Closer home, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik may be ridiculed for his poor understanding of the people’s language, but the regional satrap has found rare applause in the columns of the reputed Time magazine.
The magazine has credited the reclusive chief minister of engineering an average annual growth rate of 8.5 per cent in Odisha.
“The eastern state on the Bay of Bengal was once best known as a place of pilgrimage, to the Jagannath temple in Puri and the Sun temple in Konark. Odisha hardly seemed for takeoff when Naveen Patnaik, scion of a local political family and a socialite who had spent a life of leisure in New York City, took over as chief minister in 2000,” the magazine stated in its report on India’s States of Excellence’.
Recognising Odisha’s strengths in its natural resources, the magazine notes that the state has the kind of wealth that can make poor regions vulnerable to the wild price swings and corruption that accompany resource wealth.
Patnaik, however, has avoided the dreaded resource curse by attracting the industries that consume iron ore as well as mine it. The report says Odisha has $165 billion in committed investments, including a $12 billion steel plant that Posco of South Korea hopes to build if it can clear environmental opposition.