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BJP-BJD Lock Horns Over Rail Project and Harvest Insurance

Padmapur in Odisha has become a focal point with two Union ministers, Ashwini Vaishnaw and Narendra Singh Tomar campaigning in Baragarh’s Paikamal ahead of the by-poll. The two targeted the state government over a highly publicized railroad project and crop insurance for farmers.

Battle for railway project

While addressing a meeting, Union Railway Minister Vaishnaw rallied the point of a new railway linking Baragarh-Nuapada via Padmapur – which was a bone of contention between the state and the center – and issued an open challenge to the state government which had accused Center from neglecting people’s demand to improving connectivity.

Vaishnaw blamed the state for delaying the project and said the center will begin work on the railway project “tomorrow” if the state makes land available for it. “People know that Prime Minister Modi is thinking about the development of Odisha and all the promises made to the state will be fulfilled by the Prime Minister,” said the Minister of Railways.

However, in response to the BJP’s allegations, BJD MP Prasanna Acharya said it is false and has no fact. “Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik will provide free land for railway projects, but has the central government issued a letter to the state for the land?” asked Acharya. When asked if any research had been done for the railway project, the BJP leader said that the center had not asked for any land.

Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, “Odisha has received the highest ever allocation of Rs 10,000 crore in Union Budget 2022-23. It is my open challenge: if the government of Odisha makes land available for the Bargarh-Nuapada project tomorrow, the work will start the next day. “

Prasanna Acharya refuted the Railway Minister’s claims, saying, “I don’t think I should comment on such lies. What the minister said in the election meeting is not based on truth.”

“Why haven’t they done the research until now? A year and a half ago, the railway ministry had categorically stated that they were stopping the project as it was not financially viable,” the senior BJP leader added.

The leader added that Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had also stated that the state will bear all the funds required for the land acquisition and additionally give Rs 300 crore to start the project.

Blame the game on the harvest insurance

On the other hand, Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar targeted the state government over crop insurance. Narendra Tomar Singh said that the center has released money in Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) under crop insurance, but Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is misleading people. However, in response to BJP’s claim, BJD said that the Center’s claim is false and has no facts to back up its claim.

To substantiate its claims, BJD said that the Union government is providing the money through an insurance company and it is being delayed because the government has a soft spot for the insurance companies.

Senior BJD leader Prasanna Acharya said, “BJP is trying to mislead people from this area and Western Odisha. Very humbly, with all courtesy and humanity, I want to state that our people are not crazy. They know everything. The insurance is paid by insurance companies. The state’s share of the bounty on behalf of farmers, worth Rs 623 crore, has been paid on time by the state government. However, the central advisory committee has been unnecessarily delayed. As a result, the farmers of Odisha lose Rs 200 crore.”

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