Mrunal Manmay Dash

Targeting the BJP-led Central government, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday questioned the status of Bargarh–Nuapara railway project. However, the BJP was quick to retaliate

Patnaik was in Padampur when he attacked Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw over his remarks on the said railway project.

Replying to Vaishnaw’s comments when he asked the Odisha government to provide land so that they can start work on the Bargarh- Nuapara railway line the very next day, CM Naveen Patnaik asked, “Can the Union Minister tell me the name of the villages that will fall on the proposed railway line? What are the stoppages? Did the Ministry conduct any survey or prepared a DPR?”

“Moreover, have you applied for land acquisition yet? You do not have an answer to that. Why are you misleading the voters of Padampur?” asked Patnaik.

Comparing the GST on Kendu leaves and gold, Patnaik said, “Odisha is number 1 in providing bonus to Kendu leaf pluckers. Just recently, the State government paid Rs 1000 and Rs 1500 to pluckers and seasonal staff/binders respectively. But it is a matter of great concern that the Centre has levied a GST of 18% on the Kendu leaves while gold attracts only 3% of GST. The BJP leaders are shedding crocodile tears for Kendu leaf pluckers.”

“The premiums of crop insurance had been lying with the Centre for 18 months. It's only after the farmers stopped the BJP candidate to file nomination, the Centre woke from its slumber. There are still a lot of farmers in Padampur who are yet to receive insurance money from the Centre. I promise that I will fight for your rights at the Centre,” he added.

BJP however, vehemently denied the allegations made by CM Naveen. Opposition Chief Whip, Mohan Majhi said, “The State government is yet to send the list of crop insurance beneficiaries to the Centre. CM Naveen Patnaik has lied to the people of Padampur. He never had any sympathy for the plight of farmers or the Kendu leaf pluckers. This is only crocodile tears which he is shedding only for the Padampur bypoll.”

“If he had such concern for the farmers, or Kendu leaf pluckers or the railway line for that matter, why these concerns popped up today; and, what was he doing for the last 22 years?” Majhi asked.