Paltry budget allocation leaves BJD fuming

Bhubaneswar: After a record grant to Odisha in the Railway budget, lack of any Odisha-specific allocation in the general budget has left the ruling BJD fuming over the Centre’s. Leaders and party workers of various wings of BJD took to the streets protesting the Central government’s “gross neglect” in the Union budget for 2015-16.

The frontal organizations of the BJD along with its student, women and youth wings staged a demonstration in front of the Raj Bhawan here today. No special package for the State, absence of any Central assistance for Nabakalebar and lack of any developmental initiatives for the Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) region are the major issues in the context, party leaders present at the demonstration.

“We are protesting against the way Odisha has been ignored in the budget and we will even go to the block and village level to make our voices heard,” said Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak.

Accusing the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre of adopting “step-motherly” attitude towards Odisha on political consideration, the ruling BJD also sought President intervention into the matter as it affects thousands of tribals living in the poverty stricken regions of the state.

“We have submitted a memorandum drawing kind attention of the President to intervene and take steps for the greater interest of Odisha,” BJD youth wing president and Food and Supplies minister Sanjay Dasburma told reporters after youths, women and students wings of the party staged a protest dharna near Raj Bhavan here.

Terming the NDA government’s attitude towards Odisha as “anti-people and apathetic”, the ruling party decided to stage agitation in all the 30 districts of the state tomorrow.

“The long cherished demand of Odisha for declaration of Special Category State along with provisions of special packages in view of the legitimate claim has been neglected whereas neighbouring states like West Bengal and Bihar have been gifted with Rs 20,000 crore special packages with a narrow political motive,” the BJD’s memorandum to the President of India said.

On the other hand, speaking at a media conference here yesterday, Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan said the critic has to be specific about the areas where Odisha has been neglected in the Union budget.

Commenting on the lack of budgetary provision for Nabakalebar of Lord Jagannath, Pradhan said the Cabinet secretary has already conducted two meetings over the preparation of the festival and the Centre would provide all assistance to the State government in this regard.