Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on . Patnaik discussed a number of issues with Modi having relevance to the socio-economic development of the State.
These, inter alia, included Special Category Status for Odisha, Polavaram Project and its consequences for the backward tribal dominated district of Malkangiri, inclusion of Sambalpuri/ Kosali and Ho languages in the 8th Schedule to the Constitution, Special Central Assistance for Nabakalebar-2015, completion of ongoing railway projects and sanction of new projects required to actualize rail corridor and port connectivity in the State, release of compensation amount on account of reduction of Central Sales Tax from 4% to 2%, release of Central Assistance for Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP), Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), additional 5 lakh beneficiaries under Indira Gandhi National Pension Scheme and commencement of international flight operations from Bhubaneswar.
Patnaik apprised PM Modi that Sambalpuri/ Kosali is the mother tongue of about 7.5 million people in 10 contiguous districts of Western Odisha. Similarly, Tribal 'Ho' language is the mother tongue of over a million tribal people living on the borders of Odisha and Jharkhand. He urged upon the Modi to include these two languages in the 8th Schedule to the Constitution.
Naveen informed that Nabakalebar is scheduled to be held in July, 2015 and requires preparations on war footing including creation of adequate infrastructure. He stated that this is a ritual followed for centuries at the Jagannath Temple where the Deities leave their old form and assume new ones every 12-19 years.
He added that over 5 million pilgrims/ tourists are expected to congregate at Puri town during the three month period necessitating huge requirement of infrastructure. He urged upon the Prime Minister for an early release of Special Central Assistance of Rs.1397 crore to supplement the efforts of the State in organizing the significant event of eastern India.
He also sought intervention of Prime Minister for early completion of railway works for Nabakalebar - 2015 including doubling of Khurda-Puri line, Khurda Junction bypass and modernization of Bhubaneswar and Puri Railway Stations.
Naveen Patnaik shared with Modi that Odisha suffers from severe floods, cyclones and drought, which recur every year and cause devastation in the State perpetuating poverty and under-development.
Referring to the relative backwardness of Odisha and to the recommendation made by Raghuram Rajan Committee, he reiterated the need to accord Special Category Status to Odisha for ensuring adequate flow of funds to the State and for enabling the State to catch up with the other developed States of the country.
Naveen Patnaik also apprised Prime Minister about the adverse consequences of the Polavaram project for the neighbouring States including Odisha and Chhattisgarh such as submergence, flooding, etc. He added that the Polavaram project in its present form will severely impact the people living in the tribal dominated backward district of Malkangiri.
Patnaik informed that the existing approved BPL list of Odisha dates back to 1997 which excludes a large number of eligible BPL persons and impressed upon the Prime Minister to allow the State to cover additional 5 lakh BPL beneficiaries under Indira Gandhi National Pension Scheme.
Naveen Patnaik also suggested that Ministry of Civil Aviation should commence international operations from Bhubaneswar, which was declared as an International Airport in October 2013, to boost international tourism and economic development of the region.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured that all the issues raised by Patnaik would receive his personal attention and that the Union Government would extend the required support for accelerating the socio-economic development of the State.