The Telegraph
Saturday , April 5 , 2014
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CBI probe on Congress lips

Bhubaneswar, April 4: The Congress today took a bold stand by saying that if it was voted to power, it would hand over the mining scam and the multi-crore money deposit scam to the Central Bureau of Investigation for probe.

In its poll manifesto, which was released by Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee chief Jaydev Jena, the party went a step ahead and said it would recover Rs 60,000 crore from the erring mine owners.

“If we come to power, we will auction properties of the mine owners and recover the Rs 60,000 crore lost due to the scam. All the MoUs signed with private companies in the past five years will be reviewed,” said Jena.

The party also mentioned about the loot of chromite worth Rs 20,000 crore from Jajpur — which came to limelight in the affidavit of the district collector.

The BJD, in its poll document, had remained silent in handing over the mining scam probe to the CBI. The BJP, in its manifesto released yesterday, stated that it would streamline the mining operations and give priority to public sector companies in extraction of iron ores.

The Congress manifesto said the deposit collection companies had cheated about 20 lakh customers to the tune of Rs 20,000 crore from them.

Like the BJD and the BJP, the Congress, too, made tall promises to the electorate while vowing to make the state prosperous and self-reliant. It promised to give Rs 300 bonus to farmers over and above the minimum support price for paddy. It has also promised to introduce a pension scheme for farmers and loan waiver up to Rs 25,000. The farmers will be given free power and a farmers’ commission would be constituted.

Like the BJP, in a bid to strike an emotional chord with the people of the state, the Congress has promised an Odia University in the state for development and promotion of the Odia language. “All government transactions will be done in Odia language,” stated the manifesto.

In an apparent bid to counter Naveen’s Re 1-per-kg rice, the Congress said it would make Odisha a hunger-free state. It also assures the electorate to make pucca houses for those living below poverty lines in urban areas. Power would be provided to all villages. The document reflected the party’s commitment to bring the Food Security Act within six months.

The Congress targeted the BJD for its failure to set up permanent benches of Orissa High Court in west and south Odisha. Promising to make necessary moves in this regard, the party also said the two regions would have four medical colleges.

Without identifying the location, the Congress reiterated its oft-repeated stance that the headquarters of the Western Odisha Development Corporation would be relocated from Bhubaneswar to west Odisha.

Reacting to the Congress manifesto, senior BJD leader Pravat Tripathy said it was just an eyewash.

“As they know they will not be able to form the government, they have made all these unrealistic promises,” said BJP senior leader Biswa Bhushan Harichandan.