On an election yatra in Puri Lok Sabha constituency on Friday, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik accused the Centre of trying to sell Chilika Lake.
“They were hatching a conspiracy to sell Chilika Lake. They were trying to destroy the livelihood of thousands of fishermen,” the BJD leader said. “Chilika is Odisha’s mother and our pride. As long as I am here, Chilika will not be harmed.”
Considered one of the largest coastal water lagoons in the country, Chilika Lake is spread over 1,100 sq km and touches the districts of Puri, Khordha and Ganjam. The lake attracts migratory birds from different parts of the world in winter.
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Last September, the Chilika Development Authority (CDA) had drafted a report recommending to the state government that a proposed water aerodrome over the lake by the Civil Aviation Ministry would negatively impact the ecosystem and surrounding human population. The movement and sound of seaplanes will “seriously jeopardise” the habitat of Chilika’s nearly 1 million avian visitors and affect breeding and navigation of Irrawady dolphins, which have highly sensitive hearing, the report had stated.
The report had also listed legal points against the project. Chilika is governed by provisions under Wetlands Conservation and Management Rules 2017, which prohibit its conversion into non-wetland uses, the report had said.
The BJP had then slammed the BJD for allegedly opposing the Centre’s efforts to boost employment in the area. On the campaign trail, Patnaik has also attacked the BJP’s core campaign pitch for a “double engine” in Odisha —- BJP governments at the Centre and state —- to accelerate development.
Patnaik had questioned the BJP’s second engine or chief ministerial candidate. He had said that for BJD, women are the second engine of growth in the state, along with men. “BJP’s main engine will derail after May 23,” Patnaik said, indicating that the party may not get a majority in 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
BJP submits memoranda to EC over polls
New Delhi: The BJP on Friday gave a memorandum to the Election Commission, demanding the installation of CCTV cameras at polling booths and the deployment of Central forces in Odisha. The party claimed there is no prevailing law and order situation in the state, which will harm the conduct of free and fair elections.
The BJP said the situation in the state is “alarming, subtle and sensitive”. It has urged the EC to declare certain booths going to polls in the third and fourth phase of elections as “sensitive”, deploy Central forces, and ensure that flag marches are done in sensitive areas. The party also demanded the appointment of special observers.
In a memorandum regarding West Bengal, the BJP has said that the installation of CCTV cameras and deployment of Central armed police forces at every polling booth in the state is urgently required to deter and stop “goons and criminals” of the TMC from carrying out any “further violence”. (ENS)