Local politicians thwarting industrialisation in Odisha: Industry Association

Bhubaneswar/ Cuttack: At a time when the Odisha government is going gaga over its ambitious ‘Make in Odisha’ conclave, the ground reality is totally different when it comes to providing a business-friendly atmosphere.

Purushottam Kandoi, President, Kalinga Nagar Industry Association & All Odisha Steel Federation today alleged that several old industrial units are suffering as they have not got adequate support from the State government.

Moreover, industrialists are being harassed and looted by politically-connected people, he said.

“We welcome the Make in Odisha initiative, but several old industries are suffering and people here do not leave any stone unturned to harass industrialists. The local politician in Kalinganagar is creating problems and as he has got so much freedom that he considers himself to be the king of Odisha,” said Kandoi.

Kandoi claimed that he has brought such irregularities and harassment to the notice of Odisha CM, chief secretary and Industries department minister, but no steps have been taken to resolve the issues.

Citing the example where an ex-sarpanch who has was given appointment at a plant illegally, Kandoi informed that the industrialists are being harassed by politicians to employ their men.

Moreover, Kandoi further stated that the investors from outside are not aware of the harsh reality and the type of harassment that they would face in Odisha.

“Those who have not given a single drop of blood or sweat in building an industry are behaving like owners and think industrialists as their servants. We just urged Odisha CM to initiate stern action so that such harassment of industrialists and industries stops,” Kandoi added.

Former Kendrapara MP Baijayant ‘Jay’ Panda on the other hand also advocated that job creators should not be harassed.

In a tweet, Panda wrote, “The other side of remittances bonanza from millions of expatriate Indians, incl 4 million Odias alone! It’s been my sad task to assist hundreds of families bring back their yng men in distress, often in coffins. My dream: jobs here! Nurture, don’t harass job creators in Odisha.”

“When govt becomes vindictive & harasses industrial units in the state for narrow political gains, we can’t expect companies outside Odisha to trust us. You need to be investor-friendly not just on paper, but on ground too,” tweeted Jay Panda’s office.

Opposition parties including BJP also slammed the Odisha government for not inviting union ministers to Make in Odisha conclave.

Odisha State BJP in-charge, Arun Singh asserted that the State’s development is not possible with such narrow mindset.

“Due to such narrow mindset of Odisha CM, State’s development has not been possible,” said Singh.

At a presser, BJP leaders alleged that nearly 3700 acres of land which were provided to industries is still unutilized in Odisha; hence, the land should be returned to the farmers.

Besides, seven railway projects worth Rs 12,321 crore which are essential for catalysing industrial development are yet to make any headway due to lackadaisical attitude of Odisha government, alleged BJP.

“In the name of industrialization, many have taken land at concessional rates and are selling those land at much higher rates,” alleged BJP leader, Lekhashree Samantsinghar.

Industries Minister Anant Das on the other hand claimed that people of Odisha will decide whether CM is narrow-minded or not.

“When the local unit is opposing, what’s the point in inviting Union Ministers. They will not consider our request which will be an embarrassment for us,” said Das.