At a time when letter-writing is no longer the in-thing, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik likes to regularly dash off missives to Central ministers, including Prime Minister, on issues relating from National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) to establishment of sports coaching centres in the State.
During the last one year alone, the Chief Minister has written more than 30 letters to different Central ministers, including Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, on a number of problems.
The Chief Minister’s letter-writing spree has evoked strong reaction from the Opposition Congress in the State. The OPCC has criticised the Chief Minister for his habit and demanded a white paper on Central assistance received by the State during the UPA rule.
OPCC general secretary Arjya Kumar Gyanendra alleged that the Chief Minister releases the letters, written by him to different Central ministers, even before they reach the addressee. Now he should also release the response of the ministers to his letters, the Congress leader said.
On the one hand, Naveen alleges Central neglect and on the other, he writes letters to Central ministers on every small pretext, Gyanendra said.
Out of the total letters, written by the Chief Minister during the last one year, the highest number of 13 letters were written to Singh alone. The issues related to non-cooperation of the Food Corporation of India (FCI) in lifting paddy from the State to opposing the establishment of NCTC.
The Chief Minister wants to create an impression through the letters that the Government is functioning, Gyanendra said and added it also bolsters his anti-Centre propaganda. But there is no follow-up on these letters, he said.
Naveen had launched a letter war against the Centre on the proposed NCTC claiming that the latter did not consult the states. He was able to rope in his West Bengal and Tamil Nadu counterparts Mamata Banerjee and J Jayalalithaa and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief Chandrababu Naidu on the issue against the Centre by raising the alleged infringement on federalism.
The Chief Minister has also written to the Prime Minister on Polavaram dam, opposing the Railway Protection Force Act, proposed by the Centre, and demanding a hike in the Railway budget. He also wrote to the then Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on issues varying from deployment of Central forces to tackle Maoist menace and inclusion of more districts in the security related expenditure (SRE) to the murder of a student from Odisha in Boston in the US.