Odisha CM urges Centre to resolve Mahanadi, Polavaram issues
Bhubaneswar/New Delhi: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday reiterated his demand to the Central government to resolve the Mahanadi and Polavaram water disputes.
Patnaik, who attended the 12th Standing Committee meeting of the Inter-State Council in New Delhi, expressed serious concern that the flow in the Mahanadi river in his downstream state has dipped alarmingly on account of the unilateral action of construction activities undertaken by Chhattisgarh.
He urged the Standing Committee to take urgent action to stop this unilateral construction in Chhattisgarh and constitute a Tribunal without further delay to address the problem.
This month, Patnaik had written two letters to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking constitution of tribunal to resolve the Mahanadi water issue.
He also urged the Standing Committee to discontinue Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh as it will impact a large number of people in hinterland tribal district of Malkangiri adversely.
Patnaik also mentioned that the Minimum Support Price (MSP) for paddy fixed by the Central government at Rs 1,470 per quintal is not commensurate with the rising cost of inputs and the non-remunerative MSP acts as a deterrent to doubling farmers' income.
He urged the matter be discussed with the Agriculture Ministry and it consider his government's proposal to fix the MSP of common paddy at Rs 2,930 per quintal in the interest of the state's farmers.
The Chief Minister highlighted that the Left Wing Extremism (LWE) poses the biggest threat to the internal security and impressed upon the committee to ensure equitable distribution and deployment of central forces, funds and logistic support and not insist upon reimbursement of the cost of deployment of central forces in the affected states.
He urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who chaired the standing committee, to deploy at least two paramilitary battalions in Odisha at the earliest to address asymmetric deployment of CAPF along the border vis-a-vis Chhattisgarh state.
Patnaik also mentioned that the royalty on coal which was due for revision in April, 2015 should be revised upwards at the earliest, while at least 60 per cent of the clean environment cess should be earmarked for the coal bearing states which have to bear the cost of environmental degeneration and rehabilitation.
Noting the Punchhi Commission has recommended for higher Central transfer for backward states for improving their physical and human infrastructure, he said Odisha should have the same sharing pattern in Centrally Sponsored Schemes as the northeastern and Himalayan states as the state has high percentage of people below poverty line and belonging to ST and SC.
Informing that low telecom connectivity and poor financial inclusion remain major concerns of Odisha, he added that 70 per cent of Odisha's Gram Panchayats do not have any bank presence and only 221 branches have been opened in last three years.
The Chief Minister mentioned that Odisha should be given flexibility to operate all the Centrally Sponsored Schemes directly through Integrated Financial Management System instead of opening separate scheme-based bank accounts since Odisha has a robust Integrated Financial Management System which is fully integrated with Public Financial Management System.