Union Minister VK Singh today said that Odisha has failed to achieve desired level of development for which the state government is answerable even as he dismissed the demand for special category status to it. “The desired level of development has not been achieved in Odisha and the government, which has been ruling the state for the last 17 years, is answerable for this,” Singh said. The minister of state for external affairs downplayed the demand for special category status saying it is not necessary to accord such status to a state which is getting 12 per cent higher funds than earlier. He said that the tag of special status has now become irrelevant under the changed situation as the states are now getting substantial financial assistance from the Centre for undertaking developmental activities. Stating that the Centre is now providing adequate funds to the state instead of doling out assistance under the garb of special category status, the minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi is very clear in his stand that all states must prosper in a balanced way. “Development should take place in all the states as their prosperity would lead to overall progress of the country,” he said.
Reacting sharply to the union minister’s statement, BJD spokesperson Prashant Nanda said, “BJP had promised to make efforts to get special category status for Odisha in its 2014 election manifesto, but the saffron party has forgotten after coming to power.”