Bhubaneswar: Despite a boycott call by Maoists, Independence Day was celebrated across Odisha with gaiety and enthusiasm on Friday amid tight security with the government promising to implement a special policy for speedy empowerment of girls and women.
"The government is going to implement a policy for girls and women. It will be a milestone in ensuring speedy empowerment of women," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in his address to the state after hoisting the tricolour here.
Affirming the government`s commitment to ensure rights, security and livelihood for women, Patnaik said lakhs of women have benefitted immensely from `Mission Shakti` programme to step into a new era.
The Chief Minister, who took salute from an impressive parade at Mahatma Gandhi road here, said the state has achieved considerably in different sectors like agriculture, education, health and other areas since independence and hoped the process of development would surge ahead.
Describing youths as major players for growth, Patnaik said a youth policy has already been introduced in the state and efforts are on to generate more employment opportunities for the educated youths.
Stating that the focus was on overall development, the Chief Minister said along with urban areas, development has brought a transformation in the rural belt. The government, he said, proposes to create model villages in rural areas where fruits of development is clearly visible amid construction of concrete roads and supply of drinking water.
While the government accorded emphasis on development of minorities and backward classes, many programmes have been launched for the welfare of farmers, he said.
As the day was celebrated amid gaiety and camaraderie across the state, tight security arrangements had been made all over, mainly in Maoist-hit Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Gajapati and Nuapada districts where the ultras had given a call for boycotting celebrations, police said.
In the state capital of Bhubaneswar, the parade venue at Mahatma Gandhi marg had turned into a fortress with deployment of security personnel in strength.
Though no untoward incident was reported from anywhere in the state, suspected Maoists put up black flags in some pockets of Arbanpali, Shilakota, Padia and Materu in Malkangiri district, police said.
In Mayurbhanj district, posters put up by suspected naxals calling for boycott of I-Day celebrations were seized from Dighi and Pakatia in Jhadpokhria area, Sub-Divisional Police Officer Suresh Jena said.