Naveen again seeks special status for Odisha

Writes to the Prime Minister; lists ‘historical neglect, natural calamities’ as reasons for backwardness Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has again raised the demand for special category status for the State in view of the premise of “historical Central neglect and frequent natural calamities”. In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday, Mr. Patnaik alleged that successive Central governments have neglected Odisha and it was due to this that the State remains at the bottom in the country in most Central subjects such as teledensity, railway network, banking network and coverage, national highways, and air connectivity. “It is in this premise of historical neglect and frequent natural calamities that my government has been demanding special category status for Odisha which will supplement our efforts in transforming the State,” said Mr. Patnaik. Stating that Odisha has made steady progress on the socio-economic development front despite several challenges, Mr. Patnaik said that providing special category status will further accelerate industrial development and in turn more jobs for youth. “Kindly consider Odisha’s request as a unique one and support us in the fast pace, inclusive development of Odisha,” Mr. Patnaik wrote in his letter. Stating that Odisha has experienced disasters like flood, cyclone, tornado or drought every year, Mr. Patnaik said that in some years the State faced multiple disasters in the same year. More than 80% of the geographical area and nearly 90% of the population of the State were vulnerable to one or more disasters, he added. “Odisha has been affected by about 35% of all the cyclonic or severe cyclonic storms that have crossed the country’s eastern coast. With the current trend of the climate change, the coastal areas of Odisha are likely to be more vulnerable to extreme climatic events and severe cyclonic disturbances,” he mentioned. The Chief Minister further said that the pattern of drought in the State is also of great concern, as it invariably affected the State, sometimes in entirety and at other times, in some regions or districts.

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