File photo of Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Sunday urged the ruling BJD legislators to extend all possible help to students appearing for JEE and NEET exams in the state -- which is currently grappling with challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and floods.
Patnaik, who is also the BJD chief, said his government has decided to relax certain pandemic-related curbs for nine days from August 30, and three days from September 7 to facilitate free movement of the candidates and their parents, examination personnel, and those providing logistics required to ensure smooth conduct of the two examinations.
"Students are the future of the nation... Therefore, it is our responsibility to ensure that they do not face any problem while appearing for JEE (Main) and NEET (UG) exam," he told his party's lawmakers during a video conference.
It is responsibility of the MLAs to make sure that students in their constituencies get to write their papers without any hassle, Patnaik said, adding that all 4.5 crore people of Odisha are his family members.
Noting that the pandemic has shaken the global economy, the CM appealed to the MLAs to support frontline workers fighting against the viral disease.
He said that the state's fatality rate has remained below one per cent due to the dedicated and selfless service of the COVID warriors.
"Always stand by the frontline workers and praise their dedicated service. The MLAs should work to eradicate stigma attached with the disease," he said.
Patnaik further said around 10 lakh people including migrant workers have arrived in the state over the past few months, in the wake of the pandemic, and asked his party MLAs to ensure food security for all eligible returnees.
He insisted that migrant workers be engaged in construction activities.
The CM also said that the lawmakers should reach out to people affected by floods, caused due to the formation of five back-to-back low-pressure systems over the Bay of Bengal.
"I have asked authorities concerned to allot another Rs 1 crore to MLA Local Area Development Fund. It can be utilised to purchase protective gears such as masks from self-help groups and help women running them earn money," Patnaik added.
The BJD has 113 MLAs in the 147-member Assembly.
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