Naveen slams Chhattisgarh for constructions on Mahanadi

Bhubaneswar: Hitting out at Chhattisgarh for undertaking a series of constructions on river Mahanadi unilaterally, chief minister Naveen Patnaik today said the move by the neighbouring state is against the federal spirit. He said Odisha is working efficiently to resolve the dispute within the ambit of the Indian constitution.

“A state should not try to exercise unilateral rights on inter-state rivers. It is against the federal spirit. We are trying to resolve the dispute over Mahanadi and other rivers within the ambit of the constitution and we would succeed in it,” Patnaik said while addressing the State level celebrations of the 70th Independence Day at Mahatma Gandhi Marg here.

He said his government believes in cooperative federalism. “And we are trying to strengthen it. Our struggle for our legitimate demands will continue,” the CM said.

Patnaik devoted the bulk of his address on the occasion of the Independence Day to presenting in effect a report card of his government’s work, especially the welfare schemes for the poor launched by it.

The Chief Minister said the State has taken many steps for the development of villages. “There would be no funds crunch for the development of rural areas as the gram panchayats have been empowered with more funds. Around 10 lakh kutcha houses have been converted into pucca houses in the last two years and there would be no kutcha houses left in the State in the next two years,” Patnaik asserted.

Listing out his government’s initiatives on education, the chief minister said Kalinga Siksha Sathi scheme can translate the dream of the meritorious poor students to avail higher education into a reality. Steps have also been taken to open modle schools in villages to impart quality education, he added.

Patnaik also emphasised his governments’ measures to spread the glory and rich ancestry of the Odia language across the globe. The government has decided to open a Special University of Odia language & literature, which would create an opportunity for extensive research on the language, Naveen added.

Describing Odisha as a major destination for of investment, the CM said infrastructure development in the State has opened a new avenue for the growth of economy.

He asserted that the poverty level in state has considerably declined and the per capita income is on rise.

Highlighting the schemes launched by his government, Patnaik said various welfare programmes have been introduced with the State’s own funds. Farmers are being given agriculture loans at a low interest rate. “We have received the national agriculture award (Krishi Karman award), which has raised the honour of our farmers. Odisha has become a model in the field of social welfare, disaster management and welfare of the physically challenged,” he said.

Stressing on the women’s empowerment, he cited the six Odia girls taking part in the Rio Olympics, terming them as the ‘Pride of Odisha’.

As the day was celebrated amid gaiety and camaraderie across the state, tight security arrangements had been made across the state, especially in Maoist-hit districts, said police.

A tight security cover with all the necessary scrutiny was put in place at almost all venues, including at the State capital.