Monday, June 30, 2008

2 women, 1 child hurt as chemicals from truck fall on them in Kalahandi

The Pioneer, 30th June, 2008

Bhawanipatna: Two women, Pravati Patnaik and Kumari Patnaik, and a two-and-a-half-year-old child, Sapnil Patnaik, were injured near Muniguda railway station when chemicals loaded in a truck accidentally fell on them. The chemicals burnt the faces and foreheads of the three persons partially. The relatives of the women got them admitted in the district headquarters hospital here. An FIR was lodged with the Muniguda police. The truck AP36V 2277 was transporting the chemicals to the Vedanta Alumina plant at Lanjigarh in the district.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Acid rain rattles W Orissa

Newindpress, 29th June, 2008
Express News Service
SAMBALPUR: ACID rain scare has gripped the region with reports of residue over leaves of plant and trees being received from different districts of Western Orissa.Expressing concern at the development, Sambalpur Intellectual Forum (SIF) displayed leaves of various medicinal plants, which changed colour after a rainfall and alleged that even vehicles on roads reacted to the rains in a similar manner.Addressing mediapersons, environmentalist Prof.D.P. Nayak attributed the cause of acid rain to too many coal-fired thermal power plants in the region. The districts of Sambalpur, Bargarh, Nuapada and Kalahandi, all close to Chhattisgarh, which has a large number of power plants, have reported such incidents. ‘‘Prior to the acid rain smog fills the air and visibility beyond 50 metres is impossible’’, said Nayak.He alerted about its consequences on forest, land, health and agriculture and expressed apprehension on food crisis resulting from declining agricultural productivity.Stating that it was premature to spell out anything, environmentalist Ranjan Panda called for an in-depth study by the Sambalpur University and other agencies.A delegation of SIF submitted samples, for study by Department of Environmental Science and School of Life Sciences, to the Vice-Chancellor of Sambalpur University Prof. U.C. Biswal.

Bad weather delays cotton cultivation

Newindpress, 29th June, 2008
Express News Service

BHAWANIPATNA: Cotton sowing in Kalahandi has been delayed due to adverse weather conditions. This kharif, it was targeted to cover 23,000 hectares under cotton cultivation.As per agriculture department sources, so far sowing in 50 percent of the targetted land has been completed and land preparation for the rest has been completed up to 80 percent.The remaining work has been disrupted due to cyclonic weather since second week of June. Sowing of seeds should be completed by June last week and if the process is extended beyond this period, it would affect boll busting stage of the cotton plant.At this time, when demand for quality seeds is high, some traders are trying to introduce BT cotton in Kalahandi clandestinely though it is not permitted.Recently, a consignment of BT cotton of a seed company of Secundrabad, was seized by agriculture officials here. So far, no trader has claimed the seized cotton seeds.

West Orissa traders oppose licensing system

The Pioneer, 29th June, 2008

Balangir: Traders of Balangir, Sonepur, Patnagrh, Titilagarh, Kesinga, Junagarh, Kantabnji, Khariar Road, Binika, Bhawanipatna and other towns of western Orissa, attending a meeting at Balangir on Saturday, resolved to oppose the licensing system introduced by the Government recently. As per the decision of the Byabasayee Mahasangh, no traders of this region will apply for licences to Government.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Congress rally chokes traffic in Berhampur

Mynews, 27th June, 2008

Traffic on National Highway 217 passing through the city came to a halt for several hours here today as Congress workers held a procession as part of a "jail bharo" agitation against the BJD-BJP government in Orissa.Party workers led by Union Minister of State for Rural Development Chandra Sekhar Sahu, Leader of Opposition J B Patnaik and State Congress President Jayadeb Jena courted arrest while trying to break the police cordon, police said.The party workers from ten districts of south Orissa took part in the agitation accusing the Naveen Patnaik government of failing to maintain law and order.Even though 14 platoons of policemen and over 100 officers were deployed to maintain order during the agitation, police had a tough time controlling traffic as the huge procession passed through.Congress workers from far-off places in Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Malkangiri, Kandhamal, Boudh, Kalahandi and Nuapada districts took part in the rally.It was the second revenue division level "jail bharo" agitation after the one held in Cuttack on June 20. The last one will be held at Sambalpur, the western division headquarter town next month, the PCC chief said."The government has failed to fulfill the aspirations of the people and its days are numbered," Patnaik said.The government had no right to attack the center on oil price rise when it failed to streamline and control the prices of agriculture products in the state, he said."The Centre was compelled to hike the prices of petroleum products due to rise in crude price in the international market," Union Minister Sahu said.

Valley In Peril, 27th June, 2008

A dam project threatens to displace Adivasis in Orissa’s Maraguda Valley and destroy a site of historical importance, reports BIBHUTI PATI
The megalomaniac developmental projects by our myopic policy makers are out to submerge history and throttle culture. While our bureaucrats and activists of NGOs are busy projecting Kalahandi as the Ethiopia of India, its cultural glory sparkling through its abject poverty is completely ignored and conveniently neglected. The archaeological sites of layers of civilisations in the Maraguda Valley along the Jonk river now is under this kind of threat and yet to be rehabilitated – the Adivasis of the area, the Pahadias are cruelly stripped off their culture and even livelihood. All this, because of a high profile dam project on the Jonk River, which has altered the surrounding landscape.
Maraguda valley is located in the western part of Nuapada district of Orissa (part of undivided Kalahandi district). The river Jonk flows through this valley, hemmed in on three sides by a range of mountains. This was the theatre for different human settlements at different stages of history beginning from the Old Stone Age. The archaeological excavations have established the existence of different civilisations on the various terraces on the slope of the valley. It is, in fact, a showcase of ongoing maturity of tools and symbols, monuments and technological wherewithal that make up a culture – all arranged on a slope of time. Some of these civilisations were highly developed in terms of wealth and power and in skills of business transactions. The temple of Shiva in the village Jhalap on the left bank of the river bears a testimony to this. Thus, the valley distinguishes itself as a place of importance from the point of view of historical research, archaeological value and tourism. But unfortunately authorities like the Archaeological Survey of India or the Department of Tourism of the State Government have done little to preserve its riches. The descendants of the architects of these glorious civilisations, the Pahadias remain outside the blessings of our modern democratic Indian civilisation. They are ignored by the administration and left in the ravaged valley to enjoy the inviolable fundamental right to starve and to die ignominiously.
Archaeological evidences point to the rise and fall of Saiva, Sakta, Baishnab, Jaina and Boudha cults during different periods of history. The excavations at Baiparigudika reveal the Sakta Mathas and the statue of Goddess Durga of Fifth century A.D. The coins, potteries and agricultural implements give a lot of information about the lifestyle of the populace. The Etal Sagar, the water shed project, spread over an area of 110 acres of land is a real technological wonder of the primitive times. The statuette of Yoginis and the carvings of female genitals indicate the prevalent tantric practices in Maraguda civilisation.
‘Lokadrusti’ – a local NGO and Indian Council of History and Culture during the year 1991 conducted research into its history. Abani Panigrahi, of member of the research team, opined that the valley was the throbbing heart of civilisational activities in this area from the primitive days up to the thirteenth century AD. A further excavation at Trishul Munida proves the reign of Mahendraditya, Karnaditya and Prasannamantra belonging to the Saravpuria community. The terracotta insignia of Narnadeva, discovered in the year 1973, evinces the reign of Soma or Pandu kings in the sixth century AD. Similarly, the coins of Kalachuri speak of the presence of Kalachuri community in 11th and 12th century AD. The archaeological excellence achieved during the period is borne out by the structural skills of double storeyed Ranimahal with fortified walls and Pramod Udyan at Ranigudika. The remnants of the dam made out of lacquer on the Jonk River is an evidence of their technological expertise in water management and flood control. The inspection points on the hillocks of Giribaman, Jumlagarh, Chheliagarh, Budhigarh, Talabela, Budharaja stand out as examples of developed military skill.
But the present state of the people of the area belies the glory of history. The Pahadias are spread out all along the Maraguda valley and they live in close and intimate association with the people of the nearby Sunabeda valley. For such contacts they have built on their own tortuous roads through the inhospitable terrain, as they habitually continue to live in the height of the tableland portion of the mountains. Their livelihood is dependant upon the minor forest products, especially, bamboo. At present they are handicapped by the new forest rules and regulations and the different sorts of royalties levied on forest products. As yet they are nomads untouched by education though apparently Sarva Sikshya Measures continue in their name yielding harvests to the bureaucrats. There is not even a trace of any school in the area, though they have an emphatic presence in pen and papers. What shocks and surprises further is that they are yet to know of a service like postal service. Our administrative apparatus either as Adivasi or as OBC or as General Caste does not enlist them. Are they assumed not to exist?
Lokadrusti, the NGO, has rescued at least one young man, Sukla Sai, from the morass of obscurity. He has been educated up to the college level by this NGO. He complains, “Our community is under the threat of extinction. The new rules have prevented us from dealing with forest products and it has also banned gaming. We have practically no means of survival. A lot of people have left the area as conscripted labourers … however, they are cut off from their family and community … we have no knowledge whether they are dead or alive … what happened to Sudaram of Tikili village … our villages are not yet revenue villages … hence developmental benefits never come our way. Government refuses to enlist us as tribal though we merit it every way and the similar communities in Raipur of Chhatisgarh have got this status. So we do not get the benefits the tribal are entitled to. If situation continues like this we will cease to exist very soon…. What will happen to our people, culture and heritage?”
Mr. Pramod Kumar Patnaik, the District Collector of Nuapada, said that there are about 18000 people belonging to these communities out of which about 4000 are living in this District. They exhibit a remarkable degree of cultural cohesion even though they spread out in the nearby districts. Even though they are scattered, they are remarkably loyal to their original culture unlike the members of other Adivasi communities. They satisfy all the criteria to be treated as Adivasis, whom he assured us, has been communicated to the government. He has also recommended homestead and farm land in favour of the members of the community as they are practically landless. He has also undertaken a campaign for awareness and development in villages like Pathaghara and Kathabaga. What is more, he has drawn the blueprint for development of “eco tourism” in this area and has communicated this to the government. He is personally committed to the protection of the rich culture and tradition; language and art of this community.
It is also a matter of great concern that the responsible authorities like the Ministers and Secretaries of the Department of Tourism, SC/ST Development, Culture and Heritage are shamelessly ignorant of the existence of Maraguda valley and the problems and issues involved. What is more surprising is that they are not shy of flaunting their ignorance in public.The mindless dam-project under construction has not even cared to rehabilitate the local inhabitants in the prescribed manner. Therefore, the cultural glory and the human descendants of Maraguda are now threatened with near extinction.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Ban on seed sale causes agitation

The Statesman, 27th June, 2008

Statesman News Service BHUBANESWAR : Though the Genetic Engineering Approval Committee (GEAC) had not approved the sale of ‘Tulasi 4 Bt’ in the state during their 85th meeting, the brand is being sold and some farmers have already planted them alleged ‘Living Farms,’ the organisation which spearheads anti-genetically-modified movement in the state. Living Farms has apprised GEAC chairman Mr BS Parsheera about the blatant violation of the committee decision. This decision was made because the seed company had violated Rules 1989 of the EPA 1986. The oraganisation demande stern action against the sale. A Bt Cotton consignment worth Rs 21 lakh has been seized at Bhawanipatna and a criminal case has been registered against the erring parties. Similarly raids have been conducted in dealers’ shops at Bolangir in this connection.

Ujala brings light in villages

The Statesman, 27th June, 2008

Statesman News Service BHAWANIPATNA : Every house of two tribal dominated villages ~ Rengopali and Basantapada, near Lanjigarh of Kalahandi district were provided with electricity yesterday in the first leg of project ‘Ujala.’ Mr Balabhadra Majhi, Narla MLA inaugurated the project. Others present were, Vedanta Alumina Limited (VAL) CEO, Mr BK Sharma, COO, Dr Mukesh Kumar and corporate social responsibility (CSR) chief Mr Samiron Sarkar. This project is part of CSR of VAL and intends to provide electricity to 18 villages around the plant. The total cost of the project is Rs 3 crore and about 12,000 villagers will benefit from the project, sources said. “VAL intends to develop Kalahandi district and bring significant changes in the quality of life of the people by promoting health, education, livelihood, infrastructure, sports and culture activities,” said Mr Sharma.

3 killed in road mishap

Newindpress, 27th June, 2008

Express News Service
SONEPUR: At least three persons died on the spot and four others sustained injuries after the car, in which they were traveling, fell from over a culvert in the wee hours of Wednesday at Shivtala under Tarbha police limits. They were in their way to Kalahandi from Angul when the driver lost control over the vehicle and failed to negotiate the culvert. A case has been registered.

Govt wakes up to poor show

Newindpress, 27th June, 2008

Express News Service
CUTTACK: Students’ performance in the High School Certificate (HSC) examinations this year has plunged to a four-year low registering a pass percentage of 53.14, prompting the State Government to initiate a recheck of the state of affairs in the schools under the Board of Secondary Education (BSE). Results of the examinations were declared on Wednesday.Last year, the pass percentage was 59.09, while in 2006 and 2005 it was 56.4 and 55.6 respectively. Kalahandi recorded the lowest success rate of 32.58 percent while Balasore was at the top with 69.34.School and Mass Education Minister Sanjeev Kumar Sahoo said the Department would immediately go into the circumstances that caused a fall of as much as 6 percent in the results. All the circle inspectors of schools in the State have been asked to submit individual reports on the reasons behind such results, state of the schools including all aspects of infrastructure, teachers and faculty as well as study atmosphere. Explanation has also been sought on their conduct of inspection on the schools, the Minister said.BSE authorities attributed the poor results to the changes in syllabus like introduction of optional subjects and practicals. Lack of adequate teachers to deal with the specialised subjects introduced in the syllabus was also a reason. ‘It is a period of transition. The system, including the teachers and students, has not been able to adapt to the new process. More stringent measures to conduct exams in a fair manner have also contributed,’ BSE president Arun Kumar Samantray said.The conduct of examinations and publications of results this year in the aftermath of the infamous scandal last year involving the then Education Minister Bishnu Charan Das and his son, had also been embroiled in no less controversies. There has been almost a month’s delay in publication of results this year and the process of evaluation and printing of marksheets was subjected to intense scrutiny in the public sphere.

Tension in Bhawanipatna as truck mows down boy

The Pioneer, 27th June, 2008
Pioneer News Service Bhawanipatna

Tension prevailed in Champadeipur village under Lanjigarh block on Wednesday, when a tractor ran over a class-IV student, who was crossing the link road from the Champadeipur UGME School.
Parameswar Dora, son of Ananta Dora, died on the spot soon after the accident. The irate villagers blocked the main road which is connected to Lanjigarh.
Lanjigarh police immediately reached the spot. The villagers did not allow for autopsy and demanded compensation of Rs 1 lakh.
Speaking to The Pioneer, the villagers alleged that two teachers are teaching in the school in place of five where 300 students are studying. The large numbers of students are not being controlled by the teachers.
The residents alleged that due to the negligence of block officials and DPC the incident has occurred.
At around 9 pm MLA Balabhadra Majhi reached the spot and a decision was taken that the deceased will be given compensation of Rs 50,000 by the tractor owner. Then the villagers agreed and the road block was called off.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Two revenue employees caught taking bribe

The Pioneer, 25th June, 2008
Pioneer News Service Bhubaneswar

A Vigilance case was registered against K Narasingha Rao Dora, Revenue Inspector, Uchhula Revenue Circle in Kalahandi district, for demanding an illegal gratification of Rs 3,000 from one Basanta Christian of Kumjore under Jaypatna police station for giving filed verification report in a mutation case.
In course of the investigation, a trap was laid on Tuesday and Dora was caught red-handed by Vigilance officers of the Koraput Division after he accepted a bribe of Rs 3,000 from Christian as per previous demand.
The bribe money was recovered from his shirt pocket and seized. He was then arrested.
In another instance, a Vigilance case was registered against Hrudananda Swain, Junior Clerk in Khurda Tehsil Office for demanding an illegal gratification of Rs 400 from one Prahallad Bhuyan of Balapur under Jankia police station to process the file in a mutation case and issue patta in favour of Rebati Bhuyan, niece of Prahallad Bhuyan.
During the course of the investigation, a trap was laid on Tuesday and Swain was caught red-handed by Vigilance officers of the Bhubaneswar Division after he accepted a bribe of Rs 400 from Prahallad Bhuyan as per the previous demand. The bribe money was recovered from his shirt pocket and seized. Further investigation in both the cases is in progress.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Bapuji Educational Trust inaugurated in Bhawanipatna

The Pioneer, 24th June, 2008

Bhawanipatna: A Bapuji Educational and Charitable Trust (BECT) was inaugurated here by president of the Kalahandi District Working Journalists' Association Rajani Kanta Mishra. The trust will work for development of education of schoolchildren with the assistance of the Western Orissa Chhatra Vikas and Develoment Fund. The trust's other office is located at Balangir. The BECT will educate the children under its monthly education scheme. Trust Managing Director Hemant Kumar Pradhan said the children would get better education under the trust compared to other schools.

Monday, June 23, 2008

India: Distress sale of onions by Orissa farmers, 24th June, 2008

Where people in coastal Orissa are battling with floods, farmers in Bhawanipatna block of Kalahandi District in western Orissa are forced to sell their onions at throwaway prices.Lack of proper storage and marketing facilities have forced farmers to sell onions at throwaway rates.Deprived of adequate irrigation facilities they were compelled to grow onions instead of paddy and cotton, which need ample water.“Here we do not have sufficient amount of water for irrigation. Hence we cannot grow paddy. So onion farming is the only hope for us,” said Niraj Pradhan, a farmer.There are no cold storage facilities. As a result, farmers are forced to sell the produce to the middlemen. “Here we do not have any facility to store onions. A house where we could store onions is abandoned. So how can we store them? Hence due to fear of onions rotting, we have been forced to sell onions at whatever price we get,” said Kushia, another farmer.The middlemen, who come to buy the stocks are getting onions at a very low price.On their part, the middlemen contend that they are helping the farmers by buying all their stocks and not letting the onions rot. “Around five to ten trucks come to this village and we load around 10 tonnes of onion in every truck. Previously, the rates were around Rs.130 to 135 per ton but now the rates have increased to Rs. 170. In Bhubaneshwar we sell onions at Rs. 4.50 per kilogram and in Kharagpur, it is sold at Rs. 5 per kilogram. We do not know about the rate at which the Government buys onions and since there is no market set up by the Government, we come and take it,” said Sandip Agarwal, a middleman.Since the farmers are poverty stricken, they cannot afford to tap bigger markets, located over 60 kilometres away from their villages.

Even Karuna takes lead

Tathya, 23rd June, 2008

While one after the other state is grabbing opportunity to go fast in setting up IIT and Central University, Orissa is losing the chance. Take the case of Gujarat, it has gone ahead in announcing the requirement of faculty positions for its’ new IIT Gandhinagar and has invited applications for the posts. Chief Minister Narendra Modi is taking personal interest in the new Centre for Higher Learning. Similarly, M Karunanidhi, the Chief Minister of Tamilnadu has has also gone ahead to set up Second Central University. Mr.Karunanidhi has taken initiative on Tiruvarur Central University, and has asked to start functioning from this year. He has also taken the initiative to allot land for another World Class Central University in Coimbatore. However, Naveen Patnaik is allegedly in deep slumer and has not bothered to take any initiative for the other proposed Central University in the state except for the World Class Central University at Bhubaneswar, lamented Digamabara Patra. Dr.Patra, a leading Non Resident Oriya (NRO) is worried over the inaction in this regard. Similarly Madhusmita Panda another active NRO has also expressed concern over the matter. When the Centre has sanctioned the educational institutions than instead of taking up those the State Government is busy in establishing institutes like Engineering College, Medical colleges and universities solely funded by the Government of Orissa in those regions which have already similar government funded institution, alleged she. Both Dr.Patra and Ms.Panda propose that Bhawanipatna is the right place to establish the Second Central University as it has all necessary infrastructure. Detailing out the infrastructure facilities, Ms.panda said that the Government Autonomous College Bhawanipatna which was awarded as the Potential Center of Excellence among 3 colleges in the very first year from Orissa by UGC has all the infrastructure to start a central university temporarily. The NH201 and NH217 pass through Bhawanipatna and connect all the major KBK towns and other major towns of Orissa and Chhatisgarh. Kesinga railway station is 25 kms from Bhawanipatna and is directly linked by Indian Railways . Raipur airport is about 220 kms from Bhawanipatana and there is another aerodrome in Bhawanipatna which can be a regular airport in the future. KBK needs special attention for the solely government funded higher educational institute and Kalahandi is geographically the epicenter for all the KBK districts. Tirivarur in Tamil Nadu is smaller than Bhawanipatna in regards to the population and has the similar infrastructure like that of Bhawanipatna. However, the Tamil Nadu Government is working hard to establish the other central university in that place for which the Tirivarur Central University is going to function from this academic year. Where as our State Government has done very little towards establishing the other Central University in Bhawanipatna, though funded by the Centre, lamented Ms.Panda.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

RLATP works suffer setback

The Statesman, 21st June, 2008

The Revised Long Term Action Plan (RLTAP) is suffering a setback due to slow progress in the implementation and submission of utilisation certificates,” said Mrs Rajalaxmi, administrator, special area development (KBK) during her two-day visit to the district here today.According to sources, during 2006-07, Kalahandi district received Rs 15.10 crore under RLTAP, from which Rs 11.75 crore has been spent so far and utilisation certificate of Rs 10.85 crore was submitted by different departments. Similarly in 2007-08, under the plan Rs 9.8 crore was spent out of Rs 12.94, and utilisation certificate of Rs 7.4 crore submitted.During the review, Mrs Rajalaxmi also stressed on providing minimum health care services in the interior regions of the district, promotion of malaria eradication programme, massive plantation and protection of forests. She advised the officers to stress on Jatropha cultivation which will be economically beneficial to the planters besides providing green cover. She also urged the officials to start an awareness campaign in this regard. During her visit she visited tribal-dominated Thuamul-Rampur block, government hospital at Nakrundi, rural water supply programme and TRW High School and hostel at Gopalpur. She also made a field visit to assess the success of the afforestration programme of the forest department as well as the progress made in the watershed mission.

Distress sale of onions by Orissa farmers

Thaindian, 21st June, 2008

Bhawanipatna (Orissa), (ANI): Where people in coastal Orissa are battling with floods, farmers in Bhawanipatna block of Kalahandi District in western Orissa are forced to sell their onions at throwaway prices.
Lack of proper storage and marketing facilities have forced farmers to sell onions at throwaway rates.
Deprived of adequate irrigation facilities they were compelled to grow onions instead of paddy and cotton, which need ample water.
“Here we do not have sufficient amount of water for irrigation. Hence we cannot grow paddy. So onion farming is the only hope for us,” said Niraj Pradhan, a farmer.
There are no cold storage facilities. As a result, farmers are forced to sell the produce to the middlemen.
“Here we do not have any facility to store onions. A house where we could store onions is abandoned. So how can we store them? Hence due to fear of onions rotting, we have been forced to sell onions at whatever price we get,” said Kushia, another farmer.
The middlemen, who come to buy the stocks are getting onions at a very low price.
On their part, the middlemen contend that they are helping the farmers by buying all their stocks and not letting the onions rot.
“Around five to ten trucks come to this village and we load around 10 tonnes of onion in every truck. Previously, the rates were around Rs.130 to 135 per ton but now the rates have increased to Rs. 170. In Bhubaneshwar we sell onions at Rs. 4.50 per kilogram and in Kharagpur, it is sold at Rs. 5 per kilogram. We do not know about the rate at which the Government buys onions and since there is no market set up by the Government, we come and take it,” said Sandip Agarwal, a middleman.
Since the farmers are poverty stricken, they cannot afford to tap bigger markets, located over 60 kilometres away from their villages. (ANI)

20 VAL rehabilitees, security guards hurt

The Pioneer, 21st June, 2008
Pioneer News Service Bhawanipatna

Twenty rehabilitees of Vedanta Aluminium Ltd of Lanjigarh were injured while demanding a sum of Rs 10 lakh per acre of their land. On Wednesday, the tribals had staged a demonstration in front of the VAL office and forcibly tried to enter the Gate no 2 of the plant to press their demand.
As per the 2006 rehabilitation policy, the tribals are demanding Rs 10 lakh per acre of land which they have lost for the establishment of the VAL unit. While 20 tribals were injured by the security guards and the police force, three security guards were also injured in the incident.
Three seriously injured persons were rushed to the district headquarters hospital. Two platoons of police force were deployed to prevent further untoward incidents. Kalahandi district collector assured the rehabilitees to sort out their demand by June 29.

Loan waiver scheme benefits defaulters, bars debt clearers

The Pioneer, 21st June, 2008
Bikash Khemka Bhawanipatna

A fairly large number of farmers in KBK districts were deprived of availing benefits of agriculture loans yet defaulters managed to take its advantages thanks to loan waiver scheme implemented by the Union Government.
A Government's circular (dated June 26, 2008) to this effect clearly mentions that the scheme will cover direct agricultural loans extended to marginal farmers, small farmers and other farmers by commercial banks, regional rural banks, cooperative credit institutions and local area banks.
As per the scheme, March 31, 2007 was specified as the cut off date for getting the benefits under the scheme and the Government has directed to all concerned banks to submit the requisite data of the beneficiaries by June 30, 2008.
But in most cases, the loans availed by the farmers prior to March 31, 2007 have been recovered by banks and the farmers were further financed with the same amount thereafter that reportedly deprived them from availing the benefits under the new scheme.
They were also not provided any extra amount as applied by them therefore, they had to depend on the local moneylenders with high interest rates.
On the other hand, those who continued to remain as defaulters and did not repay the loan amount were benefited by the loan waiver scheme announced by the Union Finance Minister. However, the Minister has not announced any benefits to those who regularly clear the farm loans in time nor does the scheme extend to those who have repaid the debt before March 31, 2007.
Being not aware about the provisions of the scheme we could not avail the advantage of the scheme, allege a farmer. Had we not repaid the loan on time we would have been benefited by the scheme, he rued.
Sources said the farmers of Kalahandi district are in dilemma if the loans allocated this year will be waived in the next financial year.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Outbreak of epidemic in Orissa: Tribals agonised

Merinews, 19th June, 2008

Every year thousands of villagers of KBK region die due to the outbreak of epidemics like diarrhea and cholera. Lack of facilities like proper road, health care centre, drinking water, shortage of food, sanitations, etc add woes to the situation..
By : Bibhuti Pati

EPIDEMIC DEATHS have created a phobia in the interiors of Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) region. Many expert doctors and administration teams from foreign visit Kasipur and Dasmantpur block of KBK from time to time. Government and its officials say the situation is under control, but the reality is something else. Until date, corpses were being carried to cremation grounds and patients to hospitals. The situation has become so worse that family members refuse to carry the corpses of their own kiths and kins. Superstitions and blind belief prevails that whosoever carries a corpse shall soon become a victim himself.
According to official reports of September 9, 2007, outbreak of cholera and diarrhea and other diseases have added to the woes of the impoverished Kasipur and Dasmantpur block and other villages in KBK region, killing at least 250 people in the past few months and affecting hundreds who are being treated at different hospital and medical camps. But unofficial reports had put the death toll to over 1,000 in these areas and a large numbers of people suffered from starvation and malnutrition in these regions. At the time of filing of this report, the death toll continued to increase, although in a slow manner, but it was not checked and the condition of the villagers worsened.
Budu Muduli was in tears. Her husband was not by her side when she went into labour and gave birth to a son. “Five days have passed and my husband has not yet seen the child. My husband was shifted to the Koraput hospital and he never returned. He was not able to see the face of his new born child. Now, I have no work to look after both my children,” said Muduli, wiping her tears. Her tragedy is not the only case in the region. The recent outbreak of cholera has taken a heavy toll in tribal Orissa.
Kundi Jani of Baladaiguda village in the district ponders over her future, while sitting on the verandah of her house. “I have lost everything. I don’t have anything to feed my six-month old daughter,” said Kundi, who lost her husband Chingudu Jani and five-year-old son Siba due to diarrhea. Another woman Subamati said, “First, I lost my husband in diarrhea, and then the next day, my brother–in-law. Now my father-in-law is suffering from it and has already taken 60 bottle saline in three days.”
For such situation every body blames bad food habit, intake starvation, polluted drinking water, lack of medical and administrative services and unsanitary conditions. Deaths due to diarrhea and cholera in these areas are very common during the monsoon, sometimes it is apparent and sometimes not. Every time all the political parties, irrespective of party ideology and local sycophants and above all, the bureaucrats, technocrats and other top to bottom government officials, eagerly wait for such man-made calamity. For the development activities, every year crores of rupees are being spent in the name of new developmental projects, but in reality the money sanctioned by the Central government for the region’s development goes inside the pocket of these officials. After this, a fake development expenditure account is shown to the public by every government. More than a decade has passed, but the dark history is repeating itself. Till date, people of remote villages of KBK area live far away from the basic necessities like roads, sanitations, health service, etc. “You will be surprised to know that many villagers have not seen a by-cycle till now,” said the local member of Legislative Assembly (MLA), Taraprasad Bahinipati.
From mid 70s till today, almost during every monsoon season people die in KBK area, either because of diarrhea or of bad food and hunger or other contaminated diseases. This is a serious cause of concern for all of us.
It needs to be noted that there is a record of history of black days to these death. In 1979, 10 villagers died in Ranachuana, Kutakhal and Paikupakhal, in 1981, more than 15 people died and several people affected by diarrhea in Posapadas of Adajore village and these deaths were sources of much political debates and differences. In 1983, in Bilamal village 13 people died. The then collector and district magistrate (DM) took urgent steps and the epidemic was controlled. In 1987, the starvation deaths in Kashipur was acknowledged by the then Prime Minister, Rajiv Gandhi.
In 1990, 11 people died in Badaliguduma and Mandia Guda. In 1996, more than 11 persons died in Khairiput, Kalimela and Motu area of Malkanagiri. In 1998, seven persons died in Kalabedapad, Padlamput and Khamarpoto. In 1999, nine people died in Paikupakhal of Maikanch GP. Interestingly, these villages has been adopted by Utkal Alumina International Ltd. In 2001, once again, Bilamal was touched by epidemic death, and it was a centre of debate.
Utkal Rural Development Society and the social development wing of the Utkal Alumina International Ltd donated some money to the affected people of the village. Chief minister, Naveen Patnaik had visited that village and declared many development projects for the poor villagers like roads, hospital and safe drinking water. After his visit some more people died. In 2005, more than eight people died in Maikanch area.
These are some of the recorded death cases, besides every year two to five people have been dying. In some years, the political parties and the mass media would highlight the deaths for reasons best know to them, while sometimes they just simply ignore these villages. But in all cases, one reason has been highlighted that lack of food, bad food habit and contaminated water are the real cause of such outbreak of epidemic. Meanwhile, Tehelka investigation reveled the factors responsible for these deaths.
Narendra Moharana – a social worker said, “These deaths are very common during the monsoon because the stock of food grains get exhausted. Somehow they manage with mango kernels, tamarind seeds, jack-fruit seeds, other roots and fruits of the jungle like bamboo shoots and mushroom. During this time, shortage of firewood creates a big problem as the locals cook a large quantity of food for four to five days in firewood. This food, after few days become poisonous. During the rainy season, the waters sources like ponds streams etc gets polluted, which is the major source behind such epidemic. There is severe food shortage during this season.
All these areas have not been connected with a proper road. Every family faces these same problems, so it is very difficult to bring a patient to the hospital, which is more than seven to 10 km away. Snake bites is yet another big problem in rainy days because of which villagers are reluctant to take patients to the hospitals. On the other hand, the health workers have not visited these villages because of unavailability of communication facilities like road, phone, etc. Villagers used their traditional medicines, jadi booti to cure the diseases and refuse to go to hospitals and take medicines. Such high death toll leaves many orphans every year and these innocent kids play cheerfully, unaware of what is stored for them in the future. Sadly, neither the government nor the NGOs have done anything for these poor kids.
Government spends crores of rupees every year, but KBK’s fate remains the same. Why? To answer this Panchanan Kanungo, an economist and ex-finance minister of ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) party said, “The success of every economy depends upon the culture and need of the people. But every government does not have the in-depth knowledge about the culture and the need of the people of the KBK region. That is one of the reasons why every planning does not get linked to the culture and need in the process of executions.”
The local intelligentsia of KBK region said, “When sensitive issues come to the limelight through media, all the bureaucrats, ministers, opposition political party leaders and other politicians visit these areas. But the above people have never visited the real epidemic villages. Their visits are only confined to block headquarters. The opposition leaders blame the ruling party and indulge in a lot of castigating political speeches. But they should remember that the same thing was happening when they were in power.
These people are making fool of the poor people with false promises. How the water tanks will go to the affected villages without any proper road? How the patients will come to doctor or hospital without a single pie or an empty stomach and what is the guaranty that the doctors will be available? How will the political people and the government officials solve these problems with out a strong will power? How overnight can the streams become pollution free and how will the drinking water problem be solved without a single tube well?
JB Patnaik and Naveen Patnaik both have seen this type of problem several times, but nothing has changed. The local intelligentsia suggests that to develop awareness among the villagers, proper roads be laid from every village to block office and hospitals, create more forests and preserve the forest ecology and improve the traditional agricultural system. If these four things improve then the repeated cases of mass deaths each year will be definitely controlled in future. Besides, the government’s negligence should be controlled with a strong action plan.

Unidentified white particles on leaves

The Statesman, 19th June, 2008

Ash like whitish powder is accumulating over leaves of plants and vehicles running on roads or parked outside in different parts of Kalahandi, particularly in Bhawanipatna and its neighbouring areas for the past three days. It is coming through drizzling rain and is raising many questions in the minds of local people. In many places, the colour of plant leaves have changed from green to semi-white due to the accumulation of these unknown particles. Though the sky is thickly clouded now, there is only occasional drizzling rain. Experts suspect it may be due to settled dust particles in the atmosphere or acidic substances coming through rain water. Renowned botanist Mr Akshaya Nanda says that unless thoroughly investigated the cause cannot be pin pointed. If it is due to nitric acid or sulphuric acid that affects plants and human beings. The settlement of ash like dust along with rain water is heavy. Damage to plants is yet to be visually noticed despite being covered by the material. He further stated that it might be of some origin coming through low pressure cloud. "It needs thorough investigation," he noted. Many locals are confused not knowing what the matter is, since it is the first time such incidence has been noticed in the area.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Address by Subroto Bagchi, Chief Operating Officer, MindTree Consulting to the Class of 2006 at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore

Address by Subroto Bagchi, Chief Operating Officer, MindTree Consulting to the Class of 2006 at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore on defining success. July 2nd 2004.


I was the last child of a small-time government servant, in a family of five brothers. My earliest memory of my father is as that of a District Employment Officer in Koraput, Orissa. It was and remains as back of beyond as you can imagine. There was no electricity; no primary school nearby and water did not flow out of a tap. As a result, I did not go to school until the age of eight; I was home-schooled. My father used to get transferred every year. The family belongings fit into the back of a jeep - so the family moved from place to place and, without any trouble, my Mother would set up an establishment and get us going. Raised by a widow who had come as a refugee from the then East Bengal, she was a matriculate when she married my Father. My parents set the foundation of my life and the value system which makes me what I am today and largely defines what success means to me today.
As District Employment Officer, my father was given a jeep by the government. There was no garage in the Office, so the jeep was parked in our house. My father refused to use it to commute to the office. He told us that the jeep is an expensive resource given by the government – he reiterated to us that it was not 'his jeep' but the government's jeep. Insisting that he would use it only to tour the interiors, he would walk to his office on normal days. He also made sure that we never sat in the government jeep - we could sit in it only when it was stationary. That was our early childhood lesson in governance - a lesson that corporate managers learn the hard way. Some never do.
The driver of the jeep was treated with respect due to any other member of my Father's office. As small children, we were taught not to call him by his name. We had to use the suffix 'dada' whenever we were to refer to him in public or private. When I grew up to own a car and a driver by the name of Raju was appointed – I repeated the lesson to my two small daughters. They have, as a result, grown up to call Raju, 'Raju Uncle' – very different from many of their friends who refer to their family drivers as 'my driver'. When I hear that term from a school- or college going person, I cringe. To me, the lesson was significant - you treat small people with more respect than how you treat big people. It is more important to respect your subordinates than your superiors.
Our day used to start with the family huddling around my Mother's chulha – an earthen fire place she would build at each place of posting where she would cook for the family. There was no gas, nor electrical stoves. The morning routine started with tea. As the brew was served, Father would ask us to read aloud the editorial page of The Statesman's 'muffosil' edition - delivered one day late. We did not understand much of what we were reading. But the ritual was meant for us to know that the world was larger than Koraput district and the English I speak today, despite having studied in an Oriya medium school, has to do with that routine. After reading the newspaper aloud, we were told to fold it neatly. Father taught us a simple lesson. He used to say, "You should leave your newspaper and your toilet, the way you expect to find it". That lesson was about showing consideration to others. Business begins and ends with that simple precept.
Being small children, we were always enamored with advertisements in the newspaper for transistor radios - we did not have one. We saw other people having radios in their homes and each time there was an advertisement of Philips, Murphy or Bush radios, we would ask Father when we could get one. Each time, my Father would reply that we did not need one because he already had five radios - alluding to his five sons. We also did not have a house of our own and would occasionally ask Father as to when, like others, we would live in our own house. He would give a similar reply, "We do not need a house of our own. I already own five houses". His replies did not gladden our hearts in that instant. Nonetheless, we learnt that it is important not to measure personal success and sense of well being through material possessions. Government houses seldom came with fences. Mother and I collected twigs and built a small fence. After lunch, my Mother would never sleep. She would take her kitchen utensils and with those she and I would dig the rocky, white ant infested surrounding. We planted flowering bushes. The white ants destroyed them. My mother brought ash from her chulha and mixed it in the earth and we planted the seedlings all over again. This time, they bloomed. At that time, my father's transfer order came. A few neighbors told my mother why she was taking so much pain to beautify a government house, why she was planting seeds that would only benefit the next occupant. My mother replied that it did not matter to her that she would not see the flowers in full bloom. She said, "I have to create a bloom in a desert and whenever I am given a new place, I must leave it more beautiful than what I had inherited". That was my first lesson in success. It is not about what you create for yourself, it is what you leave behind that defines success.
My mother began developing a cataract in her eyes when I was very small. At that time, the eldest among my brothers got a teaching job at the University in Bhubaneswar and had to prepare for the civil services examination. So, it was decided that my Mother would move to cook for him and, as her appendage, I had to move too. For the first time in my life, I saw electricity in homes and water coming out of a tap. It was around 1965 and the country was going to war with Pakistan. My mother was having problems reading and in any case, being Bengali, she did not know the Oriya script. So, in addition to my daily chores, my job was to read her the local newspaper - end to end. That created in me a sense of connectedness with a larger world. I began taking interest in many different things. While reading out news about the war, I felt that I was fighting the war myself. She and I discussed the daily news and built a bond with the larger universe. In it, we became part of a larger reality. Till date, I measure my success in terms of that sense of larger connectedness.
Meanwhile, the war raged and India was fighting on both fronts. Lal Bahadur Shastri, the then Prime Minster, coined the term "Jai Jawan, Jai Kishan" and galvanized the nation in to patriotic fervor. Other than reading out the newspaper to my mother, I had no clue about how I could be part of the action. So, after reading her the newspaper, every day I would land up near the University's water tank, which served the community. I would spend hours under it, imagining that there could be spies who would come to poison the water and I had to watch for them. I would daydream about catching one and how the next day, I would be featured in the newspaper. Unfortunately for me, the spies at war ignored the sleepy town of Bhubaneswar and I never got a chance to catch one in action. Yet, that act unlocked my imagination. Imagination is everything. If we can imagine a future, we can create it, if we can create that future, others will live in it. That is the essence of success.
Over the next few years, my mother's eyesight dimmed but in me she created a larger vision, a vision with which I continue to see the world and, I sense, through my eyes, she was seeing too. As the next few years unfolded, her vision deteriorated and she was operated for cataract. I remember when she returned after her operation and she saw my face clearly for the first time, she was astonished. She said, "Oh my God, I did not know you were so fair". I remain mighty pleased with that adulation even till date. Within weeks of getting her sight back, she developed a corneal ulcer and, overnight, became blind in both eyes. That was 1969. She died in 2002. In all those 32 years of living with blindness, she never complained about her fate even once. Curious to know what she saw with blind eyes, I asked her once if she sees darkness. She replied, "No, I do not see darkness. I only see light even with my eyes closed". Until she was eighty years of age, she did her morning yoga everyday, swept her own room and washed her own clothes. To me, success is about the sense of independence; it is about not seeing the world but seeing the light.
Over the many intervening years, I grew up, studied, joined the industry and began to carve my life's own journey. I began my life as a clerk in a government office, went on to become a Management Trainee with the DCM group and eventually found my life's calling with the IT industry when fourth generation computers came to India in 1981. Life took me places – I worked with outstanding people, challenging assignments and traveled all over the world. In 1992, while I was posted in the US, I learnt that my father, living a retired life with my eldest brother, had suffered a third degree burn injury and was admitted in the Safderjung Hospital in Delhi. I flew back to attend to him - he remained for a few days in critical stage, bandaged from neck to toe. The Safderjung Hospital is a cockroach infested, dirty, inhuman place. The overworked, under-resourced sisters in the burn ward are both victims and perpetrators of dehumanized life at its worst. One morning, while attending to my Father, I realized that the blood bottle was empty and fearing that air would go into his vein, I asked the attending nurse to change it. She bluntly told me to do it myself. In that horrible theater of death, I was in pain and frustration and anger. Finally when she relented and came, my Father opened his eyes and murmured to her, "Why have you not gone home yet?" Here was a man on his deathbed but more concerned about the overworked nurse than his own state. I was stunned at his stoic self. There I learnt that there is no limit to how concerned you can be for another human being and what the limit of inclusion is you can create.My father died the next day. He was a man whose success was defined by his principles, his frugality, his universalism and his sense of inclusion. Above all, he taught me that success is your ability to rise above your discomfort, whatever may be your current state. You can, if you want, raise your consciousness above your immediate surroundings. Success is not about building material comforts - the transistor that he never could buy or the house that he never owned. His success was about the legacy he left, the memetic continuity of his ideals that grew beyond the smallness of an ill paid, unrecognized government servant's world. My father was a fervent believer in the British Raj. He sincerely doubted the capability of the post-independence Indian political parties to govern the country. To him, the lowering of the Union Jack was a sad event. My Mother was the exact opposite. When Subhash Bose quit the Indian National Congress and came to Dacca, my mother, then a schoolgirl, garlanded him. She learnt to spin khadi and joined an underground movement that trained her in using daggers and swords. Consequently, our household saw diversity in the political outlook of the two. On major issues concerning the world, the Old Man and the Old Lady had differing opinions. In them, we learnt the power of disagreements, of dialogue and the essence of living with diversity in thinking. Success is not about the ability to create a definitive dogmatic end state; it is about the unfolding of thought processes, of dialogue and continuum.Two years back, at the age of eighty-two, Mother had a paralytic stroke and was lying in a government hospital in Bhubaneswar. I flew down from the US where I was serving my second stint, to see her. I spent two weeks with her in the hospital as she remained in a paralytic state. She was neither getting better nor moving on. Eventually I had to return to work. While leaving her behind, I kissed her face. In that paralytic state and a garbled voice, she said, "Why are you kissing me, go kiss the world." Her river was nearing its journey, at the confluence of life and death, this woman who came to India as a refugee, raised by a widowed Mother, no more educated than high school, married to an anonymous government servant whose last salary was Rupees Three Hundred, robbed of her eyesight by fate and crowned by adversity - was telling me to go and kiss the world!Success to me is about Vision. It is the ability to rise above the immediacy of pain. It is about imagination. It is about sensitivity to small people. It is about building inclusion. It is about connectedness to a larger world existence. It is about personal tenacity. It is about giving back more to life than you take out of it. It is about creating extra-ordinary success with ordinary lives.Thank you very much; I wish you good luck and Godspeed. Go, kiss the world.

Orissa to roll out 8558 Common Services Centre

Business standard, 18th June, 2008

As part of the National e-Governance Plan (NEGP), the Orissa government today signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) with three private operators for rolling out 8558 Common Service Centres (CSCs) in the state. Those centres will be developed on build-own-operate (BOO) model for first five years.
The Common Service Centres will come up in the rural areas with at least one centre in every Gram Panchayat in the state. Stringent service level agreement has been prescribed to ensure the service quality. CSCs will deliver government to citizen (G2C) services like land records, registration, certificates, details of the government scheme, pension scheme, utility bill payments, road transport and employment exchange.
It will also deliver Business to Consumer (B2C) services like typing, photography, internet surfing, agri-information, railway and air ticketing among others. Similarly, business to business (B2B) services like market research, surveys, rural BPO services, advertising , branding and promotions will be provided by the CSCs.
The three operators who signed MoUs with the Orissa government are Bangalore based CMS Computers Ltd, New Delhi-based Zoom Developers Private Ltd and the SREI Infrastructure Private Ltd. It has been decided to name the CSCs as Biju Seba Kendras (BSKs).
While Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra, secretary, IT department, signed the documents on behalf of the Orissa government, Ranbir Das, VP (SREI Sahaj E-Village Ltd), AK Tiwari, VP (E-governance), Zoom Developers and K Jagannath, national business manager (CMS Computers) signed for their respective companies.
As per the agreement, CMS Computers will set up 4962 CSCs in zone-I, II and V. Zoom Developers will set up 1314 CSCs in zone III and SREI Infrastructure Finance will set up 2282 CSCs in zone-IV and VI. The cost of setting up each Centre will be around Rs 3 to 4 lakhs.
Each CSC will have at least one furnished room in each Panchayat with facilities of computer, printer, digital camera, web cam, scanner, UPS and internet connectivity. These operators were selected through the competitive bidding process. The planning commission (PC) has approved Rs 135 crore under the NEGP.
Speaking on the occasion, state IT minister S N Patro said, those centres will be developed in public-private-partnership (PPP) mode and the state government will provide revenue support to the operators for the first four years to make the scheme sustainable.
He said, the Orissa government will provide Rs 5000 per month per centre to the developer in zone-VI consisting of Malkangiri, Koraput, Nawaranagpur, Kalahandi, Nuapada districts and Rs 1190 per cenre every month in zone-III consisting of Angul, Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Deogarh and Sundergarh districts.
The zero payment principle will be applicable for zone-IV consisting of Baragarh, Bolangir, Sambalpur, Sonepur, Jharsuguda and Boudh districts and the developers will pay Rs 5 per month for each centre in zone-I and Rs 11 per month per centre in zone-II. The people can avail a host of services from the CSCs with nominal payments. Such centres will be functional within 6 months in the Gram Panchayats having their own building, Patro added.
Commissioner-Secretary, IT department, Orissa government P K Mohapatra said, these centres will generate direct employment for more than 17,000 youth as two persons will be appointed for each centre. Started as part of the NEGP, the scheme will be extended to the urban areas and tender will be floated for it within a month, he pointed out.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Trouble brews over `holy` hill as Vedanta applies for lease

Business standard, 17th June, 2008
Sreelatha Menon / New Delhi June 17, 2008, 0:13 IST

The bauxite-rich Gandhamardan hill in Orissa is likely to become the centre of an environmental and cultural controversy again after two decades.
In 1986, India's third-largest alumunium producer Balco had applied for a mining lease in the area when it was a government company. This year, the hill is being sought by Balco again, but this time as a private company owned by London-based commodities entrepreneur Anil Agarwal's Vedanta group.
When Balco tried to obtain a mining lease for Gandamardhan 22 years ago, veteran activists like Anil Agarwal of the Centre for Science and Environment, Sunderlal Bahuguna and the Gandhamardan Yuva Surakshya Sena fought the company tooth and nail. The state government had given in to the activists' demands then.
Two decades on, the company is back and the Gandhamardan Surakshya Yuva Sena is also ready to strike.
The non-government organisation said it was alerted by a notice stuck at the tehsildar's office last week asking people to give their views on leasing out the hill to Vedanta for mining.
However, the date for submitting objections had expired almost a month before the notice was pasted, the activists said.
Vedanta official P K Panda denied that a notice was issued. "It is not possible. We are only one of the 20 applicants and we may not even get a mining lease. Our turn comes last. There is no question of a notice being given out now," he said.
He agreed that there were environmental reasons for Balco being refused mining rights to the hills before. "We are now Vedanta. And as for trying for a lease at Gandhamardan, it is but natural that mining companies will try to get a lease at a place where the mineral is available. We can't seek permission to mine a hill-top on which there is no bauxite," he added.
Vedanta is already facing opposition to mining in the Niyamagiri hills in the Lanjigarh block of Kalahandi district in Orissa. Gandhamardan is in the neighbouring Bargarh district.
In both cases the opposition centres on the fact that bauxite mining might endanger the river and streams that flow from the hills and feed the surrounding villages.
The destruction of local flora and fauna and the disruption of cultural life of the mostly tribal communities in the area are also cited as reasons for opposing these projects.
Another sensitive aspect of the opposition is the religious significance of the hill for both tribal communities in the area and Hindus.
The hill is mentioned in the epic Ramayana. According to legend, the mythological Hanuman plucked a portion of the hill to heal Lakshmana during the battles in Lanka.
The two sides of the slopes also have ancient temples that are significant to local faiths — the Nrusingha Nath temple on the Bargarh side of the hill and the Harshankar temple on the Balangir side.
The hill is rich in herbal wealth and ayurveda colleges are situated on both sides, said environment activist in Orissa, Ranjan Panda.
Given the fact that the issues surrounding the opposition to the mining lease are unchanged since 1986, companies are keeping their fingers crossed. "It is our job to apply for permission," said Panda of Vedanta.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Readymade dress making units mooted

The New Indian Express, June 14, 2008

BHAWANIPATNA: The Apparel Export Promotion Council has proposed to set up readymade dress manufacturing units in Bhawanipatna and Koraput. It will be in coordination with Handloom Department.

The unit will make about 600 youths selfsufficient. The handloom department will invest Rs 30 lakh for infrastructure development for establishment of the unit.

A proposal has been sent to the Directorate of Handloom by the district administration.

The Long Wait

Tehelka, 14th June, 2008
Twice displaced for development projects, Orissa’s Machkund Adivasis are yet to get the compensation due to them, reports BIBHUTI PATI

Displaced twice, that is the fate of Adivasis residing in 154 revenue villages of Panasput, Jodamba, Ralegada, Papermetla, Andrapalli and Badapoda gram panchayats in Orissa. These Machhkund Adivasis were firsT rehabilitated in the Chitrakonda area to make way fro the Machhkund project. They again lost their land to the Balimela dam project, the foundation stone for which was laid in 1964 by Jawaharlal Nehru. And till date basic amenities are a far cry in these cut-off areas.
Incidence of malaria and water-born diseases is quite high in these villages. There is little in terms of treatment with mobile health units visiting the area only once a month. Sharmila Mohanty, an anganwadi worker posted in Panasput is of little help with no anganwadi center.
“Death is the ultimate relief for anyone suffering from malaria”, said Gurudra Hantal of Papermetla, village. “Malnutrition cases too have come to the fore and even the minimum facilities elude Adivasis. This so called development in the undivided Koraput district has badly hit the local Adivasis. Even according to conservative estimates, the livelihood of around 1.5 lakh Adivasis of undivided Koraput and Kalahandi districts have destroyed. Sadly to say, in the past five decades, in the name of so called development a large chunk of forest land has been cleared up during construction of different industries, dam and hydel projects, like Indravati, Machhkund, Kolab, Balimela, NALCO and HAL etc. Thousands of Adivasis have been displaced, but they are yet to be properly rehabilitated,” told social worker Narendra Maharna of Sanskar.
Local MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati says, “The government is blindly changing laws in the name of controlling forest produces, but not in a single case the rights of Adivasis and jungle dwellers have been safeguarded. If the government hands over the remaining forest lands to the so called development process without considering the social-economical and environmental impacts on the people at large, it would lead to a devastating situation. These areas are home to around two-third of the total Adivasi population in the state. They will be affected if all the projects are implemented.”
The ST&SC development minister says, “No, this is not the real fact. We are always considering Adivasis help and protecting their livelihood. Our government’s rehabilitation policy is one of best in the world. If anybody has any complaint, he can write to my office. Within one month, I will take proper action.”
Infertile land and hilly terrain have forced the villagers to take up cultivation of turmeric, maize, ginger, cereals and pulses. Unfortunately, they do not get remunerative price for their products in absence of marketing and communication facilities. “We get a better deal for our products at the Rudakata market in Andhra Pradesh (AP),” said Radhika Dugal. Disappointed by the state government’s negligent attitude, many of them have decided to migrate to AP.
Lack of education, basic amenities like health, drinking water, communication and kerosene, these villagers are isolated from rest of the world. “We sacrifice our land, village and river but we are not getting electricity, without kerosene we have been living in dark,” said Karunakar Murmu. Although there is an Ashram High School run by the SC & ST Development Dept. in Panasput, lack of adequate staff, proper infrastructure and other facilities are the major hindrance in development of education in the region.
This is not the end of the sorrows. About half Adivasi people in the deep forests of Raighar, Umerkote and Jharigam blocks in the districts are leading a very pathetic life due to the indifference of the Government. The problems of these people are only increasing by the day.
They remain deprived of even one square meal a day; forget about malaria or influenza tablets and other institutional benefits. Raighar and Umerkote blocks are situated bordering the Naxal infected Bastar district of Chhattisgarh. Local people admitted that taking the continued negligence by government, occasional Naxal movements have come up in the bordering remote forest areas. The Adivasis are spread over 290 hamlet villages, inaccessible, situated mainly on hill-tops in the deep forests. After the communal clashes in 2001 these villages were surveyed. But as these are situated in the reserve forest areas these villages have not so far been recognised as revenue villages.
These Adivasi villagers were not being covered by any of the anti-poverty schemes. Their only fault is that they have been living in the forest and displaced areas. The Parliamentary Committee on ST&SC Welfare, which visited these areas in 1992 under the chairmanship Khagapati Pradhan, noted in its report that Adivasis, who have been living in the deep forests for years, should not be harassed and disturbed by the forest officials. And they should be permanently settled and provided with every benefit. But, although 18 years passed no changes in these villages,” says a local journalist Susanta Panda.
The ST&SC development minister of Orissa says, “We are in the process of surveying the villages. We have identified many villages and listed them as revenue villages. We have provided BPL cards. We are going to establish schools and health centers in many villages.”
The people living in the areas belong mostly to primitive Kondh and Gond tribes. They depend on shifting cultivation. Official figures show that these people have till now encroached 66,000 acres of forest land, and have been raising crops on it for a long time. Except this occupation, their families have no other source of income. The state government had made a policy decision to settle the lands situated in forest area in favour of Adivasis who have settled there prior to 1980. Besides there was also a decision to recognise some forest villages as revenue villages. But it did not materialise. The delay in settlement has further worsened their socio-economic condition, which may force them to join the Naxal camps.

Insurance, pension for artisans

Newindpress, 14th June, 2008
Express News Service

BHAWANIPATNA: An action plan has been chalked out by the taskforce for handicraft in Kalahandi district to boost handicraft and encourage artisans.According to the action plan it was decided to provide insurance benefit to artisans, pension to artisans above 65 years and honour a handicraft artisan and a handloom artisan in a district level function of Kalahandi Utsav every year.At the taskforce meeting chaired by Collector yesterday it was also decided to set up wood banks in Bhawanipatna, Khairpadar and Rengalpali villages to assist woodcraft artisans. A decision was taken to provide advance training in woodcraft, terracota and bamboo craft in different villages. Accordingly in the current financial year terracota training will be provided to artisans in Balisara, Malgund and Bandigaon villages, woodcraft training in Lanjigarh Road and bamboo craft training in Karlaguda village. It was decided to take urgent steps to electrify Kandagarh village to help stone carving artisans there.The meet took a decision to make arrangements for sending rural artisans on exposure trips to different places of Assam, Rajasthan, Madhya pradesh and UP so that they can gain with exchange of ideas.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Docs were retrenched due to inefficiency: Authorities

The Pioneer, June 12, 2008
Pioneer News Service | Bhawanipatna

Manager of Sardar Raja's Medical College and Hospital here Tarun Mishra said the inefficiency and insincerity of doctors and other staff are the cause of their retrenchment from the hospital. He was addressing newspersons here on Monday.

Chairman of the medical college Dr SA Raja, a few days back, terminated the services of about 55 staff, including doctors. Unofficially, the number of the retrenched staff is about 80. When the CPI, the CPI(M) and the Sachetan Nagarik Manch demanded reinstatement of the staff, 19 people were arrested by the police and forwarded to court.

According to Dr Raja, the Medical Council of India has expressed its satisfaction over the hospital buildings, but they were quite unhappy with the doctors and the conditions in the hospital during their inspection. He requested all political parties and the general public for their full cooperation and support to fulfil the requirement of the Medical Council of India to run the college and hospital more successfully with more doctors and equipments.

Answering a query, Tarun Mishra said the vacant posts would be filled up very soon with more efficient doctors. He said that when the hospital was newly opened, the doctors were appointed according to the recommendations of political leaders. Next time, a proper method of appointment would be followed.

Jaring medical college remains a non-starter

Newindpress, 12th June, 2008

BHAWANIPATNA: Uncertainty looms large over long-awaited Sardar Raja Medical College at Jaring near Bhawanipatna of Kalahandi district.On January 3, 2004, the MoU was signed between Selvam Educational and Charitable Trust, Tamil Nadu, and Western Orissa Development Council (WODC) and after long public agitation the construction work for the project started. For the Rs 100- crore project, it was agreed that WODC would chip in with Rs 10 crore in eight instalments on the basis of progress of work and State Government would provide 25 acres of land on lease. So far Rs 16 crore has been invested by the trust. WODC has so far released Rs 7.5 crores to the trust.However, the project has run into teething problems. The medical has to be a 300-bed one well equipped with medical staff and departments so as to get the nod of Medical Council of India (MCI). But the facility functioning at present is having a 100-bed hospital and lacks of medical staff in most of the departments and other facilities.It was earlier declared by the trust to start the admission for the college in 2008 academic year. However, members of MCI during a visit last month expressed unhappiness over the number of doctors and other facilities in the hospital. This will no doubt delay the affiliation and it seems wellnigh impossible to open the college during current academic session.To add to the problem the trust recently dropped 45 persons from its payroll creating doubt and discontentment among public. At a press meet, the chief executive officer of the medical college and hospital Tarunkanti Mishra clarified that to streamline the system some staff, mostly non-technical, had to be dropped. He said steps have been taken to increase the bed strength and recruit doctors in different faculties as per guideline of MCI. He exuded confidence that by the next academic session the college will be able to run. Chairman of Sardar Raja Medical College Dr S.A. Raja reiterated in a press handout that the hospital will be a full-fledged one and it will start soon.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Rural Development Ministry sanctions assistance to eight States

The Hindu, 9th June, 2008

NEW DELHI: The Union Ministry of Rural Development has sanctioned Rs. 1,344.49 lakh Central assistance to Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chattisgarh, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh for the implementation of the Drought Prone Area Development Programme (DPAP) under the “Haryali Guidelines” during 2008-09. The guidelines empower panchayat raj institutions to plan, execute and manage development activities.
Of this, Rs. 281.21 lakh have been sanctioned as the third instalment of the Central release for the Prakasam District of Andhra Pradesh for 42 projects, while Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand has been sanctioned Rs. 39.87 lakh for six projects in the current year.
The Panchmahal District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) in Gujarat has been sanctioned Rs.268.59 lakh as the second instalment for 40 projects, while the Nasik DRDA in Maharashtra will get Rs.94.30 lakh as the second instalment for 26 projects under Haryali-I scheme during the current year.
In Karnataka, of the sanctioned Rs.208.74 lakh, the Gulbarga Zilla Panchayat will receive Rs.87.82 lakh as the sixth instalment for Batch VII 15 projects and Haveri Zilla Panchayat will get Rs.120.91 lakh as the third instalment for 14 projects under Haryali-II scheme.
The Janjgir-Champa Zilla Panchayat in Chattisgarh will get Rs.40.45 lakh as the second instalment for six projects under Haryali-IV during the current year. The Kalahandi DRDA in Orissa has been sanctioned Rs.310.45 lakh as the third instalment for 46 projects under Haryali-III scheme in the current year.
In Madhya Pradesh, of the sanctioned Rs.100.85 lakh, the Panna Zilla Panchayat will receive Rs.53.72 lakh as the second instalment for eight Haryali-IV projects and Rajgarh Zilla Panchayat will get Rs. 47.13 lakh as the second instalment for seven projects under Haryali-III scheme. The grant is towards plan expenditure and its utilisation is subject to the terms and conditions laid down in the guidelines for watershed development, the Ministry said.
It is incumbent on the Project Directors of the beneficiary DRDAs and the Chief Executive Officers of the concerned zilla parishads to ensure proper utilisation of funds. The Ministry has asked the State governments to release their due share to the DRDAs/ zilla parishads within 15 days from the date of release of the Central funds.
The next instalment of the Central share would be released only after all unspent balances and 50 per cent of the instalment currently being released were spent. In other words, the unspent balance at the time of seeking the release of next instalment should not be more than 50 per cent of last instalment released.

Vedanta's initiative for 'Green Lanjigarh'

The Pioneer, 9th June, 2008

Bhawanipatna: Vedanta Aluminium Limited, Lanjigarh, observed the World Environment Day with a local theme "Green Lanjigarh." Eminent guests from Vedanta, including Dinesh Mantri, Dr Shailendra Singh, HC Dahiya and JK Mohanty, local farmers and local people's representatives attended the function. A plantation ceremony was organised at Process Water Lake to plant 1,000 saplings of various plant species. The initiative holds significance as the threat to environment in form of carbon emission, hole in ozone layer and global warming has increased tremendously in this decade. The objective of the initiative is to develop a green belt around Lanjigarh through full participation of local people, including farmers, schoolchildren and teachers. The target is to plant 50,000 saplings in and around the plant site. Vedanta has already planted 1,78,000 trees in Niyamgiri Vedanta Nagar, Bhawanipatna and peripheral areas.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Cry for KBKK getting louder

Tathya, 6th June, 2008

Dr.Digambara Patra is very upset over the partiality of the Naveen Patnaik government.
The leading Non Resident Odia (NRO), who teaches at the American University of Beirut is known for his love for KBKK (Koraput, Balangir, Kalahandi and Kandhamal) most backward Zone of Orissa.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, he has narrated the story of "lollypop" for a crying child, while pointing out the discrimination meted out to the KBKK region on the issue of setting up the institutions of higher learning.
Dr.Patra's contention is that people of KBKK needs engineering college more than the people of Ganjam.The central Government announced an IIT for Orissa and people around Berhampur wanted to establish it in their region.Nonetheless, consistent persuasion of central Government and policy makers to have an airport in the vicinity of IIT, the dream of Berhampur region started getting marginalized.Taking into notice the frustration of Chief Minister's home district, the state Government immediately announced an engineering college in Berhampur.
This has opened the Pandora box.
If the state Government wanted to establish a new engineering college, it's a very welcome decision.However, it should reflect the practical and social requirements for the whole state.
Except undivided Kalahandi, Balangir, Koraput and Kandhamal (KBKK) districts in Orissa, rest of the undivided districts have at least one government institutions.Those are solely funded by state Government like a state university, engineering college, medical college or agriculture college.For many of them second institution through PPP or state Government funded are under consideration.And few of them are lucky to have 3 government institutions funded completely by the state government.Then why the apathetic approach for the KBKK zone, asked Dr.Patra.
Secondly, state Government is not getting enough funds to establish a new government institution in other parts of Orissa.Therefore, it is encouraging private parties to participate through PPP to build higher educational institutes importantly in KBK districts.
And none of them have succeeded so far.Then suddenly the announcement for a new Government Engineering College in Berhampur ignoring KBKK districts, sound funny.
If the state Government needed to establish an Engineering institute in South Orissa, Koraput was the most suitable place.
Engineering colleges in smaller towns such as Gunpur (private), Parlakhemundi (private), Sarang (state Govt.) etc are being very much successfully run in the state.Amazingly, why can't Koraput/Jeypore, Bhawanipatna, Balangir, or Phulbani, those are considered as major towns in Orissa representing major chunks of regions, make for an engineering institute?
Is it the reason our CM wanted to establish a new engineering college in his home district like our HRD minister and Prime minister tried and exposed them-selves to the whole nation?
Berhampur already has a state university, medical college and a diploma engineering college solely funded by the state Government and there are also few good private engineering institutes in its vicinity.
Before taking the decision hurriedly, it should have been practical to bring regional balance to all regions regarding solely state funded Governmental institutes to every region in Orissa, suggested Dr.Patra.

Engineer's houses raided

The Pioneer, 6th June, 2008

On the allegation of accumulation and possession of disproportionate assets by Nirod Kumar Sethy, Executive Engineer, Ret Irrigation Division, Bhawanipatna, his Government quarter and office chamber at Bhawanipatna, three-storied residential building at Old Town in Bhubaneswar, another quarter no. D/9 at Sector-3, Rourkela, houses of his relatives and residential house of Pabitra Swain, a contractor, at Bhawanipatna were simultaneously searched on Wednesday by Vigilance officers on the strength of a search warrants issued by CJM, Jeypore.
During the search, on perusal of different documents, the following movable and immovable assets were found in possession of Sethy in his name and in the name of his family members. Movable assets such as household articles, gold and silver ornaments, a Maruti car being used by Sethy registered in the name of contractor Swain worth Rs 8.25 lakh, deposits in different banks, post offices and towards LIC policy premium to the tune of Rs 7.62 lakh and hard cash of Rs 2.76 lakh were found.
Immovable assets like a three-storied building at Old Town, Bhubaneswar, and two plots of land at Old Town, Bhubaneswar, and Kuanrmunda, Sundargarh worth Rs 24.74 lakh were also detected. The total value of the movable and immovable assets found in possession of Sethy during the search was computed at Rs 43.37 lakh. Inquiry was in progress.
In a trap case, Vigilance officials caught red-handed Mahatab Pradhan, ASI of Police, Salebhata Police outpost under Loisinga police station in Balangir district, on Wednesday while he was accepting a bribe of Rs 3,700 from Kasinath Behera of village Bhakti as per his previous demand in his official residence in the outpost premises to show favour to Behera who is an accused in a case under the Excise Act.
Pradhan was arrested and forwarded to court.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Film on Niyamgiri tribals released

The Pioneer, June 5, 2008

Bhubaneswar: A film that portrays the struggle of Dongria Kondh tribals of Niyamgiri hills against mining and displacement was released here recently. The film titled Niyamgiri (the mountain of law) is of 96 minute duration and has been made by Bhubaneswar-based Samadrusti Television. The first part of the film is about land acquisition in Lanjigarh for an alumina refinery and the resolution of the tribals not to leave the mountain at any cost. The second part deals with what problems have cropped up in the area since the refinery came up.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Monsoon brings mixed bag for districts

The Statesman, 3rd June, 2008

Trend analysis and projected scenarios reveal that under the impact on climate change nine districts of Orissa may receive more than normal rainfall while the remaining 21 will get less than normal rains.Though these findings are not exactly related to the ensuing monsoon, studies on impact of climate change indicate this trend said Mr AK Singh , deputy director ICAR and Mr DP Ray, vice chancellor of OUAT here today.Coastal Orissa districts as well as a few like Mayurbhanj, Kalahandi and Kandhamal are likely to get more than normal rainfall, they noted.The trend analysis and projected scenario reveal that rainfall in the state has been increasing annually, however, the increase is not uniform, they said.The pattern that comes out of these projections is that the state will receive 96 per cent of the rainfall during the first three months of June to August while September will be a dry spell. The experts have already prepared a few contingency plans keeping in view the climate changes that are taking place. These plans have been submitted to the state government. It will come in handy to agriculturists of the state. The contingencies relate to both heavy monsoon-flood related situations and dry spell or drought like situations."Orissa is not a dry land region yet its productivity is very much similar to dry land areas," said Mr Singh while emphasising on importance of water harvesting.The two discussed several areas related to climate change and its impact on agriculture which ranged from lower quality of rice production, reduced yield to the broader aspects of impact on livelihood and food security

Kalahandi lawyers demand High Court Bench

The Pioneer, 3rd June, 2008

Bhawanipatna: The lawyers of Kalahandi district are on a stir demanding a permanent High Court Bench in any region of western Orissa. They did not allow the judges to enter the courts, following which the police had to intervene. But as no lawyers had cooperated, works in courts were paralysed for the whole day. More than 50 advocates, including newly-elected State Bar Council member Daitari Pradhan, District Bar Council secretary Sudhansu Kumar Nanda, his assistant Ashutosh Mishra, Rasik Mohan Das, Bindu Mishra, Jagannath Mund, Namanchal Naik, Subhranshu Sekhar Sahu, Indu Panigrahi and Santosh Mund, were arrested.

Labourers launch strike, demand work in Kalahandi

The Pioneer, 3rd June, 2008

The labourers of village Daudpat of Dharamgarh block in Kalahandi district are on an indefinite strike demanding work or unemployment wages. Due to unemployment, many labourers from the nearby village have migrated to other States for earning their livelihood. Now, the labourers of these areas have formed a union and started campaigning for their legitimate benefits.
Hundreds of labourers staged a dharna before the block office of Dharamgarh but all in vain. They alleged that the block officials are working only under the instruction of some influential contractors for their benefit.
More than 1,500 labourers gathered at the meeting and voiced their grievance that they are not getting any work, they said.

Monday, June 2, 2008

2 killed in Kalahandi landslide

The Pioneer, 2nd May, 2008
Pioneer News Service Bhubaneswar

Two labourers died due to a landslide in Kalahandi district when they were engaged in digging up chips from a mine on Sunday. The accident took place at 10 am. A contractor engaged a few labourers to dig chips from the nearby Gobardhana hill of Duarsani gram panchayat under Sadar block of Kalahandi district.
As no safety measures were taken during the operation, the earth suddenly became loose, leading to the landslide. Later, the police rushed to the spot to rescue the trapped labourers. But by that time, two labourers had died.
The deceased were identified as Dinsabar, driver of the tractor used for the transportations of the chips from the mining site, and Ramprasad Gauda (16). However, another labourer, Bhabani Sunani, managed to survive.
Just before a week, five labourers had met a similar fate and died in a landslide in the district.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Govt wakes up to ‘podu’ cultivation

The New Indian Express, June 1, 2008

BHAWANIPATNA: Podu or shifting cultivation in Kalahandi has become an annual practice. Although shifting cultivation is a non-viable resource-utilisation practice, some farmers are still clinging to this primitive practice to sustain themselves and their families mainly due to non-availability of timely employment avenues.

The ill effects of shifting cultivation have been devastating and farreaching in degrading environment and ecology of the region.

Returns in case of shifting cultivation are mere Rs 1,000 to Rs 1,500 per acre but damage to forests will be in lakhs. The practice is continuing unabated despite concern by district administration and conscious citizens.

To mitigate the environmental loss and provide other alternatives of livelihood to the local population, the district administration in a meeting here, has decided to give thrust to plantation programmes to bring back the greenery.

It has been decided to take up plantation under NREGS during the current financial year through soil conservation, watershed mission and forest departments.

Soil Conservation Department would take up avenue plantation in 12 hectares of land, miscellaneous plantation in 469 hectares and cashew plantation in 60 hectares.

The Department would also take up avenue plantation in 10 km stretch on both sides of Bhawanipatna-Kesinga road. Similarly,Watershed Mission will take up miscellaneous and mango plantation in 212 hectares.

Besides, the Department would take up cashew and mango plantation in 6,000 hectares in Thuamul Rampur and Lanjigarh blocks where podu cultivation is rampant.

The DFO, north and south divisions, Kalahandi, will take up block plantations in 1,685 and 1,155 hectares of land respectively.

Steps to reduce infant deaths in Orissa

The Hindu, 1st June, 2008
Bhubaneswar (PTI):
The Orissa government has appointed a group of volunteers named "yasodas" to ensure survival of newborns and their mothers. "They would educate women about the essential health care to newborns and proper sanitation for mothers and pregnant women," State Health and Family Welfare Minister Sanatan Bisi told PTI.
The Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Mother Mortality Rate (MMR) are quite high in Orissa. The IMR in the state stood at 73 against the national ratio of 58 and the MMR was registered at 401 against the national average of 358.
"The decision to appoint the yasodas was taken after it was realised that the IMR and MMR could be reduced if neo-natal care is provided for a longer period," Bisi said. Officials said they have targetted to reduce IMR to 50 per 1,000 babies born and MMR to 250 per one lakh pregnant women by 2010.
The "yasodas" who would get a monthly remuneration of Rs 3000, would be on round-the-clock duty and would be available beside the newborn and mother for at least two days after childbirth. Already 12 yasodas each in Sambalpur and Angul districts and nine such volunteers in Jharsuguda district were pressed into service recently. Soon these volunteers would be appointed in Balasore, Keonjhar, Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri and Kalahandi districts, State Health minister said.

Twelve bureaucrats transferred in Orissa

Kalingatimes, 31st May, 2008
KalingaTimes Correspondent
Bhubaneswar, May 31:
In a major administrative reshuffle, Orissa government on Saturday transferred as many as 12 administrators, thereby appointing new District Magistrates in six districts.
As per the notification issued by the General Administration Department, Kalahandi District Magistrate Pramod Chandra Patnaik was transferred and posted as District Magistrate of Keonjhar.
Keonjhar District Magistrate Bipin Bihari Mohapatra was appointed Additional Secretary of Public Enterprises Department.
Santhanagopalan R, District Magistrate of Bolangir, was posted as District Magistrate of Kalahandi.
Kashinath Sahu, District Magistrate of Kendrapara, was transferred and posted as District Magistrate of Bolangir. Sisir Kanta Panda, Joint Resident Commissioner in New Delhi , was transferred and posted as District Magistrate of Kendrapara.
Awasthy S., Additional District Magistrate of Mayurbhaj, was posted as District Magistrate of Sonepur in place of Benudhar Dash, who was transferred and posted as Director, Textbook Production and Marketing.
Balasore District Magistrate Alekh Chandra Padhiary was appointed Director, ST& ST Development.
Kishore Kumar Mohanty, Director, Textbook Production and Marketing, was transferred and posted as District Magistrate of Balasore.
Bibhu Prasad Mishra, Director, ST&SC Development, was appointed as Commissioner of Departmental Inquiry.
Jagadish Prasad Agarwala, at present Additional Secretary in Water Resources Department, was appointed as Director Panchayati Raj.
Panchayati Raj Director Raj Kishore Chaudhury was transferred and posted as Additional Secretary in Water Resources Department.