MLAs demand pension, health insurance for Odisha scribes

BhubaneswarCutting across party lines, Odisha MLAs today demanded immediate implementation of pension and health insurance schemes for journalists working in the state.

The issue was raised during Zero Hour in the Assembly by BJD member Samir Ranjan Dash who sought steps for launching pension and health insurance schemes for journalists of Odisha as implemented in different states.

Dash was supported by his party colleagues Amar Prasad Satpathy, Prafulla Samal, Pravat Biswal, Sanjeev Sahu, D S Mishra, Ramesh Chandra Chayupatnaik, Mahesh Sahoo and Priyadarshi Mishra.

The ruling party members said about a dozen of states have already implemented pension and health insurance schemes for journalists and Odisha should not lag behind.

They said though Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had assured the journalists in 2013 that the government would make provision of pension and health insurance, it was yet to be fulfilled.

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BJP members Pradip Purohit and Rabinarayan Naik criticised the state government for not implementing the schemes for the scribes and also wanted to know about the recommendation of a committee headed by Chief Secretary on welfare of journalists in the state.

Congress chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati said “It is unfortunate that Odisha, which is celebrating its 80th year of foundation, has failed to meet the basic requirements of journalists, while newly created states like Telangana and Chhattisgarh have already announced pension and health insurance for scribes.”

The Congress MLA urged the Speaker to give a direction to the state government to fulfil the genuine demands of journalists.