.........BHUBANESWAR: The political war of words between the ruling BJD and opposition BJP has reached a crescendo with the saffron party accusing the State Government of taking cover under false claims to mislead people on its achievement in the last three years.
Contesting the progress report of the State Government in irrigation sector, the BJP said there is a wide gap between the irrigation potential created and actual area covered under assured irrigation.
Even as the State Government claimed to have provided irrigation to 13.26 lakh hectares (ha) of land during the last 17 years and 4.61 lakh ha in the last three years, BJP spokesperson Sajjan Sharma sought to know how Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik informed the Assembly on May 9, 2016 that only 18 per cent of the land were provided irrigation in the 2015-16 kharif season.
As many as 27 districts of the State suffered crop loss in Kharif 2015 due to drought. The CM, who is also in-charge of the Water Resources Department, was replying to a question on the area covered under assured irrigation, Sharma informed.
Highlighting the Government’s achievements of several departments including the Water Resources Department on Saturday, Rural Development Minister Bikram Keshari Arukha told reporters that irrigation facilities have been provided to 38.13 lakh out of 61.80 lakh ha of agriculture land in the State which is 61.69 per cent.
Targeting the Government for its failure to complete a large number of major and medium irrigation projects, Sharma said the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had pulled up the BJD Government for the huge cost overrun because of inordinate delay in project completion.
Recalling BJD’s 2009 poll promise to irrigate at least 35 per cent of agricultural land in each block, the BJP leader said more than 100 blocks of the State are still having less than 35 per cent irrigation facility.
In 2014 elections, the BJD had promised to create irrigation potential for 10 lakh ha. Even if the State Government’s achievement claim in the last three years is true, will it be able to keep its promise by providing irrigation to 5.39 lakh ha in next two years? Sharma questioned.
On the other hand, Senior BJD Leader Pratap Deb said, “Instead of blaming the BJD, the BJP should share details of Central assistance to the State for the development of irrigation during the last three years.”
OPCC flays Govt failure
Bhubaneswar: The Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) on Sunday came down heavily on the State Government for its failure in the irrigation sector. Though the BJD is in power for the last 17 years with the Water Resources portfolio remaining with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for a major period, not a single major and medium irrigation project has been completed so far, OPCC spokesperson Saugat Mohanty told mediapersons here. Mohanty said BJD should let the people know how far its announcement in 2014 manifesto to create irrigation facilities in all 314 blocks have been implemented. He also criticised the Government for its failure in employment generation for youths.