Bhubaneswar: Even though the controversies arising out of Mahanadi and Polavaram issues shows no sign of abetment, a fresh debate has cropped up after Centre rejected Odisha’s demand to grant fund at a ratio of 90:10 for taking up Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP), which has been amalgamated later with Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY), in KBK (Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput) regions.
The rejection has prompted the BJD government once again to raise its customary ‘Central neglect’ slogan.”This time too, Odisha has become a victim of Central negligence like earlier. The Centre has rejected State’s demand for fund at 90:10 and forced it to take up the irrigation schemes in KBK at a ratio of 60:40, putting additional fiscal burden on the State. We condemn the step-motherly attitude of the Centre towards Odisha”, BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said.
On the other hand, Congress has castigated both the State and Centre for their nonchalant attitude towards the underdeveloped districts. Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra alleged that the BJP-led NDA government has slashed the central funds for the State since it came to power. “Odisha used to receive larger amount from the Centre when Congress-led UPA government was in power. But, the funds have been slashed marginally after BJP came to power. Why the State government is sitting idle even after being asked by the Centre to go ahead with the programme with 60:40 fund sharing”, Mishra flayed.
The BJP, however, came forward to defend Centre on the fresh allegation of Odisha government. “This is a matter of grave concern that the projects taken up by the State between 1999 and 2006 have witnessed only 30 to 35 per cent completion till date. Odisha will get the same amount what the others are getting. So, Centre has not neglected the State in any matter”, BJP general secretary Prthiviraj Harichandan said. It has given priority to Telengiri irrigation project in Koraput and Ret project in Kalahandi districts on which chief minister Naveen Patnaik had raised concern in his letter, he maintained.
The fund sharing pattern for all States under PMKSY is 60:40 while it is 90:10 for the North-east and Himalayan States. Patnaik had written to the Ministry of Water Resources in February demanding a fund share of 90:10 for at least KBK areas to undertake irrigation schemes. In her reply, Union water Resources minister Uma Bharti had clarified that State has to implement the scheme with a fund sharing pattern of 60:40.