BJD flays Centre on cuts on kerosene quota, agri aid

Bhubaneswar: The BJD government in Odisha today fired a fresh salvo against the Centre, this time on the twin issues of cuts in the kerosene quota and assistance to the agriculture sector.

Food and Supplies minister Sanjay Dasburma alleged that the Central government has slashed the kerosene quota for the state to the extent of 4, 632 kilo litres in July. Earlier, it had reduced 4, 872 kilo litres in April this year and 1, 020 kilo litres in April last year from the state’s entitlement of kerosene, he said.
“It is unfortunate. We are unable to accept the way the Central government has slashed the kerosene quota to Odisha in three phases. This has hit the beneficiaries in Odisha hard,’’ Dasburma said.

Though the Centre had announced implementation of direct benefit transfer (DBT) in kerosene, it has not yet given the state the required Aadhar data, the minister alleged.
On his part, Agriculture minister Pradip Maharathy said while Prime Minister Narendra Modi talked big at the farmers’ convention in Bargarh, his government has imposed heavy cuts in agricultural assistance due to the state.

“In the last two years, we have been deprived of roughly Rs 1002.38 crores out of our share of Central funds, which has affected the growth of agriculture and farmers in the state. Bada Bada baat, kaam chhota (“Big talk, but small work”),” Maharathy said.

The biggest cut of Rs 221 crores had come in the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana, followed by Rs 83 crores in the National Food Security Mission and Rs 100 crores in the Integrated Watershed Management scheme, the minister said.

Pooh-poohing the BJD charge, BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma accused it of trying to mislead the people.

“The state government has nothing better to do than complain and mislead. The Centre has not slashed money under any scheme. Rather, it has increased in comparison to the assistance in the past. Odisha needs to be protected from the pollution caused by kerosene. That is why Centre is making sure that Odisha gets more gas,” Sharma said.
With the BJP shedding its diffidence in taking on the BJD government, the ruling party in the state has been steadily upping the ante against the Centre over the last few weeks.