BJD, Cong in blame game over BPL cards in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: The Opposition Congress on Friday walked out of the Odisha Assembly accusing the BJD government of failing to issue BPL cards to lakhs of poor people living in remote pockets of the state.

"Is not it a failure of the state government? The state government failed to give a BPL cards to poor people even though it has completed 12 years in power," Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh said during a discussion on an adjournment motion moved by the party.

Noting that BPL cards were issued last in 1997, he said they should be issued every five years and the poor in Odisha missed them in 2002 and 2007 due to negligence of the state government.

Rejecting the opposition allegation, Panchayati Raj minister Kalpataru Das blamed the Centre for the delay in issue of BPL cards in the state.

"The Centre has been a major hurdle for the poor," he said adding the Centre did not accept the 2002 BPL survey and asked the state government to reduce the number of beneficiaries.

Asking how the state government could delete the names of poor families from the BPL list, he said "They directed us to bring down the BPL families from 44.93 lakh to 34.63 lakh and finally agreed to keeping the number at 38 lakh."

Claiming that the state government had tried to issue BPL list in the past, Das alleged that the Centre stopped the process of enumeration by issuing a separate guideline in middle of a survey.

He also alleged that the Centre did not provide adequate hand held devices and data entry operators required for carrying out the socio-economic survey.

However, the state government had meanwhile completed 99 per cent of enumeration work and 68 per cent of supervision formalities so far.

"We are optimistic that the total enumeration and supervision can be completed by April 2013. Therefore, if everything goes right, the new BPL list could be published by June, 2013," the minister said.

BJP also attacked the state government for its failure to issue new BPL cards to poor.