Smriti Irani says Naveen Patnaik deprived Odisha of PMJAY benefits; BJD says state scheme offers better facilities

Bhubaneswar: Union minister Smriti Irani on Sunday accused Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of depriving the people of the state of the benefits of central schemes such as Ayushman Bharat, "on political consideration".

Smriti Irani says Naveen Patnaik deprived Odisha of PMJAY benefits; BJD says state scheme offers better facilities

File image of Union minister Smriti Irani. PTI

About the fuel price issue, she said even as the NDA government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has slashed fuel prices by Rs 2.50 per litre, Patnaik was not ready to reduce state tax for giving relief to the people.

Addressing a BJP state executive meeting in Bhubaneshwar, the Union textiles minister said, "Naveen Patnaik has deprived the people of Odisha from the benefits of Ayushman Bharat scheme on political consideration."

Justifying her allegation, Irani told reporters that Patnaik "rejected" the Ayushman Bharat scheme despite the fact that over 60 percent of Odisha's women and children suffer from anaemia and the state ranks number one in the birth of stunted children.

Despite the health scenario in the state, Naveen Patnaik preferred to reject the Ayushman Bharat scheme, Irani said, adding, "The poor people are now raising questions why they should not avail the benefits of the central scheme."

Claiming that atrocities against women have been increasing in the state by the day, she said, "The BJD government has failed to maintain law and order in the state and provide protection to women and girls."

On the BJP's agenda of securing more than 120 of the total 147 seats in the Odisha Assembly, Irani said, "The BJP's Mission 120 plus is not just about securing power in the state, it also aims to raise public awareness on issues of women atrocities, unemployment, corruption."

The Union textiles minister said some BJP workers, during the state executive meeting, drew her attention to a proposal to revive the Odisha Textile Mills (OTM). "Yes, the OTM can be revived, but the state government should take initiative towards this direction. The Centre will certainly extend a helping hand," she said, adding that 50 per cent of the workers in Tirupur textile cluster in Tamil Nadu hailed from Odisha.

"If Odisha women and girls can make Tirupur Textile cluster successful, why cannot they do it in their state?" Irani asked.

Reacting to Irani's allegation, the spokesman of the ruling BJD, Sasmit Patra, said "The BJP is afraid of Odisha government's Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana. The BSKY offers better facilities than the Ayushman Bharat scheme."

About Iran's claim about rising atrocities against women in Odisha, the BJD spokesman said, "The Union minister should first say how safe women are in BJP-ruled states."

On fuel price issue, Patra said, "The BJP government announced reduction of fuel price by Rs 2.50 per litre keeping in view the elections in five states. They (BJP) are not worried about the people."

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Updated Date: Oct 07, 2018 15:55:23 IST

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