Centre’s calculation on drought aid wrong: Odisha govt
Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Wednesday claimed that the Centre has trimmed its drought assistance to the state due to wrong calculation.
Explaining this to the media, Special Relief Commissioner Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra said the Centre has decided to provide drought assistance of Rs 600.52 crore as against Rs 815 crore it had announced last year. As per its decision, the Centre would deduct about 20 percent (Rs 214.48 crore).
“Justifying its decision, the Centre, in a letter on January 22 this year, had informed the state government that of the total Central assistance given to the state in 2014, Rs 428 crore has been kept in the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) as on April 1, 2015. Taking the amount kept in the SDRF, the Centre has decided to release the assistance by deducting 50 percent amount (Rs 214 crore) from the SDRF as per the guidelines of the 14th Finance Commission. In response to the letter, the state government, in its letter on February 5, had informed the Centre that as against Rs 428 crore, it has kept Rs 23.41 crore in the SDRF. Hence, as per the guidelines of the 14th Finance Commission, the Centre should provide Rs 803 crore by deducting 50 percent amount from the SDRF,” Mohapatra said.
Expressing resentment, BJD spokesperson Pratap Dev said the Centre should not take so much of time to rectify its mistake and release the assistance to the state. “We had apprised the Centre of its wrong calculation of the amount. But there has been no response from the Centre till date,” he added.
On the other hand, senior BJP leader Bijay Mohapatra said the Centre, in its letter, had rightly explained the mode of providing Central assistance to the state as per the guidelines of the 14th Finance Commission.
“The fact remains that the Centre had wrongly calculated the amount of assistance while it took a long time for the state government to react after finding the mistakes,” he pointed out.