Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Wednesday hit out at the Odisha government, saying it has land for beer factory but not for a Paika rebellion memorial.Pradhan said the Centre has repeatedly requested the state to make available 50 acre land for the construction of memorial at Barunei foothills."The state government failed to provide 50 acres of land for the memorial despite repeated requests from the Union government. But, you (the Chief Minister) provided 600 acres for a beer factory for which thousands of trees were cut down in Dhenkanal," said Pradhan.The Minister was addressing the 119th birth anniversary of former Chief Minister Harekrushna Mahatab here.Paik rebellion, also known as Paika Bidroha, was an armed rebellion against the British East India Company's rule in Odisha in 1817.
The Centre and state are commemorating 200 years of the rebellion with a series of events.Pradhan also criticized the state government for not giving permission to install a statue of Harekrushna Mahatab at his village in Agarpada of Bhadrak district.Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) President Niranjan Patnaik also came down heavily on the state government on the Mahatab issue."It's really unfortunate that Odisha government is indulging in political vendetta and insulting the great freedom fighter and first Chief Minister of Odisha, Utkal Keshari Harekrushna Mahatab, by taking away the land allotted for his statue. If land is not reallocated by November 27, we will launch a protest against the politics of malice and vendetta," said the OPCC chief.