CHENNAI: Stating that Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was like a brother, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa Friday stressed the importance of cooperation amongst states in various areas, including law and order, water, transport and environment.
"States have to act together and prosper together. There should be bilateral agreements between states," Jayalalithaa said at the 76th Utkal Dibas function here which saw the two chief ministers praising each other to the skies.
In a meeting that demonstrated the bonhomie between the chiefs of Tamil Nadu's AIADMK and Odisha's Biju Janata Dal, Jayalalithaa said cooperation between states was important in a federal structure like India.
According to her, cooperation could be in the areas of water, transport, environment and law and order, which was important in the wake of terrorist activities and drug trafficking.
Praising the late Biju Patnaik, Naveen Patnaik's father, as a colossal in the Indian political field, she said he was like a father figure for her. And his son was like a brother to her, Jayalalithaa remarked.
Terming it her privilege to have hosted Biju Patnaik thrice in Tamil Nadu, Jayalalithaa said she was happy to host Patnaik, "the illustrious son of an illustrious father".
She also laid the foundation stone for Odisha Bhavan here and said the government had allotted five grounds for the purpose and hoped the construction work would be over at the earliest.
Earlier, Naveen Patnaik said Tamil Nadu and Odisha shared a glorious tradition in arts and dance.
Recalling his father's opinion about Jayalalithaa after his visit to Tamil Nadu in the 1990s, Naveen Patnaik said: "I remember him praising Jayalalithaa as an excellent administrator. We remember at the national level the cradle baby scheme, rainwater harvesting scheme, digital revolution by giving free laptops to students, the free mangalsutra for poor women at the time of their marriage, pro-poor rice scheme."
He said Jayalaltihaa has set high standards in the country for others to follow.
According to Naveen Patnaik, Odisha's state gross domestic product (SGDP) has grown 20 percent and the growth is not restricted to coastal regionalone.
He said the life expectancy of the people in Odisha, including the tribals, had increased.
"The infant and maternity mortality rates have come down in Odisha," he said.