Thursday, December 31, 2009

Severe power shortage in Kalahandi

Dharitri, Dec 31, 2009

Short supply of seeds hits pulses cultivation

Expressbuzz, Dec 31, 2009
BHAWANIPATNA: Short supply of certified seeds has hit cultivation of pulses and oilseeds in Kalahandi. After farmers incurred heavy loss in the last kharif season due to moisture-stress condition, the Agriculture Department decided to give priority to cultivation of pulses and oilseeds in the current rabi season considering the favourable climatic conditions.Besides, farmers showed interest following the intervention of National Food Security Mission which aimed at increasing production of rice and pulses in a sustainable manner, restoring soil fertility and enhancing farm economy.The department had decided to cover 2,15,433 hectares (ha) under rabi crops. This include 53,913 ha under paddy, 1,00,000 ha for pulses and 27,450 ha under oilseeds cultivation. The remaining land would be used for vegetable cultivation. The department had placed demand for supply of 3,500 quintals of certified pulses seeds for the district with the Directorate of Agriculture to be sold to farmers through the Agriculture Department sale centres. However, just 300 quintals of seeds have been provided to farmers till now.Under such circumstances, farmers are forced to buy seeds from local market. As against the target of 1,00,000 ha, so far 40,250 ha have been covered under pulses.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

First Hurdle for much hyped Higher Education Task Force in Odisha: Odisha Government may not able to meet budget requirment for higher education

This (budget) was my first concern while proposing many Universities in Odisha by task force members. Indeed state Government could not establish a state University in Kalahandi as par with Central University at Koraput (800 core budget in 500 acres of land) instead of establishing two small technical colleges with a budget of 10 crore when Kalahandi, Koraput and Malkangiri have less than 2% enrollment in Higher Education (as per the report below).  This is largely due to unequal distribution between coastal Orissa (Balsore to Ganjam) and South Western Orissa (undivided Kalahandi Balangir Koraput and Kandhamal) by the Orissa state Government. If the primary mission of the task force is to guide central Government policies to implement in the state, then I do not understand how end results would have been different without having a task force at the state level, as the policies are already defined in the national level? The main objective of the task force in the state level should be concerning policies by the state Government. I still continue to suggest state Government should focus more in the undivided district without having any University and/or central Government institutions/University/research lab to bring effectiveness in the regional level, particularly in South Western Odisha, and build the solid infrastructure in all the present Government Colleges, at least one in each district. Looking at the present (worst) scenario of higher education in the state and in the district level, I anticipate this is still a challenging task for next 5 years for Orissa state Government as most of the major colleges in Western Orissa and KBK still lack sufficient number of regular teachers and infrastructure. I am also concerned that changing an autonomous college to University without allotting sufficient fund would not bring much change in real sense. 

Dharitri, Dec 29, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

15 crore goes from KBK to Andhra each year for health service

Thanks to Sanjib Kumar Joshi to bring this figure in Dharitri. Earlier we have raised huge amount of (health) business going out from KBK to Vishakhapatnam fueling local economy there. I believe this figure could be at least 15 crore and could be much more than that.We have been telling Odisha state Government for a Government medical college in Kalahandi citing this reasons. Poor are being exploited in the ground level in Kalahandi, in KBK in general, by local doctors and agents. The proposed private medical college through WODC neither taking its shape (locals are skeptical after Sardar Raja was given life imprisonment for a murder case in Madras High Court) soon nor would help local poor. A Government medical college and hospital is justified in Kalahandi, being central location in KBK and Kandhamal, Boudh, it would help the whole region.

Dharitri, Dec 28, 2009

Cong legislators invite Manmohan to KBK region

Expressbuzz, Dec 28, 2009
BHUBANESWAR: A delegation of Congress legislators today invited Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to visit the KBK region (undivided Kalahandi, Balangir and Koraput districts) to make an on- the-spot assessment of the reasons behind the underdevelopment in the area and the number of suicides committed by the farmers during the last two months.The delegation comprising 12 MLAs was led by leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh. Three memoranda, relating to the multi-crore mining scam, suicides by farmers and under development in KBK region were submitted to the Prime Minister by the MLAs seeking his intervention to set things right.The MLAs alleged that even though flow of funds to the KBK region from the Centre had increased manifold, the desired development was not there.They put the blame on misgovernance and lack of proper implementation of Central schemes by the State Government. They maintained that the Centre has so far provided Rs 5,000 crore for the development of the region.The delegation requested the Prime Minister to make an arrangement for a regular monitoring of the schemes in the region. The MLAs invited Singh for a visit to the area and review the implementation of the scheme. The Prime Minister gave a patient hearing to the MLAs for 24 minutes and promised to visit the KBK region.Referring to the large number of suicides by farmers during the last two months, the MLAs blamed the State Government for not taking any step for creating confidence among them. Compensation announced by the State Government for the affected farmers is yet to reach them, they added.The delegation reiterated the party’s demand for a CBI probe into the multi-crore mining scam as several top politicians from the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) are involved. They alleged that the Vigilance probe ordered by the State Government was meant to protect the real culprits.Governor Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik received the Prime Minister at the airport. The vehicle of Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikant Jena was, however, not allowed into the security zone of the airport. Even though he raised a protest, the security authorities allowed him to walk down to the stipulated area meant for MPs and MLAs to receive the Prime Minister.Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh and several party MLAs also received the Prime Minister.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Poverty declined after reforms but still major challenge: PM

Times of India, Dec 27, 2009

BHUBANESWAR: The economic reforms have helped in reducing poverty in India, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said on Sunday, but admitted a lot more needed to be done as poverty remained a "major challenge".

There is no doubt in my view that poverty remains a major challenge. Our poor are still too poor and we need to do much more to improve their standard of living," he said, in his address at the 92nd annual conference of the Indian Economic Association here.

"The economy has to grow fast enough to create new job opportunities at a rate faster than the growth of labour force," he said, supporting high growth rate for reduction of poverty and stressing on "inclusive growth" as brought out in the Eleventh Five Year Plan.

For inclusive growth the prime minister suggested that the country must pay greater attention to sectors like education, health and rural development.

"We need to pay greater attention to education, healthcare and rural development focusing particularly on the needs of the poor - scheduled castes, scheduled tribes and minorities," he said and also urged efficient and economic use of scarce natural resources like land and water.

"Special attention has to be paid in increasing agricultural productivity-particularly of small and marginal farmers," he added.

The prime minister, however, denied that the economic reforms had adversely affected the poor. "There is no evidence that the new economic policies have had an adverse effect on the poor," the prime minister said.

"It is true that the rate of decline has not been as it should have been," he said adding that the economic reforms have rather helped in bringing down the number of people living below poverty line.

"Ideally facts are quite clear. The percentage (of people) below poverty line has not increased. In fact, the population below poverty line has declined after economic reforms, at least at the same rate as it was before."

"Some economists argued that the poverty line should have been bridged. That means the percentage in poverty is obviously high. That does not mean that the percentage below the poverty line is not declining," the prime minister said.

He also stressed on making a conducive atmosphere of growth by improving governance.

"Greater emphasis has to be laid on reforms in governance to reduce the scope for corruption," he added.

Manmohan Singh said the economy is likely to grow by seven percent or a little more in 2009-2010.

"The momentum was interrupted by the global economic crisis in 2008 and we slowed down to 6.7 percent in 2008-09 and are likely to achieve seven per cent or a little more in the current fiscal year," he said.

The prime minister who arrived here Sunday on a brief visit also laid the foundation stone of the proposed campus of National Institute for Science Education and Research (NISER) near Jatni in Khordha district, about 25 km from here.

The union cabinet Sep 6, 2007 gave its approval for the institute at an estimated cost of Rs.823.19 crore and also creation of 761 posts in academic, scientific, technical, administrative and auxiliary categories for a seven-year plan.

NISER, operating under the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), is currently conducting the five-year integrated masters in science programme in Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics and Physics.

The first academic programme of the institute was inaugurated by state Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Sep 10, 2007.

Currently NISER is utilising the facilities of Institute of Physics at Bhubaneswar for functioning. The institute is an autonomous research institution funded jointly by the DAE and the Orissa government.

The state government has already allotted 300 acres of land for the NISER campus. After laying the foundation stone, Singh was to return to New Delhi, official sources said.

This is Manmohan Singh's second visit to the state as prime minister. His first visit was in August 2006 during his first tenure. During that visit he had announced the establishment of NISER in the state. 

Opposition to the proposal for transfering hospital to Vedanta

Dharitri, Dec 28, 2009

After 25 years, starvation still haunts KBK

Expressbuzz, Dec 27, 2009
Riyan Ramanath V

BALANGIR: Poverty has been keeping date with the KBK region for 25 years. The journey began with Phanus Punji selling her sister-in-law Banita for Rs 40 in 1984 in Kalahandi and ended with claiming the latest victim, Minji Bariha in Balangir.In 25 years, many such harrowing stories hit the headlines, while many more went unreported. The embarrassment shifted from Kalahandi to neighbouring Balangir, where the trend began in 2001, at a time when poverty alleviation schemes were running rapidly. Unable to bear the pangs of hunger while some poor people sold their little ones, others kept waiting until the inevitable struck. Those cases, which were reported were looked into but soon faded out with the state government turning a deaf ear.Sources said, like the reported hunger death of five members of Champe Bariha family of Chabripali village in Balangir in three months, was made a trifle issue, two similar incidents in 2001 were also sidelined.Severe drought then claimed 35-year-old woman Kar Bhoi of Badagumuda village. She died of hunger. Earlier, the death of a 30-year-old woman Premsila Bhoi in the same village caused an outcry in the Assembly with then local MLA Santosh Singh Saluja alleging that Bhoi and her three sons were without food for three days. Singh then also informed about starvation related death of five persons in Nuapara district and warned that there would be many.The death of Kar came at a time when Special Relief Commissioner HK Panda was investigating the alleged starvation death of Premsila Bhoi. Then too BJD-BJP coalition government led by Naveen Patnaik denied any starvation deaths in Balangir.Quoting a Supreme Court order, Raj Kishor Mishra, advisor, Supreme Court Right to Food Commission, said in an interim order SC in October 2002 fixed the responsibility on the Chief Secretary for any starvation deaths occurring in the State. He said following the order, the chief secretary then sent letters to collectors stating “The responsibility of the chief secretary is the collective responsibility of entire state administration of which the collectors are the key functionaries”.In 2002, Lalita Tandi of Kundabutla village under Bangomunda village died of starvation. Later, it was discovered that there was found food in her stomach during post-mortem and the case was pushed aside. Sanjaya Mishra, a researcher studying migration trend informed that in the last nine years 25 cases of starvation have been reported in Balangir alone of which seven have died and none has been accepted by the administration or government. He said there is also same number of incidents of child sale.

Co-op societies a boon for paddy procurement in Kalahandi

The Pioneer, Dec 27, 2009
Bikash Khemka | Bhawanipatna

Initially when the paddy procurement for 2009-10 kharif season started here in Kalahandi, farmers had a hue and cry before the district administration. But now it appears that the administration has put its special effort when it decided to allow self help co-operative societies to lift the procurement.

The Government had targeted 74 Primary Agriculture Cooperative Society (PACS) for procurement of paddy from November 10 on behalf of Orissa State Civil Supplies Corporation (OSCSC) Limited who is acting as a commission agent now.

The district administration had also allowed simultaneously one Samrudhee Self Help Co-operative Ltd on November 23 for paddy procurement in three points (paddy purchase centre) on behalf of OSCSL who would also act as a commission agent like PACS.

When Samrudhee brought a good response before the administration, Collector RS Gopalan had ordered it to procure in another eight points (mandi). Following this it has gained a momentum again in addition to nine points by the officials here on December 24 where farmers have warmly welcomed the Government’s decision.

It is now lifting paddy at total 20 points under 11 blocks in the district with procurement of 1,04,203 quintal 52 kg paddy till December 24. Chairman Sanjeev Pradhan of Sasmrudhee Self-Help Co-operative Limited told The Pioneer that they are quite efficient to handle more points in the district provided the transport facilities are smoothened. The shortage of trucks for loading paddy from the mandi has been a major concern for us, he said.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Framer should get payment on time

Dharitri, Dec 27, 2009
(Following image published by Dharitri online is acknowledged)


Government is in Joy, People are in Sorrow

During BJD Governance it seems development has been concentrated in coastal part of Odisha, specially in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Puri region, to some extend Berhampur and Hinjili region (Chief Minister's home district). But large part of interior Odisha remains the same, at least when it comes to infrastructure development in the regional level, during this period. Take the case of Kalahandi and Nuapada, in past 10 years not a single major bridge of regional importance could be accomplished though  2 major bridges were sanctioned but both failed to be accomplished during this period. Here we are talking about a decade and not a year or two. It is the responsibility of the State Government for not only sanctioning regional infrastructure development but also implementing it in the right time.

All the NH and SH in Kalahandi-Nuapada regions are in bad shape, thanks to Vedanta for making NH201 from bad to worst in Kalahandi and Balangir region. One bridge on Hati river near Karchala in Kalahandi was already promised during Hemanada Biswal as Chief Minister, but to this Government it is going to deaf's ear. Projects like Biju KBK Yojana, WODC etc with poor budgetary provision and vision for a large part of the regions are just political eye wash as its not helping to improve infrastructure, higher education and health facilities in the regional level. Thanks to Central Government scheme for PMGSY at least rural/village roads are improving all over Odisha. Of course, 2 kg rice scheme is a politically correct development.

This seems to be a neutral article.
Samaja, Dec 26, 2009
The other article (by ruling party leader) was also published in Tathya. Though the leader does not say openly, from his demand/speech it is evident that still Western part of Odisha is being neglected., Dec 26, 2009

Ananga Udaya Singh Deo has demanded a special package for Western Odisha.

Asking for a special treatment for the backward region of the state, the Minister Planning & Coordination rejected the demand for Koshala State.

Mr.Singh Deo was speaking in the Foundation Day Celebrations of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) here on 26 December.

He said that Congress gave the Western Odisha a signboard of Western Odisha Development Council (WODC).

Where as after assuming power Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister is funding WODC in a big way and now annual contribution to the kitty is Rs.100.

Apart from that heavily funded Biju KBK has helped the Western Odisha in a much better way.

Now the area needs more economic package for faster growth and he demanded special treatment for the Western odisha.

Terming the demand for Koshala State an unwarranted, Mr.Singh Deo said Odisha can not be divided.

Those who are demanding for the division are myopic and in the long run it will harm the interest of the people.

The Senior Vice President of BJD, Mr.Singh Deo said those who are demanding Koshala State are totally politically motivated and with Odisha growing at a much faster pace, it will be unwise to divide the state.

Releasing stats, Minister Mr.Singh Deo said that Odisha is the only state in the country, which has remained Number One for continuously 3 years in 2005,2006 and 2007.

The state has emereged as a Software Export Centre and is growing at 40 per cent as compared to only 20 per cent growth in southern states.

Per Capita Income has doubled in last 4 years and Odisha is Number Three in the country so far Per Capita Income is concerned, revealed Mr.Singh Deo.

NSS camp for girl students organised

The Pioneer, Dec 26, 2009

Bhawanipatna: A camp of the National Service Scheme (NSS) was organised on Thursday at the Government Women’s College here, with 25 junior girl students vowing to undertake social works till December 31. Chief guest Chandramani Sethi, secretary of Cooperative Society, said the students should convince people to use mosquito nets to prevent malaria and make them aware of AIDS, tobacco hazards and sanitation in slum areas. Geography lecturer Ajay Misra said the students, who would perform well in this camp can go to the National Integration Camp. Lecturer Abinash Nayak, NSS programme officer, organised the programme. Journalist Manmohan Pradhan and lecturer PC Dalei also spoke on the occasion. A student, Kanchan, said that for the first time she was able to understand how the NSS functions.

Friday, December 25, 2009

State scan - Orissa: Year of triumph and tragedy

India Today, Dec 25, 2009
Farzand Ahmed

This was a year of triumph for Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who made a hat-trick in the May elections to perpetuate his rule with transparency and tragedy for four crore people of Orissa who watched with dismay a series of suicides by desperate farmers as well as birth of "mother of all scams". The state was also shaken over the fact that its poverty continued to grow.

Farmer suicides
In the elections, Naveen had smashed all his political opponents and forced the BJP, his nine-year-old ally-turned-foe, to lick the dust. But soon gloom descended over the pear-shaped eastern state whose unparallel beauty, in the words of writer-chief minister, camouflages acute poverty.  But politics apart Orissa was hit by a strange but tragic phenomenon: it witnessed a series of suicide by farmers and by the last count in the first week of the last month of the year, 36 farmers committed suicide. Agriculture Minister D. Rout admitted in the assembly that about 3,510 farmers committed suicide in the past decade in Orissa.

Speaking about unabated suicide of farmers in the state he said crop failure was not the only reason behind the farmers' suicide. Soil erosion, declining ground water level, productivity and the collapse of the joint family system were also attributed to be the causes leading to the farmers' suicide.Official cover up surprised everyone.

Mining scam, mineral loot
But not only this, Orissa in 2009 emerged as a land of loot and scam that took the dimension of "mother of all scams". Not without reason. Precious minerals including iron ore, manganese and chromite worth over Rs 60,000 crores were looted and transported out with the connivance of Mines and Forest officials as well as a set of politicians.

The mines scam reminds the operation of syndicate comprising contractors-officials-politicians-mafia gangs that had plundered the exchequer in Bihar leading finally to the arrest Lalu Prasad, the then chief minister and half a dozen bureaucrats besides other in Rs 900 crore fodder scam. But Orissa's case is different. Here scamsters, including some reputed industrial houses, have taken the mineral rich state in their octopus-like grip. The more one struggles to get out of clutches of the mining syndicate, the more blood is sucked.
The modus operandi in Orissa was clear: all the big and small mining companies which legally or illegally mined the mines beyond allotted limits - some without permit - and cheated the exchequer by paying meagre royalty at the rate of Rs 29 per tonne and took away the minerals.

It all started with ruling BJD MLA Samir Ranjan Das on July 8 asking a question in the Assembly about the mining activities of RB Thakur Ltd and if he had the mining lease and then BJP leader Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo elaborating on the illegality by M/s RB Thakur Ltd. in mining the ore without proper lease. Singhdeo also highlighted that the Power of Attorney (PoA) holder Shakti Ranjan Das was carrying on mining activities in the forest areas without permission. Even the PoA was doubtful as the company had already gone into Liquidation.

Within a couple of days Naveen Patnaik announced an inquiry by the vigilance directorate at a time when opposition as well as Transparency International's Biswajit Mohanty and Orissa Jan Sammleni chief Rabi Das, journalist, had already opened the proverbial Pandora's box.

Orissa has overall 17 per cent of the country's mineral wealth. The opposition charge about the loot of this wealth coincided with Transparency International's Biswajit Mohanty's releasing the RTI documents showing illegal over-production by big companies that was roughly valued at Rs 14,000 crores in the past few  years while Orissa or Odisha Jan Sammleni Chief Rabi Das, journalist, in his PIL petition in the Supreme Court point out that 'the value of transaction relating to the plunder of national wealth in Orissa is estimated to be over Rs 7,000 crore a year and this plunder has been going on since 1999-2000'.

Govt's belated response
Thus even rough calculation would show that so far over Rs 60,000 crores have been pocketed by mine owners-big or small. In return they paid to the government Rs 29 per tonne as royalty. 'This clearly shows that either the entire system of governance has broken down or everyone from the State Secretariat to the Mine operators in the remote areas is involved in the loot', said Das.

As the Supreme Court PIL highlight 155 mines being robbed illegally the government quickly closed 128 of them and ordered an inquiry against those who operated it. Besides the Vigilance the India Bureau of Mines also belatedly stepped in to investigate the loot.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Institutional deliveries still a far cry

Expressbuzz, Dec 24, 2009
Sanjeev Kumar Patro

BHUBANESWAR: Notwithstanding tall claims by the Government, institutional deliveries that ensure safe motherhood fare low in Orissa. Only 44 per cent of childbirths in the State are done in proper health institutions or hospitals, reveals a recently released survey conducted by International Institute of Population Science. A high of 54.6 per cent deliveries are conducted in homes with the percentage rising to over 58 in rural areas against 24.6 in urban areas. And only 12 per cent of them are conducted in the presence of skilled personnel. Thus, only 51 per cent of the total deliveries in Orissa can be called ‘safe deliveries’. The figures make schemes like Janani Surkhsya Yojana (JSY) that entails monetary support for the first two deliveries non-performers. The report reveals that financial assistance under JSY has been made available to only 32 per cent with the urban-rural ratio of 29:32. Around half of the villages in the State are yet to be covered under JSY. ASHA workers who play a major role in bringing more expectant mothers under JSY are employed in only 705 villages of a total of around 47,000 villages in the State. The report mentions a total of nine districts - Boudh, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangapur, Nuapada and Rayagada - that register a poor institutional delivery rate of below 30 per cent. Significantly, a Unicef report earlier on the same districts revealed that 67 per cent of the maternal deaths there could be prevented if timely and proper coverage of schemes were ensured. Of these nine districts, Boudh, Kandhamal and Rayagada have in fact registered a decline in the institutional deliveries in 2007-08 over 2002-04. In Boudh, the institutional deliveries came down 34 per cent to 29 per cent in 2007-08 and in Kandhamal it fell to 25.3 per cent from 32.4 per cent. Incidentally, none of the villages in these districts are covered under JSY. The report reveals that a total of another eight districts in the State have poor institutional delivery rate of 30-45 per cent. Only 3.3 per cent villages in Orissa have seen the formation of health and sanitation committees - an important stipulation under NRHM to ensure eradication of communicable diseases. None of the epidemic prone villages in the districts of Koraput, Malkangiri, Nuapada and Kandhamal have health and sanitation committees till date. It is important to mention that institutional deliveries in the empowered action group states like Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan have increased to 66 and 50 per cent respectively, and the Unicef report too has assigned them as better performers than Orissa.

IPS officials reshuffled: Sudha Singh new SP of Kalahandi

IPS officials reshuffled

Expressbuzz, Dec 24, 2009

BHUBANESWAR: The State Government today effected massive changes among the top IPS officials at the IG, DIG and SP levels. As per the changes, Ritu Arora, deputy commissioner police (headquarters), commissionerate of police, Bhubaneswar has been promoted and posted as additional commissioner of police in place of SK Nath. Nath has been transferred as DIG of police (modernisation), Cuttack. Mahendra Pratap, DIG (modernisation) has been posted as DIG of police, Home Guards, Cuttack. GB Mallik, IGP, state armed police (SAP) has been posted as IGP, investigation, Orissa Human Rights Commission. YB Khurania, IPG, northern range, Sambalpur will replace Mallik. RP Koche, DIG, Southern Range, Berhampur has been posted as DIG, Northern Range, Sambalpur. RK Sharma, SP, Berhampur, promoted to the rank of DIG, will replace Koche. Shefeen Ahmed, SP, Vigilance, Berhampur will take over as SP Berhampur. SK Priyadarshi, SP, Puri has been promoted and posted as DIG (administration), Cuttack. Santosh Bala, SP-I, CID, CB, Cuttack has been posted as DIG, CID, CB, Cuttack after promotion. PS Ransipe, SP Bolangir has been posted as DIG, SAP, Cuttack on his promotion. Asit Kumar Panigrahi, SP, Keonjhar has been posted as SP, Sambalpur in place of Sanjay Kumar transferred as SP, Puri. Rekha Lohani, SP, Balasore has been posted as DCP (headquarters), commissionerate, Bhubaneswar in place Rajesh Kumar who exchanged post with her. Prateek Mohanty, SP, Angul has been posted as SP, Vigilance while N Bhol, SP, Sundargarh has been transferred as SP, Kendrapara. Deepak Kumar, SP, Koraput has replaced Bhol. SP, Rayagada, Ashis Kumar Singh will take over as SP, Keonjhar. Satyabrata Bhoi, SP, Malkangiri will take over as SP, Angul. Amrita Dash, at present ACP, zone-III, commissionerate of police, Cuttack has been posted as SP, incharge, Deogarh. Similarly, Anoop Krishna, SDPO, Gunupur will take over as SP, in-charge, Rayagada. Malkangiri SDPO Anup Kumar Sahu has been posted as incharge SP, Koraput while Anirudha Kumar Singh, SDPO, Parlakhemundi will take over as in-charge SP, Malkangiri. Sudha Singh, SDPO, Baliguda has been posted as in-charge SP, Kalahandi in place of Harmohan Dash transferred as SP, in-charge, CB, Cuttack while Ajay Sarangi, SP, special branch, Cuttack will be the in-charge SP, Balangir. Kendrapara in-charge SP Narasundar Bhol has been posted as SP, incharge, special branch while Namita Ray additional SP, CB, Cuttack will take over as SP, in-charge, CB, Cuttack.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Orissa's turn: Thousands stage rally for Kosal state

IBNlive, Dec 23, 2009

Bhubaneswar: More than 1,000 activists of Orissa’s regional party Kosala Kranti Dal on Wednesday staged a peaceful demonstration, demanding a separate statehood comprising the state’s 11 districts, police said.

The activists gathered near the state Assembly building and marched on a main street of state capital Bhubaneswar, carrying posters and banners.

“Over 1,000 people staged a peaceful demonstration,” police officer Utkal Keshari Das said.

A public meeting was later held in which dozens of speakers of the regional party described how their regions were continuously neglected by the state and Central governments.

“We have separate Kosali language. Our culture and traditions are different. Our regions are the poorest in India despite having huge mineral and forest wealth,” party head Pramod Mishra said in his address.

“Only a separate Kosal state can improve the condition of our people,” he said.

The demand for separate state of Kosal picked momentum in Orissa after the Central Government decided to carve Telangana out of Andhra Pradesh.

The Kosala Kranti Dal wants a new state comprising the districts of Bargarh, Bolangir, Boudh, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Koraput, Nuapada, Sambalpur, Subarnapur and Sundergarh.

These districts suffer from poverty, malnutrition, high infant mortality rate and backwardness.

Minister comes to rescue of K’handi paddy farmers

The Pioneer, Dec 23, 2009
PNS | Bhawanipatna

A sudden visit by the Minister of State for Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare, Sarada Prasad Nayak to Kalahandi has cautioned the district officials to follow the procurement guidelines strictly in the 2009-10 Kharif season.

On Monday, the Minister made a surprise visit to the main mandi under Junagarh RMC after he was apprised by the farmers of their grievances against paddy procurement.

The farmers had apprised the Minister that despite delivering their paddy at the mandi, millers were not lifting the produce. In few places, the millers were directly lifting the produce from farmers’ houses. The Minister had strictly instructed the officials and millers to follow the guidelines so that farmers do not suffer anymore.

As the toll free number was not advertised in the mandi, the Minister directed the officials to install it immediately and requested all the farmers to call if they face any problem further. Later, the Minister also went to observe the ongoing process of fair average quality (FAQ) analysis of paddy in the nearest mandi of Mahichala, Charbahal and Koksara.

Apart from Labour and Employment Minister Pushpendu Singh Deo, district BJD president Kiran Chandra Singh Deo, Dharmagarh sub-collector Jagannath Mohanty, BCCB president Kaliprasad Raiguru and CSO Sibasankar Dora were also present.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Niyamgiri gets another critical review

Samaja, Dec 22, 2009
Shared by Dr Sanjib Kumar Karmee

Salary Hike for Ayurvedic and Homepathy Doctors in KBK

Samaja, Dec 22, 2009
Thanks to Dr Sanjib Kumar Karmee for sharing this.

Maoists spent three days in Kalahandi

Dharitri, Dec 22, 2009

Corruption in General Supply Department in Bhawanipatna Block

Sambad, Dec 22, 2009

Now, TRIPTI scheme for all blocks

Expressbuzz, Dec 22, 2009
BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has decided to extend the targeted rural initiative for poverty termination and infrastructure (TRIPTI) scheme to all the 314 blocks.

This was decided at a high-level meeting presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here today. Besides, the responsibility of execution of the scheme will be transferred from Women and Child Development Department to Panchayatiraj Department from next year. TRIPTI is being implemented under the Mission Shakti through the self-help groups (SHGs).

The Chief Minister directed the officials to create the required infrastructure for implementation of the scheme across the State. The scheme is being implemented in 8,369 villages of 38 blocks of the State covering 12,54,607 rural families.

The World Bank-assisted scheme aims at capacity building and employment generation for the women with the help of women SHGs.

It has agreed to provide a loan assistance for the implementation of the scheme for five years.

Naveen also reviewed the progress of Mission Shakti. So far, 46.5 lakh women have become members of 3.87 lakh SHGs. According to a release from the Chief Minister’s Office, so far a loan assistance of Rs 1,367 crore has been provided to the SHGs in the State.

Official sources maintained that during 2008-09, one lakh SHGs from all the 30 districts were provided assistance of Rs 50 crore for creation of livelihood. Similarly, 1,614 SHGs in the KBK region (undivided Kalahandi, Balangir and Koraput districts) were provided Rs 80.7 lakh for creation of job opportunities. SHGs in the urban areas were provided a loan assistance of Rs 2 crore during the year.

Besides, the SHGs have also dug 7,000 water bodies under the livelihood support programme for pisci-culture. The release claimed that 63 SHGs distributed LPGs under the Shakti Gaon Programme. The SHGs also implemented mid-day meal scheme in 34,000 schools and members of 7,000 SHGs worked as public distribution system (PDS) agents.

The State Government has signed an agreement with Reliance Fresh and ITC for marketing products from the SHGs. Among others, Panchayatiraj Minister Prafulla Samal, Minister for Women and Child Development Pramila Mallik, Development Commissioner SP Nanda, Panchayatiraj and Women and Child Development Secretaries SN Tripathi and GVV Sharma and senior officials attended the meeting.

Strong political will needed to stop entry of Bt Brinjal

The Pioneer, Dec 22, 2009
PNS | Sambalpur

City-based Living Farms has demanded for strong political will to stop the entry of Bt Brinjal into the State. Even though the Chief Minister and Agriculture Minister have expressed their opinion against the entry of Bt Brinjal, the organisation opined unless strong political will is demonstrated in action, the statements will remain just that, statements.

Jagannath of Living Farms said “We must remember that there were same statements made prior to Bt Cotton.” But such statements could not stop the illegal cultivation of the crop by a large number of farmers in the districts of Kalahandi, Rayagada and Balangir. Will Bt Brinjal too meet the same fate?

But even then it may not be possible with the seeds coming through in porous borders. In a telephonic conversation with a very senior agriculture officer, the official expressed his helplessness with regards to checking the infiltration of Bt seeds. He also said that Bt Cotton too cannot be checked as farmers have taken to it in large numbers.

“There is absolutely no reason to let in such technology. We are still recovering from the failure of the green revolution. As vice chancellor OUAT DP Ray puts it, we must learn from the green revolution. Chemical inputs and monocrops have not worked,” said Debjeet.

VSS College Hospital gets full autonomy

The Pioneer, Dec 22, 2009
PNS | Bhubaneswar

Odhisa Government has taken a decision on principle to turn the Burla-based VSS Medical College Hospital into a fully autonomous organisation, said Health and Family Welfare Minister Prasanna Acharya on Monday.

Acharya said the VSS Medical College Hospital is the only prominent healthcare centre in western Odisha. The hospital is lifeline for the people of Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Balangir, Sonepur, Deogarh, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Sundargarh districts. Even people from four neighbouring districts of Chhattisgarh are dependant.

The residents of western Odisha who are proud of the premier institution are demanding since long to improve the overall development of it. Notably, a House Committee of the Odisha Assembly, which was formed to study the feasibility of a proposal to make autonomous the three Medical College Hospitals of the State, was asked to submit a report in 1995. The committee had opined to carry- out the proposal.

An ordinance in this regard was passed in the Assembly on December 19, 2008. The Government will bring an ordinance on this in the Assembly, said the Minister.

It might be mentioned here that in the recently held golden jubilee of the VSS Medical College Hospital Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had made an announcement regarding the full autonomy of the hospital.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Ecologists find large population of otters

Expressbuzz, Dec 21, 2009
BHUBANESWAR: After reporting several species of plants for the first time in the State from Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary, ecologists have found out oriental small-clawed otter (Aonyx cinereus) from the protected forests in Kalahandi district.

A key species in wetland environment, otters are recognised as one of the top predators of freshwater ecosystem and there are 13 species distributed worldwide. In India Aonyx cinereus is seen from Himachal Pradesh to Assam hill ranges and in some parts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala down south.

In order to formulate a conservation strategy for the species a survey was undertaken recently by Vasundhara to find out the current status, distribution and the role of local communities in their protection and conservation of otters.

According to researcher Himanshu Sekhar Palei, the species has been reported for the first time in Orissa and from Karlapat in particular.

During the study animal signs in the form of spraints were found deposited along river banks, the majority being spotted in Karlapat stream as the water depth was maximum and flow rate was minimum. Except Kiapadar and Sagada stream all other rivers showed positive signs ranging from 50 to 100 per cent, he added.

Though otters are susceptible to habitat degradation, change in water quality, forest fire, haunting and fishing they can still be protected through community conservation initiatives and it is evident from the study that local communities are really helping in protecting and conserving otters in Karlapat.

The survey has found a healthy population of small-clawed otters in 16 streams of the sanctuary. Earlier, the animals were poached for their skin and fur. However, some local communities have started worshipping them as protectors of aquatic ecosystem. On the other hand, since these animals are not competing with locals for fish, the research team believes that the otters can co-exist with the human beings in the same ecosystem.

Another interesting part of the study, according to Palei is, otters also prefer crabs and the tribes of Betkot believe that if anyone eats otter, his/her body will not be decomposed even after death.

Inter-linking can raise irrigation

Expressbuzz, Dec 21, 2009
BHUBANESWAR: Union Water Resources Secretary UN Panjiar today revived the controversial river inter-linking issue saying the project would increase the irrigation potential by utilising surplus flood water.

“There is scope for further increasing the ultimate irrigation potential by at least 35 million hectare through inter-linking which can reduce the flood damages considerably by diverting the surplus flood water to deficient region or basin where the excess flood water can be utilised,” he said.

He was addressing a national seminar on ``Water Resources Management in 21st Century with special reference to Orissa’’ here.

With 80 percent run-off generated during the monsoons, conservation of water through storage - surface and underground - is very important to address the problems, Panjiar said. However, per capita surface storage capacity in India is very low.

Against per capita storage of 6103 cubic metre in Russia, 4743 in Australia, 3145 in Brazil, 1964 in USA and 753 in South Africa, India’s rate is 219.

``Available surface water storage capacity in India is 225 BCM presently and another 64 BCM storage capacity projects are under construction. If all these projects under consideration are implemented, they would provide 108 BCM more storage capacity,’’ Panjiar said.

However, protests from the green brigade has had stalling effect on both the river inter-linking as well as storage projects, he hinted.

The Union Water Resource Secretary felt Orissa needs to pull up its socks to improve irrigation. The net sown area is about 5.74 mha and the net irrigated area is about 1.85 mha, about 32 percent of the net sown area which indicates there is a need to bring more cropped area under assured irrigation to increase agriculture productivity.

There is great potential for water resources and irrigation development, the Union Secretary said adding, little progress has been made yet which is why green revolution has not made much headway in Orissa.

``While the uncertain monsoon rains cause flood ravages in Deltaic region, scarcity of precipitation in the western region, especially in Kalahandi and Balangir districts create drought spells frequently. A close study of planned development would reveal that about 50 percent of the state’s outlay has been in the field of irrigation and power. But in spite of all the efforts, the progress of irrigation development in the state has not picked up the national average,’’ he said.

The seminar was organised by Alumni Association of National Institute of Technology, Rourkela.

Alternative sources explored to check fluorosis

Expressbuzz, Dec 21, 2009
BHUBANESWAR: People in 16 districts are using groundwater containing excessive fluoride, said the Orissa Government yesterday adding that alternative arrangements are being made for the habitations facing the problem.

Districts like Nuapada, Angul, Balasore, Bargarh, Balangir, Cuttack, Boud, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Kalahandi , Khurda, Koraput, Mayurbhanj, Nayagarh, Phulbani and Puri are badly affected by the problems of fluoride water.

As per an assessment, 856 villages and 1612 habitations in particular have to make do with the water leading to flourosis.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who chaired a highlevel meeting to take stock of rural water supply in the State was informed of alternative steps being undertaken in these areas. Instead of groundwater, alternative source are being explored.

Nuapada being the most affected, Naveen was informed that a special action plan is being prepared for the district. Of the 317 habitations in Nuapada, pipewater supply is being made for 23 habitations.

Similarly, an alternative source of water is being explored for the rest 262 habitations.

Chief Minister called for special emphasis on supply of clean water to the gram panchayats. The State Government has taken up the task on warfooting and the GPs where pipewater supply is absent will be given priority.

Currently, the Government is working on 4,092 rural water supply projects, while 439 new projects have been taken up this year. All the works should be completed within a fixed time frame, Naveen ordered

Nehru Sangh holds meet on child adoption in K’handi

The Pioneer, Dec 21, 2009
Bhawanipatna: A workshop on in-country adoption was held at Dharmagarh on Saturday by the Nehru Seva Sangh and the Catalyst for Social Action to promote adoption legally in order to prevent child trafficking. The Nehru Seva Sangh has been running a Sishu Greh at Bhawanipatna since last seven years and 22 adopted children have been settled in economically sound families in Odisha and other States. The workshop was inaugurated by Dharmagarh Sub-Collector Jagannath Mohanty. Chairman of the Child Welfare Committee and former MP Manmohan Mathur presided over the meeting. Social activists Satyanarayan Seth, Durgamadhab Padhi, Pritikant Panda and Sarojini Dash attended the meeting, according to a Sangh release.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

NREGS fails in Kalahandi

Expressbuzz, Dec 20, 2009
In a setback to NREGS in Kalahandi district, Rural Development Department has asked the district administration to return Rs 20 crore under the scheme for utilisation elsewhere. The department took the decision after it found that a major chunk of the funds under scheme remained unutilised.  The development has put a question mark over the functioning of the scheme in a district where a majority of the population is going without regular employment. Non-utilisation of allotted funds is a regular feature since the launch of the scheme in the district in 2006.   According to reports, during 2008-2009 there was an opening balance of Rs 22.82 crore carried over from the previous year’s unspent amount. A fresh allotment of Rs 50.03 crore was made at the fag end of the financial year. Out of the total available funds, only Rs 28.87 crore could be spent and balance was carried over to current financial year. This year no fresh allotment was made. Ironically as of now, only Rs 7.58 crore could be spent which is only 15 per cent of the available fund. This has generated only nine per cent of the targeted mandays. Against the employment budget of 36,72,297 mandays, only 3,25,863 mandays have been generated till now, according to available data. This is despite the guidelines that at least 60 per cent of funds should be utilised, including the opening balance. Against this background, 60 per cent utilisation by end of this financial year is a remote possibility. Taking this into account, the Rural Development Department asked the district administration to return Rs 20 crore, said an official. This sorry state of affairs is attributed to lack of sincerity among implementing agencies and panchayat raj institutions (PRIs), lack of awareness among the beneficiaries, erratic preparation of labour budgets and dearth of technical hands. Sources said eight out of 14 sanctioned posts of assistant engineer and 13 out of 26 sanctioned posts of junior engineer in the district are lying vacant. In many cases one junior engineer is supervising work in six or seven gram panchayats.  With the over-burdened workload, it is difficult on the part of junior and assistant engineers to properly supervise and implement the works under the scheme, said a PRI representative. Sources also said the progress of the scheme is tardy due to lack of interest among officials at gram panchayat level. Most of the beneficiaries are also not aware of different provisions of the NREGA - how to demand work, how to get timely payment and how to get unemployment allowance in the event of non-availability of work despite demand.

Govt project to conserve indigenous species

Expressbuzz, Dec 20, 2009

BHUBANESWAR: With livestock breeds indigenous to Orissa facing serious existential threat under the onslaught of cross-breeding and adoption of foreign varieties, the State Government has launched an ambitious project to conserve its own species.The Government has identified 21 indigenous species, including five breeds of cattle, eight of buffalo, five of sheep, four of goat, three of hen and four of duck.Jajpur’s famous Binjharpuri cow is one of the most endangered species. The smaller upgraded Haryana type breed has high immunity to diseases and gives good yield. The cow is also a regular breeder. It is foremost in the conservation plans along with Ghoomsoori breed found in Ganjam and Phulbani, Khariar breed of Nuapara and Motu of Malkangiri. Among the indigenous buffalo breeds are Chilika buffalo found in the Chilika lagoon and in Puri and Khurda districts, Kalahandi breed of Rayagada, Jirangi of Koraput and Malkangiri, Manda of Ganjam and Gajapati and Parlakhemundi buffalo of Gajapati and Koraput districts.Ganjam species of goats found in Ganjam, Gajapati, Nayagarh and Koraput districts, Black Bengal varieties of Keonjhar, Sundargarh, Dhenkanal, Cuttack, Balasore and Mayurbhanj, Ghoomsoori of Phulbani and Ganjam districts, Maraguda of Nuapara district and Raighar breed of Nabarangpur district have been identified for conservation. Among sheep are Kendrapara district’s Kuji and Ganjam breed in Ganjam, Koraput, Nayagarh and Puri districts. Five breeds of hen like Bhejaguda, Dhenki, Kalahandia, Phulbani and Hansali have been earmarked, according to Animal Husbandry Director Bishnupada Sethi.According to estimates, the indigenous species of cattle and buffalo are registering a sharp decline. Out of the population of around three crore, the indigenous species account for only about 10 lakh today. Thirty years back the population was 30 lakh.A special plan of about Rs 1,828.05 lakh has been prepared and submitted to the Union Government for approval. It would be implemented in six years. For cattle and buffalo conservation activities about Rs 1,012.86 lakh has been pegged, while Rs 815.19 lakh has been proposed for sheep, goat and poultry, the department revealed.

Orissa CM reviews rural water supply in State, Dec 20, 2009

Report by Dioti Ranjan Kanungo; Bhubaneswar (Odisha): The Chief Minister in a high level meeting in Orissa Secretariat reviewed regarding the water distribution of the Rural water supply .The state government has emphasis on the supply of purified drinking water in the rural areas. It has been decided to take up the matter priority basis in which panchayat this programme has not been introduced. As per the review there are 4,092  projects are working  and 439 project under process.
The Chief Minister has instructed to complete the projects within the stipulated time.There are problems in Nuapada, Anugul , Balasore,Bargarh, balangir, Boudh, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Khurda, Koraput, Mayurbhanj, Nayagarh, Phulbani,  and Puri  etc. 16 districts. About 856 Villages and 1612 bastis have been affested by Fluoride water. Till now 853 Basti has been supplied with pipe waters and during the current years 442 fluoride affected basties will be supplied with pipe water supply.Special programme has been prepared for Nuapada., which is the highest fluoride affected. 23 projects will supply pipe water out of 317 fluoride affected basties.
Among others Minister of Rural Development and Law Bikram Arukh , Development Commissioner Satya Prakash nanda, Principal Secretary of Finance Department Jugal Kishore Mohapatra, Principal Secretary of the Chief Minister Bijaya Kumar Patnaik , Rural Development Secretary S. N. Tripathy were present .

K’handi Kosal Dal demands separate State

The Pioneer, Dec 20, 2009
PNS | Bhawanipatna

Kalahandi unit of the Kosal Kranti Dal submitted a memorandum to the Union Home Minister through the Kalahandi Collector demanding formation of a separate Kosal State in the western part of Odisha. The memorandum sought to include all districts which come under the jurisdiction of the Western Odisha Development Council and the KBK region in the proposed Kosal State.

The Kosal Kranti Dal alleged at a meeting held in front of the Collectorate on Thursday that there are imbalances in regional development in the State and the people of the western part are neglected.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

SRI method gives better returns

Expressbuzz, Dec 19, 2009
BHAWANIPATNA: Despite erratic monsoon and adverse weather conditions affecting paddy crops in non-irrigated pockets of Kalahandi, the farmers who had adopted the SRI (system of rice intensification) method in cultivating paddy are still hopeful of a better yield.During last kharif season, 4000 acres of land in Kalahandi were covered under SRI method both in irrigated and non-irrigated pockets.The National Consultant of National Food Security Mission Ravinder Singh Saini along with State Consultant of the Mission Bijaya Kumar Harichandan and Deputy Director Agriculture Prabasi Sethi visited the lands to ascertain status of SRI method of paddy cultivation and its adoptability by farmers.They also reviewed various activities of Nation Food Security Mission in progress in Kalahandi.The team visited Santpur village, interacted with farmers and elected gram panchayat members besides participating in the cutting of crops cultivated by SRI method.In the crop cutting process in the farm of one Dilip Sa, the total output was recorded at 74 quintal per hectare. He had raised paddy by SRI method in six acres for the first time and the yield he got, is four times more than what he got by traditional method from the adjacent fields.  

Govt draws flak for failure to stop starvation

Expressbuzz, Dec 19, 2009
BHUBANESWAR: The State Government got flak from the Opposition MLAs in the Assembly today for its failure to stop starvation deaths.Leader of the Opposition Bhupinder Singh told mediapersons that while the State Government was busy holding meetings with industrialists to persuade them to set up shops in Orissa, people are dying of starvation in KBK districts. The issue was raised during zero hour in which Surendra Singh Bhoi (Cong) also participated, he said.Surendra Paramanik (Cong) expressed concern over the large number of liquor shops allowed to be set up by the State Government in rural areas which is having bad impact on the unemployed youths. The dilapidated bus stands in different towns, including the Capital city, was raised during the question hour.Though 85 per cent of people depend on buses for commuting, the State Government has not taken any step for their proper maintenance, they said and wanted to know how many bus stands the State Government has constructed during the last nine years.Singh said that Chakradhar Paika, Dambarudhar Ulaka, Shyam Charan Hansda and Ramchandra Kadam (all Cong) alleged large-scale irregularities in the activities of different development authorities in the State and wanted to know what steps had been taken to bring the guilty to book.Alleging that the State Government has failed to utilise funds for purchasing equipment in the hospitals and improve healthcare infrastructure, the MLAs wanted to know what steps have been taken to improve the health sector during the last nine years.While Sadhu Nepak (Cong) wanted to know the steps taken for increasing the number of beds in Bargarh Hospital, his party colleague Gobardhan Das alleged that no steps have been taken to bring a change in the health-care services in Kalahandi district.The delay by the State Government to provide land pattas to those who have enlisted as voters in 298 slums of the Capital city was criticised by the members. Stating that the State Government has announced provision of pattas to the slum- dwellers by March, Surendra Paramanik wanted to know the steps taken to fulfil the promise.

Starvation hits KBK: Five of a family die within 3 months

Daily News and Analysis, Dec 19, 2009
Bhubaneshwar: In the past three months, five members of a family died of starvation in the Koraput-Balangir Kalahandi (KBK) region of Orissa, which is one of the poorest in the country. The fifth death happened on Thursday, when 65-year-old Minji Bariha died in hospital.
"Minji was malnourished. She didn't get enough to eat and she didn't get medicines at the right time," said Dr KS Kumar, who treated her.
The Bariha family used to live in Chhabiripalli village under Khaprakhol block in Balangir district (western Orissa) of KBK. Minji's son Jhintu was a landless labourer and had seven mouths to feed -- father Champeswar, 72, mother Minji, 69, wife Bimala, sons Ramprasad and Sibaprasad and a seven-month-old daughter. Sometime back, Jhintu had gone to Hyderabad to work in a brick kiln. A few months later, he met with a disabling accident, which kept out of work. Soon after, Jhintu returned to his village.
With the breadwinner sitting at home, everybody had to depend on whatever Jhintu's wife Bimala brought in. She worked as a daily labourer but her earnings weren't enough to ensure two meals a day for a family of seven. The Barihas ate in the morning, but went to bed hungry. Some days later, the family started begging. In Chhabiripalli, most villagers are so poor they don't have much to spare for beggars. So, the Barihas stayed hungry. Eventually, they started getting fever, then malaria but couldn't even think of getting treatment.
On September 6, the seven-month-old girl died. The next day, it was the turn of the youngest son, Sibaprasad. On September 9, their mother and the family's sole earner, Bimala, passed away.
That's when the news of these deaths reached the administration. They came and put Jhintu and his eldest son seven-year-old Ramaprasad, in hospital. Nearly a month later, on October 7, Jhintu died due to blood vomiting. On December 14, Minji was admitted to Balangir hospital with fever and other diseases. She died on December 19.
The Balangir district administration said the family was given 25 kg of rice per month and Minji and her husband were given Rs200 a month as old-age pension. They said Minji died due to pneumonia and from age-related ailments. But the doctor Kumar treating her said she died of malnutrition.
Now, the district administration has shifted Ramprasad to an ashram for the destitute. His grandfather, Champeswar, is also being cared for.
In the last 20 years, the KBK scheme, NREGS and other programmes were introduced to give people of this region a chance to survive. But those don't seem to have made much of a difference to the people of KBK.

Complete all ongoing railway projects in Odisha, urges Pyari

The Pioneer, Dec 19, 2009
PNS | Bhubaneswar

The Centre’s negligence towards improvement of railway infrastructures in the State was echoed in the Rajya Sabha on Thursday.

Raising this issue, Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra said the railway authorities have totally ignored the interests of the State, particularly in the field of electrification of railway line, doubling and construction of new railway lines.

“Steps should be taken to complete all ongoing railway projects in the State,” demanded Mohapatra, adding that many projects have been delayed by railway citing that the projects are not economically viable. When Mohapatra raised these issues, Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee was present on the floor of the Rajya Sabha and even noted down the points.

Mohaptra pointed out how the Khurda-Balangir railway line has been delayed. “Though the works from 0 to 36 km has been completed, the land acquisition process is yet to kick off from 36 km-112 km. Railway delayed it by citing that this is not economically profitable,” he said, adding that the project assumes importance for the growth of industries .

He further said that many companies have come up with proposals to set up industries in these areas including Kandhamal. Mohapatra also raised the issue regarding the delay in land acquisition in another two important projects — Angul-Sukinda and Bansapani and Barbil. “Railway Minister should intervene and ask officials to expedite the land acquisition process,” he said.

Besides, Mohapatra also raised the issue of Lanjigarha-Junagarha, Bangiriposhi- Keonjhar, Gunupur-Bisam Cuttack and doubling of Puri-Bhubaneswar railway line. He said as the doubling of railway line of Puri-Bhubaneswar has not been completed it has affected the tourism sector. A number of foreign tourists come on a visit to Puri. “Though the works has been started, it has been completed till Delanga,” he said.

Mohapatra also demanded to include Jharsuguda under East Coast Zone and extension of the Rourkela-Bhubaneswar Intercity train to Palasa.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Farmer's Plight in Kalahandi - After Harvest: by Srikant Panda

Contributor: Srikant Panda
                     Chicago, USA

Kalahandi, where majority of population depends on Agriculture, this is the time and season when all the harvesting is complete and farmers are busy either in selling their produce, or busy storing it. In places, where it is fed by the Indravati irrigation, they are preparing for the next cycle of cultivation.
In this context let me bring up a scenario, which might throw a little light on the level of corruption and exploitation taking place, and efforts are being made to cover that.  I hope this will add a little voice to bring awareness on suffering of our local farmers.

Like many panchayats, Mandal is a panchayat, comes under Kalampur block, which is part of Dharamgarh sub-division. After the harvest, Government decided rate per 100 kg bag of paddy(dhan) is to be 950 rupees. Farmer can sell their produce at that rate.
Government empowers RMC ( Regional Marketing Corporation, excuse me if I am mistaken the full-form of it ) to do a quality control of the Dhan, it’s moisture level etc etc. and for that RMC is supposed to get some commission which I was told Rs19.50.  Recently RMC decided to engage the panchayat co-operatives, locally known as ‘gola’ to purchase it from farmer at the govt. decided rate , for which co-operative society will get Rs 28.80 per 100kg bag. With this setup farmers will have and should have the opportunity of selling their produce in proper prices without falling under the prey of middle-man and rice mill owners. And they can get their proper due on time without any hassle.
Now, Let us look at the ground reality. In spite of all these arrangement, the local panchayat co-operative society, under the influence of the some unknown parties which will benefit the otherway by taking a slice of farmers due money, DENIES buying directly from farmers in govt decided price.
 Mostly the reasons were given that:
-           panchayat has no place to store.
-          The rice mill truck should directly come to load. I failed to understand how this would have solved the farmer’s problem if they had to wait for those trucks. Govt. has made these arrangements to save farmers from that exploitation explicitly.

If it would have been transparent, co-operative society would have made a good financial progress by getting the govt commission per bag. Instead the people at the helm of the affair decided that if they manipulate this they will take the direct cut from the millers and that money will go to their pocket instead of co-operative society.

Look at the situation, Government is trying to implement a program to create opportunity for the farmers to get their proper due, but the local authority who is in control does not want to implement that. Farmer is left with no choice other than falling into the same prey of selling their produce at lower price. And here the lower price means Rs950 vs Rs 650 per 100kg. And there have been cases of Farmer not getting their money paid for next 6-10 months. Where the farmer will go? How many mile they will have to travel to sell their produce? They are farmers .. not Traders ?

Luckily this time, the Mandal panchayat people got this into the eyes of media, and one of our local journalists reported this to a state level news paper. Which came to the eyes of state level supply ministry. Later it was found that , Bhawanipatna Collector summoned that journalist to ask ‘ why are you reporting false ?’. That journalist made a telephone call (thanks to the cell phone and the towers were working ) directly to a particular village farmer, and they voiced their concern. Bhawanipatna Collector then talked to Dharamgarh sub-collector to find out about this matter. Dharamgarh sub-collector then ordered a local NGO/Company to buy those produce from farmers. And within week time period the farmers got their due. With this, still there are cases where farmers have not been successful in getting the proper opportunity to sell their produce. And it will not be a surprise if we get to hear the similar stories in other blocks and panchayats. Also what have come to my knowledge is that this is case for almost all the farmers throughout Orissa.
For a farmer, if they have to sell their produce at 30% less than the government decided rate, that is a loss to them.  And for the farmer, if they do not sell at the right time they will have no place to store, and it will add to their loss.  They wait to sell their produce so that they can cover the cost which they took as a loan during the cultivation time. The old days are gone that people were keeping their produce in their local means of storage. Farming is somewhat advanced and commercialized now. Like any other business, it also has its own lifecycle and turnover time, if market place is not created properly, then all the produce are a complete waste. In farming there is no lag time, if it happens in right time then it is a gain, or else it is a total loss.
I was told to bring this notice, if I can. There are lots of efforts for improvement in many corners of Kalahandi.  But nobody thinks about the basics needs of local farmers.
We were reading in our early days 

‘ chasa kama jahara . kede sukha tahara ‘
‘sei sina duniya ku jogauchi aahara’

Is this line still holds true? Second line might be ?
Can a farmer have the basic needs of current times?
Can we dare to be a farmer, if we know these realities next to us?
Can we dare to tie our education, experience, Charisma, expertise with farming, rather than whatever profession we are in?
Is it not un-fortunate that Farmers are poor in our locals, where it is the mostly adopted occupation of local citizens? !!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!! !!!!!

Maps of separate Kosala state distributed in Orissa, Dec 18, 2009

Bhubaneswar, Dec 18 (IANS) The Kosala Kranti Dal, a political party in Orissa which has been demanding separate statehood comprising 11 western districts, Friday distributed maps of its dream state to people.
The maps were distributed in the district headquarter of Bolangir, its president Pramod Mishra told IANS. He said the maps would also be distributed in other parts of the western region in the next few days. Bolangir town is 320 km from here.

Hundreds of students in Sambalpur, Bargarh and Bolangir towns boycotted classes and walked streets with posters and banners, and shouted slogans in favour of a separate state.

Mishra said his Dal has planned to launch a massive agitation in the coming days to press its demand. “We are going to demonstrate in Bhubaneswar in front of Raj Bhaban on Dec 23,” he said.

The demand for separate state has picked up momentum in Orissa following the central government’s decision to pave the way for a Telangana state in Andhra Pradesh.

The Kosala Kranti Dal wants a new state comprising the districts of Bargarh, Bolangir, Boudh, Deogarh, Jharsuguda, Kalahandi, Koraput, Nuapada, Sambalpur, Subarnapur and Sundergarh.

Known as the Kosala region, these districts suffer from poverty and backwardness, deaths due to malnutrition and high infant mortality rate.

Warm Welcome to Hornorable Prime Minister Dr Singh to Odisha, Dec 17, 2009

Dear Honourable Prime Minister Dr. Singh,
I learn from the news sources on your visit to Odisha to lay foundation stone for the permanent complex of National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER).

Sir, I welcome you whole heartedly and would like to show my deep thankful and grateful to you.  

When we the people of Odisha along with the support from our political leaders, social workers, journalists and friends protested for National Institute of Science while locating IISER in Kolkata in 2004-05, you personally listened and gave the people of Odisha an equivalent institution, NISER, as par with IISER in 2006 under Department of Atomic Energy despite difficulty coming out from MHRD to establish new IISER in Odisha.

Similarly, Odisha's demand for a new Indian Institute of Technology, Central University and World Class Central University (in other words Innovation or National University) were rewarded by you and your Government.

On the other hand when Kalahandi people have been demanding for a Central University since two decades Odisha Chief Minister knowingly or unknowingly betrayed the interest of infamous and backward Kalahandi in the last moment.

Instead of 800 crore Central University proposal the chief minister announced two state level small colleges with a total budget of 10 crore in Kalahandi. Not even a state level University as par with Central University of Orissa was announced for Kalahandi in Odisha.

When our own chief minister could not give justice to our local people, you could do to our state despite not being from the state and your party having only 2 elected MPs from the state in that point of time.

In fact, Prime Minister Office had also forwarded my letter dated 17 Aug 2008 to MHRD on injustice caused towards Kalahandi while establishing Central University of Orissa by Odisha Government. MHRD had selected Kalahandi for an IGNTU off campus based on a letter from local MP from Kalahandi, as per the information obtained through RTI route. It seems there is no interest from Odisha Chief Minister and his office for IGNTU off campus in Kalahandi whereas the chief minister office is very much taking initiaitves for other national institutions in other parts of the state except Western Odisha and Kalahandi.

Since Bhubaneswar region is going to have NISER (par with IISc/NISER), IIT, AIIMS type institution, world class private Vedanta University, ESIC medical college, Railway medical college, many other national laboratories and educational institutions etc., and no centrally funded institution has come in Western Odisha recently, I request you to kindly reconsider Kalahandi or Bhawanipatna region for the proposed Innovation University (also reported as National University or World Class Central University earlier) in the state based on my earlier letter dated on Oct 2, 2009. 
Again sir, I am very much thankful for your honesty, rationality and intellectual thinking you showed towards us and I welcome you back to Odisha. I anticiapte in your next visit you will stop by at Kalahandi to realize difficulty people face for higher education and employment there.

I also sincerely hope NISER fulfils the dream that all of us have in mind.

With best regards

Digambara Patra

Digambara Patra, Ph.D
Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry
American University of Beirut
Beirut, Lebanon

Vedanta’s Orissa alumina refinery facing bauxite shortage, Dec 18, 2009
Bhubaneswar, Dec 18 (IANS) The alumina refinery of London-headquartered metals and mining company Vedanta Resources in Orissa’s Kalahandi district is facing acute bauxite shortage for several months, a company official said Friday.
“Since the past four months, we are not getting adequate quantity of bauxite,” said Mukesh Kumar, head of the plant.
“We need at least three million tonnes of bauxite ore per annum to keep the refinery running at 50 percent of its capacity, but we are getting on an average only half of that,” Kumar told IANS.
The one million tonne per annum capacity refinery at Lanjigarh, some 600 km from here, has been running at about 50 percent of its capacity since it was commissioned in August 2007.
There are multiple reasons for this, Kumar said. “Several mines in Orissa and Andhra Pradesh have stopped operations and supply has come down from some states due to the Maoist problem. Some states have banned sending bauxite out.”
The company had initially planned to mine bauxite from the nearby Niyamgiri hills but is yet to get the final nod from the government. It is currently sourcing bauxite from other states at market rates to keep the plant running.
“It is a disturbing situation,” Kumar said, adding that the refinery did not have enough stock of bauxite to run the plant for four to five hours.
What has aggravated the situation, according to him, is that transportation cost has alongside increased by more than 40 percent.
The alumina refinery, part of the Anil Agarwal-promoted Vedanta Resources, was set up on an investment of $800 million.
The firm had issued a tender two months ago to buy four million tonnes of bauxite from the domestic sellers but was left dissatisfied with the response.
“We have issued another tender again this week to buy a similar quantity,” Kumar said adding that mining permission in the hills was essential for it to reduce cost of production.

Vedanta's east India smelter imports alumina - exec

Reuter India, Dec 18, 2009

By Jatindra Dash
BHUBANESWAR, India, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Mining group Vedanta Resources Plc's east India plant is importing alumina to keep its aluminium smelter running despite a local scarcity of the input, a senior company official said on Friday.
The company has also approached the state-run National Aluminium Co (NALCO)  to buy alumina, said Mukesh Kumar, chief operating officer of Orissa projects at Vedanta Aluminium Ltd. The company started its 250,000 tonnes-per-annum smelter in in Jharsuguda in Orissa state June 2008, and used alumina sourced from its refinery in nearby Lanjigarh.
It imported alumina for the first time last November and has so far bought 50,000 tonnes, Kumar told Reuters, and about 100,000 tonnes more will be imported by the end of the 2009/10 year in March. "We are operating in a very disturbed situation... we have inadequate stocks for the last few months," he said.
"We have already approached NALCO for allowing us to buy alumina and are waiting for their response."
The company has to import alumina due to dwindling availability of bauxite ore, which is refined to produce alumina and fed to the smelter for making aluminium.
Vedanta normally sources bauxite from the Indian states of Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh.
Kumar said supplies had been hit by a combination of Maoist rebels disrupting transport, policies in Gujarat that restricted bauxite shipments, and high shipment costs in Maharashtra.
Vedanta wants to mine bauxite from the nearby Niyamgiri Hills and has submitted lease applications for 9 mines elsewhere in the state, but its clearances are mired in procedural delays and protests by residents.

Government data shows Vedanta produced 136,081 tonnes of aluminium in Orissa from April to October. Kumar said it expected aluminium production to be at full capacity by March.

Survey for Kantabanji-Khariar-Jungarh-Nabarangpur railway line is over and immediately work needs to start demands Odisha MP

Thanks to Dr Sanjib Kumar Karmee for sharing this.
Dharitri, Dec 17, 2009

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Prime Minister to lay the foundation stone for the permanent complex of NISER: Deserves a warm welcome and people of Odisha are indeed thankful to him

When we the people of Odisha protested for NIS while locating IISER in Kolkata, the prime minister gave us an equivalent institution, NISER, as par with IISER under Department of Atomic Energy despite MHRD not willing to establish new IISER in Odisha. Similarly, Odisha's demand for IIT, Central University and World Class Central University (in other words Innovation or National University) were rewared. On the other hand when Kalahandi people have been demanding for a Central University since two decades Odisha Chief Minister betrayed Kalahandi in the last moment and announced two state level colleges with a fund of 10 crore instead of 800 crore Central University. In fact, Prime Minister Office had forawarded our letter on injustice towards Kalahandi to MHRD which promised for IGNTU off campus in Kalahandi based on a letter from local MP from Kalahandi. It seems there is no interest from Odisha Chief Minister for IGNTU off campus in Kalahandi. Therefore, honorable prime minister deserves a warm welcome in Odisha for his honesty, rationality and intelectual thinking. Indeed we are indebtly thankful to him.

PM to interact with economists during Orissa visit
PTI, Dec 17, 2009

Bhubaneswar, Dec 17 (PTI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will interact with economists from across the country and lay foundation stone of National Institute of Science Education and Research (NISER) during his five-hour visit here on December 27.

Orissa Home Secretary A P Padhi said Singh on his arrival here would go to the venue of the 92nd annual conference of Indian Economic Association (IEA) where he is scheduled to spend about two hours.

The PM's interaction with economists is significant in view of the rising prices of essential commodities.

About 3,000 delegates of the IEA affiliated to International Economic Association will attend the programme, official sources said.

Later, Singh will lay the foundation stone for the permanent complex of NISER. The institute is functioning from the campus of Institute of Physics here.

This is Singh's second visit to Orissa as Prime Minister. His first visit was in 2006.

Maoists in Kalahandi

Dharitri, Dec 18, 2009

Donate blood Vedanta way, Dec 17, 2009

Dr.Mukesh Kumar is known for his social bent of mind.

So the Chief Operating Officer of the Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) organized a Blood Donation Camp at Niyamgiri Vedanta Nagar hospital on 16 December .

A total of 45 units of blood were collected from employees of the Company.

Dr. Mukesh Kumar, inaugurating the camp praised the employees of Vedanta, who volunteered to donate blood.

“The donated blood will be useful for the benefit of the poor and the needy in Kalahandi district,” he said.

Senior Management Team members of VAL, including Sunil Chandra Mishra, Associate Vice President (Power Plant) and TPK Patro, Head (Finance) also donated blood in this camp.

Doctors and medical team members of District Red Cross Society, Kalahandi took blood from the volunteers.

The donors were given certificates and identity card by District Red Cross Society, Kalahandi.

In last one year Vedanta employees had donated about 150 unit of blood in two camps, organized by the Company.

Among other present in the camp were Dr. Sabita Swain, Chief Medical Officer and Samiron Sarkar, Head (CSR).

Bhakta Das and Sanjaya Bhoi demand and give notice in the parliament for superspeciality Hospital and Medical college, National University, and KBK head quarter in Kalahandi

The demand supported by Hemanda Biswal and Amarnath Pradhan also incudes High Court Branch and WODC head quarter in Balangir and assembly session once in a year in Sambalpur.Hope Government listen to our demand.

Samaja, Dec 17, 2009

No funds crunch, only commitment lacking

Expressbuzz, Dec 17, 2009
BHUBANESWAR: The Health Department is all set to utilise the expertise of mother NGOs to take the responsibility of awareness generation on gaon kalyan samities (GKS) across the State.

Even there are areas where GKS exist only on pen and paper. No meetings are held by the villagers on their health-care requirements, admitted Health Minister Prasanna Acharya here yesterday citing example of a village in Kalahandi where the villagers told him that they had no idea whether there was any fund lying with their GKS or not.

Speaking at a consultation on “Community action under National Rural Health Mission: The status and way forward,’’ Acharya said though the scheme has many innovations, the benefits are not reaching the grassroots as planned.

Donning the role of an evaluator, he said while on a visit to a district headquarters hospital he was told that there was lack of funds. He was surprised to know that with its users’ fee account nearly Rs 33 lakh was lying unspent. It was even more surprising to note that neither the CDMO nor the district collector had any inkling of the fund or the way it was to be used.

Also in many cases it was found that 95 per cent of the GKS fund had not been spent. Asking his own officials to work towards proper, planned and just use of the funds with time-bound submission of utilisation certificates (UCs), the Minister also warned that otherwise, the Centre might not be eager to grant the third tranche under the scheme. While supporting the role of civil society organisations, he, however, said that despite assurances, their work is not up to the expectation and the Health Department had to blacklist 17 NGOs.

Directing Health officials and those working under NRHM to take up their field level responsibilities seriously, he said the villagers should be sensitised on the scheme.

Referring to the role of Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHAs) in health-care delivery across the State, he said even the Government is planning to utilise their services shortly in the urban slum areas to help more needy people.

Acharya, however, was critical of the role of political parties which are utilising these grassroots-level health workers for propagating their political ideologies.

Assuring that more NRHM responsibilities would be entrusted to the 50,000 ASHA workers, he urged them not to be cowed down by any political organisation.

Suspected Maoists sighted

Expressbuzz, Dec 17, 2009
BHAWANIPATNA: Though Kalahandi has been free of Maoist menace till now, sighting of armed persons near Chura Dangar mountain range in Golamunda block in the last few days has raised concerns among people of the area.

A gang of 15 persons, including two women, crossed the Tel river on December 12 with the help of some locals near Sahajkana and entered Bhawanipatna block. There were also reports about movement of another gang of eight persons, including three women, in Karanjkot area in the vicinity of Churadangar. Eyewitnesses claimed that the persons had arms with them and collected ration from villagers near Jubapadar.

The area borders Nuapada district on one side and Chhattisgarh on the another.

Confirming, SP Harmohan Dash said police were keeping a close watch on the movement of these persons.

NREGA money to be returned

Dharitri, Dec 17, 2009

Martyrdom day of Rendo Majhi held in K’handi

The Pioneer, Dec 17, 2009
Bhawanipatna: The Saheed Diwas of freedom fighter Rendo Majhi was observed at Urladani in Madan Rampur Block. Urlandi Sarpanch Biswambar Naik presided over the function and Parameshwar Mund was the chief speaker. The Saheed Rendo Majhi Smruti Committee submitted a six-point charter of demands to Kalahandi Collector RS Gopalan, who was the chief guest. The demands included electrification of Urlandi panchayat, proper utilisation of water from the Rahul, Budha and Utei rivers and establishment of a primary healthcentre. A copy of the memorandum was also sent to the Chief Minister and Health Minister. BDO of M Rampur Loknath Dalabehera, block chairman Hanuman Prasad Agrawal, Narla block chairman Kumarmani Sabar, secretarary of M Rampur Ramakrishna Ashram Swami Bairagyananda and Adivasi Sangh president Dhansingh Majhi were the guests of honour.