The Opposition parties led by Congress on Thursday cornered the state government, blaming it for deepening regional disparities.
During an elaborate discussion in the state assembly on an adjournment motion on ‘Government is responsible for increasing regional imbalance’, Congress MLA Naba Kishore Das said, “The state government is scared of the Mohanty commission report on regional imbalances. It should place the accounts of the revenue earned from the backward regions of the state and the amount spent thereafter.”
Echoing similar sentiments, BJP MLA Jayanarayan Mishra said, “The government is knowingly creating the regional imbalances as it doesn’t have any knowledge about the backward areas”
Admitting the problems of regional disparities in the state, minister for planning and coordination Maheswar Mohanty said, “Though the problem of regional imbalance is very deep rooted and chronic in nature, there is a considerable reduction in regional imbalance during the last decade.
However, Mohanty passed the buck on the Centre for causing the imbalances in the state.
“The state government has been persuading Government of India time and again to liberally fund special area development programmes of the state. However, they are yet to adequately respond to our requests,” said Mohanty.
The minister informed the assembly that the state government has taken nine initiatives to address the problems of under-development and regional disparities. The initiatives include Special Plan for KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput) districts also known as Revised Long Term Action Plan), Biju KBK plan for KBK districts, Biju Kandhamal O Gajapati Yojana and Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) for backward districts of western Odisha and Backward Regions Grants Fund.
Most of these initiatives have been funded by the state government out of its own resources as Government of India (GoI) has not been adequately funding some of these programmes, he added.
"The state government in consultation with the Planning Commission has submitted a new eight year perspective plan for KBK districts for Rs 4,550 crore for the period from 2009-10 to 2016-17. The GoI has also been requested for extension of Special Plan for at least 10 more years with effect from 2012-13 with higher allocation and approval of eight year perspective plan for KBK districts. These requests have not yet been responded by GoI,” he added. Highlighting the state government's achievements on various economic parameters, the minister said, “The state has registered a very high growth of close to nine per cent per annum during the 10th and 11th Plans in real terms at 2004-05 prices. Such a high growth was never achieved by Odisha since 1952. The state has also reported poverty reduction of more than 20 percentage points from 57.2 per cent in 2004-05 to 37 per cent in 2009-10.”