‘CM’s drought package demand to cover up farmers’ unrest’

Bhubaneswar: The Opposition parties on Saturday came down heavily on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for demanding a special drought package to the tune of Rs 3,500 crore from the Centre.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram said the State government was shedding crocodile tears before the Centre for assistance only to save its image in the wake of farmer suicides in the State.

Echoing similar sentiment, PCC Coordination Committee member Niranjan Patnaik said, “After its assessment, they (the State government) should ask for help from the Centre. In case the Centre does not comply with the demands of Odisha government, the State will take it as Central negligence. I think he (Naveen Patnaik) is doing this for politics.”

Reacting to the charges, BJD spokesperson Amar Satapathy said, “We appeal them not to politicise this issue. In Bihar, before a report was sent about the flood, Rs 1000 crore was given by the Centre. Same treatment was also meted out to other states. Everything depends up on the Centre’s policy.”

Notably, on Thursday, during a meeting with Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Patnaik urged for Rs 3,500-crore special assistance for drought-hit areas in the State.