Mrunal Manmay Dash

Odisha 5T chairperson and BJD leader VK Pandian is once again in the news for his chopper ride. This time for an alleged 4 km ride from Malkangiri airport to a public meeting venue.

As per reports, Pandian flew to Malkangiri on an airplane and landed at the airport. But after that, he took a chopper to go to the meeting spot which is reportedly just 4 km away from the Malkangiri airport.

The Congress party targeted Pandian’s act by saying he could have gone by road, instead, he wasted public money by opting for a chopper.

“Pandian arrived at Malkangiri airport and went to the meeting venue 4 km away in a helicopter. What was the need to take a helicopter for just 4 km? This is the taxpayers’ money he is spending,” said Malkangiri District Congress President, Gobinda Patra.

Targeting the Odisha government on the 'Nua O' programme and the student scholarship, Patra further said, “There are no pucca buildings in many of the schools and colleges in Odisha. But he (Pandian) is doing a farce by making the students dance and eat feasts for the last three months to grab their votes.”

“If the government does not provide this scholarship every year, it will be considered a ploy to influence young voters,” he added.

Recently, the Odisha government announced a Nua-O-scholarship for undergraduate and postgraduate students ahead of the General Elections this year.

Male and female students would each earn Rs 9,000 and Rs 10,000 yearly under the scheme. Students belonging to eligible SC/ST and Nirman Shramik Families will get Rs 10,000 ( Male) and Rs 11,000 (Female) per annum.

All students are eligible for the scholarship, except for those whose parents are Income Tax payers or permanent Government employees.

The Nua O scholarships for the current academic year were to be deposited in the bank accounts of the eligible students from February 20 onwards.