Nuapada: Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said the Centre was considering Odisha government`s proposal for developing Sunabeda sanctuary in Maoist-hit Nuapada district.
The minister, whose visit was opposed by Maoists through posters two days ago, said at a meeting near here that his ministry had initially mooted a proposal for development of the sanctuary area in the Naxal-affected district.
"Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik then sent a Rs 238 crore plan for development of the hilly Sunabeda area ahead of my visit to the district and it is being considered," the Union Minister said.
Ramesh, who in a letter to the Chief Minister had suggested him to submit a development plan of Sunabeda area on the lines of Saranda Jungle, said the Centre was always willing to release funds for overall development of backward and tribal dominated regions in states, without any discrimination.
Earlier, the venue where Ramesh was to interact with tribals was shifted on security grounds.
A proposed meeting at Barkote, in the foothills of Sunabeda, was also cancelled as explosives were found from the site two days ago, officials said.
Addressing a gathering in Nuapada Sadar area, Ramesh said a Rs 57 crore project was being implemented in Nuapada district to improve rural connectivity and link small villages located in remote and inaccessible areas.
Affirming the Centre`s commitment to ensure speedy and balanced development in Odisha, he said Rs 2,500 crore was provided to the state this year for building roads in rural areas.
About 4,000 people had been given forest land patta in the tribal dominated district, the union minister said, adding that all of them would be provided houses under Indira Awas Yojana (IAY).
Ramesh also visited Saliha and other places, mostly within 15 kms from the district headquarter town of Nuapada, and reviewed various ongoing programmes like MGNREGS, PMGSY and Watershed projects.