BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday slammed the Opposition Congress for its failure to keep its commitment on the food security front.
‘’Where is your promise and what happened to your commitment on food security for the people?,’’ he sought to know from Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh.
Replying to the debate on the motion of thanks to the Governor’s address, the Chief Minister reminded the Leader of Opposition about the promise the Indian National Congress (INC) had made during 2009 General Elections.
Recalling the Congress manifesto, Naveen said the INC had pledged to enact a right-to-food law that would guarantee access to sufficient food to all people, particularly the most-vulnerable sections of the society. The party had promised that every family, living below the poverty line (BPL), either in rural or urban areas, will be entitled by the law to 25 kg of rice or wheat per month at ` 3 a kg.
‘’What happened to your promise even after three years?’’ Naveen ridiculed the Congress. The State Government has been providing 25 kg of rice at ` 2 a kg to 42 lakh BPL families since 2008 from its own resources, he said.
Responding to a query from Singh, the Chief Minister said the Centre is providing subsidised rice for 32 lakh families and the State Government is distributing it among 42 lakh families. If the Centre allots full quota, all the BPL families will get 35 kg of rice each every month.
‘’It will greatly be appreciated if the Leader of Opposition takes up this cause of the State with his masters in Delhi,’’ Naveen said with sarcasm.
Dismissing Singh’s allegation that the State Government’s finances largely depend on Central assistance, the Chief Minister said the money coming from ‘Dilli Durbar’ is not a charity. What Odisha gets from the Centre is its just share, he said. In his more than two-hour speech, the Leader of Opposition alleged that poverty level has increased and there is a great divide between the haves and the have-nots during the BJD rule.
There is no satisfactory growth in agriculture and power generation despite the Government signing a number of MoUs for setting up thermal power plants.
The Government’s promise to create irrigation potential for at least 35 per cent of the cultivable areas in each block has remained a distant dream.
‘’Steel industry will not alone eradicate poverty,’’ Singh said and alleged that the Government has failed on all fronts. The motion was passed amid Congress walkout.