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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Bhubaneswar: The Opposition parties in Odisha are irked over Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s decision to identify and distribute ‘eligibility cards’ and ‘land right certificates’ to all the beneficiaries of Biju Pucca Ghar in rural and Jaga Mission in urban areas respectively.

As per reports, the eligibility cards will be given to the beneficiaries on the occasion of birth anniversary of former Odisha Chief Minister Biju Patnaik. In a letter to all the party MPs, MLAs and workers, CM Naveen has directed to identify the beneficiaries and provide them eligibility cards during the fortnight-long celebration of 104th birth anniversary of the former CM from March 5 to March 20 across the state.

The announcement has drawn criticism from many quarters questioning the intent of BJD. Opposition parties have alleged that it is a ploy to give away houses to BJD leaders and workers.

Questioning State government’s intent, Odisha BJP Spokesperson, Golak Mohapatra said, “The government should clarify whether it’s a party specific programme or a governmental programme.”

“CM’s letter directing party workers to distribute eligibility cards is misleading. It seems BJD is trying to disguise party work under the wraps of government programme,” alleged Mohapatra.

Welcoming the decision, veteran Congress leader and Jatani MLA Sura Routray said, “I welcome the decision. If the government is honest enough I would be more than happy to help them identify the beneficiaries.”

However, the Congress MLA warned the ruling party to refrain from showing favouritism while allotting houses. He said, “Though Congress welcomes the decision, I will not spare any of the BJD leaders if I find them involved in corruption.”

Refuting all the allegations against BJD, party spokesperson Pratap Deb said, “Eligibility card is a certificate that will be given to all the beneficiaries making them eligible for getting houses & land rights in urban areas. Those who are alleging corruption in it are misguided.”

Sources said during the 104th birth anniversary celebration of Biju Patnaik at Bali Jatra ground in Cuttack, 15 lakh beneficiaries under Biju Pucca Ghar scheme will be allotted houses in the next three years by the Panchayati Raj Department. The state government is eyeing to take schemes like 5T and Mo Sarkar closer to the public during the celebration of Biju Jayanti in every constituency and in a bid to create a wave of support for the party.

It’s worth mentioning here that, the civic and panchayat elections in the State are just months away and as alleged, it could be very well be a case of luring voters with doles.

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