BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday played the familiar Biju card and raked up his pet Central-neglect issue as he completed 12 years in office. The day coincided with the 97th birth anniversary of his legendary father.
‘’The interests of the State will never be compromised,’’ he said. Addressing a function at the BJD headquarters here to commemorate the birth anniversary of Biju Patnaik, Naveen said the movement for ensuring the due share of Odisha will be intensified in the coming days.
The BJD spearheaded the campaign against the Centre for the neglect of Odisha and this will go on, he said. Biju always fought for a special identity for Odisha and her people, he added.
Thanking the people for the massive mandate in Zilla Parishad polls, Naveen said the party would always be with the people. He advised the party leaders and workers to be in touch with the people and solve their problems. He announced that his Government would strive all the more in the coming days to fulfil the aspirations of the people.
The Chief Minister said infrastructure development, education and empowerment of women were dear to Biju babu. Construction of the Paradip Port in the ‘60s was a courageous move by him, he said and added his efforts had been complemented by completion of Dhamra Port.
Biju babu doubled the budget for education in 1961 and announced 33 per cent reservation for women in panchayati raj institutions (PRIs). Taking the welcome move forward, the State Government has raised the reservation for women in PRIs to 50 per cent, he said.
The Chief Minister said several welfare programmes have been launched by his Government from State’s own funds for women, Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, poor and other backward class people.
Stating that Biju’s contribution to strengthen coalition politics in the country was immense, Rajya Sabha member Pyarimohan Mohapatra said he was one of the founding-members of Janata Dal. He was the kingmaker, he added.
Mohapatra also criticised the Centre for not raising the rate of royalty on minerals as demanded by the State. Had the Centre raised the royalty rate to 50 per cent, the plan outlay of the State would have by now touched ` 60,000 crore, he reasoned.
Several senior leaders, including Deputy Chairman of the State Planning Board Surendra Nath Nayak, Ministers Prafulla Chandra Ghadei, Prasanna Acharya and Raghunath Mohanty, former ministers Damodar Rout and AU Singhdeo, party MP Baijayant Panda, Rajya Sabha member Baisnab Charan Parida, Government Chief Whip Rabi Pany and Biju Yuva Janata Dal president Sanjay Dasburma, spoke.