Saturday, October 25, 2014

Labourer out of work in MGNREGA scheme due to lack of digital signature

Reported by Sri Debendra Bisi
Sambad, Oct 25, 2014

Poor progress in correction in voter list

Reported by Sri Debendra Bisi
Sambad, Oct 21, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Woman sold by her husband in Mumbai

Reported by Sri Debendra Bisi
Sambad, Oct 17, 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

PM URGED TO ADD 3 KBK TOWNS TO SMART CITY LIST

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

To
The Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Modi

CC
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: http://www.orissadiary.com/CurrentNews.asp?id=53873#sthash.whlvhqnH.dpuf

Monday, September 22, 2014

Maize Farmers Stare at Crop Loss Mess

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Sept. 21, 2014
BHAWANIPATNA:  Farmers of Kalahandi district, who cultivate maize as one of the major cash crops, are set for a major loss due to adverse climatic condition during the current kharif season.
According to Agriculture Department, this kharif season, maize has been grown in 19,545 hectares against 19,672 hectares last year. Out of 82,672 tonnes of maize produced last year, around 36,000 tonnes were exported to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Kalahandi maize has a good demand even in international markets as organic manure is used in cultivation instead of fertilizer and pesticide.
During current season, the farmers were expecting a good harvest considering the last year’s experience. However, the crop yield is likely to get a setback due to adverse weather conditions throughout the district except areas of Golamunda block. The traditional maize growing areas like Bhawanipatna, Kesinga, Thuamul Rampur, Lanjigarh and M Rampur blocks received inadequate rain during initial phase of farming and later, excess rainfall hampered the growth of plants.
Deputy Director of Agriculture, Laxman Kumar Paltasingh, said inadequate rain in June and continuous rain from July affected the crop. Farmers of most areas failed to take up the weeding and earth work on time and also could not apply manure.  From the field situation, it is apprehended that there may be tentative production loss of 30 to 40 per cent compared to the last year’s output.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

To help Vedanta, Orissa nudges Centre for Karlapat bauxite mines

The Financial Express, Sept 18, 2014

Debabrata Mohanty | Bhubaneswar | Published: Sep 18 2014, 08:52 IST
Orissa chief secretary on Wednesday urged the Union mines ministry to reserve Karlapat bauxite mines in Kalahandi for the state-owned Orissa Mining Corporation.
This comes a week after Vedanta Resources chief Anil Agarwal met chief minister Naveen Patnaik seeking his help for bauxite mines for the 1 million tonne per annum bauxite refinery in Lanjigarh block of the same district.
OMC had entered into a MoU with Sesa Sterlite (earlier Vedanta Aluminum) for mining Niyamgiri hilltop in Kalahandi district jointly, but the plan came unstuck in August 2010 after protests from local tribals and environmental activists.
The Anil Agarwal-owned company is running the plant with bauxite sourced from outside Orissa.
Agarwal had met Patnaik seeking his help in getting alternative bauxite mines for his refinery as well as aluminium smelter in Jharsuguda district.
The company has got prospecting licence for 3 laterite mines in Koraput, expecting to get some amount of bauxite from it.
“The proposal would facilitate OMC to provide bauxite in a fair and equitable manner to the state-based end-use plants to meet their raw material...,” Orissa chief secretary GC Pati wrote to Union mines secretary Anup Pujari.
Official sources said once Karlapat is allocated in favour of OMC, it would be a breather for Sesa Sterlite as the state PSU can sign MoU for providing bauxite to it.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

‘CHOOSE B’PATNA FOR STATE’S 2ND AGRI VARSITY’

The Pioneer, Sept 17, 2014
Non-resident Odia (NRO) Professor Digambara Patra has urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to set up the second agriculture university of the State at Bhawanipatna and several regional research centres of the varsity across the KBK region.
In a letter to Chief Minister Patnaik and Chief Secretary GC Pati, Patra has resented the proposal of the House Committee headed by former Minister Pramilia Mallick for setting up the varsity in Similiguda of Koraput district.
Describing it as political favoritism, Patra argued that Bhawanipatna has several merits for the top institution such as strategic location, an agriculture college with faculty, staff and infrastructure, administrative and academic advantages of the district.
Notably, last year Chief Minister Patnaik had appealed to the Centre for the second Agriculture University in KBK region. Former Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar had suggested setting up the university in Kalahandi since the district is a top producer of rice, cotton and pulses in the State and it required advanced technology to boost its farming.
The State Government had earlier asked Orissa University of Agriculture Technology (OUAT) to submit a feasibility report to upgrade the current agriculture college at Bhawanipatna to a university.
Patra said that Kalahandi is among the 25th largest rice producer districts in India. The agriculture growth of the district is not yet saturated and it is predicted that it can be one of the forefront districts in the nation in agriculture growth.
He said Bhawanipatna is located centrally among all KBK districts and suits the interest for all the KBK districts. Semiliguda is more than 300 km from Balangir, 340 km from Nuapada and 360 km from Sonepur, whereas the farthest KBK district headquarters Malkangiri is within 250 km from Bhawanipatna.
Rest of the KBK district headquarters are in 150 km from Bhawanipatna (4 of them are in 100 km range). The proximity of Bhawanipatna to all the existing Regional Research and Transfer Technology Stations and Regional Research and Transfer Technology Sub-Stations of OUAT in KBK and western Odisha region even demands location of the proposed university at Bhawanipatna, he pointed out.
Patra suggested that the infrastructure, students and staff of the Agriculture College at Bhawanipatna can be used initially for the new university till it comes full-fledged. He said that water, electricity and road infrastructure is already available in the existing building of the college. Only the current facilities need to be expanded within in the campus, he added.
He stated that the Agriculture College is located in the township area and neighboring to Bhawanipatna railway station and on Khariar-Bhawanipatna SH 16, which is being expanded to a four lanes through World Bank assistance.
“The land available under OUAT campus in Bhawanipatna is in the samerange of land area where OUAT main campus is located in Bhubaneswar. Of course, land available in the Regional Research and Transfer Technology Station at Similiguda is much higher, but this is largely outside the urban area for research purposes, whereas the land available in Bhawanipatna is within in the township area. If land is the actual concern, there is plenty of land available adjacent to Agriculture College, Bhawanipatna that the Government could easily acquire for the purpose,” he said.
He continued to say, “However, most of the Agriculture Universities or Faculties keep their research centers that need substantial farming land in rural campus and undertake teaching and campus housing related activities in the urban campus. For example, farm and research center of Agriculture Faculty of my University is in a rural area, 75 km from our main campus where teaching is carried out.”
He also suggested that “It could be a good idea to keep the teaching campus of the proposed second agriculture university in the urban location like Bhawanipatna and distribute the research centers to various districts in KBK region”.

Monday, September 15, 2014

NRO Urges For Tribal Varsity

Tathya.in, Sept 12, 2014
Bhawanipatna : 12/September/2014 
As the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has given its nod for setting up a National Tribal University in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Bastar region to facilitate research and development of tribal culture and dialect, leading NRO Digambar Patra has lauded the move.
 
Dr.Patra in a letter to Union Minister HRD, Smriti Irani has said that earlier Union Government  has established Indira Gandhi National Tribal University (IGNTU) at Amarkantak and one of its regional campuses has been established in Manipur.
 
So Dr.Patra has urged the Union Government to set up a National University for Tribals in Kalahandi. He said that Odisha is primarily a tribal dominated state and it is one of the few major states having substantial percentage of tribal.
 
Odisha has higher percentage of tribal population compared to Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharastra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, etc.
 
Therefore, based on the letter of former BJP MP  Bikram Keshari Deo regarding establishment of Central University of Orissa in Kalahandi instead of Koraput, earlier MHRD had proposed to establish new tribal university campus in Kalahandi during 11th plan.
 
Information obtained through RTI act that IGNTU at Amarkantak has already received a proposal from MHRD to open a regional campus at Kalahandi.
 
As per the policy of the University, State Government of Odisha was informed to provide infrastructure facilities like a minimum of 300 acres of land, approach road and electricity supply and accordingly the state Govt. was asked to facilitate with the infrastructure facilities.
 
Following it, then Additional District Magistrate (ADM) had identified the required 300 acres of land in Benda Jhola and Kumudabahal village in Thuamul-Rampur panchayat samiti of the district and informed the same to the Department of Higher Education (DHE), Odisha.
 
Since then no action has been taken by MHRD. On the other hand, MHRD has acted immediately on the proposal of Chhattisgarh Government and considering similar proposal for Andhra Pradesh.
 
It is surprising that MHRD has not acted on the promise it has made to Kalahandi people with regards to establishment of a tribal university despite the fact that KBK region in Odisha is a tribal dominated backward region.
 
Dr.Patra pointed out that the region is also suffering due to insurgency like Bastar. The site identified by Kalahandi district administration is located at the heart of tribal population in Kandhamal, Nabarangpur, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nuapada, Rayagada, Gajapati, Kalahandi, Balangir, Boudh, Bargarh, Sambalpur and Sonepur serving one of the largest tribal concentrations in Odisha as well as in India.
 
The site is well connected by state highway, which is undergoing a two lanes expansion and having all required infrastructure like water and electricity.
There are many other suitable Government owned sites in Kalahandi district such as one near Kesinga or Junagarh having all required infrastructure for such establishment of a national university.
 
MHRD has been establishing multiples of new IIT, IIM and AIIMS; however, it has completely sidelined its earlier commitment to establish national universities for tribal population in Kalahandi.
 

Under this backdrop, Dr.Patra has urged the Union Minister to  take necessary step to establish a national university in Kalahandi for tribal immediately.

NRO ARGUES WHY K’HANDI DESERVES TRIBAL UNIVERSITY

The Pioneer, Sept 14, 2014
As the Union Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has given its nod for setting up a National Tribal University in Chhattisgarh’s insurgency-hit Bastar region to facilitate research and development of tribal culture and dialect, leading non-resident Odia (NRO) educationist Digambara Patra has lauded the move.
Prof Patra in a letter to Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani has said that earlier the Union Government has established Indira Gandhi National Tribal University (IGNTU) at Amarkantak and one of its regional campuses has been set up in Manipur.
Prof Patra has, therefore, urged the Union Government to set up a National University for tribals in Kalahandi. He has pointed out that Odisha is a tribals-dominated State. Odisha has a higher percentage of tribal population compared to Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, etc.
Therefore, based on the letter of former BJP MP late Bikram Keshari Deo regarding establishment of Central University of Odisha in Kalahandi instead of Koraput, earlier the MHRD had proposed to establish a tribal university campus in Kalahandi during the 11th Plan.
Information obtained through the RTI Act says the IGNTU at Amarkantak has already received a proposal from the MHRD to open a regional campus in Kalahandi. The Odisha Government was informed to provide infrastructure facilities like a minimum 300 acres of land, approach road and electricity.
Following it, the then Kalahandi Additional District Magistrate had identified the required 300 acres of land at Benda Jhola and Kumudabahal villages in Thuamul-Rampur panchayat samiti of the district and informed about it to the State’s Department of Higher Education.
Since then, no action has been taken by the MHRD. On the other hand, the MHRD has acted immediately on the proposal of the Chhattisgarh Government and is considering a similar proposal for Andhra Pradesh. It is surprising that the MHRD has not acted on the promise it made to Kalahandi people with regard to a tribal university, Prof Paztra has stated.
He has pointed out that the site identified by the Kalahandi district administration is located at the heart of tribal populations of the districts of Kandhamal, Nabarangpur, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nuapada, Rayagada, Gajapati, Kalahandi, Balangir, Boudh, Bargarh, Sambalpur and Subarnapur serving one of the largest tribal concentrations in Odisha as well as in India.

CPM Demands CBI Inquiry into Scams

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Sept 15, 2014
BHAWANIPATNA:  Demanding CBI probe, State Secretariat member of CPM, Ali Kishore Pattnaik said involvement of politicians in mining and chit fund scams in the State should be brought to the limelight.
Addressing mediapersons here on Saturday, Pattnaik said according to CAG reports, financial irregularities have been found in 38 departments and 17 public sector undertakings (PSUs) of the State Government. “The current BJD Government has surpassed all the past corruptions. The Government is hand in gloves with persons accused in chit fund and mining scams,” he alleged. Failure of Crime Branch and Vigilance in solving several cases has been proved and the only solution to unearth the truth is the CBI, he said.
Apparently, the State unit of CPM has launched a public awareness campaign on these scams since September 5 and it will continue till 15th.
Protests will be stepped up if the Government fails to take any action against the corrupt politicians, he added.
District secretary of CPM, Naba Kishore Pattnaik, and district committee member Biswajit Chatterji, highlighted several problems ailing the region.
Issues like establishment of an agriculture university in Kalahandi and revival of the medical college at Jaring that failed to get the nod from the Medical Council of India due to lack of infrastructure and early establishment of the proposed rail wagon factory at Narla were also discussed in the meet.

Kalahandi, Koraput in Race for Second Agriculture Varsity

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Sept 15, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: Even as the Assembly Standing Committee on Agriculture has recommended establishment of the proposed second agriculture university at Semiliguda in Koraput district, Citizens’ Forum, Kalahandi demand the institute at Bhawanipatna.
The Committee, headed by BJD legislator Pramila Mallick, said an agriculture university plays a vital role in education, research and extension in the field of agriculture and allied sciences. There is a need for another such varsity to meet the State’s demands.
“Steps should be taken to establish a second agriculture university preferably at Semiliguda in Koraput district,” the report submitted to the Assembly said.
The site recommended by the Committee assumes significance against the backdrop of Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy’s announcement that the State Government has decided to set up a second agriculture university in KBK region.
Meanwhile, the Kalahandi Citizens’ Forum has urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to establish the proposed university at Bhawanipatna, the district headquarters of Kalahandi.
In a memorandum to the Chief Minister, the forum said adequate Government land and other ancillary facilities are available near the Agriculture College at Bhawanipatna. The land available with Arkabahli agriculture farm located near the existing agriculture college and the Krishi Vigyan Kendra could be readily utilised for demonstration farming.
At least 500-600 acres of land would be required for the proposed agriculture university which will house a College of Agriculture and Agriculture Engineering, College of Fisheries and College of Animal Sciences.
Meanwhile, the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) has submitted a list of facilities available on agriculture and allied subjects in KBK districts to the State Government for taking a decision on the proposed university.
Sources in OUAT said both Semiliguda and Bhawanipatna are suitable locations. It is upto the Government to take a decision as to which site is better suited for the proposed university.
Several Congress leaders of Balangir district have also demanded establishment of the proposed university in their district.
The State Government recently wrote to Collectors of six districts to identify a suitable location in their districts for the proposed Indian Institute of Management (IIM). The six districts are Cuttack, Khurda, Ganjam, Koraput, Sambalpur and Sundargarh.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

BIJU EXPRESSWAY IN FOUR N’RANGPUR BLOCKS SOUGHT

Note: A good suggestion, indeed we have been asking state Govt. to connect Dharamgarh and Umakote directly via Jharigram since a while, which will benefit bordering area of KBK and directly connect Umarkote with Balangir, Kalahandi, Sonepur, Kandhamal etc.

The Pioneer, Sept 13, 2014
Demanding the proposed Biju Express Highway route to cover four blocks, including Dabugam, Umerkote, Jharigam and Chandahandi of Nabarangpur district, a delegation of the Zilla Nagarik Suraksha O Sachetan Manch submitted a memorandum to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik through district Collector Md Sadique Alam on Thursday.
Notably, the proposed highway with a cost of Rs 3,200 crore would connect Jagadalpur in Chhattisgarh with Rourkela via Kotpad, Boriguma, Nabarangpur, Papadahandi, Maidalpur, Ampani, Kenduguda, Dharamgarh, Nuapada, Saintala, Bargarh, Sambalpur and Jharsuguda. It would cover four KBK districts and four districts in the western Odisha. For a more convenient communication facility in the tribal-dominated district, the delegation demanded that the highway be diverted from Papadahandi junction to Dabugam, Umerkote, Jharigam, Chandahandi and then Dharamgarh instead of Maidalpur-Ampani-Kenduguda as the existing NH-26 passes through the Maidalpur-Ampani-Junagarh-Bargarh route.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bad Weather Likely to Affect Cotton Output in Kalahandi

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Sept 12, 2014
BHAWANIPATNA : Adverse weather condition is likely to hit cotton production in Kalahandi district. Being the major cash crop in the district, continuous spell of bad climatic condition has cast doubts over the crop forecast.
Sources said cotton crop has been affected due to dry condition in June and the incessant rain since July till date.
As against the target of Agriculture Department to cover 45,850 hectares (ha) in the district, cotton crop has been cultivated in 44,677 ha. Sowing of the seed has been delayed by 20 days. Plants are mostly in staggered condition and the growth is stunted. Moreover, plant density has not been uniform.
As per the periodical crop assessment of the Department, of the total 44,677 ha, cotton crop in 14,998 ha has been affected. Upto 25 per cent of crop have been badly affected in 9531 ha, 25 to 50 per cent in 4302 ha and above 50 per cent in 1163 ha.
Cotton crop specialist Narayan Upadhyaya said going by the field scenario, there may be 30 to 40 per cent production loss. Fertilizer and crop nutrients have been washed away from the fields due to heavy rain. As against initial expectation of production of more than six lakh quintals of cotton seeds, the production may come down to four to 4.5 lakh quintals, he said.
Upadhyaya further said the intercropping pulse crop Arhargrown in lines with cotton has also been affected by bad weather. If there is relief from incessant rain, there may be some improvement in crop yield, he added.

Civic poll process begins at 9 places

Times of India, Sept 12, 2014

BHUBANESWAR: The state election commission (SEC) has started process for conducting civic polls in Paradip, Sunabeda and Belpahar municipalities and Balimela and Rairakhol notified area councils (NACs).

According to an official release issued here on Thursday, the existing councils of the five civic bodies would dissolve in April, 2015.

The SEC has also decided to conduct the urban polls in four newly-created NACs like Ranpur and Daspalla in Nayagarh district, Dharmagarh in Kalahandi district and Tusura in Balangir district.

The ward delimitation process for Dharmagarh and Ranpur NACs has been completed. The poll watchdog in the state wrote to the housing and urban development department to complete the delimitation process of the remaining NACs and finalize the reservation list, the release noted.

Meanwhile, the SEC announced to conduct byelection to 18 gram panchayats in 12 districts on September 16. The results would be announced on the following day.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

DEVELOP EDUCATIONAL HUBS IN ODISHA A LA AP

The Pioneer, Sept 11, 2014
Thursday, 11 September 2014 | DIGAMBARA PATRA | in Bhubaneswar
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Through the Idco, the district Collectors of six different districts have been asked to identify 200 acres of land for the proposed Indian Institute of Technology (IIM) in Odisha.
Though politically the State Government may have played a clever game to woo different regions, it appears that actually it is not serving the interest of inclusive growth of the State.
First of all, the State Government completely forgot other districts like Balangir, Kalahandi, Angul, Dhenkanal and Baleswar where similar demands for an IIM have been made. Secondly, the present recommendations give an edge to State Capital region comprising Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. If I were a part of the Central selection committee, I would also select Bhubaneswar/Cuttack among the other proposed sites because of the fact that the sites located around the State capital region has the advantages of the entire existing infrastructure along with an international airport in a close distance.
Despite airport being given as a criterion, many of the State Governments are recommending sites for various national institutions based on their best interest. There are cases where sites located in 200 km radius from a regular airport have been considered to establish a national institution like the IIM.
For example, the Himachal Pradesh Government has proposed a site for the new IIM, which is not close to any of the regular airports. If Andhra Pradesh Government gave an option of either Visakhaptnam or Tirupati for the proposed new Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), the Central Government would most likely pick up Visakhaptanam due to better connectivity. On the contrary, Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has limited his proposal to Tirupati for the IIT, Visakhaptanam for the IIM, Vijayawada for the AIIMS, Kurnool for the IIIT, Vizianagaran for the Tribal University, Anantapur for the Central University, West Godavari for the NIT and East Godavari for the Petroleum University to bring a decentralized development of higher education in that State.
If the Odisha Government was serious about decentralization of higher education, it would not ask for sites around the State capital region including Cuttack and Bhubaneswar and limit the proposed sites to Sambalpur, Brahmapur, Rourkela and Jeypore, etc for the IIM.
Definitely, for the initial interest of the IIM as a premier quality institution, Bhubaneswar is an ideal place for its institutional development. At the same time, an international airport also is not found in any other part. But the reality is practical success of an airport needs largely development of service sector including establishment of educational and health institutions. New IIM itself could help build new airport and trigger infrastructure development in another location or hinterland of the State.
Like a few other States, if 200 km distance from any existing regular airport is enforced by Odisha for establishing the new IIM, many backward parts could be brought into developmental map. For instance, locations in Bhawanipatna, Jeypore and Rourkela may use regular airports in Raipur, Visakhapatnam, and Ranchi respectively.
The Odisha Government’s main priority should be to create few badly needed mega cities or urban clusters geographically distributed in Odisha for long term competitiveness of the State in the national level instead of just meeting the short-term institutional growth like having an IIM itself.
Naidu has proposed three mega cities in Andhra Pradesh, one in north (Visakhaptnam), second in south (Tirupati) and third in the centre (Vijajawada-Guntur), and distributed all the institutes of national importance accordingly. Tomorrow Andhra Pradesh will have three cities to compete in the national level whereas Odisha will continue to struggle with just one.
I suggest the Odisha Government should follow Andhra Pradesh’s model of creating three mega regions for future.
One could be for the coast within 200 km radius of Bhubaneswar airport including Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Puri, Nayagarh, Paradip, Jajpur, Berhampur, Baleswar, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar etc.
Second mega region could be for the north part of the State within 200 km radius of Jharsuguda airport including Rourkela, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Brajaraj Nagar, Barbil, Angul, Bargarh, Sonepur, Boudh, etc.
And the third mega region could be for south part, especially for the backward KBK-Kandhamal-Gajapati region comprising Rayagada, Jeypore, Koraput, Paralakhemundi, Nabarangpur, Sunabeda, Bhawanipatna, Umarkote, Khariar, Malkangiri, Nuapada, Titilagarh, Kantabanji, Balangir and Phulbani, etc.
Therefore it is highly needed that the State Government decentralise educational development in Odisha, especially giving priority to mega clusters that lack educational and infrastructure development in airport instead of just meeting institutional need of the proposed IIM.

(The writer, who hails from Odisha, works as Associate Professor at the Department of Chemistry in theAmerican University of Beirut, Lebanon)

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Vedanta to Invest in Refinery Expansion

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Sept 10, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: The capacity of Vedanta’s alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district will be expanded from one million tonne per annum (mtpa) to two mtpa in the next one year.
This was announced by Chairman of Vedanta Group Anil Agarwal after a meeting with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here on Tuesday. Stating that additional 20 lakh tonnes of ore will be required for the plant’s expansion, Agarwal said the refinery will ultimately have a capacity of six mtpa.
Odisha Government has assured the company of a lasting solution to the problem of raw material for the refinery, he said. After the tribals of the area said ‘no’ to mining in Niyamgiri hills, the company has no other option but to get ore from the three mines of L&T to run the plant in the State, Agarwal said. Vedanta, which had set up one mtpa refinery plant at Lanjigarh seven years back, is facing acute shortage of bauxite and presently importing the raw material from other States and countries to feed its plant. The company had to shut down the plant for some months due to shortage of bauxite in 2012.
The Vedanta chief said the State Government has assured the company to expedite the grant of lease for the two bauxite reserves at Sijimali and Kutrumali mines in south Odisha’s Rayagada and Kalahandi districts respectively for which L&T had been given prospecting licence way back in 1990.
Earlier, Vedanta had entered into a joint venture with L&T, which held prospecting licence for Sijimali and Kutrumali mines at an estimated bauxite deposit of about 300 million tonnes. Vedanta has also approached Odisha Government to provide two laterite mines to partially take care of raw material requirements of the refinery.
As a result of the acute shortage of ore, the company’s smelter plant at Jharsuguda is operating at only 25 per cent of its capacity.