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Mrunal Manmay Dash

Paralakhemundi: The Special Development Council (SDC) established with an aim to foster development, improve the standards of living of the tribal population and also to safeguard their culture, has reportedly been inoperative in Gajapati district for more than a year raising concerns. BJP MLA from Paralakhemundi alleged that the only purpose of the SDC is to rehabilitate leaders of the ruling party.

“SDC does not have any regulation or system under which the work orders for various projects are released. They can make bills without even floating tenders,” alleged K Narayan Rao, MLA of Paralakhemundi.

“The SDC is being used to rehabilitate and save the political careers of BJD leaders,” added Rao.
Recently BJD’s Zilla Parishad Member from the area, Suprava Mandal raised concerns over the issue and said, “The government should expedite appointment of a SDC Chairperson here in Paralakhemundi.”

“From drinking water projects to temples, there are a lot of works pending in our area. I do not know why the government is delaying the appointment,” questioned Mandal.

Speaking about the pending projects, District Collector of Gajapati, Anupam Saha said, “We had received a total of Rs 21 crore in two instalments out of which we have already spent more than Rs 13 crores and there are projects right now in the pipeline worth Rs 7.5 crores.”

“Similarly, we had taken up 598 projects out of which 353 projects have already been completed and 245 projects are currently underway,” added Saha.

However, Jagannath Sarka, Minister of State (Independent Charge), S.T. & S.C. Development defended role of SDC and refuted the allegations saying, “There is no question of rehabilitating anybody. SDC has catered to the demands of many tribal people. Right now we have only two SDCs functioning. Seven more will be constituted and we will make it happen soon.”

(Edited By Bikram Keshari Jena)

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