Odisha blames Centre for IT project delay

New Delhi: Odisha today blamed the Centre for “abnormal delay” in giving final approval to Rs 3,700-crore IT investment region in Bhubaneswar despite Cabinet clearance in 2012, but Union IT minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said government is revisiting the entire policy for such zones.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik met the Union Communications and IT minister here today and sought fast approval to the IT investment region.

“… setting up an IT investment region at Bhubaneswar covering about 10210 acres and entailing a cost of Rs 3,700 crore has been delayed abnormally for want of final clearance of the Centre,” a state goverment release quoted Patnaik as saying.

A high power committee headed by Cabinet Secretary had cleared the project in its meeting held on July 6, 2012 and Odisha has also agreed to the proposed changes in the ITIR policy resolution, he said.

Prasad, however, said the Centre has decided to revisit the entire policy in consultation with the state government.

“As far as IT investment region is concerned, the Union Cabinet had asked to revisit the entire policy in consultation with the state government, we are doing that,” Prasad said, adding that some of the states have even given suggestions to the revised policy.

Patnaik during the meeting also demanded an exclusive portal for the Nabakalebar Festival 2015 and a commemorative stamp marking the celebrations.

The chief minister also raised the issue of slow execution of National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN) in the state.

Terming the progress on the NOFN project as “abysmal”, he said only 150 panchayats got broadband connectivity till March 2015 as against the target of covering 3,298 panchayats in 16 districts.

Patnaik also raised the issue of the delay in execution of the Electronics Manufacturing Cluster at Info Valley in Bhubaneswar and sought Centre’s intervention for final clearance to the project.

“The Union Government had conveyed in-principal approval to the project in July 2014 and the Odisha government has submitted the final DPR and the application along with all necessary documents required for final approval of the project,” he said.

Patnaik said the Centre should direct BBNL to ensure full connectivity of 16 districts comprising 3,298 panchayats by December 2015 under the NOFN and the remaining 14 districts by December 2016.

The Centre has set a target to roll out the network across all the 2.5 lakh gram panchayats in the country at a cost of about Rs 30,000 crore by the end of 2016.

The chief minister also urged Prasad to grant final approval for setting up of three software technology parks in the state. The parks are slated to come up in Jajpur, Angul and Sambalpur.

He suggested that detailed guidelines of the programme along with the funding pattern may be finalised and circulated at the earliest to enable the state government to take forward the projects.

In view of the ensuing Nabakalebar festival this year, he urged the Centre’s support for developing an exclusive portal and issuing a commemorative stamp during the festival.