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Pti

Keonjhar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today laid foundation stone for the much- awaited Govenrmet Medical College here and announced lowest ever interest rate of only 1 per cent over loans by Women Self Help Groups (WSHGs).

Patnaik said the state govenrment would spend Rs 300 crore from its own resources for the development of the medical college in the tribal-dominated and mineral-rich Keonjhar district.

While addressing a women convention held as celebration of Biju Patnaik's birth centenary year, Patnaik said the WSHGs can avail loan upto Rs 3 lakh at the interest rate of only 1 per cent.

The state government's 1 per cent interest rate over loan for the WSHGs came after Patnaik's Rs 1 a kg rice and 1 percent interest education loan.

Patnaik during his visit to Jajpur highlighted the Mahanadi water dispute issue with the neighbouring Chhattishgarh and said: "No one can deny Odisha's right over Mahanadi water. We will continue fight for the rights of 4 crore Odias."

The opposition BJP, however, criticised Patnaik's statement over Mahanadi water dispute.

"The state government has no intention to resolve the Mahanadi issue and wanted to take it till the rural polls next year. Had the govenrment have any seriousness, they should have approach the court on the issue," Former minister and senior BJP leader B B Harichandan said.

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