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Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik remains firm on his demand for constitution of a tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi water dispute with neighbouring Chhattisgarh, which has snowballed into a major political issue.
“We have asked them (the Centre) quite clearly to form a tribunal where both the states, Chhattisgarh and Odisha, can come up with their points for a judicial outcome, and until then to stop all work on the barrages built on the Mahanadi by Chhattisgarh. But the central government is still not agreeable to this. We will continue to pursue our point of view,” said Patnaik at the Business Standard Odisha Round Table held here.
He said this when quizzed about a letter from the Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation, Nitin Gadkari, urging him to resolve the dispute through mutual discussion. On meeting Gadkari on the issue, he rued, “We have met before without any results. When we asked them to stop work on the barrages by Chhattisgarh, the then water resources minister Uma Bharati said the central government hadn’t the power to do so. So the only way out is a tribunal.”
Patnaik also recapitulated the achievements of his administration that has brought him many laurels. Taking (eight million) people to above poverty line, doubling of farmers income in the last year, a rise in public distribution system, building more than a million pucca houses, hostels for tribal girls, and distribution of 25 kg rice at Rs 1 for below poverty line families were the key achievements he highlighted at the event.
Odisha has witnessed more than four-fold increase in real per capita income during the past 17 years, he asserted.
Stressing that industrial development was a core component contributing to this fast growth of the state, he said Odisha has consistently ranked among the top 3 states in terms of live manufacturing investments. “We are ceaselessly working towards further developing the state into a manufacturing hub of South Asia.”
As the state targets for a higher growth rate and rapid industrial development, the government has adopted 3Ts (transparency, technology and team work) as its development mantra.
Stating that the showpiece investment summit, Make in Odisha 2016, had received 124 investments intents, he said, 75 proposals of these proposals were in various stages of implementation. The state had bagged investment intents of Rs 2.03 trillion across sectors at the summit. The next edition of the biennial conclave will be held in November 2018.
“We will concentrate on the manufacturing industry, so that our young entrepreneurs get more breathing space,” he added.