Naveen raps Centre for not releasing Rs 6400 Cr to Odisha

Experts believe that in fear of anti-incumbency, the ruling-BJD supremo, Naveen is strategically diverting the attention by raking up Central neglect

Bhubaneswar: As the elections to the State Assembly and Lok Sabha draw near, the ruling-BJD is rigorously raking up the issue of Central neglect. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today rapped the Centre that it has not released pending funds worth Rs 6,400 crore to the state with only a month left to the completion of current financial year.

In a meeting at Odisha Bhawan in New Delhi today to review the status of various State government projects pending before the Centre, CM Naveen said that he has directed the officials to take up the issue with the Centre for early release of the pending funds. Patnaik said the delay in release of funds has made it difficult for the state government to implement various projects.

“About Rs 6400 crores is yet to be released by the government of India. This includes more than Rs 1000 crore for housing, more than Rs 375 crore in health sector, over Rs Rs 400 crore under NREGS, more than Rs 650 crore in agriculture,” Naveen said after the review meeting.

Patnaik also added that under smart city poverty alleviation programme, the State government has received only Rs 6 crore instead of Rs 200 crore. While the State government has spent around Rs 3000 crore in drinking water projects, the Centre has released only Rs 180 crore, the CM said.

“I have deputed various officers from Odisha Bhawan to follow up with the concerned ministries regarding what is owed to us,” said Patnaik.

However, responding to CM Naveen, Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Dharmendra Pradhan said, the comments made by the CM are just an eyewash to hide the failures of the ruling party.

The union minister alleged that CM Naveen-led State government has learnt the art of announcing schemes without budgetary allocations and proper strategy for implementation.

Pradhan highlighted that “In the last four and a half years of NDA, Odisha’s share in the Central Taxes was hiked from 32 percent to 42 percent leading to 165 percent rise in funds allocated during 14th Finance Commission.”  

“The CM is pointing fingers towards pending funds but why is he silent on the lack of utilization of funds under the District Mineral Fund,” he said.

On CM Naveen’s allegations regarding non-release of Central funds despite Utilization Certificates (UC), Pradhan said “The State’s Chief Secretary should immediately contact me in case funds have not been disbursed even after receipt of UCs.”

Responding to the CM’s statements, Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik said both BJP and BJD pretend to be fighting with each other, but they have a secret nexus.

Political pundits claim that while an anti-incumbency wave is slowly spooling up against the ruling-BJD, party supremo Naveen is proactively paying the ‘central negligence’ card to neutralise the effect.