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Odishatv Bureau

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today reiterated the demand for special category status to the State during a meeting with NITI Aayog vice chairman Rajiv Kumar at the Secretariat in Bhubaneswar.

Patnaik also requested NITI Aayog to consider opening more bank branches in 4,376 unbanked panchayats in the State. Besides, he urged relaxation of tender norms for road building under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana in 38 blocks affected by Left Wing Extremism (LWE).

He drew the attention of NITI Aayog vice chairman towards the need for expansion of mobile network in 11,200 villages and broadband connectivity in Maoist-affected panchayats.

The chief minister also urged Kumar to increase Centre's contribution to disaster response fund from 75% to 90%.

Demands to restore Central assistance for the districts of KBK region, Integrated Action Plan (IAP) and Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF) were also placed before the NITI Aayog.

Patnaik also sought extension of the Amritsar-Kolkata industrial corridor to Vizag while including some districts of Odisha.

He also requested Kumar to include more beneficiaries under the Pradhan Mantri Matru Bandana Yojana modelled on Odisha’s Mamata Yojana and revision of coal royalty.

“The NITI Aayog is visiting capital cities of the States and meeting chief ministers. We will present their cases before the Centre and find solutions,” Kumar told mediapersons,

“Senior officials of the State will visit New Delhi and will hold discussions with representatives of concerned ministries on the issues,” he added.

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