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Bhubaneswar, Feb 28: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during his meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah put forth his demand for the tag of ‘Special Focus State’ for Odisha on the occasion of 24th Eastern Zonal Council meet in Bhubaneswar on Friday.

The meet was also attended Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Naveen during his meeting demanded special focus tag, revision of coal royalty, increased telecom density and inclusion of Ho, Bhumuj and Mundari language in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.

“Taking the frequency of natural disasters faced by Odisha into consideration, Vulnerability to Natural Calamity should be taken as a criteria to declare Odisha as a Special Focus State. Royalty on coal has not been revised from 2012. There is an urgent need to revise royalty on coal and also to share the proceeds of clean Energy cess with the State Government,” Naveen said.

“If a nationwide analysis is done for tele density, banking density, rail and road density, East Zone would be at the bottom in all these subjects that are in Union List. There is a need to double the allotments made to this region so that they catch up to the national benchmarks,” said the Chief Minister.

Chief Minister Odisha welcomed all the participants and thanked the Union government for prompt support during cyclonic disasters.  Addressing the meeting, Shah expressed his satisfaction at usefulness of Zonal Council mechanism and informed that more than 70% issues have been resolved based on the recent meetings of the Zonal Councils and remaining issues are also under resolution.

Shah stated that Eastern region needs more focus to fast track its development.  He hoped that today’s meeting would be decisive and fruitful in resolving the issues listed in the agenda.  He stated that besides the issues listed in the agenda, he would also like to add and discuss issues relating to law & order and administrative reforms so that this Council meeting is helpful in giving further pace to the development of the country.

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