CUTTACK: The State Government is beginning to feel the heat of Cuttack’s imminent omission from the much vaunted Smart City scheme as protests mount over the issue.
After students and lawyers who have already taken to agitation, political pressure is building up with Congress going all out over the demand of inclusion of the millennium city in the scheme.
The Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) on Thursday witnessed stormy scenes with Congress corporators staging demonstration and disrupting the council meeting even as the party has announced to intensify the agitation further with a call for Cuttack bandh.
“It will be a grave injustice to Cuttack, if the oldest and second largest city of the State is deprived of its legitimate right to urban infrastructure development committed under the Central scheme. The millennium city was deliberately given low scores in the assessment report by the State Government to keep it out of the loop”, City Congress president Mohammad Mokim alleged.
While Bhubaneswar has been given the highest score of 70, Rourkela has been evaluated as second with Cuttack, Berhampur and Sambalpur bracketed in the same group with 60 points each. With the Centre set to select top two cities, Cuttack is certain to miss out.
“It is a well-thought ploy of the BJD to keep Cuttack out with an eye on the electoral gains in Western Odisha. One can easily gauge the vote-bank politics as the IIM was granted to Sambalpur on insistence of the BJD Government by relaxing the norms. We have no issues with more focus on the region but it should not be at the cost of discriminating our city”, he said.
The Congress has chalked out a step by step course of action from gheraoing the offices of the RDC and Collector to resorting to economic blockade and prohibiting movement of goods and other vehicles through the city before resorting to Cuttack bandh.
A citizen’s coordination committee is being formed under High Court Bar Association president Ashok Mohapatra which will steer the agitation till the demands are met. The lawyers of the Orissa High Court and all the subordinate courts in the city had on Wednesday abstained from work and submitted a memorandum to the RDC and Collector on the issue. Besides political parties, lawyers’ bodies, citizens’ associations, business bodies, people from all sections will be part of the committee.