Sunday, November 23, 2014

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

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

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

Respected Minister,
Ministry of Panchayati Raj, GOI.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank You Sir.

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

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

BPUT to Complete Video Conferencing by Dec

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

Kalahandi Targets Rabi Crop in 2.6L Hectares

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

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Government plans to open 24x7 shelters for marginalized people

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Gedcol to Scale up Solar Power Generation Plans

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

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

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

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

The President would then return to Bhubaneswar and where he would inaugurate the new campus of Utkal University of Culture between 4 pm to 5 pm at Madanpur near Khurdha. He would return to Bhubaneswar and inaugurate the golden jubilee celebration of Ramadevi Women’s College at 5.55 pm and at 7.25 pm, he would fly back to New Delhi.
- See more at: http://www.orissadiary.com/CurrentNews.asp?id=54639#sthash.dLcaYj29.dpuf

Friday, October 31, 2014

Centre to Lend A Helping Hand in Road Projects

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

Swachh Bharat Mission Kicks off in Kalahandi

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

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Language Labs for Eight More Colleges

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

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

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.