Congress Vice President and campaign committee chairman Rahul Gandhi today held the BJD government led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik responsible for the nagging poverty in Odisha.
Odisha is full of natural resources but the people continued to remain poor. Benefits from thousands of crore of central assistance spent under different welfare schemes in the state have gone to the pocket of vested interest’, Mr Gandhi said while addressing a public rally at Bhatpada near here today.
He cited the mining scams, chit fund scams, MGNREGA scams, BPL rice scam and recent Raghurajan Committee report placing Odisha on the bottom of the state in poverty to prove his points
Mr Gandhi accused the Naveen Patnaik government of being corrupt and hand in gloves with the mine mafias who have looted thousands of crores.
He referred to the media reports on Shah Commission findings which said more than Rs.60,000 crores have been looted in illegal mining in the state.The Chit fund scam has also affected nearly 20 lakh families in the state
This money would have been spent on the development of schools, hospitals and benefited the people but had gone to the pockets of a few people, Mr Gandhi remarked. Gandhi said he was told that over 3500 farmers in the state have committed suicide, ten lakh youths remained unemployed and one third of the population were living below the poverty line.
‘There are no teachers in schools, no doctors in the hospitals he said adding that this was the duty of the government but the BJD government is unable to run the schools and hospitals and provide job to the youths.
The Maoist activities, the Congress vice-president, said have engulfed 22 of the 30 districts in the state while the atrocities on the dalits and women are rising.
The state government, Mr Gandhi said, is always trying to create an impression in the public that the centre was neglecting Odisha and not providing funds but the ground reality is different.
Never in the history of Odisha, the state government received as much money as given by the UPA governbmnent.
But the government is not able to utilise the funds and more so whatever has been spent is saddled with misutilisation and corruption. At least Rs 5,000 crore still lying un spent, he remarked.
He asked the people to dislodge the corrupt BJD government in the ensuing elections in order to make room for Odisha’s development and ‘Bring a party to power which will work for the poor and downtrodden and not for the reach’.