BHUBANESWAR: Even as controversies over Mahanadi river water and Polavaram dam project continue, the Centre is reported to have rejected the State Government’s demand to sanction funds at 90:10 ratio under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) in undivided Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput (KBK) districts.
Under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), projects in KBK districts were sanctioned funds at 90:10 ratio while for other regions, the ratio was 60:40. However, funding pattern has been changed to 60:40 for the entire State after the AIBP was merged with PMKSY.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had written a letter to Union Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti over the issue and requested her to restore earlier funding pattern.
However, Bharti clarified in her reply that the State Government will have to implement the scheme with a funding pattern of 60:40. The BJD has again raised the issue of Central negligence following the rejection of the CM’s proposal.
“This time too, Odisha has become a victim of Central neglect. The Centre has rejected State’s demand for funds at 90:10 ratio and forced it to take up irrigation schemes in KBK at 60:40, putting additional burden on the exchequer. We condemn the step-motherly attitude of the Centre towards Odisha,” BJD spokesperson Pratap Deb said.
Congress, however, criticised both the Centre and State Government over the issue. Leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra said Odisha received more funds when UPA was in power at the Centre. Since the NDA came to power, funds have been slashed, he said and added that both the BJD and BJP are responsible for neglect of KBK region.
On the other hand, BJP criticised the State Government for the delay in completion of projects. Irrigation projects started in KBK region between 1999 and 2006 have only progressed by 30 to 35 per cent, BJP general secretary Prithviraj Harichandan said and added that there has been no discrimination against Odisha as the funding pattern under PMKSY is the same with other States.