Portraying Odisha as a victim of Central neglect and conspiracy, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today said though the state was denied rights on rivers, it will fight to achieve the desired results. "As you know, the rivers, specially the Mahanadi, are the lifelines of Odisha. But, Odisha has repeatedly been denied of its rights on the rivers flowing through it," Patnaik said while addressing a meeting of ruling BJD's legal cell here. "Both in Pollavorum and Mahanadi, we have been a victim of Central neglect and conspiracy. But, all of you know that we are determined to fight this issue at every level till we achieve the desired results," he said. Similarly, another important example of central neglect is the denial of fund for the KBK region. Tribal students are also facing problem in getting central scholarship in higher education due to indifferent attitude of the Government of India, the Chief Minister said. "I certainly believe as the legal luminaries of the state, you have the legal expertise and moral responsibility to strengthen our fight on this issue," he said. Stating that BJD is committed to and working for the upliftment of the poor and the disadvantaged sections of society by ensuring their rights and privileges, Patnaik said welfare initiatives of the state government are in fact an exercise to protect the rights of the poor. "We are committed to the cause of the Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Caste, women and poor people. Our intention has always been to empower the weaker sections of society and enable them to take on the high and mighty.
Creating opportunity for securing justice for all without any exclusion at an affordable cost is our primary concern," he said.
Describing Odisha as a model state in providing social security to people, Patnaik said, "We have put in place a robust social welfare mechanism that covers every section of society starting from the infants to old and infirm, women, farmers, labourers and every other under-privileged group." Claiming that Odisha is the only state to double the income of farmers in the last decade, he said the state has been transformed from rice deficit to a rice surplus state. "Our contribution to the public distribution system of the country is third highest among the states. Mission Shakti is a kind of silent revolution in empowering more than five million women," Patnaik said. "Mamata is one of the largest direct benefit transfer schemes that has disbursed more than Rs 1,100 crore to more than 2.5 million pregnant women. We have also been successful in providing shelter security to one million families by constructing pucca houses to the rural poor," he said. "Odisha under the BJD government has taken many initiatives to strengthen the Panchayati Raj System. We have successfully empowered the people at Panchayat level to carry out planning and implementation process of basic infrastructure facilities in the rural area. "The primary objective is to ensure a sustainable development mechanism with the support and participation of people," the Chief Minister added.