Odisha Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik Saturday sought to know from the BJP the reason behind discontinuation of funding for KBK scheme after Prime Minister Narendra Modi criticised the state government accusing it of lacking intent to eliminate poverty.
Patnaik raised the issue while addressing an election meeting in Nabarangpur district, one of the poorest areas among the KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput) region. The previous Congress government had made provision of the special assistance for KBK region in view of the poverty.
However, the NDA government stopped the funding of Rs 250 crore per year for KBK scheme since 2016-17 following which the state government kept it alive by providing the amount from its own resources.
Patnaik asked the question in Nabarangpur meeting hours after Prime Minister Modi alleged that both the Congress and BJD want to keep the poverty alive for doing politics. Modi said this earlier in the day while addressing two election rallies in Sundergarh and Sonepur.
While addressing the people, Patnaik urged the gathering to ask the visiting BJP leaders to explain as to why they stopped funding the KBK scheme.
Intensifying his attack on the Central government, Patnaik at his Raighar meeting also criticised the BJP for discontinuation of SC/ST scholarship scheme and depriving the beneficiaries in the tribal region of the state.
Patnaik also held the BJP "responsible" for "blocking" free flow of water in river Mahanadi, "non-payment" of crop insurance to farmers, "not raising" the rate of MSP on paddy and the Centres "failure" to build a new rail line for Nabarangpur.
The BJD president alleged that the leaders of national parties never visit the tribal district during last five-year tenure, but now making tours only to get their votes.
Accusing the BJP of stopping disbursement of financial assistance to farmers under Kalia scheme, Patnaik promised that all the beneficiaries will get their due on the first day of his government taking oath of the office after winning the election.
"Not a single farmer will be denied from getting the financial assistance under the scheme," Patnaik said adding that the leaders of BJP and Congress were not seen when the people of Odisha face calamities like floods and cyclone.
"Where were you during natural calamities? Now they are visiting Odisha to gain votes," Patnaik said.
Appealing people to vote on Conch symbol (BJD's poll symbol), Patnaik said: "I will serve you people till my last breath.