The Biju Janata Dal headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday accused the Congress-led government at the Centre of harming Orissa's interests by stalling big industrial projects in the State.

As many as nine Ministers and several senior leaders addressed the ‘Save Orissa rally' organised by the party's youth wing at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district as a counter to the Congress meeting addressed by AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi on August 26.

They blamed the Centre for blocking industrialisation, which they said, would have led to the development of tribals in the backward regions of the State.

The BJD was sore over the Centre's decision to reject the stage-II clearance for mining of bauxite in the Niyamgiri hills by Vedanta for use in its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh.

BJD leaders also criticised the Centre for granting various clearances to Andhra Pradesh for the Polavaram irrigation project on Godavari, and announced that they would hold a similar rally in Malkangiri district to oppose the Centre's stand.

Congress protests

Meanwhile, the Youth Congress staged demonstrations in all the 30 district headquarters of the State during the day criticising the Naveen Patnaik government for promoting the cause of private companies at the cost of the poor tribals.

At a press conference in Bhubaneswar, Congress MP from Kalahandi Bhakta Charan Das termed the BJD's rally at Lanjigarh as ‘save Vedanta rally.'

Stating that Vedanta had violated various laws, Mr. Das demanded immediate closure of the company's refinery at Lanjigarh. He also warned the State government not to go against the interests of the tribals.

Terming the BJD's reaction on the Polavaram issue as an afterthought, Mr. Das said it was a ploy to cover up the violation of the environment laws and Forest Rights Act by different companies implementing their industrial projects in the State.