CM demands 'special focus state' to Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Feb 28
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday demanded the Centre to declare Odisha a 'Special Focus State' as it is frequently facing natural disasters.

"Taking the frequency of natural disasters faced by Odisha into consideration, Vulnerability to Natural Calamity should be taken as a criteria to declare Odisha as a Special Focus State," said the Chief Minister at the 24th Eastern Zonal Council (EZC) meeting.

The EZC meeting has commenced under the Chairmanship of Union Home Minister Amit Shah at Bhubaneswar on Friday.

Patnaik also urged for increasing banking, teledensity and coal royalty during the meeting.

"Royalty on coal has not been revised from 2012. There is an urgent need to revise royalty on coal and also to share the proceeds of clean Energy cess with the State Government," said Patnaik.

He also demanded to announce a special economic package for speeding up the infrastructural development of the region.

"Our regions have some of the largest scheduled areas of the country. I reiterate my demand for inclusion of the Ho, Bhumij and Mundari languages in the Eighth Schedule of Constitution," he added.

He said the state provides 50 per cent funds and land free of cost in important railway projects, but progress has been very slow.

"If a nationwide analysis is done for teledensity, banking density, rail and road density, East Zone would be at the bottom in all these subjects that are in Union List. There is a need to double the allotments made to this region so that they catch up to the national benchmarks," said the Chief Minister.

He said this zone contributes maximum to the mineral wealth of the country and in turn manufacturing and energy security of the country. The fruits of this wealth should boost economic growth of this region and its people, said the Chief Minister.