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Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: A day after Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik approved a stimulus package of Rs 289.42 crore for MSMEs as COVID assistance, the opposition parties in the State lashed out at the government with the BJP alleging irregularities in the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS).

BJP leader Pradeep Purohit alleged that those working under MGNREGS are not getting timely payment and the announcement of the new package is an attempt by the CM to shift the onus.

"People who are getting works under MGNREGS are not being paid within seven days. With this new announcement, the CM has now passed the buck to district collectors to save his image," alleged Purohit.

Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati termed the State government's package as a drama and said, "The State has now a dearth of youths as they are migrating to other states. Lack of work and livelihood options have forced them to return that too during the time of the pandemic."

Responding to the allegations, ruling-BJD leader Debi Mishra said that the new package announced by the CM includes assistance measures such as interest subvention, top-up subsidy among others. "The initiative will help people, especially women and those from the weaker sections, to overcome the challenges amid the pandemic," he said.

While announcing the package on Tuesday, the CM reportedly directed district collectors to ensure that no family suffers due to lack of works amid the pandemic.

Besides, the CM has reportedly warned of stern action if work is delayed to people under the scheme and directed to give additional 100-day work and wage to each family in the district from where people are migrating to other states in large numbers.

Around 10 lakh Prabasi Odias had returned to the State following the pandemic. However, they are now returning to their workplace in absence of livelihood options.

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