Word is that more than 7 lakh migrants from CM Patnaik’s very own district Ganjam are settled in Surat. With his eye on the upcoming 2019 elections, the CM is planning to visit Surat which is called Little Odisha for its Odia population. The date of the visit is not confirmed yet but the groundwork for the visit was done already.
A team of representatives of Odia community in Surat has recently visited the CM in Odisha and extended an invitation to visit the city. The visit was viewed as a Political move which was strengthened by Mr. Patnaik’s actions when he demanded the center to introduce direct trains from Odisha to Surat just a few days after his letter to civil aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu requesting him of a direct flight service from Bhubaneshwar to Surat.
His letter emphasized that there is no single train service directly connecting Berhampur and Surat especially since 7 lakh people from Ganjam district are living in Surat. Only three trains currently run from Odisha to Gujarat state but the availability of seats in them is an issue and all of them have different origins and destinations.
Direct connectivity is an issue that the people of Odisha have been facing for a long time since many of the state’s populace is living in Gujarat state working in Printing, Dyeing, Diamond cutting, Powerloom, and other sectors that are well established. He requested two new daily trains connecting Berhampur and Surat to serve the traveling necessities of seven lakh people from Odisha.
According to sources a large number of Odisha voters living in Surat haven’t registered their names in the voter’s list of Surat and travel back to Odisha to cast their vote. The BJD’s efforts might be viewed as a part of wooing them before the Odisha elections 2019 but then, the CM Patnaik’s claims about connectivity issues seem genuine enough to heed.