Thursday, December 27, 2007

New money centres to bridge banking divide

Business Standard,Dec 26,2007

March 2008 will see a unique remittance infrastructure rolling out in about 1,000 villages in Tamil Nadu and in fewer numbers in Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Nagaland. The move promises to unzip the barrier between the rural and urban, the banked and the unbanked.

These would be green, carbon neutral money centres lighted by solar power, equipped with a biometric ATM, manned by two trained officials and powered with network connectivity through VSAT. The plan is to include one billion people with no bank accounts in the banking network.

These are the Zipp money centres which are being introduced for the first time in the country by the Commonwealth Business Council (CBC), a forum formed in 1997 and which has inclusive banking interventions as one of its key projects.

The money centres have already brought banking to the doorstep in many villages and far-flung areas in one district in Uganda where CBC started the project.

Opening at the rate of 15 new centres a month, Zipp runs the centres too. But in India, Zipp is looking at a franchise model considering the breadth of terrain.

The CBC projects head, Vijay Kumar, who was here to attend a seminar organised by London School of Economics on the rural-urban divide, said that the money centres would provide the last-mile infrastructure which has so far eluded Indian banks strapped of funds and manpower.

The low-cost money centres, which will cut international remittance costs by 75 per cent, plan to make remittance within India free of cost.

These centres are packaged in such a fashion that a franchisee will be able to make a decent earning from multiple activities like payment of bills, loan instalments and other payment mechanism.

It comes dovetailed with customer services to many existing Zipp clients, including various banks, phone companies, and to which a franchise can add on more customers.

The centres can be run by either an individual or a company. Vijay Kumar said, “We would prefer public-spirited individuals but since the territory is yet untested in India we are giving out our first centres to some big companies.”

Three top companies have already lapped up contracts for setting up and running the centres in three states, Kumar added.

State Bank of India and ICICI Bank have agreed to buy the services of these centres. Vodafone is a partner in the CBC and so is a natural customer. Foreign banks and any other bank that want account holders to access accounts sitting in some remote village in Kalahandi and withdraw money sent by some migrant relative can buy their services. All that the villager will need is a Zipp card and, of course, a bank account.

Zipp is already talking to the Reserve Bank of India on simplifying the ‘Know Your Customer’ norms for people earning less than Rs 100 a day. Banks are working on it. And once that hurdle goes, Zipp would provide the missing remittance infrastructure.

The cost of setting up a money centre or acquiring one from Zipp is Rs 25 lakh and will earn for the franchisee Rs 80,000 a month.

Of the capital investment, the franchisee has to put in 25 per cent. If the franchisee is unemployed and has no way to raise that money, ZIPP provides a loan which can be returned in instalments. ZIPP also gives training to run the centre. It also provides him two trained workers who are paid by Zipp.

Next on the priority list of Zipp is Kerala where most of its earnings come from migrant payments. It works like the VISA or Master card interchange facilities.

“We are the low-cost VISA for the working class, filling the gap left by traditional banking,” says Vijay Kumar. And the main objective is inclusive banking. It is talking to the Government of India to make banks accessible to the masses.

Should a person earning Rs 40 a day be considered a terrorist threat? Asks Vijay Kumar. The poor are confronted with barriers like proof of residence and birth certificates which Zipp feels should be overlooked for people earning so little.

The ‘Know Your Customer’ norm should not end up in keeping the poor out. He says the banks in India agree to this and soon a solution would be found. And then Zipp would actually become the last-mile infrastructure for every bank in the country.

Zipp is also looking at another country Nepal where money centres would soon coming up in the remote mountain hamlets where migrant earnings keep hearths burning.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

No cabinet expansion; only two vacancies to be filled

The Pioneer, Dec 25, 2007

The much-talked-about expansion of the Naveen Patnaik Ministry in a few days is a misnomer, according to sources close to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. "It will be a minor vacancy filling exercise," said the sources on Monday.

There are only two vacancies, one for the BJP and the other for the BJD, in the present Ministry of 20 members including the Chief Minister. And the BJP slot is already reserved for Pradip Nayak from Kalahandi, who had to resign as a Minister of State in April 2006 in the wake of the controversy over his alleged filing of a false affidavit before the Returning Officer prior to the 2004 elections.

Nayak has since been legally cleared of the legal row, for which the Chief Minister has given indication of his re-induction into the Ministry. Another factor that seems to have prompted Naveen Patnaik to expedite Nayak's return to his team is the mounting pressure from the BJP's Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe MLAs for their legitimate representation in the Ministry. Their aim primarily relates to rehabilitation of Nayak, who belongs to the Scheduled Castes.

The only other new entrant into the Ministry will be from the BJD to meet the vacancy following Bishnu Charan Das' departure as a Cabinet-rank member amid the row over his son's High School Certificate Examination mark-sheet tampering scandal in August last year. There is no likelihood of the return of Das, who was the Minister of School and Mass Education, to the Cabinet in view of the ongoing inquiry into the scam.

The only speculation, if there should be any, relates to who from the BJD would be chosen to fill up Das' vacancy. There are, no doubt, many aspirants who have been trying to curry favours from the Chief Minister and a few others in the BJD's decision-making circle, soliciting their 'blessings.' But no firm indication is available as to who will be chosen one. The final decision is expected to be made just after the BJD's Foundation Day rally in Bhubaneswar on Wednesday.

‘Govt taking steps to improve KBK healthcare’

The New Indian Express, Dec 24, 2007

BHAWANIPATNA: Non-joining Of doctors posted in the KBK districts and inaccessible pockets is a matter of concern for the State Government.

Health Minister Duryodhan Majhi said this while inaugurating a three-day mega health camp on Bhawanipatna Government Hospital premises on Friday.

He said State Government is taking all possible steps to improve health services and staff position in KBK region.

To provide doctors suitable accommodation Rs 22 crore has been provided to KBK districts for construction of quarters, he said.

It is also contemplated to introduce two-year mandatory stint in KBK districts for doctors, the Minister informed.

Among others, MP Bikram Keshari Deo, MLA Pradip Kumar Naik and Kalahandi Collector Pramod Chandra Patnaik attended.

The health camp is being organised by National Rural Health Mission.

Judge calls for balance between environment and development

The Hindu, Dec 20, 2007

Bhubaneswar (PTI): Coming down on those focusing on protection of forests and wildlife, Justice Arijit Pasayat of the Supreme Court, called for a balance between environmental concerns and development.

Justice Pasayat, also a member of the apex court's environment and forest bench, said "two weeks back we were told there are more than 300 reserve forests in the country, but of them hardly 20 or 25 deserve to be called as reserve forests."

Giving an example of the Bhitarkanika Wildlife Sanctuary, he said he had imposed a stay on the construction of a bridge as an Orissa High Court judge on being told that such activities inside the protected area would adversely affect the ecology of the place.

When he later visited Bhitarkanika area, Justice Pasayat found children playing football in places which were said to be dense mangrove forest cover. "People were dying there due to snake bite as they failed to reach hospital in time owing to lack of proper roads and bridges," he added.

Justice Pasayat, one of the three members of the Supreme Court bench which recently set aside views of adverse impact of mining on the ecology of Niyamgiri hills in Kalahandi district in the Vedanta case, mentioned that there was virtually a conflict between environmental concerns and development.

"We have to choose between the two and strike a balance. We cannot also enforce the laws in the way that they become draconian, otherwise, in the name of protecting forests, we will cause damage to the society at large," he said.

He said "we must think how much we are benefiting human beings by protecting forests."

Justice Pasayat was speaking at a seminar on Tuesday.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Over 1,000 get free treatment at camp run by RSP doctors

The Hindu,Dec 16,2007

Rourkela (Orissa) (PTI): In a free health camp, more than 1,000 people from 24 remote villages of Thuamul Rampur block in Kalahandi district got free treatment by doctors of the Ispat General Hospital (IGH), of the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP).
The camps, organised under the supervision of Dr Pramod Kumar Rath, Director Medical and Health services of IGH, provided facilities for diagnosis of ailments, consultation and free medicines.
The Kalahandi administration, the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) Dr Srinivas Nayak and several NGOs extended assistance to the medical team.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Adulterated tins of edible oil seized in Bhawanipatna

The Pioneer,Dec 14,2007

After Sambalpur, the Bhawanipatna police on Thursday seized a huge quantity of adulterated edible oil tins from a godown at Bhawanipatna. The police have sealed two godowns of Sanjay Agrawal and sent the samples for testing. According to police sources, Agrawal had been detained by the police for further interrogation.
After the tins were seized, Health Minister Duryodhan Majhi ordered a high-level probe. He said after seizure of huge quantities of adulterated edible oil from Sambalpur and Bhawanipatna, it could now be said that that the entire western Orissa had come under the domain of illegal traders who for their high gains had circulated adulterated edible oil tins in the market thereby paving the way for large scale ailments of common people. Majhi also feared that the adulterated oil trade might not be confined to the western parts only, but there was every possibility that the coastal parts of the State might also have come under its influence.
According to Government records at present only 14 posts of Food Inspectors were filled of the 36 sanctioned in the State. Food Inspectors are the ones who check and verify the quality of different food articles being sold in the markets. "With the Government's apathy to fill up the Food Inspect-ors' posts and Government officials being hand in glove with the illegal traders, the adulterated and unhygienic food articles business has flourished in the State," said a senior official in the Health Department.
Sambalpur SP Sanjaya Kumar, on a tip-off had conducted raids on a godown at Kadammal under Ainthapali police station and seized adulterated mustard oil worth Rs 50 lakh earlier this week. The police held the proprietor of the godown Sunil Agrawal who had been mixing burnt mobile and white oil with mustard oil and repacking these with labels of reputed brands like Dhara, Ganesh and Double Hiran. Sources said samples had been sent to the State laboratory for tests.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Orissa tribals protest industries on their land,Dec 13,2007

Bhubaneswar, Dec 11 (UNI) Hundreds of tribals under the banner of ''Bisthapan Birodhi Janabikash Andolan''(BBJA) today staged a mass dharna before the Orissa Assembly protesting setting up of industries on their land.The demonstrators who included the tribal leaders from Kashipur, Kalinga Nagar and Niyamgiri in Kalahandi besides the leaders protesting the POSCO and Vedant projects, demanded cancellation of all MoUs for setting up of industries and opposed the release of water to the industrial houses from Hirakud Dam.They also demanded immediate withdrawal of police force from the POSCO project site in Jagatsinghopur district and scrapping off Vedant University project by the Anil Agarwal Foundation on the Puri-Konark marine drive area.The tribals came down heavily on the BJD-BJP led Naveen Patnaik government for branding the anti-POSCO agitators as Maoists to give a colour to the democratic movement against the South Korea steel major POSCO's proposed 12 MTPA steel plant in Paradeep.The demonstrators threatened to launch a statewide agitation if the state government attempted to use force to displace the people from their land for setting up of industries and accused Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of supressing the democratic and constitutional rights of the people at the behest of industrial houses.Among others BBJA convenor Ram Chandra Sahu, Kalinga Nagar Bisthapan Birodhi Manch leader Chakradhar Haibru,Niyamgiri Suraklhya Parishad leader Lingaraj Azad, Kashipur Banchao Prakrutik Sampad Surakhya Parishad leader Bhagban Majhi Balipal Jana Andolon leader Arun Jena, Gandhamardhan Banchao Andolon leader Milton Toppo called upon the tribals to continue their struggle against the anti people policy of the state government.

Forest officials seize tusks

The Statesman,Dec 13,2007

BHAWANIPATNA, Dec. 11: Forest officials yesterday seized two tusks of 11 kg 500 gms. (6 kg + 5.5 kg) from a hideout in Bondoguda village of Kalahandi and three persons were nabbed which is treated as major breakthrough by forest investigation. Earlier on 30 November four persons including one person from North-east was arrested and four tusks weighing 45 kg were seized from them at Muniguda of Rayagada district who have confessed of collecting the tusks after poaching tuskers from Kalahandi forest in the month of August-September, the Conservator of Forest Mr Subash Chandra Swain said. It is a major breakthrough of the forest department, he told. Mr Swain stated that the hunters from North-east are involved in the crime who have engaged locals as accomplices. Poaching of elephants in Kalahandi during August-September was in limelight and have raised shock waves among wildlife lovers and the forest department was targeted for negligence. It was suspected then, about possibility of involvement of Poachers from North-East in the crime. In Kalahandi the Elephant habitations are in and around Karlapat Sanctuary and in Urladani Pocket of Madanpur Rampur Block. With the arrest of criminals involved in the elephant poaching and recovery of tusks is a sigh of relief for forest officials.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Fake currency gang busted in Orissa,Dec 11,2007

At least five people suspected of circulating fake currency notes have been arrested in Orissa, police sources said Monday.
Police have seized fake currency notes worth near about Rs.300,000 of different denominations from them, a senior district police official told IANS.
He said the scandal was busted Sunday evening after one of the accused paid fake notes when he bought clothes from a store at Bhabanipatna, district headquarters of Kalahandi, about 600 km from here.
The shop owner informed the police and raids were conducted at various places to nab the shopper, who was later arrested along with four of his associates.
The arrested have claimed that they were from neighbouring West Bengal. They were circulating fake notes in the region for the past few days, the official said.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Vedanta announces slew of social uplift projects in Lanjigarh

The Pioneer,Dec 10,2007

Vedanta Alumi-nium Ltd (VAL) on Sunday announced a slew of social developmental initiatives for Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district. Project Ujala will provide infrastructure for electrification of 18 peripheral villages, which will involve an expenditure of over Rs three crore.
Under Project Udaya, scholarship will be provided to selected students for higher education in the entire district. VAL vice-president Umesh Mehta said the electrification of villages is an essential step towards social uplift and Project Udaya is another milestone in the company's contributions towards furthering education in the region.

Vedanta launches three social development initiatives

The Statesman,Dec 10,2007

BHAWANIPATNA, Dec. 9: Exhibiting that it remains unfazed by contentious issues raised in the wake of a recent Supreme Court verdict on its project here, the Vedanta Alumina company today launched three social development initiatives.Head of Business development of Vedanta Mumbai Mr CV Krishnan, head of business development of the company told reporters that these initiatives related to rural electrification, child development/nutrition and education.Project Ujaala , as the rural electrification programme is called involves expenditure of Rs 3 crore to provide infrastructure for electrification of 18 peripheral villages in Lanjigarh. Project Udaya* for Kalahandi district involves selection of 15 meritorious students every year and they will be provided with all support to pursue higher education. And the Child welfare scheme will adopt all the 122 anganwadi centres of Lanjigarh Block. Under this scheme the centres will be upgraded with infrastructure, fun-based education materials, freshly cooked nutritious meals and preventive health care will be looked after.The Vedanta group also programming for centralised kitchen to prepare and distribute hygienic mid-day meals to school children in Kalahandi in collaboration with the state government said Mr Krishnan. He claimed that the alumina produced during the trial production here was comparable to the best in the world. He further claimed that the rehabilitation done by the project at Lanjigarh is a model for the entire state. The project is providing employment opportunity to over 2,000 persons and this will go up 2,500 once the mining activity starts. For the sustainable livelihood also through SHGs creating economic generation activities in the periphery villages and rehab colony in agriculture development, pisiculture and phyneol making. Similarly mobile health units operating in 53 villages and adopted also 53 villages under Sustha Parivar Scheme partnering health department for malaria, AIDS, sunstroke and small family. For child care activities 29 child care centres and one EGS school is functioning. Opposition political parties had over the last fortnight demanded that the state government should ban Vedanta company following a Supreme Court verdict which has preferred its Indian wing - Sterlite Industries to undertake the project.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Health camps in Kalahandi

The Statesman,Dec 7,2007

ROURKELA, Dec. 6: As part of its corporate social responsibility, Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) is going to organise free Health Camps at Bolangir and Kalahandi districts from 7 to 16 December.The health camps in Bolangir district will be organised at four villages -Belpara, Sindhekela, Bharsuja and Tusra from 7 to 10 December and in Kalahandi District, the health camps will cover Nakrundi, Adri, Ghutrukhal and Mohulapatna from 13 to 16 December.This initiative will involve the services of specialist doctors in medicine, ophthalmology, ENT, skin, surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology and pediatrics who besides carrying out health check up and diagnosis of the villagers will also provide expert advice and free medicines to the patients in these camps.This apart, the steel plant through its Ispat General Hospital (IGH) has already established a modern medical and health services centre in the steel city catering to patients from Orissa and outside the state as well.RSP also runs free medical aid centres five days a week in a number of periphery villages and has recently set up a free medial consultation centre for the underprivileged as part of its CSR in the steel township.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Hospital train to serve patients in Koraput from Feb 15

The Pioneer,Dec 7,2007

The Rotary Club of Jeypore, in collaboration with Impact India Foundation and Rajiv Gandhi Foundation, has arranged for Operation Raid under the Life Line Express Project, which is scheduled to be held from February 15 to March 2, 2008 at the Jeypore Railway Station, informed President of Rotary Club, Jeypore, Rajendra Prasad Jain.
A preparatory meeting on the project was held under the chairmanship of Anjani Agarwal, a senior Rotarian of the locality, at the Agrasen Bhawan at Jeypore.
"Since 1991, the world's first and India's only hospital train, consisting of a fully equipped hospital with operation theatres and crew quarters, has held 95 projects in the remote areas of rural India, in collaboration with the Indian Railways. The train, with its crew comprising 80,000 surgeons and medical personnel, have benefited around 3,70,000 persons, restoring sight to the blind, mobility to polio stricken, hearing to deaf and smiles to those effected with cleft lip," said Jain.
"I will provide full support and cooperation for the successful implementation of the project. Poor villagers should not be left out and massive awareness campaign should be organised by both the Rotary Club and the District Health Administration so that they can avail the facility," said MLA, Jeypore, Rabi Narayana Nanda, who was the chief guest on the occasion.
"Around 60 corrective polio surgeries, 60 cataract operation, 60 ear surgeries will be conducted, besides the 120 cleft lip operations that will be carried out during the scheduled period. The District Health Department will be providing specialized surgeons, anaesthetists, orthopaedists, physiotherapists, audiologists, ophthalmic assistants and other required medical and para-medical staff," assured CDMO, Koraput. The Life line train, which will have five coaches for conducting different activities, will arrive on February 15, railway sources said.
The meeting was attended by Rotarians Asish Agarwal, Sandip Jand, Ram Avtar Gupta, Mahesh Dholkia and other members of the Rotary Club, representatives from local NGOs, DPC, DPEP, Koraput PK Dash and Health Department officials.

The poet poverty-stricken Komna is proud of

The Pioneer,Dec 7,2007

Aswini Panigrahi Nuapada

Komna, a remote village in Nuapada district of western Orissa, is often in news for wrong reasons: child labour and deadly epidemics. But another fact for which this village should justifiably be proud of is that it has given the State a great Oriya poet, late Gadadhar Mishra Sharma.
Born on November 7, 1906 in a conservative Brahmin family, the 54-year-old had to receive his primary education in a Hindi medium school as his birthplace at that time was part of Madhya Pradesh. He learnt Oriya language on his own efforts and started writing his feelings and experiences in poetic form, following the path of Oriya poets Radhanath Roy and Gangadhar Meher. He wrote many poems in Oriya language like Bibidhabarna, Rasamanjula, Kusumamala and Sarada Gamana, which established his poetic credentials. He composed eleven volumes of Khanda Kabya, which are compilations of many well-known poems like Mahandi, Jautuka, Premayana, Sura Sauvadra, Ramakatharu and Ramarajya and many other lesser known ones.
Mishra Sharma's writings brought about a great revolutionary change in the minds of Oriyas residing in western Orissa, and gradually he became popular among the Oriyas residing in different parts of the State. His poem Sarada Gamana was included in a book called Kabita Prabsesha, which was included as a part of the curriculum by the Board of Secondary Education, Orissa, for matriculation students.
Mahanadi is one of the great literary contributions of Mishra Sharma. In this poem, he has described the beauty of nature, the birds and the animals visiting the bank of the Mahandi and other rivers. The skillful use of Sanskrit words, Oriya words and dialects of western Orissa in his writings need to be studied carefully by the linguists and researchers of Oriya language to fully understand the impact of his contribution to the Oriya literary traditions.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Govt to outsource parts of OTLEP

Outlook,Dec 6,2007

Claiming that the Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livilihood Programme (OTELP) helped to improve living standard of tribals, state government today decided to outsource its financial management and monitoring activities to professional bodies.
This was decided at a meeting here attended by reprsentatives of the state government, DFID, IFD and World Food Programme. The OTELP was being jointly funded by the four bodies, official sources said.
According to Chief Secretary, Ajit Kumar Tripathy, the OTELP's first phase was implemented in 11 tribal dominated blocks under three districts of Rayagada, Nawarangpur and Malkangiri.
"The programe would be extended to four other districts like Koraput, Kalahandi, Kandhmal and Gajapati during the second phase which is scheduled to start from 2008," Tripathy told reporter.
The chief secretary said the representatives of DFID, IFD and WFP undertaken a visit to the blocks before allowing extension of the OTELP to four other districts.
He said while outsourcing the financial management, the government had decied to sanction 10 per cent of salaries of the field officers as incentive for proper implementation of the programme. "The officials engaged on contractual basis would be provided with incentives as it was being done in the western orissa rural livilihood project (WORLEP)," he said.

Rs 5-cr to be spent on Jatropha plantation in KBK

The Pioneer,Dec 6,2007

The State Government will spend about Rs 5-crore for Jatropha plantation and bio-diesel production in KBK region. A decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting chaired by the Chief Secretary Ajit Kumar Tripathy on Wednesday.
The cultivation would create large number employment opportunities and open the door for proper utilisation of waste lands throughout KBK areas.
In order to create awareness among the farmers to take up the plantation, Government has asked officials of the Orissa Remote Sensing Application Centre (ORSAC) to produce a film on Jatropha. Awareness programmes would be started in block and district level.
Tripathy would soon take meeting of the officials at Bhawanipatna. Chief Administrator of KBK will remain present in the meeting. Bankers will also be asked to provide financial support to the farmers to take up Jatropha farming.
Tripathy also directed the officials to draw up training programme for panchayat raj functionaries as trainer. Later, they would impart training to the farmers to raise their capacity building. It has been decided that Karanja plantation will be taken up in 500 acres of land for the purpose.
Development Commissioner RN Bohidar, Chief Administrator of KBK Rajlaxmi and officials of OREDA attended the meeting.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

OREDA plans Jatropha cultivation in KBK

The Pioneer,Dec 5,2007

The Orissa Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA) on Tuesday announced that it has planned to cultivate Jatropha over 2 million hectares of wasteland in the KBK region. For this, a State-level monitoring committee under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary will review the activities of current financial year and road map of Jatropha cultivation on Wednesday.
Speaking at a Press conference here, Science and Technology Minister Sanjeeb Kumar Sahoo said the need of the time is to go for an alternative of fossil fuels. Therefore, the production of bio-fuel from non-edible vegetable oils, particularly Jatropha curcas, is a much talked-about subject in the world. Orissa is among the first five States in the country that have come forward for bio-fuel production. The objective of the plan is to get substitution of fossil fuels, generation of employment and utilisation of wastelands, he said.
Secretary, Science and Technology, NC Vasudevan, said the Indian Oil Corporation has agreed to take the responsibility of bio-fuel marketing through its already existing network in the country. Director, OREDA, Ajit Bharthuar, said the oilseeds would be produced by the farmers and OREDA would buy the seeds from them to support them.

Monday, December 3, 2007

KBK lawyers demand HC Bench at Jeypore

The Pioneer,Dec 3,2007

Basant Rath Nabarangpur
The Bar associations of the undivided Koraput district have demanded establishment of a bench of the Orissa High Court either at Jeypore or at Nabarangpur. At a meeting, the presidents of the associations alleged that despite availability of infrastructure for functioning of a High Court bench at Jeypore, the State Government is apathetic towards the demand of the people of the undivided Koraput district, who run to Cuttack, which is 700 km away from the most remote area in this region, in connection with their cases in the High Court.
Though Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recently proposed establishment of High Court benches at Berhampur and Sambalpur, it has not been accepted by the High Court. The lawyers of the undivided Koraput district strongly condemned the 'step-motherly attitude' of the Government for not considering the need of a High Court bench in their region.
Justifying their demand for a High Court bench at Jeypore, they pointed out that Jeypore is situated within 200 km of the headquarters towns of six districts - Bhawanipatna, Nuapada, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Rayagada and Parlakhemundi, besides that of Koraput.
Former Nabarangpur District Bar Association president Ashok Mishra said the Government, while considering establishment of High Court benches at Berhampur and Sambalpur, should also consider the genuine demand of this region, as geographically Jeypore is situated in the heart of the KBK districts.
President of the Koraput District Bar Association Sudhir Sarangi said that if the Government did not consider their 'legitimate' demand, the lawyers would be forced to paralyse the court works in the KBK region.
Former vice-president of the Nabarangpur Bar Association Narasingha Tripathy claimed that about 80 per cent of the people in the KBK region are living below poverty line. The illiterate and economically backward people of the undivided Koraput and Kalahandi districts are the worst sufferers in the matter of getting justice as they cannot afford the expenses for going to far-off Cuttack to pursue their cases in the High Court, he added.
Among others, advocates Basant Rath, Balaji Mishra and Dibakar Hial were also of the view that the Government should consider the demands of the lawyers of the region which has a population of about 50 lakh.

SC verdict no setback to Kalahandi's industrial growth: BJD MLA

The Pioneer,Dec 3,2007

In an attempt to counter the anti-Vedanta forces in Kalahandi district, BJD MLA and former Minister Balabhadra Majhi on Sunday alleged that the vested interest groups are posing a threat to the industrial growth of the district.
The recent verdict of the Supreme Court on mining lease to the Vedanta Group was not at all a setback to Vedanta's alumina project at Lanjigarh, he said.
Speaking at a news conference here, Majhi said the Opposition parties were only misguiding the people on industrial development and making false interpretation of the apex court's verdict.
The Congress and the Left parties should have verified the directive of the court, which has clearly stated that Sterlite Industries, the flagship company of the Vedanta Group, could go ahead with its project, he said.
The people of Kalahandi want such a big project to come up, but some vested interests have been agitating against the industrialisation process, he alleged.
"Those opposing industrial development are against Kalahandi's all-round development," he added.
The firm stand taken by the State Government on industrial policy has begun to yield results in Kalahandi and poverty has been reduced impressively, he claimed. Koksara MLA Puspendra Singh Deo and Dharmagarh MLA Bir Sipka were also present at the Press conference