Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday urged Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to reconsider his government’s decision of opting out of the Centre’s scheme to develop backward districts.
In a letter to Patnaik, Pradhan said the eight districts of Rayagada, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Gajapati, Dhenkanal, Bolangir, Koraput and Malkangiri should be included in the list of 115 backward districts of the country.
“Odisha of the 21st century should be built as a pioneering state by rising above political considerations,” the Union Petroleum Minister said.
Political differences should not come in the way of efforts aimed at development and welfare of common people, youths, women, Dalits, backward communities and tribals, the BJP leader, who hails from Odisha’s Angul district, said.
The Union Minister also sent a video link of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s interaction with the collectors and officers-in-charge of the other backward districts and requested the chief minister to watch it.
The Prime Minister is of the view that the dream of a developed India cannot become a reality without developing the eastern region of the country, he said, adding that Odisha has a prominent role in this vision.
“Therefore, we should start this mass movement in 2018. It is our responsibility and duty to build a new India and a new Odisha by 2022,” he said in the letter.
Pradhan also sent a similar letter to Odisha Chief Secretary A P Padhi and requested him to forward the video link of the PM’s address to the collectors of all districts and senior officers.
The BJD, in its response, said the state government will consider Pradhan’s suggestions.
Pradhan is a Union minister and his suggestion will be examined by the state government, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra.
The Odisha government had recently opposed the Centre’s action of appointing IAS officers as Prabhari (in-charge) officers in eight most-backward districts of the state for addressing the developmental needs of the people there.