Congress' Jairam Ramesh says PM Modi deprived the people of Odisha of their fair share by slashing central funding | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Congress' Jairam Ramesh says PM Modi deprived the people of Odisha of their fair share by slashing central funding

PTI |
Jun 12, 2024 03:55 PM IST

The Congress general secretary posed questions to the prime minister ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of BJP's Mohan Charan Majhi as the CM.

The Congress on Wednesday accused the Centre of steadily reducing Odisha's central funding in recent years and asked whether Prime Minister Narendra Modi will continue to deprive the state of its fair share.

Ramesh also pointed out that grants under the recommendation of the Fifteenth Finance Commission have also decreased recently.(ANI file )
Ramesh also pointed out that grants under the recommendation of the Fifteenth Finance Commission have also decreased recently.(ANI file )

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh posed questions to the prime minister ahead of the swearing-in ceremony of Mohan Charan Majhi as the CM.

ALSO READ: CM designate Mohan Majhi says protecting Odisha's pride will be the newly elected govt's priority

"The previous government of the 'one-third' Pradhan Mantri had steadily reduced Odisha's Central funding in recent years. According to CAG reports, central transfers as a percentage of revenue receipts have been consistently decreasing from 57 per cent in 2017-18 to 38 per cent in 2021-22," Ramesh said in a post on X.

Similarly, the CAG noted that the state’s share of Union taxes, as a percentage of revenue receipts of the state, has been continuously decreasing from 2018-19 to 2021-22, he said.

ALSO READ: Congress's Jairam Ramesh demands PM Modi conduct census; accuses the govt of denying benefits to 14 crore Indians

Ramesh also pointed out that grants under the recommendation of the Fifteenth Finance Commission have also decreased recently.

"Will the 'one-third' Pradhan Mantri continue to deprive Odisha of its fair share?" the Congress general secretary asked.

He said the Sitalapalli rail wagon factory has been in cold storage ever since it was sanctioned by the UPA government in 2013.

The previous government undertook zero work on this project and then finally dropped it in 2018, he alleged.

"When the current Railway Minister, a Rajya Sabha Member from Odisha, took office, he promised to take the project up again. In September 2021, an official of the East Coast Railway said that the project would be implemented on a PPP model. Till date, however, there has been no progress in this much-awaited project," Ramesh said.

The Congress leader further said that two other projects, the Gopalpur-Rayagada Railway Line and the Rairakhole-Gopalpur Railway Line, have also suffered the same fate.

Will these projects see the light of day before the current government collapses, he asked.

Noting that 293 people were killed and over 1,000 injured in the horrific collision of three trains in Balasore last year, Ramesh said that while three railway officials were eventually held responsible, one can hardly absolve the Central government of their role in this mishap.

ALSO READ: Balasore tragedy: One year later, trauma persists for train drivers

"In the last ten years, the railways have struggled with high staff vacancies across the country. In November 2022, the Railway Workers’ Union had even organised a sit-in demanding new recruitment so that staff would not be forced to work overtime and would receive the rest they required," he said.

The Railway Ministry itself admitted in an RTI that there were 2.74 lakh vacancies, including 1.7 lakh vacancies in the safety category, he said.

"This hasn’t changed despite a track record of accidents: a similar accident had occurred in May 2022 due to improper wiring and a cable fault, but the Railway Ministry did not implement any corrective measures. The government clearly has blood on their hands," Ramesh alleged.

However, even after such disasters, staff vacancies continue to remain rampant and the Railway Minister was re-appointed to his position, he said.

Are Odia lives so cheap and disposable to the PM, Ramesh asked.

"During the elections, the BJP's now MP Sambit Patra stated that even 'Lord Jagannath is a devotee of Modi'. This statement is deeply insulting to crores of Lord Jagannath’s devotees across the world. After the incident, Patra rendered a half-hearted apology, making the excuse that his statement was just a 'slip of tongue'," Ramesh recalled.

"However, this is not an isolated instance but part of a larger pattern - the 'one-third' Pradhan Mantri himself has claimed that he was not biologically born but sent to Earth by the Creator himself. Can he tell us where he claims to fit in the pantheon of Indian Gods? Does he truly believe Lord Jagannath to be his devotee?" he said.

Ramesh further said that when it was built during World War II, the Amarda airstrip had the longest runway in Asia.

"Plans to revive the airport were first floated in 2021 and then approved in 2022 but no development has occurred till date. Will this project be revived before the 'one-third' Pradhan Mantri resigns?" Ramesh asked.

The BJP has stormed to power in Odisha, ending 24 years of rule of the BJD by securing 78 of 147 assembly seats.

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