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BJD govt stole money sent for Odisha’s development, says Rahul Gandhi

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the central government had been sending adequate funds to Odisha but they were not reaching the people. 

Addressing a public meet at Bhatapada village near Cuttack, Gandhi said: ‘The money we send is being stolen.’ 

‘Your money is not reaching you. It’s getting lost in between,’ he said. 

The Congress leader said people in Odisha continue to remain poor despite the state being rich in mineral resources. 

He also criticised the state government for complaining about the lack of central funds and said Rs 5,000 crore was still lying unspent with the government. 

Gandhi also highlighted several burning issues concerning the state, including unemployment, midday meal scheme, chit fund scam, central rural job scheme scam and the Maoist problem. 

He said as many as 3,500 farmers have committed suicide while there are about 10 lakh unemployed youths in the state. 

‘People in Odisha want to work but the state government does not provide them employment,’ he said. 

He said 22 of the state’s 30 districts have been affected by Maoist activities. 

‘Rs 60,000 crore worth of iron ore and manganese ore were looted... People should have benefited from this money but the benefit went to selected people, mining mafias,’ he said, criticising the government over the alleged mining scam. 

He added that 20 lakh people were defrauded by the chit-fund scam in the state. 

Earlier, hundreds of Congress workers and leaders greeted Gandhi and gave him a rousing welcome when he landed at the Biju Patnaik International Airport here on a two-day visit to the state. 

Meanwhile, stung by Rahul Gandhi’s criticism of Odisha government, ruling BJD said that the Congress vice-president knew nothing about the state and that he was only mouthing the words of his party leaders.

‘He (Rahul Gandhi) does not know anything about the history, geography and economics of the state (Odisha),’ BJD vice-president and state health minister Damodar Rout said.

Gandhi was merely speaking the words of Congress leaders who were rejected by the people, he added. ‘We suggest Rahul Gandhi to consult Montek Singh Ahluwalia and the (Union) Finance Ministry for knowledge on the economic situation of Odisha before making any remark on the state’s development,” he said. Agencies

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