Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Amid claims by opposition parties about cracks in BJD, the differences within BJP are out in the open with veteran politician and BJP leader Bijoy Mohapatra alleging that dreams of Odia youths have shattered as they have been cornered when it comes to employment at the IOCL Paradip refinery and other Central projects.

In a letter to Union Minister for Petroleum Dharmendra Pradhan dated May 31, Bijoy has alleged that there is resentment among youths of Kendrapara and Jagatsinghpur village regarding jobs in major projects which have been given to non-Odia people.

The common refrain in the two districts is '40,000 crore and not even 40 jobs for us!', wrote Bijoy. He said that the dreams of educated unemployed Odia youths who had hopes from these projects has been shattered. He has also highlighted that a Nagaland based firm has been engaged to transport gas from IOCL throughout India.

In reaction to the letter,Petroleum Minister Dharmendra said Bijoy has given 'good proposals'.

BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra said Bijoy Mohapatra is known for his unusual questions. 'But this time it is unclear if he wants to safeguard the interests of the Odia youths or the BJD," said the spokesperson.

The BJP members also cited the number of Odias employed in IOCL projects in a press conference. In executive positions, 90 out of the 529 posts have been given to Odias while 166 of 346 non executive positions are also occupied by Odia employees. In contractual segment, 4475 Odias have been employed out of the 5123 posts, informed the IOCL officials. IOCL selects students from NIT Rourkela and IIT Bhubaneswar during campus placement, they said.

Bijoy, however, maintained that this letter was out of concern for Odia youths who have been disappointed due to unemployment even in major projects in their region. There was no political motive he has clarified.

BJD vice president Damodar Rout has meanwhile thanked Bijoy for raising the issue. "Even if late, it is good that he raised the issue. Forget jobs for the educated unemployed youths, Odia labourers don't even get paid properly in Central projects," said the Agriculture minister.