Monday, December 1, 2014

Pranab all praise for Kalahandi ashram

Times of India, Dec 1, 2014
,TNN | Dec 1, 2014, 02.47 PM IST
BHAWANIPATNA: Confidence of tribal youth can be boosted through education, President Pranab Mukherjee said at Madanpur Rampur, 70 km from here, in Kalahandi district on Sunday. He inaugurated a newly-constructed Vivekananda Memorial Building at Ramkrishna Ashram. He had sanctioned Rs 1 crore for construction of the building when he was Union finance minister. 

He was commemorating 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananada. "I am indeed happy to have the opportunity of visiting the ashram," he said. 

Centre decided to recognize contributions of Vivekananda and a national memorial committee was established under the leadership of Prime Minister. 

"I am the chairman of the committee for the implementation of the programme and Kalahandi was chosen as one of the places to commemorate sesquicentenary of Vivekananda's birth," he said. 

Addressing a function in tribal and Maoist-hit area, Pranab cited teachings of Vivekananda and asked all to work for socially-deprived to help in nation building. 

"This region is considered backward and poverty-stricken. Members of Lok Sabha, have many times raised various issues, pertaining to the area, in parliament. What is to be done is to instill confidence in youth and that confidence can come only through education," he said. 

Voicing concern over backwardness of the area, he noted that Madanpur-Rampur region was once home to a rich and glorious civilization and forest resources, which earned it the name of 'Mahakantara' or 'Great Forest'. The president announced Rs 2 crore for development of the area. 

Pranab appreciated the work being done by the ashram for welfare of poor, especially children, living in the area. He congratulated ashram secretary, saying Swami Vairagyanandji Maharaj travelled throughout India from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and spread the message of Swamiji. 

The projects implemented by ashram include establishment of facilities to provide education, lodging and coaching for tribal children, an innovative school, a residential training centre in agriculture and allied subjects, an old-age home, a mobile allopathy unit, a mobile homeopathy unit, an ayurvedic dispensary and a drug de-addiction centre. These initiatives, he said, will make the poor tribals self-sufficient. 

The President lauded a publication titled 'Bharat Parikrama-Kalahandi to Kashmir and Kanyakumari' brought out in Odia, saying it can help young minds understand what Vivekananda wanted to convey. 

He also unveiled a Vivekananda statue and met the ashram kids, who performed ghumra dance. 

Governor S C Jamir, Lok Sabha member Abhijit Mukherjee (Jangipur, West Bengal) and former MP Bhakta Charan Das, finance minister Pradip Amat and MP Arka Kesari Deo also spoke during the event. 

President Pranab Mukherjee for enlightening tribal youth through education

Economic Times, Nov 30, 2014
MADANPUR-RAMPUR (ODISHA): Confidence of tribal youths can be boosted through education, President Pranab Mukherjee said here today. 

Addressing a function in this tribal and Naxal-hit area, Mukherjee cited teachings of Swami Vivekananda and asked all to work for the socially-deprived to help in nation building. 

"This region is considered backward and poverty-stricken. Members of Lok Sabha representing this area have many times raised various issues pertaining to this area in Parliament. 

"What is to be done is to inject or instill confidence in youths and that confidence can come only through education," he said after inaugurating a newly constructed unit of Vivekananda memorial building at Shri Rama Krishna Ashram here. 

Voicing concern over backwardness and scarcity in this area which comes under Kalahandi district, he noted that Madanpur-Rampur region was once home to a rich and glorious civilisation and its forest resources had earned it the name of 'Mahakantara' or 'Great Forest'. 

Mukherjee appreciated the work being done by the Ashram for welfare of poor, especially children, living in the area. 

The projects implemented by Ashram include establishment of facilities to provide education, lodging and coaching for tribal children, an innovative school, a residential training centre in agriculture and allied subjects, an old age home, a mobile allopathy unit, a mobile homeopathy unit, an Ayurvedic dispensary and a drug de-addiction centre. 

These initiatives, he said, will make them self sufficient. 

"I congratulate them for their devotion and dedication," the President said. 

Mukherjee praised a publication entitled "Bharat Parikrama-Kalahandi to Kashmir and Kanyakumari" brought out in Odiya language, saying it can help young minds understand what Swami Vivekananda wanted to convey. 

Odisha Governor S C Jamir, Lok Sabha members Abhijit Mukherjee (Jangipur, West Bengal) and former Lok Sabha MP Bhakta Charan Das were among others present at the function. 

Irregularities in Kerosene Supply in Kalahandi: Letter by SACHIN KUMAR AGRAWAL

Respected Minister, Food Supply & Consumer Welfare, Govt of Odisha,
A local oriya news daily by name "Samaja" in its Sambalpur Edition dated 30th November, has reported about "Serious Irregularities" in Kerosene Distribution through the PDS in Lanjigarh Block in Kalahandi District of Odisha.
The same news has time and again been reported by various newspapers but no step has been taken to curb it and even if some steps have been taken they seems to have no considerable impact upon the perpetrators.
I therefore request you to take this matter with utmost priority and order/advice/direct the district administration to be take immediate steps.
Let us help the needy with required Kerosene so that they do not go hungry. 

Attached the newspaper article for your easy reference and authenticity. 

Thank You.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

President’s Itinerary

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Nov 29, 2014
BHUBANESWAR:  The State is gearing up for President Pranab Mukherjee’s two-day visit from Saturday. Mukherjee will attend the golden jubilee celebrations of Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya and Rama Devi Women’s College in the Capital City. At Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya, he will attend the function at Utkal Mandap from 5.55 pm to 7 pm and felicitate 18 illustrious alumni of the college. On Sunday, Mukherjee will move to Kalahandi where he will inaugurate the Vivekananda memorial building at Ramakrishna Ashram in Rampur. Sources said he will then fly to Puri by helicopter to visit the 12th century Jagannath temple.
The President would reach the temple at 2.30 pm and stay there till 3 pm. “From 1 pm to 3 pm, the temple will remain out of bounds for normal visitors due to security reasons. The temple periphery has been spruced up in the wake of the President’s visit,” said Puri Collector Arvind Agarwal. Mukherjee will leave Puri for Bhubaneswar at 4.20 pm. At the Capital City, he will preside over the golden jubilee function of Rama Devi Women’s Autonomous College for an hour from 5.15 pm before returning to New Delhi at 6.35 pm.

Gold spots in Nabarangpur

The Telegraph (Kolkata), Nov 29, 2014
Bhubaneswar, Nov. 28: Some good news for the state. Traces of gold have been found in the tribal-dominated Nabarangpur district, while fresh iron ore and bauxite deposits have also been discovered in various parts of the state.
The state geology department stumbled on the traces of gold during one of their routine explorations, steel and mines minister Prafulla Kumar Mallick told the Assembly today.
Director, geology, has already submitted a report on the findings to Mallick. The metal has been found in an area of 1,926 hectares in Nabarangpur district.
Speaking about the sudden discovery of the yellow metal, Mallick said: “Traces of gold have been found at Jharigram and Seraguda in Nabarangpur district. The government has already accepted the application to issue lease for its exploration.”
Sources in the mining department said Hindustan Alloy and Kaustuv Mining Smelting Private Limited had applied for exploration of gold. However, it is yet to be ascertained whether it would be commercially viable.
In a related development, hundreds of people have been engaged to explore diamonds at Anabadi village under Haguda panchayat in Koraput’s Bandhugaon block, about 650 km from here. The place is also reported to have yielded a lot of cat’s eye, a semi-precious stone.
A district official said businessmen from the neighbouring states, including Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand, reached the place to search for diamond and other gemstones.
One of the villagers, Bhaskar, 43, said: “Businessmen from other states have come here and bought the valuable stones from us.”
Additional district magistrate Ekadashi Jena said: “We have informed the state geology and mining departments about the sudden discovery of valuable stones in these remote parts of the district. We have no idea about the nature of the stones.”
Besides gold, Mallick’s department has confirmed that new iron ore mines have been found at Rakama–Marsuana in Keonjhar district and Khandadhar, Deungula, Sagasahi, Bandhala, Kusumdihi, Roladihi, Randa, Damur in Sundargarh district.
“We have taken steps to estimate the iron reserves in the newly located areas,” said an official.
The steel and mines department also confirmed that 0.45 tonnes reserve of manganese ore has been found at Mutukudur, Rangua and Kenamenta in Sundargarh district, Mallick told the Assembly today.
Interestingly the state government has also stumbled on rich reserve of bauxite at new mines in Rayagada, Kalahandi, Koraput, Kandhamal and Sundargarh districts. This is good news for the government that has found it tough to hand over the Niyamgiri bauxite mines to the Vedanta for its Lanjigarh refinery plant in Kalahandi district.
In Kalahandi district, the new bauxite mines have been found at Keluamala with deposits of 49 million tonnes, Krushnamali (28.3 million tonne), Samarmali and Gunupur with deposits of 21.69 million tonnes.
“We have so far estimated 220.956 million tonnes of bauxite in the newly discovered bauxite mines in Rayagada, Kalahandi, Koraput and Kandhamal districts. As there is stiff opposition to hand over the Niyamgiri mines, we are planning to give some of the newly discovered mines to the Vedanta and other groups who are interested to set up their industries in the state,” said a senior official of the steel and mines department.
Vedanta chief Anil Agarwal has met chief minister Naveen Patnaik twice in the last six months and appealed to the state government to save the plant that is running at less 30 per cent of its installed capacity.
Besides gold, iron and bauxite, new gemstones and graphite mines have also been discovered in the state. While gemstones have been located in few pockets of Mayurbhanj district, graphite has been found in Angul district.
“ However, the state government is yet to make an assessment of these deposits,” an official said.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

IPPs invest Rs 33,000 cr on their projects in Odisha

Business Standard, Nov 23, 2014
Independent power producers (IPPs) have invested Rs 32,991 crore on their proposed coal-fired projects in after entering into memoranda of understanding (MoU) with the state government.
Among the 28 players that have inked pacts with the state government, two have commenced commercial production. The two companies are firm and Ltd.
Sesa Sterlite has fully commissioned its 2400 Mw (4x600) power project at Bhurkamunda near Jharsuguda. The company has invested Rs 8038 crore on the plant.
GMR Kamalanga has commissioned three 350 Mw units of its proposed 1400 Mw power plant at Kamalanga in Dhenkanal district. It has invested Rs 5590 crore.
Others like Ltd (JITPL), Ltd and were in the advanced stage of commissioning their projects.
The IPPs that have made substantial investments on their projects are JITPL (Rs 4564.26 crore), Monnet Power Company Ltd (Rs 4100 crore), Ltd (Rs 4850 crore) and Ind-Barath Energy Utkal Ltd (Rs 2954 crore).
The IPPs have a combined production capacity of 37,000 Mw. The state's share is pegged at around 6000 Mw from these projects.
Odisha is currently facing an unprecedented rise in demand for power fuelled by rural, industrial and economic development. Capacity addition of about 50,000 Mw is coming up in Odisha through state initiatives, Ultra Mega Power Projects (UMPPs), NTPC and private IPPs.
Two UMPPs, each of capacity 4000 Mw are planned in the state. While the state grid will get 1300 Mw from the first UMPP at Bhedabahal near Sundargarh, the second UMPP proposed at Narla in Kalahandi district would supply 2000 Mw to the state.
NTPC is setting up two super thermal power plants in the state, each with capacity of 1600 Mw at Darlipalli in Sundargarh district and Gajamara in Dhenkanal district.
While Odisha is making all out efforts to expedite and provide necessary fill-up to the void created to meet the surging energy demand in the country, the most hindering factor for implementation of these projects is fuel security which is at stake due to the Supreme Court ruling. The apex court in its August 24 order had scrapped the licenses of 204 coal blocks allocated between 1993 and 2010.
The 18th Electric Power Survey of (CEA) has forecast the peak demand of 5322 Mw and annual energy requirement of 33113 million units (MU) for Odisha for 2015-16. The peak power demand is expected to rise to 6749 Mw and annual energy requirement to 52566 MU for 2021-22 for the state.

Letter of Sachin Kumar Agrawal to Ministry of Panchayati Raj on Rajiv Gandhi Sewa Kendra

Respected Minister,
Ministry of Panchayati Raj, GOI.

It was 20th August 2009 when the then Union Panchayati Raj Minister Dr. C.P.Joshi,  during a Workshop on NREGA announced that every  Gram Panchayat across the country will have a Rajiv Gandhi Sewa Kendra. In the same workshop the minister outlined the importance of the Sewa Kendra by mentioning it as a single window for information relating to NREGA. Moving a step further, the guest of honour of the workshop, Shri Rahul Gandhi unveiled the design model of the proposed Rajiv Gandhi Sewa Kendra.

Crores of rupees are being allocated by the said ministry for the construction of these Sewa Kendras. However no importance is given to monitor whether these Kendras are functioning properly or not. 

Through this letter of mine I would like to bring to your kind notice about such a Sewa Kendra in the Kalahandi District of Odisha which was constructed four years back in 2009-2010 but is yet to get inaugurated. The said Sewa Kendra lies in the Mahaling Gram Panchayat under the Golamunda Block (Kalahandi District, Odisha). I came to know about this Sewa Kendra from a local news daily “Sambad” articulated on 21st November 2014 in its Sambalpur Edition. 

I request you to take the matter and demand an explaination from the concerned authorities at the district and the state level about such a negligence. Also order the authority concerned to make necessary arrangements for its opening and efficient functioning. 

I as a responsible citizen brought this matter to your knowledge and hope that you as a representative of the people will take this issue  as seriously as I did and exercise your responsibility and accountability towards people.

I could not find the email address of Honourable Minister in your website and hence sending the email to your address. Also, I am attaching the  news article for your easy understanding of the matter and authenticity of my claim.

Thank You Sir.

Sachin Kumar Agrawal,
Dharamgarh, Kalahandi, Odisha
Contact Number: 9861965410

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

BPUT to Complete Video Conferencing by Dec

The New Indian Express, Nov 12, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: The video conferencing network being established by Biju Patnaik University of Technology (BPUT) is all set to become operational by the first week of December.
The technical university had come up with a proposal to link Governor’s Office, Employment and Technical Education and Training (ETET) Department and BPUT’s camp office in Bhubaneswar with their headquarters in Rourkela, through video conferencing.
The network will also include the five constituent colleges; College of Engineering and Technology (CET), Government College of Engineering (Keonjhar), Government College of Engineering (Bhawanipatna), Parala Maharaja Engineering College (Berhampur). All colleges are affiliated to BPUT.
The decision was taken with an aim to boost communication between different stakeholders of technical education in the State. Currently, any communication between the University and Government is carried out manually. It involves BPUT officials travelling from their headquarters in Rourkela to ETET Department in Bhubaneswar to complete any official communication.
The National Informatics Centre (NIC) has been given the responsibility of installing the video conferencing network. BPUT Registrar Mihir Nayak said the hardware for the network has already been installed in constituent colleges, ETET Department, Governor’s Office and BPUT’s camp office in Bhubaneswar. The NIC officials are now developing the software that will link the entire network. After first phase installation, BPUT will connect private colleges to the video conferencing network in the second phase.

Kalahandi Targets Rabi Crop in 2.6L Hectares

The New Indian Express, Nov 10, 2014
BHAWANIPATNA:  Agriculture department of Kalahandi district has targeted to cover 2.6 lakh hectares (ha) for rabi crops in 2014-15. Of the total area, about 1,12,300 ha has irrigation facilities.
During preparation of annual agriculture plan for 2014-15 rabi season recently, Deputy Director of Agriculture, Kalahandi circle informed that out of total irrigated areas in the district, Indravati Irrigation Project covers 67,461 ha. Farmers in the tail end of irrigation canals have been sensitised to adopt short duration crops particularly non-paddy crops.
The thrust has been given on cultivation of pulses, summer paddy and oilseed crops during the season. Around 1,19,760 ha will be covered under pulses including Moong (yellow gram) in 47,000 ha, Kulthi (horse gram) in 23,848 ha, Biri (black gram) in 17,440 ha and Chana (Bengal gram) in 14,500 ha. Summer paddy will be cultivated in 65,000 ha mostly in the Indravati irrigated pockets.
Similarly, oilseed is targeted to be cultivated in 33,062 ha in the district. Of the total area, 11,941 ha will be covered by mustard, 10,556 ha by groundnut, 2,400 ha by linseed and 4,465 ha by sunflower. Onion will be cultivated in 5,205 ha.
According to department sources, due to above normal rainfall during July and August and heavy rainfall in September in most parts of the district, the residual moisture condition as well as water level in several irrigation reservoirs have reported improvement. Farmers will get good result in terms of coverage and production of pulses and oilseeds, the sources added.

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Government plans to open 24x7 shelters for marginalized people

The New Indian Express, Nov 1, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: To ensure round-the-clock accommodation for the marginalized sections of society, the state government has planned a new scheme - shelter for the urban homeless under the National Urban Livelihoods Mission (NULM).

People such as beggars, street children, destitute persons, the terminally ill and septuagenarians would be accommodated in the shelter, official sources said.

"The shelters would be developed on the lines of model night shelters. Round-the-clock accommodation facilities for the destitute and the additional feature of a kitchen will be part of the scheme," state housing and urban development official Jyoti Ranjan Mishra said.

Other components of the shelters are separate bathroom and toilets for women, recreation room cum library and supporting staff, he said.

An estimated Rs 40 lakh has been earmarked for construction of one shelter which would accommodate as many as 50 people, official sources said.

Although the government would bear the maintenance cost of the shelters, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society groups, youth clubs and women self-help groups (WSHG) will be roped in for better management. The government will give Rs 1,200 per person as grant every month towards the maintenance cost, sources said.

The state government has asked the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to identify land for the shelters. The scheme would be launched in the state capital in the initial phase on a pilot basis. As many as six shelters will be built in the city.

The scheme would also be extended to 30 district headquarters, besides three more cities - Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and Rourkela - where NULM has already been implemented.

"We have also asked the municipal commissioner and executive officers of around 33 urban local bodies to submit proposals regarding establishment of such shelters," Mishra said.

Since the existing night shelters in the city are not properly maintained, the state government has asked the BMC to prepare a comprehensive city-wide night shelter plan with the component of management of such shelters on a professional basis, official sources said.

The state government also sanctioned Rs 2 crore for construction of two more night shelters in Bhubaneswar and one each in Cuttack, Berhampur, Rourkela and Bhawanipatna.

Gedcol to Scale up Solar Power Generation Plans

The New Indian Express, Nov. 1, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: Green Energy Development Corporation Limited (Gedcol) has decided to scale up its solar power generation plans at Manamunda Industrial Estate in Boudh district to 50 mw.
The nodal agency for new and renewable energy in the State has already entrusted Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) with establishment of a 20 mw solar plant at the industrial estate at `170 crore.
Gedcol will float tender for the additional 30 mw soon and sites have also been identified at Kantamal in Boudh and Karlamunda in Bhawanipatna district for establishment of solar power projects of 20 mw each. Nearly 270 acres of land has been earmarked at Kantamal and 220 acres at Karlamunda, Gedcol Managing Director Hemant Sharma told mediapersons here.
He was attending the Odisha Solar Conference-2014, hosted by TiE Cleantech SIG in association with Canyon Consultancy here on Friday. The Odisha Government is also planning to come out with a comprehensive State Solar Policy which would address policy issues, laws and regulations, consumer and producers’ interest, etc. “The policy would be based on the National Policy, which is set to be announced soon, for ensuring proper harmony in direction between the Central and State,” Sharma said.
He, however, pointed out that the direction for solar power development in Odisha will have to be different in scope and feature. The concept of Ultra Mega Solar Power Projects will not be amenable to the State as it is virtually impossible to find 2500 acres of barren land at a stretch required for the purpose.
“For Odisha, the way forward is through solar parks of smaller capacities. We have submitted our recommendations to the Centre in this connection,” he said.
Solar power generation in Odisha is set to touch 100 mw by 2016-17 while 13 mw has already been installed. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy has, in fact, targeted an installed capacity of over 5000 mw in Odisha in the next three years.
“Renewable energy being the focus area of the BJP-led Central Government, a target of achieving 100,000 mw of solar power generation has been set for the next five years. 40,000 mw each would be taken up through international private investment and traditional agencies while 20,000 MW would be undertaken by different Ministries,” said Advisor to MNRE Praveen Saxena.
Among others, State Science and Technology Minister Pradeep Kumar Panigrahi, Secretary Forest and Environment RK Sharma and president, TiE, Bhubaneswar, JB Pany also spoke.

President Pranab Mukherjee to visit Odisha from Nov 29 on two days tour

Orissadiary, Oct 31, 2014
Bhubaneswar: President Pranab Mukherjee to visit Odisha from Nov 29 on two days tour. President Mukherjee will attend the golden jubilee celebrations of Rama Devi Women’s College and Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya during his two-day Odisha tour.  
As per the itinerary, Mukherjee would arrive at Biju Patnaik airport in the state capital at 5.35 PM on November 29 in a special flight from Varanasi and then would head straight to Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya to inaugurate its golden jubilee celebration at 6 PM. At 7 pm he would leave for Raj Bhawan, where he would have night halt, informed sources.

The next morning the President would leave for Raipur by a special flight and from there he would leave for Madanpur-Rampur in Kalahandi district and inaugurate Vivekananda Memorial Hall inside the local Ramakrushna Ashram at 12.40 pm, source added.

The President would then return to Bhubaneswar and where he would inaugurate the new campus of Utkal University of Culture between 4 pm to 5 pm at Madanpur near Khurdha. He would return to Bhubaneswar and inaugurate the golden jubilee celebration of Ramadevi Women’s College at 5.55 pm and at 7.25 pm, he would fly back to New Delhi.
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Friday, October 31, 2014

Centre to Lend A Helping Hand in Road Projects

The New Indian Express, Oct 31, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: Of the 559 km Biju Expressway, launched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in August, the State Government will construct only 258 km, while the rest will be laid by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Besides, most of the funds provided for construction of the Expressway have been drawn from the Central Government schemes and will be funded by the Ministry.
The State Government had launched Rs 3,200 crore economic corridor between Jagdalpur and Rourkela in August, as promised during the last elections. Out of the 656 km corridor, 559 km will be in Odisha and the rest in Chhattisgarh.
The State Government has admitted to a query through the RTI that the four-laning of 160 km road from Rourkela to Sambalpur has already been started under public-private partnership (PPP) mode. Besides, the four-laning of the Expressway from Sambalpur to Sohela via Bargarh of 74 km will be implemented by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
According to the reply furnished by State Government, the two-lane road between Sohela and Nuapada via Padampur of 119 km will be executed by the State Government under the State Highway Development Programme (SHDP). The four-laning of this part of the project will be implemented in the second phase after land acquisition.
Construction of two-lane road from Nuapada to Bhella will be taken up by the Ministry. The 139 km road from Bhella to Ambapani via Godabhanj, Dharamgarh and Sinapalli will be laid under SHDP. However, two-laning of 42 km long Expressway from Ambapani to Chandli via Borrigumma will be executed by the Ministry.
The project aims at connecting Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh with the four KBK districts of Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada. The Expressway will also connect many border towns of western and south Odisha like Chandli, Borrigumma, Nabarangpur, Papadahandi, Ambapani, Dharmagarh, Sinapalli, Behella, Nuapada, Paikmal, Padmapur, Sohela, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh and Rourkela.
In the first phase, 254 km road will be converted to four-lane and 402 km to two-lane. In the second phase, 258 km will be made four-lane. The total project outlay is Rs 3,200 crore, out of which Odisha will contribute a minimum amount.
While the first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed by May 2017, the second phase will be over by 2019-end.

Swachh Bharat Mission Kicks off in Kalahandi

The New Indian Express, Oct 31, 2014
BHAWANIPATNA: The District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM) launched the Swachh Bharat Mission in Kalahandi district on Thursday. Collector Bijayaketan Upadhaya flagged off the awareness campaign which aims at promoting the importance of hygienic environment in rural areas.
Inaugurating a workshop organised on the occasion, Upadhaya stressed on awareness among the people on cleanliness. He suggested the officials of DWSM to involve folk artistes and use folk media to change the mindset of people at the grassroot level.
According to official figure, only 51 per cent of BPL families and 60 per cent of APL families have toilet facilities in their houses in the district. But, most of the toilets constructed for BPL families are lying defunct or unused. Similarly, more than 374 schools and 376 Anganwadi centres do not have toilets.
Speaking at the workshop, MLAs Balabhadra Majhi and Anama Naik insisted on making the district open defecation-free through a mass movement involving political representatives, social workers, Government officials and citizens. They expressed concern over the lack of toilet facilities in most of the educational institutions.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Vedanta hopes to get over bauxite impasse in 3-4 months

Business Standard, Oct 28, 2014
London-listed Resources, the diversified metals and mining major, hopes to get over the impasse on supplies to its Lanjigarh refinery in three to four months.

The one million tonne refinery is running at below its rated capacity by sourcing bauxite from states like Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand and also imports from Guinea and other countries.

“The state government has assured us that they are working on 2-3 alternative bauxite mines for our Lanjigarh refinery. They will take up the matter with the central government and have assured that bauxite from these sources will be made available in 3-4 months”, Vedanta Resources chairmantold media persons after meeting chief minister Naveen Patnaik. Agarwal also called on the state chief secretary G C Pati and Aditya Padhee, additional chief secretary.

It may be noted that the gram sabha had recently given its consent to Vedanta’s bid to expand refinery capacity six fold to six million tonne per annum. The capacity expansion would mean Rs 10,000 crore expenditure to the already invested Rs 52,000 crore over 10 years to build alumina, aluminium and facilities at Lanjigarh and Jharsuguda, respectively.  The metal major expects to achieve the planned capacity upgrade within a year of getting all approvals.

To feed its Lanjigarh refinery, Vedanta was eyeing Sijimali and Kutrumali deposits across Kalahandi and Rayagada districts over which engineering giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T) had got prospecting license (PL) more than two decades ago.

But L&T did not get a mining lease (ML) for these bauxite mines since it had no end-use project. However, Vedanta had entered into a pact with L&T to source bauxite from the twin mines with combined reserves close to 300 million tonne.

After being denied access to the Niyamgiri bauxite deposits of Mining Corporation (OMC) following tribal protests, the state government recently allotted three laterite bauxite mines in Koraput district with a combined deposit of three to five million tonne of bauxite in favour of Vedanta, as short-term relief.Today, the Vedanta Group chief also got an assurance from the state government to use power generated from its 2400 Mw coal-fired plant near Jharsuguda to run its smelting facility nearby. The company was unable to use this power for the aluminium smelter as it was not a captive facility and was built as an independent power project.Sesa Sterlite, a Group firm, also has 1200 Mw captive power plant (CPP) at Jharsuguda.

“To run a two million tonne smelter, 3600 Mw power is needed. The government has assured us that we can use full power for smelter operations and all clearances would be given in 15-20 days”, said Agarwal.

Sources said, Vedanta may enter into a tri-partite agreement with the state government and power distribution company, Wesco before being able to use its IPP power for the aluminium smelter. If necessary, the status of the IPP could be changed from IPP to captive power unit, sources said.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Language Labs for Eight More Colleges

The New Indian Express, Oct 26, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: English language labs will come up in 12 Government colleges and six non-Government colleges of the State.
Last year on March 1, the Higher Education Department had signed an MoU with IIT-Kharagpur for setting up the labs in five Government and as many private colleges. However, it was decided to extend the project to a few more colleges in wake of the demand.
Some of the Government colleges where the labs will be set up are Khallikote College at Ganjam, Government colleges at Angul, Bhawanipatna, Sambalpur and Government Women’s College at Keonjhar and MPC College at Baripada. While the labs at Government colleges are coming up at a cost of `two crore, cost of those in private colleges is being worked out.
The private colleges identified under the project are Gopalpur College and City College, Ganjam; SR College, Balasore; UN College of Science and Technology, Cuttack; Baba Saheb Ambedkar College at Gajapati and DAV College, Balangir.
Since spoken and soft skills (computer knowledge) are a pre-requisite for getting jobs, the need for starting these labs was felt by the State Government.
Sources in the Department said IIT-Kharagpur has been asked to visit the identified private colleges to study infrastructure requirements and submit the feasibility report.
Sandeep Pal of Centre for Advanced Communication, IIT-Kharagpur, said the institution had invented an Interactive Software Integrated Learning System (ISILS), an updated electronic tool coupled with digital courseware for language and communication skill development that will be used in the proposed labs.
“Each lab will be equipped with one computer per student, projector screen and other demonstration equipment,” he said. IIT-Kharagpur has been asked to prepare project estimate for 24-seater and 32-seater labs. Work will be started in the current academic session.
Laboratories apart, the Department is contemplating to take the help of Cambridge University to train college teachers in English teaching.
As per the proposal, English language teaching training modules developed by Cambridge University will be used to train English teachers of junior colleges during the summer vacation.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Congratulation to Santosh Kumar Kar for receiving Paryavaran Mitra Puraskar from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change and Center for Environmental Education

A Paryavaran Mitra teacher is one who demonstrates his/her commitment by adopting a sustainable lifestyle, attitudes and behaviour. Reflecting this with the children, he or she is becoming a role model true to the values promoted by the programme.

Teachers are the key facilitators of the programme. They support and guide students in developing the qualities that will make them Paryavaran Mitra. In engaging students in enquiry and action, and promoting development of knowledge, skills and values, they are achieving their ambition through curricular and co-curricular activities.
Projects impart deeper meaning and relevance to the teaching and learning by expanding far beyond the usual models and charts. An action project consists of a series of planned activities designed to achieve a specific objective in a given time. Though activities may not be formally part of the curriculum, they help to show the linkages between different subjects and aspects of a single topic.

Santosh Kumar Kar , Jaya Durga High School, Narla Road , Kalahandi, Odisha got this award from Ministry of Environment , Forest and Climate change and Center for Environmental Education. This program was supported by UNESCO, ACELOR MITTAL, UNEP and Thunja.

Appreciating and acknowledging good work not only motivates the doer but also provides an opportunity to learn. With this belief, Centre for Environment Education (CEE) organized Paryavaran Mitra Puraskar (National Event) on October 14, 2014, to acknowledge the exemplar efforts in Paryavaran Mitra.

A total of about 2500 schools responded and submitted their entries in school, teacher and student categories. Through a long process of scrutiny at state level by experts in the field of education and environment that included government officials, 96 schools, 65 teachers and 57 students were nominated for the national level Puraskar.
A National Committee comprising of eminent experts in the field of education, environmental education, and environmental solutions short listed 15 schools, 14 teachers and 15 students for the Paryavaran Mitra Puraskar at national level.
The National Jury evaluated the short listed entries and identified 4 best amongst these based on contextual connection in terms educational-linkages to curriculum and classroom activities, local environmental issues, role of students, teacher and other stakeholders, outreach/dissemination of results, outcomes, effort in documenting and providing evidences, sustainability and replicability of action, mobilization of resources, information etc.

The dignitaries at the felicitation event were:-
1.    Dr. Ashok Khosla, Chairman, Development Alternatives; Former Director, UNEP and Former President IUCN
2.    Dr. G V Subrahmanyam, Advisor, Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change
3.    Shri Devinder Arora, CSR Head, ArcelorMittal India
4.    Shri Prasad R. Menon, Chairman, Tata Singapore Airlines
5.    Shri S.K. Mukherjee, Ex Director, Wildlife Institute of India
6.    Dr. (Ms.) Shobita Punja, Chief Executive Officer, National Culture Fund
7.    Ms. Kalpana Sharma, Independent Journalist/Columnist
8.    Dr. Mahfuza Rahman, Faculty, Gauhati University, Geography Department.
9.    Shri Kartikeya V. Sarabhai , Director, Centre for Environment Education
10.    Ms. Mamata Pandya, Senior Programme Director, CEE 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


The Pioneer, Oct 14, 2014

Associate Professor of Department of Chemistry, American University of Beirut, Digambara Patra on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to include Bhawanipatna, Balangir and Jeypore in the Smart City scheme.
In a letter to the PM, Patra apprised that the State Government also proposed to include the three cities in the scheme. “We are hopeful that the Centre will be kind to consider the State’s proposal to include the three towns even though the population of each of these towns is less than 200,000,” he said.
He noted that population of towns/cities in hilly regions of the country, including those of Himachal Pradesh and north-eastern States, is always low. The KBK region is considered like a hilly region.
Creation of new smart cities across Odisha would help it achieve all-round development, he stated.
He mentioned that while development in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri and Khurdha has been phenomenal, Rourkela, Sambalpur and Angul are emerging as industrial cities.
However, the KBK region located far away from the State capital and the Sambalpur-Rourkela region are lagging behind although they have a great potential for development based on bauxites mining, tourism and agriculture. Kalahandi has emerged among the top 25 rice-producing districts in the country, he apprised the Prime Minister.
If Bhawanipatna, the district headquarters town of Kalahandi and located centrally in the KBK region, is developed as a smart city, it would impact a large part of socially backward and mineral rich portion of the State. It would also bring economic growth and social development to the neighbouring Chhattisgarh State, he asserted.
He further brought it to the notice of the Prime Minister that a local train and inter-city link among Balangir, Bhawanipatna and Jeypore would certainly trigger development in the KBK region.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Letter to PM: Make Bhawanipatna, Balangir and Jeypore as smart cities and immediately establish a direct rail link between these cities

The Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Modi

Honorable Chief Minister of Odisha, Mr. Patnaik
Honorable Urban Development Minister Mr Naidu
Honorable Railway Railway Minister Mr. Sadananda Dowda

Dear Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Modi,
I am happy to learn that your Government is taking few good steps towards overall sanitation and development across the states within India. The development to minimize the difference between coastal and hilly region is appreciable, for instance proposal to include some coastal and some hilly region in smart cities proposal is praise worthy. However, there are still few challenges regarding geographical inequality within the states.

Earlier most of the time development was confined to within 200 km radius of a particular region. Specifically, in Odisha it was limited to Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri and Berhampur and in few instances Rourkela and Sambalpur. However, recently state Govt. is slowly changing this orthodox mind set and considering to bring locations in KBK region which are not only located far from coastal cities of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Puri, Balasore etc., but also far from north western cities like Rourkela and Sambalpur. I must welcome inclusion of 3 towns of KBK region for the new six STPI in Odisha by both the state and central Government.

The state Government has also proposed to include Bhawanipatna, Jeypore and Balangir in the smart cities. We are hopeful the center will kindly look into the matter sympathetically and consider to include these three towns despite the population of these towns are less than 200,000.  It should be noted that population of towns/cities in hilly regions of India including those of Himachal Pradesh, North Eastern states, etc. are always low. KBK region in Odisha is considered like North Eastern states and Himachal Pradesh.

Recently Odisha is emerging as a fast developing states in India. All around development of the state is quite important for inclusive growth of the country. It is in the interest of the Odisha state to develop new smart cities across the state by distributing in different geographical area.

Primarily, development around state capital Bhubaneswar, which includes other nearby cities like Cutatck, Puri, Khordha, etc has been phenomenal, similarly Rourkela-Sambalpur-Angul is emerging for mining based industries. However, KBK region of the state is located far away from the state capital and Sambalpur-Rourkela region and is lagging behind in industrial development, although this region has a great potential in development based on bauxites mining, tourism and agriculture. Kalahandi has emerged as a top 25 rice-producing district in the nation.

The district headquarter of Kalahandi, Bhawanipatna, is centrally located among all the KBK districts and also among the tribal dominated South Western Odisha which is far from state capital. However, instead of developing a urban city with all modern facilities, higher education, service, and industries, the state Govt. was earlier concentrating Sambalpur and Berhampur with the respective regional tag as Western Odisha and Southern Odisha, which hindered overall urban development of KBK region.

Development of this urban area like Bhawanipatna into a smart modern city will impact a large part of socially backward and mineral rich portion of Odisha. It will also bring economic growth and social development to the neighboring Chhattisgarh state. Considering all aspects, union Govt. of India had already identified Bhawanipatna along with Bhubaneswar in Odisha under the program to improve socioeconomic condition of urban poor.

The twin cities Bhubaneswar-Cuttack lack metro facility. Similarly, a local train and inter-city link could be made between Balangir, Bhawanipatna and Jeypore to trigger development within KBK region, which will be in the line of Rourkela-Jharsuguda-Sambalpur and Sambalpur-Angul-Cuttack/Bhubaneswar railway lines.

Therefore, I urge to consider sympathetically Bhawanipatna, Balangir and Jeypore for smart cities and immediately establish a direct rail link between these cities along with a metro train for Cuttack-Bhubaneswar-Khordha.

Thank you

With best regards

UGC Nod for Seven Community Colleges

The New Indian Express, Oct 13, 2014
BHUBANESWAR : The University Grants Commission (UGC) has allowed seven colleges of the State to implement the community college scheme this year. The Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) had earlier withdrawn the scheme from the State in the wake of several discrepancies and lack of preparedness in implementation of the scheme by the colleges concerned.
The colleges are Bhawanipatna’s Government Autonomous College, Maharaja Purna Chandra College at Baripada, Keonjhar’s Dharanidhar Autonomous College, Fakir Mohan Autonomous College at Balasore, Khallikote Autonomous College in Ganjam, Government Autonomous College at Rourkela and Jeypore’s Vikram Dev College.
The UGC has, however, laid down a set of conditions that needs to be met by the colleges prior to implementation of the scheme. Two of the most important conditions are enrolment of at least 50 students to start the community college and industry-college tie-up in the region concerned. The colleges have been asked to advertise for admission of students to the community colleges.
The seven community colleges will offer courses such as Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management (THM) and Diploma in Retail Management.
While the colleges to be opened in Government Autonomous College, Bhawanipatna; Maharaja Purna Chandra College, Baripada; Dharanidhar Autonomous College, Keonjhar and Fakir Mohan Autonomous College, Balasore will impart THM course, those in Khallikote Autonomous College, Ganjam; Government Autonomous College, Rourkela and Vikram Dev College, Jeypore will offer courses in Retail Management.
Last month, while reviewing the progress made by these colleges in implementation of the scheme, the expert committee of UGC found that the institutions failed to meet the criteria as they had neither constituted the Board of Studies and Board of Management nor selected a project implementing agency for the scheme. The State Government had subsequently clarified that Phailin and the Model Code of Conduct for General Elections had delayed the preparatory work for implementation of the scheme and also urged the Ministry to reconsider the State’s case.
Higher Education Secretary Gagan Dhal had held discussion with UGC Joint Secretary KP Singh over the matter and consequently, principals of the seven colleges submitted fresh proposals to the MHRD.
The scheme will help Odisha Government provide skill development training to one million youths in next four years to drive its economic growth.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Centre to set up 6 STPI in Odisha, STPI facilitation centre at Bhubaneswar

Orissadiary, Sept 30, 2014
Report by Prachee Nayak, Bhubaneswar: Centre to set up 6 centre Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) in Odisha. This was confirmed by the Odisha IT Minister Pranab Prakash Dash.  On this regard Union  Communication and Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad writes letter to IT Minister Pranab Prakash Dash. Union Minister Prasad directed concern authorities to take steps for setting up 6 centre Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) in Odisha. These six STPI centre will be set up at Jajpur, Sambalpur, Kalhandi (Bhawanipatna), Koraut (Jeypore), Angul and Rayagada. It should be noted that Odisha IT Minister Pranab Prakash Dash on July 7 met Union  Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at New Delhi and urged to set up 6 STPI Centre in odisha.  It should be noted that in Odisha STPI operates four centres at Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Rourkela and Balasore. More than 100 IT units of the state are registered with STPI. These units contribute a major chunk to the state’s IT export basket. STPI- Bhubaneswar is one the three centres established along with those at Bangalore and Pune for implementing the STP scheme and to promote software export by providing infrastructure facilities including high speed data communication (HSDC) links.  It should be noted that Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) plans to set up a facilitation centre at bhubaneswar with a mandate to give boost to the IT sector in the state. The centre, to be set up on three acres of land near the International Institute of Information Technology(IIIT), will have software and hardware incubation centres, data centre for the use of IT industries. The Union ministry has sanctioned about Rs 49 crore for the centre in the first phase for taking up the civil infrastructure. The centre will be a G+7 storied building. - See more at: