Thursday, February 28, 2008

Railway budget disappoints Orissa,27th Feb,2008

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said the railway budget for 2008-09 presented Tuesday was disappointing for Orissa. “It is disappointing for Orissa,” the chief minister told media persons here, reacting to the annual railway budget.
“The state has got an allocation of only Rs.972 crore (Rs.9.72 billion) only against the demand of Rs.1,300.30 crore (Rs.13 billion,” he said.
“No new links have been sanctioned.”
He also said that the backward regions of Kalahandi, Koraput and Bolangir have been neglected.
There have been no funds for the improvement of communication in Maoist-affected areas, he pointed out.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Three small/medium hydro power units to come up in Orissa

The Economic Times,24 Feb,2008

BHUBANESWAR: At least three of the 27 small and medium scale hydro power generation units will be operational by next fiscal in Orissa, state Energy Minister S N Patro said. Stating this in the state assembly while replying a question, Patro said the government had already granted permission for developing small and medium scale hydo power generation units in several places. Though the government had already identified nearly 70 places for setting up of small and medium hydro power projects ranging from 2-25 mw, only 27 were given permission. While 10 projects would be located in Koraput district, three projects each would be in Rayagada and Malkangiri districts, sources said adding that other places were Baragarh, Keonjhar, Ganjam, Gajapati, Kalahandi and Angul. To another question, the minister said none of the firms allowed to set up small and medium hydro power units, had been found putting electrical tower in forest areas. Congress MLA from Sonepur, Binod Patra had sought reply from the government regarding private companies putting electrical towers in forest areas thus destroying jungles. The minister said the small and medium hydro power generating companies had agreed to give 25 per cent of their production to the state while having freedom to sale rest of the power to their choice. "The state will get six paise per sale of every unit of power by the generating companies," Patro said adding that the tariff would change, if the companies achieved 80 per cent of the plf (plant load factor).

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Project Ujala launched for electrification at Lanjigarh

The Pioneer,23 Feb,2008

Project Ujala, a scheme under the community social responsibility of Vedanta Aluminium Limited, Lanjigarh, for electrification of peripheral villages of Lanjigarh to provide light to all the houses and streets of the villages of the project area, was inaugurated by former Indian Hockey captain Dilip Tirkey.
The inauguration ceremony was held at Basantapada village near Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district. The project Ujala will cost Rs 3 crore and will benefit 20,000 locals. Local BJD MLA Balabhadra Majhi hoped that the project would help to enhance living standard of the villages and make villagers identified with change happening through industrialisation.
MLA Majhi also highlighted State Government's industrialisation drive. Former Indian Hockey Captain Tirkey, however, expressed his happiness about all the community development programmes being operated by Vedanta in and around Lanjigarh and urged the local people to take full benefit of these programmes and get ahead in life. This project will be operational in two phases.
The work for the first phase has been launched to electrify 18 immediate peripheral villages while in the second phase 32 more peripheral villages will be taken up.
Lanjigarh Block Chairperson and wife of MLA Majhi, Srimati Majhi, GM (HR) of Vedanta Sailendra Singh, VP (Finance) Dinesh Mantri were among those present and spoke on the occasion.

Shifting cultivation has serious impact on ecology: Survey,23 Feb,2008

BHAWANIPATNA: Shifting cultivation (Podu), an age-old practice being followed by the tribals of Kalahandi in absence of adequate agriculture land and other sources of employment has been causing extensive damage to the forests in the recent years.If a survey conducted by Watershed Mission is to be believed, shifting cultivation is not too beneficial for the tribals as well. More than 30,000 hectares of forest area in the district, cultivated through Podu, have been affected.According to the survey, on an average, for shifting cultivation, each family cultivates about five acres on a hill slope (in some cases also, upto the hill top) and is engaged for about six months in the process.The return in form of minor agriculture products is to the tune of about Rs. 1000 to Rs. 1500 per acre annually. But, in the process, valuable vegetation is lost amounting to a loss of lakhs of rupees per acre.Besides, due to extensive Podu, there is loss of top soil causing siltation in river & water bodies and forest degradation leading to poor availability of minor forest produce on which the tribals are dependant, the report clarified. Keeping all these in view, a project has been prepared for prevention of shifting cultivation in Thuamul Rampur, Lanjigarh and Madanpur Rampur blocks.The project envisages to provide assured income to people involved in Podu and creation of awareness to desist people from the practice.On Friday, a high level meeting chaired by Collector took stock of the scenario. It was decided for coordination of different line departments in the process and take up NREGS works on a large scale in the Podu affected areas to provide people with employment.Among other things, it was also decided to plant different economical and fruit-bearing trees in the affected areas and hand over the rights of maintenance to the persons involved in the practice besides improving their socio-economic condition.

Maoist shadow over Rahul tour,20 Feb,2008

BHUBANESWAR: While the security forces have launched the biggest ever operation to flush out Maoists from the forests, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s much-hyped ‘discovery of India’ tour has hit a road-block. Scheduled to start from Orissa in the first week of March, the tour will pass through the Naxal-infested zone.And the timing has made it uncertain in the wake of Nayagarh mayhem and the combing operations. The Congress is upbeat but the administration has remained non-committal. In view of the attention the tour will draw, it is apprehended that Maoists could be up to something to make their presence felt further. Coming at a time when hundreds of Maoists have melted in the jungles after the mayhem, many feel the tour is fraught with risk.However, senior Congress leaders asserted that the tour is very much on and there is no question of cancellation. But the police are guarded in their response. ‘We have not received the tour programme of Rahul Gandhi. Let the programme come, we will examine it,’ a top police official told this website's newspaper.According to party sources, Rahul is likely to start his journey from Kalahandi district. He is scheduled to tour undivided Koraput comprising Malkangiri, Rayagada and Nabarngpur districts, besides Ganjam and Gajapati districts in the southern region, they said.Rahul is also scheduled to tour tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts in north-western Orissa. Besides addressing public meetings, Rahul will interact with the tribals informally in villages during the tour. Barring Kalahandi, Rahul’s entire route included Naxal-infested areas. Congress leaders are upbeat as this would be Rahul’s first visit to Orissa after his elevation as general secretary. While party leadership had suggested Rahul to start his journey from the South, the young leader chose to launch it from Orissa.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Boria (Kalahandi) Orissa, Feb.11 (ANI): Farmers in Orissa's Kalahandi District, where famine used to be a recurring phenomenon, are reaping it rich to

The,18 Feb 2008

Farmers in Orissa's Kalahandi District, where famine used to be a recurring phenomenon, are reaping it rich today by taking up banana cultivation on a massive scale. The initiatives to persuade farmers to take to banana growing, was taken by State's horticulture department. Agronomists and other horticulture experts have motivated the local farmers to try out these different crops in place of regular paddy crops. Until three years ago, Kalahandi was described as a drought prone region and farmers' condition was pitiable. Today, there is greenery due to banana plantation. Farmers here have taken up banana (also known as plantains) cultivation on a massive scale.Around 12,000 acres of agricultural land is under extensive banana cultivation in Kalahandi alone. A farmer, on an average, has to spend about rupees 30,000 (758 dollars) for banana cultivation in one acre area of land for a year and can earn around rupees 70,000 (1,770 dollars) or more as net profit."Banana farming is a profit making business for us. My fellow farmers informed me about this. In 2005, I started investing in this. I invested rupees 40,000 (1,010 dollars) on one acre of land and earned profits up to a lakh rupees (2,527 dollars) in a year," said Rameshwar Saha, one of the farmers in Boria Village."Here around 40 acres of banana cultivation is undertaken. A farmer spends rupees 30,000 (758 dollars) on one acre and earns around rupees 70,000 (1,770 dollars) on it. This profited them a lot and had caused a rise in their living standard," said Padma Naik, another cultivator of bananas.But farmers blame the government for inadequate support, particularly for frequent cuts in electric supply and not giving tax exemption on water. Under the National Farming Mission around 210 hectares have been given to farmers for banana farming. Further, the government has granted a subsidy of rupees 15,000 (380 dollars) to farmers."We have given 210 hectares of land for farmers. We have also given them rupees 15,000 (380 dollars) subsidy and they reimburse it after three years for which they give 50 per cent in the first year and the rest in two years," said Dharanidhar Patra, the Deputy Director with the Horticulture Department in Kalahandi.The farmers are also covered by insurance.India produces 16.91 million tonnes of bananas annually from 490.7 thousand hectares, contributing almost 37 per cent of the total fruit production in the country,Bananas of numerous varieties, all easy to digest, have a regular demand for their rich natural nutrient qualities.
By Sarada LahangirANI