Amidst Maoist threats Odisha celebrates I-Day

Bhubaneswar: Undeterred by the Maoists' threat, Odisha celebrated the 71st Independence Day amid gaiety and camaraderie with much patriotic fervour on Tuesday.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik hoisted the national flag at the Mahatma Gandhi Marg here. Around 54 troupes, including school and college students, participated in the march-past.  Besides, a police platoon of Telangana and the newly-formed Odisha Police troop -- the Swift Action Force - participated in the march-past. Addressing the gathering, the Chief Minister recalled sacrifices of the freedom fighters and said: "Paika rebellion is the first War of Independence against the British rule." Quoting a NITI Ayog report that stated Odisha has the fastest poverty reduction rate in the country, Patnaik said it has only been possible due to the welfare schemes implemented in the state. By 2036, Odisha would completely eliminate poverty, the Chief Minister said. Tight security arrangements have been made across the state. "Adequate security forces were deployed in the Maoist-infested areas of Odisha," Police Director General K.B. Singh said. On Monday, Maoists put out posters in Nabarangpur district urging people to refrain from celebrating Independence Day. IANS