BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday sought the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi for an early release of special Central assistance of `1,397 crore to supplement the efforts of the State Government in organising Nabakalebar festival in July, 2015.
The Chief Minister, who met the Prime Minister at New Delhi, also sought his intervention for early completion of railway works for Nabakalebar, including doubling of Khurda-Puri line, Khurda junction bypass and modernisation of Bhubaneswar and Puri railway stations.
Stating that Nabakalebar requires adequate infrastructure, Naveen said over five million pilgrims/tourists are expected to congregate at Puri during the three-month period.
During his 35-minute meeting with Modi, the Chief Minister raised several issues, including Special Category Status (SCS) for Odisha, Polavaram project and its consequences for the backward Malkangiri district and inclusion of Sambalpuri/Kosali and Ho languages in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.
The Prime Minister said that all issues raised by the Chief Minister will receive his personal attention and the Centre will extend the required support for accelerating the socio-economic development of Odisha.
Referring to the relative backwardness of Odisha and the recommendations made by Raghuram Rajan Committee, Naveen reiterated the need to accord SCS status to Odisha for ensuring adequate flow of funds.
The Chief Minister requested Modi to allow the State to cover additional five lakh Below Poverty Line (BPL) beneficiaries under the Indira Gandhi National Pension scheme as the approved existing BPL list of Odisha dates back to 1997.
Naveen also requested the Prime Minister to ensure that the Ministry of Civil Aviation commence international operations from Bhubaneswar to boost tourism and economic development of the State.
The Chief Minister impressed upon the Prime Minister about the need for release of compensation to Odisha on account of reduction of Central Sales Tax rate from 4 to 2 per cent.