Thursday, April 17, 2014

Letter of Sachin Kumar Agrawal to Ban Gutkha

Dr. S.C.Jamir,
Honourable Governor of Odisha,

Sachin Kumar Agrawal,
Member, Marwari Yuva Manch,
Dharamgarh Branch, Kalahandi, Odisha.

[Sub:  Ban on Gutkha & Chewing Tobacco]

Date: 14th April 2014

Respected Sir,
The Government of Odisha on 1st January 2013 announced a state-wide ban on the manufacture, sale and use of gutkha and chewing tobacco containing nicotine. The then Minister of Health and Family Welfare Sri Damodar Rout appealed the people to cooperate with the state government in making Odisha a tobacco-free state. Subsequently, the official notification regarding the ban came up on 3rd January 2013.
Odisha was the 15th state during this announcement and as of now almost all the states and Union Territories in the country have banned the use of gutkha and chewing tobacco under the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 & Food Safety and Standards Rules, 2011.

Use of gutkha and chewing tobacco leads to Oral Cancer and other severe health problems.  Excessive use of these products leads to loss of appetite, promotes unusual sleep patterns and contributes to loss of concentration in daily life. Problems are many, Profit is null.  

According to the 2009-2010 survey by Global Adult Tobacco Sruvey, 53.5% of Indians use tobacco products of which 48.07% figures for chewing tobacco while the rest accounts for bidi, cigarette and other variants.

Although it’s almost a year and three months since notification, no considerable steps have been taken by the State Government in curbing the use of such disastrous products. These products are easily available in the market and one can, without much effort, have access to it. It seems that the manufacturers, distributors and sellers have no fear of the law of the land and thus have bypassed it without much endeavor.

Health indicators in Odisha are not that satisfactory and a strict ban on these products can contribute exceptionally in improving the health status of the state. There is provision of strict punishment in case of violation of FSSA and COTPA acts, but everything seems to go in vain.

Just like gutkha and chewing tobacco, smoking cigarettes and bidis also contribute significantly to negative health status. It is being regulated by COTPA (Cigarettes and Other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 2003. However, the regulation has been unsatisfactory and unacceptable.

It should be kept in mind that proper rehabilitation steps also be taken for all those entities who are dependent on sale of such products for their livelihood. Care must be taken to ensure that such people are not left unemployed after the strict ban of the products.

I, as a responsible citizen of the country, request you to direct the state government to take up the issue seriously and impose a strict ban on the Guthka and its variants both in manufacture and sale and take up rehabilitation programs wherever necessary.

I am attaching the Global Adult Tobacco Survey Report 0f 2009-2010 (I could not find the latest report. Please consider the latest report if it has been released.)

Also the official notification of the Government of Odisha regarding the issue has been attached.

I sincerely hope that you will, at the earliest, consider the issue and take appropriate steps.

Thank You.

Sachin Kumar Agrawal
Member, Marwari Yuva Manch,
Dharamgarh , Kalahandi, Odisha – 766015.

Contact Details:
Mobile:  09861965410

Copy To (Via Mail):

1.    Shri Pranab Mukherjee, President of India.
2.    Food Safety and Standards Authority of India
3.    Department of Health and Family Welfare,  Government of Odisha
.    Shri Bijay Ketan Uppadhyay, Collector Kalahandi.
5.    Shri Lala M. K. Ray, Sub-Collector, Dharamgarh Sub-Division. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Acute water shortage in Bhawanipatna

Sambad, April 14, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

BJP hopes to bag 6 LS seats in Odisha based on higher voters' turnout

Business Standard, April 13, 2014
Bharatiya Janata Party () hopes to win at least six out of 10 Lok Sabha seats that went to polls on April 10 based on higher voter turnout figures and feedback from local party workers.

“The higher number of turnout indicates that people want change at the Centre and the state. They have rejected the incompetent governments. The high turnout will be in favour of BJP and we hope to get six out of the 10 Lok Sabha seats in western and southern , which went to polls in the first phase”, said Suresh Pujari, BJP state spokesperson at a press conference here today.

On Saturday, the Chief Electoral Officer, Odisha had said the turnout in the first phase of polls for 10 Lok Sabha and 70 assembly seats in Odisha was close to 75 per cent, revising it from earlier update of 67 per cent. In 2009, the state had witnessed 65.3 per cent turnout in the first phase comprising the same areas and same number of seats.

Based on the feedback of local party leaders, BJP is certain to win Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Bargarh, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur and Berhampur Lok Sabha seats, said Pujari.

Last time, the party was not able to send a single candidate to Lok Sabha from Odisha due to its last minute breakup of alliance with Biju Janata Dal (BJD).

The party said, there is every chance that the similar turnout will be seen in the second phase polls on April 17.

Despite the higher turnout, the BJP leader alleged that many voters were denied to cast their votes due to discrepancy in voter list. For example, in Jharsuguda assembly constituency, a BJP candidate was denied to cast vote as his name appeared in the ‘deleted’ list.

“There was also confusion in the polling booths as in some booths people were instructed to vote for Lok Sabha candidates first while in some other areas people voted for assembly candidates first. This might alter voting pattern,” he alleged.

Attacking Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, Pujari said, Patnaik is playing minority card in the second phase polls to secure more votes as he fears the record turnout in the first phase could go against his party.

Referring to the recent statement of the Global Peace Initiative president and Christian preacher K A Paul, who appealed to the people of Odisha to vote for BJD, Pujari questioned the secular credential of the BJD leader.

He also criticised the Chief Minister for not taking action against the people who were responsible for the Kandhamal riots in 2008.

Voting for Kandhamal Lok Sabha constituency will be held on April 17.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Campaign ends in Odisha

Business Standard, April 8, 2014
There are 688 aspirants for the 70 assembly constituencies under these Lok Sabha segments

After reaching a crescendo, the din and bustle of high voltage electioneering became to an end in 10 Lok Sabha and 70 assembly seats of  today with polling scheduled in these constituencies spread over western and southern Odisha on April 10.Altogether 98 candidates, including stalwarts and former chief ministers Giridhar Gamang and Hemanand Biswal, former union ministers Jual Oram () and Bhakta Charan Das (Congress) are in the race from Bargarh, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Balangir, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Kandhamal, Aska, Berhampur and Kalahandi parliamentary constituencies.

Hockey star and former Indian team captain Dilip Tirkey is contesting the election as a  candidate from Sundergarh Lok Sabha seat. He is pitted against Hemanand Biswal of Congress and BJP's Jual Oram.

Prominent Odia cinestar Siddhant Mohapatra is a BJD candidate from Berhampur Lok Sabha seat. There are 688 aspirants for the 70 assembly constituencies under these Lok Sabha segments. Chief Minister  is seeking re-election from Hinjili assembly constituency in Ganjam district and many state ministers were also in the fray. Among the other contestants are candidates of AAP, Odisha Janmorcha (OJM), Ama Odisha Party, Samata Kranti Dal, BSP, JMM and Trinamool Congress.

An electorate of 1.35 lakh voters is eligible to exercise their franchise on April 10. With several constituencies in these regions falling under Maoist-hit areas, where the red rebels have given a call for poll boycott, tight security arrangements were made with to prevent any untoward incident.

During the month-long campaigning, bigwigs of all political parties crisscrossed the constituencies making whistle-stop tours to woo the voters. Congress President , Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, BJP's Prime Ministerial candidate , BJP President Rajnath Singh, senior BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu addressed poll rallies to muster support for their respective party nominees.

For the ruling BJD in the state, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was the star campaigner. Two other chief ministers, Raman Singh (Chhattisgarh) and Hemant Soren (Jharkhand) also hit the campaign trail in the state. Electioneering had its share of glamour and glitz with actors and sports personalities participating in roadshows to regale voters.

While BJD targeted Congress accusing UPA government of neglecting the state, BJP levelled charges of corruption against both Congress and the BJD. Congress slammed the BJD government in Odisha accusing it of misrule and corruption. It promised to order a CBI probe into mining, chit fund and other scams that rocked Odisha in recent past. Polling in the remaining 11 Lok Sabha and 77 assembly constituencies in the state is scheduled to be held on April 17.

In-principle nod pending for two more UMPPs in Odisha

Business Standard, April 6, 2014
Jayajit Dash  |  Bhubaneswar  
 Last Updated at 20:30 IST
The two additional ultra mega power projects (UMPPs) proposed in  are stuck due to lack of in-principle approval from the state government.

The government maintained it is unable to give its nod to the two UMPPs amid pending clarification from  (PFC) on the modalities of project implementation. PFC is the nodal agency for executing UMPPs across the country.

“We had sought information from PFC on the modalities for implementing two more UMPPs. But we are yet to get any response and this has held up the grant of nod to the two projects”, said a government official.

It has been decided to set up the second  at Bijoypatna in Chandbali tehsil of Bhadrak district and the third one at Narla under Kesinga sub-division in Kalahandi district. The sites have been selected after field visits by PFC.

Two subsidiaries- Sakhigopal Integrated Power Company Ltd and Ghogarpalli Integrated Power Company Ltd have been formed by PFC for executing these two UMPPs. The second and third UMPPs would contribute 2000 MW each to the state grid.

These UMPPs would have a capacity of 4000 MW apeice and are being taken up at a total investment of Rs 20,000 crore each.

Earlier, the state government had urged the PFC officials to set aside ayacut land for UMPPs and ensure that there is minimal displacement from these mega power stations.

The collectors of Bhadrak and Kalahandi were instructed to make an assessment of private land needed and the number of persons who would face displacement due to these two additional UMPPs.

The first UMPP in the state is coming up at Bhedabahal in Sundargarh district. PFC has formed a wholly owned subsidiary Odisha Integrated Power Ltd (OIPL) for the project.OIPL has received applications from nine prospective developers- Adani Power Ltd, CLP India Ltd, Jindal Power Ltd, JSW Energy Ltd, Larsen & Toubro Ltd (L&T), National Hydro Power Corporation Ltd (NHPC), NTPC Ltd, Sterlite Infraventures Ltd and Tata Power Ltd.

The selection of bidder is being done as per the tariff based competitive bidding guidelines issued by the Central government on design, build, finance, own and transfer (DBFOT) basis.

Recently, PFC Consulting Ltd, also a fully owned subsidiary of PFC, had invited bids to select consultant for developing coal blocks allocated for the Bhedabahal UMPP.

Meenakshi, Meenakshi-B and dip side of Meenakshi blocks have been allocated for the 4000 Mw plant to be built at Bhedabahal in western Odisha’s Sundargarh district.The annual requirement of fuel for the Bhedabahal UMPP has been estimated at 19-20 million tonne of coal.

The coal from the allocated blocks will move from pit head to coal loading point at Dhuka chowk through a six-km belt conveyor system. After loading, the coal would be transported through MGR (merry go round) system of about 64 km loop length (aerial distance of 31 km).

The total land requirement of developing the coal mines is 1308 hectares (ha) - 492 ha for Menakshi, 486 ha for Meenakshi-B and 330 ha for dip side of Meenakshi coal blocks.The coal block area involves 102 ha of reserve/ protected forest, 332 ha revenue forest, 236 ha of government land and 638 ha of private land.

Central Mine Planning & Design Institute (CMPDIL), a fully owned subsidiary of Coal India Ltd (CIL), has already carried out regional exploration in Meenakshi-B and dip side of Meenakshi coal block area.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

On a mission to help the disabled exercise franchise

Times of India, April 6, 2014
,TNN | Apr 6, 2014, 03.50 PM IST

BHAWANIPATNA: Suresh Choudhary (35), a physically-challenged man, has taken the initiative to create awareness among disabled persons in Kalahandi so that they cast their votes in the forthcoming election. The number of disabled people who cast their votes in the last election was very low.

More than 40,000 disabled people live in Kalahandi and among them, 25,000 are eligible to vote. But most of them don't take interest in the polls because the government has turned a deaf ear to their demands.

Suresh began his journey on his three wheeler motorbike with his friend Chaitanya Sahu on Friday and is motivating disabled persons to take part in the poll. He will campaign till April 8.

He appeals to the voters to vote for those leaders who will support their demands after winning the election. "I am not campaigning in favour of any candidate. We will vote for those who will support our demands after the election," says Suresh.

Following the Persons With Disability Act (1995) Section (46), (PWD Act-1995), Suresh has asked leaders to make all educational institutions, hospitals and government offices accessible and barrier free to disabled persons. He said that in Kalahandi, neither the administration nor any MP or MLA has as yet focused on providing such facilities till date.

Suresh is hoping for a lot from the leaders this time. "The MP and MLAs we choose should riase their voices in Parliament and assembly in our favour so that all buildings are accessible to us," says Suresh.

He has also demanded that the elected members help build a vocational training school in the district which will create employment opportunities for disabled people.

Suresh says 70% of the disabled don't vote. "They never take interest in the polls because the government has never taken any interest in their needs. They can't visit the upper floors of the collectorate or any other government building because the buildings do not have the facility," said Suresh.

He said government building should have elevators and slopes along with stairs.

Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput high on priority list, low on welfare indices

Times of India, April 6, 2014
,TNN | Apr 6, 2014, 03.54 PM IST
BHUBANESWAR: Firm commitment to the development of poverty-stricken the Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput (KBK) region and western part of the state figure prominently in the manifestos of all major political parties. Experts, however, doubt genuine political will to bring regional parity.

The BJP, in its state manifesto, has promised removal of regional imbalance by formulating long-term schemes for the KBK region comprising Kalahandi, Nuapada, Sonepur, Balangir, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Malkangiri and Koraput districts in a time bound manner if voted to power. It has also said it would provide for a special budget for Western Odisha Development Council (WODC), which works for the development of the western Odisha districts of Angul, Bargarh, Balangir, Boudh, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Sambalpur, Sonepur and Sundargarh.

Congress has committed to shift the WODC headquarters to a prominent location in the western part of the state from Bhubaneswar if it comes to power. It has also promised to amend the WODC Act and provide more assistance to WODC. The party has also announced they would establish HC benches in western and southern Odisha and four medical colleges in these regions.

Promising more steps for the development of western Odisha and KBK region, Biju Janata Dal (BJD), in its manifesto promised to upgrade all major two-lane roads in the KBK region to four lanes in five years and an expressway connecting northern and southern Odisha running through the backward regions of western and KBK districts if it returns to power. The regional party has also promised special drought proofing measures and irrigation facilities specifically for the drought-prone areas in KBK and western Odisha. BJD has also promised to fight for the inclusion of Sambalpuri in the 8th Schedule of the Constitution.

Experts feel the talk of regional imbalance is a pet subject before any election. "Talking about KBK is a trump card for any political party. However, I have my doubts about genuine political will to realize these fashionable promises," said Shukadeb Naik, a professor of sociology at Sambalpur University.

"The region's development has always been a political issue. However, the region has not progressed the way it should have. All parties are now trying to woo voters through the KBK slogan," said Amareshwar MIshra, a retired professor of political science of Utkal University.

There are many commonalities in the manifestos of all three principal parties. Both BJP and Congress have promised Rs 300 bonus per quintal of paddy. BJP and BJD have promised to fight for special category status for Odisha.

Santosh Kumar Kar received state level "Friend of Environment Best Teacher Award"

Note: Our heartiest congratulation to Mr. Kar
Samaja, April 5, 2014

An inclusive growth policy

Note: Often simple people in rural India, like in KBK region, are taken it granted by various political, activists and NGOs for their own professional and ideological beliefs. Even many people  criticize often present Indian economic model as NOT inclusive, but recent data here shows opposite, between 2004-05 and 2011-12 (during high growth period of India)

(1)  the real average household income in rural India has increased 5.0 percent annually — almost twice the 2.6 per cent annual growth in urban India  
(2)  The highest growth in the median per capita incomes is reported for Dalits (7.8 per cent annually) and OBCs (7.3 per cent), while the real median income of high caste Hindus grew only at 4.6 per cent annually.
(3) The income of Adivasis grew at 5.7 per cent annually while the income of Muslims grew by 5.4 per cent.

The Hindu, April 5, 2014

The impressive gain by rural households in spite of the favouritism towards non-primary activities appears real

The Indian economy has moved on a high growth path since the mid-1980s. After a blip in growth between 1990-92, liberalisation, initiated for aligning the Indian economy with the world in 1991, not only put the economy back on a higher growth path but also sustained this growth till the 2000s. During the last few years, India has been the second fastest growing economy in the world.
Despite the high growth over the past two decades, concerns have been raised over the growth not being equally distributed. Policy makers responded to these concerns arguing for inclusiveness in the 11th Five Year Plan in 2007. How has the rapid growth during the 11th Five Year Plan period helped in improving the income levels of the most vulnerable Indian households?
Sharing of growth
The aggregate estimates routinely brought out by the Central Statistical Organisation (CSO) show a “feel good factor” — that real per capita income has been growing rapidly. But there is little evidence on (a) how this growth has been shared among households in rural India versus urban India and (b) whether households belonging to different socio-religious groups have grown together. Three rounds of the National Sample Survey Consumer Expenditure (NSS CE) surveys carried out between 2004-05 and 2011-12 suggest an unprecedented rise in household expenditure and a consequent decline in poverty. These estimates imply that some benefits of growth have been shared by vulnerable households. But these data do not clarify whether poverty has declined because of new social safety net programmes or because vulnerable households have participated in the general economic growth.
The recently-concluded India Human Development Survey (IHDS) — a nationally representative survey of about 42,000 households conducted by researchers from the National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) and the University of Maryland examines changes in the incomes of the households during the period of rapid economic growth, 2004-05 and 2011-12. It is the only nationally representative panel survey covering the same households. During the two rounds of IHDS, besides a range of outcome indicators, data on household income and its sources have also been collected.
Though validation of the data is still underway, we present some pointers based on preliminary analysis. The median real income of the households from all sources had been about Rs. 28,200 in 2004-05; this increased to about Rs. 37,500 in 2011-12, which is an average of 4.7 per cent annually. Unlike aggregate growth figures released by the CSO, IHDS data allows calculation of household income by the place of residence of households. Those IHDS calculations show for the first time that the real average household income in rural India has increased 5.0 per cent annually — almost twice the 2.6 per cent annual growth in urban India. This has resulted in a significant narrowing of the gap in household income — from 2.26 times in 2004-05 to 1.97 in 2011-12. These figures are consistent with the growth of per capita expenditure calculated from the respective NSS CE (61st and 68th rounds) monthly per capita expenditure growth in the rural and urban sectors.
When we normalise the household median income by the number of members in the household, the growth of income in rural India is even more impressive — an average annual median per capita income increase of 7.2 per cent, which is more than twice the rate experienced by urban households (3.2 per cent annually). This story of growth at the aggregate level is fascinating in itself because most of the changes during the liberalisation phase have favoured the growth of non-primary activities. But the impressive gain by rural households in spite of the favouritism towards non-primary activities appears real and requires further investigation.
Further proof of growth
We note similar differences in median income growth across different socio-religious groups that provide further confirmation of the inclusiveness of the recent economic growth. In IHDS surveys, we have defined six social and religious groups — high caste Hindus, Other Backward Classes, Dalits, Adivasis, Muslims and Other Religious Minorities. The highest growth in the median per capita incomes is reported for Dalits (7.8 per cent annually) and OBCs (7.3 per cent), while the real median income of high caste Hindus grew only at 4.6 per cent annually. The average income growth of other vulnerable groups was also higher than that of high caste Hindus. The income of Adivasis grew at 5.7 per cent annually while the income of Muslims grew by 5.4 per cent.
A working plan
Our preliminary results point towards the largest gains for the traditionally vulnerable households — rural areas, Dalits, OBCs, Adivasis and Muslims. This narrowing of group differences is all the more remarkable in the face of a slightly diverging overall income distribution. Our preliminary calculations of per capita income inequality suggest a small increase from a Gini ratio of 53 in 2004-5 to 55 in 2011-12.
The relatively greater progress of vulnerable sectors despite this growing inequality seems to suggest that the inclusive growth policy implemented during the 11th Five Year Plan may have been working. While a much more rigorous analysis is required to delineate the factors that have led to this, our conjecture is that some of the social sector schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Janani Suraksha Yojana, the National Rural Health Mission et al. may have contributed to this inclusive growth.

(Amaresh Dubey is professor at the Centre for the Study of Regional Development, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Reeve Vanneman is professor at the University of Maryland. This concludes the five-part series of the IHDS-II findings. The views expressed here are personal.)

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Sonia Gandhi refutes Naveen Patnaik's allegation of central negligence

DNA, April 5, 2014
Refuting Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik's allegations of Centre's negligence towards the state, Congress president Sonia Gandhi today accused BJD government of rampant corruption and inefficiency, besides inability to contain rising crimes against women.
"UPA government has given thousands of crores of rupees for the development of Odisha. If one compares the amount of central funding to Odisha during the previous NDA regime in which the BJD was a part and the present UPA rule, there will be no confusion," she told her first poll rally here in poverty stricken Nuapada district.
Funds released for Odisha during UPA rule was much higher than during the NDA regime, she said adding "Comparison shows there was zameen-asman farak (hell and heaven difference)."
The Congress president's remark followed repeated allegations of central negligence by Patnaik in almost all election meetings of BJD he has been addressing in the state.
Referring to Patnaik's remark that Congress was an 'ocean of corruption', Gandhi read out a list of scandals in the state. "There have been corruption in the implementation of MGNREGA, mid-day meal, mining scam and chit fund scam." "The Supreme Court of India monitored the irregularity in job scheme while you (people) know better how these people (BJD Govt) managed the mid-day meal scheme," Gandhi said and also mentioned the CAG report on the foodgrain quota for BPL families.
The UPA government has provided thousands of crores of rupees to Odisha through various schemes but the BJD government had failed to properly utilise the central funds, she alleged.
Odisha government did not take proper action when lakhs of depositors were duped by ponzi scheme companies,she alleged adding it was sad that people were denied of their benefits due to the state government's attitude.
Slamming the BJD government on the mining scam, Gandhi said though minerals worth lakhs of crores of rupees were looted the state government failed to check them.
"While on one side there is rampant corruption, on the other side the state government failed to properly implement the Indira Gandhi Pension Schemes for poor people. Similar was the case in implementation of the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutkaran Yojana," she pointed out.
The Congress was concerned over hunger and malnutrition among children in Kalahandi, she said adding UPA had framed Food Security Act in order to give the people rights on ration.
Gandhi also expressed concern over rising crimes against women and girls in Odisha and blamed the state government for not implementing scholarship scheme for girls properly.
She recalled her husband Rajiv Gandhi and mother-in-law Indira Gandhi's concern about the development of undivided Kalahandi district and asked the people to vote for Congress for overall development.
"You (people of Kalahandi) have been struggling and Congress has all along been with you in the fight. Rahulji had also joined the struggle to save Niyamgiri Hills from being handed over for mining," Gandhi added.

Bid Goodbye to BJD: Modi to Odiya Voters

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), April 5, 2014
Launching a scathing attack on Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi on Friday described the government headed by the BJD chief as ‘nikammi’ (useless) and asked the people to throw it out of power in this election.
“This government has taken you for granted. It thinks it has the people of Odisha in its pocket. It believes you will continue to vote for it whether it does anything for you or not. I am surprised how you have been tolerating such a government for 14 years,” Modi said.
Modi addressed three election rallies at Nuapada, Bolangir and Rourkela -- all going to polls on April 10.
“When people talk of poverty, they cite the example of Balangir. Kalahandi symbolises hunger. The situation remains unchanged even after 60 years of Congress rule and 14 years of Naveen Patnaik rule,” he said, while narrating the sorry state of affairs in the Koraput-Balangir-Kalahandi region.
Stating that the days of Naveen Government were numbered, Modi said Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi could not save the UPA Government at the Centre, which is also crumbling.
Promising good governance and growth at the Centre if voted to power, Modi said women were not safe under the Congress rule. He said in the 2009 polls, it had promised jobs to 10 crore youth and asked if anybody in the crowd were part of that 10 crore.
Meanwhile, the Congress promised sops to all sections of people and announced that it would review all MoUs signed by the state government in the last 10 years if voted to power.
The Congress would provide good governance and get mining, water, land and chit fund scams probed by the CBI, said the party’s state manifesto released by Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Jaydev Jena here.
While all registered unemployed youth would be given allowance during the next five years,
landless would get land, the manifesto said and promised an end to starvation deaths.
Effective steps would be taken to protect the mineral resources and for their proper utilisation, Jena said and added that steps would be taken to conduct all mining operations in the state through the Odisha Mining Corporation and similar other government agencies. No individual and private agencies would be given mining lease.
Announcing implementation of recommendations of the Justice M B Shah Commission on mining scams, the Congress manifesto promised recovery of `60,000 crore from those who looted the mineral wealth by auctioning their property.
The manifesto said all revenue villages would be converted into panchayats and a pension scheme introduced to cover all marginal and differently-abled farmers and landless farm labourers.
To woo farmers, the party promised loan at one per cent interest and interest-free loans up to `25,000, besides free electricity.
All urban slum dwellers would be provided with pucca houses, the manifesto said. A minority commission would be set up for the welfare of the minority communities.

Congress, BJD are non-performers: Modi

The Hindu, April 4, 2014
Calling upon the people to vote for his party in the ensuing polls for a Congress-free India, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi also urged the people of Odisha to oust the Naveen Patnaik government that had failed to provide any governance.
Terming both the Congress-led UPA government at the Centre and the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government headed by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in Odisha as non-performing ones, Mr. Modi said time had come to vote for his party to bring a responsive government at the Centre as well as in the State.
“When no farmer keeps a Halia (labourer) to till his fields even for a period of two months if he failed to till his fields properly, how you could tolerate such non-performing governments for long years,” Mr. Modi asked the people at a massive rally in this western Odisha district on Friday.
Observing that Odisha was known for poverty and starvation, Mr. Modi blamed the present Congress-led government at the Centre for not providing necessary financial assistance for proper implementation of the Revised Long Term Action Plan for the backward Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput (KBK) region of Odisha. Coming down heavily on Congress president Sonia Gandhi and the Odisha Chief Minister, Mr. Modi said both had failed to keep the promises that they had made before coming to power. They had cheated the people at large, he alleged.
Speaking in detail about the problems facing the people in western Odisha which was known for lack of irrigation, starvation deaths and large scale migration of labour, Mr. Modi assured the people to address these issues if his party was voted to power.
As Mr. Modi was addressing the rally at Balangir, a group of young men displayed placards urging Mr. Modi for creation of a separate Koshal State comprising the western Odisha districts. Today’s visit of Mr. Modi, third to Odisha after his first visit to Bhubaneswar on February 11 and to Sambalpur on March 14, was likely to boost the party’s prospects in the State in general and western Odisha in particular.
The BJP was hoping to perform well in western Odisha, considered to be its stronghold when the party was in power in the State in alliance with the BJD from 2000 to 2009.
Apart from Balangir, Mr. Modi also addressed public meetings at Nuapada and Rourkela that also come under the western region of the State.