CM demands special category status, region specific plan

Bhubaneswar: Demanding special category status for the state, state government on Monday said the 12th five-year-plan should have region-specific programmes.

"Instead of having a uniform programme for the entire country, there should be region specific plans. Orissa should also be given a special category status" Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik said.

He was speaking to reporters here after attending the regional consultation for finalising approach paper of the 12th five-year plan at Patna.

Stating that uniform programmes for the entire country had produced distorted growth, Patnaik said this created inequalities within different parts of the country.

Though the state government had been giving special attention to the poverty stricken KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir- Koraput) region, Patnaik said those were not sufficient to remove regional disparity.

Therefore, Patnaik demanded extention of revised long term action plan (RLTP) for KBK region for at least 10 years beyond the 11th Plan with increased funding.

Stating that PPP alone cannot be the answer to infrastructure development in most eastern states, Patnaik said that mobilising adequate resources for high quality infrastructure in poor states was a greater challenge.

He said the 12th Plan should have appropriate central schemes for liberal funding of infrastructure projects in poor state.

"The 12th Plan should also focus on substantially improving human development indicators and stepping up investments in social sectors, particularly health, education, poverty eradication and other social safety nets," Patnaik said.

The chief minister pointed out that mineral bearing states like Orissa were losing out because of low royalty rates, delayed revision of rates of royalty and incorrect methods of calculation. "We urge upon the Centre to revise the royalty structure," he said.

Coal bearing states including Orissa must be suitably compensated for the associated economic, environmental and social cost of coal mining, Patnaik said.

Patnaik also told the Planning Commission that there was a need to enhance funding for irrigation and agriculture for giving a boost to the rural economy.