Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Vedanta outperforms in social and stock indices

http://www.commodityonline.com, March 31, 2009

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MUMBAI: Is a company’s performance in stock indices directly related to its social responsibilities? Pundits would disagree but take the case of big corporate that consciously made their social responsibility as serious as their corporate responsibility, the answer would be simple.

Mining companies face the worst kind of criticism across the globe from various quarters. It is difficult to adjust the work they do for mining with that of the social causes they are in the local regions they operate.

London based Vedanta Resources Plc is already a global leader in aluminum, copper and zinc. As the demand for commodities have touched new low, the Vedanta stock touched its monthly high of USD 705.50 recently from its lows of 503.50 during the first week of March.

The stock has gained over 26% during past one month and was trading at 52-week highs of USD 2788 during June last year.

If the downfall of the stocks compared with others are calculated, it was trading at USD 648 on Nasdaq today up by over 3% from its Monday’s close. There has been a down fall in the stock price over past quarter as the price fell from USD 790.50 during January to USD 628.50 recently.

The reason for such a resistance could be its vision to go shoulder to shoulder with its social responsibilities as well. Orissa’s Kalahandi rhymes like an African nation impoverished in various vicious circles of natural calamities and manmade disasters. Yes, the district was vulnerable but not anymore, thanks to CSR efforts by Vedanta, engaged in mining in the district.

Vedanta Aluminium Limited is the first to get into the CSR in this region for specific purpose. It wanted to show how mining and ecosystem can co-exist and also lift the poverty stricken people from miseries of diseases and development.

And when a diarrhea and cholera epidemic started in these region on March 8, Vedanta’s CSR team sprang into action. The Company also organized a mega-health camp at Kurli two days later where more than 400 patients availed the health services. Medicine and medical consultation were provided free of charge.

Dongria Kondhs tribe at Kurli, Khambesi, and Mundbahali areas were the most affected. These are tribals in Kalahandi where living in pristine natural beauty but without any development and reach of health or other services.

It was here that the company initiated projects to provide improved livelihood to the community, especially women. Now micro enterprises like spice making and leaf plate making is common giving the family the extra income they always vied for.

Dr. Mukesh Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, Vedanta Aluminium Limited, Lanjigarh said helping the locals in such a calamity was company’s primary duty – as sacred as producing aluminum. “Health of people around our plant is highly important for us. As a responsible corporate citizen, it is our duty to provide health care support in advent of any kind of epidemic.”

Ten Major Issues of Kalahandi Lok Sabha Constituency

During election time all the candidates and political parties are making generous promises such as subsidy in rice, free power, dal etc. Though it is good it is short lived. It keeps people still in the same risky poverty level.

We need development in Kalahandi Lok Sabha Constituency (including present Kalahandi and Nuapada districts) that is sustainable in long term and do not keep poor people in the same poverty zone rather make them self-dependent and respected in the society.

Kalahandi constituency is among the bottom five constituencies in India in socio-economic development. It has to go a long way to meet national average standard in many social indicators and in human development index.

To achieve long term sustainable growth Kalahandi needs simultaneously major developments in agriculture, infrastructure, higher education, technical education, health and industries and not rice in Rs 1/- per kg. Rice in Rs 1/- per kg may be required but not enough for Kalahandi.

Since decades national and state politicians have often used Kalahandi as a synonym for backwardness, starvation death and child selling but none of them have come forward seriously to address what is required in developing agriculture, infrastructure, higher education, technical education, health and industries in this region. One recent example is betrayal by Odisha Sate Government for a Central University after being promised by the chief minister himself.

Our local leaders have unfortunately fallen as preys in front of these national and state leaders for their own political survival instead of fighting for long term interest of their mother land-“Kalahandi Constituency”.

This is the right time people of Kalahandi constituency must speak the truth.

Kalahandi presently faces many challenges for its long term sustainable development.

Only those “Political Party” or “Individual” who will support ten major issues of Kalahandi constituency and promise that as a MP or MLA he/she will dedicatedly and continuously fight on these ten issues till the final goals are achieved will get our support and vote.

Of course, candidates or political parties are free to select one, more than one, or all of the ten issues to use in their election manifestation if he/she accepts that these issues are genuine for development of Kalahandi Lok Sabha Constituency in long run and we will happy render our support and vote to those candidates and political parties.

Ten major issues of Kalahandi Lok Sabha constituency are given below as one line summary.

Ten Major Issues of Kalahandi Lok Sabha Constituency

1. New Irrigation Projects:
o Extension of Upper Indravati Irrigation Project to Koksara block, in the Ampani, Ladugaon, Behera, Gotomunda region
o Irrigating all Golamunda, Bhawanipatna and Kesinga blocks by making water shades in Tel River and by Upper Indravati Irrigation project
o New water shades irrigation projects in Nuapada, Khairar, Komna, Sinapali, Madanpur Rampur, Karlamunda, Lanjigarh, Thuamul Rampur and Narla blocks.

2. New Railway Line:
o Nuapada road – Khariar – Sinapali - Golamunda – Dharamgarh – Moter – Ampani – Nabarangpur – Jeypur Railway Line
o Completion of Lanjigarh road – Jungarh Railway Line in one year

3. New State Highways:
o Khariar – Sinapali – Golamunda - Dharamgarh – Moter – Jaipatna – Mukhiguda – Raniguda (Koraput) State Highway
o Extension of SH45 from Kalyansinghpur (Rayagada dist) to Jungarh via Karlapat
o Sindhekela (Balangir dist)– Kegaon – Khaliakani state highway

4. Widening, improving and declaring major roads:
o Bhawanipatna – Lanjigarh – Muniguda (Rayagada dist) (alternative to via Bissam Cuttack) by PPP
o Madanpur Rampur – Ghatapada (Boudh dist)
o Santipur – Lanjigarh road – Tumdiband (Kandhamal dist)
o Dharamgarh – Umarkote (Nabarangpur dist) via Jharigan

5. Health & Hospital:
o Branch of Central University of Orissa in Kalahandi including Faculty of medicine and hospital

6. Technical Education:
o Three Polytechnique Colleges at Bhawanipatna, Nuapada and Dharamgarh

7. Higher Education:
o Unitary University for Govt. Autonomous College Bhawanipatna

8. New Bridges:
o High Laying Bridge over Hati river near Junagarh
o Bridge over Tel river near Aatigaon
o Bridge over Udanti river near Kegaon
o Bridge over Hati river near Karchala
o Bridge over Tel river near Uchhala

9. Establishing New Industry:
o Thermal Power Plant: Many industrial houses are interested to establish thermal plant in Odisha. Angul, Jharsuguda and Dhenkanal regions are already saturated with such industries and there are environmental concerns in those regions. Kalahandi has free land, available water and railway link for such project such as around Junargah and Kesinga.
o A down stream industrial park in association with Vedanta in Kalahandi
o Vedanta should also establish an aluminum smelting unit and down stream park in Lanjigarh region

10. Agriculture based Park in Kalahandi:
o Textile Park: Kalahandi is one of the major producer of good quality cotton, a Textile park for cotton processing should be established in Kalahandi
o Agriculture Park: Dharamgarh sub-division is emerging as major rice and pulses producers in the region. An agriculture park should be established in Dharamgarh sub-division
o Wine/Food Processing Industry: Mahul flower is often used to prepare local liquor. Since liquor brings social troubles in the local level. So producing local liquor should be stopped and a food processing or wine industry should be established in Kalahandi for export market which will give employment and better price for those poor people who collect Mahul flower from the forest. Since selling in local market will not be allowed it will not affect society negatively rather those poor tribal people who collect Mahul flower would be benefited so are the youth for employment.
o Reviving Sugar Factory in Junagarh block

Bhakta Das files papers for K’handi LS seat

The Pioneer, March 31, 2009
PNS | Bhawanipatna

On the last day of nominations on Monday, former Union Minister and Congress candidate Bhakta Charan Das and Subash Nayak of BJD filed nominations for Kalahandi LS seat. Nayak was denied a ticket by the Congress after which he quit the aprty and joined BJD.

Besides, Gobinda Ratha (KKD), Nakula Majhi (BSP), Balaram Hota (CPM), Parameswar Kundu (SP), Maheswara Bhoi (Ind) filed papers for Kalahandi LS seat. For Bhawanipatna Assembly constituency Dusmanta Naik (Cong), Jayanta Kumar Naik (BJD) and Aswini Chandan (SP) filed the nomination papers.

For Narla Assembly Congress candidate Bhupinder Singh, Zakir Hussain (NCP), Srikant Hota (BJP), Ashok Chand (SP) and Santosh Mund (Ind) respectively filed the nomination. For Lanjigarh reserved, Balabhadra Majhi of the BJD, Bijaya Bisari (BJP), Siwaji Majhi (Cong) filed the nominations. For Dharmagarh Assembly Rahasa Bihari Behera (Cong), Puspendu Singh Deo (BJD) Surendra Kumar Pattjoshi (SP) and Independent candidates Bhubaneswar Durga, Subash Nayak, Prahalad Agrawal, Govinda Rout, Chintamani Majhi filed their nomination papers. For Junagarh Assembly segment Gobardhan Das (Cong), Bira Sipka (BJD), Siba Hati (SP) and independent candidates Binod Bihari Nag, Surata Sahoo, Duryadhan Majhi filed papers.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dongria Kondh Tribe appreciates Vedanta's Efforts

Pressreleasepoint.com, March 30, 2009

“Vedanta Aluminium Limited provides medical treatment to 382 Diarrhea affected people, mainly Dongria Kondh tribals in Kurli Gram Panchayat of Bissamkatak, Orissa, India”.

“Vedanta is the first and only organization to stand with us during this time of difficulties,” said Ramesh Wadeka, a member of Dongria Kondh Tribal Community Kurli Village.

Vedanta Aluminium Limited, Lanjigarh, District Kalahandi, comes forward and provides instant medical care to help the diarrhea and cholera affected people,mostly Dongria Kondhs in Kurli Gram Panchayat in Bissamkatak Block of Rayagada District (Orissa, India). The epidemic started on March 8, 2009 has affected all the families in Kurli, Khambesi, and Mundbahali under this Gram Panchayat. Soon after getting information regarding outbreak of the epidemic Vedanta Aluminium sent its mobile medical unit to the spot and provided immediate medical treatment. Serious patients were admitted at the nearest Christian Hospital, Bissamkatak by this Aluminium producer. By end of March third week the Company had provided comprehensive medical treatment support to 382 persons from these villages at Christian Hospital, Bissamkatak. The company provided medicine, food and other necessary items for treatment of epidemic affected villagers. “Vedanta is the first and only organization to stand with us during this time of difficulties,” said Ramesh Wadeka, a member of Dongria Kondh Tribal Community Kurli Village.

The Company also organized a mega-health camp at Kurli on March 10, 2009 to provide treatment to the people, mostly Dongria Kondhs. In this Camp, more than 400 patients availed health services. The company provided free medicine and medical consultation. “We got primary treatment and medicines from the camp,” said Sundara Wadeka of Khambesi Village.

“Health of people around our plant is highly important for us. As a responsible corporate citizen, it is our duty to provide health care support in advent of any kind of epidemic,” said Dr. Mukesh Kumar, Chief Operating Officer, Vedanta Aluminium Limited, Lanjigarh.

Besides health, the company has also initiated projects to provide improved livelihood to the Dongria Kondhs, especially women. About 60 women in Kurli and Khambesi villages have come forward to undertake micro enterprises like spice making and leaf plate making, supported by Vedanta Resources. “30 women shall be engaged in spice making and another 30 will be making leaf plate,” added Dr. Mukesh.

The efforts of Vedanta Resources are highly appreciated by Dongria Kondh Community. The tribal members are confident that their lives shall be better than before, after the association with Vedanta Aluminium Limited. Pradeep Wadeka another tribal from the area said, “We have seen the Company’s development activities at Lanjigarh and we hope the Company shall also take similar activities in improving our roads, health, education and livelihood.”

State Congress Sevadal chief joins BJD

Expressbuzz, March 30, 2009

BHUBANESWAR: Former Congress MP Subash Nayak will be the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate from the Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat. Nayak joined BJD after he was denied a ticket by the Congress.

Nayak’s will be the second case when Congress leaders have joined the BJD to get ticket. Former State Youth Congress president Rohit Pujari was given the BJD ticket for Sambalpur LS within hours of his resigning from the party. With Nayak going to be the BJD candidate, an interesting triangular contest is on the cards in this parliamentary seat.

While Congress working president Bhakta Charan Das has been announced as the party candidate from the seat, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has renominated its sitting MP Bikram Keshari Deo who is seeking re-election for the fourth time in a row.

The BJD also changed candidates in some of the Assembly constituencies. Former MP Prasanna Kumar Acharya will be the candidate from Rairakhol Assembly constituency in place of Gitanjali Pradhan. Acharya was announced as the candidate from Bhatli.

Sushant Singh will be the candidate from Bhatli instead.

Ticket given to Akhil Jhodia from the Lakshmipur Assembly seat has been withdrawn.

Jhinna Hikka has been announced as the candidate from this constituency. The new candidates will file their nomination papers on the last day tomorrow.

Meanwhile, exodus from other political parties to BJD continued. Revolting against his sidelining by the party leadership, State unit chief of Congress Sevadal Raghunath Sahu today resigned from the party and joined BJD with his supporters.

Sahu was an aspirant for Assembly ticket from the Chilika constituency.

However, the party denied him ticket and announced the name of Manas Ranjan Mangaraj.

It is expected that Sahu will contest Assembly polls on a BJD ticket from the constituency.

Besides, the former Congress MLA from Hinjilikatu Udaynath Nayak and tribal leader from Mayurbhanj Raut Hessa joined BJD today in the presence of the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Patsani was also present.

Centralised kitchen to provide mid -day meals

The Statesman, March 30, 2009
Statesman News Service

BHAWANIPATNA, March 29: The foundation stone for the centralised kitchen to provide mid-day-meal to school children was inaugurated in presence of Padmashree Prof. PK Jena, former DG Mr AB Tripathy, sociologist Ms Rita Ray and Oriya film actor Bijay Mohanty here recently.
The centralised kitchen will be used to provide hygienic food to 18,000 school children under the mid-day-meal program, in partnership with the state government and Naandi Foundation.
“Vedanta Aluminium Limited, Lanjigarh , Orissa government and Naandi Foundation, Hyderabad, will help improve children’s overall physical and mental health and also reduce the dropout rate of school going children,” said Prof. Jena. Appreciating the initiative he said that it would encourage poor children belonging to the underprivileged section of society to pursue school education.
Dr Mukesh Kumar, COO, Vedanta, said: “The overall well-being of children has been a special focus of Vedanta’s development programs. This public private partnership will improve the education level in this tribal area and help school children to concentrate better on classroom activities”.
Vedanta Aluminum Limited signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nandi foundation and the state government to provide mid-day-meals to school children from Class I to Class VIII in the government-run schools in Lanjigarh. Vedanta Aluminium Limited will build the centralised kitchen, where the food will be cooked and sent to schools by the Naandi Foundation. About 18000 school going children from nearly 253 government schools in Kalahandi district, from Class I to Class VIII, shall get quality, nutritious, fresh-cooked noon meals in their schools. Food shall be cooked in this centralised kitchen and served hot at the respective schools.
Ms Ray, renowned sociologist, said that the program would reduce gender disparity in this tribal area. Mr AB Tripathy also appreciated Vedanta’s initiative to enhance the educational level of children in this area. Mr Bijay Mohanty said that Vedanta’s social investment might be its success mantra. Mr Samiron Sarkar, head-CSR, VAL took the members of CSR Advisory Board to the VAL intervened villages like Rengopali, Basantpada and Harekrushnapur for taking stock of the various developmental initiatives of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). During their visit they interacted with the people rehabilitated by the company and congratulated the company for rehabilitating the tribal people in a meaningful manner.
Education and nutrition have always been one of the major concerns of Vedanta’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs. The company is running 39 childcare centres and 400 Anganwadi centres, where children are provided with pre-school education and nutritious food in various villages.

BJP announces candidates for LS and assembly polls in Orissa

www.samaylive.com, March 29, 2009

New Delhi, Mar 29 : BJP today announced names of its candidates for two Lok Sabha and ten assembly constituencies in Orissa.

Radharani Panda will contest on the BJP ticket from the Bargarh Lok Sabha constituency while Surendra Kumar Lath is the party candidate from Sambhalpur.

The names of candidates declared for the ten assembly constituencies include Sukanta Das (Bargarh), Bipin Bhoisagar (Attabira-SC), Ramesh Aggarwal (Rourkela), Srikanta Hota (Narla), Hari Narayan Pradhan (Kantamal), Sibananda Tripathy (Bhanjanagar), Bhagaben Behera (Chhatrapur-SC), Ashwini Gamango (Gunupur-ST), Bidulata Huika (Bissam Cuttack-ST) and Kaliram Majhi (Rayagada-ST).

After break-up of the alliance with Naveen Patnaik-led BJD in the state, BJP has declared that it will contest all the 21 Lok Sabha and 147 assembly seats in Orissa.

Orissa as a special category State

The Pioneer, March 30, 2009

While inducting former State Youth Congress president Rohit Pujari into his party, BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik said last week how national parties like the Congress and the BJP are not interested in making Orissa a special category State for speedier economic development. It is strange such a realisation has come to him after a decade of his association with the BJP during half of which the saffron party was in power at the Centre. The timing of airing such realisation is undoubtedly self-serving. It is to hammer home his oft-repeated point that only a regional party like the BJD can do justice to the State. But the hollowness of his line of thinking is self-evident. See what happened to the special treatment given by the Central Government for the development of the KBK districts. Selected as a test-bed for economic regeneration by no less a person than PV Narasimha Rao, the former Prime Minister, the districts were smothered with wheel-barrow loads of cash. Though it is difficult to get the exact amount of money that was pump-primed into that area, it can be safely said that not less than Rs 1700 crore of special assistance was spent there during the ten year period from 1997 to 2007. But, economically, the districts remain where they were before the start of the grandiose development plan. If Patnaik wants a similar economic uplift to be replicated throughout the State through his demand for special category status, then the State is economically doomed for all time to come. Funds are not a problem. The problem is commitment to development and a corruption-free administration. Demand for special category status is a political slogan disguising as an economic catchphrase. And again, not much of a disguise, at that!

SP announces 3 LS, 23 MLA candidates

The Pioneer, March 30, 2009
Pioneer News Service | Bhubaneswar

The Samajwadi Party (SP) on Sunday announced the names of three MP and 23 MLA candidates for the ensuing general elections. While party State president Kailash Mishra is contesting from Kamakhya Nagar Assembly constituency, Nakula Nayak, Arun Mishra and Parameswar Kanda will respectively contest from Kandhamal, Bolangir and Kalahandi Parliamentary constituencies.

Candidates for Assembly seats

Kailash Mishra- Kamakhya Nagar
Sankaracharya Pradhan- Angul
Sanyasi Das- Khariar
Lochana Sing Majhi- Nuapada
Prafulla Kumar Pradhan- Sambalpur
Md Aktar- Brajaraj Nagar
Gitanjali Bagha- Boudh
Gadadhara Mishra- Rourkela
Premraj Nial- Atabira
Debendra Kumar Swain- Baragarh
Suresh Behera- Deogarh
Paramananda Majhi- Lanjigarh
Surendra Kumar Patjoshi- Dharmagarh
Aswini Chandan- Bhawanipatna
Siba Hati- Junagarh
Ashok Chand- Naria
Sridhar Gantha- Koraput
Gajendra Danda Sena- Loisingha
Sitaram Satapathy- Titilagarh
Jasobanta Bariha- Patnagarh
Balaram Kuanr- Subarnnapur
Saroj Kumar Patnaik- Berhampur
Gangadhar Panigrahi- Aska

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Vedanta's green move lauded

Tathya.in, March 28, 2009

Bijoy Mohanty is a nature lover.

So the leading cine star of Olywood planted a sapling in front of the Project Office of the Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) here.

Mr.Mohanty, a member of the Vedanta’s CSR Advisory Committee lauded VAL’s initiative on peripheral development.

The Committee Members including former DGP A B Tripathy, former RRL Chief P K Jena and leading educationist Rita Ray visited the VAL’s unit here on 27 March.

Mukesh Kumar, Chief Operating Officer (COO) briefed the dignitaries on various CSR activities taken up by the company.

Dr Kumar accompanied the members during the visit and also gave presentation on the various sustainable development programs undertaken here.

During the course of their visit they spent time in the R&R colony.

They interfaced with the residents and took an on the spot study of the functioning of the child care centre, the primary school managed by Vedanta.

They also visited the tailoring unit and the phenyl making unit managed by the SHGs promoted by Vedanta.

Members of the Committee also visited the strawberry cultivation unit at Rengapalii village followed by the Project Ujjala program at Basantapara village.

The dignitaries were greeted with a warm welcome at Harekrishnapur village where the members of the Advisory

Board saw the various agricultural developmental programs undertaken under Sashya Shilpa Abhiyan.

During the course of the visit the centralized kitchen under the Mid Day Meal (MDM) program was inaugurated by the distinguished members of the Advisory Board.

Other members also planted the saplings in front of the Project Office premises.

After overseeing the various CSR activities the members also undertook a visit of the Lanjigarh plant where they saw the various operating units, expansion projects and also interacted with the employees.

Candidates file nominations in Kalahandi

The Pioneer, March 29, 2009

Bhawanipatna: BJP candidate Bikram Kesari Deo filed his nomination papers for the Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat on Saturday. Kailash Chandra Jain and Khageswar Naik filed their nomination papers in BJP ticket for Narla and Bhawanipatna Assembly constituencies, respectively. Similarly, Paramananda Majhi from the Samajwadi party (SP) and Nabeen Kumar Pradhan from the Koshal Kranti Dal filed their nominations for Lanjigarh and Narla Assembly seats.

Former Kalahandi MP joins BJD, gets ticket

The Pioneer, March 29, 2009

Bhubaneswar: Former Congress MP of Kalahandi Subash Chandra Nayak joined the BJD here on Saturday. His entry was welcomed by BJD supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and he was also offered a ticket for the same Parliamentary constituency from the BJD.

Candidates queue up to file nominations in K’handi

The Pioneer, March 29, 2009
PNS | Bhawanipatna

With the general elections approaching fast, party candidates and independents have started queuing up to file their nomination papers in Kalahandi district.

Two candidates filed their nomination papers for Bhawanipatna Assembly seat, which has been reserved for Scheduled Caste (SC), on Friday. Pradipta Kumar Naik, who was a sitting MLA of the BJP, filed his nomination this time too on the party ticket at the office of Bhawanipatna sub-collector. Another candidate Ramani Dora from Samrudha Odisha also filed his nomination for this constituency.

For Junagarh Assembly seat (general), four candidates, Chintamani Bag from Lok Jansakti Party (LJP), Bamdev Durga from Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Satya Behera from Samrudhha Odisha and Panchanana Dhangda Majhi from Republican Party of India (RPI), reportedly filed nomination papers at the office of Dharmagarh sub-collector.

Similarly, three candidates, Janardan Panda from BJP, Hira Bag from Samrudha Odisha and Kalyani Naik from BSP filed their nominations for Dharmagarh Assembly seat. One independent candidate Dambrudhar Sunani filed his nomination for one Parliamentary seat here.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Candidates for 2009 General and Assembly Election in Kalahandi

Vote for the candidate or party of your choice, but you must vote.

MP (Kalahandi):
Bikram Keshari Deo (BJP)(sitting MP of Kalahandi)
Bhakta Charan Das (INC)(former MP of Kalahandi & former union minister)
Subash Chandra Nayak (BJD) (former MP of Kalahandi, switched from congress party to BJD)
Gurmit Singh (BSP)
Parameswar Kanda (SP)
Dambarudhar Sunani (Independent)

MLA (Bhawanipatna, SC):
Pardipta Naik (BJP)(sitting MLA of Bhawanipatna & former minister in Odisha)
Jayanti Nayak (BJD)
Dusmanta Nayak (INC)
Ramani Duria (SO)
Khageswar Naik (BSP)
Aswini Chandan (SP)

MLA (Dharamgarh):
Puspendu SinghDeo (BJD)(sitting MLA of Koksara)
Rasa Bihari Behera (INC) (former MP of Kalahandi, former MLA of Koksara & former minister of Odisha)
Janardan Panda (BJP)
Surendra Kumar Patjoshi (SP) (former MLA of Koksara)
Hira Bag (SO)
Kalyani Naik (BSP)

MLA (Junagarh):
Himansu Meher (BJP)(sitting MLA of Junagarh & former minister in Odisha)
Bira Sipka (BJD)(sitting MLA of Dharamgarh)
Gobardhan Das (INC)
Satya Ranjan Behera (SO)
Chintamani Bag (LJP)
Bamdev Durga (BSP)
Pachanan Dhangda Majhi (RPI)
Siba Hati (SP)

MLA (Narla):
Bhupendra Singh (INC)(former MLA of Kesinga & former minister in Odisha)
Srikanta Hota (BJP)
Zakir Hussain (NCP, alliance with BJD)
Kailash Chandra Jain (BSP)
Sapan Kumar Patnaik (SO)
Nabeen Kumar Pradhan (KKD)
Ashok Chand (SP)

MLA (Lanjigarh, ST):
Balabhadra Majhi (BJD)(Sitting MLA of Narla & former minister in Odisha)
Shibaji Majhi (INC)
Bijaya Disari (BJP)
Pramananda Majhi (SP)

MLA (Khariar):
Durjodhan Majhi (BJD)(Sitting MLA of Khariar & current minister in Odisha)
Hitesh Kumar Bagarti (BJP)
Bishapan Meher (INC)
Sanyasi Das (SP)

MLA (Nuapada):
Basanta Panda (BJP)
Rajendra Dholkia (BJD)
Bhairab Sahu (INC)
Lochana Sing Majhi (SP)

NOTE: INC: Indian National Congress Party,
BJP: Bharatiya Janata Party
BJD: Biju Janata Dal
OS: Samrudha Odisha
KKD: Koshal Kranti Dal
BSP: Bahujana Samajbadi Party
SP: Samajbadi Party
NCP: Nationalitic Congress Party
LJP: Lok Janasakti Party
RPI: Republic Party of India

Vedanta on child care mode

Tathya.in, March 28, 2009

Kile Majhi, (4) is on learning mode.

He is reciting English rhymes and identifying the numbers.

Six months earlier, he was not so lucky enough to think about education and school.

But now the boy of the vanishing tribe of Dongria Kondh goes to the newly opened Child Care Centre (CCC) set up and run by the Sterlite Foundation, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources in his village.

And he is very happy now because, unlike children in neighboring villages he does not have to go to the jungles.

However, after opening of the CCC, the residents of this tribal village could feel the difference, after sixty two years of Independence.

“We are illiterate and same were also our forefathers.

We are very thankful to Vedanta Company for responding to our cause.

Now our children can receive education in this school.” Says Chanchala Naik, Naib-Sarapanch, Trilochanpur GP.

For them the CCC is a school, as they receive basic education and training.

35 children, mostly from Dongria Kondh community are studying in this centre.

In order to encourage the children for education and also to minimize the burden on their parents, the CCC provides dress, books and teaching and learning materials free of cost.

Besides, the children were also taught about sports, games, singing and dancing.

Nutritional food such as egg, rice, dal and vegetables are given to the children.

The students of the peripheral villages of Lanjigarh are immensely being benefited out of these child care centers of Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) in the area.

Dr. Mukesh Kumar, CEO, VAL has all along harped on the peripheral development of the areas in and around the project.

“Health of our children has also improved, after joining the school. Being a tribal village, Phuldumer was completely ignored by the Government,” says Ratu Majhi another tribal leader.

“The response by children and villagers is excellent. The children come to the Centre neat and clean,” adds Gita Pattnaik, a teacher of the centre.

Earlier there was not an education facility available in the village.

The nearest school is at Trilochanpur, five kilometer away from the village.

“As forest comes in the way, it is risky to send our child to the school,” said Shringa Majhi.

So, all of the children preferred to go to forest, rather than to schools.

All the parents vow that they will send their children to primary schools, after completion of their education in Centre, said he.

BJD leaves three LS, 18 Assembly seats for allies

Expressbuzz, March 28, 2009

BHUBANESWAR: The BJD has decided to leave three Lok Sabha and 18 Assembly seats for its allies. Sources said one Lok Sabha seat each will be left for the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), CPI and CPM. While the NCP will be given nine Assembly seats, the CPI will have five in its kitty. The CPM will be given four Assembly seats. However, the wrap-up discussion with the allies will be held on Saturday after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik returns from his constituency Hinjili. The NCP has been given the Balasore Lok Sabha seat from where Arun Dey has been announced as the candidate.

The CPM has been given the Sundargarh Lok Sabha seat while CPI has got Jagatsinghpur (SC) parliamentary constituency. The Assembly seats in NCP’s share are Begunia, Badachana, Dhenkanal, Sambalpur, Talasara, Narla, Saraskana, Patakura and Rairangpur. The NCP had unilaterally announced candidates for one Lok Sabha and 10 Assembly seats. The BJD is reported to have agreed to concede all the announced seats except Remuna Assembly seat.

The Assembly seats in the share of CPI are Chhattrapur (SC), Sanakhemundi, Brajrajnagar, Champua (ST) and Soro. The CPM has got Bonai (ST), Nilgiri, Jaleswar and Bissamkatak (ST). However, there are still differences between BJD and CPM over Bissamkatak (ST). A final decision will be taken by Naveen on Saturday. The BJD has announced candidates for three more Assembly seats. While Debraj Mohanty and Bhagaban Kanhar have been nominated for Aska and Kantamal respectively, Prabhat Aditya Mishra has got the green signal for Bijepur seat.

However, the party is yet to announce its candidate for Kalahandi Lok Sabha seat. Sources said Dhaneswar Majhi is likely to be the BJD candidate from this seat. Majhi had recently quit BJP to join BJD. Meanwhile, working president of Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Bhakta Charan Das on Friday said there was no question of his resigning from the party even if he was not given a ticket.

Reality far from the legal provisions

Expressbuzz.com, 28th March, 2009

BHUBANESWAR: Gender equity can only come through right to ‘power’ and ‘property’, but sadly, the Indian Parliament is yet to pass a legislation allowing 33 per cent reservation for women. Even history tells how the Congress party agreed to accord rights to women voters after so much persuasion by its women members starting since 1930s! But still today the right to land for women is not practised except states like Manipur. And to discuss on the issue a two-day State-level consultation was organised by Jana Kalyan Sanstha (JKS), Bhawanipatna here.
‘‘Even now over 70 per cent of women live by working on land. Their status in most cases is worse than that of daily wage labourers, who at least get daily payment. Women working on their family land are neither entitled to ownership of land nor the income accruing from it’’, said JKS chief Bharat Bhusan Thakur.
‘‘In a tribal belt where the below poverty line (BPL) population is between 70 and 80 per cent, the land owned by the government is more than 75 to 80 percent which shows the right to land for the poor is yet to be achieved despite promulgation of Forest Rights Act’’, he added.
Bhoodan activist Gouranga Mohapatra suggested equal distribution of land as the only means to solve poverty and violence like Naxalism.
‘‘If the transparency and honesty are not practiced properly, the voters’ council as proposed by Vinoba Bhave may be inducted by the public units to call back the peoples’ representatives, who are not fulfilling the indicators of accountability and dedication’’, he said, adding women rights over land are also introduced by Bhoodan as families headed by women were given priority.
Orissa High Court advocate CR Nanda said Hindu Succession Act (1956) and its amended version applies only to Hindu women and leaves Muslim and tribal women outside its ambit. Even the Muslim Personal (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 guarantees that daughters and widows cannot be excluded by any other heir and are protected by the overall testamentary restrictions.
‘‘The most critical challenge, however, will be to ensure that this legislation is applied in practice,’’ he said.
Land ceiling laws systematically exclude women from inheriting land because our government laws recognise only the share of sons as worthy of computation when a family is dividing landed property, he added.

Foundation Stone Laying of Centralized Kitchen for Mid Day Meal at Lanjigarh

Orissadiary.com, 28th March, 2009

Report by Orissadiary correspondent; Lanjigarh: The Foundation Stone for building the Centralized Kitchen to provide Mid Day Meal (MDM) to school children was inaugurated in presence of Padmashree Prof. P.K. Jena, Ex-DG, CSIR; Mr. A B Tripathy, Former DGP, Orissa; Mr. Bijay Mohanty, noted Oriya Cine Star and Ms. Rita Ray, Head of Department of Sociology, Utkal University. The Centralized Kitchen will be used to provide hygienic & nutritious food for approx. 18000 school children under the Mid Day Meal program, in partnership with Government of Orissa and Naandi Foundation.
“Vedanta Aluminium Limited, Lanjigarh , Orissa Government and Naandi Foundation, Hyderabad, A P, shall help in overall improvement of physical and mental health of children and also reduction of the dropout rate of school going children,” said Prof. Jena. Appreciating the initiative he said that it would encourage poor children belonging to the underprivileged section of the society. It would also contribute to the learning ability of children. At the same function, Dr. Mukesh Kumar, COO, Vedanta, said “The overall well being of children has been a special focus of Vedanta’s development programs. This Public Private Partnership will improve the education level in this tribal area and help school children to concentrate better on classroom activities”.
Vedanta Aluminum Limited signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Nandi foundation & Orissa State Government on February 13, 2009 at Bhawanipatna to provide Mid Day Meal to school children from Class I to Class VIII in the Govt . of Orissa run schools in Lanjigarh. Vedanta Aluminium Limited will build the centralized kitchen, where the food provided by the GOO will be cooked and sent to schools by Naandi Foundation. About 18000 school going children from nearly 253 Government schools in Kalahandi District from Class I standard to Class VIII standard shall get quality, nutritious, fresh cooked noon meal in their schools. Food shall be cooked in this centralized kitchen and served hot at the respective schools.
Speaking on the occasion, Ms. Rita Ray, renowned Sociologist said that the program would reduce gender disparity in this tribal area. Mr. AB Tripathy also appreciated Vedanta’s initiative to enhance educational level of children in this area. Mr. Bijay Mohanty one of the Leading Actors of the state said that Vedanta’s social investment might be its success mantra. Mr. Samiron Sarkar, Head-CSR, VAL took the members of CSR Advisory Board to the VAL intervened villages like Rengopali, Basantpada and Harekrushnapur for taking stock of the various developmental initiatives of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). During their visit they interacted with the persons, rehabilitated by the company and congratulated the Company for rehabilitating the tribal people in a meaningful manner.
Education and nutrition have always been one of the major concerns of Vedanta’s Corporate Social Responsibility programs. The company is running 39 childcare centers and 400 Anganwadi Centres, where children are provided pre-school education and nutritious food in different villages.

Cong releases list of 16 candidates for Orissa

Press Trust of India, 28th March, 2009

New Delhi, March 28 (PTI) Former Orissa Chief Minister Giridhar Gamang and Union Minister Chandra Shekhar Sahu figure in the list of 16 candidates announced by the Congress today for Lok Sabha elections in the state.While Gamang is contesting from Koraput (ST), Sahu will contest from Berhampur.Former Union Minister Srikant Jena is being fielded from Balasore while another former Union Minister Ramchandra Rath will contest from Aska. Bhakta Charan Das, another former Union Minister will try his luck from Kalahandi.Veteran Congress leader Ananta Prasad Sethi will contest from Bhadrak (SC) while former state minister Narasingh Mishra has been made the party candidate from Bolangir.PCC President K P Singhdeo does not figure in the list so far. According to party sources, if Singhdeo is not fielded from his hometurf of Dhenkanal, he could be projected as the chief ministerial candidate of the party for the assembly elections which are being held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls.Former Chief Minister J B Patnaik's wife Jayanti and son-in-law S R Patnaik have been denied a ticket this time. S R Patnaik had contested the last Lok Sabha polls from Bhubaneswar while Jayanti had contested from Cuttack.The party has fielded Bibhuti Bhushan Mishra from Cuttack this time. PTI

Himalayan plant species found in Eastern Ghats

Expressbuzz.com, 28th March, 2009

BHUBANESWAR: A Plant, endemic to Himalayan region, has been spotted in the Eastern Ghats of Orissa leaving biologists puzzled.
Corallodiscus batalin, the species, is known to grow at an altitude of 600 metres to 3600 metres above the sea level. In the past, the botanists recorded it in the Himalayas of North Eastern India and China. Recently, it was found by a researcher group in Similipadar hills under Karlapat range of Kalahandi.
Strange but true. Lately, there have been many instances of plants ‘moving’ due to climatic change. If this is a case of climate change forcing movement of plants needs a debate and further research. Interestingly, the species was not only discovered in Eastern Ghats, it was also found in Western Ghats indicating its distribution to the peninsular India.
Plant biologists have recorded at least 18 species of Corallodiscus batalin genus in China besides its occurrence in India.
A team of plant biologists from Institute of Minerals and Metals Technology and North Orissa University (NOU) discovered the plant in Similipadar, according to Current Science.
Interestingly, a magazine on traditional Himalayan healing herbs says that the species is used for kidney disorder in many parts of the world and has shown promising result in ailments. Plant biologist PK Dash said since the discovery extends the distribution of the species to peninsular India, it gives opportunities for scientists and researchers to explore the area for some more such findings which may come handy for modern drugs of herbal origin.

Blue bloods to fight eletoral battle for Assembly and LS polls

The Press Trust of India, 28th March, 2009

Bhubaneswar, Mar 28 (PTI) Royal families lost their right to rule decades ago but the presence of several candidates for the Lok Sabha and Assembly polls who are members of erstwhile princely states ensure that it will be a 'royal' contest.Over 20 scions of former princely states of Orissa figure as candidates of major political parties like the ruling BJD and its former ally BJP for the two crucial elections that this state will witness.Giving a `royal touch' to its candidates' list for the first phase of polls slated for April 16, the Naveen Patnaik led BJD has fielded Kalikesh Narayan Singhdeo, a member of Balangir royal family, from Balangir Lok Sabha constituency.A keen battle is expected in Saintala where sitting MLA from S Kalikesh is all set to cross swords with his sister-in-law Sangita Singhdeo, a three-time MP who is seeking win over her `subjects' from her traditional turf as a BJP candidate.The saffron party has again nominated Bikram Keshari Deo, scion of the erstwhile Kalahandi royal family, for Kalahandi Lok Sabha constituency. Deo, a sitting MP from Kalahandi, has represented the seat for the third consecutive term.Senior BJD leader and state Works Minister A U Singhdeo, a member of former Balangir kingdom and son of former chief minister R N Singhdeo, is seeking re-election from his stronghold Balangir assembly segment. PTI

BJD expects more from Congress camp

Expressbuzz.com, 27th March, 2009

BHUBANESWAR: The Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is waiting for the announcement of the Congress list for finalising candidates for some Lok Sabha and Assembly seats going to polls in the first phase on April 16.
Sources said the BJD expects that some senior leader of the Congress will join the regional outfit after the Congress list is out. BJD today did not announce its candidate for the Kalahandi and Sundargarh Lok Sabha seats. While the Sundargarh seat is likely to go to CPM, speculation is rife on its candidate from the Kalahandi seat.
The Congress is also yet to finalise its candidate from the Kalahandi seat. While Congress working president Bhakta Charan Das is interested to contest from the parliamentary seat, there are also other strong contenders including former minister Bhupinder Singh and former MP Rahas Behari Nayak.
The seat will witness a triangular contest after the snapping of ties between the BJD and BJP. Bikram Keshari Deo of the BJP who won from the seat for three consecutive terms is seeking re-election for the fourth time.
Former State Youth Congress president Rohit Pujari was awarded with the Sambalpur seat after he joined the BJD yesterday only hours after resigning from the Congress. The BJD is now in search of a suitable candidate who can challenge Deo.
The BJD has not announced candidates for the Bissam Katak (ST), Chhatrapur (SC), Aska, Sanakhemundi, Kantamal, Narla, Sambalpur, Talsara (ST), Brajrajnagar, Bonai and Bijepur Assembly seats. Out of these, the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has announced candidates for the Narla, Sambalpur and Talsara seats.
However, the BJD has objected to the unilateral announcement of the list by the NCP as it does agree with some of the constituencies and candidates.
The BJD was scheduled to announce the list of candidates jointly with the CPI and CPM.
However, seat-sharing talks though going on well are yet to be over indicating that there are some differences on a number seats. While the delay over announcement of candidate for the Bissam Katak (ST) seat is yet to be clear, the Chhatrapur (SC), Aska, Sanakhemundi and Brajrajnagar seats may go to the CPI. The CPM may get the Kantamal, Bonai and Bijepur seats.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Ruling BJD announces candidates for 8 Loksabha, 59 Assembly seat for Orissa

Orissadiary.com, March 26, 2009

Report by Rashmi r Parida; Bhubaneswar: Ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Thursday announced its much awaited list of candidates for eight Lok Sabha and 59 Assembly seats in the first phase. The Lok Sabha candidates are: Sambalpur-Rohit Pujari, Berhampur-Siddhant Mohapatra, Nabarangpur-Dambarudhar Majhi, Koraput: Jayaram Pangi, Aska- Nityanand Pradhan, Bolangir-Kalikesh Singhdeo, Kandhamal-Rudramadhab Ray, Baragarh-Dr. Hamid Hussein.
As per the announcement in Gunpur -Ramamurty Mutika,Lakhmipur- Akhila Jhudi, Rayagada- Lal Behari Himrika, Malkangiri- Mukund Jodi, Koraput- Raghuram Padai, Nabarangpur- Manohar Chandai, Jharigan- Ramesh Majhi, Jaypur- Rabinarayan Nanda, Umarkote- Jagabandhu Majhi, Kotapad- Gopinath Naik, Berhampur- Ramesh Chandra Chau Patnaik, Digapahandi- Suryanarayan Patra, Khalikote- Purna Chandra Sethy, Boudh- Pradeep Amat, Balangir- Ananga Udaya Singh Deo, Pattangi- Prafulla Pangi, Dabugan- Murtyram Naik, Gopalpur- Pradeep Panigrahi, Mohana- John Dalabehera, Kabisuryanagar- V.Sugyani Deo, G.Udayagiri- Loxana Majhi, Sonepur- Niranjan Pujari, Patnagarh- Prakruti Devi, Chitrakonda- Dambaru Susu, Chikiti- Usha Devi, Paralakhemundi- K.Nayrayan Deo, Khalikote- Purnachandra Sethy, Loisingha- Ramakanta Seth, Kantabanji- Ayub Khan, Khadial- Dyurdhan Majhi, Bhawani Patna - Jayanti naik,Dabugan- Murtiram Naik, Polasara- Niranjan Pradhan, Phulbani- Debendra Kahar, Biramoharajpur- Padmanav Behera, Titilagarh- Jogendra Behera, Lanjigarh- Balabhadra Majhi, Kuchinda- Brundaban Majhi, Hinjli- Naveen Patnaik, Mohana- Nan Dalabehera, Baliguda- Dinesh Singh Pradhan, Bhanjanagar- Bikram Keshari Arukh, Nuapada- Rajendra Dholkia, Dharmagarh- Puspendra Singh Deo, Rengali- Sanatan Bisi, Chendipada- Susanta Kumar Behera, Raurkela- Sarada Naik, Baragarh- Ananda Acharya, Daspalla- Pramod Chandra Naik, Deogan- Sanjib Pradhan, Sundargarh- Sunil Kumar Singh Deo, Junagarh- Bira Sipka, Athmallik- Sandip Sahu, Jharsuguda- Kishor Mohanty, Rairakhol- Gitanjali Pradhan.

BSP to contest all seats

Expressbuzz, March 26, 2009

SAMBALPUR: BSP national executive member and Orissa in- charge Siddharth Patil yesterday declared that BSP would field candidates in all the 147 Assembly and 21 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State.

The Lok Sabha candidates are Jayaram Dungdung (Sundargarh), Sudarshan Luhar (Keonjhar), Gama Singh (Mayurbhanj), Govind Ram Agrawal (Sambalpur), C D Majhi (Nabarangpur), Sada Naik (Koraput), Sradhanjali Pradhan (Balasore), Nityananda Jena (Bhadrak), Lenin Lenka (Kendrapara), Bibhuti Majhi (Jagatsinghpur), Rajesh Kutra (Berhampur), Naba Kishore Suna (Bolangir), Krushna Chandra Sahu (Dhenkanal) and Gurmit Singh (Kalahandi).

Though BSP’s chances of winning from any of the seats, either Assembly or Lok Sabha, is doubtful, political observers opine that it can be a spoiler for the Congress as it can upset the latter’s vote bank. In the last Lok Sabha polls, Ashok Mittal had polled 44,259 votes and political observers said these were votes of the Dalits and the tribals who were with the Congress but of late, they have been drifting towards the BSP. In places like Nuapada, the BSP has been able to muster good support base with strong organisation.

Is cheap rice a poll game changer?

Times of India, March 26, 2009

NEW DELHI: Do promises of hugely subsidised rice for the poor prove a game-changer in elections? This a question that stares us in the face as
parties queue up to shower rice on the voter. This is certainly not the first time promises of cheap grain have been made, but the idea seems to have gained currency much more than in the past.

So why is the idea suddenly so hot, even though it was first offered 42 years ago? In 1967, DMK pledged it would give in Tamil Nadu three measures of rice for one rupee. That was the first time it swept to power in the state. Ironically, the promise was not quite fulfilled.

NTR Rama Rao took a leaf out of Tamil Nadu in 1983 when he borrowed Anna's winning formula and offered rice at Rs 2 per kg. His newly formed TDP ended up winning more than two-thirds of the seats in the assembly, a stunning achievement considering that the party was so new that its MLAs were officially characterized as "independents" — possibly the only occasion when independents have won a majority in an election.

That too was 26 years ago. But suddenly last year, it was the Big Idea for politicians. In 2008, as many as six states saw parties promising, or governments giving, subsidised grain to the poor. The year began with the Chhattisgarh government introducing a scheme of 35 kg of rice at Rs 3 per kg for families below the poverty line (BPL). In April, the Madhya Pradesh government followed suit, announcing 20 kg of wheat at Rs 3 per kg or 20 kg of rice at Rs 4.5 per kg for the poor.

In the same month, the Andhra Pradesh government launched a Rs 2 per kg of rice scheme for BPL families and in neighbouring Karnataka the BJP made a similar promise a key plank in its election manifesto. In August, Naveen Patnaik in Orissa also declared that the state would provide 25 kg of rice at Rs 2 per kg to BPL families and also to those above the poverty line in the districts of Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput.

In September last year, M Karunanidhi chose the occasion of birth centenary of C Annadurai to announce that all ration card holders would be given rice at Re 1 per kg, Tamil Nadu having introduced a 2-rupee scheme in 2006 in fulfilling a promise made by the DMK. Look at electoral dividends and you'll realise why the idea is so hot.

Karunanidhi in TN, Shivraj Chauhan in MP, Raman Singh in Chhattisgarh and Yediyurappa in Karnataka all won the polls following the promise or delivery of cheap grain. Patnaik had the satisfaction of a stupendous show in the local body polls that followed, while YS Rajasekhara Reddy is yet to find out whether cheap rice will do the trick for him.

History also suggests that every time one party promises something like this, the opponents follow suit, but the first one to make the promise seems to have a first-mover advantage. The UPA will be hoping that is indeed the case and that its implementation of the rural employment guarantee scheme will give its latest promise added credibility. The NDA, on the other hand, will hope that matching or bettering the promise will level the playing field.

CAG review had found major gaps in NREGA functioning

Times of India, March 26, 2009

NEW DELHI: The Congress manifesto claims to have provided work to "many lakh" people under NREGS and promises to further widen the scheme but a
review done by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) had found that there was no data on the number of people who demanded jobs and who actually benefitted.

The CAG review said in as many as 70% of the villages checked, there were no proper records available on number of households who demanded jobs and the actual number of people who benefited from the job guarantee scheme.

The survey was initiated in 2006 and completed late last year. It was done at the request of the rural development ministry to ascertain the success of its NREGA scheme. In 26 states, 558 village panchayats were identified for the survey spread over 68 districts and 141 blocks.

Surprisingly, the report said in many cases, it found that jobs were allocated on "verbal basis" and no documentation was available with the village body.

The rules provide that before demanding employment under NREGA, households have to register themselves, and get a job card. A door-to-door survey may be undertaken to identify persons while photographs of adult applicants should be attached to the job cards after an introductory gram sabha meeting is convened at the commencement of the programme.

However, the fact-finding revealed that in 340 villages in 24 states, no such meetings were conducted, neither was there any documentary evidence available in this regard. No door-to-door survey was conducted in these villages to identify persons.

To prevent any leakages, the government had launched a drive to allocate unique identity numbers to job applicants. However, out of 558 gram panchayats checked, it was found that in 331 of them, unique identity numbers were not allotted.

In one of the poorest corners of the country, Kalahandi in Orissa, the survey found that 670 household in 16 villages were not registered despite submitting applications on the ground that their names did not feature in the 2002 BPL survey list.

A similar survey conducted by CAG in 2007 on the effectiveness of the Centre's Public Distribution System, through which it gives subsidised foodgrains to poor, revealed that 40% of beneficiaries were kept away from the scheme by denying them ration cards and 99% of those who availed the benefits reported they had not received foodgrains regularly.

Vedanta organises blood donation camp at Lanjigarh

www.newstrackindia.com, March 25, 2009

Blood Donation Camp was organised by Vedanta Aluminium at Lanjigarh Hospital yesterday (March 24). The Camp was inaugurated by Mr. Umesh Mehta, Vice-President, Vedanta Aluminium Limited. In this camp total 35 units of blood, donated by Employees of Vedanta Aluminium and its Associate Partners collected. Mr. Mehta also was the first donor in this camp.

Inaugurating the camp Mr. Mehta said, “Very healthy person should come forward to donate blood. This will help many patients during an emergency.” He appreciated Vedanta employees’ response to donate blood.

Dr. Sidheswar Marandi, Blood Donation Officer of Bhawanipatna also appreciated Vedanta employees’ enthusiasm to save lives by donating blood. “There is a shortage of blood in the blood bank. And such a camp by Vedanta will help in emergency situation,” he said.

The donors in this camp were given certificates and identity card by Red Cross Society. Dr. Sabita Swain, Chief Medical Officer, Vedanta Aluminium, Lanjigarh along with her medical team facilitated the camp.

Vedanta had also organised a mega blood donation camp in December 2008, in which about 90 employees of the Company participated. Besides blood donation camp, Vedanta organises several health camps in its periphery villages. People are given free consulting services as well as medicines in these outreach camps.

Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) a subsidiary of Vedanta Resource pls has set up a Greenfield Alumina Refinery in Orissa with a capacity of 1 Million tons per annum. It is also setting up a 0.5 MTPA Aluminum Smelter, 1215 MW Captive Power Plant.

BJD faces total isolation

The Pioneer, March 26, 2009
PNS | Bhubaneswar

The seat-sharing pact of the BJD with the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) failed. Without taking the BJD into confidence, the NCP on Wednesday unilaterally declared names for 10 assembly seats and one Lok Sabha seat.

"This is unethical, one sided and not agreed upon," said BJD Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, adding that he would look into the issue how they went ahead in declaring the names of the candidates. Earlier, it was decided that the BJD, Left, NCP and JMM would declare the candidates list on a common platform. For the last seven days, series of meetings were held to this effect.

Even NCP's senior leader Prafulla Patel and DP Tripathy flew to Bhubaneswar to hold talks on the issue of seat-sharing. Patel also met BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik in this connection. It was decided that an amicable formula would be chalked out.

Without taking BJD into confidence, NCP announced unilaterally that it would field Arun Dey from Balasore Lok Sabha seat. Similarly its new State unit president Prasanta Nanda would contest from -Begunia, Nabin Nanda- Dhenkanal, Amar Satpathy- Badachana, Utkal Keshari Parida- Patkura, Siddartha Das- Sambalpur, Zakir Hussein-Narala, Purna Chandra Minz-Talsara, Ramachandra Hansda-Sarakana, Udaya Majhi- Rairangpur and Sudarsana Jena from Remuna..

On the other hand, the BJD was in a back-foot while dealing with the JMM on seat-sharing issue. Coming under severe flak for making pact with the JMM, the BJD has shifted its stand. "We have asked them to give in writing that they would not demand bifurcations of the State for greater Jharkhand. Till now, no assurance has come from their side. A pact with them is not looking bright," he said. JMM demanded three districts Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundergarh for merging it with the greater Jharkhand.

NOTE: Narala is in Kalahandi

Meher accused of poll code violation

The Pioneer, March 26, 2009
PNS | Bhawanipatna

After filing his nomination papers for the Junagarh Assembly seat on the BJP ticket on Tuesday, Himansu Sekhar Meher has landed in trouble because of his alleged violation of the model code of conduct for elections.

Around 60 to 75 vehicles were allegedly taken by Meher to the Sub-Collector’s office of Dharmagarh for filing his nomination, as per a report submitted by the Sub-Divisional Returning Officer of Dharmagarh to Kalahandi District Collector R Santhagopalan, who is the Returning Officer.

As per rules, a candidate can take up to three vehicles, including bikes, maintaining a distance of 100 metre zone inside the office premises to file nomination. Talking to The Pioneer, Santhagopalan said that after watching the videotape he has sought a reply from Meher within 24 hours.

However, in his defence Meher told The Pioneer that his political opponents sent all these vehicles to tarnish his image as he was a sitting MLA of Junagarh. He had taken only three vehicles with him and he was totally ignorant about rest of the other vehicles.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

BSP Supremo Mayawati addresses rally at Sambalpur of Orissa

Orissadiary.com, March 24, 2009
Report by Orissadiary correspondent;

Bhubaneswar: After 61 years of independent no such eye caching steps has been taken.Bahujana Samajbadi Party (BSP) will take steps for reservation for the Dalit, Backward class,financial backward people, if come to the power. Addressing a public meeting at Sambalpur the Supremo of BSP and Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Mayawati has expressed on Tuesday.
The party has announced name of 14 candidates for the assemby.They are Jayram Tung Tung(Sundergarh ),Dr.Sudarshan Luhar (Keonjhar),Gama Singh ( Mayurbhanj),Gobindaram Agrawal (Sambalpur),C.D.Majhi (Nabarangpur),Sada Naik (Koraput),Sradhanjali Pradhan (Balasore),Nityananda Jena (Bhadrak),Lelin Lenka (Kendrapara ), Bibhuti Majhi (Jagatsinghpur),Rajesh Kutra (Brahamapur),Nabakishore Suna (Balangir), Krushna Chandra Sahu (Dhenkanal), and Gurmit Singh (Kalahandi ).

Polls for 10 LS, 70 Assembly seats notified

Expressbuzz, March 24, 2009

BHUBANESWAR: Setting the poll process in motion in Orissa, elections for 10 Parliamentary constituencies and 70 Assembly segments were notified here on Monday.

The Lok Sabha (LS) seats which go to polls in the first phase on April 16 are: Bargarh, Sundargarh (ST), Sambalpur, Balangir, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur (ST), Kandhamal, Aska, Berhampur and Koraput (ST). Seven LS seats are for general category while the rest are reserved for STs.

With the notification by Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) office, nominations commenced today and would go on till March 30. Scrutiny of nomination papers is scheduled to be held on March 31 while April 2 is the last date for withdrawal of the candidature.

The Assembly segments covered under the first phase election are Padamapur, Bijeur, Bargarh, Atabira (SC), Bhatli, Brajarajnagar, Jharsuguda, Talasara (ST), Sundargarh (ST), Birmitrapur (ST), Raghunathpalli (SC), Rourkela, Rajgangpur (ST), Bonai (ST), Kuchinda (ST), Rengali (SC), Sambalpur, Rairakhole, Deogarh, Chhendipada (SC), Athamallik, Biramaharajpur (SC), Sonepur, Louisinga (SC), Patnagarh, Balangir, Titlagarh, Kantabanjhi, Nuapada, Khariar, Umerkote (ST), Jharigaon (ST), Nabarangpur (ST), Dabugaon (ST), Lanjigarh (ST), Junagarh, Dharmagarh, Bhawanipatna (SC), Narla, Baliguda (ST), G Udaygiri (ST), Phulbani (ST), Kantamal, Boud, Daspalla (SC), Bhanjanagar, Polsara, Kabisuryanagar, Khallikote (SC), Chhatrapur (SC), Aska, Sorada, Sanakhemundi, Hinjli, Gopalpur, Berhampur, Digapahandi, Chikiti, Mohana, Parlakhemundi, Gunupur (ST), Bissamcuttack (ST), Rayagada (ST), Laxmipur (ST), Kotpad (ST), Jeypore, Koraput (SC), Potangi (ST), Malkangiri (ST) and Chitrakonda (ST).

Voting hours modified

Keeping in view the Naxal threat in the constituencies that go to polls in the first phase, the Election Commission has cut short the voting hours in 19 Assembly segments.

As per modified timings, voting would start at 7 am and continue till 3 pm in all the 14 segments under Nabarangpur and Koraput Lok Sabha seats.

Similarly, Mohana and Parlakhemundi Assembly segments under Berhampur seat and Baliguda, G Udaygiri and Phulbani under Kandhamal LS constituency would vote during the 7 am - 3 pm.

For the rest of the seats under Phase I, voting will be between 7 am and 4 pm.

Parties sit on nominee lists

The Telegraph (Kolkata), March 24, 2009

Bhubaneswar, March 23: Major political parties, including the Congress and the BJD, have failed to finalise their candidates’ list in Orissa even as the notification for filing nominations for the first phase of polls on April 16 was issued today.

Though the list of Congress candidates was expected to be announced last night, it was not out till this afternoon. State Congress president K.P. Singhdeo, who returned from New Delhi yesterday afternoon, said the list was likely to be announced any moment.

However, party sources said the candidates’ list could not be finalised because of differences at the screening committee meeting, chaired by A.K. Antony in New Delhi. Singhdeo and the AICC general secretary in charge of Orissa, Ghulam Nabi Azad, had two sets of lists. Azad was said to be having a survey report with him too.

The primary reason for the delay in finalisation of candidates was the difficulty faced by the leadership to accommodate a few high-profile aspirants, who did not conform to the AICC guidelines. According to the guideline, applicants who had lost elections for three consecutive terms, cannot be nominated as party candidates.

PCC working president former Union minister Bhakta Charan Das and state campaign committee chief and former Union minister Srikant Jena come under this category. They were aspirants for Kalahandi and Balasore Lok Sabha seats, respectively.

Sources said angry partymen from Balasore, opposed to “outsiders” as candidates, manhandled Jena yesterday near Azad’s residence in New Delhi.

Another obstacle was family feud over party tickets. Sources said former chief minister and sitting Koraput MP Giridhar Gamang had applied for a renomination, while his wife and sitting Gunupur MLA Hema Gamang was the aspirant for the Nowrangpur Lok Sabha seat.

PCC media cell chairman Kailash Acharya, however, attributed the delay in finalising the list to a more “democartic” selection process. “There are four stages in the selection process starting from district level and the central leaders were holding wide-ranging consultations,” he explained.

The BJD’s list, too, was taking time as it has seat adjustments with Left parties, NCP and JMM. And the second round of seat-sharing talks between the BJD and the Left remained inconclusive yesterday.

BJD secretary-general and chief spokesman Damodar Rout said the list was getting delayed as talks were still on with supporting parties.

BJP announced candidates for three Lok Sabha seats and 45 Assembly seats. Upendra Majhi has been nominated from Koraput, former MLA Shanti Devi from Aska and retired IPS officer Ashok Sahu would contest from Phulbani Lok Sabha seats.

Meher files papers for Junagarh

The Pioneer, March 25, 2009

Bhawanipatna: BJP candidate Himansu Sekhar Meher filed his nomination papers for the Junagarh Assembly seat on at the Sub-Collector’s office of Dharmagarh on Tuesday. He was the first candidate to file nominations in Kalahandi district.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

BJP announces nominees for 45 Assembly seats

The Pioneer, March 24, 2009
PNS | Bhubaneswar

The BJP's Central Election Committee on Monday announced the names of candidates for 45 Assembly seats. As per the list, senior BJP leader Biswabhusan Harichandan would fight from Central Bhubaneswar Assembly constituency. The Election Committee has also finalised the name for another three Lok Sabha seats. Hindu Jagaran Samukhya State unit president Ashok Sahu will contest from Phulbani, Santi Debi from Aska and Upendra Majhi from Koraput. The party had earlier announced the nominees for seven parliament seats.

As per the announcement, Pradeep Purohit will fight from Padampur Assembly seat, Md Rafique (Bijepur), Bimbadhar Kunar (Bhatli), Sahadev Xaxa (Talsara), Premsagar Oram (Sundergarh), Raisen Tirkey (Biramitrapur), Santosh Behera (Raghunathpalli), Mahendra Majhi (Rairangpur), Bhimsen Choudhari (Bonai), Rabi Naik (Kuchinda), Subash Panigrahi (Deogarh), Mohan Majhi (Keonjhar), Golak Naik (Baripada), Aswani Patra (Jaleswar), Pratap Sarangi (Nilagiri), Bhagirathi Pradhan (Athamallick), Damayanti Barik (Birmaharajpur), Naba Danta (Sonepur), Magha Kumbhar (Loisingha), KP Singh Deo (Patnagarh), Santanu Nayak (Titilagarh), Ajaya Das (Kantabanjhi), Basant Panda (Nuapara), Hitesh Kumar Bagarti (Khariar), Dharama Gand (Umarkote), Sona Majhi (Jharigaon), Manjula Majhi (Nabrangpur), Mohan Majhi (Dabugaon), Himansu Meher (Junagarh), Janardan Panda (Dharamgarh), Pradeep Naik (Bhawanipatna), Bibhutibhusan Harichandan (Chilka), Surama Padhi (Ranpur), Jayanti Padhiary (Polasara), Surya Das (Aska), Kishore Chandra Surje Deo (Sanakhemundi), Bibhuti Jena (Gopalpur), Ram Chandra Panda (Berhampur), Kanhu Charan Pati (Chikiti), Gopinath Kartasiya (Laxmipur), Padmanav Majhi (Kotpad), Jayaram Garda (Koraput), Dhandapati Eding (Pottangi) and Aditya Madhi from Malkanagiri.

Congress list ready, top leaders may lose out

Expressbuzz.com, 24th March, 2009

BHUBANESWAR: After days of wrangling, the Congress finalised its list of candidates for the Lok Sabha and Assembly seats but the rift among senior leaders only widened. The lists are likely to be announced tomorrow.
State unit president KP Singhdeo returned here today after finalisation of the lists. Sources said differences cropped up at the meeting of the screening committee in New Delhi as Singhdeo and the AICC general secretary incharge of Orissa Ghulam Nabi Azad had separate lists.
The bone of contention was whether some high profile aspirants, who did not conform to the guidelines, should be nominated for the Lok Sabha or not. Sources said OPCC working president Bhakta Charan Das was interested in the Lok Sabha polls from Kalahandi constituency.
However, the guideline for selection has come in his way. Das had lost the last three Lok Sabha polls to Bikram Keshari Deo of BJP. Sources said Das is still hopeful of getting the ticket. The former Union minister met party president Sonia Gandhi to apprise her of the situation in Kalahandi. The BJP had already nominated Deo, who is seeking fourth term as MP.
Sources maintained that Das is still the best bet for Congress from Kalahandi. As a compromise formula, Das is being offered Narla Assembly seat. Former MP Rahas Bihari Behera is likely to be the candidate for the Lok Sabha seat if Das does not get the green signal.
Campaign committee chairman Srikant Jena is also reported to have been denied a Lok Sabha ticket. Jena was lobbying hard for Balasore seat after former minister Niranjan Patnaik declined to contest from there.
There is also discontent over the Sambalpur Lok Sabha constituency. Sources said that former minister Amar Pradhan has been given the ticket overlooking former PCC president Sarat Patnaik. The BJD and BJP are yet to finalise candidates for this seat.
Uncertainty prevails over the candidatures from the prestigious Bhubaneswar and Cuttack seats. Sources said former IPS officer Bata Krushna Tripathy has been given ticket ignoring the claims of several senior party leaders. As the selection process was kept a closely guarded secret, it is not yet clear who got the nod for the Cuttack seat.
But those whose names are reported to have been finalised are Giridhar Gamang (Koraput), Narasingh Mishra (Balangir), Chandrasekhar Sahu (Berhampur), Pradip Majhi (Nabarangpur), Hemananda Biswal (Sundargarh), Ranjib Biswal (Kendrapara) and Pinaki Mishra (Puri).

Monday, March 23, 2009

CPI(ML) flays CPI, CPM for pact with BJD

The Pioneer, March 23, 2009
PNS | Bhubaneswar

The CPI(ML) on Sunday blamed the CPI and CPI(M) for making alliances with BJD. Ignoring an attempt to create a Left alternative, both CPI and CPI(M) joined hands with the Third Front, which would not materialise, said CPI(ML) State secretary Kshitish Biswal while releasing his party’s poll manifesto for the ensuing General elections.

Parties, which have joined the Third Front, do not have a particular pre-poll agenda, he said, adding that they do lack good ideology and confidence to contest the election. If the BJD is claiming to be secular, why did it not dissociated from the BJP during the communal flare up in Kandhamal, he asked, adding that the 11-year alliance between both the communal parties broke down only due to the dispute of seat-sharing. Both the BJP and BJD are detrimental for development of the State, he said.

The party announced candidates for four parliamentary constituencies, Puri, Kendrapara, Koraput and Kalahandi, apart from 19 Assembly constituencies, said Biswal, adding that the names of seven more MLA candidates will be announced shortly, he added. Among others, party State committee member and former MLA Radhakanta Sethi, State committee members, Judhisthir Mohapatra and NK Mohanty were present.

Samruddha Odisha announces list for

The Pioneer, March 23, 2009
PNS | Bhubaneswar

The Samrudhha Odisha on Sunday announced the list of candidates for 30 Assembly seats. As per the list Banamali Kishan will contest from Jharsuguda, Binod Pradhan — Athamallik, Jibeswar Behera — Sonpur, Niraj Tandi — Loisingha, Basant Majhi — Patnagarh, Sandeep Bagh — Balangir, Brajasingha Bhoi —Titilagarh, Ashok Kumar Singh Deo — Kantabanjhi, Satyaranjan Behera — Junagarh, Hira Bagh — Dharmagarh, Ramani Duria — Bhawanipatna, Sapan Kumar Patnaik — Narala, Harabati Ganda — Umarkote, Laxmi Saunta — Jharigaon, Mangal Charan Nayak —Dabugaon, Bhagaban Jani — Nabarangpur, Somnath Madakami — Malkanagiri, Sriyapati Pradhan — G Udaygiri, Krushna Kanhar —Phulbani, Benudhar Nayak —Dashapalla, Sanjay Kumar Tripathy — Bhanjanagar, Pravasini Sahu — Polasara, Indira Palei — Kabisurjya Nagar, Ranjan Dangua — Khalikote, V Ramkrushna Rao — Asika, Ramprasad Mohanty — Chikiti, Thiophil Gamango — Mohana, Sasmita Rajguru — Parlakhemundi, Anantaram Matam — Pottangi and Col Umakant Mishra will contest from Ranpur. “The lists have been declared taking the winnability prospect into account. The candidates will soon commence their campaign,” said party’s secretary-general Prabir Mohanty.

2,674 EVMs to be used in Kalahandi

The Pioneer, March 23, 2009
PNS | Bhawanipatna

District Collector of Kalahandi R Santhagapalan told reporters and representative of political parties that a total of 2,674 electronic voting machines (EVMs) would be used in Kalahandi for 1,214 polling booths. In every booth, two EVMs would be installed. As many as 8,200 employees would be engaged in the poll process under two Deputy Collectors.

He said mobile phones would not be allowed inside polling booths except for a constable on duty. No political advertisements, posters and hoardings would be permitted on Government buildings. In the case of private buildings, the permission of the owner is required. If the rule is violated, action would be taken under Section 188 of IPC and Section 171 of election rules.

During the election campaigning only three vehicles, including two-wheelers, would be allowed in a 100-metre zone. Each Assembly candidate can spend upto Rs 10 lakh and a Lok Sabha candidate up to Rs 25 lakh. The expenses would be calculated from the date of filing of nominations which would start on March 23.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Orissatv (OTV) covers "Unexplored Kalahandi beckons tourists"

Following this the link:


Winnability primary factor in selecting candidates: Pujari

Expressbuzz.com, 22nd March, 2009

Bijoy Pradhan
First Published : 22 Mar 2009 08:39:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 22 Mar 2009 11:47:46 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: If the sitting BJP MLAs are living under the comfort that they will be renominated just because the alliance with BJD has been broken, they are grossly mistaken.
‘‘Every one is under scanner. One should not take it for granted that he or she had won the last election and it will merit renomination this time,’’ said BJP State president Suresh Pujari.
Of the several parameters set by the BJP for selection of candidates, winnability is the primary factor. Second comes image of the candidate post break up of the alliance with the BJD, Pujari said.
Public image of candidates has become important for the Saffron party as the clean image of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his crusade against corruption will be the main poll plank of the BJD.
A powerful section in the BJP is strongly opposed to renomination of several MLAs, including a couple of ministers in the Naveen Patnaik Government.
The group has already taken up the issue with the central leadership of the party and is determined to block their entry during approval of the list of candidates by the BJP central election committee.
Performance of individual MLAs will also be taken into consideration during finalisation of candidates, a party insider said.
The state election committee of the BJP is meeting tomorrow to finalise candidates for 70 Assembly and 10 Lok Sabha seats going to poll in the first phase on April 16.
Although the party has already announced names of candidates for seven parliamentary seats, only four of them are going to poll in the first phase. Candidates have been cleared for Balangir, Kalahandi, Sundargarh and Nabarangpur which will go to polls in the first phase. While sitting MPs Sangeeta Singhdeo, BK Deo and Jual Oram are renominated for Balangir, Kalahandi and Sundargarh seats, Parsuram Majhi, who lost the last election, has been announced for Nabarangpur.
Candidates for the remaining sixseats of Aska, Baragarh, Berhampur, Kandhamal, Koraput and Sambalpur, which will go to polls in the first phase, will be finalised.
While both the BJD and BJP are facing difficulties in selecting candidates after the break up of the alliance, the BJP president, however, claimed that there is no dearth of candidates as his party has received more that thousand applications.
He further said the list of probable candidates for all the parliamentary and Assembly seats have been prepared.
However, his party will announce the names of candidates after other political parties announce their candidates.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Naveen Patnaik takes a dig at Congress

Expressbuzz, March 20, 2009

BHAWANIPATNA: BIJU Janata Dal (BJD) has kick-started its campaign in Kalahandi district with the Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik addressing election meetings at Thuamul Rampur and Mandal in Kalampur block Thursday.

In his address, Naveen assailed both the Congress and BJP alleging that Orissa was neglected in mining royalty, railways and flood assistance among other things by the Centre, he added.

While Rs 1,500 crore was made available to Bihar to meet flood damage, Orissa could not get even Rs 100 crore, he lamented. “Orissa cannot progress under Congress rule but is on the path of progress under BJD Government wherein development works on all fronts like industrialisation, women empowerment and tribal development have been taken up.

To accelerate the present development process in the State, BJD is the only answer, he said.

Among others, BJD’s probable candidate for Lanjigarh (ST reserved) Balabhadra Majhi and BJD district vice-president Devi Mishra spoke.

Vigilance raids on transport official

The Statesman (Kolkata). March 20, 2009
Statesman News Service

CUTTACK/BHAWANIPATNA, March 19: Vigilance sleuths conduced simultaneous raids on various establishments connected with Mr Badriknath Patra, joint commissioner, state transport authority, Cuttack on charges of possession of assets disproportionate to known sources of income. The total movable and immovable assets so far detected amounts more than Rs 43 lakh, sources said.
The anti-graft officers came across moveable assets like costly household articles, hard cash and deposits in different banks and premium.
Immovable assets like one triple-storied building, one double-storied building, one single-storied building, one market complex, four quarter for rent and two Kachha house at College Road, Baragarh, mango tope at Sihala mouza and three plots at Baragarh town worth about Rs 29 lakh were also located. Mr Patra had also deposited Rs 2.5 lakh in the Berhampur Development Authority for allocation of a house at Berhampur.
Meanwhile, the vigilance sleuths arrested Mr Sujit Kumar Behera, assistant engineer (electrical), Junagarh in Kalahandi district on charges of demand and acceptance of bribe. Mr Behera was caught red-handed while accepting gratification in his office room today.
Vigilance sources said Mr Behera had been demanding bribe from Mr Asif Abu Baker for forwarding the power enhancement report to the executive engineer. The bribe money was recovered from the possession of Mr Behera and seized in presence of witnesses. His hand wash gave positive chemical reaction confirming acceptance of bribe, vigilance sources said adding that investigation is on.
Sources further informed Judhistira Pradhan ex-peon, both of MKCG Medical College and Hospital, Berhampur were convicted in a vigilance court and sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment and fine, in default of which to undergo another spells of rigorous imprisonment. The sentences are to run concurrently.
K Raghunath Patra, ex-accountant of MKCG Medical College and Hospital, Berhampur was facing trail with Pradhan. But the charges against him was abated by the court as he passed away during the trial.

UPA govt neglected Orissa, says Naveen

The Statesman (Kolkata), March 20, 2009
Statesman News Service

BHAWANIPATNA, DHENKANAL, March 19: Chief minister Mr Naveen Patnaik targeted the Congress led UPA government alleging that it had deliberately neglected Orissa.
Addressing election meetings at Thuamul Rampur and Mandal of Kalahandi district today, Mr Patnaik claimed that in the field of agriculture development, industrialisation, women empowerment and tribal development, Orissa had progressed a great deal during his regime.
But Central sectors like railways, royalty on minerals etc, the state suffered due to the apathy of the UPA government. Even flood assistance was meager, he charged while noting that Bihar got over Rs 1500 crore whereas Orissa was given only Rs 100 crore.
On the recent split in the BJD-BJP alliance, Mr Patnaik accused the BJP of having planned the collapse of the alliance. Since six months back certain frontal organisations of the BJP were creating disharmony in the state and stern action was taken against them. "BJP ministers were hurling all kinds of allegations against the government after the drubbing they received in the municipal elections," he said.
The chief minister tried to explain that it was the BJP which had rushed to the Governor and withdrawn support from the government.
Among others BJD legislator Mr Balabhadra Majhi addressed the public meeting.
At Siminai in Dhenkanal district, the chief minister said that his party will seek votes on the basis of the development work and pro-people policies initiated by his government over the last nine years.
He explained the reasons for the break up in the alliance between the BJD and BJP and went on to repeat his allegations at the Congress led UPA government.
Mr Mahesh Sahoo who had switched over from BJP to the BJD and district BJD president Mr Yogi Tripathy, minister Mr Pradeep Amat were also present at the public meeting.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Opposition to GM crops gains momentum

Expressbuzz.com, 20th March, 2009

BHUBANESWAR: Activists under the United Coalition Against Genetic Engineering
(UNCAGE) Tuesday launched a rally here protesting the blatant government apathy at the plight of the cotton farmers who have suffered heavy losses after being lured into the illegal cultivation of ‘Bt variety’.
They protested the entry of genetically modified (GM) crops and the manner in which an ‘inept’ government machinery became ‘mute spectator’ and watched as the multi-national companies openly sold GM seeds to the farmers of the State.
Presently, though there is no government permission for use of GM crops on a mass scale, things at grass-root level are different. Even the officials admit that 70 per cent of the area under cotton production in the country is now under Bt variety. Even if there is no permission, farmers are purchasing Bt seeds from the MNCs in the name of ‘field trials’.
The participants also protested the decision to conduct field trials of ‘Bt brinjal’ in Orissa. Akshay Kumar Sahu, a farmer from Themara in Kalahandi district, narrated how his ‘trial of Bt cotton’ on a small patch of land was unsuccessful as it consumed more money, pesticide and water despite the tall claims that the crop would not be affected by the ‘ball worm’ and ‘sucking pest’ - the traditional pests affecting cotton crop.
Not only Akshay, nine other farmers from the district also alleged that all of them met the same fate and the yield was no better than the traditional ‘wild varieties’ usually cultivated by the Kalahandi farmers.
Rushiklya Ryot Mahasabha secretary Simanchal Nahak alleged that not only the Bt varieties, other so called ‘high yielding’ varieties sold in Ganjam district by the MNCs have also failed in all aspects.
With seeds costing Rs 25,000-50,000 a kg they not only make the farmers brankrupt, but the extra consumption of ‘particular fertiliser as advised by the seed retailers’, water and pesticide use ultimately result in debts, hence increasing bonded labour problem. Apart from causing allergies in livestock, the GM varieties of cotton have reduced soil fertility, they said.
Alleging that all steps were being taken to regularise the GM crops, field trial conducted by OUAT at Bhawanipatna had concentrated only on ‘yield factor’ and disregarded the bio-safety norms, they said.
It is high time the government machinery woke up and stood by the farmers, warned speakers as the proposed National Biotechnology Regulatory Authority would soon take away the power of the State over agriculture.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

2-day long workshop on women land rights to commence from March 26

Odishatoday.com, 18th March, 2009

Bhubaneswar (Orissa) : Bhawanipatna based Jana Kalyan Sanstha would host a two-day long consultation meet on ‘Women Land Right in Orissa’ here at the conference hall of Nabakrushana Choudhury Centre for Development Studies from March 26 to 27, informed Bharat Bhusan Thakur, Chief Executive of the Sanstha. The Hindu Succession (Amendment) Act 2005, which came into existence on September 9, 2005, is an attempt to make land tenure laws gender-equal. The amendments are to a bill that was introduced in the Rajya Sabha in December 2004, based on the 174th Law Commission report. The report was found to be too conservative, and a grassroots movement by women’s groups and groups involved in land reform, women’s rights and human rights pushed for critical amendments. Giving women legal rights over land and property gives them economic security. It also sends out the message that daughters and sons are equally important members of the parental family. A woman is thus no longer cut off from her parental home and family once she marries. As the main food producers, women’s access to land and natural resources is a key factor in eradicating hunger and rural poverty. Ownership of house and property provides security to women to take a stand against violence, and makes it difficult for family members to throw her out of the house. Sale of houses would not be possible without the consent of the woman title-holder. The title to house and land would improve her access to credit, increase her economic worth, enhance her productivity and earning capacity and the immovable property would boost her confidence, worth and dignity. In India, the debate about women's land rights and the impact they can have on rural wealth creation and security is minimal. Women have had virtually no customary rights in land, and those that existed have been substantially eroded over time, with State policies playing a catalytic role. Modern legislation, while a step forward, has yet to establish full gender equality in law or to permeate practice. Even in places where policy has been changing, such as in Karnataka and West Bengal , implementation is slow, and patriarchal attitudes are proving more powerful than the law. Customary practices governing marriage, residence and female seclusion; intimidation and violence by male kin; biases in the functioning of official agencies, etc., variously obstruct women in claiming their legal share or functioning as independent farmers, although the nature and incidence of these factors differs cross-regionally. Orissa's inherently patriarchal mindset has not adjusted rapidly enough or questioned whether the women have rights to own the title deeds to the lands they farm. Significant gender biases persisted both in land reform legislation and in personal laws. Most of the land reform legislation was enacted during the 1980s before women’s land rights were considered worthy of policy attention. The recent Orissa Rehabilitation & Resettlement Policy, 2006 has some progressive features such as unmarried daughters/sisters more than 30 years of age should be treated as separate families. Physically challenged persons, orphans who are minors, widows and women divorcees are also to be treated as separate families. In the context of women’s role in agriculture, it would be worthwhile to discuss land rights provision for women in the Orissa Land Reforms Act. The Act allows widows, divorcees, unmarried women to lease their land for cultivation, when leasing is otherwise prohibited. Although this seems progressive, it may have two underlying presumptions a) women should be protected from cultivation, therefore, they should be allowed to lease their lands, and b) only female heads of households should have control over land, while the normal married women’s control over land is subsumed under ‘family’. Due to lack of education and awareness, women invariably do not have record of rights. One of the biggest limitations in matters of women getting the actual land rights is the lack of strict enforcement of law and strict monitoring of such empowerment process. For instance, the law says that if a family has more land than the ceiling set by the government, the surplus land is recorded in the name of the wife/daughter to avoid ceiling restrictions. Largely it has been observed that people accumulate more than the ceiling and put it in the name of the women member of the family though de facto ownership lies with the male members. “In this backdrop, it is very important for us to raise the issue and place wider debate and discussions across Orissa to provide women economic security in terms of land rights and hence this workshop,” Thakur added.

Vedanta Mobile Health Units brings smile among villagers in Kalahandi of Orissa

Odisadairy, 18th March, 2009

Lanjigarh: Vedanta Mobile Health Units in Lanjigarh, District Kalahandi, Orissa, bringing medical facilities to the doors of villagers. Villages like Fphldmer, Khemdipadar, Trilochanpura and Palberi, where the Dongria Kondh and Kutia tribe people live are covered extensively.
Tudu Majhi, a villager of Khemtipadar Village of Lanjigarh, district Kalahandi, cannot stop smiling the time he saw Mobile Health Unit introduced by Vedanta Aluminium Ltd. in Lanjigarh. Not many days ago, the villages were lacking basic medical facilities. Quacks and Ojhas were the local doctors for villagers who used to exploit them for petty benefits. Their existence had become more prominent because there were no roads or transport and the villages were practically disconnected from the city. They did not have money to buy the medicines as well and this made them more vulnerable to quacks & Ojhas. The patient was recommended to Lanjigarh Hospital only incase of severe emergency. There were no remedies for any critical emergency and often resulted in death of patients. Tudu Majhi narrated this story of sorrows and tears. He was comparing the change in the last more than one year.
Tudu Majhi smiled again, “We have changed today.. Conditions have changed today. .the Quacks and Ojhas have no place in Lanjigarh”. Vedanta Aluminium Ltd. has started its community development programmes in the villages and started providing health and medical facilities in villages. Mobile Health Vans started visiting in remote villages and people have started getting medical attention right on their door step. The doctor along with 2 pharmacists moves in villages and provides free medicines. To ensure proper care, the Mobile Health Van visits once in a week to each village in Lanjigarh. Villages like Fphldmer, Khemdipadar, Trilochanpura and Palberi, where the Dongria Kondh and Kutia tribe people live are covered extensively.
For regular checkups as well, Vedanta Aluminium Ltd. has been organizing regular health and hygiene camps in Lanjigarh. The villagers also belonging to Dongria Kondh tribe visit these camps for vaccination, pulse-polio, anti-natal check-ups, infectious diseases etc. Tunna Panigrahi, the Pharmacist of Government Hospital of Lanjigarh said, ‘Vedanta Aluminium Ltd. is coordinating with Government for various health programmes”.
In the year 2007-08 itself more than 26,000 patients have been treated by Vedanta Aluminium Ltd. using Mobile Health Vans. Besides, the Company has also been providing ambulance facility to Biswanathpur or Bissamcuttack Hospital, in case of emergency.
The heath consciousness and awareness have made the villagers visit and participate regularly in these health camps and get their check-up done free of cost. This initiative of Vedanta Resources group, under the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative has brought down the number of fatalities and cured many diseases that were understood to be non-curable.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Vedanta Resources expanding CSR activities in Orissa and other states

Orissadairy.com, 17th March, 2009

Report by Orissadiary correspondent; Bhubaneswar:

With a mission to impact the lives of 2.5 million under-privileged children, Vedanta Resources group has already strengthened its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes across all operating States in India. With Rs. 186.50 Crore already invested in various CSR programmes in the past 4 years, the Group has also laid down Rs. 125 Crore CSR Plan for the year 2009-10. CSR Plan is part of Business Plan for the Vedanta Resources Group. Programmes on Health, Education, Livelihood, Self Help Group – Women Empowerment, Vocational Training to Rural Youth, Schools, Mid - Day Meal to Children, Infrastructure Development, Integrated Child Development Programs and other CSR Projects are impacting the lives of lacs of people in States where the Group operates in India, viz. Rajasthan, Orissa, Chattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Goa. Speaking to Mr. Anil Agarwal, recently, he said ‘CSR is close to my heart and we are working day and night for the benefit of the under-privileged children in the country’. Computer Education, Mid-Day Meal and through Bal Chetna Anganwadi Project, we would be touching the lives of about 2.5 Million children in coming 3-5 years time, he added.
Stressing the need for nutritious diet for young children, he said, ‘Children are under-weight, almost half of their regular weight. They do not get good nutritious food. We are trying to make sure that through our Bal Chetna Anganwadi Project (under Integrated Child Development Scheme) and Mid-Day Meal Programme these children get proper diet.’ With over 1,000 Anganwadis adopted from the State Governments of Rajasthan, Chattisgarh and Orissa, under the Public Private Partnership, the Group is already taking care of about 35,000 under-privileged children. Today, these Anganwadis have utensils, ground-nuts, planned diet for the children, water filters for safe drinking water, hygienic toilets, toys, colourful books, to name a few. Children are happy and their attendances in these Anganwadis have increased immensely. Today they sing poems and play games. A doctor visits them regularly for their checkups. Utmost care is taken to ensure that their weight is proper. Lanjigarh in District Kalahandi in Orissa; Udaipur, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand and Bhilwara in Rajasthan; and Korba in Chattisgarh are the districts were these Anganwadis are operating. Vedanta is planning to increase the impact by adopting more Anganwadis and cover about 500,000 children in the coming year in Sterlite Bal Chetna Anganwadi Project. In Orissa, Vedanta Aluminium Limited; in Rajasthan, Hindustan Zinc Limited; and in Chattisgarh, BALCO is spearheading the CSR Projects and covering more and more underprivileged children.
Taking further, another programme through which the nutrition to children is being taken care is “Mid Day Meal” Programme. About 180,000 children of over 2,400 primary and middle schools are being provided mid-day meal by the Vedanta Group Company, Hindustan Zinc in Rajasthan. At present 6 – Hi-tech kitchens are operating and the group is already moving ahead to set-up 31 more such hi-tech kitchens in the coming 3-5 years. 9–Hi-Tech Kitchens are expected to come up by 2010 - 2 in Orissa in Jharsuguda and Lanjigarh; 3 in Rajasthan, 2 in Chattisgarh, 1 in Bihar and 1 in Jharkhand. On an average, setting up of kitchen costs about Rs. 1.25 crore. The target is to serve about 10,00,000 children and provide them good food.
Computer education is another area Vedanta Resources group is concentrating. Computer education to all under-privileged children in the country is the dream of Mr. Anil Agarwal, Group Chairman, Vedanta Resources plc. At present 200 schools are covered in Rajasthan and 1,000 computers have been distributed. These schools are government schools and priority has been given to girls’ schools. About 40,000 students are already benefiting from this initiative and the Group proposes to cover about 10,00,000 children in coming 3-5 years. The priority of Computer Education Project is to increase computer efficiency, which is mandatory in the today’s environment, up-bring their education system, bring self-confidence in students, encourage logical thinking, analytical ability and bring them par with other children. The Computer Education Project has itself played a big role in retention of students and has positively impacted the attendance in schools. The project is being extended to 200 more schools in Rajasthan in the coming year.
Mr. Anil Agarwal is also building “Vedanta Cancer Hospital & Research Centre” in Raipur, in the State of Chattisgarh, through Vedanta Medical Research Foundation, a non-profit organization. The objective is to develop a “Centre of Excellence” for high quality referral medical care in Oncology, Cardiology, Pediatrics and Neurology rendered in a scientific and academic environment and to bring ultra modern, multi-modality diagnostic and therapeutic facilities to common man at an affordable price. The Hospital would be of 360 beds and in the first phase about 100 beds are being put-up. The first phase is likely to be completed within 18 months. With the proposed built-up area of about 4.45 Lac sq. feet, the Vedanta Cancer Hospital & Research Centre will be a state-of art with all modern technology.