Faced with a double whammy of cyclones and COVID-19 pandemic,the ruling BJD Saturday observed a muted celebration as its president Naveen Patnaik completed two years of his fifth term as the Chief Minister. Patnaik who first assumed office in March 2000 came to power for the fifth consecutive times in May 2019.
His swearing-in for the fifth time had come in the aftermath of cyclone Fani. Fani made landfall in Puri on May 2, 2019 causing a lot of devastation in the coastal belts including the state capital of Bhubaneswar and pilgrim town of Puri.
When the state was getting away from the impact of Fani, it encountered another cyclone Bulbul in November, 2019. Though its impact was minimal in the state, the Naveen Patnaik government had to made alround preparation as it used to do for other cyclones.
However, months later, the state witnessed the first wave of COVID-19 in March, 2020 and is still continuing its fight against the pandemic, wave after wave. “While the government has had to deal with crisis after crisis, we have not lost sight of the commitments we made to the people of Odisha in the last elections," Patnaik said while addressing the meeting of Council of Ministers held on the occasion of the completion of two years in office.
In this term, Patnaik said, “We have completed two challenging years in pursuit of realising the dreams of Biju Babu and fulfilling our commitments to the people of Odisha". “Even before the start of the 5th term of this government, we had to face the challenge of cyclone Fani in May 2019.
Since then over the last two years we have been continuously dealing with the devastating impact of the cyclones and the Covid-19 pandemic," he said. “Its a period of unprecedented crisis and we are trying our best to protect our people," the chief minister added.
He said Odishas model of disaster management is now recognised the world over for its efficiency and humane approach. Climate change has created new challenges for humanity. In Odisha, we have been witnessing an increasing trend of cyclones of greater intensity.
“Since March 2020, a new dimension in our experience of disasters has been added – the COVID-19 pandemic. Globally, most countries have been severely affected by this pandemic in multiple waves and are yet to come to terms with the situation. “Returning to normalcy is still a challenge. Nobody is able to predict how many more variants or waves of infection humanity will have to face before we are able to successfully control the virus. Its a reality we all have to accept and be prepared," he said.
The state has been able to ensure that all the healthcare systems are in place and we are not overwhelmed by the spread of the infection. “Our government has been taking proactive steps to ensure that we are always ahead of the curve and in control of the situation," he said.
“While other states had to unfortunately grapple with oxygen shortages, our government has been able to successfully manage the oxygen logistics for our hospitals and we have even provided oxygen to other states , saving many precious lives," Patnaik said. In the midst of the crisis, Patnaik said the states major focus in this term has been the principles of 5T- Transparency, Technology, Team work, Time and Transformation.
Every department has adopted a transformative agenda and is working relentlessly towards achieving the goals. To connect directly to the citizen, the state had started the “Mo Sarkar" feedback system. Over a period of time, there have been visible changes in the attitude and behavior of the government servants at all levels towards the citizens.
There have been sincere efforts for systemic and process- based changes to make administration and service delivery more citizen-friendly and technology oriented. “During this term, we are having a special focus on the development of education and health. Massive investment of over Rs 8,500 crores in development of healthcare infrastructure across the State is under progress," he said.
Noting that education is the key to unravel the full potential of children and therefore, the Transformation of the High Schools has been a main agenda and more than 1,000 schools have been taken up in the first phase this year. To prepare our youth for the global job market, we have started the World Skill Center as part of our “Skilled in Odisha" program, he said.
In Spite of covid situation, the state has attracted some of the biggest investments in the country, he pointed out. The state continues to focus on sports development in the State. More than Rs 1000 crores worth sports development projects have been taken up, including Indias largest Hockey Stadium in Rourkela, he said while highlighting his governments achievement in the span of two years.
Noting that agriculture and farmers development is the keystone of our states development, Patnaik said, “We have kept our promises related to the Kalia Scheme by transferring more than Rs 6118 crores to the farmers accounts in last one year". With regard to women empowerment, the state has been supporting the Mission shakti groups across the State. In a pioneering move,the Department of Mission Shakti has been created, Patnaik said.