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Naveen sticks to his special status demand for Odisha

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has again raised the demand for special category status for the State, proposing the Centre to include natural calamity as a criteria for according the special category tag to a state like Odisha.

“As an interim measure, states hit by major natural calamities may be declared as Special Focus States and granted benefits of special category status for a specific period,” the CM proposed during the fifth governing council meeting of the Niti Aayog chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi today.

Patnaik also appraised the Centre about the large scale devastation and massive losses in the state caused by the cyclone Fani. He demanded more funds from the Centre to handle the post-Fani situation in the state.

Besides, the Odisha CM raised the following issues concerning to the state.

  1. PM-KISSAN should include landless agriculture households and sharecroppers.
  2. All irrigation projects which are lying incomplete as on 1st April, 2019 should be included under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY).
  3. The Union Government should allocate a much higher quantum of resources for watershed , command area development and drinking water.
  4. There should be a priority component under PMGSY-III to connect habitations with a population of 100 and below.
  5. The projects need to expedited to extend rail connectivity to Kandhamal, Nabarangpur and Malkangiri districts.
  6. Bank facilities should be extended to unbanked Gram Panchayats.
  7. Bharatnet project should also be implemented at a faster pace.
  8. Royalty on coal should be revised from 14 per cent to 20 per cent of sale value.

In the meeting, Patnaik has mentioned some of the biggest achievements the state has achieved over the last few years.

  1. From a poverty-stricken state to a state which showed teh highest reduction of poverty among major states in a decade.
  2. From a food deficient state to a rice surplus state and one of the largest contributors to the Central pool.
  3. From a helpless state at the time of disasters to a state which has set global standards in disaster management.

Patnaik also maintained that as frequent elections affect the development climate, it is better to have simultaneous elections in the country.