Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Odisha government on Thursday announced the expenditure on construction of Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Rourkela which happens to be one of the venues for the forthcoming Hockey World Cup starting January 13. However, the mismatch in the expenditure announced by the State government has baffled the BJP. Opposition BJP has demanded that the State government should come up with a clear picture in this regard.

While inaugurating the stadium on Thursday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had announced that the ‘biggest stadium’ of the world has been constructed within record 15 months with an expenditure of Rs 261 crore.

However earlier on November 24, replying to a question from BJP MLA Kusum Tete, Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera had informed the Assembly that the Birsa Munda stadium & the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar will be built at an expenditure of Rs 875. 78 crore.

While the Kalinga Stadium was already built, many argue that the lion’s share of the Rs 875.78 crore would have gone into construction of Birsa Munda stadium. This is in stark contrast to the Rs 261 crore figure that the state government is quoting for Birsa Munda stadium. 

While questioning the mismatch in Sports Minister and the Chief Minister’s statements, the saffron party has demanded that the State government should clear the air in this regard.

“The stadium has been built with people’s money. People should know about the exact amount of expenditure. The State government should give a clear picture about the real expenditure in the stadium and peripheral development,” said BJP MLA Shankar Oram.

Meanwhile, senior BJP leader Tete alleged that BJD has misused and misappropriated the DMF fund for the propaganda of their party.

“BJD has spent crores of rupees by misusing the DMF fund for their party’s propaganda by sticking their photos on posters in the name of constructing the stadium,” said Tete.

As per reports, Rs 136.82 crore has been spent from DMF funds for the expansion and construction of Kalinga Stadium and Birsa Munda stadium.

However, the Opposition BJP has demanded that the State government should install plaques mentioning the exact amount of expenditure on different projects.

On the other hand, the State government’s claim about the size of the stadium in their advertisements is also under scanner. 

In a presser on Thursday, BJP had slammed the State government for allegedly making wrong claims. As per the saffron party, the stadium is the fourth biggest in the world contrary to what the State government claims.
However, Sports Minister Behera on Friday clarified that the stadium has been certified by the FIH as the biggest in terms of seating capacity.

“Birsa Munda International Hockey Stadium in Rourkela has a seating capacity of around 21,000. It is the largest hockey stadium in the world in terms of seating capacity and the FIH has already given us the certification,” said Behera.