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Petroleum Minister urges Naveen to reconsider non-inclusion of eight districts in Centre’s list

Dharmendra Pradhan

Bhubaneswar: Union Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Sunday urged Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to reconsider his Government’s decision regarding non-inclusion of eight backward districts of the state in the list of ‘aspiring districts’ of the Centre.

In a letter to Naveen, Pradhan mentioned that political differences should not come on the way of development of the common people, youths, women, Dalits, backward classes and tribals.

“Unnecessary controversies should not be created over inclusion of the eight districts, Rayagada, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Gajapati, Dhenkanal, Balangir, Koraput and Malkangiri, in the list of 115 aspiring districts as it is an attempt made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to work together as Team India for development of the country within a stipulated timeline,” the letter read.

Informing that Collectors and Officers-in-Charge of 115 aspiring districts had attended a conference addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he requested the Chief Minister to listen to the PM’s speech through a video link sent by him.

“The Prime Minister feels that the dream of a New India by the year 2022 cannot be fulfilled without developing the eastern region. Odisha has to play a prominent role in this regard. Therefore, we should begin a mass movement for the purpose in this very year, 2018. It is our collective duty to form a new India and a new Odisha,” Pradhan wrote.

The Union Minister also shot a similar letter to Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi requesting him to advise the State Government reconsider the decision.

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