Naveen distressed over denial of spl category stat



Bhubaneswar: Peeved at Centre's refusal to grant special category state status to Odisha, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to intervene and give the status to it.

"I am totally distressed over the development. This is most unfortunate that the Centre denies special category state status to Odisha which houses millions of poor people," the Chief Minister told reporters here.

Patnaik's statement came a day after Union Minister of State for Planning Aswani Kumar informed Lok Sabha that Odisha was not considered for special category state staus.

Claiming that Odisha meets all criteria for getting the status except an international boundary, Patnaik said "this is a clear step-motherly attitude of the central governemnt."

Odisha has been demanding since 1979 special category status in the form of resolution passed in the state assembly. The issue has been raised in different meetings of the National Development Council and at the time of finalisation of annual plan of the Planning Commission, Patnaik said.

"All these efforts appear to be futile as the Centre has turned a deaf ear to this legitimate request of Odisha," he said alleging that the successive governments at the Centre have ignored the state's interest.

"My government had also presented a memorandum to you during your visit to Odisha in 2006," Patnaik told the prime minister in a letter seeking his intervention.

Having very high concentration of scheduled tribe and scheduled caste people, the state records adverse human development indicator and high incidence of poverty, he said. Therefore, Odisha needs to be declared a special category state, he said in the letter.

PTI