Sunday, May 28, 2006


BJD responds to Minister Sahu's comments (From Pioneer)

Sahu invites BJD ire on Paradip

Pioneer News Service | Bhubaneswar

The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has denounced Union Minister of State for Labour Chandra Sekhar Sahu for trying to take the credit for setting up of an oil refinery at Paradip. During his recent visit here, Sahu had told reporters that Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) would set up a petrochemical complex at Paradip at a cost of Rs 47, 000 crore and that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh would inaugurate it soon.

Coming down heavily on the statement made by Sahu, the BJD, in a statement, said the oil refinery project was the joint effort of the BJD and the BJP. When the NDA Government was in power at the Centre, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had come and laid the project's foundation stone at Paradip. The Government also tried to complete the project by 2010. In the later stage, it was decided by IOC to add a petrochemical complex to the project.

A delegation, led by Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra along with BJD-BJP MPs, met Union Minister of Petroleum Murli Deora during the last Budget session. They had demanded an increase in the capacity of the project and expeditious construction of the project work. BJD general secretary Narendra Swain said when the BJD and BJP MPs made the demand, Sahu was nowhere in the scene. Even though the BJD-BJP delegation had invited the Congress MPs of Orissa to accompany them, they stayed away from it, he said. The Petroleum Minister had told the delegation that a decision would be taken in the IOC board meeting in April. After the board meeting, IOC Chairman Sarthak Behuria had announced what the minister had promised.

The 330-km Paradip-Haldia oil pipeline will be completed very soon, but it will not benefit the State, about which Sahu is also not aware, said Swain. During the previous NDA regime, the decision for setting up a National Institute of Science was taken, for which land was identified. But the present UPA Government shifted it to Kolkota due to the pressure applied by the Leftists. The BJD and BJP MPs sat on a dharna before Parliament in protest and met the Prime Minister. At that time too, the Congress MPs did not react and stayed away. Now, Sahu is claiming that he had discussions with the Prime Minister on the issue, but would he tell the people of the State what the Prime Minister has promised, Swain asked.

While the BJD-BJP combine has been demanding for NIS, IIT, IIM and a Central University in Orissa, the Central Government has been denying the State its legitimate claims, which is a great humiliation for the State.

The demand for Special Category Status for the State has also been repeatedly turned down by the Centre. Besides, Coal Minister Shibu Shoren rejected the State's demand for increasing its coal royalty. The proposal for setting up an AIIMS taken up during the NDA Government tenure has become a dream now, Swain pointed out.

He said Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Panchayatiraj Minister Mani Shankar Aiyer have praised the State Government for its performances, which has put the State Congress on a sticky wicket. But strangely, Sahu has stated that the BJD-BJP Government is unable to spend the Central funds. Sahu made the statement to spare the State Congress further embarrassment, remarked Swain.

However, Sahu has admitted that one lakh job cards were distributed in the Food-for-Work programme in the State. Sahu came to know the State Government's performance in this regard after touring nine districts.

This was in contrast to the PCC president Jayadev Jena's earlier allegation that not a singe job card was distributed. Surprisingly, there is no similarity in statements given by the two leaders of the same party, Swain pointed out.

He said the State has always been neglected during the Congress rule, about which the Congress leaders of the State have never opened their mouth.

Sahu has crticised the State Government for his own political benefit, Swain said, adding that the Union Minister should not indulge in cheap gimmicks and stay away from making such politically motivated statements.

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