Special Correspondent

Injustice done to the KBK region remains uncorrected, he says

BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday termed the Union Budget for 2007-08 as "disappointing," saying that it did not provide relief to the common man.

Reacting to the Budget presented by Finance Minister P. Chidambaram at the State Secretariat, Mr. Patnaik said that as the rising inflation affected the livelihood of the common man directly, no definite and concrete measures to contain inflationary pressures had been outlined in the Budget proposals.

Agriculture sector

The Chief Minister said that in the agriculture sector, adequate outlay has not been provided for investment in agricultural infrastructure or in support to agricultural marketing.

With regard to the allocation for the backward Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) region, Mr. Patnaik said that the injustice done to the region had not been corrected in the Union Budget.

Export duty on iron ore

"The State Government had asked for Rs. 500 crores for development of KBK districts, whereas it is disappointing to note than the Union Budget has envisaged only continuance of the existing provisions," he remarked.

Pointing out to the Budget proposals pertaining to levy of export duty on iron ore and chromes, Mr. Patnaik said that the Centre should transfer the proceeds of such levy to the States such as Orissa in full.

Stating that the Budget proposals include reduction of Central Sales Tax from 4 per cent to 3 per cent with effect from April 1 this year, Mr. Patnaik said the loss of revenue on account of such reduction in the rate of CST should be fully compensated by the Centre to the State.

`Step-motherly' : BJP

Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader from Orissa Jual Oram also cricitised the Budget proposals.

The Budget proposals did not show any change in the "step-motherly" attitude of the United Progressive Alliance Government's towards the KBK region, he said.