Pradhan attacks Odisha govt for boycotting NITI Ayog meeting

Bhubaneswar: Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday attacked the Odisha government for boycotting the two-day meet convened by the Niti Aayog in New Delhi from January 4.

The state government opposed the Centre’s move to appoint Odisha Cadre IAS officers as Prabhari (in-charge) officers in eight most backward districts of Odisha– Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Gajapati, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Koraput, Dhenkanal and Bolangir – to address specific developmental needs.

“Odisha Chief Minister must answer to the people on why the Odisha government is opposing the Prime Minister’s dream of holistic development of Rayagada, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Gajpati, Dhenkanal, Bolangir, Koraput and Malkangiri,” asked Pradhan.

He said NITI Aayog CEO on November 24 had also sent a reminder to the Odisha government about the Prabhari to be in-charge of eight districts.

“NITI Aayog’s CEO had informed Odisha Chief Secretary on November 14 last year about the Aspirational Districts. However, Odisha Government chose to skip the conference keeping politics above the interest of the state and its people,” said the Petroleum Minister.

“We are taking several measures for the all-round development of the state. We urge the state government to come together. People of Odisha must not be subject to pay for our political differences,” he added.

He requested the Odisha Chief Minister to review the entire process of Aspirational Districts system and ensure justice to the common people.