Bhubaneswar: Odisha’s main Opposition party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), on Thursday staged a protest demonstration outside Governor’s official residence slamming the Biju Janata Dal government over alleged irregularities in the implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY), a flagship scheme of the BJP-led central government.
A delegation of the BJP leaders, including several MLAs and senior leaders, also presented a memorandum to Governor Ganeshi Lal, requesting him to direct the state government to stop the “fraudulent act of changing the nomenclature” of the central housing scheme being implemented in the state.
The saffron party’s leaders also urged the Governor to instruct the state government to “check the corrupt practices involved in the implementation of the ‘Housing for All’ programme”.
“The state government has changed the name of the ‘Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojna’ to ‘Mo Awas Yojna’ to make it appear to be a housing scheme of the state. This is both unethical and illegal. Work orders for the beneficiaries of this central scheme in Odisha also carry the chief minister’s photographs and the logo of the state’s Biju Pucca Ghar Yojna (BPGY). We want these misleading acts to stop immediately,” BJP state vice president Samir Mohanty said.
State BJP general secretary Pruthviraj Harichandan accused the state government of engaging in “clever methods to hijack the centrally-sponsored schemes” being implemented in Odisha. Advertisements released by the state’s Panchayati Raj department for rural housing projects, he said, had “unlawfully” carried the logo of BPGY and pictures of CM Naveen Patnaik.
“By diverting the PMAY funds to BPGY, the state government is denying the credit that is due to the Narendra Modi-led NDA government at the Centre. The state government has not made any budgetary provision for BPGY since the 2017-18 financial year. For PMAY, Odisha received central aid of Rs 3,100 crore in 2017-18, Rs 3,600 crore in 2018-19 and Rs 4,820 for the 2019-20 fiscal,” Harichandan said.
Senior BJP leader Bhrugu Buxipatra accused the Patnaik government of conducting the geo-tagging of PMAY houses in “politically motivated and irregular ways” and selecting “fake beneficiaries”.
“The PMAY scheme’s benefits are not reaching the eligible people. There is a systematic effort to ensure that the leaders, workers, brokers and supporters of the BJD gain in the process. There is massive corruption in it,” Buxipatra, BJP’s state general secretary, said.
The BJP leaders also alleged that BJD leaders and even their MLAs have been collecting money from people whose names have found place in the list of beneficiaries. Harichandan accused BJD legislators of collecting “PC” (short for percentage of bribe) of Rs 21,000 from every PMAY beneficiary.
The saffron party’s leaders said the Governor assured them that he would look into all these allegations and take appropriate action. The ruling BJD was, however, unperturbed by the charges levelled by the BJP leaders.
“The Centre bears 60 per cent of the cost of the PMAY scheme while the rest 40 per cent is borne by the state government. If the expenses incurred by the state government in monitoring, supervision and implementation of this scheme are added, then the state’s share would surely exceed that of the Centre. So their (BJP’s) charges are totally baseless,” said BJD spokesperson Anubhav Patnaik.
(With inputs from Manoj Jena)