Friday, August 29, 2014

Letter to CM: Give free land and share cost of Junagarh-Amaguda railway line and include Umarkote-Dharamgarh route in highway project

Dear Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Patnaik,
Thank you very much for envisioning two important issues that has been a long-standing demand for infrastructure development in KBK region.

First of all, I heartily congratulate you for announcing Biju Expressway to connect Jagdalpur with Rourkela. This is one of the important routes to connect Western bordering region of Odisha. I am very glad that you have positively considered our request to link NH 200 (Bhella) with NH 201 (Ampani) through this expressway, which has been one of the longstanding demands [1,2]. This route will particularly benefit to connect Koraput, Nabarangpur and Kalahandi regions with Nuapada and Bargarh regions.

However, Umarkote, another bordering town in KBK region of Odisha, is still out of this development. I request you to consider connecting Umakote-Jharigaon-Dharamgarh through a state highway to associate this part of Nabarangpur district with Nuapada, Kalahandi, Balangir, Bargarh and Kandhamal directly.

Secondly, I am also equally impressed with your initiative to share cost for Jeypore-Malkangiri and Nabarangpur-Jeypore railway lines. Kindly recall my letter dated on Jan 26, 2014 [3] appealing to share cost of Junagarh-Malkangiri railway lines in the line of proposed Khordha-Balangir rail lines.

I like to emphasize that Jeypore-Nabarangpur line gives less that 12% rate of return (ROR), but Junagarh-Amaguda has been estimated as 14.67 % ROR.  In 1962-63 parliament was informed that Mr. Parkers had done a survey from Kesinga to Nabarangpur to join Kothavalasa-Kirandul (KK) line because Koraput-Kothavalasa and Koraput-Rayagada are e-special category railway routes having many tunnels and high-level bridges, the speed is limited to less than 50 kmph and number of wagon can’t exceed 30 during mineral transportations in these two routes. Amabguda-Lanjigarh road railway line will make mineral transportation from Kirandul to Visakhapatnam faster and easier. Realizing this Laniigarh road-Junagarh line was approved in 1991 to connect with KK line at Ambaguda via Nabarangpur. 56 km of Lanjigarh road-Junagarh line of this route took 25 years to get completed and survey for Junagarh-Ambaguda portion of this route has been done with 14.67% ROR. If the state Government of Odisha makes this a point and negotiates with the railway ministry to expedite Junagath-Amaguda railway project in a cost-sharing basis, the project will be boosted and Nabarangpur can be in railway map quickly, and Koraput and Nabarangpur can have direct rail connectivity with Western Odisha and South Odisha to further advance socio-economic development in this region.

I urge you to kindly consider building Umarkote-Dharamgarh state highway and give free land as well as share the cost of Junagarh-Amaguda railway line for the benefit of KBK region

Thank you and best regards
Digambara Patra


[1] Grievance to CM (March 3, 2011)
[2] Letter to CM on Feb 19, 2011;
[3] Letter to CM on Jan 26, 2014;

Thanks to Chief Minister of Odisha for considering our appeal

Note: I am also happy because Dharamgarh, Golamunda and Sinapali regions are actual beneficiary in this project. Rourkela to Sambalpur is already express state highway. Sambalpur to Sohela is NH, Sohela to Nuapada is state highway, Nuapada to Bhela is NH, Jagdalpur to Boriguma and Boriguam to Ampani are also NH. Only new expressway without part of NH or SH is Ampani to Bhela which comes under our Kalahandi and Nuapada. This was also our long standing demand to have a NH or SH to link NH 201 (Korsara/Amapani) and 200 (Khariar/Bhela). Here is one of my grievance 3 yrs ago that was forwarded to chief engineer of road by Chief minister office.

The Telegraph. Aug 29, 2014

656-km road to link west & south

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 28: A 656-km road trip from Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh to Rourkela — which at present takes 13 hours — will be reduced to six, once the Biju expressway is completed by 2019 end.
Launching the corridor project, chief minister Naveen Patnaik today said: “Now, it takes 13 hours to go from Jagdalpur to Rourkela, but after completion of this project, it will take just six hours.”
Naveen said: “The expressway will connect many border towns of west and south Odisha and also pass through one of the most backward regions of our state. It will immensely help boost the economy of west Odisha and the KBK districts.”
The corridor envisages an investment of Rs 3,200 crore and will connect eight districts. It will be the link between the west Odisha districts of Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh with four KBK districts — Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada. The roads will be developed in two phases. While the first phase will be over by May 2017, the second phase is expected to be over by 2019 end.
Of the 656-km roads, 51km will pass through Koraput district, 48km through Nabarangpur, 100km through Kalahandi, 120km through Nuapada, 141km through Bargarh, 54km through Sambalpur, 26km through Jharsuguda and 116km through Sundargarh district. In the first phase of this project, 254km will be converted into four lanes and 402km will be made a two-lane stretch. Out of this 402-km stretch, 250km will be made four-lane and the rest 144km will remain as two-lane.
The BJD, which is yet to establish its supremacy in the west and south Odisha even after 14 years in power, aims to reap benefits from the corridor. The expressway was launched two days before the Nuakhai festival, a famous festival of west Odisha and KBK region.
The ruling party is, therefore, leaving no stone unturned to perpetuate the legacy of the leader after whom the expressway is named.
Naveen, who has won four back-to-back elections invoking the Biju magic, is trying to make the most of this famous name. Though Naveen has bettered his father’s record as chief minister, he realises that the larger-than-life image of Biju babu still fires the imagination of the Odias.
Biju Patnaik, Naveen’s father, is credited with the establishment of Paradip port and the construction of the famous expressway to the port. The spree of naming schemes after Biju babu started after Naveen became chief minister of the state in 2000.
Reacting to this, leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra said: “If we critically analyse various schemes announced by the state government in the past 14 years, we can easily conclude that it is much ado about nothing. Most of the projects, either fully funded by the state or centrally sponsored, have not taken off.”
Stating that using Biju Patnaik’s name in various schemes or projects amounts to disrespect to the legendary figure, Mishra said: “The present economic corridor will not be that helpful for socio-economic development of west Odisha, which has been neglected over the years. The area badly needs irrigation for development of agriculture, agriculture infrastructure such as cold storage, market and agro-based industries instead of such projects. Construction of roads may be necessary, but it should not be at the cost of agriculture and allied activities.”

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik inaugurates Rs. 3200 crore Biju Expressway Project

NOTE: I am very happy that part of our demand has been heard by Odisha Govt. and CM. As some of you might be realising that we have been writing to CM since past 6 years to have a highway for the route Bargarh-Padampur - Nuapada –Sinapali – Golamunda – Dharamgarh – Moter – Jaipatna – Mangalpur – Deopali – Muran – Kolab – Dooduma (Koraput). I am thankful that at least Bargarh to Dharamgarh and Ampani have been included in this proposal. We will continue to demand in next round to include Moter-Jaipatna-Mukhiguda-T. Rampur-Kashipur and Junagarh - Karalapat Kiapadar- Kalyansingpur as other highways. We should also make shortest possible road routes to Titilagarh, Rayagada and Lanjigarh from Bhawanipatna that will help Bhawanipatna as a commercial center

Orissadiary, Aug 28, 2014

Report by Sambit Samal, Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today inaugurates Biju Expressway Project at State Secretariat in Bhubaneswar. Biju Expressway will pass through 4 KBK districts, 4 districts of Western Odisha. This was informed by the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The project cost will be Rs. 3200 crore. Biju Expressway project will help in economic development of people of Western Odisha, KBK districts said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. 

“ This project aims at connecting four districts of western Odisha — namely Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundergarh with four KBK districts — namely Koraput, Nawarangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada. This Expressway will connect many border towns of western and south Odisha and also passes through one of the most backward regions of our state. Development through infrastructure building has always been at the top of our agenda. Socio-economic growth always follows quality road connectivity. Biju Expressway will be immensely helpful in boosting the economy of western Odisha and KBK districts, “said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. 

CM Patnaik further added that, “This massive connectivity network will help boost agriculture, trade & commerce, and social sector development. It will also support our initiatives in mainstreaming socially and economically backward people. I believe it will usher in an era of development, progress, peace and harmony. In the first phase of this project, 254 kilometers will be convened into four-lanes and 402 kilometers will be made two-lanes. In the second phase, 258 kilometers will be made four-lane. The total project outlay is Rs.3200 crore. The first phase will be completed by May 2017 and the second phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. Now it is taking a long 13 hours for travelling from Jagdalpur to Rourkela. After completion of this project, it will take just six hours to travel this distance.” 

CM Patnaik said that we had made a promise in our election manifesto to connect northern and southern Odisha with an Express-way passing through KBK regions and Western Odisha. I am happpy, that today, we are taking a concrete step in this regard.

About Biju Expressway Project  
Socio-economic growth always follows quality road connectivity. Hence through  many schemes Govt. is making all out efforts to improve road connectivity in all regions of the State. In 2006-07, Vijaywada-Ranchi corridor was a step in this direction. Bifurcating the state of Odisha into two geographical parts, it has improved administrative efficiency in extremist affected hinterlands of the state and helped boost the economy of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Angul, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Koraput by providing connectivity to ports, industries, and developed markets in and outside the State} After V-R corridor the gap in connectivity sector lies in KBK districts like Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Nuapada and border towns of Western Odisha. 
In order to improve the socio-economic condition of these districts, Govt. of Odisha has already proposed to construct Lower Indra Irrigation Project which will irrigate an Ayacut area of 29900 Ha. in Blocks Khariar, Boden, Bangomunda, Muribahal & Titilagarh. To tap the growth in agriculture construction of an Expressway demands added priority. To meet the above need, an economic corridor from  JAGDALPUR to ROURKELA  to be named as BIJU EXPRESSWAY has been planned which will pass through four KBK districts, namely, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi & Nuapada and four districts of Western Odisha viz. Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh. The corridor will connect border towns such as Chandli, Boriguma, Nabarangpur, Papadahandi, Ambapani, Dharmagarh, Sinapali, Bhella, Nuapada, Paikamal, Padampur, Sohella, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh & Rourkela.
- See more at:

Patnaik launches Rs. 3,200 cr Biju Expressway project

The Hindu Business Lines, Aug 28, 2014
Odisha government today launched Rs. 3,200 crore economic corridor between Jagdalpur and Rourkela, as promised during the last elections.
“The project aims at connecting four districts of western Odisha like Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, and Sundergarh with four KBK (Kalahandi—Balangir—Koraput) districts namely Koraput, Nawrangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said after launching the Biju Expressway project here.
The expressway will also connect many border towns of western and south Odisha like Chandli, Boriguma, Nabarangpur, Papadahandi, Ambapani, Dharmagarh, Sinapali, Behella, Nuapada, Paikmal, Padmapur, Sohela, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundergarh, and Rourkela.
As the expressway would pass through one of the most backward regions of the state, KBK region, it would help boost its economy, the chief minister said.
Besides boosting agriculture, trade and commerce, and social sector development, Patnaik said Biju Expressway would support the state’s initiatives in mainstreaming socially and economically backward people.
In the first phase of the project, 254 km road will be converted to four—lanes and 402 kilometers to be two—lanes. In the second phase, 258 km will be made four—lane. The total project outlay is Rs. 3200 crore, officials said.
On the funding of the project, a senior official at the road and building department said, “The state has already started 4—laning from Rourkela to Sambalpur (160 km) through PPP mode while 4—laning from Sambalpur to Sohella via Bargarh (74 km) to be funded by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways.”
Both the state and the Centre would bear the expense to be made in the project, he said.
While the first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed by May 2017, the second phase completion target has been fixed by end of 2019.
Currently it requires 13 hours to travel from Jagdalpur to Rourkela and, after completion of the project, the distance could be covered only in six hours, officials said.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Indravati boat tragedies haunt cut-off villagers

Times of India, Aug 24, 2014
,TNN | Aug 24, 2014, 01.33 PM IST
BHAWANIPATNA: The world has come crashing down for Phulmati Majhi, 28, of Padepadar village of Thuamul Rampur block in Kalahandi district. She lost her father, husband and son when the boat they were travelling in capsized in the Indravati reservoir on August 20. They were all going to work in a factory at Tikri near Kasipur in Rayagada district.

"My husband, Anta Majhi, 32, used to earn from fishing in the reservoir. On the fateful day, my son Ramesh, 15, had gone with him with his matriculation certificate to get a job in the factory. My father, Jayati Majhi, 55, had also accompanied them," said Phulmati. Their bodies, besides that of Bhuban Sahu, 48, were fished out from the river after 48 hours of rescue operation.

Phulmati has received Rs 15,000 as compensation from the Red Cross fund and Lanjigarh MLA Balabhadra Majhi has announced to arrange Rs 1.5 lakh for each victim from Chief Minister's Relief Fund. The assistance cannot take away Phulmati's sorrow. "My family is devastated. I have a 12-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter. How can I feed them? What do I do?" Phulmati asked.

The recent drowning is not an isolated case. According to official records, 78 people have drowned in the reservoir in boat mishaps since 1999. Unofficial reports put the toll at 202 in15 years.

Around 3,000 people live in 20 villages of three gram panchayats ? Malijubang, Talnagi and Adri ? in Thuamul Rampur block. These villages are situated on the hills surrounded by water and have to cross the river by 80 wooden boats from eight different ghats.

These villages are practically cut off throughout the year and there is no electricity connection though some have solar lights. People have to cross the Indravati for livelihood and health check-up. Locals said teachers hardly attend the school because it is dangerous to cross the river.

"These villages come under Indravati project affected area. The people have refused to move out of the reservoir area even after getting compensation," said collector (Kalahandi) Bijaya Ketan Upadhyay.

The government has opened schools and anganwadi centres in the area and had provided four motorboats, he added. Only one motorboat is now functioning. "Two new boats of Rs 8 lakh each will be provided in the area within 10 days," said Upadhyay.

The foundation stone for Indravati project was laid by the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai on April 4, 1978, at an estimated cost of Rs 208 crore. The total expenditure went upto Rs 1,427 crore when the project was completed near Mukhiguda.

The project with 600 MW power generation capacity and irrigation benefits is located in Kalahandi and Nabarangpur districts. The reservoir is 43 km long and nine km wide at its widest point. The maximum depth of water in the reservoir is 71 metres.

After construction of the dams and formation of a reservoir, 97 villages (44 from undivided Koraput district and 53 from Kalahandi) were affected and 32,530.87 acre of land acquired displacing 17,000 people.

Displacement was carried out in four phases ?1989, 1990,1991 and 1992. Those who did not opt to be displaced are still living in the villages. A 160-metre-long hanging bridge at an estimated cost of Rs 14.5 crore has been sanctioned by water resource development department to connect Kenduguda Ghat with Chepta Ghat in the area.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

MBBS Students in the Lurch

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Aug 21, 2014
BHAWANIPATNA : Uncertainty looms large over the fate of first batch of students who took admission to the MBBS course of Sardar Rajas Medical College and Hospital, set up by Tamil Nadu-based Selvam Education and Charitable Trust at Jaring in Kalahandi district. While the medical college has no adequate faculty and infrastructure, the hospital functions with skeletal staff.
The medical college has been virtually lying closed since May after re-examination was conducted for the first year students. Though three months have passed since the examination, the college is yet to reopen for classes.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) had approved 100 seats for the medical college for 2013-14 academic session with the condition that it would meet infrastructure and staff requirement. Accordingly, medical college went ahead with the admission to the seats.
However, this year, the MCI barred admission to the medical college as infrastructure was not upgraded and staff strength was not increased. Following this, a team from the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) recently visited Sardar Rajas Medical College and Hospital and reviewed the situation. They expressed concern over the sorry state-of-affairs.
On April 1, 2004, the MoU was signed between Selvam Educational and Charitable Trust and WODC to set up the medical college and hospital. After prolonged public agitation, the construction work of the medical college was started.
For the `100-crore project, it was agreed that WODC would contribute `10 crore in eight installments on the basis of progress of the work and the State Government would provide 25 acres of land on lease. The Selvam Trust constructed a building for the medical college and hospital, hostels for students and other structures. However, the project ran into problems.
Though the hospital has 300 beds, it lacks adequate medical staff in most of the departments and infrastructure facilities. The MCI representatives visited the site twice in 2011 and once in 2012. The medical college failed to get MCI approval as it lacked infrastructure and staff.
The trust had earlier declared that admission would begin for 2008 academic year. Even then, members of MCI had expressed their reservation over the number of doctors and other facilities in the hospital.
Protesting the sorry state of affairs in the college, the locals staged demonstration several times in the past. They demanded intervention of the Government to ensure functioning of the college as per schedule.
Chairman of WODC, Kishore Mohanty, said the committee during its visit found lack of basic infrastructure, teaching and medical staff. Even the hospital is non-functional. “The State Government will be apprised of the situation and requested to take over the institute for public good,” he added.

Uncertainty on functioning of KV at Dharamgarh

Reported by Sri Anshuman Patra
Dharitri, Aug 21, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Odisha Submits Its List of Smart Cities to Centre

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Aug 11, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: The State Government submitted a proposal to the Centre to cover 10 urban centres under the Rs 100 Smart Cities’ plan.
The proposal was submitted to the Centre by Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Pushpendra Singhdeo at the recently concluded meeting of the State Urban Development Ministers convened by the Centre.
The urban centres are proposed in Bhubaneswar, Puri, Cuttack, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Bhadrak, Balangir, Jajpur, Jeypore and Bhawanipatna.  Official sources said though modalities for the scheme are yet to be prepared, the State Government has submitted its proposal. The State Government is yet to receive any guideline from the Centre for identification of the urban centres to be included in the scheme.
In its first budget, the NDA Government had announced the scheme of smart city. A provision of `7,060 crore has been made in the budget for the scheme with each urban centre to get `70.6 crore.
Official sources said since the funds provided in the budget will not be adequate to develop the urban centres under the scheme, financial assistance from financial institutions will be required for its implementation.
The concept of Smart City is a vision of an urban space that is livable and ecology-friendly, technologically-integrated and meticulously-planned with the use of information technology. India is rapidly urbanising and a study suggests that nearly 60 crore people will be living in cities by 2030 as against 29 crore reported in 2001 census.
Odisha is also not far behind though the rate of urbanisation is comparatively slower than many other States.
Meanwhile, in a bid to give a facelift to urban infrastructure facilities in and around Bhubaneswar, the Housing and Urban Development Department has proposed a corpus fund of `1,000 crore.

Highest Rainfall in Five Years

The New Indian Express, Aug 11, 2014
BHAWANIPATNA: Kalahandi district recorded highest rainfall of 618.67 mm in July in the last five years. It was the third highest in the last 15 years. But the flood situation was not critical compared to earlier years.
In July 2009, the district received 911 mm and in 2006, 816 mm. The heavy rainfall had induced severe flood situation in almost all rivers running through Kalahandi.
During the month this year, maximum 1577 mm of rainfall was recorded in Thuamul Rampur block which is the originating place of Indravati and Nagabali rivers and major catchment area of Indravati project.
Besides, 698 mm of rainfall was recorded in Jaipatna, 619 mm in M Rampur, 614 mm in Bhawanipatna, 611 mm in Kesinga, 723 mm in Kalampur and 638 mm in Lanjigarh.
As many as 725 houses were damaged due to the flood in rivers Hati, Tel and their tributaries.
While highest 225 houses were damaged in Thuamul Rampur block, in Junagarh, Kalampur, Jaipatna, Bhawanipatna and Golmanda, 154, 136, 31 and 44 houses were damaged respectively.

Friday, August 8, 2014

2 New Dairy Plants in Odisha on Anvil

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Aug 8, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday announced that the Government will set up two dairy plants in a bid to encourage the farmers. The new plants, each with a capacity of processing 30,000 litres of milk per day, will be set up at Angul and Keonjhar.
Inaugurating a national symposium on ‘Women empowerment through dairying’, Naveen said the Government also proposes to establish two ice-cream plants, one at Bhawanipatna and another at Sambalpur, and a cattle feed plant on the outskirts of the Capital.
He said the State’s milk production has increased from 1.4 million tonnes per annum in 2006-07 to 1.78 million tonnes in 2013-14. About 80 per cent of the total milk is generated by small holders and the rest by dairy cooperatives. As many as 800 dairy cooperatives are being managed by women.
Odisha currently produces about 112 gms of milk per day per capita against the national average of 290 gms. Highlighting the growth possibilities in dairy farming in the State, NDDB Chairman T Nanda Kumar laid out some ground rules to boost milk production. They are genetic improvisation of cattle quality, balanced ration for cattle feed and strengthening the dairy cooperatives. NDDB’s priority was to include 50 per cent women in cooperatives as dairy farming was increasingly becoming a tool for socio-economic development, he added.
Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy said present cattle population in the State stands at 1.23 crore. The Government has increased milk prices in two phases to provide adequate margin to dairy farmers. Chief Secretary GC Pati said the Government is committed to the cause and would work towards enlisting more women dairy farmers in cooperatives.
The two-day conference was organised by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) where women dairy farmers from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha participated.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Over one lakh stuck, hundreds rendered homeless in Odisha flood

Decan Chronicle, Aug 6, 2014
Bhubaneswar: Over one lakh people were marooned and hundreds of people were rendered homeless in Odisha as most of the rivers in the state, flowing over their danger marks, breached its banks at several places on Tuesday.
In Jajpur, several villages remained cut-off as water of the Baitarani river started overflowing on Monday evening.
More than 13 panchayats in Bhadrak district and five villages in Balasore district have been flooded.
Special relief commissioner Pradipta Mohapatra said that rescue forces have  been sent to the flooded districts with food medicines and drinking water to evacuate the stranded people.
“The state government has geared up its machinery to meet the flood challenges. So far, we have succeeded fully in reaching out to the affected people," Mr Mohapatra said.  
Road communicationns in Keonjhar district was disrupted due to floods.
Salagan, Chandanpur, Madhapur and Managobindpur villages under Badasahi block of Mayurbhanj district have been flooded by Gangahara river.
In Kalahandi, road communication has been disrupted due to  Hati river flowing at a height of three feet over Hati bridge at Junagarh.
In Bolangir  the Tel river was flowing at a height of five feet over Siletapada bridge.

RTI reveals NREGS irregularities

Times of India, Aug 5, 2014
,TNN | Aug 5, 2014, 09.17 AM IST
Bhawanipatna: Names of 40 workers in Kalahandi district have allegedly been forged in the muster roll for a pond-digging work under MGNREGS, an RTI query has revealed.

The application was filed by Madhaba Sunani of Khandi Dangriguda village, about 60 km from here, in Kalampur block.

The reply to the query said the 40 never applied for digging of the pond in the village at the cost of Rs 3 lakh in 2012-13.

The workers have submitted a written complaint to BDO, Kalampur, Padmanav Samantray, alleging that Rs 49,191 has been misappropriated by reflecting that they worked for seven days.

The workers also claimed records show a temporary shed was built near the construction site at a cost of Rs 3,297, but no such shed was constructed and the money was siphoned off by panchayat staffers concerned. They also alleged while Sriram Bhati had actually supplied drinking water on the site, a bill of Rs 7,722 has been generated, showing the work was done by Debraj Majhi and Luje Bhati.

Sriram is yet to get payment for water supply, the villagers alleged.

Samantray said he personally inquired into the work and found nothing was manipulated in the records. He said the project cost was Rs 5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh is still pending. The amount would be utilized in October, he added.

Collector (Kalahandi) Bijay Ketan Upadhyay said he has instructed the BDO to bring all the records and bills to district rural development agency office and further inquiry will be made.

Friday, August 1, 2014

10 Cities For Smart Tag

Note: Thanks to Pushpendra babu for including Bhawanipatna in 10 smart city tag proposal by the state Govt. We shall focus in this issue to take it further, July 31, 2014
Bhubaneswar : 31/July/2014 
Even as Narendra Modi-led Government at the Centre, in its maiden union budget, announced building 100 smart cities across the country, the modalities of which are yet to commence, the State Government has already proposed to cover 10 cities under the ‘100 smart cities’ plan.
Housing & Urban Development Minister Puspendra Singh Deo informed the Media men here that the State Government has already proposed names of 10 cities to the Central government for the purpose. At a recently concluded State Urban Ministers Conclave, he had officially given the proposal to the Centre.
The names of cities the State Government has proposed include Bhubaneswar and Puri, which are already covered under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM).  While Cutack has been declared a heritage city, two more cities have declared as new municipal corporations Rourkela and Sambalpur and other cities include Bhadrak, Bolangir, Jajpur, Jeypore, and Bhawanipatna.

However, Kendrapara municipality has not been enlisted in the proposal of the State given to the Centre. On the other hand, Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda said recently that he has proposed inclusion of the city under ‘Smart City Plan’ and a proposal was given by him to the Central government. He expressed hope that his proposal would be considered.  
Elaborating further, Mr.Singh Deo said, “We have only given the proposal of 10 cities to the Centre. The modalities for the smart city plan are yet to be prepared. We have not yet received any plan from the Centre either about modalities or about identification of cities. When we will receive detailed information from the Centre, we will work out what best can be done”.
Notably, in his maiden budget speech, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had made the grandiose promise of building 100 smart cities as part of Modi’s acche din vision. He has also allocated Rs 7,060 crore which is little over Rs 70 crore per city. Since the funds allocated for each city are not enough and it is unlikely that the government will have the resources to fund for building smart cities, it was hinted in the budget that the government would relax norms for foreign direct investment (FDI). In the meantime, France, Japan and Singapore countries have been contacted for collaborating in the projects.

The concept of smart city, sources reveal, is a vision of an urban space that is liveable and ecologically friendly, technologically integrated and meticulously planned with the use of information technology. Notably, the country is fast urbanising and a study suggests that nearly 600 million of people will be living in cities by 2030 as against 290 million reported in 2001 census.

Odisha is also not far behind although the rate of urbanisation in the State comparatively slower than many other states. 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Public hearing on SSL, Lanjigarh expansion ends peacefully

Business Standard, July 30, 2014
Vedanta's plan for a six-fold expansion in the capacity of its 1 MTPA alumina refinery in Odisha's Kalahandi district drew a positive response from locals during a public hearing today. 

The public hearing at Lanjigarh to decide Sesa Sterlite Ltd (SSL) refinery expansion project concluded successfully in presence of district officials and the authorities of State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), a company spokesman said in a statement. 

The public hearing was held by SPCB on basis of SSL's fresh application for environmental clearance to expand the refinery's capacity from one Million Tonne per Annum (MTPA) to six MTPA, Additional district magistrate (ADM) of Kalahandi Sasadhara Naik said. 

"There was interaction with public on the issue. The statements and opinion of people of project affected areas in the public hearing have been recorded," the ADM said adding the public hearing was held in a peaceful manner. 

The public hearing concluded "successfully" in a peaceful atmosphere, the SSL spokesman said. 

The company continues to hold on to its vision for overall growth of Kalahandi and expansion of the refinery will play a key role in achieving the same, he said adding people of Lanjigarh have now understood that the economic growth of the area will lead to their overall prosperity. 

More than a thousand people attended the event and showcased positive attitude towards allowing SSL for the expansion, he said. 

Sreedhar Pesnia, President of Lanjigarh Anchalika Bikas Parishad said, VAL is playing a key role in overall socio-economic growth of the area. "Additional operations at the plant will mean more employment and economic empowerment of the people of Kalahandi," he said 

Binod Gaud, President of Lanjigarh Yuva Sangha said, locals supported the expansion of the project as it will open fresh avenues for the youth who for decades have continued to migrate to other states in search of employment. 

Block Chairman Mrs Sasmita Majhi said people of Lanjigarh have shown immense interest in expansion of the refinery in hopes of employment and economic prosperity. SSL has played a key role in changing the district's socio-economic landscape and people expect the expansion will boost the ongoing growth drive, she said. 

The public hearing comes as a boost for the aluminium division of SSL as people close to the development note that the state government is on the verge of allocating three laterite mines to the company to meet the immediate raw material requirements of the refinery, officials said. 

The expansion of the refinery is expected to boost the overall industrial climate of Odisha, they said. 

Villagers of project affected areas and elected representatives like ward member, sarpanch, samiti members, Zilla parishad chair person and local MLA participated in the process. Mitrasen Majhi, regional officer of regional pollution control board conducted the public hearing and ADM on behalf of collector was present.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Odisha government to soon grant laterite deposits to Anil Agarwal's alumina project

Economic Times, July 29, 2014
BHUBANESHWAR: In what should serve as a relief for Anil Agarwal's alumina project, the Odisha government will soon grant three laterite deposits that can partially feed the company's controversial refinery in Kalahandi. Raw material uncertainty has plagued Vedanta Aluminium, now merged with Sesa Sterlite, ever since August of last year when local tribals, in a first of its kind referendum ordered by the Supreme Court, rejected the mining project. 

Laterite, with some beneficiation and combined with the bauxite the company has been forced to import or source from Gujarat, can be used input to make alumina. According to senior official in the state and the company, the government has zeroed in on three such deposits, covering an area of 140 hectares near Jaipur, in Koraput district. 

"They had 5-6 applications, and the government has approved proscpting leases for 3 deposits. This is for prospecting, it will then progress to a mining lease," said a senior government official who asked not to be named. 

A 72mt bauxite deposit atop Niyamgiri hills was to be mined by the state firm, Odisha Mining Corporation for the 1million tone refinery. Local administration is scheduled to conduct a public hearing for the expansion of this refinery, from 1million tone annual capacity to 6mt, and of its captive power plant from 75 MW to 285 MWon Wednesday. A more long term solution to the project Patnaik's though will be a captive bauxite supply mined in the vicinity. 

According to those in the know, Naveen Patnaik's government is pushing for OMC to develop the 224 mt Karlapat deposit, and the smaller 22mt deposit of Majingamali that can then supply raw material to Sesa Sterlite's aluminum project. The stat has recommended the two deposits be reserved for its PSU; The centre is yet to approve these allocations to OMC. 

Sesa Sterlite claims to have invested Rs 50,000 crore in setting up this alumina refinery and a 0.5mtpa smelter and captive 1215 MW power plant in Jharsuguda, banking on their MoU with OMC for a supply of 150 million tones of bauxite. The project has been battling opposition from both local tribals opposed to the mining, environmentalist who they claim are funded by global rivals, and Congress politicians of the former UPA government. 

Laterite, unlike bauxite, figures in the list of 'minor' industrial minerals, and its exploitation will not require central government approval. According to former state mines minister, the company has already experimented with laterite from Andhra Pradesh. 

BPUT Drive to Tide over Faculty Crunch

The New Indian Express, July 30, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: The faculty crunch in Government engineering colleges is all set to be resolved with Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) undertaking a major drive for recruitment of teaching staff.
BPUT will recruit 225 faculties for six Government colleges under it. Tipped to be one of the biggest recruitment drives of the university till date, it is expected to fill up most vacant posts in the colleges.
Sources said the entire process will be completed before the academic session 2014-15 commences by September-end.
The State Government recently sanctioned 17 posts of professor, 23 posts of associate professor and 28 posts of assistant professor for CET, Bhubaneswar. For Government College of Engineering, Kalahandi, seven posts of professor, 12 posts of associate professor and 31 posts of assistant professor have been sanctioned. Government College of Engineering, Keonjhar has been sanctioned six posts of professor, 10 posts of associate professor and 28 posts of assistant professor.
Seven posts of professor, nine posts of associate professor and 28 posts of assistant professor will be filled up in Parala Maharaja Engineering College, Berhampur. A few teaching staff will also be recruited for MTech courses offered by BPUT on its campus at Rourkela.
Sources said more than 3,800 applications have been received against 225 positions. Lowest number of applications has been received for courses like Architecture and Textile Engineering. Maximum applications have been received for Electrical Engineering and Electronics and Telecommunication Engineering courses.
A senior BPUT official said in case they do not get qualified candidates for any position, another round of recruitment will be conducted. But the quality of teaching staff will not be compromised. After recruitment for teaching staff is completed, recruitment of non-teaching staff will be conducted immediately. More than 100 non-teaching staff will be recruited for the colleges.
The Government engineering colleges have been grappling with faculty crunch for quite sometime now. With growing student strength in the last one year, the need for additional manpower had become an urgent requirement.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

BPUT Links to Get Fast Reach by Sept

The New Indian Express, July 29, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: In a bid to boost effective connectivity, the Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) has put in place a video conferencing network which will establish a link between the State Government, the University and its constituent colleges by the end of September.
The need for a better communication model was discussed at BPUT’s last board meeting. National Informatics Centre (NIC) was given the responsibility to set up the video conferencing network which will link the Governor’s Office, BPUT Vice-Chancellor’s office, Employment and Technical Education and Training (ETET) Department and the five constituent colleges under BPUT in the first phase.
The five constituent colleges are College of Engineering and Technology (CET), Government College of Engineering (Keonjhar), Government College of Engineering (Bhawanipatna), Parala Maharaja Engineering College (Berhampur) and BPUT’s own campus in Rourkela.
The first phase of the project is expected to cost `2.5 crore.
BPUT Registrar Mihir Nayak said the new communication network will not only enable faster communication between the State Government and the University but also make it easier for the ETET Department to monitor the progress of the constituent colleges.
Earlier, it used to take an unusually long time to communicate with far off colleges like Government College of Engineering (Bhawanipatna) and BPUT headquarters in Rourkela. Now, the delay will be eliminated, Nayak added.
Work on the first phase of the project is expected to be completed by September-end. For the second phase of the project, affiliated colleges of BPUT will be linked to the main connection.
NIC has been given the responsibility to provide the base facility for video conferencing network in 150 technical colleges including five Government engineering colleges. It will also look after the maintenance of the network for five years.

VAL expansion: Public hearing tomorrow

Times of India, July 29, 2014
BHAWANIPATNA: A public hearing is scheduled for Wednesday at Lanjigarh in connection with expansion of the refinery and captive power plant of Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL).

The company had moved the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) for increasing the refinery capacity from 1 mtpa to 6 mtpa and CPP 75 MW to 285 MW.

The MoEF had earlier revoked the company's expansion proposal, citing violation of environmental laws.

"We are quite hopeful of positive response from the local people," said newly-appointed chief operating officer (COO) of the plant Krishna Kanti Dave.

The Odisha State Pollution Control Board (OSPCB) will conduct the public hearing on behalf of MoEF to be attended by top district officials. "The meeting, to be attended by project affected people, will be video-recorded," said collector (Kalahandi) Bijay Ketan Upadhyay. "No outsider would be allowed to the meeting," he added.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Orissa high court orders probe into Rs 5 crore paddy procurement fraud

Times of India, July 28, 2014
,TNN | Jul 28, 2014, 09.51 AM IST
BHAWANIPATNA: The Orissa high court (HC) has ordered the Kalahandi district administration to conduct an inquiry into alleged large-scale irregularities in paddy procurement.

In the kharif marketing season 2012-13, 69,589 quintal paddy was procured by primary agricultural cooperative society (PACS) of Temra Mandi in Koksara block, about 65 km from here, out of 34 lakh MT procured in the district.

Out of 537 farmers of Temra mandi, 118 fake names have been shown in the PACS register, alleged a PIL filed by Rajeev Gupta in high court. Of the 118 names, 18 are BPL card-holders.

While hearing the petition, a division bench comprising Justices Pradip Mohanty and Biswajit Mohanty served notices to managing director, Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited, Kalahandi collector, sub-collector, Dharamgarh, and civil supplies officer to reply within four weeks.

The petitioner alleged that a fraud to the tune of Rs 5 crore was committed by falsely mentioning the 118 farmers' names that they sold the paddy in the mandi, but they were not the actual beneficiaries.

He also informed the court that a few rice millers purchased paddy at Rs 700 a quintal from the farmers as against minimum support price of Rs 1,250 and re-sold them at the mandi by falsely showing the farmers' names as sellers.

Stating that the rice millers earned profit of Rs 550 a quintal, the petitioner said although the purpose of the mandis is to help farmers get their due price, the entire system has been manipulated through a nexus between millers and officials.

Collector (Kalahandi) Bijay Ketan Upadhyay said police are inquiring into whether bank accounts had been opened in the fake names and accordingly reply will be given to the court.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Odisha sitting on over 300 PL applications for bauxite mines

Business Standard, July 25, 2014
Applications are pending at the level of the district collector, directorate of mines and steel & mines department
The Odisha state government is yet to dispose off over 300 pending PL (prospecting license) applications for bauxite deposits in Kalahandi district and undivided Koraput region.
Larsen & Toubro (L&T), Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (now ), Jindal Steel & Power Ltd (), Jindal Photo Ltd, Industries, RSB Metaltech Ltd and state owned Odisha Mining Corporation () are among the wait listed contenders to obtain PL over bauxite mines. The pendency rate of such applications ranges from two to 25 years, reveals a written reply given to the state assembly by steel & mines minster Prafulla Kumar Mallick.
The PL applications are pending at the level of the district collector, directorate of mines and steel & mines department.
Vedanta Group firm Sesa Sterlite that is struggling to keep operations of its one million tonne Lanjigarh refinery afloat with imported bauxite, has pending applications over bauxite deposits like Kachalekha, Porapal, Titijhola, Nalachua, Adarmajhi and Choronimaribhata to name a few. Among these applications, the mines directorate has recommended one mine- Lachhuani to the state government for rejection.
After a failed bid to mine bauxite atop the ecologically fragile, the company had urged the state government to allot alternative bauxite mines in its favour. The Union ministry of environment & forests () had said no to mine bauxite over Niyamgiri after the local Dongaria tribals unanimously trumped the project in a referendum last year.
While the mines directorate has recommended one bauxite lease- Sarambai in favour of Aditya Birla Group owned Hindalco Industries, it has referred two other mines to the government for rejection- Sasubohumlai and Chandgiri for rejection.
Two other mines- Kharkhijiguda and Aligaon where Hindalco is an applicant are pending at the mines directorate and collectorate level respectively.
RSB Metaltech that has proposed 0.70 million tonne per annum (mtpa) alumina refinery at Rayagada, has filed PL applications over a host of bauxite deposits like Jilanga, Seulipadar, Tijimali and Hadakarsi-Kandala-Karaniber.

Odisha to up power generation capacity, may get new UMPPs

Business Standard, July 24, 2014
Coal-rich Odisha is set to take a giant leap in raising its power generation capacity by proposing two more 4,000 MW ultra mega power projects...

Coal-rich Odisha is set to take a giant leap in raising its power generation capacity by proposing two more 4,000 MW ultra mega power projects (UMPPs) in the state. The state already has one UMPP at Tilaiya in the construction stage and another one at Bedabahal where final round of bidding is expected to be completed soon.
The state government has already identified land and coal mines for the proposed two new UMPPs and has sought Centre's approval for coal block allocation so that bidding for the projects could start soon. The state government will approve the two new sites over next couple of months and then bring the projects before the Centre for approval so that the projects could be awarded latest by first half of next fiscal.
“Two sites, Bijoypatna in Chandbali tehsil of Bhadrak district and another at Narlas-Kasinga sub division of Kalahandi district have been identified for setting up additional UMPPs in Odisha. Bankhui coal block has already been allocated for the first UMPP while Ghogarpalli and Dipside of Ghogarpalli coal blocks has been identified for the second project but coal ministry's approval is awaited,” said an official in Power Finance Corporation, the nodal agency for the development UMPP projects through special purpose vehicle (SPV). “Once all approvals are given, we would immediately put the projects under the bidding route,” the official added.
On its part PFC has already set up two shell companies Sakhigopal Integrated Power Co. and Ghogarpalli Integrated Power Co. so that projects could be put on fast track mode once approvals are through.
Odisha is expected to get about 5300 MW of power from different proposed UMPPs. This will also be the highest in any state from these large projects. After the UMPPs are commissioned the state is expected to have surplus power to the tune of 3000-4000 MW that would be used to meet energy needs of deficit states as well as sale in the open market.
The Modi government has identified UMPP programme for giving a push to rapid capacity expansion in the country. Apart from the two new UMPPs in Odisha, exploratory exercise is also going on to initiate such projects in the states of Bihar and Jharkhand. Efforts are on to complete the bidding for two UMPPs at Bedabahal in Odisha and Cheyyur in Tamil Nadu.