Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday underscored the need for State’s police force to effectively combat Maoist menace.
He alleged that in 18 Maoist affected districts of Odisha, the State Government has failed to utilise Central funds for development works. “Rural development is the only way to solve Maoist problem,” he said while addressing a public meeting here organised by the district unit of Congress.
The Union Minister came down heavily on Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for not spending `13,000 crore sanctioned by the Central Government under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). “Odisha is the only State which is facing a CBI probe for misutilisation of funds granted under MGNREGA by the Centre,” he alleged.
He further said the Centre had also allocated Rs 5,000 crore to Odisha for laying 12,000 km rural roads three years back. Its execution has been poor, he added.
Accusing Naveen of following anti-tribal policy, Ramesh said the State Government has been trying to forcefully acquire land belonging to the tribals and the Niyamgiri hill to hand over to Vedanta. “Naveen managed to come to power due to internal bickering in Congress. If the Congress workers unite, they can defeat BJD in the 2014 elections,” he said.
Union Minister Srikant Jena and All India Congress Committee (AICC) general secretary in charge of Odisha BK Hariprasad also spoke on the occasion. Hariprasad said Congress will not tolerate any indiscipline in the party and called upon the workers to fight against the BJD in the forthcoming election.
Pradesh Congress Committee president Jaydev Jena and Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh were present on the occasion.