Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik raised the issue of additional beneficiaries under the National Food Security Act ( NFSA) with the Prime Minister on Thursday but failed to take up the Mahanadi water matter or the fuel prices which are the raging problems.

In the wake of prime minister Narendra Modi visiting Odisha on 26 May, the opposition Congress and a few others have hammered on the Mahanadi water dispute and asked prime minister Narendra Modi to direct Chhattisgarh to release water to Odisha.

They have demanded that the prime minister should also ask Chhattisgarh to stop all construction activity upstream of the river pending adjudication of the dispute by the Tribunal.

The Chief Minister has, however, kept silent, preferring his party – the BJD to carry on with its street show for Mahanadi waters. On Thursday, the chief minister wrote to PM Modi seeking additional 34.44 lakh beneficiaries to be covered under the NFSA.

Odisha was given a target of 3,26,41,800 beneficiaries, which was 78% of the 2011 Census population of 4,19,74,218. Given the rate of growth of population in the state the estimated total population in 2018 would be over 4,62.63,983 which would mean that over 3,60,85,907 beneficiaries are to be under NFSA.

It is in this context that the additional 34.44 lakh beneficiaries may be sanctioned for Odisha to ensure food security to all eligible persons, stated the Chief Minister in his letter to the Prime Minister.

He also suggested a mechanism wherein the taret is modified at regular intervals to increase coverage in accordance with the increase in population.