By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, February 8, 2018: The Odisha Cabinet chaired by chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday approved five water supply projects worth Rs 370 crore to provide purified drinking water to 217 fluoride-affected villages of Nuapada district.

It also decided to implement the underground pipeline (UGPL) irrigation system worth Rs 243 crore in lower Indra to facilitate irrigation in 13,800 hectares in Nuapada and Bolangir districts. Megha Engineering and Infrastructures has been awarded for the construction of the project with an estimated cost of Rs 242.99 crore, said Water Resources Secretary P.K. Jena.

Other states like Gujarat, Rajasthan, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra have successfully implemented such projects in their respective states.

“You may be aware that there are 905 villages in Nuapada district where the water supply is affected due to fluoride contamination and as a temporary measure the government has installed filters in the bore-wells there. Regular piped-water supply will be provided to the villages through the present water supply scheme,” chief secretary A P Padhi said soon after the cabinet meeting.

The cabinet also approved the proposal of Odisha State Cooperative Milk Producers Federation (OMFED) for setting up of a five lakh litre per day automated dairy and milk production plant near Barang, about 20 kilometres from here, to meet the growing demand for milk in the state.

With the coming up of the Barang plant in two and half years, OMFED will become self-sufficient to handle 10 lakh litres per day.

The proposed plant will be set up by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) on turn-key basis and will be a fully automated, modern state of the art dairy plant, Padhi added.

Odisha government also decided to stand as guarantor for the Aska Co-operative Sugar Industries to raise a loan of Rs 15 crore from Central Cooperative Bank to facilitate payment to farmers as soon as possible.

In yet another crucial decision, the cabinet endorsed the changes proposed in the Odisha Municipal Corporation Act to remove the provision of secret ballot for voting during no-confidence motion.

“There will be an open ballot in place of secret ballot. We have not mentioned it as open ballot but it will be prescribed in the rules as parties are unable to know if their members are obeying the party whip or not,” said Padhi.

Moreover, the Cabinet approved the proposal to segregate the Tourism & Culture Department and rename the Culture wing as Odia Language, Literature and Culture department. The amendments made to Odisha Jail Service (Method of Recruitment and Conditions of Service) Rules, 2012 also got the Cabinet nod.

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