Centre rejects Odisha plea for two PSKs in state

Bhubaneswar: The Centre has rejected the proposal of the Odisha government to set up two more Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) in the state.

As per information obtained from the Centre by Hemant Panda, an RTI activist of Balangir, the UPA government at the Centre, following the directive of the National Information Commission, had entrusted the National Institute for Smart Government (NISG) to conduct a survey for setting up of 77 PSKs in the country, including two in Odisha. However, it did not recommend setting up of PSKs in Sambalpur and Berhampur.

Leaders irrespective of their party affiliations have criticised the apathy of the Centre towards Odisha.

Expressing resentment over the decision of the Centre, senior Congress leader Narasingh Mishra said the UPA government had taken a decision to set up two Passport Seva Kendras in Sambalpur and Berhampur. “But with the change of government at the Centre, the NDA government rejected the proposal and deprived the people of an opportunity to get their passport from their own area. It is grossly unfortunate. I strongly condemn the step-motherly attitude of the Centre,” headed.

In his reaction, BJD leader Rohit Pujari said the manner in which the Centre has rejected this proposal bears ample testimony to its apathetic attitude towards Odisha. “The people of Western Odisha and Sambalpur will vehemently protest against this nonchalant attitude of the Centre,” he said.

On the other hand, BJP leader Pradip Purohit said the Centre might have rejected the proposal as the Odisha government neither made any effort for infrastructure development nor submitted a detailed project report. “I feel that the Centre has decided against setting up permanent PSK in Sambalpur and Berhampur due to these reasons,” he reasoned.

It may be mentioned that chief minister Naveen Patnaik, in a letter to Union External Affairs minister Sushma Swaraj on March 2 last year, had requested her to take steps for setting up of two PSKs in Sambalpur and Berhampur.

In his letter, Patnaik had said that since there is only one PSK in Bhubaneswar, it becomes difficult for the people of western and southern Odisha to apply and collect their passports since they have to travel a long distance.