Orissa Chief Minister and BJD chief Naveen Patnaik met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on Monday and demanded special status for his state besides financial assistance package and revision of mineral royalty rates.
“The Prime Minister was quite positive to our demands,” Patnaik said after his 30-minute meeting with Modi. He expressed hope that Modi government will treat Orissa better unlike the previous UPA regime.
He, however, dodged question on whether his party would align with the NDA. “The BJD will play a constructive and positive role as far as the Central government is concerned, and we do hope they respond to the just demands of Orissa,” he said.
Patnaik, according to sources, told Modi that despite having achieved a high growth of nine per cent and declining poverty and infant mortality levels, the over-all status of Orissa vis-a-vis human development indices was a matter of concern, and therefore, the state was in need of a special category status for at least five years. He also urged Modi to include additional 5 lakh BPL beneficiaries under the Indira Gandhi National Pension Scheme to cover BPL people who had been left out in the 1997 BPL list.
Patnaik said his state is losing over Rs 5 crore everyday due to the non-revision of the royalty rate on minerals. The revision of the rate has been due since 2012. Orissa CM also favoured the introduction of Mineral Resource Rent Tax on mining saying it would ensure that gains from mineral exploitation are accrued to local population in backward mineral bearing areas.