On Saturday, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wrote to Union Minister for Culture, Mahesh Sharma, highlighting
alleged irregularities in the Archaeological Survey of India’s restoration of Konark Temple, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984.
On the third day of the state’s flagship investment summit Make in Odisha (MIO), Patnaik addressed a gathering of bankers and women involved in Mission Shakti — a scheme to form SHGs and provide them with financial assistance.
The state government is keen to produce indigenously designed, developed and manufactured defence equipment for the country, which often involves high import costs, restrictions on niche technology, strict procedural requirements, permissions from multiple agencies and rapid obsolescence.
In the policy, the government places special incentives for units that will be set up in industrially backward districts, such as Kalahandi, Bolangir, Koraput and Malkangiri, among others. Units are also encouraged to employ people “domiciled in Odisha”.
In the letter released to the press Sunday night, Patnaik wrote that as per a regional news report “40% of the artistic stone carvings of the existing Konark Sun Temple have been replaced by the ASI with plain stones”.
While BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said the Opposition's statements reeked of "jealousy", the state government's industries secretary Sanjeev Chopra said the investment implementation in Odisha has been "fair".
A 1986-batch IPS officer of Odisha cadre, Rao was awarded the first Chief Minister’s award for Excellence in Governance and Innovation in Public Service for his outstanding work during Phailin and Hudhud cyclones in 2013-14.