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Naveen warmth for BPL elders

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 12: Chief minister Naveen Patnaik today announced a winter allowance of Rs 200 for elderly persons belonging to the below poverty line (BPL) category to buy woollen garments.

Poor, destitute, widows and persons with disabilities, who are already getting a monthly allowance of Rs 300 under the Old Age Pension Scheme, will be eligible for the winter allowance.

The money under this scheme will reach the bank accounts of the beneficiaries on December 15.

“The allowance will be given once a year. Giving the money directly to people will enable them to buy winter garments of their choice,” said a government official.

Nearly 27 lakh elderly persons, six lakh widows and four lakh differently-abled people will benefit from the scheme.

“The state government will spend Rs 74 crore to provide woollen garments to the people,” the official said.

The mercury has gone below 10 degrees Celsius in Kandhamal and Keonjhar districts. Today Kandhamal recorded 8.4 degrees Celsius, the lowest in the state, while temperature in the twin cities of Cuttack and Bhubaneswar has also gone down.

The temperature in Cuttack was reported to be 15.5 degrees Celsius, while it was 15.7 degrees Celsius in Bhubaneswar.

Ever since coming to power in 2000, Naveen has been trying to project a pro-poor image of himself.

He has sought to buttress this image with a string of populist programmes that have paid rich dividends in elections after elections.

The populist schemes included Rs 2-per-kg scheme, which now covers 42 lakh families belonging to the BPL category. Each BPL family is entitled to get 25kg of rice per month under the scheme. Similarly, the Biju Setu Yojana aims to build 400 bridges across the state over the next three years.

The other populist schemes of the government include school certificate programme, which is aimed to provide residence, caste, income, other backward classes certificates to those studying in classes IX and X in all government schools and private schools getting government aid.