Naveen proposes, Manmohan disposes

Delhi/Bhubaneswar: The Centre has once again rejected the demand of the state to accord special category state status to Odisha while it has assured Bihar to consider its case. The ruling Biju Janata Dal has decided to target both the NDA and the UPA government at the centre and its Members of Parliament today staged dharna in front of the statute of Mahatma Gandhi inside the parliament premises in New Delhi to protest against what they said continuous neglect of the genuine demand of the state. BJD workers too staged protests outside the Raj Bhawan in the state capital.

The slogan shouting BJD MPs holding placards alleged that the state has failed to get justice both from the previous NDA and the present UPA government. The MPs complained howcome the centre has assured Bihar to consider its case while rejecting that of Odisha and asked the Centre furnish convincing replies. The Centre, the MPs alleged, accorded step motherly treatment to Odisha. Said former Union Water resources Minister and BJD MP Arjun Sethi," the Centre neglects Odisha in each and every case and this was another case of discrimination".

The BJD workers too staged demonstration in front of the Governor`s House in the state capital to protest the decision of the Centre rejecting grant of special category of state status to Odisha. The workers shouted slogans against the NDA and UPA governments.

There are certain conditions laid down for consideration of granting special category of state status. The conditions are, the state must share its boundary with a neighbouring nation, hilly and inaccessible tracts, poor economic condition, poor infrastructure facilities, dearth of natural resources and considerable tribal population. While unlike Bihar, Odisha does not share its boundary with a neighbouring nation, it fulfills all the other conditions for getting the special category of state status. Sevderal Congress leaders however said that the BJD was resorting to cheap gimmick and there was no justification to demand special status while the state has failed regularly to even spend the huge grants provided by the Centre.

Meanwhile, chief minister Naveen Pattanaik has written a letter to prime minister requesting Manmohan Singh to intervene in the matter and demanded that Odisha should be granted its due as it meets all the prerequisites for the special category state.