Pradhan urges CM to include State’s eight backward dists in Centre’s ‘aspirational districts’ list



Union Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Dharmendra Pradhan today urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to reconsider the State government’s decision to not include eight backward districts in the Centre’s ‘aspirational districts’ list.

Pradhan, in a letter to the Chief Minister said that unwarranted controversy should not be created over the inclusion of eight districts – Rayagada, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Gajapati, Dhenkanal, Bolangir, Koraput and Malkangiri – in the list. “Odisha of 21st century should be built as a pioneering State and priority should be given to the people’s interests”, he added.

Earlier on January 4 and 5, Collectors and Officers-in-charge of 115 aspirational districts had attended a conference on Transformation of Aspirational Districts that was addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Pradhan sent a link of the Prime Minister’s interaction with the officials and has asked Patnaik to watch the video.

“It is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s view that the dream of a developed country cannot be fulfilled without developing the eastern region of India. Odisha has a prominent role in this vision; therefore, we should start this mass movement in the year 2018. It is our duty to form a new India and a new Odisha by 2022,” stated Pradhan in his letter.

The Union Minister also shot a similar letter to Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, who according to the former was under some sort of pressure to avoid the National level workshop. A week back, the Union Minister while taking on the bureaucratic machinery of Odisha, addressed Padhi as a ‘wise man’, but added that the latter’s decisions were influenced by external factors.

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