BALASORE: The Congress on Friday assured the farmers to waive off their loans and increase their old-age pension from Rs 300 to Rs 1,000 if the party comes to power in Odisha. Speaking at Jana Jagaran Yatra at Rupsa in Balasore district, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Niranjan Patnaik said at a time when the prices of even the basic utility items are skyrocketing, how would `300 suffice for a poor old man.
On unemployment, Niranjan said at least 36 lakh educated youths have registered for jobs but Naveen Patnaik Government has failed to do justice to them. In the 18-year BJD rule, no employment scope has been generated for the youth, he said. The Government has failed to provide jobs to 60 lakh youths in the State, who have gone to other States looking for jobs, the OPCC chief added.
Addressing the gathering, Niranjan said crores of rupees which has come from the Centre has been misappropriated by the State Government in the name of ‘Vikaas.’ Where is ‘Vikaas,’ the fund is just used for media advertisement, he said and came down on Naveen, saying, “he is a postman who uses the Central fund by converting it into schemes in his father’s name and other persons’ name to win people’s vote. Public should realise this and think before voting in the next elections.”
He lamented the fact that at at least 40 per cent people are poor in the State and due to lack of financial support from the Government, farmers are forced to commit suicide.“If the Congress comes to power in Odisha, we assure to give incentives to farmers for five years. The Government, which promised to provide Rs 600 crore for farmers as insurance, has not reached out to them,” he added.
For the people of Bhograi where 3.5 lakh people earn their livelihood from betel cultivation, no support has been provided by the Government. The production of Pana (betel), Mina (fish) and Dhana (paddy) has slumped due to Government apathy, Niranjan said. On BJP-BJD friendship, he remarked that BJD rebukes BJP in the State but in Delhi, the two parties are close.
The BJD has no contribution in setting up the Government Medical College at Balasore. It was only made possible by the UPA government, he added. Among others, former MP Srikant Jena, MLA Chiranjib Biswal, District Congress president Saraj Raj, Bhakta Charan Das and Rudra Sahu attended.