Ujjwala scheme: State, Centre lock horns

Bhubaneswar: War of words through letter exchanges between the Chief Secretary of Odisha and Oil Ministry officials ensued over invitation to guests at functions at different places in the State for the launch of Ujjwala scheme in phases.

In a reply to the Odisha Chief Secretary’s letter, Oil Ministry Secretary KD Tripathi wrote local eminent personalities such as social activists, former defence personnel, school and college principals are invited at the Ujjwala launch functions.

He mentioned in the letter, which is in possession of OTV, though invitations were sent to Sambalpur MP and Bargarh MP to attend the Ujjwala launch functions at their respective areas, the people’s representatives did not pay any heed.

Tripathi’s letter pointed out law and order situation at some functions and sought the cooperation of the State government for the smooth launch of the Ujjwala scheme.

Notably, Chief Secretary AP Padhi had written to the Oil Ministry requesting it to invite local people’s representatives as guests during the Ujjwala launch functions.

Commenting on the Oil Ministry Secretary’s letter, Surya Narayan Patro, BJD spokesperson, said, “There is no meaning of the letter. May be he (Oil Ministry Secreatry) did not understand what the people of the State want.”

Patro added, “They (Oil ministry officials) are organising functions at several places in the State. However, if locals oppose to the functions, what the State government can do. Had they (Oil Ministry officials) called the local people’s representatives to the functions, no issue would have arisen.”

Commenting on the Sambalpur function where BJP State President Basant Panda was invited as a guest, Patro stated, “As he is a BJP member and was present at a function for the launch of the Ujjwala scheme organised by the Oil Ministry, locals reacted.”

Reacting on the issue, Samir Mohanty, BJP State vice president, said, “Poor sections of the State will get relieved from smoke and pollution with the Ujjwala scheme. But why they (ruling party leaders) are opposing remains a mystery.”

BJD, which claims to be the support of the people of the State, has become a threat, he added.