This Week Orissa: CM deals Sops ahead of polls
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CM deals Sops ahead of polls
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik appears to be getting ready for early assembly polls that could coincide with a possible mid-term Lok Sabha election. His adviser-turned-adversary Pyari Mohan Mohapatra has been targeting Naveen, who in turn has been showering sop after sop on the electorate. On December 15, his government gave Rs 200 to each elderly person, widow and disabled person as winter assistance to buy blankets. In August, he had announced bicycles for 1.6 lakh class X students of BPL families, an extension of the same scheme under which class X tribal and Dalit students were given bicycles. Though the Rs 2-a-kg rice scheme has been slammed by the CAG, Naveen knows it could be a vote-fetcher. The sops are, however, taking their toll on the economy; the rice scheme alone has burdened the state with Rs 979 crore.
Pyari in attack
Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, now Orissa Jan Morcha president, has spared no effort to malign Naveen Patnaik. Last week, Mohapatra alleged that the government had offered Rs 4 crore to Maoists during the abduction of R Vineel Krishna, and Rs 2 crore for the release of Laxmipur BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka. Quoting a recent interview with Maoist interlocutor Dandapani Mohanty, whose son Sangram is now behind bars for allegedly supplying arms to the rebels, Mohapatra claimed the ransom for Vineel Krishna was given through three IAS officers, while in Jhina Hikaka's case it was paid through a minister. Mohapatra also attacked DGP Prakash Mishra over the latter's alleged attempt to link him with Maoists. Policemen's families and the common people would not spare the government for its dalliances with the Maoists, he said.
Snub from Railways
In yet another blow to projects in the state, the Ministry of Railways has cut Rs 60 crore from the state's allocation for 2012-13, over and above the Rs 220 crore it had struck off from the allocation during this year. The budget for the Khurda Road-Bolangir rail link has been slashed by Rs 15 crore, and those for the Talcher-Bimlagarh line and the Sambalpur-Talcher doubling project by Rs 15 crore and Rs 30 crore respectively. State officials are alleging other states that generate much less revenue are getting more funds whereas projects of the profit-making East Coast Railway Zone are getting short shrift. From 2011-12's allocation of Rs 1,361.67 cr, the ministry halved it to Rs 713.98 cr in 2012-13, before the further cuts.
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