Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has reiterated demand for special category status from the Centre for the State, saying it faces natural calamities almost every year.
Special category status is the need of the hour due to the massive loss to infrastructure in the wake of natural disaster which may hinder growth of Odisha, the Chief Minister said in his first interview since cyclone Fani that hit the State on May 3 leaving behind a trail of destruction.
“In fact, this is one of the our main demands before the Union government. Odisha faces natural calamities almost every year. The assistance we get from the Centre is mostly for temporary restoration of infrastructure. We have to spend a lot from state’s own funds to work for the long-term,” the Odisha CM told PTI in an interview.
“This puts too much stress on our finances. Precisely for this reason, Odisha should be considered for special category status. In the last five years we had Phailin, Hudhud, Titli and now Fani. In addition to this, we has massive floods,” Naveen said.
Naveen, who is seeking the consecutive fifth term in Odisha, said it was necessary to accelerate the growth rate of the State.
He said, “We are maintaining a growth rate higher than that of the country. We are doing so well in all our socio-economic indicators. Proving special category status will help us accelerate growth”.
The Odisha Government is leaving no stone unturned to bring Odisha back to normalcy after the cyclone, the CM added.
“We are putting our best efforts in bringing back normalcy. Power infrastructure has been completely destroyed, especially in Puri and parts of Khurda districts where we have to re-electrify completely. Also lakhs of houses have been destroyed in addition to serious damage to tree cover and plantation crops,” he said.
“We could restore piped water supply to Puri town in 48 hours and Bhubaneshwar in 72 hours. By 12th i.e. nine days from landfall only Puri district will have electricity issues. Electricity in all the other places would have been restored,” he further stated.