Pradeep Pattanayak

Odisha has not achieved the development it should have had during a stable government, said Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP ) MLA Suraj Suryavanshi at OTV’s annual convention ‘Foresight 2024’ held in Bhubaneswar on Saturday. 

While sharing his thoughts on the topic ‘Sthira Sarakarare kete Vikasita Gaon Ra Odisha’ (How rural Odisha has developed in a stable government) during the Foresight session, the lawmaker said, “There are many such areas where a stable government is not necessary at all for the development. But when a stable government comes, people expect development because the party doesn’t have any political albatross around its neck. But when it comes to Odisha, it hasn’t achieved the development it should have had in a stable government.”

“If we think from our fathers and grandfathers' point of view, there may have been some development. But the development that the present Odisha or its present generation requires has not been achieved, particularly in rural areas,” he added. 

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Senior Congress leader and former OPCC president Prasad Harichandan said, “The period starting from the time when we had independence till 1977 witnessed as many as 10 Chief Ministers and 16 cabinets. It means, on an average, a government stayed for only two years. For Odisha, this instability is a big reason for the lack of development.”

Seconding his predecessor, Harichandan said, “A stable government speeds up the development. But here in Odisha, I will never say there hasn’t been any development in the state. There has been development but in a weird manner. Inclusive development is missing. We are talking about financial growth. The state has achieved enough financial growth. The rich get the maximum benefits of financial growth. So, the gap between the haves and have-nots increases. In such case, the state can’t make the most of the growth.”

Former state information commissioner, Dilip Bisoi, however, differed from the previous two interlocutors. He said a stable government is not necessary for development. “The main thing is that the government should have an intention for development. An unstable government can achieve development. Examples are legion. How long a government stays is immaterial. What matters is the intention of a government,” he said. 

“If the initial coalition of BJP-BJD is taken into consideration, we can’t say this is a stable government of 23 years. My co-interlocutors Prasad Babu and Suraj Babu are not satisfied with the state’s development. They shouldn’t be. I am not saying this like an opposition leader. None is satisfied with any development. Because development doesn’t have any limit. But we have to measure it in a yardstick to figure out the development,” he said. 

“As my predecessor, Prasad babu said the state has weirdly achieved development; in developed countries and states, such weird development can also be seen,” he added. 

When the topic of people migrating from rural areas to other states in search of work is raised, Suryabanshi said it is ridiculous to say anything about the people migrating from rural areas while sitting in an air-conditioned room. Going to give a picture of lack of development, Harichandan said out of 53,000 villages, about 21,500 villages are yet to get clean drinking water. 

In his response, the former information Commissioner said, “During Covid time, when migrant workers returned Odisha, the Gujarat government had to request them to come back as the exodus left the industries there idle. The plumbers of Rajnagar area are now ruling in Dubai and London. Them leaving the state can’t be said migration.”