BJD targets Union Minister over Koshali dialect, Sambalpuri saree

Sambalpur: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) today cornered Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan over several key issues including Koshali dialect, Sambalpuri saree and Mahanadi River water sharing row.

Addressing a public meeting in Sambalpur, 5T Chairman and BJD’s chief election strategist VK Pandian lambasted the BJP’s Lok Sabha candidate asking a few questions and seeking a reply to the people of Sambalpur by evening.

He asked about the union minister’s contribution to the development of the Sambalpuri dialect, its culture and the people of western Odisha, criticising him for his support to Chhattisgarh over the Mahanadi water sharing issue.

“Koshali language is the identity of Sambalpur. CM Naveen Patnaik had sent a proposal to the Centre at least 5 times seeking inclusion of Koshali language in the 8th schedule of the Indian Constitution. Even though your party is in power in last 10 years, why did not it happen?” Pandian asked.

Worth mentioning that there has been a long-standing demand of Odisha to add Koshali dialect to the 8th schedule of the Constitution.

He said that Sambalpur saree is the identity of Sambalpur. The CM approved for construction of a craft museum dedicated to Sambalpuri saree at Kalabhoomi. “You are contesting the Lok Sabha polls from Sambalpur. What you have done for promotion of Sambalpuri saree? Our CM constructed the Krushi Bhawan in Sambalpuri Ikat design for promotion of Sambalpuri saree and weaving skills of this region. That building was awarded not only in India, but also in the world,” he said.

He said that the CM of Odisha have launched several packages for upliftment of weavers’ community who are the backbone of Sambalpur. However, the Union Minister could not be able to set up a textile park here in last 10 years to facilitate export of Sambalpuri saree to other countries.

The BJD leader targeted the union minister for not launching any scheme in name of great men of western Odisha region.

“From Veer Surendra Sai to poet Gangadhar Meher, from poet Santh Bhima Bhoi to freedom fighter Parbati Giri, they are the identity of this region. What your BJP Government has done for these great men? Whereas Odisha CM has launched many schemes named after freedom fighters,” he said.

Launching a scathing attack on Dharmendra Pradhan over Mahanadi water dispute, he said, “Mahanadi River is the lifeline of this region. However, the Centre stood by Chhattisgarh government and indulged in vote politics. They forgot Odisha. They forgot people of Sambalpur and Bargargh who depend on Mahanadi River. Even the Centre had opposed for constitution of a tribunal to deal with the issue.”

He alleged the union minister of conspiring to stop Maa Samalei Temple development project in Sambalpur.

Pandian came down heavily on the BJP government for imposing GST on Kendu leaf puckers in Odisha.

“The Centre is getting GST from businessmen and big companies. Ironically, the Kendu leaf puckers have to pay GST here. Is it fair to collect GST from them who are collecting kendu leaves in forests walking barefoot? The BJP had promised to lift the tax, but did not meet. However, CM Naveen Patnaik is returning the GST amount to Kendu leaf puckers with a big package,” he said.

He said that the CM has transformed all schools in Sambalpur district under 5T programme. He has set up new schools, higher secondary schools, colleges in the region. However, the union minister being the head of Education Ministry could not be able to bring an educational institution in Sambalpur.

On road construction projects, he said that the CM has constructed 250-km long Biju Expressway from Bargarh to Kalahandi in 3 years. However, the BJP failed to repair Sambalpur-Cuttack road that has turned into a death trap.

He said that Pradhan could not be able to set a skill development centre in Sambalpur in last 10 years even as he was the Skill Development Minister.

Alleging ‘biased’ attitude by the Centre towards Odisha on coal mining, Pandian said, “Centre is getting Rs 27,000 Crore every year from Mahanadi Coalfield. In return, Odisha people are getting pollution. While Centre is receiving Rs 27,000 Crore, Odisha is getting only Rs 4,000 Crore from MCL. Is it fair?” he asked.

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