Cassian Baliarsingh

The Congress lambasted the Naveen-led BJD government's decision to increase the budgetary allocation including for the dedication ceremony and publicity of Puri Srimandir Parikrama Project, an initiative under Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha, to the tune of Rs 214 crore. A proposal in this regard was approved by the Odisha Cabinet on Saturday.

The state government has decided to mobilise people from block headquarters to Puri for the dedication ceremony and Rs 20 crores is required for the purpose. Additionally, Rs 135.88  crore will be provided to organise IEC activities.

As per the official release, the dedication ceremony of Srimandir Parikrama Project is one of the initiatives under 'Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha'  and the approved budget of Rs 4000 crore is enhanced to Rs 4214 crore.

Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) President Sarat Pattanayak came down heavily and said that it was just an eyewash to divert the attention of the people of Odisha from the Kamiya Jani controversy. He further accused the government of cheating Odia people for the last 24 years. 

No matter how much money the government spends on its publicity, the people of Odisha will never forgive Naveen Patnaik until he seeks an apology in the Kamiya Jani case, Pattanayak said. The PCC President further questioned where the Naveen government was sleeping for the last 24 years and why did it took so long to start the beautification of Puri Srimandir?

“The Naveen government is playing with the feelings and beliefs of the people of Odisha. First, they gave entry to beef eaters to the century-old Temple for their own promotion and are now playing politics to divert attention. No matter how much coconut or milk they offer, the people of Odisha will never forgive them,” Pattanayak said.

When contacted, BJD MLA Uma Samantaray said, “The Opposition (Congress) has been hell-bent on making sure that the Puri Srimandir Parikrama Project and development of Srimandir do not see the light of the day. It shows that they have never wanted to see Odisha as a developed state. All they do is target the BJD, target the BJP, and stall all the developmental works.”

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