Bhubaneswar: With the former minister and senior BJD leader Sanjay Das Burma taking charge as vice-chairman of the State Planning Board, the Opposition has termed the Board a ‘rehabilitation centre’ of the Odisha government.
“The Odisha government has kept the State Planning Board like a signboard at the Lok Seva Bhawan. The government has allotted a chamber to the vice-chairman by giving him a Cabinet rank. Neither any file comes to him nor does he know anything about the modus operandi of the Board except receiving salary and enjoying the status and privilege of a Cabinet minister. Even members who are nominated, do not know about the Board. No meeting has been convened by the Board for the last 13 years though the Chief Minister is its chairman. The government has constituted the Board only to rehabilitate political leaders,” Congress leader Santosh Singh Saluja told mediapersons here.
In his reaction, state BJP spokesperson Golak Nayak said the state government is not bothered about the Planning Board as it is not willing to formulate specific rules for its proper functioning. “With the Rajya Sabha election round the corner, the government has planned to rehabilitate some senior and left-out political leaders of the ruling party by appointing them as members of the Planning Board,” he pointed out.
Refuting Opposition allegations, Planning and Convergence Minister Padmanabha Behera said the state government has decided to restructure the Planning Board on the lines of Niti Aayog. “The roadmap of the new plan formulation is in the final stage and the state government will make an announcement very soon,” he added.
The Planning Board vice-chairman said steps will be taken to ensure that the Board functions effectively, which will give a boost to the district plans.
It may be mentioned that the state government had cancelled the appointment to the State Planning Board on May 24 last year and the last meeting of the Board was held on October 15, 2007.