Ministers divided on family count in rural Odisha

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Bhubaneswar: In a major embarrassment to the ruling BJD, two ministers of the party in their written replies in Assembly on Tuesday furnished two different figures of the total number of families in Odisha. While Rural Development minister Badri Narayan Patra put the number of families in rural Odisha at 81,20,619, Panchayati Raj minister Arun Sahoo pegged the figure at 86,77,551, a difference of 5,56,932.

While presenting the data on rural families, Patra also said that a total of 15,247 villages are yet to have proper road connectivity and out of the 81,20,619 families only 1,74,000 have access to piped drinking water. 51, 43,000 families have no toilets, he stated.

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As per data furnished by the Sahoo, 48, 82,000 families out of  86,77,551 still live in kuchha houses. The minister added 1569 villages are yet to get electricity connectivity.

Opposition Congress lost no time to target the ruling party in the matter.

“There is absolutely no co-ordination between the departments and from this one can make out how this government will work for the benefit of the people. This government only knows how to work towards getting votes and nothing else,” said Congress MLA Prakash Behera.

BHP too joined the chorus.

“It is unfortunate that the two departments have no correct data and I wonder how the government will work for the people,” said BJP MLA Rabi Nayak.

Meanwhile, BJD spokesperson Sameer Dash defended his ministers saying, “Roads, electricity have definitely reached the villages. As far as the differences in data are concerned, I think it could be a printing error and to term it as lack of coordination between departments is not right.”

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