Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday demanded that the Centre give ‘Special Focus State’ status to Odisha at the 24th Eastern Zonal Council meet chaired by Union Home Minister Amit Shah here at the Lokseva (Secretariat) Convention Centre.
Patnaik also demanded a Special Economic package to the State for expeditious implementation of Infrastructural development in the State.
“Taking the frequency of natural disasters faced by Odisha into consideration, ‘vulnerability to natural calamity’ should be taken as a criteria to declare Odisha as a Special Focus State,” said Patnaik.
Patnaik also demanded the issue of revision of coal royalty. “Royalty on coal has not been revised from 2012. There is an urgent need to revise royalty on coal and also to share the proceeds of clean energy cess with the State Government,” added Patnaik.
Patnaik also reiterated his demand for inclusion of Ho, Bhumij and Mundari languages in the Eighth Schedule of Constitution.
Maintaining that the entire East lags in tele, railway and banking density, Patnaik also sought to double the allotment for east so that it catches up with the rest of country.
“East contributes to mineral and Energy security of the country. The fruits of these sectors should come to people,” Patnaik added.
The 24th meeting of the Eastern Zonal Council was being at Bhubaneswar under the chairmanship of Shah in Bhubaneswar.
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, was the Vice-Chairman and host of the meeting. Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee participated in the meeting. Jharkhand Chief Minister has deputed one of his Cabinet colleagues to attend the meeting.
Five Zonal Councils were set up in 1957 under Section 15-22 of the States Re-Organisation Act 1956.
The Union Home Minister is the Chairman of each of these five Zonal Councils and the Chief Minister of the host State is the vice-chairman.
The Council discusses issues involving Centre and members States facing in the zone.
The Zonal Councils discuss broad range of issues, which include boundary related disputes, security, infrastructure related matters like road, transport, industries, water and power and, matters pertaining to forests & environment, housing, education, food security, tourism, transport.