Resentment, protests mar PEETHA programme

Nayagarh: Odisha government’s Peoples Empowerment – Enabling Transparency and Accountability of Odisha Initiatives (PEETHA) scheme seems to yielding results to the contrary as it is exposing the chinks in the armour of ruling-BJD.

During the PEETHA program in Nayagarh today, the Sarpanch and his supporters were allegedly assaulted by ruling-BJD workers for protesting inaction of local leaders in implementation of developmental works in the region.

Sarpanch of Laxmiprasad panchayat, Soumya Ranjan Pradhan said, “Some BJD goons used lathis to beat us when we were on our way to meet the Block Development Officer. They didn’t even spare the women. Some of them were holding swords as well.”

On the other hand, Nayagarh SDPO Sudhakar Sahu said, “Adequate police protection was given to the Sarpanch and his supporters when they were protesting. Situation was under control.”

Similarly, in Deogarh, villagers of Riamal detained four government employees along with the district welfare extension officer during a PEETHA program. They demanded establishment of a permanent panchayat office in Nuapada.

“Some locals forcefully took us to Nuapada as they wanted the PEETHA program to be held in Nuapada,” Welfare Extension Officer of Riamal Anibha Nayak said.

Meanwhile, BJP and Congress attacked the ruling party over the PEETHA program.

“If the government is claiming that this (PEETHA) will promote transparency and accountability, does that mean earlier programs were not transparent?” PCC media cell chief, Satya Naik said.

“The State government is trying to fool people,” BJP leader, Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo said.

Responding to the allegations, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said, “PEETHA program has been successful. Based on minor incidents, Opposition parties are attacking the State government which is nothing but jealousy.”