BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday left for New Delhi on a nine-day visit to the United Kingdom where he is scheduled to hold discussions with the Department for International Development (DFID) on different issues, including anti-poverty programmes in the State. However, no minister has been kept in charge in his absence.
“I will leave for the UK the day after tomorrow. I am leaving for Delhi today,” Naveen said, before leaving on his first foreign trip after becoming the Chief Minister in 2000.
Naveen, as per the programme, will meet DFID officials and hold discussions on several issues. “I will discuss on girls’ education projects and anti-poverty programmes here with the officials of DFID”, the Chief Minister said.
Naveen also said that he would hold discussions with experts at Sussex, an internationally reputed institute. In a bid to promote the State’s handloom and handicraft, Naveen is scheduled to inaugurate an exhibition of Odisha’s handloom products in London.
An Odia students’ delegation, sources said, would meet the Chief Minister during his visit. Naveen will lead a delegation comprising Odisha’s Minister for Textiles Usha Devi and Minister of State for Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe Development Ramesh Majhi besides some officers. The delegation is scheduled to return to Delhi on May 30.
Meanwhile, the ruling BJD said the Chief Minister’s visit would strengthen the relations between the State and the UK, particularly with the DFID. Odisha was one of the focus States of DFID. Several ministers, MLAs and party leaders met Naveen before he left for New Delhi.