Village Kankiya (Ganjam District , Orissa), Mar.10 : On the third day of his four-day tour to Orissa, Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi visited a residential school run for tribal children in Kankiya village of Ganjam district.
All 417 children living here are first generation literates and the school that they attend is a co educational one, and has classes from the third to the tenth standard.
Rahul Gandhi spent four hours interacting with the children of the school and was pleased to discover that many of them were extremely talented. he Rajiv Gandhi Foundation has funded a library for children of this residential school. The thought behind it is to fill the gap of lack of education in this part of the country. Gandhi also addressed a huge rally of farmers and youth in Berhampur.
At the rally, he said there was a time when India was poor and did not have the means to invest in development, but such was not the case today. I live in Delhi. I am a MP and I assure you that there in enough money in India, but the money is not reaching you. Why India, there is enough money in Orissa as well. There are many mills and natural resources here. The people of Orissa are poor, but not the state," he said. Referring to the state's ruling BJP-BJD government's allegation that the Centre does not give funds to Orissa, Rahul Gandhi said: "Naveen Patnaik's allegations that the Centre does not provide funds to Orissa are not true. The fact is, money sent by the centre is not fully utilized by the state government. Only 65 percent of the money is used and the rest 35 percent goes back to the centre unused. Even 65 percent of money that is used unfortunately, does not reach you".
Rahul Gandhi also spoke about the creation of two nations in India. One India that was progressing fast and the other that was still backward.
He said:"Our government for the past four years has been trying it's best to change the situation."
Referring to UPA government's flagship program NREGA, he said that it had hugely benefited the people of Andhra Pradesh.
"In Andhra Pradesh the money is straight away transferred to the bank accounts of the workers. But in Orissa, where ever I went, I did not find a single place where NREGA is giving it's people 100 days employment," he said.
Referring to Centre's budget of 2008 where loans of worth 60 thousand have been waived for farmers, Rahul Gandhi said " The farmers need not thank the government. We need to thank the farmers. They have given their sweat and hard work for our country. And if the two diverse India's have to merge into one, the lot of our farmers has to be bettered. The youth have to come forward and take part in the process of progress. I meet many young people who say they want to join politics. I would like to tell you that who ever want's to join the youth congress, whoever want to bring about change, come forward and we will do it together."
Rahul Gandhi said that people of Orissa had showered a lot of love and affection on him over the past three days.
" People have called me to their house, told me their problems. I am very angry that despite there being money in the country, it is not reaching you. The state has money, but Orissa's youth don't have schools' or colleges. I visited a girls's hostel today and saw that 8-10 girls sleep on three beds provided for them. Teachers don't come and their future is being ruined. "
"It is not enough for the state government to say that there is no money, the centre does not give us funds and we are helpless. The government has to better your lot and if it fails to do so, you should change the government. You have showered me with love and I am grateful for that," he added.