Naveen demands more power for states

Last Updated: Wed, Dec 26, 2012 19:32 hrs

Odisha Chief Minister and Biju Janata Dal supremo, Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday demanded more powers to the states to carry out developmental work.

“There have been tremendous changes in the fields like economies, technologies, and communications. We should tap the opportunities created by such changes for the welfare of the state, but in our federal structure the powers of states are limited which is acting as an impediments for development,” Patnaik exhorted at the 15th anniversary of BJD.

He said, the Union government has turned a blind eye to the state’s demand of imposing Mineral Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) on supernormal profit earned by the miners.

“Due to improper revision of mineral royalty, Odisha is losing revenues worth thousands of crores of rupees. Similarly, the state government’s demand to impose windfall tax on super normal profits earned by mine owners has also been ignored by the centre,” Patnaik said.

Blaming the Center for its indifferent attitude towards the state, he said, “We have been demanding for the special category status for the state at different forums, but to no avail”.

It may be noted, Patnaik has time and again written to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh demanding introduction of a windfall tax at the rate of 50 per cent on the super normal profit earned by the miners and extension of special category status to the state.

Irked over the cut in Railway budget, Patnaik said, the railways are earning Rs 7,500 crore revenue from Odisha, but they are not spending even 10 per cent of the amount for development of the rail network in the state.

The Center has slashed about Rs 280 crore in phases from Rs 750 crore sanctioned to Odisha in the budget for the current financial year, he rued.

The occasion saw many party leaders calling for strengthening of the party organization, in the context of coming urban body elections and listing out of various welfare measures taken by the BJD government in the state. This was the first annual day celebration by BJD after the ouster of its senior leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Pyari Mohan Mohapatra from the party. Some leaders launched indirect tirade against Mohapatra for plotting the failed coup of May, this year to dislodge Patnaik as the chief minister.

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