BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday maintained that Odisha’s fiscal condition is in a much better position compared to many other states in the country amidst the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic and revenues have increased by 7.3 per cent against corresponding period last year.
Replying to the discussion on the motion of thanks for the Governor’s address in the Assembly in the absence of BJP and Congress members who staged a walk out, the Chief Minister said inspite of the pandemic, Odisha has emerged as a leading industrial destination with over Rs 1.2 lakh crore investment in the last one year.
Stating that Odisha has been able to overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic, Naveen thanked the disaster preparedness and cooperation of the people. He said the government has taken several proactive steps from the beginning to tackle the emerging scenario and Odisha was the first state to declare the situation as a disaster even before a single case was detected.
“We went for preventive and targeted lockdown much before the national lockdown and ensured strict enforcement of the Covid health protocols across the State,” he said and added, “To a large extent, this helped us in slowing down the spread of the virus.”
The Chief Minister said large number of dedicated Covid hospitals were set up across the State which along with the ambulance service ensured that there was no panic among the people despite the rising number of infections during August-September period.
Stating that the government also managed the return of lakhs of Odia migrants in an efficient and sensitive manner, he said Odisha was the only state with a huge number of quarantine centres down to the village level. “From a situation of uncertainty and social stigma, we have reached a stage of vaccination and return to normal daily life,” Naveen said and thanked the PRI members, Mission Shakti groups, health staff and police for their relentless work over a long period.
Remembering the sacrifice made by many Covid warriors who lost their lives while fighting the virus, he announced that the government will continue to support their families.
The Chief Minister, however, said there is a long way to go before declaring an end to this war. He appealed to the people to strictly follow wearing of masks, social distancing and other guidelines because of spike in the Covid cases in Maharashtra and other parts of the country.
The success of eco-retreat projects in various parts of the State has helped in restarting the tourism sector. The Blue Flag beach in Puri has proved that Odisha’s beaches and tourism infrastructure can match international standards. Heritage conservation and development has been a top priority for the government, he said.