CM submits memo to PM in ISC dias

Bhubaneswar: Taking advantage of being seated next to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the opening of 99th Indian Science Congress (ISC) here, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today handed over a memorandum demanding a special category tag for the state and imposition of Mineral Rent Resource Tax (MRRT) on mine owners.

Patnaik, who had written several letters to the PM and raised the two vexed issues earlier at various fora like National Integration Council meeting and National Development Council meeting had said he would certainly remind Singh about the state`s demands on Monday.

As soon as the function started at the KIIT University campus here, Patnaik was seen reading a paper which he later handed over to Singh at the dais, CMO officials confirmed. Patnaik, sources said, chose to hand over the memo to the PM at the ISC function as there was no formal meeting between the two. After inaugurating the 99th INC, the Prime Minister attended an interactive meeting with the state Congress leaders before moving to the airport for departure.

"The vehicle took Singh near the aircraft where Patnaik and others were waiting to see him off. As Patnaik found no time in between, he chose to hand over the memorandum at the science Congress," the official said. Besides demanding hike in mineral royalty, Patnaik sought imposition of MRRT on mine owners who according to him made super normal profit by trading in iron ore.

"The state government must get 50 per cent of the super normal profit being made by the mines owners. The income from MRRT could be utilised for the welfare of the people living in the mining areas," Patnaik said in the memorandum. Terming the state`s demand of special category state status as about 30 year old, Patnaik said Odisha had a very high concentration of scheduled tribes and castes and the state records adverse human development indicator and high incidence of poverty. Therefore, Odisha needs to be declared a special category state to be able to avail the required resources for accelerating development process and addressing its special needs, Patnaik said in the memorandum.