Odisha govt firm on satisfying people's aspiration : Patnaik

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Bhubaneswar, Feb 20 (PTI) Amidst the walkout by Opposition BJP and Congress members, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Saturday assured the Assembly that his government is firmly on the path to create a new and empowered Odisha which will satisfy the aspiration of the people.

Patnaik was speaking during the discussion on the motion of thanks on the governors address on the first day of the budget session of the Assembly.

Patnaik physically attended the first day of the session. He, however, addressed the House through the virtual mode when the Opposition and BJP members walked out of the House as part of their ongoing protest against the government's alleged failure to procure paddy from farmers across the state.

Without commenting on the issue for which the proceedings of the House has been paralysed for three consecutive days, Patnaik said We are firmly and determinedly on a path to new and empowered Odisha which will satisfy the aspirations of the people and provide them opportunities to dream big and realise their potential.

The chief minister highlighted his government's successfull management of the COVID-19 pandemic and urged the people to be on guard against the contagion which has made a comeback in certain states.

With the spike in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra and other parts of the country, I appeal to the people to strictly follow the wearing of masks, maintain social distancing and other guidelines, Patnaik said.

He praised the measures taken by the state government ahead of the detection of the first COVID-19 case on March 15, 2020. We were the first state to declare the situation as a disaster even before a single case was detected. We went for preventive and targeted lockdown much before the national lockdown'.

He said, 'We ensured strict enforcement of the COVID protocols across the state. To a large extent this helped us in slowing down the spread of the virus.

The hall mark of Odishas COVID management has been that from testing to treatment it was free for all, Patnaik said adding that this helped in early detection, isolation and treatment of the positive cases.

This is the primary reason for the low mortality rate in the state compared to others. The community involvement from the beginning has also contributed significantly in the awareness campaigns and local level COVID management. Odisha has been praised as a model even by WHO and other reputed institutions for effectively tackling the pandemic, he said.

The immediate challenge for the state is to ensure the recovery of its economy, the chief minister said adding at the same time adding that its revenue has increased by 7.3 per cent compared to the rate of the corresponding period last year.

We are in a much better fiscal position compared to many states in the country, he said.

The chief minister said that despite the pandemic Odisha has emerged as a leading investment destination with over Rs 1.2 lakh crore invested in the state in the last one year. It was also recognized as a top performer in respect of start-ups.

The government will building further on these achievements in the coming years, he told the House.

In the backdrop of the opposition's shrill cry over farmers' issues, particularly on alleged mismanagement in paddy procurement, Patnaik said the state has implemented farmer-centric schemes like KALIA, BALARAM. Odisha Millet Mission has been recommended as a best model by NITI Ayog.

In the fisheries sector, Odisha has been awarded the Best Marine State. The state will continue to focus on sustainable agriculture and support to the farmers, he added.

The chief minister also hailed the achievement of the state government from heritage conservation to pipe water supply, irrigation, livelihood support to people, industrialization and others. PTI AAM KK KK KK