Tuesday, May 6, 2008

NROs urge Rahul Gandhi not to play politics with KBK

The Pioneer, May 6, 2008
Pioneer News Service | Bhawanipatna

The country's most backward region, KBK, till date has only received lip service from the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty. Statistics reveal stunning truths.

Sample these: The Upper Indravati Irrigation Project was proposed and its foundation-stone was laid by late Prime Minister Morarji Desai, who headed a non-Congress Government at the Centre. The Lanjigarh Road-Junagarh railway line, though not yet completed, was proposed during the Chandra Sekhar Government (non-Congress). The Bargarh-Boriguma National Highway (NH-201), which passes through Kalahandi and the whole KBK region, was initiated by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Government (also non-Congress).

Even the most-touted KBK project was initiated by the Narasimha Rao Government, which was a Congress regime, but the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty had played the least role in it.

All this is being debated amidst reports that AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi will pay his second visit to the region in two months.

A leading non-resident Oriya (NRO), Digambara Patra, who teaches at the American University of Beirut, has presented the hard facts to the Nehru-Gandhi family's fourth generation icon Rahul Gandhi to ponder over the matter and take corrective steps. Prof Patra, in a fact finding report, has said Kalahandi has long been associated with the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty.

Indira Gandhi, Rajiv, Sonia and, recently, Rahul visited the undivided Kalahandi district and evinced their interest in development of the region.

Though people of Kalahandi were offered lots of promise and development in the region, unfortunately, statistics show that Kalahandi has not received any major national developmental project under the leadership of the Nehru-Gandhi family. Infrastructure is important for any kind of development.

Problems in Kalahandi in particular and KBK in general are poverty and backwardness which actually have originated from unemployment and poor infrastructure. Apart from agricultural development, infrastructure in road, national highway, railway, airport and industries bring developments to a remote and backward place. The Nehru-Gandhi dynasty has often publicly sympathised the people of Kalahandi but done precious little for the region, Prof Patra has pointed out.

During his recent Discovery of India journey from Nuapada (undivided Kalahandi district) Rahul referred himself as the "Soldier of Kalahandi in Delhi". However, the present Central Government, over which he has considerable influence, is yet to do anything for the starving region.

When a multi-campus university was proposed by the Orissa Government to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, the latter hijacked the idea and established a similar university in the home State of the concerned Minister, ignoring the KBK region.

The Union Government announced eight IITs, seven IIMs and 30 Central universities in major urban centres in the country and, unfortunately, not a single one in places like Kalahandi, which is centrally located in the KBK region, Prof Patra has pointed out.

Another NRO, Chitta Baral, Professor at Arizona State University, has also echoed Prof Patra's feelings.

According to Prof Baral, statistics is proving that the Nehru-Gandhi dynasty is more interested in exploiting backwardness of the poor KBK region and Orissa for political causes rather than working for the actual development of the region. The KBK region is as large as the size of Punjab or Kerala. As a youth and future leader of the country, Rahul should focus more on development of the region, he has pleaded.

Prof Baral has suggested that Rahul Gandhi impress upon the UPA Government to set up a railway engine factory, a Central university, a national medical college and a national institute of technology in the region.

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