Minister seeks meeting with Odisha CM to discuss investment proposals

BHUBANESWAR: Union and skill development minister on Tuesday alleged non-cooperation by the government in facilitating investments in the state, a claim dismissed by the ruling BJD.

In a letter addressed to Naveen on Monday and released to the media a day later, Dharmendra wrote that a few days back he had sought a meeting with chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi to discuss the possible participation of investors from Gulf countries at the Make-in-Odisha conclave, an investors’ meet scheduled here in November.

“I am pained to apprise you that the chief secretary wanted your permission for the meeting, but he could not get it. The chief secretary has expressed his helplessness to me,” Dharmendra wrote.

The Union minister said he had personally talked to prospective investors during his visit to UAE (from May 12 to 15). They had shown keen interest to invest in food processing industries in .

The Union minister, who had written to Naveen on May 31 seeking the state’s cooperation in attracting investments from GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries, pointed out that he had written several times to Naveen in the past. But there has been no response, he added.

In the latest letter, written in Odia, Dharmendra mentioned how at the slightest provocation Naveen’s associates would term him a ‘postman’, ‘Bihari’ and other derogatory words. “My sincere request to you is that don’t ruin the probable opportunities for future generations of Odisha because of your hatred towards me,” Dharmendra wrote to Naveen.

In the letter he has also sought Naveen’s time at the latter’s office so that he could explain the efforts he had made to facilitate participation of investors from GCC countries at the Make in Odisha conclave. “While getting carried away by long years of mandate, don’t demean small contributions of little squirrels like me,” he wrote.

The chief secretary did not respond to phone calls and text messages but BJD spokesperson and Rajya Sabha member Pratap Keshari Deb refuted Dharmendra’s allegations of non-cooperation. “The chief secretary doesn’t need the chief minister’s permission to meet any Union minister,” Pratap said.

On investment to the food processing industry, the BJD leader said Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh should be involved in the proposals because it concerns his ministry.

As far as the derogatory remarks are concerned, Pratap said the minister himself frequently uses words like lethargic and incompetent to describe the chief minister.

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