Cong to empower PRIs at grassroot

Bhubaneswar: Terming the 12-year old BJD rule in the state as an era of corruption, lawlessness and inefficiency, Congress today vowed to strive for empowering panchayati raj institutions to make them true weapons of self-governance at grassroot level.

"Corruption is rampant and law and order situation is grave amid alarming spurt in rape incidents as the BJD rule is marked by inefficiency," Odisha Pradesh Congress Congress Committee (OPCC) President Niranjan Patnaik said releasing the party manifesto for coming panchayat polls.

Instead of devolving power to the people, the Naveen Patnaik government had made panchayati raj institutions powerless due to concentration of power with bureaucrats and officials, he alleged. Stating that common people would be benefited if corruption is wiped out, Patnaik said since Congress was not in power in Odisha it vowed to fight against corruption and work for empowering panchayat bodies.

Slamming the BJD government for spurt in Maoist violence, it said only two districts of the state were hit by left wing extremism 12 years ago, but now the number of districts affected by Naxals had risen to 22. Though Congress being in opposition has a limited role to strengthen panchayat bodies it would step up the fight for empowering them, he said.