PM conducts aerial survey of cyclone-ravaged Odisha

PM conducts aerial survey of cyclone-ravaged areas in Odisha

PM Narendra Modi on Monday conducted an aerial survey to assess the loss and destruction caused by Cyclone Fani in Odisha. Modi was received by Governor Ganeshi Lal and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on his arrival at the Biju Patnaik International Airport here.

Modi, who has three ralliPrime Minister Narendra Modi arrives at Biju Patnaik airport in Bhubaneswar on Monday.es scheduled later in the day in West Bengal and Jharkhand, immediately proceeded towards his chopper to carry out the survey of the worst-hit Puri district and other affected areas.

At least 34 people were killed during Cyclone ‘Fani’, which barrelled through coastal Odisha on Friday last, causing widespread destruction and leaving hundreds grappling with water shortage and power cut.

The prime minister had on Sunday tweeted, “Will be in Odisha tomorrow morning, where I will review the situation due to Cyclone Fani and hold meetings with top officials. The Centre is committed to provide all possible assistance in relief and rehabilitation measures underway.”

The PM also spoke to the chief minister on Saturday and discussed the situation in the aftermath of Fani, assuring continuous support from the Centre.

At least 34 people were killed during Cyclone ‘Fani’, which barrelled through coastal Odisha on Friday last, causing widespread destruction and leaving hundreds grappling with water shortage and power cut. The prime minister had on Sunday tweeted, “Will be in Odisha tomorrow morning, where I will review the situation due to Cyclone Fani and hold meetings with top officials. The Centre is committed to provide all possible assistance in relief and rehabilitation measures underway.”

According to an official, Modi is scheduled to review the relief and restoration work in the state on his return from the aerial survey. The National Crisis Management Committee (NCMC), headed by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha, had on Sunday reviewed relief measures in affected areas of Odisha, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh.

-PTI | 06 May 2019 | Bhubaneswar

BJD to play important role in formation of govt at centre

BJD to play important role in formation of next govt at centre: Naveen Patnaik

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday said the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) would play an important role in formation of the next government at centre as no national party would be able to win a majority in the election. Launching a formal election campaign of the party in Nayagarh district, Mr. Patnaik said, “this time no national party would be able to win majority in Lok Sabha election. We will have decisive role to play in formation of the next government at centre.”Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

“This will be a golden opportunity for us. The BJD will win 21 out of 21 Lok Sabha seats in Odisha,” said the BJD supremo. “We will end the historical injustice meted out to Odisha for all time to come,” he said. “We have been fighting for getting special category status. If Odisha is accorded special category status, the State would be hugely benefited. Youths will get employment and more funds would flow into State for development,” said Mr. Patnaik.

“The BJP had promised special category status for Odisha in its manifesto. But when it formed government at centre, it forgot to fulfill the commitment,” said BJD chief. “Odisha has the worst railway network in entire country. However, Indian Railways is earning highest profit from Odisha. The Indian Railway is earning ₹20,000 crore, but Odisha is getting only Rs. 1000 crore. Funds are being spent in other States. Isn’t it central negligence,” he asked.

Similarly, central government is collecting thousands crore of revenue from coal sector whereas Odisha is getting pollution and dust, Mr. Patnaik said. “BJP leaders cannot fight for the rights of Odisha. They are controlled by high command sitting in New Delhi. The BJD is of Odisha and our high command is Odias. Our remote control lies with 4.5 crore people of the State. We have been fighting for Odia pride and interest of Odisha,” said BJD chief.

Stating that he was keeping a tab on implementation of Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA) scheme, Mr. Patnaik assured that no famer would be left out in the direct benefit transfer scheme. “Some opposition parties are spreading lies about KALIA. Nobody can stop KALIA. All farmers will surely get KALIA assistance,” he asserted.

Source:- THE HINDU, BHUBANESWAR, MARCH 24, 2019

Baijayant Panda suspended from BJD

Baijayant Panda suspended from BJD

Biju Janata Dal (BJD) MP from Kendrapara, Baijayant Panda, was on Wednesday suspended from the primary membership of the party for “anti-party” activities.

Baijayant PandaMr. Panda, who is the vice-president of IMFA, India’s largest, fully integrated producer of ferro alloys, was suspended from the party with immediate effect by Chief Minster and BJD president Naveen Patnaik. IMFA is engaged in mining, ferro alloys and electricity production.

Naveen Patnaik took action against the MP for his “anti-party” activities. The dissident MP, who remained a Rajya Sabha member of the BJD from 2000 to 2006 and again from 2006 to 2009, had won from the Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency twice as a BJD nominee — first in 2009 elections and again in 2014.

The dissident MP, who remained a Rajya Sabha member of the BJD from 2000 to 2006 and again from 2006 to 2009, had won from the Kendrapara Lok Sabha constituency twice as a BJD nominee — first in 2009 elections and again in 2014.

Mr. Panda had been trying to weaken the regional party since he was not allowed by the party leadership after the 2014 elections to become the head of the Lok Sabha’s Standing Committee on Finance, senior Minister and BJD vice-president Surjya Narayan Patro said in a press note.

“Mr. Panda’s claim that he was a founder-member of the BJD is baseless,” said Mr. Patro in his statement.

The rebel MP had not campaigned for the BJD nominees in the run-up to the panchayat elections last year and instead openly campaigned for opposition parties, Mr. Patro added.

Mr. Patro further said that as vice-president of IMFA, Mr. Panda had received ₹1,45,27,747 in 2014 towards salary and allowances, and waiver of loans to the tune of crores of rupees of IMFA (previously named as ICCL) was still surrounded by controversy.

Reacting to Mr. Panda’s recent tweets, BJD spokesperson and MP Pratap Keshari Deb said the rebel MP was appearing to be speaking the language of Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan.

BHUBANESWAR, JANUARY 24, 2018

In Odisha, Modi is the new hero -Rajesh Mahapatra

In Odisha, Modi is the new hero; Naveen Patnaik has a fight on his hands

By-Rajesh Mahapatra

As I write, three of the five phases of panchayat elections in Odisha have been completed. Few would have cared for these elections but for the big surprise sprung by the Bharatiya Janata Party. Coming from nowhere, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party has won more than 190 seats, or 35%, of 538 seats that have so far polled, and the winning ratio keeps getting better with each round, according to unofficial results. If this trend continues, the BJP will end up winning more than 300 of the 854 zilla parishad seats – almost a 10-fold increase over the 36 seats the party won in 2012 when these elections were last held.

In Odisha, microstatIt is a phenomenal feat for a party that has never been a force to reckon with in Odisha politics, which often revolved around two centrist parties – the Congress and the ruling Biju Janata Dal of chief minister Naveen Patnaik. That is why Modi was quick to react. He spoke about the results at a campaign rally in Uttar Pradesh and then tweeted to congratulate his party colleagues in Odisha for the “good work” done.

Naveen’s BJD will still win the most number of seats, but it will have little to celebrate — because the lead will be so narrow and the message from the voters so unnerving. Also, the effective opposition space in the state will now be taken by a party that rules at the Centre and sets the political agenda for the nation. The outcome of the panchayat elections will shape the course of the state’s politics between now and 2019 when Odisha holds assembly polls simultaneously with parliamentary elections.

Naveen loses TINA card: One message that rings out loud and clear is that Naveen Patnaik is no more invincible, no more infallible; that the voters of Odisha no longer believe there is no alternative (TINA) to his Biju Janata Dal.

A political outsider who was thrust into Odisha politics after his father Biju Patnaik — a legendary politician and a folk hero – died in 1997, Naveen has never been out of power since winning the state in 2000. His lineage, his image of being not a run-of-the-mill politician and a bachelor with no temptation to hoard wealth made the people of Odisha swoon over him. He came on the political stage at a time when the Congress party, discredited by decades of misrule, had turned rudderless. The lack of an effective opposition meant Naveen had everything going for him to consolidate his power, both within and outside the party.

Also, a good part of Naveen’s tenure overlapped with India’s economic rise and a mining boom in Odisha, which meant more money – by way of both higher central transfers and the state’s own revenues — for vote-winning welfare programmes such as offering rice to the poor for Rs 2 per kg (later reduced to Re 1/kg) and building rural roads. In cities, the middle class was happy as the service sector was on an upswing. Information technology companies such as Infosys and Tata Consultancy Services set up large operations in the state’s capital, Bhubaneswar, creating lucrative jobs for the local educated youth – many of them have since risen through the ranks to take up US and Europe-based assignments for their employers. The expansion of the IT sector coupled with dodgy money from mining also fueled a realty boom that hugely benefited people living in the urbanizing landscape around the state’s capital and other cities.

All of these kept reinforcing the image of Naveen Patnaik as a leader who stood for development and progress, even though his populist schemes came at the expense of longer-term welfare of the people. Critical sectors such as education and healthcare were neglected, as was investment in agriculture that provides livelihood to more than three-quarters of the state’s population. No one questioned or challenged Naveen, because there was no one to do so. The results of the panchayat elections suggest that may no longer be the case.

In the simmering discontent over unfulfilled aspirations and the growing clamour for an alternative to the current dispensation, the BJP seems to have spotted an opportunity.

Not a flash in the pan: Since Prime Minister Modi came to power in 2014, the BJP has assiduously worked to expand its footprint in Odisha. Rarely a month has passed without a central minister visiting the state. As PM, Modi has gone there four times.

The narrative built through these visits goes something like this: the BJP cares for Odisha; money for Naveen’s welfare schemes come from the Centre; and the state has very little to show for his 17 years in power.

The success in the panchayat polls shows the strategy has worked and the BJP has been able to build a well-entrenched organisation at the grassroots. Its ambitions have been helped by a steady disintegration of the Congress party, which has now been pushed to the margins of Odisha politics — thanks to the lack of a leader who can steer the party’s local unit. The whimsical decisions of the central leadership of the Congress in choosing local leaders and frequently changing them have only made it worse for the party, which once ruled the state with a brute majority. I will keep it for a later date to elaborate on this.

For now, the BJP has effectively snatched the opposition space from Congress. The assembly elections in the state may be two years away, but Naveen already has a fight on his hands.

Courtesy: http://www.hindustantimes.com, Feb 26, 2017