ROURKELA: Rourkela is the pride of Odisha, said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. “Biju Babu has immensely contributed in making Rourkela a vibrant industrial economy and my Government has always laid thrust on its development,” he said, while addressing the ‘Nirman Shramik Seva Saptah Samaroh’ of the Odisha Building and Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board here on Wednesday.
While sharing dais with his arch BJP rival, Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, Naveen said Biju Babu’s dreams continue to be the driving force for development of Odisha. Apparently, this was the third time that the Chief Minister shared dais with the Union Minister in the last 11 months.
Naveen said the State Government is soon going to start work for underground sewerage system at Rourkela at a cost of Rs 400 crore, while another Rs 260 crore would be spent on housing projects for the urban poor and slum dwellers at Madusudanpali and nearby areas of the city.
On his Government’s commitment towards ensuring ‘housing for all’, Naveen said Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana for the rural poor is doing very well and Nirman Shramik Pucca Ghar Yojana also ensures financial assistance of Rs one lakh to registered construction workers. He announced Rs five crore for kendu leaf pluckers and said kendu leaf price has been increased and the profit is being provided to primary gatherers in shape of dividend.
On the occasion, Jual said with introduction of unique Provident Fund (PF) number by Modi Government, workers can get PF benefits anywhere in the country. “While minimum pension in PF has been raised to Rs 1,000 from Rs 30, similar steps are being taken in the insurance sector as well,” he said. The Union Minister praised the State Government for giving impetus to the activities of Odisha Building & Other Construction Workers’ Welfare Board.
Jual also drew the attention of the Chief Minister to sort out the contentious land issues of displaced persons of Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP). He urged Naveen to direct the Housing & Urban Development Department to exclude disputed Panchayat areas from the Rourkela Municipal Corporation (RMC) limits and include left out slum pockets on RSP land of the city.
Jual said his Ministry has sanctioned five model schools for Odisha and impressed upon Naveen to facilitate setting up a model school in Panposh sub-division.
Earlier in the day, the Chief Minister inaugurated the e-office of Sundargarh district and distributed work orders to about 250 construction workers. Accompanied by Jual, he inaugurated the Koel bridge at Jhirpani. He symbolically inaugurated four other projects and laid foundations for 12 projects, including the road overbridges for ITI and STI level-crossings, at the Jhirpani venue.
Congress Flays CM
The Congress leaders flayed Naveen for putting several key projects for Sundargarh district in the back-burner. In a statement on Wednesday, former MLA Pravat Mohapatra said he was surprised to see the Chief Minister laying foundation stones and inaugurating projects symbolically. He said Naveen’s visit was to regain lost ground. Rourkela District Congress Committee president Biren Senapati posed 18 questions to Naveen asking why several projects failed to take off after laying of foundation. He questioned the fate of Government Medical College and Hospital and Hockey Nursery in Rourkela for which, foundation stones were laid in 2004 and 2008 respectively.