BHUBANESWAR: The State BJP on Tuesday said denial of security to Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan during his visit to Malkangiri district was a conspiracy by Odisha Government.
“This is a conspiracy by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to cover up his Government’s inefficiency in tackling the situation in Malkangiri where Japanese Encephalitis (JE) has so far claimed lives of over 110 children,” said BJP’s State unit president Basanta Panda and senior leader KV Singhdeo at a media conference here.
They alleged that the Union Minister was advised not to visit Palkonda village, which witnessed maximum number of deaths of children due to the vector borne disease, at the instance of the CM. Panda and Singhdeo had accompanied Pradhan during the visit.
Pradhan visited the Maoist-affected tribal district after intimating the State Government well in advance. The State administration assured to provide necessary assistance including security to the Union Minister during his visit.
“Necessary protocol and security arrangements will be made for the visit of the Union Minister to the villages indicated (in your letter),” stated the November 11 letter of Chief Secretary AP Padhi to the office of the Union Minister.
The district Superintendent of Police would not dare advise the Union Minister against visiting Palkonda without clearance from the top, Singhdeo said.
The BJP leaders said the security concern of the Government was a well thought-out plan to prevent the Union Minister from meeting Umesh Madhi, the Class-IV student of Palkonda primary school, who had written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to mitigate JE menace.
Responding to a query, Panda said there is hardly any improvement in the situation in Malkangiri. The Union Minister will seek special intervention of the Centre in tackling the JE menace during his briefing to the Prime Minister on his visit.