Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 18:
Senior BJP leader and Rourkela legislator Dilip Ray today pulled up the Odisha Government for what he called its gross under-preparedness for the upcoming grand festival of Nabakalebara.
Taking an obvious dig at the propensity of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for writing letters to the Centre on everything, Ray said; “Raising a demand is not everything. Only writing letters won’t solve the problem. You need to justify your claims and follow up properly. The state lacks political will power.”
The former minister accused the state government of not briefing the Centre properly on the scale and magnitude of the festival to get proper assistance from them. He also said the state government is not trying to spend the Rs 50 crores given by the centre properly and expressed doubts over the completion of infrastructure development projects on time.
“Last time I spoke to the Prime Minister, I had a feeling that he has not been apprised properly by anyone on the scale and dimension of the Nabakalebara. He, however, offered to help in all possible ways after I explained that the festival happens once every 19-year duration of the festival and millions of devotees descend on Puri to witness the grand event. The road construction, now delayed because of disputes, could have been completed before a year or two had the state government shown a little alertness. So is the case with railway line. None of it is done. Now it is impossible to complete them no matter how hard you try. I feel it would a bad show for Odisha. We would not be able to showcase the state even though such a large number of people would be visiting the state,” said Ray.
“The union government has already given Rs 50 crores. We had requested the Prime Minister to release extra funds to which he assured to release another Rs 50 crores in the Rourkela meeting. But the state government has to follow up to get that money. I understand that the Prime Minister is concerned for Nabakalebara,” he added.
On the other hand, Maheswar Mohanty, Puri MLA and the Chairman of Nabakalebar Infrastructure Inspection Committee, dismissed the accusation and assured that the works are progressing as per expectation and would be completed on time.
“Nabakalebara is a national festival. It is not local or state festival. The central government has its responsibilities. The Chief Minister had written to the Prime Minister. Opposition doesn’t know the grassroots reality. They don’t have real-time data. The infrastructure works are in final stages and we would complete them on time even though we started a bit late. Only Puri bypass road expansion would be affected and it will be a two-lane road instead of the four-lane originally planned. We will arrange mobile toilets in case we are not able to build enough toilets,” said Mohanty.
He further refuted Ray’s Rs 50 crore theory and said, “the Union Government hasn’t given us a rupee till date. The centre has only included Puri under PRASAD Yojna and talking about this money. This has got nothing to do with Puri or Nabakalebara as this scheme covers many other cities as well.”