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Odisha Govt diverted tribal welfare funds: BJP


BJP on Tuesday accused the BJD Government in Odisha of failing to utilise Rs.421 crore given by the Union Government for tribal welfare schemes and diverting the funds.

"Diversion of funds meant for various tribal schemes has been noticed in Odisha. The state government failed to utilise the Central funds properly," National President of BJP Scheduled Tribe Morcha Faggan Singh Kulaste and Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram told reporters.

Speaking at the national executive meet of BJP ST Morcha, the senior tribal leaders accused the Odisha Government of doing little for the economic and social development of tribals.

The NDA Government had in 2014-15 provided Rs.421 crore to Odisha for various tribal welfare schemes but the funds were diverted or not utilised as utilisation certificate for over Rs.186 crore was still awaited, Oram claimed.

During a recent review of the working of Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) in four areas, it was found that funds for 2011 were still lying unutilised, he said.

The Union Minister said he would review the implementation of various tribal schemes in Rayagada, Malkangiri and Koraput districts of the state.

The two leaders voiced concern over alleged sexual exploitation of tribal girls in several government-run residential schools in the state and demanded stringent action against the culprits.

Kulaste claimed that tribals in Odisha were not getting proper compensation in areas affected by mining activities and Oram accused the state government of failing to provide stipend to tribal students and properly implementing the Forest Rights Act.

Oram said the Tribal Advisory Council was not functioning in the state properly and its meetings were not held regularly.

Stating that BJP’s position was not very strong in Odisha, Kulaste said the ST Morcha is working out strategies to rejuvenate the party in the state where tribals constitute a major portion of the population.

Stating that the party would strive for enhancing its strength in the state assembly, he said the target should be to win all 32 ST seats.

The induction of veteran tribal leader and former Odisha Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang into BJP was a positive development for the party, Kulaste said he is set to formally join the party on June 18 and has been invited to attend the ongoing two-day national executive of the ST Morcha which would conclude On Wednesday.