Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday preferred to bat for the entire eastern region demanding 'correction of historical neglect' towards it, including Orissa in the agriculture sector.
Speaking at the 53rd meeting of the National Development Council's (NDC) special session on food and agriculture at New Delhi, the chief minister said the advanced states of the country have had the benefit of huge public interest in irrigation and other related infrastructure in the past and the eastern states have lost out in the race."
Patnaik said that the neglect committed by the central government towards the eastern states in the past should be corrected during the 11th Five Year Plan period.
He pointed out that various working groups on agriculture have observed that the eastern region has maximum potential for agricultural growth during the 11th Plan Period.
"Therefore region specific programmes based on the specific requirements of different agro-climatic zones should be drawn up instead of uniform nation-wide schemes of one-size-fit-all variety", an official release said quoting Patnaik.
Since irrigation is the key in agricultural growth, Patnaik demanded that accelerated irrigation benefit programme should have a large outlay and include not only major and medium irrigation projects, but also be extended to minor and lift irrigation projects.
He also demanded massive irrigation programmes to cover rainfed areas where assured irrigation could not be provided and adequate funding support from the central government for watershed mission for the rainfed areas.