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Odisha: Naveen Patnaik to meet Pope Francis in Vatican City

The meeting is significant as it will give a further boost to CM’s secular image, which he has carefully nurtured over the years
Naveen Patnaik.
Naveen Patnaik.
File photo

Subhashish Mohanty   |   Bhubaneswar   |   Published 19.06.22, 12:14 AM

Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik will meet Pope Francis in Vatican City next week.

The meeting is significant as it will give a further boost to Naveen’s secular image, which he has carefully nurtured over the years.

Besides, his foreign trip and meeting with investors are likely to attract foreign investment to the state and showcase Odisha’s model of disaster management.

A media release issued by the chief minister’s office said: “Chief minister is leading a delegation on June 20 to visit Rome and Dubai. During his stay in Rome, chief minister Patnaik will meet His Holiness Pope Francis, in the Holy See, Vatican.”

However, the chief minister’s office is yet to announce the date of his appointment with the Pope.

Naveen is going on a foreign trip after almost a decade. His only visit to a foreign country took place in 2012 when he went to London on the invitation of the Department for International Development. But, he had to curtail his visit following an alleged coup by one of his close associates,Pyari Mohan Mohapatra.

On Saturday, Naveen left for New Delhi and will begin his 11-day foreign trip on June 20.

According to the media release, the World Food Programme (WFP) has extended an invitation to Naveen to visit its headquarters in Rome and share Odisha’s transformative initiatives in the field of food security and disaster management.

The state government will showcase how Odisha has transformed itself into a food-surplus state adding to the country’s public distribution system. From the severe loss faced during the super cyclone of 1999, Odisha is now a model in disaster management acknowledged by the United Nations.

“Naveen will meet the executive director of WFP David Beasley and the senior leadership of WFP. He will have detailed discussions on Odisha’s partnership with WFP and future projects, which will further help the state in ensuring food security in a sustainable manner,” the media release said.

The chief minister will also meet the Odia diaspora in various parts of Europe. He will discuss the possible ways to engage with the diaspora in promoting the art and culture of Odisha and also enable them to partner in the state’s transformational journey.

On his way back, Naveen will meet investors from West Asia and adjoining regions in Dubai. He will take part in an investor’s meet, which will be organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Odisha Limited and Dubai- based Indian Consulate.

He is scheduled to address a meeting of non-resident Odias in Dubai.

Naveen will extend an invitation to the potential investors to come and invest in Odisha and assure them all support by the state government. “He will also have one-on-one meetings with some big investors from the region. A high level industrial delegation from Odisha will also be present during the investors’ meet for possible partnerships with the foreign investors,” the media release said.

The Odisha government delegation includes chief secretary Suresh Mohapatra, secretary to chief minister V.K. Pandian, principal secretary food and civil supplies V.V. Yadav, principal secretary industries Hemant Sharma and resident commissioner in New Delhi Ravi Kant.

The chief minister’s office said he would return to Odisha on June 30, a day ahead of the Rath Yatra in Puri. On Saturday, Naveen chaired a review meeting of the state’s preparedness for the upcoming Yatra on July 1.

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