Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday said he appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to accord special category status to Odisha, due to the destruction caused by cyclone F in the state, at the fifth meeting of the Governing Council of NITI Aayog.
"I informed PM Modi that the recent cyclone 'F' has caused massive devastation in Odisha and proposed that natural calamity should be included as a criteria for according Special Category Status to Odisha. Also, as an interim measure, states hit by major natural calamities may be declared as 'Special Focus States' and granted benefits of Special Category Status for a specific period," Patnaik said, according to an official statement.
Patnaik also made some suggestions to the NITI Aayog Governing Council regarding elections to be held in the future.
"As frequent elections affect the development climate, it is better to have simultaneous elections in the country," he said, "Primary sector especially agriculture has to be always taken care of. Judicious utilisation of water resources holds the key and Second Green Revolution should happen in our dryland areas. Also, Environment and economic development should go hand in hand"
The other key issues raised by Patnaik included adding landless agriculture households and sharecroppers as beneficiaries of PM-KISAN Yojana, including all irrigation projects which are lying incomplete as on April 1 under the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) and to extend rail connectivity to Kandhamal, Nabarangpur and Malkangiri districts in Odisha.
Earlier, in his first meeting with Chief Ministers after re-election, Prime Minister Modi on Saturday called for a collective fight against poverty, unemployment, corruption, and violence and for urgent steps to tackle drought and drinking water crisis in the country.
( With inputs from ANI )