Independence Day was celebrated across Odisha with gaiety and enthusiasm amid tight security on Monday as the state government showed optimism that efforts to resolve the Mahanadi river water issue would be successful and state’s rights would not be compromised.
"The government is making sincere effort to resolve Mahanadi river water sharing issue and we believe it will be successful," Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said in his address after hoisting the tricolour here.
Stating that no single state should try to enjoy exclusive rights on the water of rivers passing through several provinces, Patnaik said such attempts were against the federal spirit.
Asserting that there would be no compromise on Odisha’s dignity and rights, the chief minister said Odisha believed in cooperative federalism.
As Odisha took rapid strides on the path of progress and development, the state has carved a separate identity for itself and become an attractive destination for investment in a number of projects, he said, adding income of people had gone up and poverty level dropped considerably.
Noting that benefits of various welfare schemes had percolated to all sections of society, Patnaik said three lakh new beneficiaries had been included in Madhu Babu Pension Scheme taking the total number to 50 lakh.
Farmers were being provided crop loans at one per cent interest, while the state had bagged national awards in the field of agriculture, the chief minister said.
Stating that the government was committed for spread and enrichment of Odia language, Patnaik said steps had been taken for use of Odia in government work, while establishment of a special Odia language university would facilitate higher studies and research.
Describing participation of six girls from the state in Rio olympics as a matter of pride, he said a number of steps had been taken for skill development of youths.
The chief minister, who took salute from an impressive parade at the majestic Mahatma Gandhi road here, said the government was converting all ‘kuccha’ houses in the state into concrete ones.
As the day was celebrated amid gaiety and camaraderie across the state, tight security arrangements had been made all over, mainly in Maoist-hit Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Gajapati and Nuapada districts where the ultras had given a call for boycotting celebrations, police said.
In state capital Bhubaneswar, the parade venue at Mahatma Gandhi Marg had turned into a fortress with deployment of security personnel in strength.