Sharmili Mallick

Congress party workers staged demonstrations in front of the District Collectorate office in Bolangir during Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s visit to the district to inaugurate a series of developmental projects on Wednesday.

The protest was over the fulfilment of a 14-point charter of demands which include the inclusion of all in the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (BSKY) smart health card scheme, declaring the district a complete drought zone, setting up of an agricultural university and a High Court bench in Bolangir apart from the immediate revival of Deogaon sugar factory.

Earlier today, the police picked up Congress leader Ramesh Purohit along with 20 of his followers. The police action was subsequent to an announcement made by Purohit to hold a sit in outside the Patnagarh Sub-Collector’s office during the CM’s visit to the district today.

Purohit and his supporters were whisked away in a police van in the morning when they reached the Sub-Collector’s office to stage the proposed agitation and submit a memorandum.

While the protest by Congress workers and leaders were on, the family members of one Prasadi Putel of Belgaon village in Saintala block in the district staged a demonstration at the site of the water supply project in the village which was later inaugurated by the CM in virtual mode.

Putel alleged that the local authorities had forcefully occupied 38 decimal of his family land for the construction of the project. However, the police swiftly picked up the protesting family later in the day.

Meanwhile, at a function in Titlagarh, CM Naveen distributed the BSKY smart health cards and dedicated various developmental projects to the people.

Thereafter the CM visited Patnagarh and distributed the BSKY health cards to some beneficiaries. He also laid the foundation stones for various developmental projects.

In all, the CM inaugurated and laid foundation stones for 128 welfare projects which will be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 827 crore.

It may be recalled that the smart health card scheme was launched by the CM at Malkangiri on August 20 and later at Sundergarh on September 14. The smart health cards will be provided to 3.5 crore people of 96 lakh families in the State. Each family can avail treatment up to Rs 5 lakh per annum through the card while women beneficiaries can avail benefits up to Rs 10 lakh every year under the scheme.