Samrudha Orissa flays WB report, demands white paper on BPL list

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Bhubaneswar, May 27 (UNI) Coming down heavily on a World Bank (WB) study report highlighting Orissa's robust economy growth, the Samrudha Orissa, a regional political outfit, today demanded a white paper on the poverty status of the state.

Former Orissa Finance Minister Panchanan Kanungo and former state Finance Commission Chairman Trilochan Kanungo, both leaders of the Samrudha Orissa, dubbed the WB report circulated at a press conference held here recently as ''far from reality and an effort to hide all the factual evidence''.

They questioned the WB report which claimed that there had been a reduction of poverty among 30 lakh people despite the fact that the state government had been urging the Centre to add ten lakh more families in the BPL list.

The former Finance Minister said the 61st NSSO study had clearly stated that nearly 57 per cent population in rural Orissa did not get even Rs 12 per day for consumption while 50 per cent population in the urban Orissa did not have the capacity to spend even Rs 19 per day.

The leaders condemned the WB for coming up with such a ''confusing'' report and asked the WB authorities to refrain from such ''misrepresentation of facts''.

They also alleged that the Naveen Patnaik government was trying to hoodwink the people of Orissa, using the WB report to cover up its failure in all fronts.

On the modest economic growth projected by lead Economist V J Ravishankar in the report, the former Orissa Finance Commission Chairman said the loan burden for the state had gone up from Rs 18,000 crore in 2000 to Rs 41,000 crore by the end of 2007.

The state government, he said, had been paying nearly 83 per cent of its revenue collection towards the repayment of interest and principal of the huge loan amount.

''The overall growth projection of Orissa presented in the WB report was full of contradiction as the study report admitted that the income from agriculture, fisheries and forests, on which the majority of the people depended, remained volatile,'' he added.

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