BJD to reiterate demand for SCS to Odisha in Parliament

Bhubaneswar: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) will reiterate its demand for special category status (SCS) to Odisha during the budget session of the Parliament which will begin tomorrow.

This was decided at the BJD Parliamentary Party meeting which was presided over by the party supremo and chief minister Naveen Patnaik at Naveen Niwas here this morning.

Besides, the party also decided to put forth its other demands during the session.

“I had discussions with my party MPs to be raised by them in the ensuing budget session of the Parliament. They have been asked to pursue the completion of the timely repair and restoration of Lord Jagannath temple in Puri with the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the concerned ministries, release of dues pending towards drought of 2015, Cyclone Phailin of 2013, non-release of Central share towards completion of five new medical colleges, and modification of existing rice and wheat allotment ratio to suit the needs of the National Food Security Act (NFSA) beneficiaries. We will also be given emphasis in course of their discussion in the Parliament,” Patnaik told media persons after the meeting.

Balangir MP, Kalikesh Narayan Singhdeo, who was present at the meeting, told the media that as decided in the meeting, we will demand a special package for Odisha.

“As Odisha has been historically neglected by the Centre, grant of special package and special category state status would help the state overcome the inequality in the development,” he said.

To a question on whether the meeting decided to rake up the demands of the state to introduce railway services in seven districts of the state, Singhdeo said the chief minister has given a new proposal to the Centre to take up work for new routes. Besides, he has requested the Centre to expedite the completion of Khurda-Balangir railway line and setting up of a railway wagon repair workshop.

“The amount of revenue Odisha gives to the Railways, we also want equal allocations for the development of railway sector in our state,” he pointed out.

Asked to comment on the arrest of JNU Students Union president Kanhaiya Kumar on sedition charges and the inaction of the Delhi Police to refrain the lawyers from attacking the university students inside the court premises, the Balangir MP said the fact will come out after the investigation.

“The law will take its own course. But we strongly condemn the Delhi Police for its inaction in the entire incident,” he pointed out.

Asked whether the BJD supports the sedition charges against Kanhaiya, he said “We don’t know what the truth is. What we have seen in the video earlier that Kanhaiya had given anti-Indian speech and subsequently read the news that he had spoken about anti-casteism, anti-poverty and anti-operation. That’s why I say that a proper inquiry can reveal the truth behind the incident. We will participate in the debate on the issue in the Parliament. We will ask the JNU incident to be acted upon as per law. But the manner in which the Delhi Police arrested the students from inside the university campus without any evidence and proof or permission and the way it remained silent when the students and the media persons were beaten up inside the Supreme Court, is grossly condemnable. We will take up the issue strongly in the Parliament”.

On the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bargarh to attend the farmers’ rally today, Singhdeo said since this is a party programme of the BJP, the BJD has nothing to worry about this.

“Only tall talks will not solve any problems for Odisha. Let the Centre release the pending assistance to the state,” he observed.

To another question on what would be the stand of the BJD on the proposed GST Bill and Land Acquisition Bill in the Parliament, Singhdeo said his party has specific stand on these two proposed bills.

“We are willing to support the GST bill with some minor amendment in its provision. On the Land Acquisition Bill, what we have come to know that this has come to the states and they will take a call on this,” he added.