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Vikash Sharma

With the state being impacted almost every year by natural disasters, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday urged the Centre to make Odisha a special focus state and allocate funds for disaster proofing.

While stressing on disaster resilient infrastructure to protect the state and its people from the vagaries of nature, Patnaik made such demand before the Centre during the NITI Aayog’s Governing Council meeting held at New Delhi today.

“Historically, we have been neglected in the subjects in the central list -Telecom, Railways and banking. We have the lowest density in all these crucial infrastructures and I would urge the central Government to give special focus for Odisha,” said Patnaik

The Chief Minister also raised the issue where several tribal and KBK districts have been bypassed from new allocation under the rural housing scheme PMAY. “The state government has complied to all queries raised and urged Centre to resolve the issue and allocate houses,” he said.

Emphasizing the importance of conservation and preservation systems which have gone huge changes globally, the Odisha CM suggested that ASI should be transformed and AMSAR act amended to make the systems at par with the global benchmarks both in terms of technology and legal framework.

Cuttack Municipal Corporation Mayor Subash Singh termed the CM’s demands as genuine. “Odisha is eligible to get the status of ‘Focus State’ because it is the worst sufferer from the vagaries of nature. If the state is not declared a ‘Focus State’, it will be too difficult for the state to progress while tackling such natural calamities,” said Singh. 

Congress MP Saptagiri Ulaka said, “Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s suggestions for the transformation of ASI and amendment in AMSAR Act are genuine ones and we also support them. But our Chief Minister instead of confining to tokenism and extending unconditional support to the centre should intensify his fighting with the central government.”

“During the UPA government at the centre, he would visit Delhi every month, with the allegations of central negligence. Today we are not receiving what we used to get during the UPA government. So demands should be raised more forcefully with them being raised in the Parliament and then we would also extend our support,” added the Parliamentarian. 

State BJP General Secretary Prithviraj Harichandan termed the state government not being able to see the Modi government’s generosity towards the state as unfortunate. “We have received a huge number of houses under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana. To include new beneficiaries of the state under Awas Yojana, the window opened for as many as five times, but the state government did not take it seriously.  As a result, many eligible beneficiaries are still living without a roof over their heads. The state has been receiving a lion’s share in all schemes and yojanas and during cyclones and floods. If the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) can’t see the Modi government’s generosity, it is unfortunate. In politics, some may resort to telling lies. But such lies are only expected from the BJD,” said Harichandan.

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