Western Orissa Development Council (WODC) and regional imbalance

October 17, 2011 at 6:29 pm Leave a comment

Following is a report from expressbuzz:

BHUBANESWAR: Questions are being raised over the relevance of the Western Orissa Development Council (WODC) which was formed to correct the regional imbalance existing in Orissa.

Rather than functioning to assist in the development of the backward Western Orissa districts, its core constituency, the council has now become a rehabilitation centre for defeated ruling party politicians and others whom the powers-that-be want to keep in good humour.

While funding and utilisation system of the Council have come under criticism, the lack of interest on the part of the State Government for further strengthening the organisation has also been disapproved by many. The Council was formed on July 3, 1999. But in 12 years of its existence, no noteworthy project has been implemented.

Three proposed medical colleges by the WODC at Bhawanipatna, Rourkela and Balangir have not progressed beyond the drawing board stage. “The WODC has failed to live up to its expectations during its 12 years of existence so far,” first chairman of the Council and senior Congress leader Narsingh Mishra said.

Funds are being spent on the recommendations of the ruling party MPs, MLAs and leaders, Mishra said and added there is no development agenda before the Council.

The Congress leader said as the Council was formed to bridge regional imbalance, a survey should be undertaken to identify very backward areas where projects should be taken up. But funds are being spent in relatively developed areas because of recommendations of some ruling party leader, MP or MLA, he lamented.

BJP Legislature Party Leader from Patnagarh KV Singhdeo alleged that the Council had been turned into a platform for also-rans of the ruling party. Attempts are also being made to create a parallel power centre through the Council, he said.

Strongly disapproving the practice of nominating ruling party leaders as expert members, Singhdeo said this had defeated the very purpose of the body. Technical experts should be from a particular field and not politicians, he said.

Defeated BJD candidate in the 2009 Lok Sabha election Hameed Hussein, who is also a member of the Council, also maintained that the funding pattern needs to be changed. The Council should spend in the fields of agriculture and education without wasting money on small projects, he said and added a decision should be taken in this regard soon.

But the importance given to the WODC, or the lack of it, by the powers-that-be can be gauged from the fact that for the last two months the post of chairperson is lying vacant. Sources said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is yet to decide whether to nominate a politician, a bureaucrat or an expert to the post.

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Entry filed under: Athmallik, Balangir, Bargarh, Boudh, Deogarh, Developmental schemes for districts, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Region watch, Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Sundergarh, Western Odisha development council.

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