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People’s representatives neglected in projects under development scheme: Odisha oppn

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 8 (PTI) Opposition BJP and Congress on Thursday attacked Odisha’s BJD government, accusing it of neglecting elected peoples’ representatives under panchayati raj institutions while executing the ‘Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha’ (AONO) scheme.

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The ‘Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha’ (Our Odisha New Odisha) scheme was launched in December last year with an outlay of more than Rs 4,200 crore to boost rural infrastructure and promote “Jagannath culture”. Under the scheme, assistance of Rs 50 lakh is being provided to each gram panchayat for execution of several infrastructure projects.

The ruling BJD, however, rejected the charge.

While participating in a discussion in the Assembly on the issue, Opposition Chief Whip Mohan Charan Majhi claimed that the old scheme ‘Ama Gaon Ama Bikash’ (Our Village Our Development) has been renamed as ‘Ama Odisha Nabin Odisha’ to collect funds for the upcoming elections.

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“The funds under the AONO scheme are provided to only ruling party workers while the elected representatives including sarpanchs of other parties are ignored,” Majhi, a senior BJP leader, alleged.

Congress legislature party leader Narasingha Mishra also charged the state government with providing funds to a particular religious community under the scheme.

Raising questions on the secular credentials of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Mishra said, “In the name of conservation of Jagannath culture, money is generously being provided to villages.” “The culture of Lord Jagannath stands for religious tolerance, co-existence of all religions communal harmony and international integration. This has led to the present day situation in which we see that Lord Jagannath is worshipped by all irrespective of castes, creed, colour and community,” according to a state government website.

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Responding to the allegations, Panchayati Raj Minister Pradeep Kumar Amat said the government is providing funds for development of places of worship for all religious communities.

Amat, a BJD leader, said the chief minister has launched the AONO scheme to make all basic facilities of urban regions available in rural areas.

Due to the continuous efforts of the chief minister, more than one crore people have come out of poverty in the past years, which has been reported in a Niti Aayog report, the minister claimed.

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He also denied that elected representatives have been neglected while implementing the scheme.

The project proposals have been brought from elected representatives, public and communities, Amat said.

He claimed that parties like the BJP and Congress are opposing every step taken by the state government for the preservation, promotion, and protection of the culture of Lord Jagannath, the presiding deity of Odisha. PTI BBM AAM AAM NN

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