BJD criticises centre for lower allocation of Rail funds, BJP trashes claim

Odishas ruling BJD has criticised

the centre for meagre allocation of Railway funds to the state in the budget 2021-22, a charge dismissed by the BJP whose leaders asserted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has all along given priority to the state and provided sufficient money.

The BJD has expressed its dissatisfaction over allocation of Rs 6,995 crore for the rail network expansion in the state in the budgetary allocation spelled by Union Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman in Parliament.

Odishas Commerce and Transport minister Padmanabha Behera dubbed the railway allocation for 2021-22 fiscal as "disappointing".

The party's spokesperson Lenin Mohanty came out with a more sharp comment saying, "During the colonial era, the Britishers used railway lines for looting minerals from Odisha and it is a matter of regret that the same is being practiced by the central government of today even after 75 years of Independence."

BJP state general secretary and spokesman Golak Mohapatra dismissed the BJD's charge Saturday and held the state government responsible for dealy in completion of railway projects in the state.

"If railway projects in Odisha are getting delayed, it is because of the state governments inefficiency in handling issues like land acquisition, law and order and forest clearance and not due to the funds constraint," Mohapatra said.

Rejecting BJD spokesman Mohantys claim that Odisha got an allocation of only Rs 14,000 crore in the last seven years of NDA rule, Mohapatra said, "The state has received Rs 36,000 crore and not Rs 14,000 cr."

Mohapatra alleged that the BJD was misleading people by giving false information.

BJPs another spokesperson Lekhashree Samantrasinghar also came down heavily on the BJD for the regional party drawing a parallel between the British Raj and the saffron party government.

Claiming that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has all along given priority to Odisha and allocated sufficient funds, Samantasinghar asked the state government to share details on how much funds it has received from the centre and how much has it spent on various projects.

"Instead of thanking Modi government for record allocation to Odisha in the railway sector, the Odisha government is comparing the Prime Ministers leadership with the British rule. This kind of attitude by the BJD government is absolutely condemnable," Samantsinghar said.

The BJD in a statement on Friday said that only six new railway lines have been sanctioned for Odisha since Independence Cuttack-Paradeep (83km), Talcher-Sambalpur (174km), Khordha-Rayagada-164km, Daitari-Banspani(155km), Lanjigarh-Junagarh(56km) and Khordha-Bolangir (of which only 30% has been completed so far).

The regional party also said that though the country has been Independent for 75 years, at least six Odisha districts have not yet been connected with the railway line. They are: Kandhamal, Boudh, Mayurbhanj, Kendrapada, Deogarh, and Malkangiri.

In the last seven years, only one district of Odisha has got railway connectivity and if this rate of progress continues, then another 42 years would be needed to provide rail link to the remaining six districts, the BJD said.

"Though the railway earns Rs 20,000 crore per annum from Odisha, the state in the last 7 years got a total allocation of Rs 14,000 cr. Isnt this step-motherly attitude towards Odisha?, the BJD asked.

On the railway density in the state, the BJD pointed out that Odisha has only 15 km per 1,000 km rail network while it is 42 km in West Bengal and 35 km in Bihar.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel