Naveen announces free umbrellas
Bhubaneswar: The Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha, which completed the fourth year of its third term on Tuesday announced Rs 100 each for 33 lakh differently abled persons to buy umbrellas against rain and shine.
The Rs 100 would be also be paid to widows, the aged and destitutes for purchase of umbrellas to tide over summer and the rainy season.
"Our government will continue to undertake welfare programmes with the blessings of the people of Odisha," Patnaik told reporters here.
Patnaik, the BJD president, said that one time assistance of Rs 100 would also be given to 16 lakh Madubabu pension holders and about 17 lakh national pension holders.
"An amount of Rs 33 crore will be spent to assist about 33 lakh beneficiaries," he said.
During his third term, Patnaik had taken up a series of populist measures like Rs 1 a kg rice for the poor, bicycles for construction workers, free laptops for tribal and dalit students, mobile phones for farmers and fishermen and others sops.
Patnaik during last winter had given Rs 200 each to pensioners for buying blankets.
"During the 4th year of BJD's third term, the government has earned praise from the Time Magazine for the state's economic progress. The state under leadership of Naveen Patnaik has achieved above 8 per cent growth," Panchayati Raj minister and BJD vice-president Kalpataru Das said.
The opposition Congress and the BJP, however,criticised the state government.
Criticising the demand for special category state status, union minister and senior Congress leader Srikant Jena asked "If you claim to have achieved economic progress, why do you demand special category state status for Odisha?"
Another opposition party, the BJP with which the BJD snapped ties before 2009 general elections, alleged corruption in governance.
"The day Naveen severed ties with BJP, the government lost control and plunged into corrupt practices. BJP checked corrupt practices in the government from 2000 to 2009," senior BJP leader in-charge of Odisha affairs Chandan Mitra claimed.
During the current term the BJD president faced a coup bid allegedly by his once close friend and Rajya Sabha MP Pyarimohan Mohapatra who has formed the Odisha Jan Morcha and openly invited BJD leaders to join him.
Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the Patnaik government has to contend with the incumbency factor, the multi-crore mining scam, dal scam, coal scam, chitfund scam.
Allocation of coal blocks to private companies especially state-owned Odisha Mining Corporation's joint venture with New Delhi-based Sainik Mining Private Limited to mine Utkal-D, the question paper leak and the alleged rape and murder of a Dalit girl in Pipili, have troubled Patnaik's government in the last four years.