The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has intensified its demand for shifting of Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) headquarters to Sambalpur and decided to gherao the Governor’s official residence (Raj Bhawan) in Bhubaneswar on August 10 over the issue.
Leaders of the party’s Sambalpur district unit informed about the agitation plan at a press meet on Friday. The headquarters of the WODC is located in Bhubaneswar even 23 years after formation of the council in November 1998.
“We will intensify our demand for transfer of headquarters of the Western Odisha Development Council to Sambalpur on August 10. The council will represent all. Zilla parishad representatives, its chairman and intellectuals will be part of the council,” said BJP MLA Rabi Nayak while addressing the presser.
The party has also demanded more allocation of funds to the council which was established with the objectives of accelerated development and advancement of people residing in 10 districts and one sub-division in Western Odisha.
The WODC comprises 10 districts i.e. Bargarh, Bolangir, Boudh, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Sundargarh and Athamallick Sub-division of Angul district.
The Comptroller and Auditor General in its report in 2020 had observed that "The continuance of WODC in the present form raises questions of its efficacy to meet the objectives for which it was set up, in view of serious persistent shortcomings in its functioning since its formation."