BHUBANESWAR: Ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bargarh on February 21, chief minister Naveen Patnaik today laid foundation stones of projects amounting to 450 crore in Kalahandi and Balangir districts as a part of the process to implement the announcements made by him at the farmers' convention at Sohela.
Visit to Kalahandi and Balangir districts today was part of the exercise started by the chief minister to implement the announcements made by him for the farmers, former minister and BJD spokesperson Pratap Keshari Deb said.
Deb said that several announcements made by the chief minister at Sohela convention are already being implemented. The projects for which the chief minister laid foundation stones today included the Upper Indravati canal and two mega lift points at Kesinga and Gudbhela. Besides, work has already started for provide a separate power feeder for agriculture for the benefit of the farmers, he said.
Official sources said that the chief minister will visit Jharsuguda and Rourkela on February 24, Sambalpur on February 27 and Keonjhar on February 29 as a part of this process.
Chief minister's visit to Kalahandi and Balangir districts has, however, come in for strong criticism from the state unit of BJP. Such visits to lay the foundation stones of projects ahead of the Prime Minister's visit to Bargarh will not help the farmers in anyway, state BJP president Basant Panda said and criticised the state government for its inability to check distress sale of paddy.
Stating that the Centre has already launched several steps for the welfare of the farmers, Panda said that the crop insurance scheme and Deendayal Upadhyaya Gram Jyoti Yojana will be of immense benefit to the farmers.
Addressing the Sohela convention on November 19, 2015, the chief minister had criticised the Centre for not releasing drought assistance and sanctioned `1000 crore to deal with the situation.
He had announced that `35,000 crore would be spent on the development of western Odisha in the next five years in the agriculture sector, of which 80 percent funds would earmarked for agricultural development. ”As much as Rs.8,000 crore of the total amount will be spent exclusively on irrigation purpose,” he said.