Killing of Christians being probed: Orissa chief minister

March 4th, 2008 - 12:01 am ICT by admin  

New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Monday said the killing of Christians in the state last year was being probed and the affected families would soon get justice. “We have set up a one-member commission (headed) by a retired judge to investigate the matter and deliver justice,” Patnaik told reporters in the national capital.

During the last week of December, two Christians were killed and several injured in Kandhamal district of Orissa in five days of communal clashes over Christmas celebrations. Over 10 churches and prayer houses were ransacked and torched in Kandhamal, where nearly 25 percent of the populace comprises Christians.

Retired justice of the Orissa High Court, Basudev Panigrahi has started the enquiry, the chief minister added.

Meanwhile, the Planning Commission Monday approved Rs.750 billion for Orissa’s plan outlay for 2008-09 and Rs.1 billion for extending the highway from Vijaywada up to Ranchi in Jharkhand.

The annual outlay was approved at a meeting between the Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Chief Minister Navin Patnaik.

Ahluwalia, in an official statement, said that Orissa was improving in the plan performance to create new assets.

“The investment climate in the state continues to be positive but efforts should be made to engineer early execution of commitments. Investments in agriculture infrastructure and human development sector need to be stepped up,” Ahluwalia said.

Patnaik in his briefing said that the state would strive to achieve over 9 percent growth rate during 11th Plan period (2007-12).

“The state has achieved an annual growth rate of 8.59 percent during 10th plan against the target of 6.2 percent,” he said.

He also raised the issue of setting up more IITs (Indian Institute of Technology), and IIMs (Indian Institute of Management) and the central universities in the state to meet the growing needs of highly skilled manpower for upcoming industries.

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