Kalahandi district is no longer the “land of hunger” and an example of extreme poverty, but has transformed into Odisha’s rice bowl and a model of development said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday while launching a slew of projects worth over Rs 2,000 crore in the district. Patnaik laid down the foundation of 52 projects worth Rs 1,020 crore and inaugurated 57 projects worth Rs 1064 in his first ever public gathering since the COVID-19 outbreak.
He credited the transformation of the district to Indravati river. The Upper Indravati Lift Canal System was amongst the 57 projects which were inaugurated by the CM. Built at a cost of Rs 986.71 crore, the irrigation system, comprising 43.26 km of concrete canals and 1,142 km of underground pipelines, has the capacity to irrigate 25,275 hectares of cropland. 10 drinking water projects, 13 check dams, food parks, power feed lines, and roads and bridges were also inaugurated by the CM on Thursday.
Recalling Kalahandi’s connection with former CM and his father Biju Patnaik, the CM said, “When Biju Babu was the CM in 1990s, he had visited Kalahandi once and was injured in a stone pelting incident. When I inquired about the bleeding, he had assured me that there was nothing to worry about. He said that the people of Kalahandi loved him and he reciprocates that love and respect. He was determined to work hard towards the development of the district,” Patnaik said,
“When I had the opportunity to serve Odisha, Biju Babu’s words resonated in my mind and guided me to work towards the development of Kalahandi,” Patnaik added while praising the district’s progress in agriculture and becoming the second largest paddy producing district in the state.
Noting that the deliberate attempts by some people to keep Kalahandi poverty stricken have failed, he stated that the irrigation potential in the state has increased three fold while fish production has significantly gone up. Rs 1200 crore has also been disbursed directly to the bank accounts of the farmers of Kalahandi during the paddy procurement season.
Meanwhile Leader of Opposition in Odisha Assembly and BJP’s Bhawanipatna MLA Pradipta Naik who skipped the event calling it an opulent expenditure “Why such lavish amount was spent for the event that too from the government exchequer when all of us battling the pandemic,” Naik said. The state government is claiming credits for projects which are funded by the Central government, which is not ethically correct, he added.
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