Cassian Baliarsingh

A day after launching the first phase of the ambitious ‘Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha’ programme, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday launched the ‘Mission Shakti Scooter Yojana’.

As the election is around the corner, the Opposition parties today termed the ‘Mission Shakti Scooter Yojana’ as a pre-poll sop and said it is a mere eyewash by the ruling party to woo women voters.

“BJD is giving Rs 1 lakh loan without any interest. If the BJP is voted to power, you don’t have to take Rs 1 lakh loan. We will give the scooter totally for free,” announced BJP leader Jual Oram.

Similarly, BJP chief whip Mohan Majhi slammed the Odisha government and said, “Now that women have understood the real intention of BJD, the government is trying to lure them with such schemes. This is a flop yojana and no banks will give loans.”

However, BJD claimed the yojana to be women-friendly and a step towards women empowerment. 

“This scheme will go a long way in making the SHG women independent and help them do their jobs better. This will also strengthen the SHG groups and bring better results for them. There is no denying that people are accepting this scheme whole-heartedly,” claimed Amar Satapathy, BJD leader.

CM Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday launched the scheme on the premises of Lok Sabha Bhawan. Under the scheme, the government aims to provide an interest-free loan to the tune of Rs 1 lakh to SHG members to buy scooters which will cost the government a whopping Rs 528 crore. 

A total of 15,000 SHG members have been provided with scooters under the scheme, reports said.  While thousands of women across the state have applied for scooters under the scheme, only a handful have been provided.

In Nabarangpur, while 1553 women had applied for loans to buy the scooters, banks have okayed the loan of only 319 women. Similarly, out of 156, only 14 women have been sanctioned loans in Jeypore.

This clearly shows that banks are not interested in providing loans for the scooter scheme.