Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, taking advantage of being seated next to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh at the opening of 99th Indian Science Congress (ISC), on Tuesday, handed over a memorandum demanding a special category status for the State and imposition of Mineral Rent Resource Tax (MRRT) on mine owners.

Earlier Mr.Patnaik had written several letters to the PM and raising the issues. But the Central Government had not yet conceded to the demand.

Mr. Patnaik handed over the memorandum to Dr. Singh at the dais, CMO officials said.

As per sources, Mr. Patnaik chose to hand over the memorandum to the PM at the ISC function as there was no formal meeting between the two. After inaugurating the 99th Indian Science Congrss, the Prime Minister attended an interactive meeting with the State Congress leaders before moving to the airport for departure.

Besides demanding hike in mineral royalty, Patnaik sought imposition of MRRT on mine owners who according to him made super normal profit by trading in iron ore.

“The State Government must get 50 per cent of the super normal profit being made by the mines owners. The income from MRRT could be utilised for the welfare of the people living in the mining areas,” Mr.Patnaik said in the memorandum.

Stating that Odisha has been demanding special category status since 1977 and that Odisha has a very high concentration of Scheduled Tribes and Scheduled Tribes and that there is high incidence of poverty, Mr.Patnaik demanded that Odisha needs to be declared a special category State for improving social and physical infrastructure, strengthening welfare measures and improving the livelihood of the people.