Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Opposition BJP has raised a question mark over Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s recent Japan visit alleging that Patnaik along with other officials has gone to the foreign country to enjoy a vacation.

“The programme in Japan was only of five to six hours of duration. The purpose of the Japan visit by Patnaik and other government officials is to enjoy a vacation there,” said BJP spokesperson Satyabrata Panda.

“The State government must clarify whether they are attracting some new investments or only holding discussions about the old ones to make the people of Odisha fool,” he added.

The saffron party also questioned the purpose behind Puri MP’s visit to Japan.

As per the Opposition party, the then Union Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and a representative team had visited Japan on October 25, 2019 and held a discussion with the authorities of Nippon Steel regarding investment in Odisha. Subsequently, the Odisha government under the initiative by Pradhan held another round of discussion with the authorities of Nippon Steel in that regard on February 27, 2020.

The BJP spokesperson asked the State government to clarify whether Nippon Steel’s announcement to set up a steel plant with a production capacity of 30 million tonnes per annum (MTPA) is an old or new one.

The BJP also asked the State government to clarify why Arcellor Mittal withdrew from the earlier MoU that was signed with the State government to set up a steel plant with an investment of Rs 50,000 crore.

“Nippon Steel will use the raw material from Keonjhar mines at the steel plant in Kendrapara. So why such injustice to Keonjhar,” asked Panda.

“The government has been visiting foreign countries like Rome, Dubai, and now Japan. Our question is how much investments have these visits generated so far,” asked Congress leader, Bijay Patnaik. 

Responding to this, the Government Chief Whip, Prasant Muduli said, “The problem witnessed during POSCO time is no longer here. The land will be acquired as per the law smoothly. The state government is very careful in this regard. The administration is also in active mode.”

Meanwhile, the people of Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur are getting united to launch a protest against the proposed steel plants of Nippon and Mittal. 

While the residents of Nuagarh Panchayat of Kujang block opposed the company’s boundary wall construction work, people living in Kharnasi, Batighar and Ramnagar Panchayats under Mahakalpada block in Kendrapara district have intensified their opposition. 

“The company has not provided any facility to us. There is no drinking water facility and no road communication facility here,” rued Sampad Sahu, a Kujang resident. 

Similarly, Krishnapada Mandal, a Kendrapara resident said, “If they want to set up a plant here, we will allow them to do so only when the land-related problems are sorted out.”

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