It is a coincidence that Orissa is celebrating her 74 years of statehood just a few days before the Assembly and General elections. The time is a great reminder for our political leaders to realize and fulfill the dreams of our founding fathers, who dedicated their lives for the cause of Orissa.
At 74, Orissa is very young, charismatic, dynamic and energetic. The passing years are the years of learning and self-introspection. Beating all odds, the state has sailed forth to make her people happy and prosperous.
Orissa played a pivotal role in the industrial development of modern India. Of the total mineral resources of India, Orissa has 99 percent of Chromate ore, 92 per cent of Nickel ore, 65 per cent of Graphite and Pyrophylite, 66 per cent of Bauxite, 31 per cent of Mineral sand, 32 per cent of Manganese, 28 per cent of Iron ore and 24 per cent of coal within its geographical boundary. These natural resources were extensively utilized for the industrial development of India after the country was freed from the British imperialism.
We have to admit with deep pain that Orissa is regarded as one of the poorest states in India with nearly 48% of our population; figuratively 17-28 million people are below the poverty line. The industrial development has remained limited to memorandums of agreements. The debt burden has touched Rs. 42, 000 crores by 2008. The state is finding it very difficulty to provide salary to its employees. Naxal menace has further made the situation worsen. At present, nearly half of the state is under Naxal threat.
In this context, I humbly request to all the political leaders and people of my state to join hands for the creation of a new Orissa, the Orissa free from poverty, malnutrition, unemployment and starvation death. It would be that Orissa, which will stand tall in the all fronts of development.
Bande Utkal Janani.