Bhubaneswar: The BJD-led Odisha government is celebrating the birth centenary of a legendary leader and former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik throughout the year. It has already organized many programmes and earmarked several others to commemorate the birth anniversary.
The state government has made a budgetary provision of Rs 2 crore for this. But, does it plan to show the same level of generosity towards celebrating the birth anniversary of all other great personalities of the state?
The BJD government has already named several schemes and landmarks after Biju Patnaik as the regional party has been formed after his name. It is trying to popularize the leader, who is already popular across the globe for his heroic activities. But the question is should the state government be celebrating this so lavishly?
The Naveen Patnaik government, who has been voted to power for the fourth consecutive time, is claiming that it is materializing the dreams of the legendary leader. But the fact is the ruling party is trying to capitalize the noble deeds of Biju Patnaik for its sheer political gain.
Naveen Patnaik, who completed 16 years in office, is leaving no stone unturned to keep his father Biju Patnaik’s legacy alive by repeating his same old assurance of building a prosperous Odisha that his father dreamt of.
But, the development story of the state government has gone all wrong. At a time the image of Odisha was tarnished internationally, how is it justified to celebrate the birth anniversary so bountifully?
Dana Majhi case and Nagada malnutrition deaths show acute poverty and lack of basic welfare services to the people of the state.
Not only the health sector, the education sector has also gone haywire. According to the freshly released Census 2011 data, over 41 lakh children are not attending schools in Odisha while over two lakh children are forced to earn a livelihood and attend school.
Besides, about 52 thousand government primary and upper primary schools have no teacher for each class and above 41 thousand schools have no room for each class.
But the irony is that our government is spending crores on the birth centenary, not for its future.
The ruling BJD might see the need to celebrate for its political gain, let’s not forget whose money is being spent for this.
Admittedly Rs 2 crore is a small amount in a budget where thousands of crores are being allocated to improve the quality of life in the state. But the bigger question is, why?
It can purchase more ambulance or hearse on the said amount so that poor people would not face the Dana Majhi situation. The government can build public schools and toilets, and anything that would benefit the people.
And, we will have no objection to naming these after Biju Patnaik.