BJD, BJP trade barbs over Central drought relief aid

Bhubaneswar: The Opposition BJP on Friday targeted the ruling BJD over the latter’s denial on Centre’s drought relief assistance to the State.

While the saffron party asserted that the Centre has already released more than 80% of the amount sought by the State government to tackle drought situation in the State, the BJD, fought back with its rhetorical artillery of central negligence and said not a penny has been received by Odisha.

“The State government is giving completely wrong information. The Centre has been releasing the assistance packages to Odisha in a timely manner. The State government should not create such a situation that in future, it has to face an embarrassing moment,” Union Tribal Affairs minister Jual Oram said.

The party’s State president also corroborated the minister’s claims.

“I am sure of the Rs 815 crore sanctioned for Odisha, the Centre has deposited Rs 707 crore in the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF). If the government is denying to this fact, I would like to request the State government to release a white paper on the amounts received by it from the Centre,” BJP State president Basant Panda said.

But the BJD, reiterated its perennial complaint and alleged that it is yet to receive such amount from the Centre.

“There is no fact what they (BJP leaders) are saying. We have already presented the status on Centre’s financial assistance in the House. Why they are raising the issue now? They could have countered us in the House itself when we discussed about the matter,” BJD spokesperson Amar Satapathy said.

On March 21, replying to a question from Congress’ Tara Prasad Bahinipati, Revenue and Disaster Management minister Bijayshree Routray said, “Despite an acute drought, the State Government has not received any assistance from the NDRF in 2015-16 fiscal.”