Bhubaneswar: Odisha Assembly on Thursday unanimously adopted a resolution requesting the Centre to award special category status to the state and provide additional central grants and fiscal incentives for its development. A motion in this regard, moved by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, was supported by all political parties, including the main opposition Congress. The resolution was passed in the House after seven-hour long discussion on the subject.
This was for the second time that a unanimous resolution seeking special category status has been adopted in Odisha Assembly. The first such resolution was passed on November 18, 1997, though separate motions had been moved twice in the past, assembly sources said. CPI also supported the motion, but no member from BJP participated in the discussion except the party-backed Independent MLA Pratap Sarangi.
Incidentally, this was for the first time that the opposition Congress joined the ruling BJD in the demand for special category status. "We strongly support the motion moved by the Chief Minister as it is linked to the interest of the people of Odisha," Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh said. While supporting the motion, Congress Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan, however, cautioned the ruling BJD against politicising the issue.
He said the previous Congress government had made several attempts to secure special category status for Odisha. The Chief Minister said the demand has two objectives, to seek more liberal funding from Central government to further strengthen efforts for accelerated development of the state and to seek tax breaks that special category states get for attracting private investment.