Naveen Slams BJP’s ‘Poor Odisha’ Tag

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Gunupur/Paralakhemundi:  Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday took a swipe at the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre for its ‘poor Odisha’ tag.

Addressing public meeting during his poll campaign at Gunupur in Rayagada and Paralakhemundi in Gajapati district, the Chief Minister said the Odisha government, which has implemented the Aahar scheme to provide subsided food to the urban poor patients, had sought financial assistance from the Centre which refused to cooperate.

Referring to the rice at Rs 1 per kg scheme, he said his government is providing the rice to the poor. “The Centre is not doing favour as the rice you get at this rate is procured with your money. We had requested the Centre to increase the quota of rice at the same rate under our own food security scheme for an additional 30 lakh beneficiaries to which it rejected outright. Was it right?” Naveen asked.

Drawing a comparison between the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana of the state government and the Ayushman Bharat Yojana of the Centre, the Chief Minister said while the state government is providing Rs 7 lakh to the poor beneficiaries, the Centre under its scheme has a provision of Rs 5 lakh assistance.

Citing instances of Central apathy towards Odisha, Naveen said while his government has spent Rs 12,000 crore for supply of drinking water to the people in rural areas, the contribution of the Centre is only Rs 1000 crore which is less than 10 per cent. Similarly, in the irrigation sector, as against the Central assistance of Rs 250 crore, the state government has spent Rs 20,000 crore, he pointed out.

Talking about the natural calamity, the Chief Minister took a dig at the Centre. “The Cyclone Titli had rendered devastation in your area. But the Centre preferred to provide cyclone assistance to Andhra Pradesh. After much persuasion, the Centre remembered Odisha. Such is the concern of the Centre towards Odisha and the poor. The attitude of the present NDA government and the previous Congress-led UPA government towards Odisha will never change. They are the wolves in sheep’s clothing,” Naveen noted.

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