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Odisha accuses Centre of discriminating against state on pol line

Bhubaneswar, Jan 31 (PTI) Odisha government Monday came down heavily on the BJP-led government at the Centre accusing it of discriminating against the state on political lines for which its demand of houses for the poor was ignored.

The allegation was made by the state Panchayati Raj Minister Pratap Jena, who earlier in the day dashed a letter to Union Minister of Panchayati Raj Giriraj Singh.

“In the federal structure, the Centre is bound to cooperate the states. This is not any mercy on the state, but the Centre’s moral responsibility. It is our genuine right to get houses for poor people under the rural housing schemes, including the Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana (Gramin), Jena said.

Sharpening his attack on the Center, he said “Odisha government had demanded 6.65 lakh houses under PMAY(G) and the Centre had assured 1.84 lakh houses for the cyclone hit people in 2019. It has denied the houses to Odisha while it sanctioned around 25.4 lakh houses to Karnataka, which is ruled by the BJP.” It is Centre’s duty to deal in equal terms with all states, he said alleging that the BJP ruled states get more preference while non-BJP states like Odisha suffer.

“We condemn this attitude of the Centre,” the minister said.

BJD’s two spokespersons – Srimayee Mishra and Sulata Dey at a press conference also came down heavily on the BJP accusing the Centre of adopting a “step-motherly” attitude towards Odisha at least in the rural housing scheme.

BJP spokesperson Golak Mohapatra, however, rejected the allegation and claimed that the Centre has already provided 12 lakh houses to Odisha.

“Even though the Centre kept opening the widow for registration of the eligible beneficiaries under the PMAY(G) seven times, the state’s BJD government did not add any new name,” he said.

Mohapatra alleged that BJD has raised the issue during the panchayat election in Odisha to mislead the people and to cover up its inefficiencies and corruption in the rural housing scheme.

He also alleged that Rs 1,000 crore irregularities was detected during audit by the ministry of rural development. The state government has not taken any action on it so far nor submitted the compliance report. In his letter to Giriraj Singh, Jena alleged that the Centre did not pay heed to the state’s demand for synchronisation of data on its rural housing portal with “Awaas+” initiative, an exercise to create an additional list of eligible beneficiaries under PMAY-G scheme.

He also accused the Centre of ignoring a promise made in May 2019 to Odisha in the aftermath of Cyclone Fani for approval of 1.84 lakh houses under the special Pradhan Mantri Awaas Yojana-Gramin programme.

The letter also urged the union minister to open the Awaas+ window to incorporate those who were not included in the list of beneficiaries under the scheme.

Rural housing has emerged as a major issue in the upcoming three-tier panchayat elections in Odisha as opposition BJP has been attacking the ruling BJD for not providing houses to poor people in the western part of the state and eligible tribal beneficiaries in the backward Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput region.

The people of western Odisha and tribal areas have been denied housing facilities by the BJD government, BJP state president Samir Mohanty said.

“I would request your august office to rectify this (closing the window for registration) injustice being meted out to the state of Odisha and its people,” Jena said in the letter to the union minister.

He also mentioned that synchronisation of data of the Karnakata government with ‘Awaas+’ programme was allowed on January 13. “Igoring the repeated requests from the state will not support the cause of Odisha and will deprive lakhs of tribal beneficiaries living in the scheduled areas of the state,” Jena said.

Referring to his discussion with the union minister through video conference on January 27 and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he demanded synchronisation of data of 6.65 lakh households on the state-owned rural housing portal with the ‘Awaas+’ initiative.

The exercise for identification of households, which were eligible for assistance under PMAY-G but were included in the list of eligible beneficiaries, was carried out by the union ministry of rural development using a mobile application – ‘Awaas+’.

The survey was started in January 2018 and completed in March, 2019.

To achieve the objective of providing housing to all by 2022, the Centre rolled out the revamped rural housing scheme PMAY-G in 2016.

The programme envisaged completion of 2.95 crore houses with all basic amenities by 2022. PTI AAM KK KK KK

This report is auto-generated from PTI news service. ThePrint holds no responsibility for its content.

Source: The Print

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