Grant Special Focus Status to Odisha, BJD MP Sasmit Patra demands in RS

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By Our Correspondent

NEW DELHI/BHUBANESWAR: With Odisha’s long standing demand of Special Category State status remained unfulfilled, ruling Biju Janata Dal Rajya Sabha MP and Party’s Chief whip Sasmit Patra urged the Union government to grant special focus status to Odisha by citing that the state is affected by natural calamities every year.

Speaking during the Zero Hour in the Rajya Sabha, Patra said Odisha Chief Minister, on August 6, had released a damage assessment report on cyclone Fani which left a trail of devastation in the state. The report said that Odisha incurred damage to the tune of Rs 24,000 crore and for recovery, the state needs Rs 30,000 crore.

“According to the National Cyclone Risk Mitigation Project, Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal are the four states which usually, bear the brunt of natural disasters in the country over the past century. A special focus is required for such states which actually face this kind of natural calamity,” he argued.

“Our Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik has suggested during the meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and in the NITI Aayog Governing Council meeting that an interim measure for states that are hit by natural calamities should be undertaken and such states should be mentioned as special focus states and should be provided with benefits which accrue to a special category state,” said Patra.

The BJD MP further said that the Central assistance would be in the ratio of 90:10 between the Centre and the state for all programmes.“I urge the Union government to kindly consider that the states which face natural calamities may kindly be considered seriously and be declared as special focus states as suggested by Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik,” Patra added.

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