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Rashmi Ranjan

With the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman all set to present the Union Budget for financial Year 2022-23 in the Parliament on Tuesday (February 1), Odisha is hoping to get more allocation of funds this fiscal.

During the pre-Budget consultation meeting held under the chairmanship of Sitharaman in December last year, Odisha Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari had sought more funds from the Centre for development of railway infrastructure, national highways, drinking water supply and creation of employment in the State.

During the meeting, Pujari had demanded the Union Government to allocate Rs 7,500 crore towards the development of railway infrastructure in Odisha and also reiterated for the implementation of the 90:10 Centre-State sharing pattern for centrally-sponsored schemes.

Meanwhile, financial experts have opined that natural calamity-prone and tribal dominated Odisha needs special focus in the budget. Moreover, economists are also hopeful that the State may get provision for new textile park and aluminium wagon factory this financial year.

“Be it railways, national highways, airport or port connectivity, Odisha has all the rights to get special attention in these sectors. So, I am hopeful that centre will fulfil Odisha’s demands so that the people of the State will be benefitted,” said Rajiv Sahoo, financial expert. 

Echoing a similar view, Bhabani Shankar Pani, an industry expert said, “Odisha is considered as the aluminium capital of the country. So, the aluminium wagon factory must be set up in Odisha. Similarly, the State also deserves a mega textile production and export centre.”

As per sources, Odisha had received Rs 6,995 crore for railways under the last year budget. With Ashwini Vaishnav, an MP from Odisha now helming the Railway Ministry, hopes are high that the State may get special allocation of new projects and completion of ones like the Khordha-Bolangir railway line.

“The Union Railway minister had earlier assured that finance would not emerge as an obstacle for any project. I hope, the State and Union government will work in synergy for various developmental projects and complete them at the earliest,” said Dillip Samantaray, MD, Angul-Sukinda railway limited.

Meanwhile, politics has heated up over the soaring prices of essential commodities in the State ahead of the Union Budget. The BJD and Congress have demanded the Centre to take necessary steps to curb inflation and generate employment opportunities.

“The soaring prices of essential commodities have burned holes in the pockets of the common man. So the Centre should work towards to restraining the inflation,” said BJD MP Pinaki Mishra.

“The budget should focus on strengthening economy, creating employment and double farmers' incomes,” said Saptagiri Ulaka, Congress MP.

However, the ruling BJP claimed that the Centre has already allocated sufficient funds for rail infra development in the State so the BJD government in Odisha should utilise them for maximum benefits.

“The Union Railway minister is from Odisha. So, the State can take maximum advantage for various developmental projects,” said BJP MP Suresh Pujari.

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