Archive for the 'Chief Minister’s actions' Category

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik vents against UPA and NDA; Beginning of a sustainable third front?

CENTER & ODISHA, Chief Minister's actions, Defence establishments, Demanding equitable treatment, Mine royalty and cess, Railway network in Odisha 6 Comments »

This is interesting. Naveen Patnaik has a strong election winning record in Odisha and based on the current ZP and Panchayat elections, it seems he will also win big in the next elections in Odisha. He is suave, gentle, has a good natinoal image, not prone to histironics (like Mamata Banerjee), not an ayaaram-gayaram (i.e., does not change alliances often like AIADMK and hence reliable), speaks good English, and Odisha being a smaller state other state leaders will not think he is too powerful. So he may be an acceptable PM candidate for a third front consisting mainly of various regional parties. He is right about the problems with the two national alliances in India. The big problem with UPA is its multiple power centers, especially with the all power no responsibility position of the Yuvraj. He and his cronies have single handedly stopped major development in Odisha; especially the Vedanta University. The other problem with national parties is that their leadership in Delhi control the states where they rule. As a result, while those states do get some extra benefits, they are manipulated by the center to agree to their wishes, even if it may be detrimental to the state’s interest. In the context of Odisha a UPA govt in Delhi can push a Congress govt. in Odisha to give mining leases to companies of its choice.

At present the Odisha government is able to defy them to some extent. Even in case of coal blocks where the center unilaterally allocates the blocks, the state is able to put its terms, sometimes vocally, as the companies need the help of the state in getting the land and various clearances. That is the reason MCL and NTPC have agreed to establish medical colleges in Odisha. If there was a Congress government they would not be as vocal and may have just signed on the dotted lines as dictated by the central leadership. Of course one has to also think of the country as a whole. But in the past what has happened is that in the name of "national interest" Odisha has suffered greatly, some of it partly overcome by the non-Congress leadership in Odisha.

Examples of this are:

  • The freight equalization policy that harmed the industrialization of Odisha.
  • The low royalty rates of minerals.
  • Lack of port development. (There is folklore about how Biju Patnaik unilaterally went ahead to establish Paradeep port)
    • Also related is the disregard of the military about accommodating port development near their sites.
  • The opposition of Rahul Gandhi and his cohorts to industrial development in Kalahandi and Vedanta University.
  • Lack of development of Railways in Odisha.

Some of the above were overcome when there was a third front type government at the center. The ECOR zone was one of them. Since the ECOR zone was established things have looked up in the Railways sector in Odisha, but there is lot more to be done.

In the mining and metal based industry sector, since the BJD government in Odisha has become very discriminative in giving leases and installed the value added policy there has been a beeline of investment (some of it yet to come to fruition). The government has seen through the past games of Tatas and now have forced them establish a plant in Odisha (hence their upcoming Kalinganagar plant) and yet have not given them any new leases. SAIL and NALCO are not having an easier time either. 

So the point is that in our current set up where leadership in Delhi (true for both UPA and NDA) often dictates the state leaders of the same party to do what it wants, the state may lose out in the name of national interest. On the other hand *honest* regional parties can guard the state’s interests as has happened in Odisha. More and more states are going that way.

However, its not clear what kind of central government a coalition of regional parties will be able to form and how well will that work at the national level.

More ramblings later. … (See http://www.orissalinks.com/orissagrowth/archives/5458 for related thoughts.)

 

Naveen makes demand on new NH designations and more mine royalty; points out super-normal profit by miners and Australia’s steps to levy higher taxes on iron ore

Chief Minister's actions, Iron Ore, National Highways 8 Comments »

Following is an excerpt from a report in ibnlive.com.

Naveen demanded that five State Highways — Berhampur-Koraput, Madhapur-Rayagada, Phulnakhara-Konark, Kuakhia-Aradi-Bhadrak and Palasa-Khariar — be upgraded to NHs.

Following are excerpts from a report in Hindu.

The Orissa Chief Minister, Mr Naveen Patnaik, has sought 50 per cent share in “super normal profit” earned by private mine owners and said he would raise the issue of imposition of a mineral resource tax on iron ore during the National Development Council (NDC) meeting on Saturday.

“Mining companies are making super normal profits in Orissa. People of Orissa deserve 50 per cent of this…a quarter of our population is of tribals and we will put this profit to developing our areas,” Mr Patnaik said.

He said this was essential as most of the mining companies were operating on tribal land without doing justice to the people. Despite the State being the owner of the resources, the mine owners are benefiting beyond any measure of reasonable returns, he said.

“I have already written to the Prime Minister about it. I will be speaking about it in the NDC meeting. Rent-resource tax from the mining companies should be levied on Australia’s pattern,” he said.

In a July 30 letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Patnaik said, “The insatiable demand for iron ore in the export market has resulted in iron ore becoming highly profitable commodity, with returns from mining being far in excess of economically acceptable rates.”

The letter mentioned that the super-normal profits being made are evident from the audited operational profits of 80 per cent by miners, which is unheard of in other industries.

The Chief Minister had sought imposing a 50 per cent mineral resource tax, taking cue from Australia which has decided to levy higher taxes on iron ore from July 2012.

Full Text of Speech of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Regional Consultations for Finalizing Approach to the Twelfth Five Year Plan at Patna on, 30th May, 2011

12th plan (2012-2017), Chief Minister's actions, Odisha govt. action, Planning Commission and Odisha Comments Off on Full Text of Speech of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Regional Consultations for Finalizing Approach to the Twelfth Five Year Plan at Patna on, 30th May, 2011

(Thanks to http://orissadiary.com/CurrentNews.asp?id=26974.)

Hon’ble Deputy Chairman, esteemed Members of the Planning Commission, Hon’ble Chief Ministers of the eastern region, senior officers of the Planning Commission and State Governments. 

2. Let me convey my appreciation to the Planning Commission for initiating the regional consultation process with State Governments and other stakeholders for finalizing the Approach to the 12th Five Year Plan.  The Planning Commission has identified twelve strategy challenges for the Twelfth Plan.  These strategy challenges need to be carefully analyzed at the State level.   While it may not be possible to discuss in detail all strategic issues, I would like to highlight a few major aspects concerning the development needs of States like Odisha. 

3. The first challenge of the 12th Plan is to enhance the economy’s capacity for growth and to mobilize adequate resources from various sources.  It may be worth mentioning that the economy of Odisha has historically grown and diversified at a very slow pace except in the last decade when it has achieved a real average growth rate of more than 9 percent per annum at 1999-2000 prices.  The per capita income of Odisha is much lower than the national average and the poverty and other human development indicators for the State are very adverse.  The State has a limited capacity to raise its own resources.  Though the State has been making all possible efforts to raise resources needed for public investment to maintain the growth momentum, there would still be a substantial gap between investible funds that can be mobilized by the State and the level of investment required.  To meet this gap, there has to be a national framework by which larger resources can flow to Odisha and similarly placed states.  Any national growth strategy has to give special attention to states having special development needs.  Odisha, with about 40 percent population of Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Castes, has a special need to accelerate their development and improve their human development indicators.     

4. Odisha favours a development approach that encourages less developed states to grow faster than the national average over a long period of time in order to bridge the widening income gap between poor and rich states and to reduce poverty at a faster pace.   The development approach should also focus on: (a) scaling up investments in agriculture and allied sectors that need to perform above the national average over a long period of time, (b) mitigating adverse impacts of natural calamities and other shocks including climate change, (c) accelerating the development of depressed regions and marginalized classes including Scheduled Tribes, Scheduled Castes and women to substantially reduce regional, social and gender disparities and ensuring inclusive growth, (d) building and substantially improving rural and urban productive infrastructure such as roads, bridges, irrigation projects and ports, (e) strengthening social security system by way of allocating higher resources to primary education, health services and nutrition programmes, (f) addressing the problem of unemployment and under-employment, particularly among young persons and improving their employable skills, education and soft skills to harness opportunities that the growing economy may create, (g) improving the delivery of public services for the poor, (h) increasing convergence of resources from various sources and development programmes for faster poverty reduction and (i) continuing vigorously Public Sector Reforms Programmes, enabling policy framework and improving investment climate.      

5. In Odisha and other eastern states, large populations still live in villages and majority of them subsist on agriculture and allied sectors.   We, therefore, endorse the view of the Planning Commission that transforming rural areas and achieving high sustainable growth in agriculture and allied sectors is a crucial challenge for the 12th Plan.  There is an urgent need to take appropriate measures to raise productivity of the agriculture and allied sectors so that the income and employment opportunities in these sectors are enhanced in a sustained manner.  A vibrant rural economy is needed to ensure increased rural incomes and employment which would be a strong contributor for poverty reduction.  The strategy paper should focus on expansion of irrigation, watershed development and saturation of watersheds, diversification of crops, rural marketing, strengthening of agricultural extension and technology transfer, crop insurance and rural infrastructure.  The plan strategy should also look at ways in which farmers can get remunerative prices for their produce and ensure that the terms of trade do not move adversely against the farm sector.  Availability of credit is also critical for increasing farm output.  We, therefore, urge Government of India to put in place an appropriate macro policy framework to make the farm sector productive and profitable and to liberally fund development activities of agriculture and allied sectors, particularly in less developed states.  

6. Increasing irrigation potential and drought proofing are critical pre-requisites to enhance agricultural productivity.  In Odisha, substantial areas need to be brought under assured irrigation.  Out of about 59 lakh hectare irrigable area, we have been able to tap the potential only of about 30 lakh hectare by now.  We, therefore, urge that the funding under AIBP be stepped up adequately.  I would like to add that there is a need to extend AIBP funding to lift irrigation projects and innovative community based irrigation programmes such as our Biju Krushak Vikas Yojana (BKVY).  It is worth mentioning that the BKVY has been lauded and promoted by NABARD.

7. A major concern, however, is that though the share of agriculture and allied sectors has been declining in Gross State Domestic Product, the proportion of people dependent on agriculture and allied sectors has not been declining in the same proportion.  Major benefits of the economic growth, which has occurred mainly in the service and industrial sectors, flow largely to educated and skilled manpower.  There is, therefore, an urgent need to raise the skill levels of large sections of the population, particularly youth, so that they may find remunerative employment and livelihood opportunities.  A growth strategy that promotes desired skills and skill-based employment opportunities to youth and others has to be given prominence in the approach paper for the 12th Plan. 

8. Development of small scale industries in clusters, ancillarisation, linking industries to supply chains would have to be accorded due attention in the 12th plan strategy.  Employment potential, income generation and export potential of micro enterprises, handicrafts, handlooms and other traditional sectors have not been tapped fully.  Promotion of tourism and other service sector activities are to be given greater importance in the plan strategy.  The efforts of the States in these areas will have to be strengthened by appropriate resource flow and policy inputs by Government of India and this has to be emphasized.  

9. For Odisha and other mineral bearing states, mining and related industrial activities are very important.  Achieving strong growth in these sectors is critical in increasing incomes and poverty reduction.  However, these activities impose significant economic, environmental and social costs in terms of displacement of people on account of land acquisition, loss of their livelihoods and mounting pollution problems.  There is a need for a national policy framework to address these problems in an efficient, equitable and sustainable manner.

10. We have taken several initiatives including the single window clearance mechanism, transparent procedures and well thought out R&R policy, which have been put in place for facilitating setting up of industries.  As a result, there has been a surge in the private sector investments in mining and related industries. We would like to consolidate and strengthen this with due regard to sustainable development and environmental protection as a part of the growth strategy for next plan.  However, in order to attract private sector investment, there is immediate need for high levels of investment in infrastructure like roads, ports, railways, power generation and power transmission and distribution.  My state has already initiated PPP mechanism for infrastructure development in the field of port and road development.  But PPP alone cannot be the answer to infrastructure development in most eastern states including Odisha.  In fact, poor states like Odisha need greater investments in the non-PPP mode than more advanced states where returns on investment in infrastructure will be much higher.  Mobilizing adequate resources for high quality infrastructure in poor states is a greater challenge and the 12th Plan should have appropriate central schemes for liberal funding of infrastructure projects in poor states.

11. Macro policy distortions are proving to be a hindrance to Odisha and possibly other States, which are rich in minerals, in proper husbanding of those resources.  Royalty structures are such that the States are losing out substantially in resource generation potential due to very low royalty rates and delayed revisions of royalties on coal, iron and other minerals.  We urge the Government of India to revise the rates of royalty on coal and other minerals in a timely manner and to compensate the mineral bearing states for revenue losses sustained by them due to late revision of mineral royalties and other causes, as recommended by the 13th Finance Commission.  We reiterate our earlier demand for increasing mineral royalties on ad valorem basis from 10 percent to 20 percent of market prices of coal and other minerals.

12. With a view to contributing to the national efforts for augmenting power production, the State has planned production of 50,000 MW of power.  The establishment of new power plants, however, imposes significant economic, environmental and social costs on Odisha and other mineral bearing states in terms of displacement of people on account of land acquisition and loss of their livelihoods and mounting pollution problems.  Whereas power and coal consuming states benefit because of low costs of coal and power, revenues from electricity duty on consumption and revenue from sales of surplus power, the host states like Odisha bear most of economic, environmental and social costs.  This scenario leads to an inequitable sharing of costs and benefits from the coal mining and thermal power generation.  We have been repeatedly requesting the Government of India to put in place, by way of suitable amendments to the Electricity Act 2003 and the National Thermal Power Policy, appropriate institutional arrangements which would result in fair sharing of costs and benefits of coal mining and thermal power generation.  It is our long standing demand that the host states should get 25% free power from Independent Power Producers and 33% free power from coal reject based power plants on the lines of the National Hydro Power Policy.  We also urge  Government of India that the funds collected under the National Clean Energy Fund should be given back to the States from where coal has been mined to help them take up environment remediation measures.  

13. The 12th Plan should also focus on substantially improving human development indicators and stepping up investments in social sectors, particularly health, education, poverty eradication and other social safety nets.  There is also need to make adequate provisions for gender equality, child and women welfare and welfare of other disadvantaged sections.  Special efforts are needed to arrest fast declining sex ratio among children in 0-6 year age group and to improve the welfare of girl children. 

14. Correction of intra-state imbalances has been receiving special attention in the plan strategy of my State.  Heavy incidence and persistence of poverty in KBK region of the State has been a cause of concern for the State Government.  Though the region has improved through implementation of the Revised Long Term Action Plan, it still lags behind many other regions of the State.  In order to bring this region at par with other areas, the RLTAP has to be extended for at least ten years beyond the 11th Plan with increased funding.  We would also suggest that backward district initiative may be extended to more districts of my State which are equally backward.  

15. We have taken a number of steps to promote decentralized planning at district and sub-district level.  District Planning Committees have been constituted and are functional in all 30 districts in Odisha.  We have also constituted District Planning & Monitoring Units in all 30 districts to assist District Planning Committees for consolidating district plans and monitoring the implementation of various development programmes.  I may add that Odisha has been preparing annual district plans since 2008-09 in a consultative and participatory manner.  Summaries of district plans have been incorporated in the State Annual Plans since 2010-11.  Increasing efficiency and expenditure has been a thrust of our reform initiatives.  Outlays are being increasingly linked to outputs and outcomes both on Plan and Non-Plan side.

16. We support this consultative process for preparing the approach paper for the 12th Plan.  We may also like to add that a uniform policy and uniform programmes for the country as a whole have produced distorted growth, and created inequalities, within different parts of the country.  As a result, regional imbalances have cropped up.  The objective of the 12th Plan should be to correct these distortions by region-specific interventions.  I hope the regional consultations will prove the right beginning for such an approach for the 12th Plan.

17. Orissa should be declared a special category state.
  
Thanking you. 


I think it is time the tone of Odisha’s request change.  We should not ask to be declared a special category state.

We should forcefully demand that Odisha gets properly compensated for its minerals; years of neglect on some of its infrastructure aspects (such as railways) be corrected; environmental impact due to mining (especially coal mining) and power production be suitably addressed; the tribal areas (of Odisha as well as other states) be declared as special regions and special funding (to the tune of J & K and North East) be allocated to address them; and various central ministries must be ordered to treat each state fairly instead of channelling bulk of their funds to the states from where the ministers come from.

MOEF continues to harass Odisha; wants it to serve India but remain poor

Chief Minister's actions Comments Off on MOEF continues to harass Odisha; wants it to serve India but remain poor

Following is from http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/opgc-coal-block-row-orissa-cm-seeks-pms-intervention/427821/.

The spat between the Union ministry of environment & forests (MoEF) and the Orissa government on the issue of coal blocks allocated to the state owned Orissa Power Generation Corporation (OPGC) has intensified further with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seeking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention on the issue.

The MoEF in a recent move had proposed to change the category of the Meenakshi group of coal blocks allocated to the Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) proposed at Sundergarh from ‘no go’ to ‘go’ under the condition that the Ministry of Power (MoP) would give up opening up of Manoharpur and Dulinga coal blocks allocated to OPGC and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) respectively.

The move had left the state government officials, especially the OPGC authorities, sulking with the state energy secretary P K Jena and the state energy minister Atanu Sabsyasachi Nayak writing letters to the P Uma Shankar and Union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in this regard.

Patnaik has shot off a letter to the Prime Minister, stating that it would not be fair on the part of MoP to accept such a move at the cost of two other projects, particularly which is the only state owned project.

He has requested the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter and take a favourable stand in the upcoming meeting of the Group of Ministers to clear OPGC’s Manoharpur and dip side of Manoharpur coal blocks into the ‘go’ category.

"Given that the coal blocks allocated to OPGC fall within a cluster of blocks owned by Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), Independent Power Plants (IPPs), UMPP and NTPC, any decision taken in favour of the UMPP block alone would be unfair, particularly considering the significant progress and investment made by OPGC vis-a-vis other two projects in consideration (UMPP and NTPC)”, Patnaik has stated in his letter.

Earlier, the state energy minister in his letter to the Union power minister dated February 26 had stated that Orissa is relying on OPGC’s project for meeting its future power security since the project is well placed to move into construction during the current financial year and any adverse decision in the case of coal blocks allocated to OPGC will be a serious blow to the state’s future power supply scenario.

Pointing out that there are only three projects being pursued in the same footing- UMPP, OPGC and NTPC, Nayak had stated that in case any favourable decision is taken for the UMPP project only, it will be difficult on the part of the state to facilitate and support the UMPP project at the cost of the other two projects, particularly OPGC.

OPGC is pursuing capacity addition of two 660 MW units in Jharsuguda district. It has been allocated Manoharpur and dip side of Manoharpur coal blocks by the Ministry of Coal for captive use. The Meenakshi group of coal blocks allocated for the UMPP project and Dulinga coal block alloted to NTPC lie adjacent to and on either side of Manoharpur and dip side blocks in a continuous stretch.

BJD structure allows whistle blowers in Odisha

ADMINISTRATION & REPs, Chief Minister's actions, Odisha MLAs Comments Off on BJD structure allows whistle blowers in Odisha

Following is an excerpt from an article in tathya.in.

The multi-crore mining scam would not have come to the light had Samir Das, a first timer from Nimapara Assembly constituency, questioned the theft of minerals from Ram Bahadur Thakur mines. 

His starred question exposed a major scam that was going on in the state mining sector for quite few years. 

The scam put the Naveen Patnaik Government in the most difficult time. 

The Government become defensive and now struggling to avoid a CBI probe into the scam. 

Before the dust settled, the coal scam surfaced putting in the dock two Ministers — Urban Development Minister Badri Narayan Patra and School and Mass Education Minister Pratap Jena. 

Coal worth crores of rupees have been allotted in favour companies and firms those do not exist at all, alleged both BJP and Congress Lawmakers. 

And this time round, senior BJD Lawmaker Kalpataru Das first to expose the scam. 

Mr. Das, known for his deep going instinct, gave a detailed write up as to how OSIC under Mr. Patra favoured these firms. 

As if that was not enough, Mr.Das along with Debasis Nayak, a former BJD Minister, have brought into light the Rs 3000 crore Dal scam which has rocked the State Government. 

Mr.Nayak in a letter to Chief Minister and copy to the Director Vigilance gave out the modus operandi of the Dal Scam. 

Fingers have been raised against the Women & Child Welfare Minister, Pramila Mallik, for the massive irregularities in the purchase of Arhar Dal for Mid-day Meal Scheme (MDM)and Special Nutrition Programme (SNP). 

In all these case Congress and BJP failed to expose the scam, however when the BJD Lawmakers lifted the lid of these frauds and scandals, they grabbed the lime light of Media.

While the tathya.in article suggests that this is BJD shooting on its own foot, I understand it in a different way:

  1. The CM is not involved in these scams. (That is because, he is the supremo in the party, and if he was involved, no one would dare to expose these scams.)
  2. The party members have the freedom to expose scams. I.e., they are not told to hide scams for the interest of the party. This is refreshing and healthy. Compare this to the 2G scam where the UPA government tolerated corruption in the name of coalition government.
  3. Sure this implies that there is some infighting in the party. I think that is better than all being together and hiding each other’s role in scams.
  4. This also means that it is known to the rank and file that the CM (the supremo) will not tolerate corruption and will not reprimand anyone who brings that to his notice. Only when that is known would people come out against their own party and expose corruption by other members.

Ginning and bale processing unit of cotton to be established in Digapahandi Ganjam at a cost of Rs 1.2 crore

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Following is an excerpt from a report in Business Standard.

A ginning and bale processing unit of cotton will be established in the cooperative sector at Digapahandi in south Orissa’s Ganjam district at a cost of Rs 1.2 crore.

This was announced by the officials of the Regulated Market Committee (RMC) while the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the market yard at Digapahandi for the cotton farmers.

The market yard spread over 6.15 hectares (15.19 acres) of land, is being established under the Technology Mission for Cotton (TMC) under the Union ministry of textiles.

Around Rs 3 lakh is being spent on the development of the market yard. While the TMC had sanctioned Rs 1.50 lakh, the remaining amount would be met from the Rashtriya Krushi Vikash Yojana (RKVY) and RMC.

… The market yard has all infrastructure facilities including two godowns, each with a capacity of 500 tonnes, as well as cover shed, testing and training facilities for the farmers.

CM’s speech on “IMPLEMENTATION STATUS OF SCHEDULED TRIBES AND OTHER TRADITIONAL FOREST DWELLERS (Recognition of Forest Rights) ACT 2006”

Chief Minister's actions, Land Distribution, Odisha govt. action Comments Off on CM’s speech on “IMPLEMENTATION STATUS OF SCHEDULED TRIBES AND OTHER TRADITIONAL FOREST DWELLERS (Recognition of Forest Rights) ACT 2006”

Following is from http://rc.orissa.gov.in/index3.asp?linkid=30&sublinkid=1129.

PRESS RELEASE DT.04.11.09(CM ATTENDED THE CONFERENCE OF CHIEF MINISTERS AND STATE MINISTERS )

GOVERNMENT OF ORISSA

PRESS RELEASE

New Delhi

November 4, 2009

 

Shri Naveen Patnaik, Hon’ble Chief Minister,  Orissa today attended the Conference of Chief Ministers, State Ministers (Tribal/Social Welfare and Forest departments) on "IMPLEMENTATION STATUS OF SCHEDULED TRIBES AND OTHER TRADITIONAL FOREST DWELLERS (Recognition of Forest Rights) ACT 2006" inaugurated by Dr. Manmohan Singh, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India at National Agriculture Science Centre, New Delhi. CM addressed the Conference and gave a vivid account of initiatives undertaken by the State Government for development of  Tribals  in  Orissa.

 

Chief Minister stated that Scheduled Tribes constitute almost a quarter  of the total population of the State and Orissa has the unique distinction of having 62 different types of Scheduled Tribe communities and 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PTGs). He informed that the Government of Orissa has undertaken   several   steps to ensure all round development of the Scheduled Tribes (including the PTGs). The initiatives include setting up of 1004 ST Girl’s Hostels, enhancement of scholarship for ST Boys & Girls, establishment of 19 educational complexes in micro project areas for promotion of Girl’s education among the PTGs, establishment of one B.Ed Training College in Kandhamal, setting up of 11 Ekalavya Model Residential Schools etc. The State Government is also committed to establish another 5000 ST Girl’s Hostels over a period of five years to provide residential facilities for 5 lakh ST Girls, CM  stated.

 

Chief Minister further mentioned that after the promulgation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights Act), 2006, the Government of Orissa had taken pro-active measures to settle the land rights (both individual and community) in favour of the Tribals and other forest dwellers which they had been occupying/enjoying for ages without any legal record of rights. After vacation of the Stay Order of the Hon’ble High Court of Orissa on the distribution of Certificates of Title on 12th August, 2009, the State Government has been implementing the Act on a Mission mode, he informed.

 

CM stated  that substantial progress has been made on implementation of  the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and about 2.64 lakh cases have already been verified out of more than 3 lakh cases filed by the Tribals with the Forest Rights Committees (FRCs) as on 31st October 2009.  He further informed that the Gram Sabhas have approved about 2 lakh cases and out of which the Sub Divisional Level Committees have already  approved  72,000 cases. The District Level Committees have approved about 68,000 cases out of which Certificates of Title have been distributed to more than 55,000 cases. About 4,000 Certificates of Title have been distributed among the PTGs out of about 16,000 PTG families in the State.

 

Chief Minister stated that it might not be enough to only confer legal rights to the Tribals over the land and  suggested that steps should be initiated to provide irrigation facilities and improve  productivity of these lands by dovetailing various programmes  such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) etc. He also informed that the Government of Orissa had constituted a Watershed Mission to improve the productivity of rainfed lands and desired that  the Government of India  should support this programme so that it can be extended to  development of the  lands being settled with the Tribals. 

 

******

US government 2009 Report on International Religious Freedom talks about Kandhamal violence of 2008 and its aftermath

Chief Minister's actions, Elections 2009, Kandhamala, Odisha govt. action, State of the state 2 Comments »

Following is from http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/irf/2009/127365.htm.

In Kandhamal, Orissa State, individuals affiliated with left-wing Maoist extremists killed Hindu religious leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) workers on August 23, 2008. Although ultraleft Maoists claimed responsibility, the murders exacerbated underlying socio-economic tensions between the dalits and the tribals and unleashed a wave of revenge killings, assaults, and property destruction. According to widely accepted government statistics, 40 persons died and 134 were injured; most of the victims were Christians. The large-scale violence, which included the August 25 alleged rape of a Christian nun, attracted worldwide media attention. The central Government sent 39 companies of paramilitary forces to restore peace and security. State authorities established 18 emergency camps to house displaced persons, worked with NGOs to deliver assistance and relief to victims, and allocated funds to compensate next of kin and repair damaged houses, businesses, and places of worship. The police arrested 1,200 persons and registered more than 1,000 criminal cases. On April 21, 2009, police arrested Maoist leader P. Rama Rao in connection with Saraswati’s murder. According to several independent accounts, an estimated 3,200 refugees remained in relief camps, down from 24,000 in the immediate aftermath of the violence.

In March 2009 Orissa’s ruling party, Biju Janata Dal, terminated its 11-year alliance with its coalition partner, the BJP, reportedly in part over differences in responding to the Kandhamal violence. The state government, supplemented by central police, ensured that all communities in Kandhamal were able to freely and fairly exercise their franchise in April 2009 state and parliamentary elections. Since the reelection of the Biju Janata Dal Party, without its former coalition partner, the state government has worked with the central government to rebuild communities in Kandhamal both through infrastructure improvements and peace councils with various stakeholders. In June 2009 the central Government disbursed $ 300,000 (Rs. 14,648,437) compensation to the next of kin of 35 Kandhamal riot victims.

A part that is not mentioned in the report is that in the 2009 April elections the BJP party which was accused of playing a role in the violence in Orissa was decimated across the state. Out of 147 state level seats, their number reduced from 32 to 6 and in the national level MP (member of parliament) seats their number in Orissa (total seats 21) reduced from 7 to ZERO. The other party that was in power in Orissa, BJD, severed its coalition with BJP before the elections  and went on to win the elections with a larger number of seats than before.

Jindal’s progress in Kalinganagar; should consider establishing educational institutions in Orissa

Chief Minister's actions, Engineering and MCA Colleges, Jajpur, Jajpur Rd- Vyasanagar- Duburi- Kalinganagar, Jindal, Medical, nursing and pharmacy colleges, Steel, Thermal Comments Off on Jindal’s progress in Kalinganagar; should consider establishing educational institutions in Orissa

Following is an excerpt from a report in Indopia.

  … "The first phase with 0.8 Mtpa capacity is expected to be commissioned by June-July, 2010. Work for the stainless steel plant is going on in full swing,"JSL Vice President and Managing Director Ratan Jindal told reporters after meeting Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Though there has been some delay in the Rs 6,500 crore project …

Once the first phase is commissioned, work for the next phase would be expedited to achieve the 1.6 Mtpa capacity at the earliest.

… He said 50 per cent of the electricity generated from the captive power plant (cpp) of the company is being provided to the state government.

On the proposed 1,000 mw thermal plant to be set up in Dhenkanal, Jindal said details were being worked out for the project.

Tathya.in has a few statements on the simple style of Billionaire owner Ratan Jindal.

Ratan, in fact, known for his down to earth approach and simple life style.

He like others never moves in his personal jet and does not shows off his wealth, said an industry watcher.

He simply moves in Jetlite or Indigo with a few of his officers.

Ratan Jindal is the one of 4 sons of late O. P. Jindal. His mother is a minister in the Harayana state government and one of the brother Naveen Jindal is an MP. There are many colleges and a university with O. P. Jindal’s name. This includes the:

The Orissa government should push Mr. Ratan Jindal for an engineering college and a medical college in Orissa.

Naveen seen as non-whimsical, a man of principle, a man who keeps his words and means what he says

Chief Minister's actions, Elections 2009 Comments Off on Naveen seen as non-whimsical, a man of principle, a man who keeps his words and means what he says

Unlike leaders of many other parties such as BSP, SP, RJD, who fought against their UPA allies during the election, caused them harm, and now are extending their support to the government in Delhi, Naveen has not changed his stance of not supporting NDA or UPA. In fact if one goes back the last ten years Naveen has been fairly stable in his pronuouncments. He has not blackmailed his allies and has not flip-flopped. Thus it is a big loss for NDA and very stupid of them to have lost such a dependent ally. Naveen’s keeping-his-word personality has not gone unnoticed by the others. Hence the current UPA government is keeping its channel open with Naveen in case they may need him. Even though Naveen may not go back on his words of not supporting the UPA government, if necessary, he may abstain from voting against them, and give them issue based support. Following are some excerpts from a report in Tribune which mentions the attitude of UPA towards Naveen Patnaik.

… the Congress is also looking at Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s BJD for issue-based support as Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has personally opened channels of communication with him though Dr. Ramakanta Panda, the surgeon who operated on him earlier this year.

… As the numbers are stacked up today, the Congress has more supporters than it had bargained for with Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati s BSP, which was part of the Third Front in the Lok Sabha elections, also extending unconditional outside support of its 21 MPs to the new government.

Although it is presently spoilt for choice, the Congress does not want to be overly dependent on parties like the Samajwadi Party and the BSP in view of the whimsical nature of its leaders. It would, therefore, like to be prepared for any future contingency by getting support from parties having substantial numbers.The Congress top brass has identified Nitish Kumar and Naveen Patnaik in this category.

Karan Thapar interviews Naveen Patnaik

Chief Minister's actions, Elections 2009 5 Comments »

 

Part 1 of Interview.

 

 

Part 2 of Interview.

 

Part 3 of Interview.

 

Part 4 of Interview.

 

The transcript is at http://ibnlive.in.com/news/comparing-me-with-modi-unbelievable-patnaik/90629-37.html. Following are some key excerpts.

Karan Thapar: Chief Minister, the polls are suggesting that you might be in a position to form a government on your own in Orissa after the elections. Half way through the voting with just one more round left, are you confident?

Naveen Patnaik: As a matter of fact, I am confident. I think with the blessings of the people of my state the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is certainly coming through with a single majority. The party is having its own majority both to form a state government and to send a number of MPs to the Lok Sabha.

Karan Thapar: But on the question of the Lok Sabha, the problem is that the same polls are suggesting that you are going to end up with fewer seats than you had in 2004. Now can you accept that?

Naveen Patnaik: No, I don’t think so. It is possible because at that time we were fighting only 12 seats and out of them we got 11 and this time we are fighting 18 seats, I expect to do much-much better this time.

Naveen Patnaik: It was important to break up with the BJP because I don’t consider them healthy any longer for my state after Kandhamal – which I think is very apparent to everyone. Before Kandhamal, we were lucky in the early years of the state government not to have a serious communal problem at all. But Kandhamal was very tragic and serious.

Karan Thapar: So, you are saying that after Kandhamal you couldn’t have continued with the BJP in any circumstances?

Naveen Patnaik: It had become very, very difficult.

Karan Thapar: You hold the BJP and their associated allies responsible for what happened in Kandhamal?

Naveen Patnaik: When you interviewed me a few months ago about Kandhamal, I made it very clear that our administration had arrested a number of persons who belong to their sister organisations for the violence in Kandhamal.

Karan Thapar: I want very much to talk about your relationship with the BJP and why it ended in the way it did but first let us concentrate on the elections. If you don’t get an outright majority in the Vidhan Sabha, then you might look at the BJP for the extra seats that you need?

Naveen Patnaik: That will never happen; that we have already clarified.

Karan Thapar: In which case if you don’t get a majority on your own will you form a minority government or prefer to sit in the Opposition?

Naveen Patnaik: Well, I don’t doubt for a moment that my party will clear majority by itself.

Karan Thapar: That is your confidence but if you don’t then?

Naveen Patnaik: As a matter of fact, I haven’t thought about it at all.

Karan Thapar: So, you are ruling out the possibility of sitting in the Opposition?

Naveen Patnaik: In a democracy every party has to sit in the Opposition one time or the other.

Karan Thapar: So, even though you are denying it, you are mentally prepared for that possibility?

Naveen Patnaik: I don’t think that eventuality is a possibility in this election at all.

Karan Thapar: That the election will tell us in just four weeks time. Let’s come to the Centre. You have repeatedly said you will support a non-Congress and a non-BJP government, so does that mean that you are going to support the Third Front?

Naveen Patnaik: The BJD will not support a Congress-led government or a BJP-led government.

Karan Thapar: You have laid a lot of emphasis on the word ‘led’ so could you support a government in which the Congress and the BJP are a part but not in the leadership position?

Naveen Patnaik: Well, I see a situation which is very fluid at the moment as far as the Lok Sabha elections are concerned.

I perceive that the two national parties (the BJP and the Congress) shrinking even further in the numbers to what they have been in the recent past and there is a possibility of another force – call it a Third Front or a Fourth Front or any front – coming up.

And the interest of my party is to support a government which would fulfill the just demands of my state which have been neglected by the Central Government perpetually.

Karan Thapar: Let me approach it a bit differently. You have made it clear that there is no way you can support Manmohan Singh for another term as the Prime Minister of India but if it were to emerge that Sharad Pawar, with whom you have a seat-sharing arrangement in Orissa, could be a possible prime minister would the BJD support Sharad Pawar?

Naveen Patnaik: We can certainly look into that with a great level of possibility.

Karan Thapar: What does that mean?

Naveen Patnaik: It means what I have said. I assume or I think that there will be a government which will not be led by the Congress or the BJP.

Karan Thapar: But if it is led by Sharad Pawar, would you support it?

Naveen Patnaik: Let us put names aside. I have said it earlier and I repeat that the BJD’s interest is in supporting a government which will fulfill the just demand of my state. Orissa has been neglected for ages by the Central Government.

Karan Thapar: Let’s talk about the end of your 11-year alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party. So far you have told the world that this alliance ended because the two parties couldn’t agree on certain seat-adjustments for the future. But beyond that, to what extent had you begun to feel suffocated by the BJP’s anti-minority ideology?

Naveen Patnaik: Well, as you know, a few months ago when Kandhamal took place, it was very disturbing and very worrying. It was horrifying what happened and ever since then the unease began between my party and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

It had been there earlier too because they hadn’t been the most honest of allies. In various elections they would try to undercut my party, but those are minor things in comparison to what happened in Kandhamal and its aftermath.

Karan Thapar: So Kandhamal in a sense was a breaking point for you.

Naveen Patnaik: Yes indeed, and their behaviour as allies within the Assembly and outside it was incorrect in many ways.

Karan Thapar: When Kandhamal happened, the urban-middle classes began to compare you with Narendra Modi. Some people even called you a second Narendra Modi. Did that upset, even hurt you?

Naveen Patnaik: I would never personally consider myself anything like that. I think in a secular manner, I have a secular background, so I never consider that as a correct allegation.

Karan Thapar: Which means that the comparison with Narendra Modi must have been deeply hurtful.

Naveen Patnaik: I found it just unbelievable, that is all.

Karan Thapar: When I interviewed you just after what happened in Kandhamal, you said to me that every single bone in your body was secular. Would you say today that the break with BJP proves that to be the case?

Naveen Patnaik: What would you say Karan? You have known me all my life.

Karan Thapar: I would say that is the case.

Naveen Patnaik: Thank you.

Karan Thapar: Was it done with that in mind?

Naveen Patnaik: One always stands by one’s beliefs in the end, don’t you think? Or one should stand by one’s beliefs.

Karan Thapar: Many would say that it took Naveen Patnaik nine years to stand up to his belief. Those who know you have always known that you were secular, that you were liberal and that you were modern.

They were astounded to know that you actually had an alliance with the BJP and that it lasted for so long. Why did it take you so long to stand up for your beliefs?

Naveen Patnaik: You’ll have seen that for the last dozen years, the BJP has a number of secular allies. You can think of Mamata Banerjee, Hegde, Farooq Abdullah, George Fernandes or even Nitish Kumar – they have a number of secular allies.

And in Orissa, we were fortunate enough that during the first eight years of my tenure there were no serious communal incidents. It’s not till Kandhamal happened that the whole picture changed.

Karan Thapar: People say that the whole problem you had over seat adjustments was in fact deliberately manufactured by you as a way of ensuring that the alliance would end and this is proven by the fact that when you made them an offer which you could live it, it was–even as you described it in your own words–a deliberately humiliating offer because you knew they would not accept it.

Naveen Patnaik: I have never called it in my own words, ‘a deliberately humiliating offer’.

Karan Thapar: (BJP MP) Chandan Mitra said you did.

Naveen Patnaik: Well then I don’t know what he is talking about.

Karan Thapar: But did you deliberately offer a derisory number of seats so as to force the alliance apart?

Naveen Patnaik: No, I think my offer was pretty realistic for they really could not afford to stand for more than a few seats because their whole period in the state government marked quite a lot of incompetence.

The people of Orissa are a peace-loving people and I think that they had gone off the BJP after Kandhamal, and you will see that after the results in the coming election, the results that come out on May 16.

Had you been in touch with the Left parties and the NCP and had they given you some understanding or assurance that if you did break with the BJP, they would be there to stand behind and beside you?

Naveen Patnaik: Well Karan, you may look at the other side of the picture. They could have found me rather than me finding them, the new seat-adjustment partner parties.

Karan Thapar: Absolutely. But let me get back to this more serious point. Had you been in touch, had you sent out feelers to the NCP and the Left?

Naveen Patnaik: In politics of course, as you know, one meets friends from all parties and we all air our points of view. We moved very swiftly once the alliance broke down. Our new friends very quickly offered their support for which I am very grateful.

Karan Thapar: If I read you correctly, then you had been in touch with them – perhaps quietly, perhaps surreptitiously – but you had a sense of assurance that they would be there.

Naveen Patnaik: Nothing surreptitious about it at all. It’s all quite clear.

Karan Thapar: Done quite openly?

Naveen Patnaik: I think Karan sometimes you will see things in black and white. Things are sometimes a bit more subtle than that.

Naveen Patnaik: I don’t think it is as simple as that. It is a straight, clear-cut seat-adjustment with three parties – the CPI, the CPM and the NCP.

Karan Thapar: If you win, will this be your last term as Chief Minister or having finished then 14 years in office would you want a fourth term?

Naveen Patnaik: Let’s see how it goes.

Karan Thapar: You mean you could be hungry for more?

Naveen Patnaik: I think that as long as – and you may think this is a very hackneyed or cliché way of speaking – but as long as one is interested and can do good and the people wish to elect you, then there is no harm in that at all.

This was a tricky interview and Naveen Patnaik and BJD may get a bit cornered by one answer of this interview. By saying out clearly and loudly that BJD will not support either Congress led or BJP led governments, it limits their post-election options, especially since Naveen Patnaik often stands by his words. On the face of it this may seem damaging to Orissa’s cause if BJP or Congress do lead but either coalition will be fragile enough that they will not be able to ignore what a BJD led government in Orissa will demand. (On the other hand if Naveen Patnaik had given an answer that he will be willing to consider joining a Congress led government after elections then BJP would have taken advantage of it and called BJD as Congress-B. Having broken the alliance with BJP he could not have said that he will consider joining a BJP led government. So he basically did not have a choice.)

Centre NOT to intervene in disposing of a company’s application for mineral concessions in case the State does not take a decision in the prescribed time limit

Chief Minister's actions, MINES and MINERALS Comments Off on Centre NOT to intervene in disposing of a company’s application for mineral concessions in case the State does not take a decision in the prescribed time limit

Following is an excerpt from a report in Steelguru.

…the provision that allows the Centre to intervene in disposing of a company’s application for mineral concessions in case the State does not take a decision in the prescribed time limit is being done away with. This provision was one of the reform recommendations made by the high level committee set up under Mr Anwarul Hoda member of Planning Commission for the mining sector with the objective to woo big investments.

Officials in the Ministry of Mines said that the Indian government has not agreed to the Hoda Committee recommendation on this issue. Officials said that “Constitutionally, State Governments are the owners of all mineral resources in their region. Mineral rich States had opposed the proposal and the Centre has agreed with them.”

Chief Ministers of Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan in December 2007 had submitted a joint memorandum to the Prime Minister opposing the power given to the Centre in the draft National Mineral Policy. The chief ministers said that “This approach is fundamentally flawed in so far as bulk minerals like iron ore, bauxite, chromite, limestone, dolomite and manganese are concerned.”

 

CM pursues various rail projects in Delhi

Chief Minister's actions, Railways Comments Off on CM pursues various rail projects in Delhi

Following is from http://rc.orissa.gov.in/index3.asp?linkid=30&sublinkid=593.

Shri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Orissa had a meeting with Shri K.C.Jena, Chairman, Railway Board today and emphasized the need for expansion and augmentation of railway infrastructure in the State of Orissa as it is on the threshold of a major industrial upsurge. This will necessitate laying of new rail links, construction of elaborate rail terminals and bulk cargo handling points. He pointed out that the railway route length in Orissa is well below the national average and also much less than the neighbouring States like Andhra Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar.

The CM mentioned that there has been very little progress of Khurda Road-Bolangir railway line and the Ministry of Railways have allocated only Rs.32 crores during 2008-09 and stressed for increased allocation.

The CM has drawn the attention of the Chairman to the KBK districts which have a high percentage of tribal population and stressed the need for sanction of Jeypore-Malkanglri (117 Kms) line for which survey has already been completed. He further stated that advent of railways would lead to socio-economic development in that region.

He also informed that the Government of Orissa has entered into MOUs for setting up two alumina plants in the region and in this context, Lanjigarh Road-Junagarh new B.G. rail link assumes significance. He desired that the section between Lanjigarh and Bhawanipatna should be commissioned early.

He has also reiterated Government of Orissa’s interest for development of Gopalpur, Dhamra and Subarnarekha mouth (Kirtania) ports into all weather ports along its coast line and stressed that railway lines connecting Rupsa-Burhamara to Chakulia (50 kms), Nuapada-Gunupur B.G. Rail link to Theruvali (79 kms) and Banspani-Barbil for which preliminary surveys have been completed assume critical importance for movement of in bound and out bound traffic likely to be generated by the coastal ports, industries as well as mines in the hinterland

He underlined the need for expeditiously completing the residual work on Daitari-Banspani B.G.Rail Link and to introduce an intercity express between Bhubaneswar-Jamshedpur via Keonjhar. He also desired early commissioning of Cuttack-Barang doubling. The Chairman, Railway Board assured Hon�ble C.M. that Puri-Keonjhargarh Coaching Train services will be introduced before October, 2008.

Since the lack of adequate rail infrastructure has hindered the socio-economic growth of the State, he impressed upon the need to consider increased allocation of funds to ensure speedy execution of the sanctioned projects and also sanctioning of the new projects, surveys. He expressed happiness for identifying Bhubaneswar as one of the locations for construction of a world class railway station.

He also emphasized the need for introduction of new trains, extension and increase in frequency of mail/express trains, improved passenger amenities at stations etc to meet the aspirations of the people of Orissa and the developmental needs of a fast growing economy. He pointed out that although four new trains and one extension were announced in the Railway Budget of 2008-09, they have not yet been introduced and requested for early introduction of these trains.

The CM also desired early normalization of Balasore-Kharagpur section and restoration of normal coaching services as nineteen trains still stand cancelled because of the breach of railway track between Contai Road and Bakhrabad due to the recent floods.

The Chairman, Railway Board assured the Hon’ble C.M. to expedite all the above Projects of Railways in Orissa

The Chief minister’s requests were reasonable as it was made to the Railway Board chair who can only do things within the set parameters. The CM needs to go to the planning commission and the PM to make a broader request of complete connectivity to KBK+ and other adivasi districts within five years. The important parts he missed emphasizing are:

  • Junagarh – Nabarangpur – Jeypore; Malkangiri – Bhadrachalam – Bhadrachalam Rd
  • Talcher – Bimlagarh

CM writes to planning commission about Textile Park: Sambada

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CM writes to PM for Ad Valorem rates on minerals: Samaja

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CM meets the union tourism minister

Airports and air connectivity, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Chief Minister's actions, Khordha, Konark, Press release, Odisha Govt., Puri, Puri, Railways, Sites in and around Bhubaneswar, TOURISM, ENTERTAINMENT and SHOPPING, Tourist promotion Comments Off on CM meets the union tourism minister

The following is from http://rc.orissa.gov.in/index3.asp?linkid=30&sublinkid=411.

PRESS RELEASE

DT.20.03.2008

GOVERNMENT OF ORISSA PRESS RELEASE

New Delhi March 20, 2008

Shri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Orissa met Smt. Ambika Soni, Union Minister, Tourism & Culture today and discussed about various tourism projects of the State. The Chief Minister demanded for an early sanction of Rs.50 crore for development of tourism infrastructure and facilities in the famous tourism circuit of Bhubaneswar-Konark-Puri-Chilika under the Mega Circuit Scheme. The Union Minister agreed to include the circuit of Bhubaneswar-Konark-Puri-Chilika under the Mega Circuit Scheme and extend all necessary assistance under the scheme for its integrated development. She also agreed to consider release of 50% of the funds immediately.

The Chief Minister asked for a direct flight and a thematic tourist train to connect Varanasi and Bodhigaya with the Buddhist sites of Orissa. This would provide a great boost to employment and tourism in the State. The Union Minister intimated that the Government of India will extend all support for the connectivity of the Buddist sites. She also agreed to take up the matter with the Ministry of Civil Aviation and Ministry of Railways soon. She also intimated that the matter of rail connectivity of Bhubaneswar, Banaras and Gaya will be discussed with the Planning Commission and Ministry of Railways soon.

The Chief Minister urged the Union Minister to take up the project of sound and light show for Konark, which is a world heritage site and also for the historic Barabati Fort at Cuttack. The Union Minister was also requested for expeditious completion of the sound and light show at Khandagiri. The Chief Minister also demanded for better maintenance of the historical monuments, Buddhist sites, temples and other protected monuments by the Archeological Survey of India.

2000 crore package for irrigation: Naveen getting ready for elections?

Chief Minister's actions, Irrigation, Odisha govt. action, WATER MANAGEMENT 1 Comment »

Following is an excerpt from a news report in Hindu.

Declaring 2008 as the "Year of Irrigation", Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday unfolded a Rs 2,000 crore package for the farmers assuring water to every agricultural field in the state.

"Water to all agricultural field will be our top priority during 2008," Patnaik told reporters, adding that a minimum of Rs five lakh would be spent for providing water to a village where 35 per cent of the agricultural land remained non- irrigated.

Patnaik said the government had decided to set up at least 1,000 Minor Irrigation Projects (MIP) and lift irrigation points during 2008 to ensure that all the fields get water.

"At least Rs 2,000 crore will be spent on improving the irrigation facilities in the state," the chief minister said, adding that some of the irrigation projects would be funded by NABARD.

The government has decided to undertake lining works in certain canals where water leakage were reported earlier, senior officials of the water resources department said.

"The aim is to ensure that the farmer at the tail end of the canal system gets irrigation facilities," Patnaik said.

Press release on CM’s speech to the National Development Council

CENTER & ODISHA, Chief Minister's actions, Higher Education neglect, Marquee Institutions: existing and upcoming, Mine royalty and cess, Planning Commission and Odisha, Railway network in Odisha Comments Off on Press release on CM’s speech to the National Development Council

The following is from http://rc.orissa.gov.in/index3.asp?linkid=30&sublinkid=272.

ORISSA’S 11th Five Year PLAN SIZE FIXED AT RS.32,225 CRORE

 AIMS AT 9% GROWTH

 

Addressing the 54th meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) at Delhi, Chief Minister of Orissa Naveen Patnaik announced that the 11th five year plan for Orissa has an outlay of Rs.32,225 crore and targeted 9% growth for the plan period. This was set against the achievement of 7.26% growth during the first four years vis-à-vis the target of 6.2% of the 10th five year plan.

 

In his address, the Chief Minister, Orissa stated that tackling the challenging task of reduction of regional, social and gender disparities and achieving faster, broad-based and inclusive growth needed a three-pronged strategy that included:

(i)               Increasing flow of untied Central assistance to less developed states,

(ii)            Providing greater fiscal space to the states for mobilizing higher resources, and

(iii)          Helping states to reduce their debt burden by swapping high cost debt, including Small Savings debt, with low cost loans.

He impressed that a growth strategy that promotes employment has been rightly given prominence in the 11th Plan.  Orissa has already put employment generation on a mission mode for achieving convergence of resources and activities under different programmes to generate more employment opportunities for unemployed people.  Development of small scale industries in clusters and ancillarization are also going to be given more attention during the 11th Plan.

 

He also stressed that increasing irrigation potential and drought proofing were critical pre-requisites to enhance agricultural productivity.  With a view to increasing assured irrigation in Orissa, he urged Government of India to substantiality increase Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) funding for Orissa and to expand the scope of AIBP to include Lift Irrigation projects.  He further requested Government of India to significantly enhance allocations under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Revival Mission (JNNURM) and Urban Infrastructure Development Schemes for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) for providing basic infrastructure facilities in urban and semi-urban areas in Orissa.

 

The Chief Minister, Orissa further outlined several interventions that were urgently needed for expeditious and inclusive growth of backward states like Orissa.  Some such interventions included:

(i)               higher Central Assistance for infrastructure development in the areas of roads, ports and railways in Orissa and other backward states,

(ii)            enhancement of funding for the World Bank sponsored Orissa State Road Project from US $ 250 million to US $ 360 million and increased Central support for the proposed Ranchi-Vijayawada Highway,

(iii)          establishment of prestigious Central institutions like IIT, IIM and IIIT in Orissa to meet growing needs of skilled manpower for upcoming industries,

(iv)          exemption from income tax and central excise for 10 years for the KBK region on the lines of Special Category States in order to promote industrialization,

(v)             timely revision of royalty on coal and other minerals, on  ad valorem basis and  equitable share of export duty levied by Government of India on major minerals to the mineral rich states,

(vi)          just and adequate compensation for power producing states which bear the brunt of pollution and displacement, and

(vii)        expeditious coverage of all 30 districts under RGGVY and release of funds for the same.

 

The Chief Minister, Orissa also stressed that the mineral rich states needed to benefit from their natural endowment in a fair and efficient manner and that these states needed to be consulted in assigning mineral concessions.  He stated that value addition within the mineral bearing states needs to be given emphasis and hoped that Government of India shall fully address the concern of the mineral bearing states while finalizing the proposed mineral policy.  He further urged the Central Government to declare Orissa as a Special Category State.

 

Helping weavers of the state: health insurance; handloom and handicraft museum

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Following is an excerpt from a New Indian Express report on this.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today announced creation of a welfare fund that would cover 56,000 weavers of the State under health insurance scheme.

At a function organised on completion of 50 years of Boyanika, a State handloom weavers cooperative society here, the Chief Minister said a handloom and handicraft museum will be opened at Ekamra Haat.

The Government will provide Rs 40 crore during the 11th Plan period for development of handloom sector.

Naveen writes to PM on Coal royalty and compensation for delay

Ad Valorem, Cess, Chief Minister's actions, Coal, Higher Education neglect, Interstate disputes on Water and rivers, Mine royalty and cess, Mining royalty Comments Off on Naveen writes to PM on Coal royalty and compensation for delay

Following is an excerpt from New Indian Express on this.

… Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has demanded that the royalty be fixed on ad valorem basis.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Chief Minister said that the manner in which the Centre is going to revise the royalty, the State will be a loser. The State has already sustained a huge loss because of two-year delay in the revision.

He urged the Prime Minister to compensate the revenue loss of the State and delete the provision of adjusting the cess collected by the State during payment of royalty. As per the Supreme Court ruling, the collection of cess by the State for the development of the people in the mining areas is justified, he argued.

Under the new hybrid formula, the State will get Rs 10 more per tonne of coal which is nothing given the delay in the revision of royalty, he said.

As per the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957, the Centre is bound to revise royalty on coal and other minerals every three years. The Act provides that the State should be compensated accordingly for the delay in revision of royalty.

The latest revision was made on August 1 after five years, the Chief Minister reminded and urged the Prime Minister to compensate the State for the last two years.

I wonder if Naveen is referring to the supreme court judgment regarding Vedanta where the supreme court asks Vedanta to give 5% of its profits for spending towards tribal development and environmental safe guards.

CM meets with the Union minister of road transport on Orissa NH development, particularly NH 215

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Following is from the Orissa government press release at http://rc.orissa.gov.in/index3.asp?linkid=30&sublinkid=232.

Shri Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister, Orissa met the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Shri T.R. Baalu today. The meeting mainly focused on the poor conditions of the National Highways in Orissa and the ways & means of improving their standards. In particular, the Chief Minister invited his attention towards the deteriorating condition of NH-215, which connects Panikoili to Rajamunda. This road is the lifeline of the mineral-based industries in Orissa and needs Rs.95.00 Crore for immediate repair and restoration. The Union Minister, Shri Baalu assured to sanction the entire amount immediately and take all steps for maintaining the National Highway. He also assured an immediate increase in the present allocation of funds from Rs.85 Crore to Rs.130 Crore for National Highways in Orissa like NH-6, NH-200 (Chandikhol to Talcher), NH-224 (Khurda to Bolangir), NH-217 (Gopalpur to Raipur), NH-201 (Borigumma to Bargarh) and NH-23 (Biramitrapur to Banarpal) and further increase of Rs.30 Crore in the allocation based on actual need and expenditure. Chief Minister also requested him to augment allocation of funds for repair of the flood damaged roads. Discussion was held on the proposed Vijaywada-Ranchi road passing through Orissa. This road will serve as a security corridor and also provide a boost to the economic development in the leftwing extremist-affected regions of the State. It was decided that Survey work for this project will be taken up by the State PWD and funded by the Ministry of Road Transport & Highways quickly. The Union Minister assured his full cooperation and agreed to have a joint meeting of the Chief Ministers of Orissa, A.P. and Jharkhand early to sort out the inter-State issues. He also assured to visit Orissa shortly to have detailed discussions with the State Government on these issues.

Following is from the PIB release http://pib.nic.in/release/release.asp?relid=32002.

The Chief Minister of Orissa Shri Naveen Patnaik called on the Union Minister of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Thiru T.R. Baalu here today and discussed the various ongoing road projects in the State.

On a request from the Chief Minister for improving and strengthening of National Highway 215 (Panikoili to Rajamunda), Thiru Baalu informed Shri Patnaik that the technical sanction of Rs. 95 crore would be granted immediately It may be recalled that the entire length of 269 kms of NH- 215 has been included under NHDP Phase III and preparation of DPR for four-laning upgradation by NHAI is under way. Meanwhile, in order to improve the deteriorating condition of the National Highways in Orissa, the Ministry would allocate additional Rs 45 crore.

Thiru Baalu indicated to Shri Patnaik that the menace of overloaded trucks has taken its toll on NH 215 and the road condition has deteriorated rapidly. He urged the State Government to take immediate measures to control the plying of over-loaded vehicles on NHs. In order to curb the practice of overloading and to ease the problem of traffic congestion, Thiru Baalu desired that the State Government should organize a meeting with all the stakeholders in which Union Shipping and Road Transport & Highways Secretaries should also participate within a fortnight for finalizing the modalities for strengthening of National Highway 215 which is suffering from the menace of over-loading.

Regarding the Vijayawada – Ranchi Road, Thiru Baalu told the State CM that the Government of Orissa will have to expedite the finalization of the Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for remaining 600 km of this route in Orissa. The Minister desired to have a detailed presentation on this project as it comprises of National Highways, State Highways and the Village Roads. Thiru Baalu said that he would also be interacting with the State Governments of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Jharkhand to expedite finalization of the modalities for this Project.

Regarding the Road connectivity to Paradip Port (NH 5A), the Union Minister told Shri Patnaik that land acquisition for NHDP in general and Paradip Port in particular is required to be expedited by the State Goverment. He also emphasized for immediate identification of alternate service roads and parking places for easing the traffic congestion near the Port area.