Pension card distribution in Rourkela halted after BJD-BJP brawl

Rourkela: A scuffle erupted between BJD and BJP activists at Udit Nagar area here during distribution of pension cards on Wednesday.

The brawl ensued after BJP activists opposed minister Snehangini Chhuria’s presence at the programme when Rourkela MLA Dilip Ray (BJP) had not been invited to the event.

“The BJD had called the minister and were waving their party flags during the distribution of pension cards though it is a government programme. Even local MLA Dilip Ray was not invited to the event. That is why we opposed the move of the ruling party,” Dhiren Senapati, Sundergarh district president of BJP, said.

“January 4 was fixed earlier for the distribution of cards. But the ruling party changed the programme overnight and fixed today for the event. The government pension scheme should not be politicised,” Senapati added.

This apart, he alleged that BJD activists have included their own members in the list of Madhu Pension Yojana beneficiaries, Senapati pointed out.

Countering the BJP’s allegation, the ruling party slammed the Rourkela MLA for not attending any pro-people programme in the city.

“The MLA was invited to the programme. But he never attends any people’s programme in Rourkela and is always busy on foreign tour. The Madhu Babu Pension Yojana, which has been launched by chief minister Naveen Patnaik for the poor, has been implemented in the city successfully”, BJD leader Jayant Kumar Mishra said.

“We condemn such act of BJP activists, who opposed the visit of the minister to foil a government pogramme”, Mishra added.

Similarly, Sundergarh district president of BJD Anand Mohanty said -“Only the commissioner can say whether the legislator is invited. This is a government programme and the Rourkela Municipal Corporation wanted to distribute some cards in the presence of a minister. The BJP should not oppose the programme.”

On the other hand, the Rourkela civic body, which had planned to distribute the card in the presence of the minister, claimed that it had discussed the matter with the local MLA. “The minister was scheduled to visit the city today. I had also talked to the MLA personally about the programme. But the minister’s programme was changed later. So, we planned to distribute the cards to some beneficiaries as the programme was pre fixed,” Rourkela Municipal Corporation Commissioner Durga Prasad Mohapatra said.

Meanwhile, card distribution programme was postponed after the incident. Police forces have been deployed at the spot to avoid any untoward incident.