Dharmendra Pradhan slams Odisha govt over land allocation for Paika rebellion memorial

Bhubaneswar: Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan today lashed out at the Odisha government alleging apathy in allotment of land for a memorial dedicated to the Paika Rebellion and instead providing land for a beer factory.

Pradhan’s comments came during the Harekrushna Mahatab Jayanti programme in Bhubaneswar, where he said “Despite Centre’s letters to Odisha to grant land for setting up a Paika Bidroha Memorial in Barunei of Khurda, govt has shown no interest.”

The Union Minster alleged that he had written to the State government demanding 50 acre land for the memorial 2 years back, however, nothing has been done yet.

“The State government can provide 600 acre of land for a beer factory but can’t they allot only 50 acre of land for the brave warriors of the country,” Pradhan said.

Recently, the State government was mired in a controversy after a deforestation drive was conducted to pave way for a proposed beer factory at Balarampur village of Dhenkanal. Police had tried to forcibly evict villagers mostly women, who were guarding the trees by wrapping their arms around them.

Later, CM Naveen Patnaik had immediately called off the project.

Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik tweeted, “If the land is not reallocated by 27th November, we will launch a protest against this politics of malice and vendetta.”

Commenting on the allegations levelled by Pradhan Patnaik said “It’s really unfortunate that the Odisha government is indulging in political vendetta and insulting the great freedom fighters and the first CM of Odisha, Utkal Keshari Harekrushna Mahatab by taking away the land allotted for his statue,” he added.

Responding to the allegations, State Tourism & Culture Minister Ashok Panda said, “The Union Minister is giving misleading statements. A detailed project report (DPR) has already been presented a year ago.”