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May 21, 2007 at 12:07am IST

Naveen slams Centre for ignoring Orissa

New Delhi: Slamming the Centre's repeated negligence towards Orissa’s poverty-stricken areas, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Sunday that poverty is Orissa's "enemy number one".

Expressing his displeasure on the Centre's allocation of a "paltry" Rs 16 crore for rural electrification in Orissa, Patnaik said the state government was contemplating to have its own programme for rural electrification.

"A new scheme would be announced soon for the purpose," he said. The state government had earlier announced two such schemes, one for the tribal people of the KBK (Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput) region and another for the poor living in the coastal region.

'POVERTY IS AN ENEMY': Naveen Patnaik said poverty is Orissa's "enemy number one".

"It is poverty which is the stumbling block before the state's growth," he was quoted by PTI. Patnaik has directed the panchayat functionaries in the state to work for the people with whatever funds are available at the moment. He also asked grass-root level leaders to create awareness in rural areas about the developmental activities undertaken by the state government.

"Tell the villagers how the Congress-led UPA government has been adopting step-motherly attitude towards Orissa," he said adding the people should be aware as to how Congress leaders at the Centre have been "ignoring" Orissa's interest.

Bringing out a list before the rural leaders, Patnaik said the state government's repeated plea for setting up an IIT or an IIM had been ignored by the UPA government. "The rural people should know how the Centre behaves towards Orissa," he said.

To buttress his argument, the BJD supremo said the state's repeated demand for revision of royalty of minerals, including coal, had been ignored by the Central government.

With inputs from PTI

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