Naveen Patnaik calls Parbati Giri ‘Mother Teresa of Odisha’

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BHUBANESWAR: Describing her as the “Mother Teresa of Odisha“, the state government today decided to name its Rs 7,600 crore Mega Lift Irrigation Scheme after noted freedom fighter and social reformer Parbati Giri.

A proposal in this regard was moved by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who presided over a cabinet meeting here this evening.

The meeting approved the proposal and decided to name the initiative as ‘Parbati Giri Mega Lift Irrigation Scheme’, said Chief Secretary A P Padhi.

Though the state government’s move was seen as an attempt to appease the agitating farmers of western region where from Parbati Giri belonged, Patnaik said “All through her life, she followed the path of Ahimsa and self reliance.”

Stating that Giri was one of the freedom fighters whom the country and the state look up, Patnaik said she devoted her life for the welfare of orphans and the downtrodden and hence, fondly remembered as “Mother Teresa of Odisha”.

Born in Bargarh district, Giri established herself as a symbol of women empowerment by dint of her strong commitment and determination, Patnaik said adding, from the age of 11 as a little girl, she was inspired to join the freedom movement. Giri joined Quit India Movement in 1942 and had led many rallies against the British Rule.

She was also imprisoned for two years a the very young age of 16. Her legendary defiance against British Rule is now part of folk lore in Odisha, Patnaik said while moving the proposal in the meeting.

“She was not only a freedom fighter, but also an ideal social reformer,” Patnaik said.

“She was a towering personality and also an institution by herself. She is an inspiration for the future generation,” Patnaik said adding, as a mark of respect to her immense contribution to the freedom movement and service to the poor and needy, the government named the Mega Lift Irrigation Scheme after her.

The cabinet also approved the tender execution of 13 lift irrigation schemes with intake point in Baitarani, Budhabalang, Gangadhar, Khadakhai and Nalua river having command area between 500 hectares to 2,000 hectares in the districts of Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar.

The cabinet today approved a total of six proposals, Padhi added.