Pradeep Pattanayak

With frequent reports of false claims by the Biju Janata Dal (BJD)-led government in its promotional Nabin Odisha booklets coming to the fore, many have alleged that the government is increasingly falling back on false promotion to tom-tom its achievements. 

The promotional Nabin Odisha booklet distributed in Bada Kuleibira Panchayat under the Jamda block of Mayurbhanj district mentions about Maa Durga SHG. It says the SHG received an incense stick manufacturing machine along with Rs 1 lakh from the Mission Shakti Department. 

A fact check revealed that there is an incense stick manufacturing unit in the said Panchayat, but it is not owned by any SHG, but by a self-dependent woman named Kundan Munda. She said she has not received even a rupee from the government for buying or installing the machine. 

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“Once I was asked to pose for a group photo. Then I had no idea why my photo was taken. The government has not given me a rupee for the unit. I have set it up with my own money,” said Munda. 

In the same booklet of Kuleibira Panchayat, it is mentioned that all the houses in the Panchayat have been connected with piped drinking water. But the ground reality tells a different story. Here, people depend on a lone tube well that is reportedly dispensing water with foul smell.  Yes, there is an overhead tank but it is lying defunct, said sources.
“There is an overhead tank in our panchayat constructed at a cost of Rs 2.96 crore. But people do not even have a drop of water from that tank,” alleged local MLA’s representative, Biju Gopal Gop. 

When contacted, Kuleibira PEO Bhabagrahi Mahakud termed the allegations baseless, while the sarpanch of the Panchayat feigned ignorance. 

“I am not aware of the projects undertaken under the ‘Mo Odisha Nabin Odisha’ because I was ill when the projects were constructed,” said Bada Kuleibira Panchayat sarpanch, Ajha Murmu. 

Similar allegations have come from Adheigundi village under the Narasinghapur block of Cuttack. Here, a villager reportedly constructed a Maa Mangala temple spending money from his own pocket. But the ‘Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha’ promotional booklet mentions that the temple was constructed at a cost of Rs 4 lakh which was released by local MLA Debi Prasad Mishra’s Member of Legislative Assembly Local Area Development (MLALAD) Fund. 

“The person who has got the temple constructed is one of my friends. I was also involved in the construction of the temple. I know, no government fund was used in the temple construction,” said Manoj Panda, Panchayat Samiti member, Adheigundi.

When contacted, the junior engineer of Narasinghapur, Manjula Dash cited it as a misprint in the promotional booklet, putting the blame on the printing press owner. 

Narasinghapur BDO Neelamadhab Suna said, “I will order a probe and action would be taken against the ones responsible.”

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