CM launches rural outreach

Bhubaneswar: Keeping an eye on the upcoming general elections, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Monday launched ‘Ama Gaon, Ama Vikas’—a programme aiming at directly connecting with the people in rural areas.
Naveen launched the programme on the occasion of the Panchayati Raj Diwas which is being observed to mark the birth anniversary of former Chief Minister Biju Patnaik.
The scheme meant a village outreach programme under which the government would involve rural people in development activities and give them a platform to directly interact with the Chief Minister and air their grievances.
While launching the programme, Naveen interacted with elected representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) of four panchayats— Sasan of Sambalpur, Sankuda of Ganjam, Narayanpatna of Koraput and Khairabad of Jajpur district. Concerned District Collectors were also present at the events.
During the interactions, the PRI members proposed 32 development projects worth `2 crore which the Chief Minister sanctioned within 10 minutes.
“On Panchayati Raj Diwas and Biju Babu’s birth anniversary, we have initiated a new programme ‘Ama Gaon, Ama Vikas’. We will directly speak to villagers twice a week to hear about their projects and desires and sanction their projects immediately. Today, I have sanctioned projects worth `2 crore,” Patnaik told reporters.
Interacting with the CM, Sasan panchayat sarpanch Mohini Bhue thanked him for introducing Biju Express Highway and providing drinking water facilities to the people of that area. She requested the Chief Minister to initiate steps for setting up a community health centre at Danipali village and modernise the road between Patapali and Gurupali that were approved immediately.
The programme envisages filling a critical gap in fulfillment of people’s needs through innovative and unique projects which cannot be sanctioned under any other scheme or programme. The government will sanction the projects worth between `1 lakh and `10 lakh from its funds, said Panchayati Raj Minister Pradeep Maharathy.

Two days ago, Patnaik had flagged off four mobile video vans for Ama Gaon Ama Vikas programme that will move across the state to highlight various welfare schemes of the state government at villages and people can directly connect with the CMO through the wi-fi enabled vehicles. Opposition sources said the BJD government launched this programme to woo rural voters ahead of general elections due in 2019. In last panchayat elections, the BJD tested defeat in some Zilla Parishad zones and the BJP emerged as the principal opposition party. Through this programme, small but urgent projects in rural areas will be sanctioned that will help the BJD strengthen its rural vote bank, they said.
Opposition Congress and BJP criticised the programme, saying the government thought about rural people after 18 years. BJP alleged that the BJD has converted a party programme into a government scheme. Last year, the ruling party had launched ‘Ama Gaon, Ama Vikas’ to reach out to people and strengthen its base at grassroots. BJD spokesperson Pratap Dev said, “The BJP government is using the name of Din Dayal Upadhaya in government as well as party programmes. We are just following the same.”

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