BHUBANESWAR: The Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) on Tuesday demanded that the Government should take over the Sardar Rajas Medical College and Hospital at Jaring in Kalahandi district, rejecting the State Government’s decision to hand over the college to another private company.
The State Government should take immediate decision to clear the uncertainty over the future of the students who had taken admission in the college, OPCC president Prasad Harichandan said.
Such a situation has arisen because of the faulty decision of the State Government, Harichandan said and added that its action has made the future of students uncertain. The State Government cannot avoid its responsibility as the medical college was set up jointly by the Rajas Group and Western Odisha Development Council (WODC).
While the State Government had provided 25 acres of land at Jaring for the establishment of the medical college, the WODC had spent `10 crore for infrastructure development of the educational institution. The medical college can meet the requirement of the backward Kalahandi district only after Government takeover, Harichandan said and added that it can work as referral hospital for the entire KBK region. Meanwhile, the Health and Family Welfare department maintained that as per the direction of the High Court, the process for relocation of 124 students of the medical college to other recognised medical colleges has started.
Times of India, Sept 30, 2015 BHUBANESWAR: The state cabinet on Wednesday approved a proposal to engage a new promoter for revival of the Sardar Rajas Medical College at Jaring in Kalahandi district.
Future of the medical institution was uncertain after the Medical Council of India (MCI) denied permission to the college due to inadequate infrastructure.
The cabinet, headed by chief minister Naveen Patnaik, also decided to rehabilitate the 124 MBBS students of the beleaguered college in three private medical colleges in Bhubaneswar.
While 100 students were taken admission in 2013-14, remaining 24 students were enrolled in the following year (2014-15), official sources said.
"The Orissa high court has asked the state government to consult with the MCI for one-time increase of seats in the three private medical colleges of the city for rehabilitation of the students," said development commissioner U N Behera after the cabinet meeting. "We hope the MCI would agree with our proposal since the high court has asked to do so," he added.
In January, 2004, a MoU was signed between Selvam Educational and Charitable Trust and the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC), a wing under the state planning and coordination department, to set up the medical college and hospital on public private partnership mode.
"The Western Odisha Development Council has already cancelled the MoU with the trust and lodged FIR against it for improper management of the medical college," Behera said.
He also said that according to the conditions of the MoU, the WODC would take over the infrastructure of the medical college since it had sanctioned Rs 10 crore to the trust earlier.
The 300-bed hospital attached to the medical college would be closed till engagement of a new promoter.
Times of India, Sept 6, 2015 BHAWANIPATNA: Even though Kalahandi has been receiving special focus in implementation of several welfare schemes for more than a decade now, child healthcare continues to paint a dismal picture.
According to official data, infant death rate in the district has increased from 951 deaths out of 25,470 newborns in 2013-14 to 1,116 deaths out of 25,882 newborns in 2014-2015.
Reports from far-flung areas said deliveries are made at home because people can't reach the nearest community health centre (CHC) in time due to the inaccessible terrain. Baduli Majhi, 25, gave birth to a baby girl in Madanpur Rampur block's Pilabanji village, 100 km from here, on August 25 night. The mother's health began to deteriorate after the delivery. Next day, her husband Rana Majhi brought her to the main road on a cot with the help of villagers walking seven km. Then they called an ambulance and the person manning it said it would take one hour to reach the spot. They could not wait for the ambulance and further walked five km to reach the CHC. Luckily, the mother and the baby remained safe.
People in remote pockets like Lanjigarh, Thuamul Rampur and M Rampur cannot reach the nearest health centre due overflowing nullahs in the rains. With no other options they are forced to take the help of quacks.
Health authorities said in the remote pockets, pregnant women seldom heed health workers' advice regarding precautions to be taken during pregnancy resulting in newborn deaths.
Chief district medical officer (CDMO) Braja Kishore Brahma said most infant deaths are reported because of birth asphyxia, respiratory infection, low birth weight (LBW) and premature delivery.
In 2014-15, as many as 194 infants died of 1,585 admitted to the sick newborn care unit (SNCU) of district headquarters hospital at Bhawanipatna. The SNCU has 12 beds, which is much below the requirement. Three paediatricians have been appointed in Bhawanipatna but there is no paediatrician in nine blocks, where trained nurses, auxiliary nurse midwives and AYUSH doctors take care of the newborns. Of the 23 paediatrician posts in the district, 17 are lying vacant.
"Due to the overload of infants in the 40-bed children ward in the Bhawanipatna hospital, many babies are treated on the floor as on an average 150 children are admitted daily," the CDMO said.
From April to June, 31% LBW babies were reported in the district. The babies weighed less than 2.5 kg and the measure cause behind the LBW is poor nutrition in pregnant women, said a doctor. "Most of the babies weigh between 1,500 and 1,700 gm because of nutrition deficiency among the mothers," said an official of the NHM Santosh Kumar Ojha.
A 220-bed maternal child healthcare unit is under construction at a cost of Rs 16 crore at Bhawanipatna. The unit, funded by the NHM, is expected to be completed by this year-end.
Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan on Friday came down heavily on the Odisha Government for the unabated infant deaths at the Sishu Bhawan and ongoing stir at the Sardar Rajas Medical College at Jirang in Kalahandi district.
“We take up the Sishu Bhawan issue with the Prime Minister and he asked the Union Health Ministry to send a medical team to the paderatic centre. But the Odisha Government instead taking the chance did not entertain the doctors which is ‘embarrassing,” said Pradhan at a Press conference in Bhubaneswar.
He appealed to the State Government to reconsider the issue so far as federal structure is concerned.
The Union Minister also said that the State Government is responsible for the stir and withdrawal of the MBBS seats at the Sardar Rajas Medical College and Hospital.
“The Sardar Rajas Medical College is a State-sponsored medical college. Funds have been provided to it out of the WODC fund. The MCI has just done it duty. If the Government will not ensure adequate requirements as the MCI guidelines then who will be held responsible,” rued Pradhan.
The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Sept 3, 2015
BHUBANESWAR: In its plan to position Odisha as next best destination for information technology (IT), the State Government on Wednesday decided to set up a modern data centre at Infovalley-II.
The proposed State Data Centre will provide shared, secured and managed infrastructure for consolidating and securely hosting State level data and applications. The Data Centre will provide better operations and management control and minimise overall cost of data management.
This was decided at a high level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here.
The IT Department has also planned to set up business process outsourcing (BPO) units in rural areas of the State.
The Department is in the process of formulating a rural BPO scheme under which the Government plans to offer subsidies for creating BPO seats, official sources said.
Initially 5,000-10,000 seats will be created at the locations where Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) stations are operating. These locations are Bhubaneswar, Balasore, Rourkela and Berhampur. The objective is to provide jobs to rural youths, the sources said.
The scheme will help achieve the employment generation target made in the State information and communication technology (ICT) policy. The ICT policy aims to create direct employment for 60,000 professionals in 800 IT, IT-enabled services and electronic system design and manufacturing (ESDM) units.
Meanwhile, the State Government has submitted a proposal to the Centre for opening six more STPI stations at Angul, Sambalpur, Jajpur, Jeypore, Bhawanipatna and Rayagada.
The meeting further decided to make the Capital and several other cities of the State WiFi enabled by March 2016. WiFi services have been made available in six important locations of the city from August 10.
The entire Capital City will be WiFi enabled and STPI has been asked to prepare a detailed project report, Minister of State for IT Pranab Prakash Das said.
The Chief Minister also reviewed the Internet connectivity programme in the State.
NRO and Kalahandi native Prof Digambar Patra of the American University of Beirut, Lebanon, has urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for a probe into the attack on peaceful demonstrators on August 28 in Kalahandi and bring the attackers to book.
He said that in the past few days there was a complete shutdown of Kalahandi in demand of converting Sardar Raja Medical College to a Government institution. The shutdown was called by independent and non-political organizations led by a central action committee, which was supported by all political parties, social and business organisations in Kalahandi.
Not to mention that there was a strong support from general people of Kalahandi, from village to town level, for this agitation, which was evident from the response the shutdown received in past two days. Perhaps such a level of success was to be seen for the first time in past two decades.
However, on August 28 last, a group of people attached some of the protestors, which included former Union Minister Bhakta Charan Das and a few people from Congress.
Kalahandi is a peaceful and peace loving region. Despite strong public frustration due to failure of Sardar Raja Medical College, people in Kalahandi are not used to violence. Kalahandi people do not prefer violence and have been agitating peacefully.
The attack, which happened on August 28, is extremely condemnable. Though such attack was targeted at Das and his party colleagues, it is highly regrettable and common people of Kalahandi have not taken such attack lightly. All the political parties, lawyers association, private bus owners association, traders association, labour unions etc. in Kalahandi have come together for the common interest of region and given their complete support for the cause without keeping any political bias. Therefore, people of Kalahandi were not expecting that any group used such situation for political revenge, as it would dilute the cause and demean the interest of the region.
The attackers, who tried to bring politics and disturb peaceful environment of Kalahandi, must be brought into legal action. Unfortunately, the police have made no arrest yet.
The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Sept 2, 2015
BHUBANESWAR: With students of Sardar Rajas Medical College and Hospital at Jaring in Kalahandi district left in the lurch following withdrawal of MCI recognition, the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) on Tuesday lodged an FIR against its chairman Dr SA Raja.
The WODC has accused Raja of violating the MoU and mismanagement in not putting up the required infrastructure and facilities for proper functioning of the institution that has resulted in MCI action. As per the MoU signed in 2004, WODC had provided `10 crore as its share for setting up the college and hospital. It has alleged gross irregularities in execution of the project and administration of the medical college, which has pushed the future of students to uncertainty.
On August 23, the WODC had served a notice to Raja asking him to explain why action should not be initiated for failing to honour the conditions in the MoU. On Tuesday, it sent across a fax stating that it should be treated as an FIR.
While `10 crore was given to it in as many instalments for setting up infrastructure, Government had also allocated 25 acre for the project.
Since these conditions were not met and Raja is accused of misappropriating the funds, the Council had threatened in the notice to start proceeding to recover the funds at 10 per cent interest rate.
The 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.
However, as the college authorities failed to do so, it withdrew approval this year.
The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Aug 29, 2015
BHUBANESWAR: Life was hit on the second day of 48-hour bandh called by Kalahandi Medical College Kriyanusthan Committee demanding Government take-over of the Sardar Rajas Medical College at Jaring on Friday.
Like Thursday, all the business establishments remained closed while vehicular traffic came to a grinding halt.
Members of Kalahandi Merchants Association, truck owners, auto and Bar associations extended their support to the bandh call and so did members of all political parties. Road blockades and street corner meetings were organised by the agitators who threatened to intensify the agitation, if the State Government does not agree to their demand.
Over 100 local people of Lanjigarh block and Bhawanipatna met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the Naveen Niwas here on Friday and submitted a memorandum.They sought urgent intervention by the Government to bail out Vedanta’s alumina refinery from the current crisis which it faces in absence of bauxite from Odisha.
They demanded that the Odisha Government should immediately take steps to secure bauxite from Niyamgiri for the refinery and informed that once the refinery is closed, nearly 10,000 people will be directly affected. They demanded that the Government must ask the company not to go for a shutdown.
They sought personal intervention of the Chief Minister in the issue. The delegation was accompanied by MLAs Balbhadra Majhi, Anama Naik and Dibyashankar Mishra.
All efforts should be made to keep the project operational as it is essential for the development of the local economy, said Majhi.Meanwhile, sources have confirmed that the Ministry of Steel and Mines will convene an urgent meeting on Saturday and has invited MP Kalahandi and all regional MLAs including of Lanjigarh, Junagarh, Bhawanipatna and Narla along with the company officials to discuss the issue.
The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Aug 28, 2015
BHAWANIPATNA:The 48-hour Kalahandi bandh, called by Kalahandi Medical College Kriyanusthan Committee demanding Government take-over of the Sardar Rajas Medical College at Jaring, threw normal life out of gear on Thursday.
Members of Kalahandi Merchants Association, Truck Owners, Auto and Bar Associations extended their support to the bandh call besides members of all political parties. All the business establishments remained closed while vehicular traffic came to a grinding halt.
The bandh was total in Junagarh, Kesinga, Dharamgarh, Kalampur and Jaipatna. Work was also hit in Government offices and courts. On Monday, the committee members had met the Chief Minister at Bhubaneswar demanding Government take-over of the medical college and hospital in larger public interest. Not satisfied with the talks, they called for the bandh. This year, apparently, the MCI did not give permission for admission to the medical college for 2015-16 academic session owing to several shortcomings. Set up by Tamil Nadu-based Selvam Education and Charitable Trust at Jaring in Kalahandi district, the medical college has no adequate faculty and infrastructure and the hospital functions with skeletal staff.
The MCI had approved 100 seats for the medical college for 2013-14 academic session on the condition that it would meet infrastructure and staff requirement. Accordingly, medical college went ahead with the admission.
Last year, the MCI barred admission to the medical college as infrastructure was not upgraded nor staff strength increased. The situation is the same this year too.
Members cutting across party lines on Thursday urged the State Government to take over the Sardar Rajas Medical College and Research Centre at Jaringi in Kalahandi district soon in order to safeguard the future of 128 MBBS students and to provide healthcare to poor tribal people in the whole KBK region.
Raising the issue in the Assembly, BJP Legislature Party Leader Basant Panda said future of 124 MBBS students who had taken admission in the medical college has been pushed into dark as the MCI has already withdrawn its approval for poor infrastructure. As there is no medical college and people are not getting proper healthcare in the KBK area, the Government should take over it as soon as possible, he demanded.
His party colleague KV Singh Deo supported Panda and urged the Speaker to direct the Health Minister to hold talks with concerned officers, including Kalahandi Collector, and take necessary action soon so that the future of students can be saved.
Intervening into the issue, Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra said the person who had founded the college is a fraud, and as the MCI has withdrawn recognition, the House should know what steps the Government has taken to safeguard the students. He urged the Speaker to direct the Minister to make a Statement in the House.
Among others, Opposition Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati, BJD MLAs DS Mishra, Anam Nayak, Balabhadra Majhi and Ranendra Pratap Swain too supported the issue.
The Health Minister made a statement, saying the issue is now pending with the High Court. The Government is waiting for the court order and would act accordingly, he said.
A two-day Kalahandi bandh was held on Friday demanding Government status to Jaring-based Sardar Raja Medical College. Normal life was disrupted in Kalahandi with shops and daily market remaining closed on account of the bandh.
The central action committee of the Kalahandi medical college has called the bandh, backed by various political parties and the district lawyers’ association. Both the aggrieved citizens and the students are also participating in the stir against the private management of the college. They demand that the State Government take over the institute as soon as possible to save the future of the students. Moreover, the private bus owners’ association, traders’ association and labourers’ union have also pledged support to the bandh.
Notably, with the Medical Council of India (MCI) approval, the medical college had taken 124 students in academic year 2013-14. But, the MCI cancelled the student-intake approval in 2014-15 citing poor infrastructure and lack of faculties as reasons. However, the college took 30 students in the same year as the Supreme Court gave a ruling in favour of it.
The State Government would apprise the MCI for its approval to permitting 124 medicos to pursue their courses in the different medical colleges of the State, Junagarh MLA Captain Dibya Shankar Mishra said.
Anil Agarwal-owned Vedanta has decided to close down its one million tonne alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district due to non-availability of bauxite ore and falling global metal prices.
Vedanta’s chief operating officer KK Dave said with the current market turmoil, “which is not likely to improve soon and in absence of access to bauxite ore from within the state,” the company was forced to start the process of closure. He said the plant is operating with a daily loss of Rs 3 crore. The Niyamgiri hilltop, which Vedanta wanted to mine, contained an estimated 72 million tonnes of bauxite. But the company could not mine due to opposition from Dongaria Kondh tribals residing on the hill slopes.
The Odisha government also showed its helplessness today saying it can’t provide bauxite as no lease was available with its mining PSU Odisha Mining Corporation. State steel and mines minister Prafulla Mallick said OMC has no running bauxite mine. In 2009, OMC had formed South West Bauxite Mining Company, a joint venture with 26 per cent equity of Vedanta for supply of bauxite from deposits in Kalahandi and Rayagada districts to feed the alumina refinery. Though Vedanta officials did not say when the refinery would be shut down, they indicated that it may be done in a fortnight. The shutdown would affect over 1000 employees. In December 2012, Vedanta had shut down its unit temporarily for over 7 months due to economic non-viability and shortfall in bauxite ore supply. Earlier in August, Vedanta decided to suspend production at the rolling mill at Korba in Chhattisgarh as aluminium prices dipped down.
Normal life was disrupted in Odisha’s Kalahandi district today following a 48-hour bandh called by Kalahandi Medical College Kriyanusthan Committee demanding government status to Sardar Rajas Medical College at Jaring in the district.
All trading establishments remained closed while vehicular traffic came to a grinding halt in Bhawanipatna, Kesinga, Junagarh and Dharmagarh towns in the district.
However, essential services like supply of drinking water and health services were kept out of the purview of the bandh by the Committee.
Several opposition political parties and the Kalahandi District Bar Association have extended support to the bandh call. Besides, the private bus owners’ association, traders’ association and labour unions have also supported the bandh.
“There was a massive agitation by the people in the district in 2004 demanding a 500-bedded medical college and hospital. As there is no speciality hospital in the district, the patients usually move to Vizag, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Burla and Raipur to get better treatment spending a lot of money. Following the agitation, the state government had entrusted the Rajas Group of Institutions to set up a medical college and hospital in the district. But the fact remains that the Rajas Group of Institutions has no medical colleges and the teaching faculty. Besides, the company is not financially sound to set up a medical college and hospital which requires an investment of at least Rs 400-500 crore,” senior Congress leader and former Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das told the media today.
The issue cropped up during Zero Hour in the State Assembly today with members cutting across party lines drawing the attention of the Speaker and demanding government takeover of the medical college and hospital keeping the future of the students in view.
“The matter is presently sub judice in the Odisha High Court. The state government, after the verdict of the court, will take necessary steps in consultation with the Medical Council of India (MCI),” Health and Family Welfare minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said in his reply.
The minister also requested the agitators to withdraw the bandh call.
Rural: For solving rural problems and generating high quality human resource in the socially backward rural pockets, India should build National Rural University in the line of Central University in each rural, backward and economically poor pocket and cluster across the nation. Kalahandi is a central place in KBK, Kandhamal region, thus, a National Rural University should be established in Kalahandi.
The reply from center is:
The Ministry has launched Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) - a Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), in 2013 to address issues of equity, access and excellence in higher education.
WE HOPE UNDER RUSA, Govt. (A) College Bhawanipatna will be considered for a University status, which is our long standing demand.
The number of MBBS seats for Odisha has come down by 250 from this year. The Medical Council of India (MCI), the apex medical education body, has not renewed 250 MBBS seats in Odisha’s three medical colleges for the academic session 2015-16.
The MCI denied permission for admitting students to Hi-Tech Medical College, Rourkela, and Sardar Rajas Medical College, Kalahandi. Besides, the council slashed the number of seats at Kalinga Institute of Medical Science (KIMS) Bhuabaneswar, to 100 from 150 on the grounds of lack of the adequate infrastructure.
Notably, both Hi-Tech and Rajas had admitted 100 students each last year.
Official sources said the MCI had asked these colleges to improve infrastructure to consider the renewal.
There are a total of 650 MBBS and 150 BDS seats in the state of which counselling would begin for 85% of seats by the Odisha Joint Entrance Examination (OJEE) on Monday. SCB Medical College in Cuttack will be the nodal centre for counselling. Students can register themselves for counselling till August 28.
Times of India, Aug 22, 2015 Bikash Khemka & Ashok Pradhan,TNN | Aug 22, 2015, 03.40 PM IST BHUBANESWAR/BHAWANIPATNA: The state government is likely to transfer 124 students of Sardar Ramjas Medical College in Kalahandi district to other institutions, a government response to a petition in Orissa high court said.
The students have been agitating in front of their college since July 30 seeking government intervention to rescue them from the continued uncertainty since the college has no infrastructure and faculty to meet statutory norms of the Medical Council of India (MCI).
Hearing a petition filed by students, the high court on August 19 said advocate general S P Mishra had submitted in the court that the state "would take all necessary steps to try and ensure that the future educational needs of the students are not in any manner affected". To this end, the AG has asked for time to initiate discussion with health secretary Arti Ahuja and institutions where these students could possibly be accommodated, the bench of I Mahanty and D P Choudhury said.
On August 4, the HC had asked the health secretary and the director medical education and training P C Mohapatra to visit Selvam Educational and Charitable trust, which runs the Kalahandi college, and submit a report before the court.
MCI counsel R C Mohanty told the court that if the state government requested for transfer of the students who have already been admitted, it would deal with the matter forthwith.
The HC will hear the matter again on August 25.
Junagarh MLA Divya Shankar Mishra told reporters in Bhubaneswar that since the future of the students is involved, the government would take a positive stand. "Hopefully, the students will be moved to other colleges if MCI gives its nod," he said.
While 100 students took admission in 2013-14, 24 others were enrolled in 2014-15. The MCI had given provisional approval to the college in 2013-14. Since the institution could not meet the eligibility norms, the MCI declined recognition in 2014-15. The college managed to admit the students that academic year on the basis of a Supreme Court order on its petition.
Addressing a news conference in Bhubaneswar, the students on Friday said the college did not have a single permanent faculty member while the hospital was completely defunct. "The state must intervene since the college is a public private partnership project," they said.
The college was established by the Tamil Nadu-based Selvam Educational and Charitable Trust. The state government had given Rs 10 crore and 25 acre land after the trust signed an MoU with the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC). The WODC had taken the initiative to establish the institution to remove inequality in medical care in the tribal dominated area.