By Bizodisha Bureau, Bhubaneswar, June 11, 2019: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and once again raised the demand for according special category status to the state.

Saying that natural calamity should be a criterion for award of special category tag to states, Patnaik said, “This will supplement state’s efforts for inclusive growth and development. The state should be provided Central assistance on 90:10 sharing pattern for Centrally sponsored schemes”.

The chief minister further suggested that the states hit by major calamities may be declared as ‘Special Focus States’ and granted benefits of a Special Category Status for a specific period.

It is true that the eastern state has emerged as the natural disaster capital of India with recurring cyclones floods and droughts. Odisha’s topography makes its coastline vulnerable to natural disasters more often than not. Referring to the summer cyclonic storm Fani, Patnaik explained the prime minister on the scale of the damage caused to property and livelihoods of the people.

“The state government has submitted a memorandum to the Ministry of Home Affairs after the assessment by different departments. The loss to public properties and funds required for prompt relief measures have been assessed at about Rs 9,336 crore. However, keeping in view the present State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) / National Disaster Response Fund (NDRF) norms, Odisha is seeking assistance of about Rs 5,228 crore from the National Disaster Response Fund immediately in order to meet the expenditure on the ongoing relief and restoration works in the aftermath of cyclone Fani”, Patnaik said.

Patnaik also urged the prime minister to revise the coal royalty rate from 14 per cent to 20 per cent. About a fifth of the country’s coal is produced in Odisha.

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