Regional imbalance deep rooted, chronic in Odisha: Govt

Bhubaneswar: The regional imbalance in Odisha is 'deep rooted and chronic', the state government conceded on Thursday and blamed the Centre for not providing adequate help to accelerate development in the backward areas.

"Though the problem of regional imbalance is very deep rooted and chronic in nature, there has been a considerable reduction in regional imbalance during the last decade (under BJD rule)," Planning and Coordination Minister Maheswar Mohanty told the assembly replying to an adjournment debate on the issue.

He said while the state government had taken several initiatives for development of the poverty stricken KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput) region, the Centre's assistance was not adequate.

"Though the state government in consultation with Planning Commission submitted a new 8 year prospective plan for KBK districts for Rs 4,500 crore for the period 2009-10 to 2016-17, the centre did not respond to it."

This apart, the state's request for extension of special plan for 10 more years was yet to find any response.

Admitting that all the regions of the state have not shared the gains of development in an equitable manner, the minister said Odisha has historically grown and diversified at a slow pace except in the last decade.

"There have been acute regional, social and gender disparities. Southern districts of the state comprise one of the poorest region. Incidence of poverty has also been very high," he said adding removal of regional imbalance has been one of the strategies of the state government during the 10th and 11th plans.