New Delhi: BJD MP Sasmit Patra reiterated Odisha’s demand to raise Kalinga Regiment in the Indian army, given the state’s immense contribution to defence establishment and its rich past, in Parliament on Thursday.
Patra, the Rajya Sabha Member, said the demand was first raised by Biju Patnaik and then taken up by others but Centre has failed to respect the wishes of the people of Odisha.
“I would like to place before the Government that the Kalinga Regiment should be established, considering the contribution of the State to the nation’s Defence establishment, and at the same time, because it is on the Eastern Seaboard of India, ensuring protection of eminent establishments like the Abdul Kalam Island,” he said.
Drawing the attention of the House to the Paika Rebellion, the Kalinga war and the valour of its freedom fighters, Patra said it is but natural that a regiment for the army should be raised from Odisha.
He also stated that Odisha is home to the missile test range centre, Indian Navy’s INS Chilka and Hindustan Aenaunateucs Limited, critical to the defence of the nation.
Dhenkanal MP Mahesh Sahu had made the same demand in Lok Sabha on July 21.
During his visit to Bhubaneswar in March 2015, late Manohar Parrikar, the then Defence Minister, had assured to look into the state’s demand but had made it clear that the move should not be linked regional sentiments.
“One cannot raise regiments only on the basis of caste or region. However, I would ensure that the impact of defence activities is felt more in Odisha,” he had told reporters on the sidelines of a conference.