Pradeep Singh

Bhubaneswar: With the beginning of the new year, the Odisha government will have some major challenges for which it may need to align all its stars in the firmament properly.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has already unveiled the draft architectural plan of Shree Jagannath Heritage Corridor Project and sought suggestions of people. However, carrying out the beautification work of Puri Srimandir and Lingaraj Temple is seen as a big task for the government.

"A lot of challenges are ahead for us this year, especially the development works that will be carried out around the Puri temple and Lingaraj temple. We will also focus on the all-round development of all the regions across the State," said Suresh Mahapatra, Development Commissioner.

Besides, the State government is likely to face hurdles in keeping its promises made for various schemes before the general polls. Arrangement of funds for the KALIA scheme, which was believed to be a trump card for the BJD in 2019 elections, is seen as a herculean task for the State government.

On the other hand, after the proposed merger of KALIA with PM-KISAN Yojana, farmers will now get Rs 4,000 instead of Rs 6,000 per instalment (Rs 10,000 annually). Moreover, funds will also be an issue for the State government's other schemes like Biju Swastya Kalyan Yojana and Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana.

The State government may also face a major challenge to fulfil its promise of augmenting farmers' income under its new agricultural policy.

Fake Beneficiaries Kalia Scheme

"Our main challenge is to enhance the income of farmers. We have already released a policy for the same where we have decided to focus on three areas including crop diversification and use of technology in farming," said State Agriculture secretary, Saurabh Garg.

One of the other challenges will be bringing all the departments under its 5T model of governance. The BJD government may face difficulties in curbing corruption and percentage commission (PC) culture in the State.

Though Bhubaneswar and Rourkela have been announced Smart cities, a lot of work is still pending. Bhubaneswar was declared Smart City in 2016, but works on proper drainage system, smart traffic, smart parking, WiFi network, installation of CCTVs in crime zones and making the State Capital a slum-free city are yet to done.

"Several works have already been undertaken in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela. We had invited tenders and works by several departments are in progress. In 2020, we will take up more works in these Smart cities on a pilot basis," said Housing and Urban Development Minister, Pratap Jena.

Moreover, organising the 'Nagarjuna Besha' of Lord Jagannath (in November) and infrastructural development for under-17 Women's Football World Cup (at Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar) along with the making Rourkela ready for the 2023 Hockey World Cup are going to be major tasks.

"We are going to host the 2023 Hockey World Cup which will be played at Rourkela apart from Bhubaneswar. We have decided to construct astro turf at all the block headquarters in Sundergarh district," said Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera.

Apart from all these above challenges, construction of roads to around 5,300 villages along with the development of Kotia and the cut-off Swabhiman area in Malkangiri district will also be on government's priority list.