Monday, March 31, 2008

Orissa: Government fails to keep its promise

Merinews, 31st March, 2008

manoj kumar das, 31 March 2008, Monday

WITH A central university being planned, thousands of tribals in Orissa’s poverty ridden, Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput (KBK) districts may soon have access to better higher education.
The human resource development (HRD) ministry, Monday said, it was weighing the state government’s proposal to set up, such a university in the region.
Orissa, being one of such states (without a central university), its request for establishment of a central university in the tribal-dominated KBK region shall receive due consideration.
“Further, a bill for setting up a central tribal university, is in the process of being introduced in the current session of parliament,” Purandeswari informed the Rajya Sabha. The proposed university shall have power to establish its regional centres in areas inhabited by tribals.
The HRD ministry had earlier said, there is a proposal for setting up 16 central universities in states where there is no such university.

Kalahandi lawyers' body poll results declared

The Pioneer, 31st March, 2008

Bhawanipatna: Election officer Sunil Kumar Mund on Saturday declared the results of the polls for the Kalahandi Lawyers' Association (KLA) held here on March 28. While senior lawyer Gajendra Prasad Padhi was elected as the president, Sudhansu Kumar Nanda was elected as general secretary, Asutosh Mishra as assistant general secretary and Dibya Ranjan Bahidar reelected as treasurer. Rasika Mohan Das, Subhransu Sekhar Sahu, Sudhir Kumar Pattnaik and Asit Pattnaik were elected as the members of the working committee in the 15 year-practice category. In the other categories, Chitaranjan Mandal, Debasis Pattnaik and Hare Ram Chalan were elected to the committee.

Bhawanipatna tense as officers try to curb copying

The Pioneer, 31st March, 2008

On the third day of the current year's High School Certificate (HSC) examination an unprecedented incident happened at Amapani TRW High School under Dharmagada sub division in Kalahandi district on Saturday, when the guardians of the appearing students attacked the officers on special duty to curb malpractices in the examination and completely damaged their vehicles.
Besides, the irate mob went berserk and damaged window pans, chairs, tables and other furniture of the school. The police, however, arrested 24 locals in connection with the case.
For the first time the high school was selected for HSC examination centre in 2008. Regular students of five high schools and ex-regular students of 15 high schools were appearing in the examination center. Sources said the special squad comprising Koksara BDO Basant Oddu, district agriculture officer Manoranjan Mahanty, Dharmagada District Inspector of Schools Chheti Prasad Mund and Bhawanipatna District Inspector of Schools Pradipta Nag on Friday visited the school and started surprise checking.
The squad booked 19 students under malpractice. The examinees reported the matter to their guardians who were outside the school campus. Outraged over the news the guardians along with the locals jumped the school boundary and ransacked the three official vehicles.

Orissa government fudges deaths figures

Merinews, 31st March, 2008

manoj kumar das, 31 March 2008, Monday

THIRTEEN-YEAR-old Laxman Jani died of diarrhoea last month in Kandabeda Padar village, of tribal-dominated Koraput district.
But his name does not figure in an official list. While residents claim the waterborne disease has killed as many as eight people in their village over the past one month, the government records show that only two people succumbed to the illness.
Similarly, 18-year-old Minju Disari, a resident of Katra Amba village, died of diarrhoea Aug 16, but his father Nila Dishari claims that government records show he died of malaria. People allege that the state government is deliberately keeping the cholera and diarrhoea death toll low in order to minimise the amount of compensation. There is a list of hundreds of people, who died of diarrhoea over the past one month in villages under Dasmantpur block. Many of them do not figure in the government list.
These areas witness the outbreak of waterborne diseases almost every monsoon. The cause has been the same over the years - rainwater slush from hilltops contaminating water sources.
Near about 43 numbers of deaths, due to the diseases in Koraput and 27 in Kalahandi by officially of the state health control room. No deaths have been reported from these regions for the past one-week although there are a few cases of attacks. Hospitals have only received sporadic diarrhoea cases.
However, locals claim that deaths caused by diarrhoea and cholera continue unabated. "The government figures are totally false. In Koraput alone, more than 250 people have already died," Bahinipati, the local MLA, said.
The administration is deliberately showing the fresh deaths as deaths due to other diseases. The old men have been shown to die from old age-related complications; others have been shown as having died of fever or other diseases. The government is not disclosing the real deaths because it does not want to take the blame. Besides, it also does not want to pay any compensation. However, government officials deny the allegations.
Cholera and diarrhoea outbreaks have been wreaking havoc for one and a half months in the districts, known as the most underdeveloped parts of the country and often in the news for starvation deaths and child trafficking.

Now, country spirit in glass bottles

Newindpress, 31st March, 2008

Monday March 31 2008 12:52 IST

BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has decided to sell country spirit in glass bottles. At present it is being sold in 200 ml poly packs.According to the excise guidelines for 2008-09, all the existing country spirit shops will be renewed for 2008-09 with 10 percent increase in consideration money after observing all formalities in this regard. The licence fee for manufacture and supply of country spirit will be Rs 20 lakh per annum.Unsettled country spirit shops in 10 districts may be given to Aska Cooperative Sugar Industries Limited, other State Government undertakings and cooperative organisations at the reserve price fixed by the State Government. However, they will have to operate these shops under their own management.They will not be allowed to sub-lease these shops under any circumstances. The guidelines say that in case any existing country spirit shop remains unsettled, the collector may take immediate steps for settlement of the same by way of inviting applications. In case more than one application is received, the shops will be settled by way of draw of lotteries.Before supplying the country spirit in glass bottles, the manufacturer will have to get the labels registered and the label registration fee of Rs 15,000 per annum per label will be charged.However, in each of the districts where country spirit is prevalent, a committee for prevention of illicit liquor will have to be formed with collector as chairman, superintendent of police as the vigilance officer and superintendent of excise as the convenor-cum-secretary. The committee will review from time to time the functioning of country spirit shops and formulate strategies to prevent illicit distillation of liquor and detect the sources of spurious and non-duty paid liquor.Besides, the licences of all the existing out still shops operating in 20 districts - Sambalpur, Bargarh, Jharsuguda, Deogarh, Sundargarh, Balangir, Sonepur, Kalahandi, Nuapara, Boudh, Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Angul, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Ganjam, Gajapati and Dhenkanal - will be renewed for 2008-09 with 10 percent increase in consideration money.The collectors may allow 10 branch shops to be operated by each exclusive privilege holder with a monthly licence fee of Rs 5,000 per branch shop up to five branch shops and Rs 3,000 for each of the subsequent branch shops. The utilisation fee of mahua flower will be Rs 222 per quintal and any shop once settled and starts functioning will not be shifted ordinarily within a financial year.The excise duty on bhang has been fixed at Rs 300 per kilogram. All the existing licences for bhang, tari and pochwai shops have been renewed for 2008-09 with 10 percent increase in consideration money.

Plan panel’s formula reduced BPL families by 10 lakh: CM

Newindpress, 31st March, 2008

Monday March 31 2008 12:51 IST

BHUBANESWAR: Criticising the Centre for always ignoring the interests of Orissa, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that after the Planning Commission adopted the Adjusted Share Formula, the number of below poverty line (BPL) families was reduced by 10 lakh.Talking to mediapersons after returning from New Delhi on Sunday, the Chief Minister said that he had raised the issue at the meeting of the NDA chief ministers held at the residence of leader of the Opposition LK Advani. Naveen raised various instances of Centre’s neglect of Orissa.The Chief Minister said that deleting 10 lakh families from the BPL list will have great impact on the implementation of poverty alleviation programmes in the State. He said that with the addition of 10 percent of the transient poor to the number of BPL families arrived at on the basis of 2002 census, the number of BPL families of the State should be 41.56 lakh. He demanded immediate acceptance of this by the Centre.Naveen criticised the Centre for curtailing Central assistance under different schemes. He said that before the eight KBK (Koraput, Balangir and Kalahandi) districts were included under the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF), the allocation for KBK districts under the Revised Long Term Action Plan (RLTAP) was Rs 250 crore per annum. But after the inclusion of the eight districts under the BRGF, special allocation under the RLTAP has been reduced by Rs 120 crore per annum.The Chief Minister also referred to the substantial reduction in allocation under the Central share of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) to Rs 525 crore during the current year from Rs 775 crore during the previous financial year. In spite of demands from the districts for more funds, the same has not been provided even though the financial year is going to close.Naveen said that Union Rural Development Minister Raghuvansh Prasad Singh, whom he met recently, had promised to release Rs 200 crore for implementation of the scheme. However, this is yet to be done, he added.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Farmers’ support for economic blockade

The Statesman, 29th March, 2008

The economic blockade launched by advocates received a boost with farmers of Bargarh district lending support and joining the agitation from today.Interestingly farmers of the region who are also up in arms against the government for the past several months due to indiscriminate allocation of Hirakud dam and Mahanadi waters to industrial houses joined hands with lawyers.The solidarity has exposed the ruling BJD’s claims of having successfully dealt with the farmer’s unrest in the region. Chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik had addressed a farmer’s rally at Bargarh, announced a package and tried to woo the peasants. Some of the BJD workers had clashed with lawyers the same day as advocates had given a bandh call. The BJD leaders had decried the bandh and even blamed the police administration of behaving in a partisan manner. A few senior ruling party activists accused the superintendent of police and have been demanding action against him.But today's unity between farmers and lawyers indicates that the clash during the farmers rally was more of a BJD versus lawyers rather than farmers were lawyers tussle.Advocates across western Orissa are on agitation. They have virtually paralysed the administration and most of the offices here remain closed in the last part of the financial year. “We will further acclerate the movement if government doesn't fulfill the demand of the people,” informed Mr Nibhuban Prasad Bihari Panda the president of the Bargarh district bar association. Similar agitations are also continuing at Sambalpur, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Raurkela, Bhawanipatna, Balangir and all other places. With no apparent hope to advocates’ strike and economic blockade demanding a permanent bench of high court to come to an end before in the current financial year, various government offices have discovered a novel path to reduce the year end pressure. They are either functioning during night or shifting to the forest areas to avoid public view. Advocates are not allowing any office in the district headquarters to function normally during the day time. They even ransacked an office of Wesco inside the town as they didn’t agree stop their economic blockade. Hence officers of various departments particularly in revenue, finance, forest, DRDA, PWD, PHD don’t want to have confrontation with advocates but are carrying out their works cleverly. They are working on the files during night and in secluded places, as learnt from established sources. “End of the financial year is crucial for us. No excuse will be entertained by the higher authorities for any lapse. At the same time there is no scope to work usually in our respective offices. Hence, we thought of this novel path,” said a senior officer requesting to keep his name a secret.“Working outside the office is no doubt a difficult affair. But there is no alternative and we have to keep everything ready since nobody will understand our problem rather bang for the non-completion of works,” added another official. There is no dearth of officers in works department criticising administrative inaction. It is duty of the district administration to provide a conducive work environment to government officials. But they fail to do so, remarked a good number of officials.

Orissa to have IIT, Central varsity

The Pioneer, 29th March, 2008

Pioneer News Service Bhubaneswar

The determined efforts of the Orissa Government and several voluntary organisations to get an IIT and a Central University for the State have finally paid off. The State will now have an IIT and a Central University in the 11th Five-Year Plan period.
A statement to this effect was made by the Centre on Friday. The Union Government has decided to establish four new IITs and six IIMs in various States, besides upgrading some of the State universities to the status of Central universities.
It has generated a lot of hope and jubilation in Orissa. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was happy about the development. The Agami Odisha, a forum of intellectuals in the State, which has been leading the movement for establishment of an IIT and a Central University in the State, will hold a torch rally in Bhubaneswar on Sunday evening to celebrate the State's achievement. Sudarsan Das of the Agami Odisha congratulated the UPA Government for finally undoing the injustice to Orissa in the matter of setting up of these centres of higher learning.
Earlier on January 24, the Chief Minister had called on the Union Minister, Human Resource Development Arjun Singh at New Delhi and urged him for setting up a Greenfield IIT in Orissa during the 11th Five-Year Plan period in the State.
Patnaik argued that Orissa was on the verge of rapid industrial upsurge not only in the industrial sector but also in technical education sector and the State provides enormous potential for research and development activities.
"Establishment of an IIT in Orissa will greatly facilitate in intensifying this process, which is of critical importance to make the industry globally competitive," he said.
The Chief Minister also demanded for setting up of a Central University in the KBK region which could educate the youth in traditional and modern disciplines.
Since the quality of human resource holds the key to the development of any region, there is an urgent need to set up a top class multi-disciplinary Central University in the KBK region, he said.
Besides Orissa, the other IITs would be located in Orissa, Madhya Pradesh (Indore), Gujarat and Punjab. The IIMs would come up in Tamil Nadu, Jammu and Kashmir, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh (Raipur), Uttarakhand and Haryana.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Violation in NREGA provisions

Newindpress, 28th March , 2008

BHAWANIPATNA: Notwithstanding the district administration’s directive to bring in transparency in the NREGA works, violations of NREGA provisions continue to be reported at both the block and panchayat levels in Kalahandi district.Recently, during an inquiry conducted by the Collector on the basis of a complaint lodged by villagers of Chancher GP under Bhawanipatna block regarding non-receipt of payments under NREGA, several violations came to light. The block and panchayat officials had allegedly ‘distorted’ the provisions to such an extent that payments had not been made to many workers within a stipulated dateline.In one of the works, apart from not providing unemployment allowance for an amount of Rs 70,210 to 118 job-seekers, they were not provided work for over 34 days though the work should have been given within a fortnight.After prolonged delay, this work was also executed without administrative approval and online entry.In another case, 185 persons were not given unemployment allowance for 35 days totalling about Rs. 1.14 lakh and the work was executed later without administrative approval.The Collector in his report held the BDO, JE, assistant engineer, computer programmer, programme officer of DRDA, sarpanch of Chancher GP and PEO of Chancher GP responsible for the mess.He ordered for immediate payment of unemployment allowance and wages for the works actually executed.

Mass copying alleged in HSC exam in Kalahandi

The Pioneer, 28th March, 2008

Around 13, 421 students are now appearing in the current year's High School Certificate (HSC) examination that started from March 26 in Kalahandi district. Although, the Board of Secondary Education (BSE) and the district administration have jointly taken a number of measures to curb malpractices and illegal means in different examination centres, it is often alleged that mass copy was reported from various examination centres in the district.
The allegation was proved to be true when it was reported that at least 75 students from across the district were booked under malpractice by flying squads during the last two days examination. Sources said 58 centres were provided for 10, 296 regular students and 19 centres were opened for 3,125 ex-regular students in the district. Similarly, in Nuapara district 4,511 regular, 952 ex-regular and 37 correspondence course examinees are appearing in the HSC examination. In order to bring transparency and honesty in the examination a special flying squad was constituted comprising Kalahandi Circle Inspector of School, Keshab Chandra Barik and Accountant Nanda Kishore Bal.

Honey in pouches: Khadi Board’s sweet initiative

Newindpress, 28th March, 2008

BHUBANESWAR: If Orissa Khadi and Village Industries Board has its way, honey would soon be available in pouches.The board plans to take up this project once the proposed modern honey processing unit starts functioning on its premises. It has already received a grant of Rs 18 lakh for the unit.Board secretary Manmohan Rath said, their ultimate goal is to increase honey production substantially in the State and popularise its consumption. At present, honey consumption in the State stands at 18 gram per head as against the countrywide figure of 38 grams.The Government is in the process of setting up bee keeping nurseries in Bhawanipatna, Balangir, Koraput and Rayagada. He said, the ensuing programmes would entail employment generation and supplementary income to BPL families.On promotion of khadi and raising production capacity, he said a production-cum-training centre would be set up at a cost of Rs 1 crore here.Modern 10 spindle charkhas will be used in the centre. The Khadi Board has so far created about 3,100 rural entrepreneurs and provided employment opportunities to about 29,000 people under the Rural Employment Generation Programme (REGP).The nine-day REGP exhibition, which concluded here today, provided such entrepreneurs a platform to showcase their produce. The secretary said, plans are afoot to take up a Rs 3-crore project at Khaprakhol block in Balangir district, a rich cotton growing region.The project is basically for setting up a khadi centre producing superior quality thread. It will also provide employment opportunities to about 500 persons. The success of the project might also check migration from the region.Disclosing plans for popularising bamboo items, Rath said a Rs 50-lakh pilot project has been presented to the Khadi Commission for value addition of bamboo items. The project will directly benefit another 500 families.

Vedanta inks deal with Apollo for healthcare

The Pioneer, 28th March, 2008

Pursuing its mission of enhancing the quality of life of the people in Orissa in general and those of its areas of operation in particular, Vedanta Aluminium Limited signed an MoU with the Apollo Health & Life Style Limited on Tuesday to open two units of The Apollo Clinics at Lanjigarh and Jharsuguda.
The MoU was signed at the Vedanta office in Bhubaneswar by M Siddiqi, Director and CEO, Aluminium Sector, Vedanta Group, and Ratan Jalan, CEO, Apollo Health & Life Style Ltd, in the presence of Vedanta Aluminium CFO Virendra Agrawal, GM and Head, PR & CSR, Prashanta Hota and other officials form both sides.
The MoU deals with the establishment and management of the two well-equipped Apollo Clinics, which would be fully supported by Vedanta Aluminium. Funded fully by Vedanta, the two units have accepted the responsibility of recruiting doctors, providing all kinds of diagnostic facilities, specialist treatment, extending other modern healthcare facilities and running the clinics at both locations.
Involving a total investment of about Rs 5 crore, the day-to-day operations would also be fully funded by Vedanta.
Besides rendering quality healthcare services to the project-impacted people and employees of Vedanta Aluminium and their dependents, the clinics would be running a Sick Bay Unit in the plant premises and regularly conduct Outreach Programmes in the periphery villages.
As part of its committed CSR policies and programmes, Vedanta has been working relentlessly for the development of communities in all its areas of operation, especially, in healthcare, education, livelihood and peripheral development sectors. The partnership with Apollo in the healthcare sector is yet another step in that direction.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Hybrid strain detected by RMRC experts for first time in India

Newindpress, 25th March, 2008

BHUBANESWAR: Cholera outbreak in KBK region of Orissa last year and its recurrence has brought to light a virulent hybrid strain which has been reported in India for the first time ever.The Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) here which has been working on the disease has come to the conclusion. The mutating strain is yet to get a name for itself though.In July 2007, an acute diarrhoea swept across southern Orissa districts of Rayagada, Koraput and Kalahandi inhabited by tribals. By the end of August, over 1,04,872 persons were affected in 306 villages with a fatality rate of 8.6 percent. The official death roll was 159 but unofficially, it was close to 500.It prompted the health researchers to analyse whether it was just one form of severe diarrhoea or cholera. Although the State Government never admitted it because of its wider ramifications, the culprit was the killer cholera.According to sources, the RMRC analysis found that it was Vibrio cholera O1 Ogawa biotype El Tor with classical phenotypic characteristics. ‘To our knowledge, emergence of this hybrid strain is the first report in India and needs to be analysed using molecular tools with other known hybrid strains prevailing over other parts of the world,’ the report stated.The analysis revealed that the strain was very active in releasing cholera toxin and clinically severe. The strain was first reported from Tanzania in Africa and then Bangladesh.It’s the resistance profile of the hybrid strain which is the cause of concern. The RMRC analysis found that the strain was resistant to tetracycline (15.6 percent), ampicili (100 percent), chloramphenicol (35.3 percent), furazolidone (100 percent), cotromoxazole (98 percent), nalidixic acid (98 percent), stretptomycin (94 percent), gentamicin (9.8 percent), ciprofolxacin (58.5 percent) and norfloxacin (66.6 percent).It meant the strain was adapting to the drugs quickly and resulted in heavy casualties.

OERC rejects discoms’ plea for hike

The Hindu, 25th March, 2008

BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has rejected appeals of distribution companies that sought a hike in the domestic electricity tariff for the 2008-09 fiscal.
OERC’s decision that was released to the media on Monday was taken after consideration of loads of public objections and adverse opinion of State Advisory Committee (SAC) against the proposal.“Considering the proposal of distribution companies, public objections, opinion of SAC and interest of the general public, the commission has decided not to increase electricity tariff in the financial year 2008-09,” an OERC statement said here.Emphasising constant electricity tariff, OERC said better consumer services could be provided by proper maintenance of electricity line, transformers and substations as well improving quality of supply.
Despite upward revision of salary and pension, repayment of principal and interest of the borrowing and rising maintenance cost of electricity lines, the commission has not enhanced the tariff of domestic users since 2001.Moreover, OERC appointed an independent Enquiry Committee for finding out reasons for frequent power failure in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Puri. “This field inspection work is continuing presently in Cuttack Sadar, Athagarh, Salipur, Kendrapara, Marshaghai and Jagatsinghpur area. This enquiry will be extended to Berhampur, Kalahandi, Balasore and other areas of the state in future,” it said.

Tariff reduction

On the other hand, the commission directed reduction of the electricity tariff of agro-industrial consumers such as horticulture, pisciculture, sericulture and cold storage by 75 per cent.
“When the electricity tariff for the said category in FY 2007-08 was within the range of Rs.3.20 to Rs.4.50, it has now been reduced to the range of Rs.1.00 to Rs.1.10. Hence, the electricity tariff for the above category has been reduced by 73 per cent to 75 per cent,” it said.Similarly, the Commission laid emphasis on the maintenance of high and extra-high tension lines and substations and made adequate financial provision for this. The Orissa Power Transmission Corporation Limited (OPTCL) should make efforts to achieve the objective.OERC also issued instruction for completion for all the substations, lines under construction in due time mainly in Bidanasi-Cuttack, Phulnakhara, Budhipadar-Bolangir line sub-station at Karanjia, Basta and Barapalli.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

NABARD sanctions 138 cr for projects

Newindpress, 22nd March, 2008

Saturday March 22 2008 13:20 IST
BHUBANESWAR: The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned Rs 138.27 crore for Orissa under tranche XIII for construction of 21 minor, one medium irrigation and one flood projects, 12 roads and an equal number of bridges. These projects will have to be completed by 2010. The decision of fund sanction was taken at a meeting of the bank authorities at New Delhi on March 17. Taking into account release of funds earlier, the total funds available under the trache amounted to Rs 508.95 crore.The newly sanctioned rural roads (175 km) and bridges (843 metres) will benefit 771 villages connecting 97 marketing centres, 24 tourist spots and 34 pilgrimage centres. These projects will be implemented in 19 districts across the State including the three KBK districts of Kalahandi, Koraput and Nuapada.Projects sanctioned under irrigation will bring an additional ayacut of 11,314 hectares. These projects are expected to generate non-recurring employment of around 105 lakh mandays. Since the RIDF was launched in 1995-96, NABARD has sanctioned Rs 3,112 crore to the State Government for irrigation, rural connectivity, animal husbandry infrastructure development and drinking water supply system.

Kalahandi deserves central univ

Tathya, 21st March, 2008

Digambara Patra sitting thousands of miles away from Kalahandi is worried for the most backward and poverty stricken zone of the country. A leading educationist non resident Oriya (NRO) Dr.Patra, who teaches at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, has demanded the proposed KBK Central University to be established at Bhawanipatana, district headquarters of Kalahandi. While politicians are maintaining eerie silence over the establishment of the demand of a Central University in Kalahandi, Dr.Patra has prepared the road map for the same and has demanded it with all sorts of justifications. In a memorandum to the President of India, Dr.Patra has outlined the urgent need for a Central University in this part of the country. While lauding the agenda of the Centre to establish KBK Central University during the Eleventh Plan, he demanded it with full justifications for placing it at Bhawanipatana. To begin with he said that the concept KBK originated from Kalahandi, where Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi, Sonia Gandhi and of late Rahul Gandhi visited the worst poverty stricken zone of the country. Kalahandi is located at the epicenter of KBK (Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput), where due to political reasons economic and social development has taken a back seat. For example recently the state Government of Orissa decided to establish its Headquarters of KBK at Koraput without considering other parts of KBK and rather bringing a regional/local confrontation among local people in KBK. The central government has established IIT, IIM and central universities in northeastern states and a proposed tribal Central University in Amarkantak, but Kalahandi was never in considered for such opportunities. This shows lack of seriousness of our great leaders and Gandhi dynasty for development of Kalahandi and KBK. Geographically Kalahandi happens to be the Centre of the entire KBK districts and including some other backward districts like Gajapati, Kandhamal etc. The headquarters of these districts are about 200 kms from Bhawanipatna. Kalahandi, moreover, is a link between Chhatisgarh and Andhra Pradesh and other parts of Orissa State through air, railway and road. Historically, present day Kalahandi served as Political hub and cultural sanctuary of ancient Atavika [4th-3rd century B.C] and Mahakantara [4th –5th century A.D] to which modern KBK districts forms a part. It is predominantly a tribal area, where primitive tribes like Khond, Gond, Brinjal, Saura and Godva etc live since time immemorial. Their archaic tribal culture adds luster to the existing natural resources and cultural relics of Kalahandi in particular and Orissa in general. Kalahandi has only one Government college situated at Bhawanipatna namely Government Autonomous College imparting teaching upto Post Graduation (PG) classes. This institution has the status of Potentiality for Excellence by the University Grants Commission (UGC). A high powered committee of the UGC visited recently and have expressed great satisfaction with the progress. No other college of KBK districts has received such rare distinction by the UGC of India. NACC team visited this college in 2005 and has conferred B++ grade. The grade could have been higher if the staff position would have been 75% of the UGC norm. It is the State Government which appoints people for teaching and non teaching activities. This premier college has been catering to the academic need of the students of the neighboring areas such as Nowrangpur, Nuapada, Khariar, Saintala –Titilagarh, Muniguda-Gunpur, Rayagada etc of KBK districts. The college is ideally situated on the side of NH that connects Visakhapattanam and Raipur [Andhra- Chhatisgarh State] on the one hand and Bhubaneswar–Sambalpur- Berhampur–Jaipur-Bolangir-Phulbani of Orissa on the other hand. An aerodrome at Utkela is hardly 12 Km away from the college campus. The Kesinga railway station is located within 26 Km of its reach and the direct railway link to Bhawanipatna via Lanjigarh is being established. Available Infrastructure is enough for the proposed Central University, said Dr.Patra The college is imparting teaching in 18 diverse disciplines of Arts, Commerce and Science including M.Phil courses in History and Culture, and Oriya [Regional language and Literature] besides technical [Job Oriented] subjects like PGDCA, ARCHAEOLOGY- MUSEOLOGY, BFC, PGDPLT, EPET, P.G Diploma in Pathology laboratory Technology and Opto-Electronics. Keeping the above facilities in view, it will be eminently suitable for the proposed KBK Central University, said Dr.Patra.
Dr.Digamabra Patra is available :

Friday, March 21, 2008

30,000 diesel pump sets to be given to farmers

The Pioneer, 21 st March, 2008

Agriculture Minister Surendra Nath Nayak on Wednesday said the Government would provide 30,000 diesel pump sets at 33 per cent concession in the blocks of KBK, WODC and TASP. "Rs 2.50 crore has been allotted for this purpose in the current Budget," Nayak said. However, he made it clear that Government would not do anything which would hamper the interest of the farmers.
Cutting across party lines members demanded that pump sets running on kerosene should be given to the farmers at a concessional rate.
However, Nayak said the kerosene available on PDS should not be utilised for the pumps. "There has been no programme to supply non-PDS in rural areas," he said, adding that the Government would not be dictated by the whims of the dalals and businessmen.

Policy loaded against small farmers

Newindpress, 20th March, 2008

BHUBANESWAR: The agricultural policy announced by the State Government came in for sharp criticism in the Assembly. Members cutting across party lines demanded the policy be reviewed as it was heavily loaded against small and marginal farmers.The announcement of providing 30,000 diesel-run pumpsets to farmers of Kalahandi, Balangir, Koraput (KBK) districts, Western Orissa Development Corporation (WODC) and Tribal Area Sub Plan (TASP) during the next three years was the focus of the members’ ire.The issue cropped up during discussion on the admissibility of an adjournment motion. Members demanded that the Government revise the Central guidelines and lift restriction on purchase of pumpsets by the farmers.The opposition from the members was on two counts. First, diesel pumpset of one/two hp power is not available. And it is very difficult to move bigger ones from one field to the other. Besides, the bigger pumpsets cost Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000. Even if the Government gives subsidy of Rs 5,000 for each pumpset, it will be impossible for the small and marginal farmers to arrange rest of the money.The members demanded that small pumpsets which can be run by kerosene, petrol or batteries should be allowed to be purchased by the farmers under the scheme. They alleged that bigger pumpsets will eventually be sold to the trawler owners and will be of no help to the farmers.There were heated exchanges over the issue between Arun Dey (NCP) and Agriculture Minister Surendra Nath Nayak. Dey alleged that by closing down the Orissa Lift Irrigation Corporation (OLIC), the State Government has broken the backbone of the marginal and small farmers.The scheme announced by the State Government has no takers and not a single big pumpset has been purchased by the farmers, he said. Nalini Kanta Mohanty (Cong) and Ramesh Chandra Chau Patnaik (BJD) maintained that small pumpsets are needed for the farmers. Pradip Maharathi (BJD) demanded that the policy should be changed after discussion with the Chief Minister.Making a statement, the Minister, however, said a provision of Rs 2.5 cr has been made in the 2007-08 supplementary budget. Applications have been collected from the interested farmers from the farmers’ assistance centres at the blocks.Stating that kerosene available through public distribution system (PDS) is not meant for running of pumpsets, the Minister said there is no facility for sale of non-PDS kerosene in rural areas.Observing that the scheme was not meant only for small and marginal farmers, Nayak said the State Government will consider providing kerosene for running of pumpsets separately if there is a proposal from the members.

Kalahandi gets ready for summer

Newindpress, 20th March, 2008

BHAWANIPATNA: With summer round the corner, the Kalahandi district administration has promised to make things comfortable for the common man. The administration at a preparatory meeting decided to meet any heat-related eventualities in the district.According to reports, 388 tube-wells are defunct in the rural pockets of the district while the number is 112 in three urban areas. All these tube-wells need immediate repair and attention in a fortnight, the officials at the meeting said.However, the urbanites are bound to suffer this summer. Problems like non-supply of riser pipes have made the repair job difficult in urban areas. The supplier is unable to provide the same as the market price of the pipes has increased but the EPM directory has not yet come up with revised rate.On the other hand, the pipe water supply scheme in Junagarh and Kesinga urban areas are hanging fire since long. In Kesinga, 24-hour water supply under RLTAP State Window at an estimated Rs 6.97 crore is unable to see the light of the day due to supervisory problems despite the availability of pipes. In Junagarh, the work started three years back has not progressed inviting public wrath.District Collector Pramod Chandra Patnaik chaired the preparatory meet which was also attended by the officials of the Health Department, PHD and RWSS besides elected representatives.It was decided to repair defunct tube-wells on a war-footing, open Jalchhatra in NAC, municipality and panchayat level, keep a ward in district headquarters hospital ready to admit sunstroke patients.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Centre accused of neglecting Orissa

The Statesman, 18th March, 2008

The centre continues to neglect Orissa and KBK region in particular charged BJP MP Ms Sangeeta Kumari Singh Deo while referring to the fact that despite harping on ‘inclusive’ growth almost on a daily basis, the central budget did not mention of KBK region nor did it provide special package to the poorest parts of the country.The KBK region ( erstwhile undivided Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahandi districts), is regarded as the country’s hunger zone’ yet the finance minister did not even mention about it. "It needs special policy initiatives and interventions", she said referring to her speech in parliament during the budget discussion.Increased funding to the region by way of the revised long term action plan was discontinued and it gets a pittance under the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF)."The BRGF allocation for the year 2008-09 is Rs 5,800 crore for 250 districts", she noted while chiding that ironically Mr Rahul Gandhi chose to launch his discover India programme from KBK regions.She pressed for a special industrial incentive package for development of industrial infrastructure and industries in the KBK region on the lines of the North-East Industrial policy . The centre has announced such special packages for North-East, Sikkim , J&K , Uttaranchal and Himachal Pradesh.Besides the establishment of a design institute , IIT and IIM, central university and medical collages, expeditious implementation of the Paradip refinery cum petrochemical project were demands voiced for the state.The enhanced outlay under NREGS is very meager, she said noting that earlier for 100 disticts the budgetary allocation was Rs 12,000 crore but now for 596 districts the outlay is only Rs 16,000 crore. It is a five fold increase with only 25 percent increase in allocation she noted.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Five malaria deaths : Panic in village

Newindpress, 18th March, 2008

BHAWANIPATNA: Five deaths owing to malaria in Badbafla village under Thuamul Rampur block in the last fortnight have pressed the panic button in the district.On Sunday, Health Minister Sanatan Bisi along with Labour Minister Pradip Naik, MLAs Balabhadra Majhi and Puspendra Singhdeo visited the malaria- infested area to take stock of the situation. The Health Minister also attended a Jana Sampark Sibir at the village. The locals demanded establishment of a new primary health centre in Odri and Gopinathpur, upgradation of the hospital of Thuamul Rampur, a mobile health centre and regular running of ANM centres in the area.The Minister directed the Health Department officials to ensure regular spraying of DDT, posting of ANMs and doctors in the new PHC at Odri. He called upon the villagers to avail of the services of anganwadi centres and take the available malaria medicines.Earlier, the Collector and Sub-Collector also visited the village and announced a grant of Rs. 10,000 for the bereaved families.

Handful of women avail legal aid

Newindpress, 18th March, 2008

BHAWANIPATNA: Women in Kalahandi are yet to be aware about the provision of legal aid to assert their rights as well as settle family disputes.During 11-year period starting from March 1, 1997, only 169 women have submitted applications for availing legal aid before the Legal Service Authority, Kalahandi. Out of that, 166 applications have been disposed of. This is despite several NGOs working to empower women in the district.This was revealed at the workshop organised by District Legal Service Authority here yesterday. The workshop on the theme ‘Violence against women’ was organised on the occasion of National Women’s Week on civil court premises here.Speakers said women are not coming forward to assert their rights due to lack of awareness and poor literacy rate. Chief Judicial Magistrate Saroj Kumar Pati emphasised on creating awareness in the society to curtail violence against women. He said NGOs and social activists have a key role to create awareness and empower women.

Orissa tribals seek divine help to prevent British project

Thaindian News, 18th March, 2008

Hundreds of tribals in three Orissa districts decided to seek divine intervention to stop an alumina-mining project by British company Vedanta Resources. The tribals from Kandha tribe from Kalahandi, Rayagada and Koraput assembled over the weekend carrying their traditional weapons and sacrificed chickens and goats to a stone and a wooden pillar at Ijirupa, a hamlet located in Niyamgiri hills, a senior district police official told IANS Monday.
The Kandha tribals believe that the hills belong to Niyam Raja Penu, a male deity represented by a sword. The tribal people claim to be descendants of the deity and worship a stone that symbolizes the deity.
Vedanta has already built a $900 million alumina refinery in the region that is now running on test trial.
Ijirupa has a population of about a dozen families and was visited by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi earlier this month. He assured all help to the tribals to protect their environment.
“The rituals the tribals performed over the weekend were an oath to fight against the unprecedented threat to their culture, beliefs and place of worship by the Vedanta project,” Siddharth Nayak, a social activist and lawyer, told IANS.
The tribals, accompanied by Janis (priests) and Bhejens (priestesses), danced several hours to the beats of drums and dhampa, a traditional instrument, an eyewitness said.
They also worshipped a wooden pillar known as Dharani Penu (mother earth).
The tribals complain that the government is determined to take away their lands after it signed an agreement with Vedanta four years ago.
The Supreme Court last November barred Vedanta from mining bauxite after local opposition.
However, it suggested that Vedanta make its Indian partner Sterlite apply for the clearance. The court judgment on the fresh application is expected this month.
“We performed the rituals because some of us have seen the Niyamgiri Raja and Dharani Penu telling us in dreams that we should protect them from mining exploration,” a tribal leader said.

Ex-Union Minister's mother passes away

The Pioneer, 18th March, 2008

Bhubaneswar: Bilash Dei (83), mother of former Union Minister Bhakta Charan Das, died on Monday at the All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences in New Delhi.
PCC president Jayadev Jena, Kanhu Charan Lenka, Srikant Jena and other such senior Congress leaders paid her their homage after her body reached the airport here.
Her body was then taken to Bhawanipatna for cremation in Sukanautta village, 13 km from Bhawanipatna, on Tuesday.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Agitating Orissa doctors stick to their stand

Kalingatimes, 17th March, 2008

Lakhs of people dependant on the services of government-run hospitals in the State are heading for big trouble with the agitating doctors declaring that they would not withdraw their resignation papers. The announcement came on Sunday as the doctors were not satisfied with whatever assurances Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had given them on Saturday.
As per the condition made by the doctors, they would not remain in their service from Wednesday. Among other things, the government doctors in the State have been demanding for better pay scales, improved promotion rules and adequate infrastructure at the hospitals.
Over 2000 doctors had submitted their resignation to the government through the Orissa Medical Services Association last month with the condition that their resignation may be accepted with effect from March 19 if the government did not fulfill their demands.
With the government unable to resolve the crisis till date, patients have already started facing trouble as the doctors had already started admitting patients who would require treatment for a longer period. The issue was also raised in the State Assembly on Saturday when legislators belonging to different parties urged the State government to talk to the doctors to prevent a crisis. People in the backward Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput region of the State were already facing a lot of hardship as hundreds of posts of doctors were laying vacant in the government hospitals in their areas.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Embryo removed from 2 month-old boy's abdomen, 15th March, 2008

CUTTACK: In a rare surgical feat, a dead embryo has been successfully removed from the abdomen of a two-a-half-month old boy by a team of doctors at a hospital here.The team of S C B Medical College Hospital comprising three surgeons and four paramedics operated upon the baby for four hours to remove the embryo weighing about one kg on Wednesday.Dateswar Hota, head of the urology department, today said it was a 'rarest of rare case' and for the first time in Orissa that such a developed embryo had been found in the abdomen of an infant."The infant was born with the embryo. Such type of a deformity is found in one among 10 lakh children," Hota said.Terming it as retroperitonial dermoid or terratoma which generally happens due to inclusion of plueritonent cell in the body, Hota said, "This cell accidentally entered the infant's body while still inside the womb and started growing." The embryo had developed bones, limbs, fingers and hair. As operation of this nature involved a lot of risk, prolonged planning had been done before the surgery, the doctor said.Hospital superintendent Trilochan Sahu said it was highly risky to perform such an operation on an infant.Born on December 23 at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district, the baby had a swollen abdomen since birth. Initially, doctors thought the swelling was due to growth of a benign tumour. But they were baffled when they found it was an embryo.Father of the baby, Khirod Gouda, took him to a local hospital but the doctors there could not diagnose his problem and referred the case to the Cuttack hospital. He was admitted to the hospital last week.The baby was now recuperating well after undergoing the surgery, Sahu said.

Joint Entrance Examination – 2008 Orissa (Forms available at SBI Bhawanipatna), 14th March, 2008

JEE – 2008 – Orissa
For Admission to B.TECH.; B.ARCH.;MBBS; BDS; B.PHARM.; B.HMCT; MCA; and MBA Courses and Lateral Entry to B.TECH. ; B.PHARM. AND B.HMCT Courses in Government and Private Colleges

The Joint Entrance Examination for the year 2008 - 2009, Orissa shall be held on Sunday, May 25, 2008 at selected centres for admission to the first year Degree courses in Engineering/ Technology, Architecture, Hotel Management and Catering Technology (HMCT), MBBS/BDS, Pharmacy, MCA, MBA and to the Lateral Entry of State candidates to third semester of degree courses in Engineering/ Technology, HMCT and Pharmacy.

(A) For admission to First Year Bachelor programme in
(i) Engineering/Technology : Pass or appearing in 10+2 examination of CHSE, Orissa or equivalent with Physics, Mathematics, and one from Chemistry/ Computer Science/Biology/Biotechnology or pass in 10+3 diploma course in engineering including those having less than 60% marks in aggregate from SCTE&T, Orissa or equivalent.
(ii) Architecture: For admission to Architecture candidates are to secure minimum 50% marks in aggregate in 10+2 Examination of CHSE, Orissa or equivalent, with Mathematics as one of the subject OR 10+3 years diploma with 50 % marks in aggregate OR International baccalaureate Diploma, after 10 years of schooling with not less than 50% marks in aggregate and with mathematics as compulsory subject of examination. All the candidates seeking admission to B.Arch course shall have valid NATA score prescribed by Council of Architecture(minimum 80 out of 200)
(iii) Pharmacy : Pass or appearing in 10+2 examination of CHSE, Orissa or equivalent with Physics and Chemistry and one from Mathematics/Biotechnology/Computer Science /Biology or pass in 10+3 diploma course in Pharmacy including those having less than 60% marks in aggregate from SCTE&T, Orissa or equivalent.
(iv) Hotel Management and Catering Technology: Pass or appearing in 10+2 examination in Arts/Commerce/Science from CHSE, Orissa or equivalent.
(v) MBBS/BDS : Pass or appearing in 10+2 examination of CHSE, Orissa or equivalent with Physics, Chemistry and Biology with atleast 50% marks in aggregate in these subjects taken together (40% for SC/ST) with age between 17 and 25 years as on 31.12.2008 (relaxable up to 3 years for SC/ST candidates).

(B) For admission to First Year Masters programme in
(i) Computer Application (MCA): Pass or appearing in 2008 three years Bachelor’s Degree examination in any discipline with pass in Mathematics at 10+2 level or in +3 level.
(ii) Business Administration (MBA): Pass or appearing in 2008 three years Bachelor’s Degree examination in any discipline from a UGC recognized University.
(C) For admission to Second Year Engineering/Technology, Pharmacy and HMCT under Lateral Entry Pass or appearing in 3 years diploma course in Engineering, Pharmacy, and HMCT with a minimum 60% marks in aggregate from SCTE&VT, Orissa or equivalent.
(D) For admission to Second Year Engineering/Technology under Lateral Entry Pass or appearing in 2008, for the Bachelor’s Degree examination of three years duration in Science from any University of Orissa or equivalent recognised by UGC and have passed with a minimum of 60% marks in aggregate(First Division) with Mathematics at +3 level.
(E) For admission to Second Year Pharmacy under Lateral Entry Pass or appearing in 2008, for the Bachelor’s Degree examination of three years duration in Science from any University of Orissa or equivalent recognised by UGC and have passed with a minimum of 60% marks in aggregate ( First Division) with Biology at +3 level.
The ratio of distribution of seats under lateral entry for Diploma : B. Sc. is 80:20.

Note : Candidates are to produce their complete result alongwith original marksheet of qualifying examination at the time of counselling for admission.

The percentage of seats to be reserved for different categories is subject to change and the decision of the State Government as on the date of admission will be applicable.

Outside State Candidate
Outside State candidates are not eligible for admission in Govt. Colleges but they are eligible for admission to Privates Colleges except private Medical (MBBS/BDS) Colleges.

How to Get Application Form On payment of Rs. 520/- (including Rs. 20/- as service charges) from the following branches of Syndicate Bank / State Bank of India/Post offices.

Angul, Balasore, Bargarh, Baripada, Berhampur, Bhadrak, Bhubaneswar (IRC, Kalpana Square, Nayapalli, Utkal University Campus, Vanivihar), Chandikhol, Cuttack (Choudhury Bazar), Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur Road, Jharsuguda, Kavisuryanagar, Kendrapada, Paradeep, Puri, Rourkela, Salipur, Sambalpur, Asansol, Bhilai, Bilashpur, Bokaro, Burdwan, Dhanbad, Durgapur,Deoghar, Hazaribag, Gaya, Guwahati, Hyderabad (Khairatabad), Jamshedpur, Kharagpur, Kolkata (Dharamtalla, Gariahat, Barabazar, Rasbehari Avenue, Salt Lake), New Delhi (Transport Bhawan), Patna, Raipur, Ranchi, Vishakpatnam (main).
Angul, Aska, Athagarh, Balangir, Balasore, Bargarh, Baripada, Berhampur (Main), Bhadrak, Bhanjanagar, Bhawanipatna, Bhubaneswar (OUAT Campus, Laxmisagar), Boudh, Chatrapur, Cuttack (Main Branch, Link Road), Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur Town, Jaleswar, Jeypore, Jharsuguda, Kendrapara, Keonjhar, Khurda, Malkangiri, Nawarangpur, Nawapara, Nayagarh, Parlakhemundi, Phulbani, Puri, Rairangpur, Rayagada, Rourkela (Main, Uditnagar), Sambalpur (Main), Sonepur, Sundargarh, Talcher.
Angul(HO), Balasore(HO), Bhadrak(HO), Balangir(HO), Bhubaneswar(GPO), Bhubaneswar(BJB Nagar), Berhampur(GM)(HO), Cuttack (GPO), Cuttack (College square Mukhya Dakaghar), Jagatsinghpur (HO), Jajpur(HO), Koraput(HO), Nayagarh(HO), Puri(HO), Rayagada(HO), Rourkela(HO), Sundergarh(HO), Sambalpur(HO), Nimapara(Mukhya Dak Ghar).

Candidates can also apply for Application Form by post on payment of A/C payee Demand Draft for Rs. 500/- drawn in favour of JEE-2008 on any nationalized bank Payable at Bhubaneswar along with a stamped (Rs.75/-) 30 cm x 25 cm Size cloth lined self addressed envelope from the Office of the Chairman, JEE-2008. Old question papers of JEE-2006 and JEE-2007 for Rs 10/- per booklet will be on sale from the following branches of Syndicate Bank only subject to availability: Angul, Balasore, Baripada, Berhampur, Bhubaneswar (Kalpana Square, Nayapalli, Vanivihar), Cuttack (Choudhury Bazar), Rourkela, Sambalpur and all branches of State Bank of India as mentioned above.

How to Send Application Form
The completed application form is to be submitted to the Banks/Post Offices from which it is purchased or to be sent by registered/speed post/registered courier service to the address given below.

Important Dates

Date of Examination: Sunday, May 25, 2008
Sale of Application form begins on: March 19, 2008
Last date of sale of application form: April 08, 2008

Last date of receipt of completed application form April 10, 2008

Chairman, JEE - 2008 Orissa; JEE Complex Gandamunda, PO : Khandagiri Bhubaneswar-751030

Anti-Vedanta voices in House

The Telegraph, 14th March, 2008

Controversy over the Vedanta Group’s alumina refinery project in Kalahandi triggered chaos in the Assembly today with the Opposition accusing the company and the state government of violating the Supreme Court order. The government, however, denied all allegations.
“It seems that the state government is hand-in-glove with the Vedanta Alumina Limited,” said an agitated Opposition member. Later, the Opposition trooped out of the House in protest.
Earlier, moving an adjournment motion on the issue, Opposition members alleged that the government had allowed Vedanta to run the 1MT refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi in clear violation of a Supreme Court order.Referring to the apex court’s order, Congress’s Narasingh Mishra said the court had denied permission to Vedanta, an associate of Vedanta Resources, to run any refinery there. The apex court had dismissed a petition filed by Vedanta Alumina to grant clearance to forest “diversion” before setting up an alumina refinery, said Mishra, a lawyer and former law minister. He quoted a relevant extract from the judgement. “It seems that Anil Agrawal practically runs the government,” said the Congress whip, Satya Bhusan Sahu, while senior member and former minister Nalinikanta Mohanty alleged that the BJD rally in December was funded by Vedanta. Stoutly refuting all allegation, state’s steel and mines minister Pradip Kumar Amat said the court in its November 23 judgment had stated that it was “not against the project in principle”. The court, he added, had categorically said that if Sterlite Industries India Limited, state government and Orissa Mining Corporation jointly agreed to comply with the court’s rehabilitation package, then it would consider granting clearance.
Sterlite Industries India Limited had filed an application before the Supreme Court (on December 14) agreeing to the rehabilitation package, Amat said, and added that the case was still sub-judice. “Hence, the question of running the refinery in violation of the Supreme Court order does not arise,” he said.

Rahul ruckus

The proceedings were stalled for several hours today due to chaos over “objectionable and indecent” remarks made against AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi. Congress members stormed into the Well and caused an uproar, demanding an apology from the ruling party. The Speaker was forced to adjourn the House over an hour.Finally, normal situation was restored in the House after Speaker Maheswar Mohanty expressed regret and expunged the remarks.
As soon as the Assembly began, Leader of the Opposition J.B. Patnaik took up the issue.
Condemning the act as “unfortunate”, the leader urged the Speaker to expunge the remarks and demanded an apology. Speaker, Mohanty assured to examine the proceedings and delete the objectionable words, if any. But he did not direct the ruling party members to apologise.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Indravati college staff still to get salary dues, 13th March , 2008

BHAWANIPATNA: Staff of Indravati Mahavidyalaya (Plus Two), Jaipatna, in Kalahandi district are going without their legitimate dues, which include annual salary increment, DA and other allowances, from 2003 to 2007. The aggrieved staff have moved the Orissa Hydro Power Corporation Limited (OHPC), which is running the college, in this regard but in vain.The college is catering to the needs of children of SC and ST communities and project employees in this economically and educationally backward area of KBK. It was established in 1984 by the local people when there was no Science college in the district except the Government College, Bhawanipatna.The then chief minister Biju Patnaik after a visit to the area had directed the Energy Department to manage the college by Upper Indravati Hydro Electricity Project (UIHEP) and declared that after completion of the project, the college would be taken over by the Education Department.Accordingly, the college was funded by UIHEP since 1992. Later the college was transferred to the OHPC after the corporation came into being. The staff had received revised scales from January 1, 1996 to 2003 in accordance with the Fifth Pay Commission.Everything went well when the full salary was suspended in 2003. "We are yet to get our increment arrears from 2003 to 2007. This is when the staff of Indravati Project College, Khatiguda, in Nabarangpur district also being run by OHPC by the same order are getting full salary," said a lecturer.Though the salary was regularised in 2007 it was again frozen this year. The staff in a memorandum to OHPC authorities said after being deprived of their genuine dues they have been put under financial strain which led to demoralisation.They also urged the Chief Minister to initiate measures for takeover of the college by the Education Department. At a meeting presided by the Chief Minister it was decided that the college shall be handed over to the Education Department.The college having its own building, play ground, full-fledged library and infrastructure got permanent recognition in 2003.

Rahul Gandhi’s visit boosts tribals’ morale in Orissa

Thaindian News, 13th March, 2008

Tribal agitators fighting to protect a hill in Orissa from mining by British company Vedanta got a morale booster after Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi openly extended them support. Gandhi visited the region during his four-day trip to the state. He told mediapersons in Bhubaneswar that the mining in Niyamgiri hill would destroy ecology.
“Gandhi had visited Ejurpa, a small hamlet in the Niyamgiri forest area, and spent time with the local tribals for about one and a half hours,” Bratindi Jena, an activist of the Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti, told IANS.
Niyamgiri Surakhya Samiti is a forum of tribals that is fighting to protect the hill from mining exploration.
“Gandhi assured the tribals that he will help them to protect the hill and the environment,” she said.
“Gandhi categorically said that he is against mining in Niyamgiri hill,” she said. “This has given the tribals and other people who have been fighting against mining a big morale booster,” she added.
Niyamgiri in the Lanjigarh block of Kalahandi district is inhabited by Dongaria Kondhs, a tribal group.
Tribals of Kalahandi as well as from Gajapati and Rayagada districts have been protesting after Vedanta signed an agreement with the state government to set up a bauxite refinery and to mine bauxite in the hill four years ago.
The tribals claimed that mining would pollute their rivers, destroy jungles and displace them from their land and culture. “We are not going to vacate the land at any cost,” said Mali Puseka, a tribal leader.
More than 10,000 tribals will gather March 16 at Niyamgiri, some 600 km from here, for a mass worship to save Niyamgiri hills, Bratindi said.
This special event is being organised by three Kondh tribes to draw attention to an unprecedented threat to their culture, beliefs and place of worship.
The Supreme Court last November barred Vedanta Resources from mining bauxite after local opposition. However, it suggested that Vedanta make its Indian partner Sterlite apply for and obtain the clearance. The court judgment on the fresh application is expected this month.

Rapist gets 7-yr RI in Kalahandi

The Pioneer, 12th March, 2008

Pioneer News Service Bhawanipatna
The Bhawanipatna Fast Track Court on Monday sentenced Parameswar Patel, a rape accused, to seven years rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000.Additional District Judge Raj Kumar Sahu ordered that the fine money should be given to the victim girl.The court observed that if the accused fails to deposit the fine money he should have to undergo another six months imprisonment.On fateful day, Parameswar forcefully raped the minor girl who had come to Tel River to fetch water. He had threatened her to kill if she discloses the matter

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Dynasty does not matter: Rahul Gandhi, 11th March, 2008
Sunetra Choudhary

Congress youth leader and Member of Parliament Rahul Gandhi has said that people should be promoted irrespective of who their parents were.Rahul has stuck his neck out a bit in Orissa, taking a stance totally contrary to the Supreme Court's order on mining.He also made some observations on dynastic politics, making it interesting to come from someone who has only benefited from it.One of his first stops on the Orissa tour was Lanjigarh in Kalahandi.The tribal in this area have been displaced by the mining and have been fighting a multinational company that plans to mine their sacred hill Nyamgiri.They had given up their hopes in the battle until Rahul Gandhi came along.''Personally, I think that there should be no mining in the area,'' said Rahul Gandhi, General Secretary, AICC said. The mining project, given the go-ahead by the Supreme Court is backed by the state government, which has said it will promote employment in a backward state.However, it is not just the mining issue that Rahul spoke about.An interesting and perhaps ironical moment was Rahul Gandhi's comments on dynastic politics.He said that he wanted people to be promoted without considerations of parentage.That is how he tried to boost the morale of the National Student Union of India (NSUI) workers in Bhubaneshwar.But it might sound a little hollow coming from a fifth generation Gandhi and a party where most of the young MPs are from political families.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Rahul's high-voltage speech impresses Kalahandi tribals

The Pioneer, March 9, 2007
Bikash Khemka | Bhawanipatna

AICC general secretary, Rahul Gandhi visited Kalahandi on Friday as part of his Discovery of India tour amid tight security. While addressing a gathering at the Lal Bahadur Stadium Rahul said "Kalahandi ke tribals ke liye Delhi mein ek sipahi hai, uska naam hai Rahul Gandhi". This high voltage speech was applauded by all the people present in the gathering.

Rahul Gandhi then visited Ijurpa, 10 km from Lanjigarh, where he met the poor tribals in a bid to understand their daily issues they face. He took his meals in a newly constructed hut before coming to the district headquarters in Bhawanipatna.

Rahul said that the district holds a special place in his heart as both Indira Gandhi and his father Rajiv Gandhi visited the place. He vowed to maintain a similar relationship with the district forever.

Rahul said that the Tribal Bill has been passed at the initiative of the UPA Government and that the tribals would get their rights over their lands.

"Our country is growing rapidly. But it is divided into two parts now. One India is where education, health and employment are growing each day, while another India is where people are constantly suffering even after implementation of various schemes."

All India Youth Congress president Ashok Tanwar, in-charge of Orissa Congress Ajay Maken, Orissa YC president Rohit Pujhari, Bhupinder Singh, Bhakta Charan Das, DCC president, DYC president Abdul Sazid and PCC president Jaydeb Jena also spoke at the public meeting.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Rahul follows in father’s footsteps

The Statesman, 7th March, 2008

A conscious effort to make Mr Rahul Gandhi walk the path of his father is underway. A host of Congress leaders have descended on Orissa as “the leader who is expected to take up the reins of the party” is launching his tour from the KBK (erstwhile undivided Koraput, Bolangir and Kalahandi districts) region of the state, just as his father Rajiv Gandhi had done as AICC general secretary in early 1984.Mr Gandhi will “connect” with voters and acquaint himself with all sections of people, particularly tribals, farmers and Dalits, and attempt to understand their problems. He will also explain the various schemes of the Central government as well as the failures on the part of the ruling BJD-BJP state government, said Union minister Mr Ajay Maken here today. Though the Union Budget was not mentioned, it is expected to be the centrepiece of Mr Gandhi’s campaign spiel, especially the loan waiver for farmers. Significantly, Mr Gandhi’s tour begins from the Sinapalli area of Nuapada district tomorrow, very close to the place his father Rajiv Gandhi had visited as general secretary of the party. This will be followed by programmes at Kalahandi and Nawarangpur tomorrow and several other districts over the next four days.The KBK region had drawn attention of Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi in the 1980s largely due to distress-related conditions be it drought or hunger deaths. It had led to special schemes like ADAPT (Area Development Approach for Poverty Termination) directly monitored by the Central government and subsequently the KBK Long Term Action Plan programme. Money did pour into these districts and programmes outlived their originally planned periods yet poverty and distress continue to reign supreme in the area. The scourge of hunger deaths, though, has reduced considerably. And the tribal population have fond memories of “Indira Amma”. Apparently, the beleaguered Congress hopes to cash in on this nostalgia with her grandson’s tour. Party leaders here brush aside questions on whether this is a pre-poll exercise by the AICC general secretary.While the youth wing of the party is very enthusiastic, veteran Congressmen remain skeptical. The situation in the KBK region, for example, is vastly different from the days when Indira and Rajiv Gandhi toured here. For one, the BJD-BJP will rake up questions which Mr Rahul Gandhi will find difficult to answer on the alleged curtailment of KBK funds. The fact that the BJD-BJP government had to introduce a Biju KBK programme to fill the funds gap has already been highlighted by the state government.Then there’s the fact that Mr Gandhi is to address a “save the forest” rally at Kalahandi, which in itself is difficult to understand since the major forest-related issue in Kalahandi region is linked to the controversial Vedanta aluminum and Niyamgiri bauxite mining projects. He will be expect him to speak about these projects at the “save the forest” rally and the AICC leader can hardly take a firm anti-project stand since forest and environment clearances are accorded by the Centre. But Congress circles here gloss over these issues and questions.“It has nothing to do with elections. Rahulji wants to interact with people and know their problems directly,” said Mr Maken. “He is the future leader... and we are more than eager to see him at the helm,” he added, but sidestepped questions on whether the party wants to project Mr Gandhi as it’s prime ministerial candidate. Indeed, he quickly clarified that he meant all Congress activists wanted Mr Gandhi leading the party organisation.

Rahul Gandhi kicks off Discover India tour

Sify,com, 7th March, 2008

Friday, 07 March , 2008, 22:35
Bhawanipatna (Orissa): In a virtual launch of the campaign for Lok Sabha poll, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Friday embarked on his ‘Discover India’ journey from Orissa's poverty-stricken Kalahandi area attacking the BJD-BJP government for its alleged poor implementation of the Centre's flagship National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.
He said though the country was making rapid progress, regions like Kalahandi were lagging behind in getting facilities in health, education and employment because the BJD-BJP government in the state had ‘failed’ to properly implement the scheme.
Asking the people to fight for their right to get jobs under the scheme, Rahul told a public meeting here: "Immediate steps must be taken to ensure balanced growth by uplifting those lagging behind as there still exist two Indias - one growing rapidly while the other backward as ever."
Projecting himself as a protector of tribal rights, Rahul said: "Your fight is mine too. I am a soldier for adivasis (tribals). I have heard your voices (of concern)."
Rahul, who is on a four-day tour of Orissa, went deep inside Niyamigiri Hills and met members of the Dongria Khand tribe in the Ejrupa village of the district.
The Congress leader promised his party's full help to protect the tribal heartland from mining.

Rahul Gandhi kicks off 'Discover India' tour, 7th March, 2008

Sunetra Chowdhury
Friday, March 7, 2008 (Kalahandi)
Rahul Gandhi launched his Orissa tour on Friday calling it 'Discovery of India.'His parents Rajiv and Sonia Gandhi had visited this region about 12 years ago. This is where Rajiv made the famous remark, that of every rupee spend by the government only 17 paise reached the beneficiary.But over the years the tribals have got disillusioned with the party. Now this is Rahul Gandhi's attempt to win the tribals back to the Congress fold. Rahul said, ''The tribals have a sepahi in Delhi that is RG, I always hear their voice.'' Rahul took up his two favourite themes - The Tribals Bill and the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme to attack the Navin Patnaik's government.Rahul said, ''We have passed the employment bill, it's not working well in Orissa. So, you must demand it from the government.'' The tribals here have been traditional Congress supporters. But over the years many here feel the party's promises have been false.The BJP was quick to make inroads and now Rahul is here again trying to win the tribal vote back. He met villagers protesting Bauxite mining private companies in the area. A woman said, ''I really liked what he had told because he talked about poor.'' Kalahandi is one of the poorest regions, it is also where the BJP has won for the last few years and Rahul touched the most emotive issues that of tribal lands.

Rahul Gandhi on 'Discover India' trip to Orissa

Hindustan Times, 7th March, 2008

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi on Friday travelled to the interior of Orissa, interacted with poor tribespersons, ate with them and promised all help as he began the first day of his four-day trip to the state.
Hundreds of people, including women and children, milled around the Amethi MP on Friday as he visited villages in Nuapada district and in the drought-prone district of Kalahandi, known for its starvation deaths.
In Balabhadrapur in Kalahandi, Gandhi met people of the Dangaria Kandh community, a primitive tribe, and attended a mass feast with them.
Addressing a public meeting later at Bhabanipatna, the district headquarters of Kalahandi, Gandhi said his late father Rajiv Gandhi along with his mother, Congress president Sonia Gandhi, had visited the region earlier and he had an emotional bond with them.
He promised them he would continue to maintain the same relations in the future.
Earlier, speaking to tribal people at Tangiripada hamlet in Nuapada district, he said that the underdeveloped Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput regions need more government attention.
"The government should give more stress to developmental activities in the underdeveloped KBK (Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput) region," Rahul said.
He lamented that the KBK region was still educationally backward and said without education the region will not progress.
Ek taraf ek Hindustan hai jo teji se age badh raha hai, aur dusre taraf ek Hindustan hai jo piche raha gaya hai (One part of India is going ahead, while the other part is lagging behind)," the young Gandhi said in Hindi. Us Hindustan ko age lana hai (That part of India has to be taken forward)," he said.
He also spoke of the National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme and said people should take its benefit.
Earlier, he had travelled from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh in a helicopter and landed at Nangalboard helipad in Nuapada, some 450 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, at around 10 am.
The Congress general secretary travelled by road to Tangiripada, a hamlet of around 120 people, located one and a half kilometres from the helipad.
Thousands of people greeted him wherever he stopped as he began the trip that was earlier labelled 'Discover India' by the Congress.
However, it is now being termed as Rahul's familiarisation trip with Youth Congress units across India.
Senior Congress leaders welcomed him with garlands and flowers.
Rahul Gandhi will travel by helicopter and by road to several villages and towns in around 13 districts, including many considered as Congress strongholds. Some areas are also Maoist affected.
On March 10, he will visit the state Congress office at Bhubaneswar and meet party functionaries. State Congressmen said the visit would help the party regain strength in the state.

His date with history

Newindpress, 7th March, 2008

Ramanath Padhi

NUAPADA/BALANGIR: His grandmother flew in to Khariar in the late sixties to see for herself one of the worst droughts.In the eighties, his father, then the prime minister, came calling after the issue of Phanas Punji who sold her niece for Rs 40 and a saree, struck the emotional chord of the nation and pitchforked Kalahandi into the national psyche.History comes full circle on Friday when Rahul Gandhi launches his ‘discover India’ yatra from the same soil which still remains one of the four poverty pockets of the world. Kalahandi has just seen a trickle of development. And Rahul’s visit has enthused Phanas who once became symbol of Kalahandi’s neglect.Huddled together with her family at her thatched house of Amlapali village (now in Nuapada dist), Phanas is waiting for a rerun of history — a few doses of attention and help."My condition has not changed. I still toil too hard to get two square meals a day. So many people have shown up and taken my photographs but my life remains the same," laments Phanas. She is not alone.This part of western Orissa, known as ‘the Ethiopia of India’ and which has witnessed frequent droughts in the past two decades, has always represented the stark reality of hunger and starvation.In 1992, Nokila Sona sold her six-year-old son for Rs 100 and two saris; in 1996, Noragohir sold her six-year-old daughter for Rs 200 and a bag of grain. The latest took place in 2001, when Shyamlal Tandi sold his three-year-old daughter, Hema, for Rs 5,000.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

OPCC prepares for Rahul's State tour

Newindpress, 5th March, 2008

BHUBANESWAR: Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) president Jaydeb Jena has appointed coordinators for different organisational districts to prepare for the visit of AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi.Rahul’s programme will start from Sinapali in Nuapada district on March 7 and conclude here on March 10. He will visit Nuapada, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Koraput, Rayagada, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Angul, Mayurbhanj, Ganjam, Cuttack, Jajpur and Khurda during his stay.On the first day, he will also attend a forest protection rally to be organised at Bhawanipatna and public meetings at Nabarangpur and Koraput. On March 8 he will visit Gunupur in Rayagada district and also attend functions at Rourkela, Bamra in Sambalpur district and Angul on the same day.Rahul will attend a function at Karanjia in Mayurbhanj district before attending a youth and farmers rally at Berhampur.Senior leaders of the party met here today to discuss preparations for Rahul’s visit. Appointed for different districts are, Nabarangpur - former minister Kishore Chandra Patel, Nuapada (Sinapali) - president of Cuttack city Congress Suresh Mohapatra, Kalahandi- former minister Prakash Chandra Debta, Mayurbhanj (Karanjia)- MLA and vice-president of OPCC Chiranjib Biswal, Rayagada-vice president of OPCC Sibananda Ray, Angul - former minister Amar Nath Pradhan, Ganjam (Berhampur, Gopalpur)- general secretary of OPCC Prasad Harichandan, Rourkela (city)- OPCC general secretary Ganeswar Behera, Sambalpur (Bamra)- former minister Ripunath Seth, Koraput (Damanjodi)- Nimai Sarkar, Bhubaneswar - OPCC general secretary Sameer Kumar Routray, Jajpur (Panikoili)- Kailash Acharya and Cuttack (Banki)- Bibhuti Mishra.

Rahul trip doesn’t worry BJD

The Statesman, 5th March, 2008

Statesman News ServiceBHUBANESWAR, March 4: Chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik underplayed the possible impact of Congress MP Mr Rahul Gandhi’s tour of Orissa beginning 7 March, and said “several leaders have often visited the state but made little difference to the BJD-BJP’s winning run over the last decade”.Mr Patnaik was also quick to take a dig at the Congress by hoping that Mr Gandhi who is suppposed to visit the KBK region sees for himself the needsof the area for which the state has been voicing its demand in the centre.Replying to a question on the security aspects particularly since Mr Gandhi is covering some of the Naxal infested areas, the CM said “security concerns, if any, will be looked into”.Asked about nominations to the four Rajya Sabha seats which fall vacant shortly, Mr Patnaik said “the BJD has two seats and he will decide uponthe candidates after consulting senior leaders of the party”. Of the four vacancies that are to arise, the BJD has two, the BJP one and the Congress one.The CM evaded questions on allegations made by a section of the minorities that riot victims of Kandhamal district were getting a raw deal. Mr Patnaik iterated that his government had ordered a judicial probe which has already started its work in the area.Meanwhile even the Congress circles here are skeptical of Rahul Gandhi’s visit. Reliable sources said the OPCC president Mr Jayadev Jena was not even consulted before finalization of the tour programme.Everybody knows that Rahul Gandhi has had very little impact in UP and Gujarat, remarked a senior Congress leader wondering what good would such road shows do to the state Congress which is in complete shambles.The youth and student wing of the party has however started working overtime to ensure success of meetings planned in Nuapada and Kalahandi districts on 7 March. The rest of the programme has an element of uncertainity as Rahul Gandhi may have to cut short his tour, said reliable sources here.The importance of Nuapada and Kalahandi meetings stem from the fact that he is to address a save forests rally there. The forests are a major issue in the region ever since the controversies of the Vedanta Alumina project erupted and went up to the Supreme Court.

Raygada, Kalahandi adjudged as best Zilla Parishads

The Pioneer, 5th March, 2008

The State Government has announced prizes for the best performing panchayat and Zilla Parishads. The panchayats and Zilla Parishads will be awarded prizes at a special function to be organised on Wednesday on the occasion of Panchayat Raj Diwas.
The Government has continued to provide prizes to boost the Panchayati Raj system in the State since 2002-03. Around Rs 64 lakh would be spent for this purpose.
Rayagada and Kalahandi Zilla Parishad have been adjudged as the best Zilla Parishads. They will be given a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh each. Koshagumuda panchayat samiti of Nawarangpur district and Tangi panchayat samiti of Khurda district are adjudged as the best samitis in the State. They will be given a cash award of Rs 3 lakh each.
In the divisional-level, Chudapali Gram Panchayat of Balangir and Kakudia Gram Panchayat of Angul district have been adjudged as the best panchayats in the northern zone of the RDC (Revenue Divisional Commission), Kanhepur Gram Panchayat of Cuttack and Majhihara Gram Panchayat of Khurda district have been adjudged as the best panchayats in Revenue Divisional Commission level (Central).
Gobindapalli of Malkangiri and M Rampur of Kalahandi Gram Panchayat have been adjudged as the best Gram Panchayats in the Revenue Divisional Commission level (Southern).
In the divisional-level, Tilebani Panchayat Samiti of Deogarh, Begunia Panchayat Samiti of Central Division and M Rampur of Southern Division have been adjudged as the best panchayat samitis. They will be given a cash award of Rs 2 lakh each.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Feel the poverty, Rahul Gandhi urged, 5th March,2008

With ALCC General Secretary Rahul Gandhi slated to launch his ‘India discovery tour’ from Orissa’s backward Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) region on March 7, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday asked the young leader to feel poverty in the area and report it to the central government.
‘‘I hope he (Rahul) will see for himself the needs of KBK area which we have been demanding for a long time,’’ Patnaik told reporters after returning here from a five-day tour to New Delhi.
Patnaik said he came to know from news papers that Rahul Gandhi would visit many places of Orissa for four-day tour.
To a querry, Patnaik said he was not worried due to Rahul Gandhi’s visit to the tribal dominated areas of Orissa.‘‘People often visit Orissa. And you have seen results for one decade,’’ he said adding he was confident that BJD and ally BJP would return to power in future too.
On possibility of a mid-term poll, Patnaik said all were waiting reports in this regard from New Delhi.
The Orissa government has launched Biju-KBK Yojana for development of KBK region, known as the country’s hunger zone, accusing the Centre of discontinuing the long-term action plan for the poverty-striken area.
Since Rahul Gandhi chose KBK region for launching his countrywide tour from Sinapalli in Nuapada district, ruling BJD-BJP feels it was an attempt to hijak poverty issue.
Besides seeking special category status for Orissa, Patnaik has asked the Centre to fulfill the demand for welfare of poor people of the state and tribals of KBK region in particular.


The Government of India Press Release, 4th March, 2008

14:53 IST


Central Government has decided to provide 90% grant of the project cost to the projects included in Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) of the following categories

(i) Major and medium projects benefiting drought prone/tribal./flood prone areas.
(ii) Major/medium projects and surface water Minor Irrigation schmes in the special category States and Koraput, Bolangir and Kalahandi districts of Orissa State.
(iii) Surface water minor irrigation schemes in non special category States benefiting drought prone/tribal areas.

Projects included in AIBP and falling in above categories are eligible for 90% grant under AIBP. New projects which could be included in AIBP as per guidelines of the programme and falling in above category are also eligible for 90% grant.

In addition, the projects selected as National Projects as per following criteria are also eligible for 90% grant of project cost of irrigation and drinking water components subject to working out the mode of financing in consultation with the Ministry of Finance and Planning Commission:

(i) International projects where usage of water in India is required by a treaty or where planning and early completion of the project is necessary in the interest of the country.
(ii) Inter-State projects which are dragging on due to non-resolution of inter-State issues relating to sharing of costs, rehabilitation, aspects of power production etc., including river interlinking projects.
(iii) Intra-state projects with additional potential of more than 2,00,000 ha. and with no dispute regarding sharing of water and where hydrology is established.

Any project which is having investment clearance of the Planning Commission irrespective of river/river basin could be included in the AIBP as per guidelines of the Programme in force. The outlay for 11th Plan for AIBP is of Rs.39850 crore.

This information was given by the Minister of State for Water Resources, Shri Jai Prakash Narayan Yadav in response to a question by Shri C.Ramachandraiah in the Rajya Sabha today.

Protests over rail services in KBK

The Statesman, 5th March, 2008

BHAWANIPATNA : Alleging continuous negligence by railways to KBK districts and Kalahandi in particular, “Kalahandi Rail Yatri Sangha” demonstrated at Kesinga railway station recently. The general secretary of the Sangha, Mr Jatin Das sat on hunger strike before the station master’s office, which was later withdrawn following assurance of consideration of demands from the Sambalpur division office. Mr Das maintained that if their demands including running of Raipur- Bhubaneswar inter-city through Kesinga are not fulfilled, he will resort to indefinite hunger-strike. The Sangha had seven demands in all, the main among them being direct connectivity to state capital. The other demands are stoppage of express trains at Kesinga station, extension of frequency of Samata express to five times a week from the present three times, direct train to Hyderabad from Sambalpur via Kesinga and express train between Puri and Allahabad via Vijayanagaram – Kesinga. The Sangha alleged that the region has always been neglected by the railway authorities. They charged that despite local MP’s missive to chairman of railway board on 5 January 2008 and request of collector to railway east coast railway authorities on 2 November 2007, regarding direct train between Bhubaneswar and Kesinga, no steps were taken. The divisional commerce Manager Mr J L Jena later assured that the grievances would be forwarded to railways authorities.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Congress men pin hopes on Rahul’s visit

The Hindu, 3rd March, 2008

Discovery of India journey to begin from Nuapada

BHUBANESWAR: Congress leader Rahul Gandhi’s four-day visit to State, which would mark the beginning of his ‘Discovery of India’ journey, seems to have come as a blessing for the State unit of the party.
The party leaders in the State, who have remained out of power since 2000, are now hopeful that Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s visit would help refurbish the party’s sagging image and also bring the people closer to the Congress.
“Mr. Gandhi’s visit to the State will certainly help our party in consolidating its base,” said former Union Minister Srikanta Jena.
Mr. Rahul Gandhi’s journey is scheduled to begin from backward Nuapada district in western Orissa on March 7.
The same day, he would address a Jungle Bachao rally at Bhawanipatna. The rally is likely to be attended by thousands of people, primarily tribals.

Farmers’ rally

The visit of Mr. Gandhi will end on March 10 with his addressing a massive farmers’ rally at Panikoili in Jajpur district.
In between, Mr. Gandhi would visit several tribal-dominated districts and address rallies.
Former Union Minister and party leader Bhakta Charan Das is elated about Mr. Gandhi’s visit to Kalahandi on the first day of the tour.
“Although Mr. Gandhi’s visit is primarily aimed at meeting the people and interacting with them to know about the problems facing them, it would certainly give a boost to the party in the State,” said Mr. Das.
With just a few days left for Mr. Gandhi’s arrival, senior Congress leaders have already fanned out to different regions to oversee the arrangements for the programmes.
Since Mr. Gandhi is in charge of the youth wing of the party, the youth leaders of the party are doubly happy. They have started making visits to different places to mobilise the youth to attend Mr. Gandhi’s programmes and roadshows.

Big impact

Since Mr. Gandhi was likely to mingle with tribal people and youth, the Congress leaders are confident that his visit would make a big impact on the political scenario in the State.
According to Congress sources, Mr. Gandhi was expected to talk about the problems facing the farmers, tribals and those facing displacement due to industries during his address at various rallies.
With the chances of early elections growing after presentation of a people-friendly budget by Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram, Mr. Gandhi’s visit is likely to go a long a way in uniting Congress workers.

Train to Bhubaneswar through Kesinga sought

Newindpress, 3rd March, 2008

BHAWANIPATNA: Alleging negligence by Railway authorities to the interest of Kalahandi and its neighbouring KBK, ‘Kalahandi Rail Yatri Sangh’ has launched a stir in Kesinga railway station Friday.General secretary of the sangh Jatin Das sat on a hunger strike before the station master’s office at Kesinga station and simultaneously volunteers resorted to obstruction of goods train movement at Kesinga. The agitation was withdrawn around 2 pm after getting an assurance from Sambalpur division office of East Coast Railways about active consideration of the demands. Das has however threatened that unless the Raipur-Bhubaneswar Inter-City is extended till Kesinga within a month he will be forced to sit on an indefinite hunger strike. Their main demand was for a direct train to Bhubaneswar through Kesinga.Divisional Commerce Manager J.L. Jena reached Kesinga Friday and held discussions with the agitators. In a written communication to the secretary of the sangh he said the divisional authority will propose to higher authorities for running of one DMU from Rayagada to Titlagarh so as to connect the Raipur-Bhubaneswar Inter-City.

Samadrusti Sambadik Samman for Kalahandi journalist

The Pioneer,3rd March,2008

Bhubaneswar: This year's Samadrusti Sambadik Samman was presented to Kalahandi-based senior journalist Bijay Kumar Dwibedi on the occasion of the second anniversary of fortnightly Oriya magazine Samadrusti at a grand function at Lohia Academy Hall here. Jawaharlal Nehru University Professor Dr Pralay Kumar Kanungo and senior journalist Prasant Kumar Patnaik were present.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Rahul Gandhi to launch yatra

The Statesman,1st March,2008

Congress leader Mr Rahul Gandhi will launch his nation wide mass contact yatra*** from a tribal dominated district of Orissa and he will touch 13 districts during his four day tour of the state beginning 7 March.Addressing a press conference here today All India youth and student congress leaders Mr Ashok Tanwar, Mr Nadeem Javed, Mr Prakash Joshi and others said that Gandhi will launch the yatra*** from Nuapada district. He will tour – Nuapada, Nawarangpur, Kalahandi, Koraput, Rayagada, Sundergarh, Sambalpur, Angul, Mayurbhanj, Ganjam, Cuttack, Jajpur and Khurda districts.Youth, students, farmers and tribal rallies will be organized at different places, said the leaders. At Kalahandi a rally to save forest will be held, they added.OPCC chief Mr Jayadev Jena said "the frontal wings will be involved in the entire programme while the OPCC will be associated in assisting them".The leaders who had come from Delhi faced a barrage of questions on the virtually defunct frontal wings in the state, particularly the students wing which lacks a president for over three years.

FSI: State forests shows low growth

The Statesman,1st March,2008

The latest report of Forest Survey of India ( FSI) has revealed a net addition of 21 square km of forest area in the state during 2004-05 and notes that the decline in forest cover has been checked."But the rate of addition is a only 0.04 per cent during the two years and when viewed in terms of the money spent on plantation and other measures the growth is meagre" , said Mr Biswajit Mohanty, secretary Wildlife Society of Orissa.Compared to this, there was a loss of an amazing 472 square km of forest during the previous year periods of 2002 and 2003. It is doubtful if the forest department can recover the previous loss since the addition is so low compared to the loss of 0.97 per cent suffered as per the previous survey.As per the FSI report, Orissa has added 51 square km of very dense forest, lost 56 square km of moderately dense forest and added 26 square km of open forest , thereby leading to a net increase of 21 square km .Every two years, the FSI conducts an assessment of the forest cover in the country with the help of remote sensing techniques. The state has a total area of 1,55,707 square km. As per the latest census only 31 per cent of area of the state has actual forest cover. However, only 18 per cent of the state's geographical area is covered by dense forests though ideally it should have been 33 per cent. The state has a recorded a forest area of 58,136 square km though actual forest area of the state is 48,374 square kms including scrub forest of 4,743 square km. The break up of forest cover as per the 2005 assessment: Very dense forest: 538 square km, Moderately dense forest: 27,656 square km, Open forest: 20,180 square km and Scrub forests: 4,743 square km. A total of 538 square km of very dense forests have been recorded only from four districts ~ Mayurbhanj, Balasore (Kuldiha Wildlife Sanctuary), Rayagada and Kandhamal, including 319 square km in Simlipal Tiger Reserve.The most forested district is Kandhamal with 68 per cent of its geographical area covered with forests, followed by Gajapati 58 per cent. Bhadrak district has only 0.35 per cent of its area covered by forests. Districts like Ganjam and Koraput have lost forests while there was no change in as many as 20 districts. Rayagada, Kalahandi, Kandhamal and Dhenkanal districts have recorded additions of 3 to 6 square km each. Mr Mohanty said that timber smuggling, rampant mining and unplanned industrialization has been the bane of forests in the state and the government is in no position to combat these menaces."Forest field staff are attacked in broad daylight even in cities like Bhubaneswar when they attempt to nab timber smugglers since the government has not vested firing powers to forest officers. The government is yet to provide funds to improve the existing poor infrastructure (patrol vehicles, guns, beat houses) and recruit forest guards to fill the huge vacancy of 40 per cent throughout the state, alleged Mr Mohanty.