was in the state today to inaugurate the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Bhubaneswar and a slew of other projects, said that the “demon of corruption” has become very strong in the state.
Addressing a massive gathering of supporters of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the PM said, “Who is feeding the demon [of corruption]? The demon of corruption has grown in chit fund, PC [percentage commission] culture… The truth of Odisha’s development is not hidden. Farmers, women are raising their voice.”
Attacking the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government, the PM asked why Odisha has not yet joined the Centre’s healthcare schemes such as Ayushman Bharat and PM’s Jan Arogya Scheme.
“People of the State are asking why they have been deprived of the benefits of the health scheme which is available in other States of the country,” he said, adding, “Had Odisha joined the scheme, the poor people of the state would have had free treatment in hospitals around the country.”
“Why is the dedicated youth of Odisha forced to leave their homes and flee the state? Why are sisters and children in Odisha victims of malnourishment? Why are more than half of the allotted posts for doctors in the state vacant? Why are farmers in Odisha crying for water? Why is clean water not available in a large part of the state?” the PM said.
He criticised the BJD government for not fulfilling its promise of providing irrigation facilities to over 10 lakh hectares of land. “They had promised this in 2014 but have achieved only 22,000 hectares,” he charged.
He went on to exhort people to raise their voice against such misrule and install a BJP government which is wedded to development and progress of the state.
“If you want to join the New India vision and a New Odisha, raise your voice. I can see the change that is to take place soon,” he said.
“Over the last four years, the BJP led government at the centre has focussed on eastern India states and Odisha has been a major beneficiary of such attention because of a vision of balanced growth and development for the country,” he said.
Underlining his government’s achievements, the PM said, “The Vajpayee government had planned a network of roads which has been expedited only during the last four and half years of a BJP led government.”
The PM also took a swipe at the Congress saying they had been in power for several years but could not upgrade an ESI hospital which was done today.
Before addressing the public meeting, the PM inaugurated the IIT-Bhubaneswar, which has been built at a cost of Rs 1,260 crore besides releasing a stamp and a coin to commemorate Odisha’s 1817 Paika rebellion.
“Starting from infrastructure to development of the Odisha people – all steps are being taken. I assure you that this work will continue,” said the Prime Minister after laying foundation stones and unveiling projects worth Rs 14,000 crore.
The projects include major road development works such as a four-lane stretch of National Highway-16 between Cuttack and Angul and a six-lane stretch Chandikhol-Bhadrak of National Highway-16, gas pipelines, and a research chair at Utkal University named after Buxi Jagabandhu with a corpus of Rs 5 crore.
The PM also inaugurated an archaeological museum at Lalitgiri and a 100-bed upgraded ward of the ESI Hospital in Bhubaneswar.
Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Ministers Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan were present when the PM inaugurated the projects.
Patnaik observed that seven convocations had already taken place at the IIT-Bhubaneswar. He reiterated his demand to name a train after the legendary Buxi Jagabandhu who led the Paika rebellion.
“The Paika Bidroh should be accorded the status of the first war of Independence,” said the CM.
Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan spoke on the Purvadaya vision of the PM and how much has been done for Odisha in making it a knowledge and petrochemical hub of the nation.
Odisha will go to polls next year coinciding with the Lok Sabha elections 2019.