Alleging gross negligence towards railways and backward KBK region of Odisha, the ruling BJD MLAs on Friday demanded a full-fledged discussion on the Congress-led UPA Government’s step-motherly attitude towards the State.
The issues were raised by BJD members during zero hour in the Assembly where MLAs pointed out how budgetary allocation in railways for the year 2012-13 was reduced from Rs 723 crore to Rs 537 crore.
Criticising the Centre for the neglect of the KBK region (undivided Kalahandi, Balangir and Koraput districts) in the State, A U Singhdeo (BJD) warned that if the situation continued, a Telengana-type situation cannot be ruled out.
Singhdeo demanded a resolution in the House over the Centre’s denial of a special package for the KBK region.
Though the State Government had been demanding a special package of Rs 4,500 crore for the development of the KBK region through an eight-year perspective plan, the proposal has been kept in cold storage by the Planning Commission, he said.
“While we are told that the poverty-hit KBK region is getting funds under IAP and BRGF, the Planning Commission sanctioned Rs 7,266 crore for Bundelkhand area,” Singhdeo said.
Seeking a full-fledged discussion on the matter, he said this Assembly should adopt a resolution condemning the Centre’s attitude towards the people of KBK region.
BJP Leader K V Singhdeo too backed the proposal and recalled how Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Odisha MPs that money does not grow on trees. “I urge the Government to bring a resolution in this regard,” he said.
Welcoming a special debate on the matter, Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh criticised the State Government for not taking views, suggestions and help of the Opposition parties in the interest of the State.
The BJD members also came down heavily on the Centre for the neglect of railways in the State. Raising the issue, former minister Amar Prasad Satpathy said budgetary allocation for different ongoing projects was reduced.
While the State Government had demanded Rs 2,345 crore for development of railway infrastructure in the State during 2012-13, the Centre sanctioned only Rs 723 crore. “They later reduced the amount by Rs 186 crore,” Satpathy said.
Railway Budget is a mockery as it sanctioned Rs 1,000 each for development of railway stations at Malatipatpur, Nirgundi, Bargarh Road,
Jeypore and Koraput railway stations, pointed out former minister and BJD member Pratap Jena.
“Railway negligence is a fit case to bring a censure motion against the Centre,” Jena said, adding many people died in the State due to unmanned level crossings.
Former minister R P Swain expressed concern over Railways’ move to reduce the limit of East Coast Railway Zone. Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan, however, maintained that railway infrastructure in the State has not improved because of the neglect of the State Government.
Though Rs 52 crore has been provided in the budget for land acquisition for the Talcher-Bimalagarh railway line, only Rs 6.7 crore has been spent.
His party colleague, Santosh Singh Saluja, demanded a discussion on the issue so that truth will come out.