Monday, 14 December 2009

Demand for Kalinga State gains strength


BERHAMPUR: Efforts are on to revitalise the old demand to carve out a separate ‘Kalinga State’ comprising of areas of south Orissa.

This demand which was brewing in the minds of some intellectuals in south Orissa since past few years has got a fillip with the recent efforts to form separate Telangana state by bifurcating Andhra Pradesh. The supporters of Kalinga state demand allege that the State government is showing antipathy towards south Orissa. Economist Prahlad Panda remains a major catalyst of this demand for separate state.
Around seven years ago an organisation named ‘Kalinga Rajya Gathan Kriyanusthan Committee’ had been formed to promote the demand of the separate state. Now plans are on to revitalise the organisation. Mr. Panda said different organisations like ‘Ganjam Zilla Vikas Manch’ and ‘Gajapati Sarathi Samity’ have expressed support to the demand. In the past they had also distributed pamphlets, posters and held seminars in support of their demand, which are being planned to be renewed.
The action committee for the separate Kalinga state was led by its convenor, Mr. Panda, a retired economics professor of Berhampur University. Panda quotes history as the base for his dream state of Kalinga. The south Orissa districts like Ganjam, Gajapati, Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Nowrangpur, Kandhamal, Boudh, Nuapada and Kalahandi are parts of the proposed Kalinga state.
According to him as per history the areas under these 10 districts added with the Srikakulam district of adjoining Andhra Pradesh once were part of the kingdom named ‘Madhya Kalinga’.
Mr. Panda and other activists of this movement alleged that since past seven decades south Orissa is being neglected in the field of development. And time has come to stand up for the rights of people of south Orissa, they say. Mr. Panda said although the State government earned highest revenue from the resources in south Orissa, the government investment in developmental projects was too small in this region. He alleged that while the State government is signing numerous MOUs for establishment of industrial units in northern Orissa, no such attempt is being made for south Orissa. Several projects meant for south Orissa like the proposed mega steel plants near Gopalpur have got shelved.
According to these activists if the State government did not stop showing ‘stepmotherly’ attitude towards development of south Orissa then formation of a new state taking areas of south Orissa may be the only remedy for the development of this area.
Courtesy: The Hindu

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