Making an election campaign pitch to the farming community in Odisha to vote for the BJP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday slammed the Biju Janata Dal (BJD)-led state government for large scale corruption.
“It is the result of the earlier corrupt and weak governments that the people of Odisha remained poor after so many years of Independence. Discrimination on the basis of region and caste are the only achievements of Congress and BJD,” Modi said, while addressing a rally in Sambalpur. He said despite the Mahanadi river and the Hirakud reservoir, farmers in the state are not getting enough water to irrigate their fields.
The Prime Minister said that although the Centre has hiked the minimum support price (MSP) on paddy to 1.5 times of the production cost, middlemen continue to rule the roost as the state government has failed to procure paddy from the farmers.
He also said the state government failed had to provide the list of farmers required to avail the benefits under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Nidhi Yojana.
Only 8.5 lakh farmers have benefited under this scheme as the government did not provide the complete list of farmers, he added.
“On May 23, when the Modi government comes to power again, we are going to provide direct benefit to the bank accounts of the farmers of Odisha,” Modi informed.
He said the KALIA scheme being implemented by the state government is full of loopholes.
He also said that a Jal Shakti Ministry and Fisheries Ministry would be set up when the BJP forms a new government at the Centre.
Taking a dig at the BJD government, he said the state government is trying to hijack the subsidized rice scheme under National Food Security Act.
“The central government procures rice at Rs 19-30 per kg and sends it to Odisha. Odisha government adds only Rs 2 per kg to it. However, they claim that they provide rice at a subsidised rate to the people of Odisha. It’s a blatant lie,” the Prime Minister said.
He wondered whether a government that continued to protect chit fund scamsters and mining mafias could possibly think of people’s welfare.
“For 20 years, you trusted Odisha’s government blindly, but now the people of the state want change. They want governments of double engine growth at Delhi and Bhubaneswar,” he added.
He also said that while over Rs 6,000 crore has been collected under the District Mineral Foundation (DMF) fund, the government could only utilise Rs 1,000 crore for the development of the mining-affected areas in the state.
The Sambalpur Lok Sabha constituency will go to the polls in the third phase on April 23. Elections for 21 Lok Sabha and 147 Assembly seats are being held in Odisha in four phases.