Modi’s Odisha visit: Ruling-BJD, Congress train guns

Bhubaneswar: Ahead of PM Narendra Modi’s visit to Odisha, both BJD and Congress today trained their guns at BJP by raising various issues and demands. While Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) chief Niranjan Patnaik sought answers from PM Modi on five issues, BJD’s Bolangir MP Kalikesh Singh Deo shot off a letter to the Prime Minister urging him to expedite the construction work of Khurda-Bolangir railway line.

Patnaik asked why the Centre is dilly-dallying to provide minimum support price (MSP) to farmers as per the recommendations of Swaminathan Committee. Upping the ante against the Centre, the OPCC chief asked how many employment opportunities have been created in Odisha. Raking up the Rafale deal controversy, Patnaik questioned why the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) was not provided the contract to manufacture the Rafale fighter jets. Moreover, demanding special funds for Odisha, Patnaik sought clarification why the Modi-government discontinued funds for the KBK districts. Besides, the OPCC chief also raised concerns over the tardy progress CBI probe into the multi-crore chit fund scam in the State.

“By running a train if the PM thinks, he is doing any favour then it is laughable. Special scheme should be launched for Bolangir. He (the PM) should consider providing pension, prestige and price to farmers and employment for youth,” stated Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra.

On the other hand, BJD’s Bolangir MP Kalikesh Singh Deo requested the Central government to expedite the construction work of Khurda-Bolangir railway line. Although the foundation was laid in 2005, the project has been suffering from a tardy pace of work, alleged Singh Deo in a letter to Modi.

He demanded express trains between Bolangir and Sonepur and a new train from Bolangir to New Delhi via Prayagraj. Singh Deo also demanded establishment of a Rail Wagon factory at Kantabanji on the vacant land which is still in possession of the Railways. Moreover, the MP also raised the issue of construction of barrages by Chhattisgarh on the upper catchments of Mahanadi River and urged the PM to direct the neighbouring State to stop the construction work immediately. He also reiterated Odisha’s demand for special category state status.

State BJP president Basant Panda said, “The PM is visiting Bolangir to spread the message of development. BJP is far ahead in terms of development, if someone compares the 50-year of reign of other parties earlier in the State.”

Meanwhile, preparations are in full swing for PM Modi’s scheduled visit to Bolangir tomorrow. Along with the district police, a team of the Special Protection Group (SPG) has made elaborate arrangements for the PM’s tour. DIG (Northern range) Satyabrata Bhoi is monitoring the security arrangements of PM’s visit.

Modi will attend a government function near the Bolangir Railway Station and later join a party programme at Patharachepa.