The BJD on Thursday held protests outside several public sector enterprises run by the Centre in Odisha, alleging that they do not employ enough Odiya youths.
In Bhubaneswar and Paradeep, BJD members protested outside NALCO, IOCL and MCL offices. The party claimed that while several PSUs rely on Odisha’s mineral wealth, they are not employing youths from the state.
Reacting to the protests, BJP spokesperson Prithviraj Harichandan said, “We have never seen this kind of protest in any other state”. BJD leader Sanjay Das Burma said, “India has progressed using Odisha’s mineral wealth, coastline, and natural resources. The Centre’s PSUs are making profits in crores, but unfortunately there are no opportunities for Odiya youths.”
“When (Cheif Minister) Naveen Patnaik is working for the state’s development and employment opportunities, the things the Centre is saying about Make in Odisha (MIO) shows that it is unable to tolerate it,” Burma alleged.
Through MIO, the Odisha government is targeting investment in tourism, textiles, defence, electronics, health care and downstream metal industries sector. The BJP had called the MIO programme “propaganda”.
Burma also asked Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan to explain why the Centre has not delivered on its promises to build a coastal highway — connecting Gopalpur in Odisha to Digha in West Bengal — and a bridge over Chilika lake.
Reacting to the allegations, BJP state vice-president Sameer Mohanty said, “BJD would rather have lakhs of unemployed youths in Odisha than allow Modi’s schemes to be implemented. For example, the Odisha government has kept land acquisition and forest clearance for six highway projects pending. The project would bring investment worth Rs 3,870 crore.”