Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday reiterated his demand to accord special focus state to Odisha.
Addressing the 24th Eastern Zonal Council meeting here, the Chief Minister, while thanking the Centre for supporting the Odisha government during the devastating Cyclone Fani, said that taking note of the frequency of natural disasters into consideration, the Centre should declare Odisha as a special focus state by considering criteria of vulnerability of the state to natural calamity.
Apart from this, the Chief Minister demanded an urgent revision of royalty on coal which has not been done since 2012. He also urged the Centre to share the proceeds of clean Energy cess with the state government, early release of grants to urban local bodies (ULBs) and subsidy of paddy procurement
Talking about the infrastructure development of railways in Odisha, he said though the state provides 50 per cent funds and land free of cost in important railway projects, the progress has been dreadfully slow.
Stating that the eastern zone of the country lags behind in tele density, banking density and rail and road density which are in the Union list, the Chief Minister said there is a need to double the allotments made to this region so that they catch up to the national benchmarks.
He urged the Centre to announce a special economic package to expedite infrastructure development of the region and inclusion of Ho, Bhumij and Mundari languages in the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.