Odisha does not have infra for utilising central funds: Ramesh

Kendrapara: Union Minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday alleged that the Odisha government did not have the infrastructure to utilise central funds and failed on many occasions to submit utilisation certificates.
 
"Centre is generous in releasing grants to Odisha, but the state government is not armed with execution and infrastructure mechanism to judiciously utilise the precious central grants," Ramesh told a Congress meeting here.
 
Alleging that the state government failed on numerous occasions to submit utilisation certificates for central grants, the Union Rural Development minister said the Centre allocated Rs 5,000 crore in grants for laying 12,000 km of rural roads in the past three years.
 
"However, its execution is poor," he said alleging that corruption, nepotism and maladministration ruled the roost.
 
Ramesh said that the state government's record on implementation of the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme was hardly encouraging.
 
"Odisha is one state which is facing a CBI probe for massive misutilisation of this flagship poverty alleviation scheme," he said.
 
On Patnaik's consecutive victories, Ramesh said "In fact BJD is not winning…we can say Congress has been losing. BJD banks on negative votes."
 
Asking partymen to fight unitedly to oust Naveen Patnaik government, Ramesh criticised the infighting in the Congress in the state.
 
"Patnaik has ruled Odisha for three terms only due to growing factionalism and anti-party activities by Congressmen in the state," he said.
 
"Unless discipline is restored and the party puts up a united fight, Congress may suffer yet another poll debacle. I am forced to speak on these lines as dissidence is still intact in the Odisha Congress unit," he said.
 
On OPCC's show cause notice to AICC member and former MP Souumya Ranjan Patnaik, who is son-in-law of Assam Governor J B Patnaik, Ramesh said, "One has to abide by the party ideology and discipline as long as he or she is in the party." 
 
"He cannot think he is above the party. Congress has no place for those who consider they are bigger than the party," Ramesh told reporters after the meeting.
 
On BJD's Odisha's demand for special category state status Ramesh said, "All states with per capita income less than the national average should be accorded special cateogy status for 10 years."