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Nitesh Kumar Sahoo

The BJP on Tuesday knocked on the doors of Odisha Governor Ganeshi Lal seeking his attention against the alleged apathy meted towards the Western
Odisha Development Council.

A team of several BJP MLAs led by State BJP unit president Sameer Mohanty met the Governor and put before him a slew of demands for due recognition to the development council that is viewed as a major welfare body established to bring development in western Odisha.

The BJP has demanded that the WODC being a welfare body associated with western Odisha, its headquarters should also be shifted somewhere to the
western region part of the State. This apart, the party has urged the government to raise the corpus fund of the council to Rs 1000 crore and also initiate reformation of the panel by including MLAs and MPs instead of bureaucrats for different developmental works

The WODC comprises 10 districts- Bargarh, Bolangir, Boudh, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Sundargarh and Athamallick Sub-division of Angul district. 

Senior BJP leader Pradeep Purohit said, "We want an independent Bikash Parishad (Development Council) in Western Odisha instead of the one in Bhubaneswar. The ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is creating impediments in order to make the Council lame. BJD is appointing its losing MLA candidates or others whom they have to give placement in the core committee of WODC," alleged Purohit.

"Also, it is difficult to carry out different developmental works with such a low fund of Rs 200 crore. We demand grants worth Rs 1000 crore at least for the development of the Western region," he added. 

The State BJP unit has threatened to upscale their protest in the coming days if their demands are not fulfilled soon. "We hope the Odisha government will give enough seriousness towards the mass appeal of the people of western Odisha to empower and show due credit to WODC," said senior BJP leader Pradeep Purohit.

Meanwhile, BJP MLA Kusum Tete from Sundargarh constituency alleged, "The government has stopped appointing a public representative in the WODC governing body since 2016. The funds allotted for the Council is used by the ruling party as party funds for the past 22 years. Therefore, we demand the utilization of the funds as per government rules," she added.

It is worthwhile to mention here that politicians to members of the civil society and even the common man still continue to label the constitution of the WODC as just an acknowledgment of regional imbalance in the State. And this is the reason why it has been said that the council continues to fail to live up to the expectations.

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