Naveen Patnaik accuses BJP of not keeping promises made to Odisha
Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan in response said such provision no more existed after 14th Finance Commission.
"According special category status for Odisha was the first agenda in BJP's 2014 poll manifesto. However, the party simply forgot it after assuming power," Patnaik said while addressing a function here on the occasion of ruling BJD's 'Jan Sampark Padayatra'.
Stating that he was "extremely happy" over the BJP's promise with the hope that people of Odisha will finally get justice, Patnaik said, "the hope of the people remained in hope alone and never materialised."
However, Pradhan in a statement accused Patnaik of "shedding crocodile tears" and alleged that the chief minister maintained different views over the issue.
While the state government in the assembly has stated that there is no provision of according special category status to any state after 14th Finance Commission, Patnaik has been raising the issue only for political purposes, Pradhan said.
The state government itself has failed to effectively utilise the funds being sanctioned by the Centre, he added.
The Union Minister Rs 4,000 crore was lying idle with the Odisha government as the Centre had sanctioned Rs 9,000 crore for the development of the power sector.
Pradhan claimed that national highway projects worth Rs 4,000 could not materialise in Odisha due to denial of forest clearance, land acquisition and other factors.
Recalling how both the BJD and the BJP were fighting for the special category status for the state till 2009 before the alliance broke, he said: "our fight for the status will continue till it is fulfilled."
As Odisha has been encountering with natural calamities almost every year and incurring the huge loss, it should be accorded the status, he said.
"Is not frequent natural calamities a strong ground to accord the special category status to Odisha," Patnaik asked.
He said the youths of Odisha would have been the biggest beneficiaries had the state being given special category status.
"Odisha will get a tax rebate if it gets the status. This will bring several industries which will create jobs for youths," he said.
If there is a less financial burden on the state, the government may spend more money on health, education and infrastructure.
However, the state has been denied the opportunity as the BJP forgot its promises, the chief minister said.
Noting that the BJD government believed in work and not in words, Patnaik said that his party had made four promises before the 2014 elections on food security, pucca houses, health assurance and social security.
"We have worked on all the promises made to the people in 2014," Patnaik said.
The chief minister said his government had launched the state's own food security scheme, Biju Pucca Ghar Yojana (a housing scheme), Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana (a health scheme) and Madhu Babu Pension Yojana (a social security scheme).
Patnaik said that his government launched these schemes as the central schemes did not accommodate all the needy people in the state.
"We have been working hard to make the benefits reach the needy people," the chief minister said.
(With inputs from agencies.)