Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday slammed Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for rejecting the Centre's flagship Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme for the poor and alleged that a 'PC' (percentage commission) culture has become the state government's identity.
Addressing two public meetings in Talcher and Jharsuguda, Modi said Odisha lagged on Swachh Bharat campaign parameters and Patnaik should improve the level of cleanliness in the coastal state.
"Everyone is aware of the importance of Ayushman Bharat scheme, but Naveen Babu does not understand. Odisha government should come forward and join the programme," Modi said.
The prime minister is set to launch the programme countrywide from Jharkhand on Sunday. The scheme aims to provide Rs 5 lakh health insurance coverage per family annually to more than 10 crore poor households.
The Odisha government has not joined the central scheme, saying it has introduced a better programme, Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana, in the state.
Modi said because of the state government's decision, a large number of poor people in Odisha would be deprived of the benefits of Ayushman Bharat scheme, which, he added, aims to create a healthy, capable and content new India.
"Once again, I publicly urge Naveen Babu to link people of the state with Ayushman Bharat health insurance scheme which seeks to cover 10 crore poor families and effectively 50 crore people in the country," he said.
At the public meeting in Talcher after commencing work for the Rs 13,000-crore coal gasification based fertiliser plant, the prime minister said the Odisha government lagged on Swachh Bharat campaign parameters.
Noting that rural cleanliness in Odisha was only 10 per cent in 2014, Modi said it has increased to 55 per cent but a lot more was needed to be done.
"I had told Naveen ji about the importance of Swachhata and I once again request him to give cleanliness due importance," Modi said, adding, cleanliness is essential for good health.
Stepping up his criticism of the BJD government ahead of assembly polls and parliamentary elections next year, Modi alleged that a 'PC' (percentage commission) culture and delaying decisions have become the identity of the Odisha government resulting in the state's tardy development.
At the second public meeting in Jharsuguda after inaugurating a new airport named after freedom fighter Veer Surendra Sai, Modi claimed people were denied benefits of the central government's welfare programmes -- such as construction of toilets and in irrigation sector -- if they don't pay bribe under the BJD rule in the state.
Modi said there was a need for "bade parivartan" (big change) to give pace to Odisha's development.
Targeting the Congress party, Modi referred to former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi's famous remark that only 15 paisa out of a rupee sanctioned by the Centre for welfare of people reaches the intended beneficiaries.
"They knew about the 'bimari' but had no vision to solve it," he said.
He said the BJP government's decision to directly transfer money to the bank accounts of beneficiaries has curbed the practice of middlemen in implementation of welfare schemes.
"If our government releases Re 1, entire 100 paise reaches the poor," he said.
Modi targeted the Opposition also for stalling the triple talaq bill in Rajya Sabha.
He said justice will be done to Muslim mothers and sisters. Stating that three days ago the central government took a decision that was required for decades, he said the ordinance on triple talaq has made it illegal.
Accusing the previous United Progressive Alliance government of being responsible for closure of several industrial units, Modi said the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance government is taking concrete steps to revive closed plants.
He claimed that the UPA government lacked a clear vision and a clean intention and said all attempts by them to revive closed industries were limited to papers, files and public announcements.
However, now Talcher Fertilise Plant is being revived with an investment of Rs 13,000 crore, he said, adding that other fertiliser plants in Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Telangana and Bihar were also being restarted, he said.
Asserting that the Centre is committed to provide not only economic justice but also social justice to people, Modi said the Centre would ensure housing for all by 2022.
Pointing towards the large gathering of people at Talcher rally, Modi said it "clearly showed" what the people of Odisha have in mind.
Earlier, Modi inaugurated a new airport at Jharsuguda, which he said will attract investors to the mineral-rich area and would act as a lifeline in the western region of the state.
The prime minister said the airport would go a long way in transforming the state into a modern and developed one.
Noting that only one major airport existed in Odisha for so many years, Modi said Kutch district in Gujarat alone has five airports.
"Now, the second airport of the state would act as a lifeline in western region of Odisha and attract investors to the mineral-rich region," he said.
Asserting that the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government has been taking concrete steps for strengthening the aviation sector, he said only 450 aircraft operated in the country since Independence, while steps have been taken for 950 new aircraft during the last one year.
Highlighting the importance of Jharsuguda Airport, Modi said it would act as a junction for neighbouring Raipur and Ranchi and strengthen connectivity.
Development of eastern Indian states, including Odisha, West Bengal and Assam, is essential for achieving balanced development of the country, the PM said.
Modi said the new airport is named after freedom fighter Veer Surendra Sai, as demanded by the Odisha government.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, while addressing the ceremony, thanked the prime minister for naming the new airport after Sai, and said steps should be taken for quick introduction of regular commercial flights from Jharsuguda.
He said the state government has provided land and free power for setting up the airport.
Modi also inaugurated the Garjanbahal open cast mine of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), which has coal block reserves of 230 million tonne with an annual production capacity of 13 million tonne.
It will generate direct employment opportunity for 894 people and indirect job opportunities for 5,000.
The prime minister also launched the 53.1-km long Jharsuguda-Serdega railway line constructed by the MCL, and said it would strengthen connectivity in the tribal-dominated region.
Modi also dedicated to the nation Dulanga Coal Mining Project of NTPC in Sundargarh district.
This is the second mine of the state-run company to be operational and its first in Odisha.
Coal produced from this mine shall be used in the under-construction 1600-MW Darlipali Super Thermal Power Plant of NTPC in Sundargarh district, officials said.
The Jharsuguda Airport has been developed by the Airports Authority of India in collaboration with Odisha government at an estimated cost of Rs 210 crore, with Rs 75 crore contribution from the state.
The airport has been developed under the Centre's UDAN scheme. Spread across over 1,027.5 acres of land with a 2,390-metre long runway, the area of terminal building of the airport is 4,000 sqm.
The airport has been developed for all-weather operations, including night operations for A-320 type of aircraft.