Sunday, November 30, 2008

Teachers stage demo at Bhawanipatna

The Pioneer, Nov 30, 2008

Bhawanipatna: The Kalahandi District Continuing Education Centre Prerak Union, after a rally here on Saturday, submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the District Collector demanding regular appointment as Shiksha Sahayaks or Gana Sikshaks as per the amended circular of School and Mass Education Department. President Manoj Kumar Pradhan, general secretary Kishore Kumar Naik of the Union spoke at the rally.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

India: APEDA plans to boost export of organic products, Nov 27, 2008

Limited marketing and export channels has been hitting the export of organic food of Orissa, which is the highest producer of ginger, turmeric, cashew nuts and the second in vegetables. The state government will now certify farmer’s produce to check this slack in trade. The move will establish a standard for the local produce in international markets.

“Certification is a marketing tool for exports. If the farm products are branded with the India Organic logo, farmers would feel motivated “Agriculture and Processed Food Exports Development Authority (APEDA) chairman Asit Tripathy said. Tripathy said APEDA will provide support and training to the Orissa State Organic Certification Authority (OSOCA), which has about 41,970 hectors of land under various stages of certification.

He further added that the training will also help the state run agency to be at par with international organic farm and product inspection bodies. Organic foods are those which are produced according to certain standards and in case of crops, it means there is no use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides in it.

“Orissa has a huge potential in the export market due to its low usage of fertilizers. Large tracts of land in the districts like Koraput, Bolangir, Kalahandi, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj and Kandhamal (Phulbani) have already become organic said agriculture production commissioner SP Nanda addiing that the state government has also assured of providing all supports on policy levels. “

At present Orissa tops the list as the largest certified organic land area with over 26,387.86 hectors followed by Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan and Maharastra.

Tripathy said APEDA has brought out a National Programme for organic production which includes national standards for production, processing labeling, storage and transport of organic products, certification, inspection programmes and the creation of the organic logo named India Organic. Orissa has been exporting organic products like ginger, turmeric, mustard, tamarind , mango, cotton, rice and honey to foreign countries like USA, UK, Germany, Netherland, Denmark, and Egypt etc.

Govt prepares machinery for cotton procurement

Expressbuzz, Nov 27, 2008

BHUBANESWAR: With 40 per cent hike in the minimum support price (MSP) of seed cotton for the current kharif, the State Government has made district-wise arrangement for procurement of cotton and the district authorities have been asked to ensure that the cotton growers are paid the MSP.

It has been decided at the State level cotton development meeting here recently that traders have to procure seed cotton from the marketing yards of regulated market committee (RMC) and village point as well in Kalahandi, one of the major seed cotton producing districts of the State.

Cotton traders have to obtain trading license from district authorities by pledging security deposit of Rs 2.5 lakh or 1.25 percent of their expected annual purchase value. Such a measure has been taken to save farmers from being exploitated by traders.

Besides, seven contract farming sponsors (CFS) have been allowed to make village procurement in the district, said Agriculture Director Arabinda Padhee.

In Balangir district, three out of nine CFS have been allowed for cotton procurement from RMC market yards and village points. The three CFS are Ambika Agro India Pvt Ltd, Balangir, Jaydurga Ginning Mills, Kantabanji and Pratima Agro Industries, Titlagarh.

Although six other CFS are involved in contract farming in Balangir and are keen for procurement of seed cotton, they are yet to get trading license, Padhi said.

The Centre has fixed the support price for medium staple length seed cotton of fair average quality (FAQ) at Rs 2500 per quintal and Rs 3000 per quintal for long staple length cotton.

Seed cotton of KBK districts are considered to be best in the country and there is huge demand for Orissa variety outside the State. About 30,000 quintals of cotton have been procured so far. Cotton Corporation of India (CII), the nodal agency of the central Government has been requested to take part in the procurement of seed cotton in the state.

In the current kharif, about 58,000 hectares were covered under cotton cultivation as against a target to 75,000 hectares.

Rs 1,439-cr World Bank road project to start in Dec

The Pioneer, Nov 27, 2008
PNS | Bhubaneswar

The Orissa State Road Project, with an aid of Rs 1,439 crore from the World Bank, will start from December this year. The foundation of which will be laid by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Under the project, a decision has been taken to construct 461 km of State Highways. They are the Berhampur-JK Pur via Taptapani, Mohana road 192 km which passes through Ganjam, Gajapati and Rayagada districts, Bhawanipatna- Khariar road (68 km) which passes through Kalahandi, Nuapara and Balangir, Chandbali- Anandpur via Bhadrak road( 95km) passing through Keonjhar and Bhadrak and double laning of Jagatpur- Chandbali road( 106km) passing through the Cuttack and Kendrapara districts. The World Bank has sanctioned this road projects and promised to give Rs 1,000 for their construction. The State Government would spend Rs 439 crore as its share.

According to the World Bank rules and regulations, Rs 2 crore has to be spent for construction per 1 km of road. The Berhampur — JKPur road has been divided into three parts. In the first phase, Berhampur- Taptapani (41 km), Bhawanipatna-Khariar (68km) and Chandbali- Bhadrak (45 km) roads would be constructed.

The tender works for this roads have been completed. Berkampur-Taptapani road has been given to Backbone and ARSS, Bhawanipatna-Khariar road has been given to Patel and ARSS and Chandbali- Bhadrak road has been given to Somdoot and ARSS.

The first phase work would be completed in two and a half years and in the second phase Tapatapani- JK Pur, Bhadrak-Anandpuir and Jagtpur-Chandbali roads would be completed.

By March 2009 the second phase work would start. Besides the Sambalpur- Rourkela road would be four lanned in Public-Private Partnership mode.

Kalahandi YC leader appointed for Gajapati SC Dept

The Pioneer, Nov 27, 2008

Bhawanipatna: Kalahandi Youth Congress leader Devi Prasad Sindoor has been appointed as the State Coordinator SC Department of Gajapati district by the chairman of the OPCC's SC department Ripunath Seth. Convener OPCC SC cell Bankanidhi Behera stated that all the activities of Gajapati district SC Department would be reported by Sindoor to the State SC Department. Sindoor has been working in the Kalahandi Congress for the last 17 years.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Coffee cultivation in non-traditional areas rises 8%

Business Standard, Nov 26, 2008

The coffee cultivation in non-traditional areas has expanded by 8 per cent to cross 50,000 hectares in 2008-09 compared to previous year’s levels. In India, the non-traditional coffee growing areas are in Visakhapatnam and east Godavari districts in Andhra Pradesh, southern districts in Orissa (bordering Andhra Pradesh) and north-eastern states.

“Expansion of coffee cultivation in non-traditional areas has been expanding on an average of 4,000 hectares annually driven by state governments and supported by the Coffee Board,” said Coffee Board chairman, G V Krishna Rau.

“Our efforts with the state governments have borne fruits. In addition to expansion in coffee growing areas, we have been able to provide gainful employment to tribals,” he added.

In the eastern ghat districts of Andhra Pradesh, coffee is cultivated in about 32,000 hectares. In Orissa it is cultivated in 4,000 hectares in the districts of Koraput, Rayagada, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Keonjhar and Gajapati. Coffee in north-eastern states is cultivated in around 15,000 hectares in the states of Assam, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.

To give a fillip to non-traditional coffee growing areas, Coffee Board has included non-traditional areas to be part of the ‘Coffee Development Plan’ under the XI Five Year Plan and has initiated a move to engage the tribals by providing gainful employment and to wean them away from Podu or shifting cultivation.

The development plan for the tribal region includes preserving existing forests by opting for shade grown coffees, provide basic amenities like housing, medical and other support to the tribals in the coffee plantations and diversify sources of income through cultivation of coffee-based intercrops like pepper.

Resentment brewing among farmers in Bhawanipatna

The Statesman, Nov 26, 2008
Statesman News Service

BHAWANIPATNA, Nov. 25: Despite the fact that the mandis have been declared operational by the district administration from 5 November, the procurement of paddy in Kalahandi district have been severely affected.
This has resulted in alleged distress sale and sharp resentment is brewing among the farmers, sources said while adding that about 70 per cent of the total paddy harvesting has already been over in the district.
Official sources said that in current year, it is targeted to procure 2.60 lakh MT rice, which means the procurement of 3.83 lakh MT in the shape of paddy.
It is learnt that the district administration has decided to open 51 mandis of regulated market committees and directed to open mandis at panchayat levels in phases.
As per the official decision, supply corporation, National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India Ltd. (Nafed), primary agriculture societies, Food Corporation of India (FCI), National Collateral Management Services Ltd (NCMSL), Orissa State Co-operative Marketing Federation. Ltd. (MARKFED) and NBFC are the official agencies, who are authorised to procure paddy through their miller agents in the mandies.
However, the supply corporation has procured only 7,797 MT paddy, followed by 4,800 MT by Nafed and 800 MT by primary agriculture societies. As of now, FCI, NCMSL, Markfed and NBFC have not procured a single grain.
FCI, which is asked to procure through its eight mandies has not collected a single grain on the plea that the harvested paddy are not up to the set standard. Incidentally, the government is yet to communicate the rate for Paddy Under Relax specification (URS).
It is also learnt that although the civil supply corporation has started procurement, it has not being able to pick up because the necessary funds are yet to be allotted by the state unit.
Farmers now alleged that this type of attitudes by procuring agencies has led to distress sale. Sporadic complaints are reaching the district administration that some rice millers through their agents and middlemen are purchasing paddy at low rates. Now although procurement is virtually not started in the mandis, many of the rice mills in the district are running in full swing as alleged by the farmers, who demand for an enquiry into the matter about the source of the paddy under milling in some of the mills. The president of Bhawanpatna central co-operative bank Mr Kali Prasad Raiguru alleged that due to the failure of the government agencies, distress sale of paddy is continuing and farmers are subjected to exploitation. As against Rs. 675 per 75 Kg. paddy in general, the farmers are compelled to sell at the rate of Rs. 560 per 75 Kg he alleged. In the meanwhile, collector Mr R Santh Gopalan has directed the regulated market committees to gear up the functioning of the mandis and government agencies to start procurement. He cautioned that any further laxity will be viewed seriously and stern action will be initiated against the guilty.

Niyamgiri: Tribals struggle for existence

merinews, Nov 26, 2008

Sixty per cent of the minerals in India are exported to different countries for foreign currencies. It is true that industrialization and mining are required for the development of the country. But why the government is not interested in other aspects?.

THE NIYAMGIRI hill is a landmark of Kalahandi district in the western part of Orissa. More than eight thousand Dangria Kandh communities and many more tribal (adivasis) communities have been living here since decades. There is lack of basic amenities in this area such as education, medical facility, etc. No doctors go there due to its remote location. These tribal people are heavily dependent on the Niyamgiri Hills for their livelihood. There are plenty of medicinal herbs which these tribals have been using for years. They use it for medicinal purpose as well as for selling it outside to earn their livelihood. Many natural waterfalls are also there in the Niyamgiri Hills which is responsible for the very existence of more than 30 different varieties of species. In the last 60 years after independence, neither the state government nor any central agencies came to the rescue of this Kandh community.

Niyamgiri is the source of two major rivers of Kalahandi district - Nagabali and Bansadhara. Farmers of Kalahandi are also dependent upon these rivers for cultivation. These rivers have been helping the people of Kalahandi for decades. People around the Niyamgiri Hill are highly dependent upon this hill for their livelihood. They work hard throughout the day to meet their food requirements and happily sing and dance in the evening. The local people feel proud of these tribals as they have been greatly influenced by the culture and traditions of that area. For them, the Niyamgiri Hill is not just a hill full of medicinal trees, but their mother whom they have worshiped for ages. They call it ’sacred Niyamgiri’.

But now with the rapid mining of the sacred Niyamgiri Hills, the existence of these century old tribals is under challenge. They have been thrown out of this area forcefully in the name of development and mines. The Sterlite Industries (India) Limited (SIIL), an Indian subsidiary, fully owned by the Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) has started mining of bauxite in these hills.

The government gave clearance for diversion of 660.749 hectares of forest land for mining of bauxite at the Niyamgiri Hills. The length of Niyamgiri hill range is about 20 kms and it is spread over an area of about 250 square kms. Out of this, the mining lease is given for an area of seven sq km, while the actual mining activity will be taken up over 3.5 sq km. It may be noted, 118 families belonging to seven villages were displaced to make way for the refinery project at Lanjigarh. But the total size of affected population, which includes people who lost their land for the project, is 1236 families belonging to 27 villages. Apart from that, many tribals are yet to get their compensation. Many of them are even forcibly thrown out of their land with the help of local authorities.

Sixty per cent of the minerals in India are exported to different countries for foreign currencies. It is true that industrialization and mining are required for the development of the country.

But why the government is not interested in the other aspects? Why are we trying to destroy the natural environment around Niyamgiri Hills in a minute? Why no one is able to think that steps like this will make the water of Nagabali and Bansadhara not usable for cultivation? Where the farmers will go? Why no one is able to understand that by allowing the companies to take minerals from Niyamgiri, someone’s mother is getting killed. Niyamgiri Hill is the mother for the people of Kalahandi. But no one is asking the right questions. The question is what has been done for the safety of the nature, what has been done for the safety of the environment?

So much is invested in KBK to improve the life of the people, is this not sufficient for the government of Orissa, which is going to sell its natural wealth to the companies? We should remember that the multinationals are here to earn, they are not here to make charity. If they were so concerned about this place, why would they move ahead and build the hospital and university in Puridistrict, nearly 500 kms from Kalahandi? Minerals will be taken from Kalahandi. People of Kalahandi will suffer from diseases, but the hospital and university will be built somewhere else. Can anyone justify this? Kalahandi also needs a central university. It also needs a hospital.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Vedanta Alumina to sign Mou with OSACS

Businessstandard, Nov 25, 2008

Vedanta Alumina Limited (VAL) will soon enter into a MoU (memorandum of understanding) with Orissa State AIDS Control Society (OSACS) with the objective of starting workplace interventions on HIV/AIDS for the employees of the company’s unit at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district.

The partnership between VAL and OSACS also aims to extend the services to the outreach community, including tribals and migrant workers.

As a part of the MoU which is scheduled to be inked on November 28 this year, OSACS will offer medicine kit, sponsor training programmes for the doctors and para medical staff and also supervise the company’s progress on workplace interventions on HIV/AIDS. On its part, VAL will provide manpower and infrastructure in the form of testing labs for the initiative on HIV/AIDS.

“VAL has set up an exclusive HIV/AIDS testing centre at Niyamgiri rehabilitation colony and the centre is being manned by two doctors and five para medical staff. OSACS is partnering us to start workplace interventions for HIV/AIDS. The services related to HIV/AIDS including awareness on the issue and collection and testing of blood samples will also be extended to the outreach community which includes tribals and migrant workers”, said Sabita Swain, chief medical officer of VAL.

She was talking to reporters on the sidelines of a two-day workshop on Workplace Interventions for Corporate Sector in Orissa, jointly organised by OSACS and Hindustan Latex Family Planning Promotion Trust (HLFPPT).

“In Orissa, some major corporates like Rourkela Steel Plant and Hindustan Aluminium Limited have already set up counselling and testing centres for HIV/AIDS”, said Parameswar Swain, project director, OSACS.

He said that apart from Vedanta Alumina, OSACS has approached Tata Steel and Paradeep Port Trust for putting in joint efforts for starting workplace interventions on HIV/AIDS and also extending services to the outreach community.

8 die in 10 days in Dharmagarh hospital

The Pioneer, Nov 25, 2008
Bikash Khemka | Bhawanipatna

The health problem in Kalahandi continues to be grim in many hospitals as the vacant doctor posts are not being filled up by the State Health Department. The recent incident of the Dharmagarh hospital speaks volumes, where eight patients, mostly newborns and small children died within 10 days due to non-availability of pediatric and surgery specialists.

Sources said the district administration and KBK administrator Rajalaxmi have already apprised the State Government of filling up the vacant doctor posts in all hospitals in the district, but in vain.

Since November 10 to November 20, it is learnt that 1,432 patients have come to the outdoor for health check-ups and 209 patients have admitted for indoor treatment in Dharmagarh Hospital. Moreover, people of two blocks of Chhattisgarh also depend on the hospital.

Sources said Bilen Singh (8) of Kirkani village under Dharmagarh block, Damen Hans (10) of Khadiakani village under Golamunda block, Golapi Majhi (15) of Kantapadar village in Chhattisgarh district died on November 16 in the hospital. Similarly, 16-day baby of Parsuram Gopala of Parla village and Bimala Teji (35) of Dharmagarh block died in the hospital. More so, two-month-old Gita Rout under Koksara block, Akash Dharua (8), six-day newborn of Madhunagesh of Deybhog village died in the hospital on November 18.

Besides, medical equipment worth lakhs of rupees are lying defunct in the hospital due to the absence of doctors. However, the root cause behind the long-standing vacancies of doctors in the district by the Health Department is yet to be unearthed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Cotton mandies lying defunct

Expressbuzz, Nov 23, 2008

BHAWANIPATNA: Cotton mandies in Kalahandi are in a shambles due to lack of maintenance and this has directly affected marketing of the cotton crop. This year, cotton was grown in 19,349 hectares of land in Kalahandi and a yield of 1,90,000 quintal is expected. At present, cotton plucking is in full swing and some farmers are ready to sell their produce.

It was decided by the district administration to procure cotton through mandies of the regulated marketing committees (RMCs). In 2002 under Integrated Cotton Development Programme, cotton bazaars were created at Karlapada and Utkela. For Karlapada cotton bazaar, there was an investment of Rs 1.17 crore and for Utkela, it was Rs 85 lakh. At these cotton bazaars (mandies), there were infrastructure facilities like cotton godowns, cotton drying shed, fire extinguishing system, rest sheds for cotton farmers and traders, information centre for cotton growers equipped with computer and Internet facilities and weighing machines.

However, after four years of operation of these mandies, procurement was shifted to village-level, thus making these units useless. Now these mandies are dilapidated.

At Karlapada cotton bazaar, the weighing machines are broken, fire fighting system non-existent, rest sheds non-functional, no electricity and there are no computers. The RMC secretary, Bhawanipatna, informed that for security reasons, computers have been shifted to Bhawanipatna. The mandi opened for procurement on November 18 but only a few farmers had come to sell their produce. But traders did not participate in the auction and only 116 bags of cotton were purchased by the Cotton Corporation of India.

Cotton farmers alleged that the cotton bazaar at Karlapada is dilapidated due to negligence of the RMC. “The RMC, although gets one per cent on the cotton transaction as fees, it is not investing for maintainance or improvement of the bazaar,” a farmer alleged.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Youth unlikely to benefit from job scheme in Kalahandi

The Pioneer, 22nd November, 2008
Bikash Khemka Bhawanipatna

Last date for receiving PMEGP applications not announced

Even as the Prime Minister Rozgar Yojana has been renamed as the Prime Minister Employment Generation Programme (PMEGP) in 2008 with certain modifications, its effective implementation has become a question mark for the unemployed youth in Kalahandi district.As per PMEGP, loan amounts have been increased up to Rs 25 lakh, which would be provided through the offices of Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB), Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) and District Industries Centre (DIC) of all districts.When the advertisement of PMEGP was published in Oriya newspapers, both unemployed and employed youth in the district started submitting their full-fledged application forms so as to carry on their business by availing loans with subsidies.However, though last date of submitting application forms was not mentioned elsewhere in the advertisement, DIC officials unofficially claimed November 20 as the last date for receiving forms, which put the applicants in a dilemma.Talking to The Pioneer, a DIC official said they have not received any circular about the last date of receiving application forms. The banks too have not received any circular in this regard so far, he added.Besides, candidates, who have submitted their forms by hand, were not provided any receipt from the DIC office. Sources said if such an irregularity would be allowed, nearly 150 candidates are expected to be benefited under the scheme in the district, leaving others in the lurch.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Govt mulls relaxing norms for approving irrigation projects

Press Trust of India, Nov 20, 2008

New Delhi, Nov 20 (PTI) In an effort to ensure that maximum number of farmers are able to utilise irrigation facilities, the government is planning to relax norms for approving centrally-sponsored irrigation projects for certain categories of states, according to sources.

Under the centrally-sponsored Command Area Development and Water Management Programme (CADWM), any new project from states can be included in the scheme only after satisfactory completion of the ongoing project.

But the Centre is planning to relax the condition for projects to be included in the Prime Minister's package for agrarian distress projects -- those benefitting drought prone districts or tribal areas, and located in special category states -- Northeastern states, Uttrakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, and Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) districts of Orissa.

"The government plans to relax the norms during the remaining period of the XIth Five Year Plan (2007-2012)," sources in the Water Resources Ministry said here.

CADWM was initially launched in 1974 as the Command Area Development (CAD) programme for development of adequate delivery system to provide irrigation water up to farmers' fields to enhance water-use efficiency and productivity of crops per unit of land.

The programme was restructured and renamed as Command Area Development and Water Management (CADWM) programme in April, 2004.

At present, 138 irrigation projects are receiving central assistance under CADWM. Since its inception till March, 2008, the Centre has released assistance to the tune of Rs 3528.08 crore to various states.

Banks to set up Entrepreneurship Development Institutes

Business Standard, Nov 20, 2008

The banks having more than 15 branches in the state should set up the Entrepreneurship Development Institutes (EDIS) in line with the Rural Development and Self Employment Training Institute (RUDSET Institute).

India (SBI), Uco Bank, Andhra Bank, Canara Bank and Syndicate Bank have set up such institutes, Union Bank of India has started the process of setting up a similar institute in the state.

Since the state government is focussing on the self employment of the youth and most of the banks have not opened their EDIs, they have been asked to expedite the process, official sources said.

The banks which have not yet opened their EDI should set up such institutes in the rented premises without further delay. They can also seek land/shed/building in the districts where they propose to set up these institutes.

The interested banks will have to apply to the collector of the concerned district through the District Industries Centre (DICs).They can take support or assistance from the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development( Nabard) and involve it in the process while opening such institutes. This issue figured in the recent meeting of the State Level Bankers’ Committee (SLBC) in October.

Further, in the backdrop of inadequate financing to the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the state, the banks have been asked to enhance credit flow to the sector. The pending applications for loans under MSME category will be disposed off at the earliest.

Besides, the banks have been advised to take maximum advanatage of the Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE) which helps the entrepreneur to avail collateral free loans upto Rs 50lakh.This is expected to boost the finance under SME sector.

The SLBC has drawn up an plan of action to improve the credit-deposit ratio in the state and to increase the quantum of differential rate of interest (DRI) loans to 1 percent of the total advances.

According to the action point, the cent percent financial inclusion of Kendarapada, Koraput, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Nuapara, Baragarh, Jharsuguda, Jagatsinghpur, Bhadrakh, Balasore, Dhenkanal, Mayurbhanj and Gajapati will have to be completed at the earliest and for the entire state the process should be completed by 2009.

While the banks who have adopted the handloom clusters should extend necessary finance to those clusters, the banks who have not yet adopted the clusters should adopt the clusters as identified by the textile and the handloom department of the Orissa government.

Besides, to boost crop production in the state, banks have been suggested to finance the scheme of farm mechanization, Jalanidhi programme and other subsidy linked scheme sponsored by the agriculture department of the Orissa government.

Paddy procurement in a mess in Kalahandi

Expressbuzz, Nov 19, 2008

BHAWANIPATNA: Farmers of Kalahandi are a tense lot as paddy procurement process in the district is in a shambles. The ‘mandies’ were officially declared functional by the district administration on November 5 but since then, there has been little progress in the procurement process. At present, 70 per cent of total paddy harvesting work is complete and farmers are waiting for millers to buy their produce.

This year, it has been tagetted to procure 2,60,000 matric tonne (MT) of rice which will be 3,83,000 MT paddy from the district. The district administration has decided to open 51 ‘mandies’ of Regulated Market Committees (RMCs) and also directed officials concerned to open ‘mandies’ at panchayat levels in phases. However, as government officials are yet to start procurement, the situation has lead to distress sale. As per the decision, Supply Corporation, NAFED, primary agriculture societies, FCI, NCMSL, Markfed and NBFC are the official agencies who would procure through their miller agents in the ‘mandies’. As yet, the Supply Corporation has procured only 7,797 MT of paddy followed by 4,800 MT by NAFED and 800 MT by primary agriculture societies. FCI, NCMSL, Markfed and NBFC have not procured any thing. The FCI, which has been allotted to procure paddy from eight ‘mandies’ has also not procured a single grain on the pretext that the paddy was not of FAQ standard.

The district administration has received complaints from farmers regarding millers buying paddy at low price through their agents. Bhawanipatna Central Co-operative Bank president Kali Prasad Raiguru alleged that due to failure of the government agencies, there is distress sale of paddy and farmers are being exploited. As against Rs 675 per 75 kg of paddy, farmers are being forced to sell the same at Rs 560, Raigurur alleged. Meanwhile, District Collector R. Santh Gopalan has directed the RMCs to look into the procurement process and cautioned that any laxity would be viewed seriously.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Photo electoral rolls revision dates announced

The Statesman, 16th November, 2008

The Election Commission of India has approved three different schedules for the revision of photo electoral rolls in the state with 1 January 2009 as the qualifying date. The first schedule relates to 17 districts namely Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nowrangpur, Nawapara, Kalahandi, Mayurbhanja, Dhenkanal, Boudh, Bhadrak, Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Deogarh, Sonepur and Puri. As per this schedule, the draft publication of photo electoral rolls has been made on 10 November and the claims and objections will be received from 10 to 25 November. There will be special campaign days on 16 and 23 November.The second schedule includes the remaining 13 districts excluding the three Assembly constituencies of Bhubaneswar. The draft publication as per this schedule will be made on 17 November whereas claims and objections will be received till 2 December. The special campaign days will be on 23 and 30 November.The third schedule is meant for the three Assembly constituencies of Bhubaneswar city. According to this schedule, the draft publication will be made on 21 November and the period of filing claims and objections will be from 21 November to 6 December. There will be special campaign days on 23 and 30 November.Eligible persons whose names are not found in the electoral rolls as well as those attaining the age of 18 years as on 1 January 200’9 can apply in the prescribed form ~ Form no. 6 during the period specified for filing of claims and objections. Persons seeking deletion of names can apply in ~ Form no. 7. Further, electors seeking corrections in the entries relating to name, age, relationship etc. can apply in Form no. 8 and those seeking transposition of name from one polling area to another in the same Assembly constituency can apply in Form no. 8-A, during the said period. The forms are available free of cost at different polling stations as well as in the offices of sub-collectors and BDOs.Where they are no photographs against the voter’s name in the electoral roll, an option has been given to submit two copies of passport size coloured photographs in form EPIC 001-B. Persons seeking registration in the electoral roll by furnishing Form no. 6 and are not issued with Elector’s Photo Identity Cards (EPICs) earlier in any other place, may fill form EPIC 001-A and submit two photographs for the purpose.This time 42 new polling stations have been added in the state including 36 in Bhubaneswar, nine in Rourkela and seven in Cuttack taking the total number of polling stations in the state to 31,434.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Recruitment process in Kalahandi in limbo for 12 years

The Pioneer, 14th November, 2008

PNS BhubaneswarEverybody from top to bottom seems to be shedding crocodile tears for the KBK region. But when it comes to fulfill the basic needs of the people in the State's most backward area, no body bothers. This is evident from the fact that at least 50,000 of posts are lying vacant in these undivided districts of Kalahandi, Balangir and Koraput (KBK). For years together, these vacancies are not filled up, thanks to the whims and fancies of the bureaucracy, which plays havoc on the lives of common men. Sample the case: In the year 1996, the then Collector of Kalahandi Satyabrat Sahu found that there were large-scale vacancies which were needed to be filled up. So, the Kalahandi district administration notified for recruitment of Junior Clerks. More than 1,000 young aspirants applied for 60 posts and sat for the examinations. Sahu organised the recruitment process in the most transparent manner. Honest IAS officers like present Director of Agriculture Arabinda Padhee, who was then the Sub-Collector of the district, and Director of Mission Sakti Usha Padhee, the then APD, were given the charge of the recruitment process. After the written tests, the successful candidates were invited for type test. The entire process was transparent, said a senior IAS officer involved in the process. The list was finalised, but all of a sudden, it was alleged that there were irregularities in the recruitment. The then Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) Jagadananda Panda asked the district administration to stop the recruitment process until further orders without bothering to visit the district to find out the real causes of the allegations. Panda allegedly issued the orders on the complaints of a Congress leader. Thereafter, nobody bothered about the tribal boys and girls, who, with high expectations, still wait for jobs in the Government. Till date, the RDC's order stands as it was and the recruitment process is yet to be finalised and is kept in abeyance, revealed a case record. In the absence of the green signal from the authorities, the district administration is not opening the files and all the documents are left sealed in the Treasury, said the source. Meanwhile, with the blanket ban order on recruitment by the State Government in 2000, the fated of the young candidates have been sealed. A petitioner has filed a case in the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT), which has issued notice to the Kalahandi district administration over the issue.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Job wait for 12 years in KBK!!!, Nov 13, 2008

Every body from top to bottom is shedding crocodile tears for KBK.

But when it comes to fulfill basic needs, no body bothers.

KBK is the most backward area of the state and at least 50,000 of posts are lying vacant in these districts.

But for years together these vacancies are not filled up, thanks to the whims and fancies of bureaucracy,which play havoc on the lives of common men.

Sample the case.

In the year 1996,the Kalahandi District Administration notified for recruitment of Junior Clerks to be filled up.

More than 1000 young aspirants applied for 60 posts notified.

However process was delayed and for 3 years it was not taken up.

However in 1999,Satyabrat Sahu, the then Collector of Kalahandi found that there is large scale vacancies and those are needs to be filled up.

Mr. Sahu, known for his honesty and sincerity organized the recruitment process in most transparent manner.

Honest IAS officers like present Director Agriculture Arabinda Padhi, who was then the Sub Collector and Director Mission Sakti Usha Padhi, the then APD was given charge of recruitment process.

After the written tests, successful candidates were invited for type test.

Entire process was transparent and done in totally clean manner, said a senior IAS officer involved in the process.

The list was finalized and all on a sudden it was alleged that there are irregularities in the recruitment.

The then RDC, Jagadananda Panda asked the Kalahandi District Administration to stop the recruitment process until further orders.

Without verifying details Mr.Panda issued sweeping orders and never bothered to visit the district to find out the real cause of the allegations.

He allegedly issued the orders on the complaints of a frustrated Congress leader.

There after no body bothered about the tribal boys and girls, who with high expectations wait for a job in the government.

Till date the RDC order stands as it is and the recruitment process yet to be finalized

The recruitment process is still kept in abeyance, revealed a case record.

In absence of a green signal from the authorities they are not opening the files and all the doucments are left sealed in Treasury, said the source.

How ever in 2000 with the blanket ban order on recruitment by the State Government the fate was sealed for the young candidates.

A petitioner has filed a case in the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) and the Court has issued notice to the Kalahandi District Administration over the issue.

This is how mandarins are playing with the lives of innocent people of KBK, said the advocate, who is fighting the case.

Regional diagnostic centres still remain 'paralysed'

Expressbuzz, Nov 13, 2008

BHUBANESWAR: The regional diagnostic centres (RDCs) which were established to extend affordable but quality health care services in the district headquarter towns of Baripada, Bhawanipatna, Koraput and Sundargarh are yet to become ‘fully operational’.

Not only that, equipment worth lakhs of rupees are yet to see light of the day.

Apart from the four RDCs, the city-based Capital Hospital got a similar status. Though there is an alarming rise in kidney-related diseases due to diabetic and other factors, the haemodialysis machine is still lying unused for years.

According to an RTI disclosure made by the store medical officer, the equipment is not operational for want of a ‘reverse osmosis’ plant and non-availability of trained staff. However, he has indicated that the authorities have been intimated about it and the need to instal an RO plant to enable its operation.

Strangely the machine was procured at Rs 8,60,262, whereas the RO might cost less than a lakh.

Not only this, many others like a rotary microtome (Rs 86,320), blood gas analyser (Rs 2,91,200), two TMT machines (Rs 3,45,280 each), two ultrasound machines (Rs 9,12,288 each), two X-ray machines of 500 MA (Rs 11,06,000 each) and another X-ray machine of 100 MA (Rs 2,22,000) are lying ‘unused’.

Contacted, Chief Medical Officer of Capital Hospital Dr UK Mishra said installation of the RO and training of the staff for the equipment would be made in the ‘supplementary budgetary allocation’ and the things would be ready in two months when the ICU would be functional.

The story is same with Baripada and Bhawanipatna RDCs. In the former, while the newborn incubators are not operational without ‘posting of trained technical person,’ computerised treadmill (Rs 3,45,280) is yet to be used as there is no cardiologist.

So is the case with two sets of digital EEG machines worth Rs 1,45,600 each. Two high-speed cooling centrifuges worth Rs 1,13,170 each are also lying unused.

According to the Bhawanipatna CDMO, one electrolyte analyser, rotary microtome with suitable knife and two EEG machines are lying unused due to lack of ‘trained manpower’.

According to activist TN Panda of Multi-Organ Transplantation, Human and Education Research (Mother), the facts were brought to the notice of the Health Minister several times in the past and to the Health Secretary, recently.

Contacted, Director of Health Services Dr S. Sethi said things are being studied and action would follow shortly to streamline RDCs.

State expecting a bumper harvest

Expressbuzz, Nov 13, 2008

Despite the recent floods and a drought looming over several districts, the State, if the prediction goes true, is all set to harvest a bumper kharif crop for the second consecutive year.

According to revised estimate of Agriculture directorate, the expected rice production in the current kharif is projected at 72 lakh tonnes as against 68 lakh tonnes last year. Prior to flood and moisture stress, paddy production was projected at 76 lakh tonnes.

The State registered a record foodgrain production of 92 lakh tonnes in 2007-08 kharif and rabi.

As per preliminary estimate, the directorate had projected a foodgrain production of about 80 lakh tonnes. It later revised the estimate following crop loss in the coastal region due to floods. The moisture stress condition in nine districts is likely to reduce paddy yield by about two lakh tonnes.

Exuding confidence, Agriculture Director Arabinda Padhee told this paper that paddy crop condition in majority districts is excellent.

Paddy crop in dough and ripening stage will not be affected.

Standing paddy crop in 2.28 lakh hectares is likely to be affected due to the moisture stress resulting in low yield. Only medium duration crop in the tail-end of the irrigation system will be affected and improper management of water distribution is to be blamed for the present condition, he added.

Of the nine districts witnessing moisture stress condition, Koraput, Malkangiri, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Rayagada and Ganjam are the major pulses producing districts. However, pulses in 66,000 acres of land is facing moisture stress condition, he said, adding pulse production will be more than eight lakh tonnes.

He attributed the bumper paddy production to more than normal rainfall, multiplication of quality seeds and increased use of chemical fertilisers by the farmers. Fertiliser consumption in the State has increased substantially and farmers have utilised the subsidy benefit for buying more diesel pumpsets.

Latha Jishnu: Playing with fire in Orissa's farmland

Business Standard, Nov 13, 2008

The unchecked spread of illegal Bt cotton cultivation is a serious threat to the state’s agriculture, warns Latha Jishnu

Orissa’s farmlands have become the battleground for several conflicting interests. There is the familiar battle over what should be grown — traditional food grains versus the more rewarding cash crops — but the more insidious battle is being waged over how the crops should be grown and what technology should be used. Cotton is the focus of this largely covert operation to wean farmers on a genetically modified (GM) regimen in a state which maintains that it intends to remain GM-free.

Over the past five years there have been significant shifts in the agricultural landscape of Orissa which has taken rather enthusiastically to cotton cultivation. From less than 30,000 hectares in 2002-03, the area under cotton has expanded to over 63,000 hectares in 2007-2008. By the end of the 11th Plan, the state intends to double this figure, according to a paper prepared by the department of agriculture. But the extraordinary aspect of Orissa’s growing appetite for cotton is that almost the entire crop is being grown under contract, either for mills, traders or in small measure for research institutes. Farm experts say this is an unusual phenomenon.

The figures revealed by the department are eye-popping. In response to a right to information (RTI) petition filed by a voluntary organisation, it disclosed that 58,255 farmers were contracted by 15 companies to grow cotton on 60,371 hectares during 2007-08. That’s a cool 95 per cent of the total area under cotton but a chunk of this is devoted to growing organic cotton which is turning into a money-spinner. The concern, and a serious worry, is that a substantial number of the farmers are using illegal GM seeds to cultivate cotton. The seeds, according to sources in Orissa, are supplied either by the contracting company or bought by the farmers themselves. Officials have turned a blind eye to this by claiming they are helpless in the matter although there have been reports of several seizures of GM seeds by the police. Little is being done to check this proliferation or to warn farmers about the hazards of Bt cotton. Field visits by agriculture experts have shown that farmers have not been instructed in biosafety protocols and have completely ignored the mandatory regulations.

The irony is that Orissa has been proclaiming rather loudly that it is against GM crops. Not only has the agriculture minister stated on the floor of the assembly that he would not allow GM crops into the state but the chief minister himself has issued a memo that GM crops should be discouraged in the state. To make its stand very clear, the directorate of agriculture and food production issued a notice in August this year declaring that the cultivation of Bt cotton was illegal. All of this begs the question why no punitive action is being taken against the companies and farmers who are contravening the law. In parts of Bolangir district, a major hotspot for cultivation of GM cotton, the authorities say they have conducted raids but were unsuccessful in unearthing illegal seeds.

Talking to this newspaper, U P Singh, agriculture commissioner and secretary to the Orissa government, sidestepped the issue by saying it was “mostly under contract farming”. Orissa’s policy, he insists, is to disallow GM crops because of the environmental and health hazards they pose. There was no case for adopting Bt cotton since the state was keen on pushing organic cotton to tap into a growing market. His contention: why go for expensive Bt cotton when you can exploit a profitable niche market (organic cotton)?

But whatever officials may say, Orissa is known to have been a hotbed of GM testing for companies producing Bt cotton since 2002 — and that, too, without clearance from the Genetic Engineering Approvals Committee (GEAC), the regulator. Activist Debjeet Sarangi, founder of Living Farms which campaigns for organic farming, says almost all the brands of Bt cotton seeds are available in Rayagada and Bolangir. He believes it is part of a tested strategy — Gujarat was the testing ground in the early 2000s — by companies to capture the market. The ploy is simple: Release GM seeds clandestinely and then seek to make it legal by saying it is already widespread and farmers are demanding it.

But the lax regulation and enforcement underline a deeper worry for Orissa which has become the third largest grower of organic cotton in the country. The lack of a specific liability regime for GM organisms means that the state, like the rest of the country, can make no claims on companies supplying GM seeds in the case of environmental damage. Experts say the potential extent of the harm and its timeline are a matter of uncertainty at this point although evidence is coming in of the ill-effects of GM crops on the human system. For this backward state, there is the potential impact of contamination of other crops. There have been several instances where countries have barred imports of agricultural products contaminated with GMOs.

Sarangi says RTI petitions have revealed that extensive field testing of Bt cotton varieties has been underway in Orissa since 2004 are not being discontinued despite the state’s declared intention of barring GMOs. A proposal for the field trial of Bt Cotton in Bhawanipatna for the current year has been accepted and the Orissa University for Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) is set to start testing of a GM food crop, the controversial Bt eggplant or brinjal.

This has provoked widespread protests across Orissa because the state’s rich biodiversity boasts close to 200 varieties of eggplants. There is no way that it can prevent contamination from GM varieties through gene flow when over 80 per cent of its farmers are marginal cultivators with holdings that are less than two hectares. Surely, Orissa understands that it cannot resolve the paradox of promoting organic cultivation while playing footsie with genetically engineered crops?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Drought looms large in 16 districts

The Pioneer, 12th November, 2008

Drought looms large in 16 districts. The crop production including the paddy is likely to drop by 6 lakh metric tonne this year. Due to the lack of adequate moisture in the land, the paddy production has been affected in 2 lakh 28,043 hectare of land. "Both the Revenue and Agriculture Department will make a survey on the loss caused due to the lack of adequate moisture in the land and will submit a report to the State Government within 15 days," official sources said. Sources said if more than 50 per cent of the cultivation is lost in a particular area, the farmers of the entire village will receive the compensation. Before the Rabi crop, all the irrigation points would be repaired and two lakh hectares of land would be provided with water. A decision to this effect was taken at a high level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Agriculture Minister Surendranath Nayak attended the meeting.In the cultivated areas, the farmers would avail compensation to the tune of Rs 4,500 per hectare and in the non-cultivated area, the farmer would get a compensation to the tune of Rs 2,500 if the crop is lost. While 98,017 hectare of crops were destroyed in Nayagarh, 73,070 hectare in Malkanagiri, 18,000 hectare in Balasore, 31,067 hectare in Balangir, 1,078 hectare in Sonepur, 15,000 hectare in Ganjam, 6,028 hectare on Gajapati, 13,079 in Kalahandi, 12,041 hectare in Keonjhar, 5,096 hectare in Koraput, 14,056 hectare in Nabarangpur, 6,053 hectare in Rayagada, 6,036 hectare in Mayurbhanj, 4,00 hectare in Khurda, 6,022 hectare in Bargarh and 3,025 hectare in Sundargarh.

After flood, Orissa faces semi-drought condition

The Hindu, 12th November, 2008

After devastating floods, Orissa now faces another calamity in the form of semi-drought condition due to moisture stress causing crop loss in large areas of cultivated land, official sources said on Tuesday.
"At least 16 of the state's 30 districts are facing moisture stress leading to semi-drought condition", Agriculture Minister S N Nayak told reporters.
Worried over crop loss report in about 2.86 Lakh hectare of land, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik issued directive to the water resource department to energise all the defunct lift irrigation (LI) points within seven days.
Making LI points functional was the last option left for the government to save the remaining crops in the affected districts, an official said adding Patnaik also issued orders to facilitate farmers to undertake cultivation in a massive way during the rabi season.
The districts affected by moisture stress condition were: Balasore, Balangir, Sonepur, Ganjam, Gajapati, Kalahandi, Keonjhar, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nowrangpur, Rayagada, Mayurbhanj, Khurda, Nayagarh, Bargarh and Sundergarh.
"Tribal dominated Malkangiri was identified as the worst affected district", Nayak said adding an area of 61,560 hectare of land reported crop loss. Nayagarh came second in the list with 52,060 hectare of land reporting crop loss.
Moisture stress condition was felt in most of the hilly regions across the southern and western parts of the state while the flood affected coastal districts remained unaffected, an official said.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik presenting Pradumna Bal Memorial Award to Samsundar Jala at Jaydev Bhawan

Chief Minister Shri Naveen Patnaik presenting Pradumna Bal Memorial Award to Samsundar Jala at Jaydev Bhawan on 8-11-2008.

NOTE: Samsundar Jal from Gambhariguda, near Dharamharh has been involved in rehabilitating orphans. He was recently granted to esablish a ANATHA ASHRAM in Gambhariguda.

Programmes fail to deliver

Expressbuzz, Nov 9, 2008

BHUBANESWAR: It was 1995-96 when elections were round the corner, a development saga christened KBK or Kalahandi, Balangir and Koraput Plan was unveiled. Its newer version Revised Long Term Action Plan (RLTAP) for the eight KBK comprising undivided Koraput, Balangir and Kalahandi districts was brought in 1998-99 in a sub-plan mode.

Over nine years since, a whopping Rs 7,850 crore has been infused to usher in an all-encompassing development in one of the poorest regions of India that is inhabited by 12 lakh BPL families as high as 87 per cent of the region’s population.

But there has been little change in the situation there. So, what ails KBK - funds or good governance? The latest CAG report makes the latter culpable.

It has categorically stated that the interventions by the State Government to ameliorate the rural poor yielded only negligible results as a XIMB survey found a significant one-quarter of beneficiaries terming RLTAP as complete failure.

From gross non-utilisation of funds to the tune of Rs 221.76 crore during 2002-07 to corruption and maladministration, some glaring instances are: Imprudent approach in the drought-proofing works resulting in a yawning gap of 2.51 lakh hectares between the target and the actual land treated. As many as 1,450 projects were either prematurely closed or remained incomplete.

Non-implementa tion of the watershed projects in accordance with the priority list prepared by the Orissa Remote Sensing and Application Centre (ORSAC) led to Rs 4.42 crore going down the drain. Wages worth Rs 2.66 lakh were lost owing to the execution of works through contractors rather than beneficiaries themselves.

The achievement under rural connectivity was merely 27 per cent of the target. Records show that implementing agencies could not provide one time meal ranging from 28 days (Nabarangpur district) to 186 days (Kalahandi district) per annum. A high of 38 per cent beneficiaries were not satisfied with the quality and quantity of food supplied to them. Still, 402 inaccessible villages were to be covered under the Mobile Health Units programme. Even in some districts, the CDMOs concerned did not have the information regarding inaccessible villages in the districts! F ollowing poor augmentation and capacity addition, migration of labourers has risen to 14,787 in 2005-06 from 8,845 in 2001-02. And, KBK still remains mired in the vicious cycle of poverty-malnutrition-diseases even after a decade.

Counterfeit currency in circulation in W. Orissa

Expressbuzz, Nov 8, 2008

JHARSUGUDA: Counterfeit currency notes have made their way into western Orissa on a big scale even as police remain clueless about the transit points and peddlers. While there have been numerous instances when people have received counterfeit notes from ATMs, the bank authorities are accused of not pursuing the matter further.

From Sundargarh to Kalahandi, there have been reports of seizure of counterfeit notes by the police. The fake currencies get noticed when the denomination is bigger or the amount is more. It is learnt that fake notes from Bangladesh are finding their way into the region through Kolkata and Rajasthan. Initially these counterfeit notes were pushed through gullible rural folks and the amount was often less. But of late the peddlers have started pushing fake of notes of bigger amount into big towns in lure of quick bucks. Such has been the panic that small machines fitted with ultra violet rays are now found in many shops to detect counterfeit notes.

Businessmen said banks could have played a greater role in checking circulation of counterfeit notes. Excepting impounding the fake currency notes and stamping it as counterfeit, banks are accused of not complaining the matter to police.

Branch Manager, SBI, Brajrajnagar, B K Parida refuted the allegation that ATMs are delivering counterfeit notes. He, however, acknowledged that they have never reported the matter to police. General Secretary of Merchants Association, Brajrajnagar, Prem Sanghai said there has been a rise in circulation of counterfeit notes over past one year and demanded joint action by police and banks. DSP A Tirkey expressed his helplessness with no such case has ever been lodged by any bank.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

DJ Vedanta: Lanjigarh Alumina To Get Local Bauxite By Mid-09, Nov 6, 2008

LONDON, Nov 06, 2008 (Dow Jones Commodities News via Comtex) -- VDNRF | Quote | Chart | News | PowerRating -- The Lanjigarh alumina refinery in the Kalahandi district of Orissa will start to be fed bauxite from a nearby mine by the middle of calendar 2009, its owner Vedanta Resources PLC (VED.LN) said Thursday.
This follows approval for the Niyamgiri bauxite project in August by the Supreme Court of India. The company had been forced to bring in bauxite from third-party sources while the case was ongoing.

Local tribes and activists had objected to mining in the hills, saying the project would foul the environment and destroy the livelihood of people living in and around the area.

"(Bauxite) will be transported by road until the end of calendar 2009, when our dedicated conveyor belt transportation system will become operational," the company added.

Alumina production capacity at Lanjigarh is 1.4 million metric tons a year, although the company plans to boost this to 5 million tons annually to feed the expansions at its Jharsuguda and Korba aluminum smelters.

Alumina output at Lanjigarh was 250,000 tons in the first half of 2009.

Four tons of bauxite is refined to make two tons of alumina, which is then smelted to produce a ton of aluminum metal.

Shell out 5,000, become a doctor!

Expressbuzz, Nov 6, 2008

BHAWANIPATNA: No need to study medicine and for that matter crack an entrance to become a doctor! At least in this district. Just deposit Rs 5,000 to Rs 10,000 along with xerox copy of matric or Plus Two certificate and three colour passport size photographs and you get a passport to practise privately as a doctor in rural pockets. Flaunting such fake certificates, quacks are now minting money in interior Kalahandi.

There are three categories of quacks in operation. One category of quacks are having certificates from West Bengal whereas the second category possesses certificates from Bhubaneswar. The third category of quacks don’t have any such licence, simply they count on their experience. The quacks are having a field day in the district due to dearth of doctors and absence of minimum health care facilities.

Out of 176 sanctioned posts of doctors in the district, 63 posts are lying vacant. Out of the existing 113 doctors, six are not turning up since long while 16 are on unauthorised leave. Apart from this, though some doctors have been transferred but their substitutes are yet to be appointed. Thus to get medical service, people have only one choice - see a quack.

Incidentally the licence issued from Bhubaneswar though reveals that the head office is in Bhubaneswar, but the actual office is near Hind cinema in Cuttack. This was revealed by one such licence-holder requesting anonymity. He, however, said he fell into a trap laid by middleman. After shelling out Rs 10,000, he was given a licence for private practice and a certificate.

Ranjan Maharana, secretary of NGO Jana Swasthya Seva Sanstha, said a survey conducted by his organisation in Madanpur Rampur, Lanjigarh, Narla, Junagarh and Kalampur blocks revealed that at least 180 quacks are operating in the five blocks. He further expressed apprehension that the number of quacks in the entire district may exceed 500.

On many occasions the innocent people are subjected to exploitation by these quacks paying through their nose and also endangering their life. In many cases defective treatment is leading to complicacies.

Devi Prasad Mishra, former chairman of Bhawanipatna municipality and now heading the Rogi Kalyan Samiti in Bhawanipatna Government Hospital, said the quacks are even treating complicated cases leading to further complicacies. Many such complicated cases are very often reaching the district headquarters hospital, he said.

CDMO Dr Susil Rath admitted that the activities of quacks are causing health and social problems in the district. All the medical officers of primary health centres have been directed to verify and report to police about the quacks working in their area, he said.

Strangely not a single quack has yet been booked in the district.

State yet to strive for second knowledge centre, feel dons

The Pioneer, 6th November, 2008

Orissa must take lessons from the neighbouring States to develop its education and knowledge base, feel leading educationists. While almost all the leading States have already developed second education and knowledge centres, Orissa is yet to begin its homework in this aspect, said non-resident Oriya (NRO) Prof Digambara Patra, who teaches at American University at Beirut, in a well-researched letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. He said that to minimise regional differences in those States and attract more investments from Central Government and private sector in the education and knowledge sectors, most of the major States in India are recently in rush to develop a secondary knowledge city of national importance. For example, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Maharashtra have at least one or more secondary cities other than their capitals as knowledge and education centres. In these States, the proposed world-class central (national) university and IIT/IIM by Government of India are located in two different cities as the proposed WCCU would have additionally engineering and medicine faculties, which would be of high standard like IIT. All these States have chosen a secondary city based on regional, social, cultural and political angles for a knowledge centre. In AP, it is Visakhapatnam, in Tamil Nadu Coimbatore, in Karnataka Mysore, in Maharashtra Nagpur, in Gujarat Vadodara and in Madhya Pradesh Indore. However, it seems there is no homework by the Orissa Government to develop a secondary knowledge and education city of national importance. Though Bhubaneswar was behind many of the tier-II cities in other States in population and educational institutions, recently a lot of investment has come up in the higher education and IT sectors around the city. Dr Patra has suggested that the Burla-Sambalpur-Jharsuguda (BSJ) region can be developed as the State’s second education and knowledge centre. This region is becoming highly industrialised and well-connected to all parts of the State and country. Burla already has a university, an engineering college and a medical college apart from the Hirakud Dam reservoir, a source of plenty of water and power supply.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Number of corrupt officials on rise, Orissa to set up three more vigilance court

Odishatoday, Nov 4, 2008

Bhubaneswar( Orissa): In an attempt to curb corruption in the state, the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday announced set up three more vigilance courts in the state.

While attending a state-level function to observe vigilance awareness week, Naveen said that the new courts would be established at Kandhamal, Kalahandi (Bhawanipatna), and Keonjhar.

During the current year as many as seven new vigilance offices have been opend at Dhenkanal, Sonepur, Debagarh, Navrangpur, Boudh, Jharsuguda and Nuapada.

Addressing the inaugural of observance of Vigilance Awareness Week here on Monday at Rabindramandap Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said “my government makes no compromise in maintaining integrity in public life .This year two such courts had been set up in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.”

The Chief Minister also emphasised that the youth need to be more vigilant and ensure that corruption does not become a bottleneck to the rapid industrialisation and economic progress being taking place in the state.

The Central Vigilance Commission has provided a new avenue to lodge complaint against corruption to the general public which can now lodge its complaint under the public interest disclosure and protection of informer’s resolution popularly known as Whistle Blower’s Resolution, said Mr Anup Patnaik, director vigilance.

As part of its anti-corruption drive, the state vigilance wing has till now registered 85 cases against 32 IAS officers and charge sheeted 10 of them, he added.

Similarly, 11 cases were registered against seven IPS officers and 28 cases against 21 Indian Forest Service officers.

During the past five years, the department registered 1,713 cases against 537 grade-I officers ,450 grade-II officers, 1,483 grade-III employees, 42 grade-IV staff, 333 other public servants and 878 private persons, while charge sheets have been filed in 1,232 cases.

The vigilance department, which registered graft cases against 537 grade-I officers, today called upon “honest public servants and citizens to be whistle-blowers” to unravel corruption he said.

Among others Law Minister Biswabhusan Harichandan, Ex-Lokpal Justice Sarat Chandra Mohapatra Member of Parliament Prasana Patasani were present on the occasion.

Bhawanipatna in a festive mood

The Statesman, Nov 4, 2008
Statesman News Service

BHAWANIPATNA, Nov. 3: It was twin celebrations for the district. The headquarters town of Bhawanipatna wore a festive look due to observation of the 60th Kalahandi Pratistha Divas and inaugural function of Kalahandi Utsav Ghumura simultaneously on Saturday.
Official records say that Kalahandi, a princely state before independence was merged with the Indian union on 1 January 1948 and was kept with Bolangir district. On 1 November 1949, Kalahandi acquired the status of a district. To commemorate the occasion, Kalahandi Pratistha Divas has since been organised every year. This time, on this occasion a seminar on the topic Pragati Pathe Kalahandi was organised followed by multifarious cultural programmes.
The inaugural function of Kalahandi Utsav was also organised simultaneously with much fanfare. Masals from four corners of the district ~ Thuamul Rampur, Ampani, Belkhandi, Urladani and from Manikeswari temple of Bhawanipatna were brought to the meeting place by volunteers along with Ghumura dance.
The masals will be taken round the district and with it, the panchayat level and block level festival will be organised in different phases. The final Kalahandi Utsav will be organised from 14 January to 17 January in the local Lal Bahadur Sastri stadium. Besides cultural programmes, Krushak Mela, Handloom and Village Industry Mela will be organised, sources informed.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Vedanta goes online, Nov 2, 2008

Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) has gone online.

VAL, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources PLC has hosted a new portal (

The portal is being updated at regular interval, said Sashanka Patnaik, AGM of the company.

And we need feedback from the netizens and accordingly it will be continuously improved, said Mr.Patnaik.

VAL has set up the Greenfield Alumina Refinery at Lanjigarh in the Kalahandi district of Orissa with a capacity of 1 Million tons per annum.

It is setting up a 0.5 MTPA Aluminium Smelter and a captive power plant (5X135 MW) at Jharsuguda.

The Group Company, Sterlite Energy Limited is also setting up of a 2400 MW Independent Power Plant (IPP) at Jharsuguda.

VAL is one of the world’s premier alumina refining complex in terms of its technology, human resources and high quality infrastructure.

VAL has built a high caliber team which is passionately contributing to the growth and efficiency of the organization, said an insider.

Kalahandi deprived of reproductive health care facilities

The Statesman, Nov 3, 2008

BHAWANIPATNA, Nov. 2: Minimum health care services are absent in the interiors of Kalahandi. People here are deprived of essential medicines for reproductive health, opined the social activists participating in the two day training programme on Essential Medicines for Reproductive Health organised at the Extension Training Centre here recently.
The training camp was organised by Jana Swasthya Seva Sanstha (JSSS) in collaboration with Community Development Medicinal Unit (CDMU) and Orissa Voluntary Health Association (OVHA), Bhubaneswar. More than 60 NGO workers and social activists working in the field of rural health services participated in the programme.
Participants at the camp felt that there is a gross absence of education on reproductive health in the region which is leading to unsafe motherhood and the rise in rates of infant and maternal mortality. There is a need for making essential medicines available at doorsteps, education on the proper use of medicines and timely referral when needed to medical institutions by a coordinated approach between NGOs, Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) staff and health department workers to check the high infant and maternal mortality rate particularly in the inaccessible pockets of the district, the participants suggested.
In the absence of trained professionals, quacks in the district are having a field day further endangering the health of innocent victims, they added.
On the occasion experts from OVHA and from the district health office imparted basic training to volunteers regarding the use of medicines for reproductive health. Low cost medicines were also provided to 70 villages of Kalahandi by the Community Development Medicinal Unit, Bhubaneswar.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Govt to restructure State’s 314 blocks

The Pioneer, Nov 2, 2008

The Orissa Government has decided to restructure all the 314 blocks of the State. A decision to this effect was taken at the all-secretaries meeting chaired by Chief Secy Ajit Kumar Tripathy.

It was decided in the meeting that Government would seek financial assistance from the 13th Finance Commission to go ahead with the restructuring of the blocks. Steps would be taken to build up the cluster of different categories block wise.

At the time of restructuring of the blocks, existing population, the socio-economic condition of the people would be taken into consideration. The SC and ST population and the population of other backward class would be taken into consideration. The block would be restructured to improve the administrative efficiency and augmenting the delivery mechanism. Most of the funds now straight come to the block. A lot of money under NREGS and other programmes is being spent by the block unit.

Tripathy asked the officials to take steps for expediting the establishments of ITIs in block level. In yet another development, the Planning Commission has asked the State to submit an- eight year action plan for the KBK districts for which fund can be released.

And the winner is...

The Statesman, Nov 1, 2008

BHUBANESWAR, Oct. 31: Mr Kishore Das of Kalahandi has been announced the winner of the "Maruti SX4 contest" conducted by mobile service provider Airtel.
Chief operating officer, Bharti Airtel Ltd, Orissa telecom circle Mr Shivan Bhargava handed over the key to the winner at a function held here today.
In the Maruti SX4 contest, questions on general knowledge, sports, Bollywood and entertainment were asked. On giving five correct answers, one gained the eligibility to enter a lucky draw and win prizes. The person with the maximum score was entitled to win the mega prize of Maruti SX4. All Airtel customers were eligible to participate.