Monday, May 31, 2010

Sam Pitroda's new mission - mitigating hunger in India, May 31, 2010

Knowledge and telecommunication evangelist Sam Pitroda, currently advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations, is on a new mission - to make India hunger-proof and food-reliant.

He is working on a draft to set a countrywide network of private food banks - resource pools he calls them - that will work as a parallel distribution system to disburse food and allied infrastructure to people living on the edge of the poverty line and below in the vast Indian heartland.

Pitroda will put his project, India Food Bank, in place by the yearend with the help of a Chicago-based international organisation, Global Foodbanking Network, a Stanford University think-tank that provides food aid to 30 nations.

Statistics narrate a grim tale of hunger in India, a country of 1.2 billion that is home to 27 percent of the world's hungry populace with one of the largest populations of malnourished children. Rough estimates by the Action Aid, a global anti-poverty organisation, cite that nearly 212 million people suffer from chronic hunger and undernourishment in India.

The United Nations World Food Programme paints a more alarming picture saying nearly 350 million of India's population - roughly 35 percent - is considered food insecure, consuming less than 80 percent of the total energy requirements.

'I identify with the problem because I was born in a large family in Kalahandi in the Bolangir district of Orissa that is ravaged by hunger and is prone to drought,' he said at an interface on his new project in the capital hosted by Aspen Institute-India.

'Three years ago, I took up the issue with a group of food activists at the Global Foodbanking Network in Chicago, the global capital of commodity trading. I told them why can't we go to India and explore the dimension of hunger and malnutrition that can affect the future of India. More than 212 million people face paucity of food (hunger) in India.'

'We have a friend in Chicago, John Kapoor, who has made a lot of money. He sponsored a fact-finding team to India that conducted a feasibility study of the project in four underdeveloped states to find out whether it was possible to engage local communities, ensure community participation and create a network of stake-holders who could source essential food and related infrastructure for voluntary donation and distribution under an alternative food chain like the sub-Saharan models.'

Pitroda, who left for the US Saturday, said he would return in July to 'socialise the idea in the country with necessary modification for implementation by the end of the year'.

'The government has several food programmes but can we really organise these programmes effectively,' he argued in justification of his 'food bank project'.

Commenting on the necessity of food banks to ensure 'sustained food security in India', he said 'while populations grow, food resources are continuously shrinking'.

'Coupled with natural phenomenon like climate change and global warming, the security of food and other resources is a worrying question. One answer is the concept of food bank,' he said.

The Global Foodbanking Network, founded by Red Argentina de Bancos de Alimentos (Argentina), Food Banks Canada, Asociacion Mexicana de Bancos de Alimentos (Mexico) and Feeding America (United States), shares food banking concepts and helps partners evaluate the feasibility and most effective business model for implementation in their country.

The organisation was founded in 2006 by four of the world's leading national food bank networks. Its objective 'is to fulfil the vision of John Van Hengel, who founded the world's first food bank in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1967 and worked to promote and establish food banking around the world'.

The latest World Food Programme report warns that more than 1.5 million children in India may suffer from malnourishment because of spiralling global food prices and 43 percent of children under five years of age are underweight.

The report says the proportion of anaemic children has increased by six percent in the last six years with 11 states reporting 80 percent child anaemia.

Figures say one in five people - about 45 percent of Indian children - in developing countries are chronically 'undernourished'. Food prices have increased by 83 percent in the last two years and 22 countries have enshrined the right to food in their Constitutions.
(Madhusree Chatterjee can be contacted at

State Govt focuses on construction of roads

Note: Thanks finally Government hears for NH201.

The Pioneer, May 31, 2010
PNS, Bhubaneswar

The State Government on Friday decided to take up the construction work of 650 km of road in different parts of the State which would cost Rs 1,200 crore. This project includes converting 250 km long one-lane National Highways into two-lane in western Odisha and widening the 400 km-long cluster roads in Maoists affected districts of Rayagada, Gajapati, Sambalpur and Malkanagiri.

The State Government is planning to expedite the construction work of Ranchi-Vijayawada Road for which the Government has written to the Central Government demanding Rs 300 crore for this financial year. The Central Government has made budgetary sanction of Rs 100 crore only for the current year.

The decision was taken at a review meeting held under chairmanship of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the State Secretariat.

After the meeting, the Works Secretary Subhendu Kumar Ray said that the Central Government has given Rs 250 crore for widening the National Highways No 200, 201 and 43. These highways with one-lane road would be converted into two-lane roads. Similary, in order to make communication easier, the cluster roads of Maoists-hit districts would be broadened, he said.

Ray said the State Government is willing to expedite the construction work of Ranchi- Vijayawada road and complete it soon. "But due to crunch of funds the construction work is not being done to our expectation. We have demanded the Centre to release Rs 300 crore immediately," Works Secretary said.

NRO says mass transfer of teachers in Orissa’s KBK may back fire once again, May 28, 2010
Report by Orissadiary correspondent; Bhubaneswar: Non-resident Oriya and well known academic Digambara Patra raises concern over mass transfer of teachers in Orissa’s KBK. He says this decision of Orissa Government may back fire once again.

Patra in a letter to CM says, I am very surprised to learn that mass transfer of Government college teachers by the Department of Higher Education in Orissa also includes KBK districts.

Although it appears to be a welcome and good decision by the state Government for the general public of the state, especially referring to those teachers (i) who are indulge in lobbying & politics at the state capital,

(ii) interested in private tuitions & coaching centers in Cuttack-Bhubaneswar region, and (iii) who are not taking their job seriously because of being the spouses of influential bureaucrats or the relatives of politicians at Bhubaneswar and staying in state capital region by applying political/bureaucratic pressure, unfortunately at the end when things returns to normal many similar decisions on mass transfer of teachers by the state Government during Biju Patnaik and various other Governments have worked against the interest of various colleges in KBK region.

This is not the first time such political hullaballoo is being adopted by Department of Higher Education in the state; statistics from the past experience indicates such mass transfer has not done anything good for KBK districts in long run.

There are many instances, particularly in KBK districts such as in Government Autonomous College, Bhawanipatna (GACB), after implementation of mass transfer the incumbents of the office are getting their transfer easily and the substitutes never join. College like GACB will be worst sufferer as per the past statistics if such mass transfer will be implemented in KBK.

Problem of teaching staff is large in KBK district, in this event why it is justified to include those colleges in mass transfer who have been suffering since decades?

At this moment GACB has suffered more than 55% vacancies of the total sanctioned teaching posts and nearly 80% of non – teaching posts since last 7 – 8 years. Vacancy of teaching staff in Government

Women’s College Bhawanipatna is more than 60%. In addition, there is no regular Principal in GACB since a decade. Senior most teachers who are on the verge of their retirement use to remain in-charge of the office.

Maximum teaching posts of GACB remained vacant from 2005, just after the College obtained C.P.E status. Department of Higher Education indiscriminately started transfer from this College disregarding the U.G.C norms and conditions that teachers of C.P.E College should not be transferred for three years from the date of the effect of C.P.E.

Probability of getting meritorious guest faculties is also very poor in the colleges of KBK districts and the situation is much worst in Kalahandi and Nuapada.

Since mass transfer has not worked in favor of KBK in the past in long run, following guidelines could have been better adopted by the state Government.

(1) When a teacher is not interested for transfer from KBK districts and there is no allegation against him/her by the Principal or Students, carrying out research activities such as guiding M.Phil students, and doing his/her job satisfactorily, then there is no point of disturbing such teachers even he/she has served more than six years in the same college in KBK districts.

(2) If any interested teacher, which is more probable, is transferred from KBK zone, he/ she should not be relieved until his/her reliever joins the post regularly without taking any kind of leaves. Past experience in KBK districts gives us realization that teachers who are forcefully transferred to KBK districts often joins the institute/college but takes long leave in various other conditions specified in the state Government norms & regulations, and after few months or a year when things returns back to normal they succeed in going back to the place of their interest through various channels without even serving for a single lecture in KBK districts.

(3) All the vacant posts including the post of Principal in KBK districts should be first filled before adopting any transfer from KBK districts for those who are interested to move out of KBK.

(4) All the posts, both teaching and non-teaching, should be filled in priority basis in KBK districts.

Recently, Tamil Nadu Government has adopted a (non-official) liberal evaluation for rural students compared to urban students in +2 examinations to promote students in rural areas, though there are no official written  guidelines for it. Similarly, there is no more entrance tests in Tamil Nadu for medical and engineering seats and the selection of candidates are based on +2 marks. By adopting a liberal approach for rural students, many students from rural area in Tamil Nadu could able to find seats in Government medical and engineering colleges in their state, who may be inclined more to serve in their respective rural areas than urban cities like Chennai. Why such a policy cannot be applied, at least, for KBK districts in Orissa?

He hopes instead of further making the situation worst, mass transfer of teachers should not be adopted in colleges in KBK districts before solving the existing problems.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Government Ayurvedic College, Balangir among the finalist national level teams in the seminar on 'Essentials for Effective Ayurvedic Medical Practice'

Himalaya fosters industry-academia alliance through AMC Connect initiative

BHARMABIZ.COM, May 27, 2001

Aimed to strengthen and broad-base herbal science knowledge among the students, the Himalaya Drug Company, a leader in herbal healthcare, has introduced the Ayurveda Medical College (AMC) Connect initiative which is expected to go a long way in fostering the industry-academia alliance and provide a roadmap for the herbal-based alternative medicine to meet the emerging growth challenges.

As part of this initiative, Himalaya has partnered with Ayurveda colleges from across the country. Through AMC Connect, the company has chalked out plans to organize Rural Medical Camps in association with National Service Scheme Units of Ayurvedic Colleges, which includes general health check-ups and specialized camps for diabetes detection camps; Bone Mineral Density test. Continuous Medical Education (CME) workshops and seminars with guest lectures from eminent scholars will also be conducted. Public social awareness for blood donation; and afforestation are also held under the programme.

Further, the company instituted the 'Jivaka' and 'Ayurvisharada' awards to recognize academic excellence in 120 Ayurveda colleges across India. The awards are granted to the first and second rank holders in each of these colleges. It has recommended the 'Himalaya Infoline' a quarterly magazine for BAMS under-graduates. Under the co-curricular activities, sports and quiz are being held to sustain the interest in herbal sciences.

According to Philipe Haydon, president & CEO, Pharmaceuticals, The Himalaya Drug Company, the science of Ayurveda is gaining global recognition. Western countries and universities are actively promoting research on Indian herbs. If India has to retain its pride of place in the field of Ayurveda, we need to provide the right environment and opportunities to young minds.

"Our aim is to globalize Ayurveda and make it relevant to modern society. We are witnessing a significant change in attitude towards Ayurveda with the global medical fraternity accepting it as a complementary health system. The future of this 'traditional science' depends on the quality of students who will practice this system of medicine or conduct research in this field," he added.

The objective of these initiatives is to enhance knowledge and increase learning opportunities, through national level exposure and interaction with the larger student fraternity. Today, the calibre of students of Ayurveda branch is high and what is encouraging to see is that colleges are actively promoting partnerships with industry, to further improve the quality of education. As pioneers of contemporary Ayurveda, Himalaya strives to engage with the student community on a continuous basis in order to promote exchange of ideas, healthy interaction and debate, and increase competitiveness. The institute-industry partnership allows candidates keep pace with the needs of the industry, said Haydon

Last week, Himalaya had organized a national seminar on 'Essentials for Effective Ayurvedic Medical Practice' for Ayurveda students along with the Ayurwhiz-2009-10. A total of 6453 students from 162 colleges participated in the preliminary rounds at the state and zonal level. The four finalist national level teams: Ayurveda & Unani Tibbia College, New Delhi; Government Ayurvedic College, Balangir; Shree Gulabkunverba Ayurveda Mahavidyalaya, Jamnagar and SDM College of Ayurveda, Udupi were selected on the basis of a month-long exercise of state and zonal level contests. The contest is not just about winning, but about learning. We want students of Ayurveda to realize their potential and strive to greater heights, said Haydon.

HRD ministry's initiative to protect languages

Times of India, May 27, 2010
NEW DELHI: The HRD ministry's roundtable on protection and preservation of indigenous traditional knowledge and endangered languages has identified three areas that need to be addressed immediately to save languages from getting extinct.

A five-member committee has been set up to suggest how to link languages with employment opportunities. The committee will also find out regions in the country where many languages have become extinct. It will also recommend how to make languages a part of school curriculum so that the young generation becomes interested in them and on setting up of regional centres.

At the meeting held on Wednesday, HRD minister Kapil Sibal expressed the need for setting up an inter-ministerial group with representatives of the ministries of tribal affairs and north-east so that a comprehensive view on fast-disappearing languages could be formed. Sibal also sought cooperation from states.

The meeting saw members expressing concern that languages were losing out to English. One reason they cited was the employment opportunities knowledge of English offered vis-a-vis other Indian languages. One member pointed out that regions with high literacy had more instances of local languages getting extinct.

Members also lamented the lack of infrastructure to promote and preserve Indian languages. For instance, 230 manuscripts have not been studied in the country. A member also pointed out how lack of knowledge of ancient manuscripts and languages resulted in a Spanish company coming up with a face-cream. It was found that its formulation was lifted from an ancient text. India could win the patent case only after a long battle.

Earlier, a preliminary meeting of a few members of the roundtable had decided that a holistic strategy needed to be put in place for the documentation and preservation of the endangered languages. It was first decided to take up languages which are spoken by less than 25,000 people. It was also felt that a comprehensive National Linguistic Survey of India should be carried out. Strangely, the proposal to have a linguistic survey, proposed during Arjun Singh's stint as HRD minister, was abandoned by the ministry later.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Its official, BHU is numero uno

NOTE: BHU is one of the real complete University of India which includes various topics from arts, science, medicine, technology, management, agriculture, performing arts etc. We must aspire for similar universities in Odisha in each undivided district level, so that every undivided district will not only have a University but also a medical college & hospital and enginnering college associated with it. Somehow separate institutions for medical and engineering are not need of the hours for development of general science, knowledge and research though it does not matter a lot when it comes to education.

Times of India, May 23, 2010
VARANASI: A survey has ranked the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) as the number one university in the country. The varsity was established in 1916 by great visionary Madan Mohan Malviya.

In the survey, the BHU was adjudged better than Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), University of Delhi, University of Calcutta and other prestigious universities on a number of parameters.

"The university teachers and students are elated over the survey findings. In the past two years, the BHU did over 60 international negotiations in academic and research fields, and signed over 24 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with foreign universities," said coordinator of plant biotechnology of BHU, Rajesh Singh. "Significantly, most of the initiatives were taken by foreign universities because they were interested in having academic collaborations with the BHU in view of its multi-disciplinary faculty," he added.

Similar was the view of head of the department of agricultural economics, Saket Kushwaha.

In the survey, the BHU was ranked number one on all parameters including reputation of the university, quality of academic input, faculty, research publications/reports, projects, infrastructure and placements.

"The BHU has drafted a 'quality policy' that spells out principles, guidelines and procedures for implementing the institutional quality assurance system," said vice-chancellor DP Singh. "Also, the university has a 'value promotion policy'. "The purpose of this policy is to affirm our resolve to initiate effective measures for promoting ethics and human values as an integral part of the university system," said the vice-chancellor.

Another important initiative of the university is its policy for environment and sustainable development. The BHU is all set to establish its fourth institute - Institute of Environmental Science and Sustainable Development. The other three existing institutes are - Institute of Medical Sciences, Institute of Technology and Institute of Agricultural Sciences.

Singh said, "This internationally reputed seat of learning came into existence with a vision of Malviyaji and cooperation of great personalities like Dr Annie Besant. It played a stellar role in the independence movement and emerged as the greatest centre of learning in India." He added, "The university has produced many great freedom fighters and builders of modern India. It has immensely contributed to the progress of the nation by producing a large number of renowned scholars, artists, scientists and technologists."

The main campus of this premier central university spreads over 1,300 acres, and has well-maintained roads, extensive greenery, a temple, an air-strip and buildings with unique architecture. Another campus of the university at Barkachha, in Mirzapur district, covering an area of 2,700 acres, is in the process of development. The university has three institutes, 16 faculties, 140 departments, four inter-disciplinary centres, a constituent college for women and three constituents schools, a vast range of subjects in all branches of humanities, social sciences, technology, medicine, science, fine arts and performing arts. It has six centres of advanced studies, 10 departments under special assistance programme and a large number of specialised research centres. Four degree colleges of the city are affiliated to the BHU. Bharat Kala Bhavan, the reputed museum of the university, is a treasure trove of rare collections. The 927-bedded hospital of the university is equipped with all the modern amenities.

The university has large playgrounds, a big auditorium, a flying club and many auxiliary units like a printing press, a publication cell, a fruit preservation centre, an employment and information bureau.

The BHU today has nearly 20,000 students including 2,500 research scholars and 650 foreign students from 34 nations under one roof. These students are pursuing different academic programmes at BHU as well as the newly established Rajiv Gandhi South Campus. The BHU family also has 700 teachers,and nearly 8,000 non-teaching staff. The university has taken a leadership role in promoting new ideas, the spirit of integration of the world, and cultivation of intellect and culture.

Industrial training centres: AES, Vedanta, Tata Power sign MoUs with Orissa govt

Financial Express, May 25, 2010
Bhubaneswar: Nine private companies on Monday signed MoUs with the Orissa government to set up industrial training centres in the state.The companies are AES Corp-managed Orissa Power Generation Corp (OPGC), Tata Power Ltd, Vedanta Sterlite Energy Ltd, RSB Metalteh (P) Ltd, Monnet Ispat & Energy Ltd, Emami Paper Mill, Surendra Mining Industries (P) Ltd and Ind-Barath Energy (Utkal) Ltd.

The director technical education and training, Anil Samal, signed the MoU on behalf of the state government in the presence of chief minister, Naveen Patnaik, industries minister Raghunath Mohanty, chief secretary T K Mishra and industries secretary Sourav Garg.

The chief minister said the state government will identify and transfer required land for the centres to be set up by the companies.The centres will come up within one year of taking possession of the land, he added.

The industries minister said that by 2015, the state's annual requirement will be of 1,40,000 to 1,80,000 trained personnel in highly-skilled, semi-skilled, unskilled and non-executive workforce in metal and manufacturing sector. In order to bridge the gap between the demand and supply of skilled manpower, it is imperative to have quantitive and qualitative expansion of the technical education and vocational training centres in the state.

He said responding to the chief minister's call for setting up of industrial training centres in the state by the companies as part of their CSR activities, many companies have come forward to set up such centres in the state.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Mass agitation against power failure in Kalahandi district: A report from the Samaj

Collected from KDDF blog Samaja, May 23, 2010

Orissa government to set up six newborn care units, May 24, 2010
Bhubaneswar: The Orissa government has given priority on reduction of the Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) and Infant Mortality Rate (IMR).

The IMR has reduced from 97 to 69 in the state. The IMR rate is high among infants within 28 days of their birth. At a review meeting on the child and mother health scenario in the state at the state Secretariat here on Saturday presided over by health and family welfare secretary Anu Garg, it was revealed that with the collaboration of state government, UNICEF and National Rural Health Mission eight sick newborn care unit (SNCUs) of level-II are functioning in Capital Hospital, Baripada, Rairangpur, Udala, Karanjia, Koraput, Jeypore and Kandhamal.

In these units until March end, 6,500 infants from their birth till 28 days are being treated. Similarly, in June, such units will be functional in Sambalpur, Burla, Sonepur, Balasore, Puri and Rayagada.

There are plans to open similar units in Nuapada, Balangir, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, MKCG and SCB Medical College Hospital. Steps have been taken by NRHM to turn 140 TCHC and PHCs to referral units.

The NRHM has made financial allocations for 58 units out of these to be turned into level 1 newborn care units. Garg has directed work for these units to be expedited. Similarly, institutional deliveries are being done in 510 health organizations.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Kamal Kumar has been selected as one of the 61 Eminent Citizens in India to study and acess NREGA by the Ministry of Rural Development

Shared by T Suresh in Kalahandia Yahoo group.

Mr. Kamal Kumar ,a Junagarh resident has been selected as one of the 61 Eminent Citizens in India to study and acess NREGA by the ministry of rural development, GOI.

He has been selected under the catagory of Educationist .

He is the founder of LBIIHM, a leading hotal management institute having 2 campuses in Delhi NCR and a active social worker.

Congratulations to Mr. Kumar on his selection to the eminent body. We hoope his inclusion in this group would help the KBK region in a greateer way.

Vedanta holds mega health camp at Lanjigarh

The Pioneer, May 23, 2010
Lanjigarh (Kalahandi): A mega health camp was organised by Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) at Harekrushnapur here on Friday, with more than 450 people from six villages benefiting from the programme. Patients with different ailments were treated by doctors of VAL and the Government hospital of Lanjigarh. Medicines were provided free of cost after the health check-up. Besides health check-up, special effort was made to improve awareness about health and hygiene among the tribals. Through its medical outreach programmes VAL has been providing health services at the doorsteps of people in remote villages, who are otherwise deprived of healthcare. The company also runs mobile medical units to provide basic health services. At present the company covers 112 villages under its outreach health programme.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Vedanta provides drinking water at B’patna

The Pioneer, May 21, 2010
Bhawanipatna: Vedanta Aluminium Limited has joined hand with the Kalahandi district administration for supplying drinking water in water-scarcity areas of the district headquarters town of Bhawanipatna.

As part of its corporate social responsibility initiative, the company is providing potable water by two tankers in different water-stressed areas.

The programme will be continued up to the end of the summer. In addition to this, Vedanta Aluminium is also providing drinking water through 22 kiosks in villages around its alumina refinery at Lanjigarh.

IIT campus in Singapore soon

Times of India, May 21, 2010
NEW DELHI: The long-standing invitation of Singapore government to IITs to set up a campus there could soon become a reality.

To be called the International Institute of Technology, it will come up with the joint effort of IIT Council, other centrally-funded technology and science institutes (NITs and Indian Institute of Science) and the Singapore government. Once the project report is finalised, a society will be formed between the Indian and Singapore government. The implementation will be done over five years and review will be done in two years.

HRD minister Kapil Sibal told TOI that the concept note of the proposed institute was given to his Singapore counterpart Ng Eng Hen on Thursday. "HRD ministry cannot directly be involved in this. We have asked the IIT council to consider the proposal and prepare the project report. Let us see what the Singapore government brings on the table," Sibal said.

The proposed institute will teach both humanities and science. Focus will be on research and innovation. Stress will be on "sunlight areas" like health, technology, communication and education. Even at the undergraduate level unique type of courses will be introduced. "It will be a unique institute for Asian students and those belonging to diaspora. A beginning has been made. Let us see the nature that Singapore government has in mind," Sibal said. He also said Singapore government had made this proposal to PM Manmohan Singh which has been accepted. In the meeting, Sibal told Hen that government has reversed its policy and left the decision on the IIT council.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

IL&FS keen to open schools in Orissa's KBK districts, May 20, 2010
Bhubaneswar: Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS), a leading finance firm has proposed to set up educational complexes in the undivided Koraput, Balangir and Kalahandi districts.

In this connection, a high-level delegation of IL&FS met chief minister Naveen Patnaik at the State Secretariat here on Wednesday. The schools will be set up in line with Delhi Public School (DPS) on public private partnership (PPP) mode. The firm has proposed to set up at least 200 such schools in the KBK region. The state government will take a decision on this very soon.

Is Task force advice implementable?, May 19, 2010

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was happy to receive the much awaited Report on Higher Education on 19 May here.

The State Task Force on Higher Education headed by Professor Trilochan Pradhan gave its report to Mr.Patnaik, who is eager to raise the educational standards in the state.

Debi Prasad Mishra, Minister Higher Education and other eminent academicians, who are the members of the Task Force were also present.

Task Force was formed in October, 2009 to study the present scenario of higher education in the state and suggest ways and means to improve the situation and bring it at par with international standards, the notification said.

According to Mr.Mishra, Rs.55,000 crore is needed to be spent over next 12 years to reform the higher education and bring it at par with international standards.

The advisory body has recommended that apart from regular provisions in budget, an additional Rs.10,000 crore is needed to pump in by the State Government for building up infrastructure and strengthening sytem.

Funding from Central Kitty to the tune of Rs.10,000 crore is needed during 2012-22, while Task Force expects equal amount from private sector, said sources.

It may be pointed out that Sam Pitroda, former Chairman of National Knowledge Commission offered an advice.

Prof.Pitroda, while addressing the Task Force meeting said “Let us work out our practical requirement and suggest workable ideas”.

Administrators in higher education feel that suggestions are general in nature and huge funding is needed, which is just lacking in the government system.

Take for example the Task Force has recommended several measures and top of it’s agenda is to separate Plus 2 and Plus 3 colleges.

Now question arises, has the government is in a position to take up this exercise?

At least Rs.3000 crore will be needed to separate the +2 and + 3, said he.

While colleges are closing down one by one subject due to non availability of faculty, how can we implement the recommendations? , asked he.

At least in Government colleges more than 1000 posts of lecturers are vacant and there are lack of teachers to teach science subjects like Chemistry, Biology and even Physics in colleges.

So all those classes are being closed down in colleges as for last 12 years there is no recruitment of lecturers for the government colleges.

This has resulted in recent +2 results as private Science colleges have taken the lead, while students in government colleges performed badly.

Hard fact is that there are no teachers to teach in these government run colleges and students are left at the mercy of coaching centers.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

UGC makes new rules for student-teacher ratio at universities

Note: A good initiative though.
Times of India, May 19, 2010

NEW DELHI: All Central Universities and those deemed to be Universities will need to have at least one teacher for every 10 students for their post-graduate programmes in science and one for every 25 students at the undergraduate level, as per new regulations of the UGC.

The UGC regulations prescribe a varied set of required teacher-student ratio for different streams of studies in addition to laying down strictures that the workload of the teacher should not be less than 40 hours a week for 30 working weeks in an academic year.

The new regulations were adopted on recommendations of a committee led by Prof J A K Tareen, former member of the University Grants Commission and Vice Chancellor Puducherry University.

The committee had said uniform norms for student-teacher ratio were difficult to arrive at as various factors, including enrollment at different levels and specialisations determine them.

For PG programmes, the new regulations make it mandatory for Universities to have at least one teacher for every 10 students for science, and media and mass communication studies, and one teacher for every 15 pupils for humanities, social sciences each as well as for commerce and management.

The Under Graduate programmes will need to have at least one pedagogy for every 15 students in the media and mass communication departments, while the teacher-student ratio should be 1:30 for social sciences and 1:25 for the science stream.

Norms laid down earlier for teachers' workload require 16 hours of direct teaching for lecturers and senior lecturers and 14 hours for readers and professors.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

There is infrastrucutre for tourism in Kalahandi, but no development

Dharitri, May 18, 2010
Note: state Government has recently proposed for development of tourism spots in Western Orissa and Southern Orissa, but none of them had included any spots from Kalahandi-Nuapada.

As R Santha Gopalan leaves, Rupa Mishra becomes collector of Kalahandi

Dharitri, May 18, 2010

When IITs and NITs to venture into other domains to become a real complete University in the line of proposed Central Universities, then why should IIT/NIT, Innovation/central Universtities etc be located in one single location/city rather than exploring another town/city not having any such facilities nearby?

Note: Undivided district in Orissa not having any form of national institution for higher education or research so far are Kalahandi, Boud-Phulbani, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj, whereas Balangir and Sambalpur have institute in the level of polytechnic like Food & Craft Institute and Indian Institute of Handloom Technology respectively. Ganjam is proposed to have IIIT, Koraput has central university, Cuttack has Cetral Rice Institute, Balasore has DRDO Lab, Puri has many including IIT, NISER, IoP, ILS, etc, Dhenkanal has IIMC and MCRGIMSR (MCL Medical College) and Sundergadh has NIT.

IITs to soon venture into other domains
Expressbuzz, May 18, 2010
Sameer Ranjan Bakshi

BANGALORE: The Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) will soon go beyond their traditional domain of technological education. Law, management, social sciences, and even medicine are fields that they will make their foray into.

Very soon, the IITs will offer education in many fields apart from technology and engineering. Talks are on to conduct post graduate programme in medical science in premier IITs.

IIT Hyderabad and PES Bangalore have recently started collaborative biomedical research projects. This will act as a prelude for IIT Hyderabad before starting PG courses in medical sciences.

"The ministry of human resources development is supporting us and we are discussing the modalities and framework of the courses. After a decision is taken in this regard, we will be able to offer PG courses in medical science," said Professor U B Desai, director of IIT Hyderabad.

"We are not only looking into medicine. IIT, Bombay already has Shailesh J Mehta School of Management and IIT Kharagpur has Vinod Gupta School of Management," he said. "We want to expand into management and medicine and give a holistic spectrum of education."

Dr V C Vivekanandan, former dean of Rajiv Gandhi School of Intellectual Property Law, IIT Kharagpur, said, "The law school in IIT Kharagpur started in 2006. The first batch has just passed out. If it is successful, we can replicate it in other IITs."

He added, "Now technology is not standalone. It is related to management and law. A number of senior managers in MNCs have a technical background. So, now almost all IITs have a management school... Similarly, medicine is not separated from technology. Medical technology is in fact the buzzword."

Professor Ranvir Singh, ViceChancellor of National Law School, Delhi University, and president's nominee for selection in IITs, however was a bit skeptical about IITs moving beyond their domain.

He said, "IITs should first ensure that they have adequate number of teachers before venturing into different streams. I don't think there is a problem for management schools in IITs as they have a good interaction with industry. But medicine and law are subjects which they should tread carefully. They must ensure that they maintain the standard and quality in these fields."
Proposal to introduce MBBS course in IITs in jeopardy

ndtv, May 16, 2010

A proposal to allow IITs to start courses in medicine will be delayed with the Law Ministry

sending back a Cabinet note of the HRD Ministry with a recommendation that further discussions were needed on the issue.

The Law Ministry has suggested that the HRD Ministry should discuss the matter further with the Health Ministry, which had earlier disfavoured such a proposal.

The Law Ministry has sent back a Cabinet note of the Ministry of HRD (MHRD) regarding amendment to the IIT Act for incorporating 'Medicine' in it to enable the elite institutes offer courses in that discipline.

"Law Ministry has said further discussion should be conducted with the Health Ministry on the issue of IITs' plan to offer courses in medicine," official sources said.

The MHRD proposes to amend the IIT Act, 1961, to incorporate 'Medicine' in it and include names of eight new IITs under the Act to give them status of statutory bodies.

The amendment of the IIT Act aims to enable the institutes to offer programmes bringing the diverse disciplines of medicine and engineering together.

The IIT Kharagpur has already proposed to start a medical institution in collaboration with Indian Railways and introduce programmes like MBBS, MD, MS and Ph.D.

The MHRD had earlier sought the views of the Health Ministry which opined that establishing medical colleges by the IITs for starting conventional medicine courses would not be advisable.

However, the MHRD rejected the suggestions of Health Ministry and wanted to go ahead with an amendment in IIT Act for the purpose. It moved a Cabinet note for the purpose.

It said the modern trends in medical education and research in technology and medicine in all developed and most of the developing countries are seen going hand-in-hand.

At a meeting of experts organised by the Health Ministry in February this year, it was observed that IITs should start courses on health information technology, biomedical engineering and e-health rather than running a hospital or commencing MBBS courses.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Letter to PM: Fresh look at KBK program laudable


The Honorable Prime Minister, Dr Singh

The President of India, Smt Patil
Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission, Dr Ahluwalia
Chairperson, National Knowledge Commission, and Advisor to PM on Infrastructure, Dr Pitroda
The Chief Minister of Orissa, Mr Patnaik
MPs from Orissa

Dear honorable Prime Minister Dr Singh,
Recalling your promise given to MPs from Orissa, your recent order to carry out a fresh time-bound re-evaluation of the program with special focus on the state of poverty and hunger in KBK region [1-3] is exceedingly inspiring and appreciable.

However, while implementing such program to reduce poverty and hunger, it is highly enviable for a long term sustainable development of the region that can boost the local economy in the foreseen future. As an economist you are certainly well aware that in such circumstance infrastructure development such as irrigation, roads, and railways and boosting the service sector in health and education will be crucial for regional augmentation of KBK.

Unfortunately, progress of major roads, railways and irrigation development as well as establishment of tertiary health institution in the region has been very lethargic due to lack of political willingness and appropriate vision in the ground by state and central Governments.

Take the case of Indravati Irrigation Project which was conceptually visualized during Princely State of Kalahandi, but since independence this project was kept in cold storage till 1978 and by this time Kalahandi became infamous for starvation death! Is not it lack of constructive approach and negligence towards such backward cluster in the nation!

Even after 1978, it took another 20 years to implement it. The project is not yet fully completed. There are many other small, medium and large irrigation projects such as Suktel, Lower Indra, Lower Indravati, Lower Kolab, Upper & Lower Udanti, Upper & Lower Tel barrages projects that need urgent attention in KBK.

Similarly, Lanjigarh road-Junagarh railway line is struggling since past 19 years; so is the case for Balangir-Sonepur-Boudh line since past 16 years (preference has been given towards Khordha – Nayagarh line rather than Balangir – Sonepur line in KBK). Recently surveyed lines connecting bordering and backward districts in KBK such as Kantabanji (Balangir) – Khariara (Nuapada) – Dharamgarh (Kalahandi) – Nabarangpur – Jeypore (Koraput) line and Jeypore (Koraput) – Malkangiri line are yet to start construction work.

The demand for a railway factory in Kalahandi has also not yet been fulfilled [4-6]. Among the undivided Kalahandi, Balangir and Koraput districts, probably Kalahandi is one such district not having any central Government sponsored industry or higher educational institutions despite being located in the central place of all KBK districts.

Beside the progress made by PMGSY roads in the village level, conditions of major roads connecting KBK districts among themselves, with the state capital and other major cities in rest of the country is very pathetic. NH201 which passes through KBK region like a heart line is still in misery conditions which could be made a four line highways.

Other major routes like Nuapada – Sunabeda – Patalganga – Nilji – Sinapalli-Golamunda; Umarkote – Dharamgarh - Baldhiamal, Titilagarh –Sindhekela-Kegaon-Brundabahal; Balangir - Patnagarh – Padampur; Balangir – Sonepur; Rayagada – Kalyasingpur-Karlapat-Junagarh; Umarkote – Nabarangpur -Mukhiguda-Thuamul Rampur – Lanjigarh – Ambadola; Motu – Malkangiri – Jeypore – Rayagada; etc are equally underdeveloped, some of them need to be surveyed and explored to make as major routes that can directly benefit the local economy by reducing the distance in the regional level.

There are no facilities for secondary and tertiary health facilities in the KBK region. Every year hundreds of lives are being lost, especially in Kalahandi and Rayagada regions, due to inadequate health facilities. KBK region consists 30 % of geographical area and 20% of population of Orissa state but it does not have any fully state Government medical college.

Though Kalahandi is a suitable location for whole KBK districts as well as for 12 backward districts, KBK plus other backward adjacent districts such as Kandhamal, Boudh, Gajapati and Bargarh (Padampur sub-division) that are being demanded to be included in KBK, the state Government has located the regional division commissioner, institution and other regional offices for these regions in Berhampur, closer to state capital, for political reasons instead of in Kalahandi. Such political favoritism is costing developmental progress in the ground level of this backward pocket as all parts of KBK is far away from Bhubaneswar and Berhampur.

The gap between KBK and coastal (developed) part of Orissa has increased recently as never before in various developmental initiatives. Cumulous investment for whole KBK region is not even equivalent to that of any single undivided Cuttack or undivided Puri district in industries, educational institution or health. The health facilities of developed part of Orissa has touched a new height through various private and governmental investment [7], however, KBK region which is located remotely and far away from this region has got nothing concrete yet. In the line of North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute for Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) in Shillong a similar institute such as KBK Rajiv Gandhi Regional Institute for Health and Medical Science (KBKRGRIHMS) with 1000 bed Super Specialty Hospital could be established in Kalahandi [8] through special KBK funding.

I sincerely hope you will look into the above matter which will trigger development of KBK in infrastructure & tertiary health and bring sustainable growth in the same spirit like rest of the coastal Orissa and the nation.

Thank you and best regards

Digambara Patra



FE Editorial : KBK puzzle

The Finacial Express, May 18, 2010
The Prime Minister’s reported decision to order a revaluation of the KBK assistance plan, which tried to put in place policies and programmes to remove the barriers to growth in the poorest districts of Orissa, and assess the impact of this package on the ground before committing new resources, is timely. This programme was launched more than a decade and a half ago and focused on drought-proofing and providing livelihood support, connectivity, health and education as per the local priorities. Its success and failures offer valuable lessons to the UPA government that remains committed to spending on the social sector and rural development. The KBK region refers to the three districts of Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput—which were later split up into 8 districts in the highland region of the state comprising 80 blocks, 1,171 gram panchayats and 12,104 villages—and accounts for 30.6% of the geographical area of the state and one-fifth of the population. The long-term action plan, first drawn up for the seven-year period from 1995-96 to 2001-02 and launched by the Prime Minister, by pooling available resources and integrating them scientifically, was later replaced by a revised long-term action plan by pooling the funds and activities of both central and state governments, together spending Rs 6,252 crore between 1998-99 to 2006-07.

A 2007 study shows that the execution of the action plan has led to the construction of 440-seated residential hostels for SC and ST girls, 330 anganwadi centre buildings, 47 veterinary hospitals, 74 livestock aid centres, 14,000 wells, 111 reservoirs and 12 warehouses. Further, 266 line roads have been improved and 407 culverts and 44 bridges have been constructed. To improve farm productivity, 314 watershed projects were taken up, 50,415 acres of land treated, and 23 agro service centres and 58 additional agriculture sale centres set up. In the social sector, the benefits include annual pre-matriculation scholarships to 16,000 girl students, emergency feeding programmes for 2 lakh infirm persons, special nutrition programmes for 9.42 lakh children and the introduction of 90 mobile health units. Despite these gains, the KBK region obviously continues to lag behind the rest of the state in literacy, enrolment rates, agriculture productivity and the social attainments of the SC and ST population. So much more clearly needs to be done. But it is always a good idea to do a thorough evaluation of money spent and outcomes before the government commits more funds to this deprived region....

Proposed medical college by MCL in Talcher will be named as "MCL Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Medical Science and Research" and will start education from 2011

Note: We had similar proposal for KBK region under ministry of Health & Famil Welfare, hope it is heard by the ministry and State Govt. take appropriate initiative.

Samaja, May 17, 2010

AGP demands coach factory instead of wagon factory in Guwahati: Similar demand should come in Orissa for a coach factory in Kalahandi

AGP demands coach factory in city

The Assam Tribune, April 22, 2010

Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, April 21 – In a significant move, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) MP Biren Baishya opposed the budgetary proposal to set up a wagon factory in Guwahati, demanding instead a coach factory.

Participating in the discussion in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, on the Appropriation (Railways) 2010 Bill, Baishya, who is also leader of AGP’s Parliamentary Party, said that the Railway Minister has made announcement to set up a railway wagon factory in Guwahati. But, there should be a coach factory, instead of the wagon factory, he stated.

“It should not be in the mode of public and private partnership (PPP) because the economic conditions of the region are not satisfactory. Assam and the NE region have always been neglected by the government at the Centre,” he alleged.

The region actually needs electrified double railway lines and there should be a separate railway zone in Guwahati for the development of the railways in the region, he said.

The AGP MP though expressed his satisfaction at the proposal to draft a master plan for the NE region. “But the budgetary allocation has not been made for the project,” he said.

The MP further welcomed the declaration to extend concession to the cancer patients of the region.

Baishya further demanded a super fast train between Guwahati and Mumbai, frequently used by the cancer patients. “There is only one train between Guwahati and Mumbai which runs twice a week. We urgently need a super-fast train in the interest of the cancer patients,” he said.

There should be a train for the people of the Northeast who frequently visit the Kamakhya temple and the Kalighat temple. “I welcome the announcement regarding the establishment of a hospital, as well as a sports academy in the region,” he said.

The Railway Minister was further urged to announce a special recruitment policy for the unemployed youth in the region.

Thousands of Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ posts are lying vacant in the NF Railway. “We are all aware of the conditions prevailing in the NE, which is an insurgency-hit region. The region suffers from unemployment and other problems and there are thousands of posts vacant in the NF Railway.

When Lalu Yadav was the Railway Minister, over 200 appointments were made in Group ‘C’ and ‘D’ categories without any interview, without any advertisement. Not a single candidate was there from the Northeast, he alleged.

Seems like ESIC medical college in Rourkela flattening, shifting towards probable medical college by SAIL

Tarun favours R'kl MC, May 16, 2010

Finally it seems Tarun Kanti Mishra has come to the rescue of thousands of citizens’ genuine demand for a Medical College at Rourkela.

Chief Secretary has taken up the issue with the Secretary of the Ministry of Steel.

Citizens were demanding for the ESIC Medical College in the Steel City for more than two years.

However ESIC decided to set up the Medical College here as the State Government offered land on the outskirts of the Capital City.

So people in general and intelligentsia in particular took up the issue at various forums.

Political personalities cutting across party line demanded for the ESIC Medical College at Rourkela.

Peoples’ demand was overlooked and as usual the e-mail petitions coolly disposed off.

While Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has proposed to up grade Bokaro Steel Plants’ hospital to a Medical College, similar move is needed feel, Mr.Mishra.

So the Chief Secretary discussed the matter with Union Secretary Steel to set up a Medical College at Rourkela under the aegis of Ispat General Hospital (IGH).

IGH is an excellent hospital and has lot of facilities along with top medical personnel.

Now the State Government will take up the issue with Chief Minister batting for the same, said sources.

Chief Minister is likely to discuss the issue with Union Minister Steel in this regard, said sources.

DST to sanction handsome grants to science depts

Note: Universities and Autonomous College in Orissa including Govt. Autonomous College Bhawanipatna and Sambalpur University should take advantage of it.

Times of India, May 17, 2010
PATNA: Science teaching and research in Patna University (PU) colleges and postgraduate departments is likely to get a boost soon, thanks to the benevolence of the department of science and technology (DST), government of India.

The DST has agreed to sanction handsome grants to science departments of different colleges and universities for strengthening their infrastructure, including laboratories.

A high-level team of DST, led by its secretary, visited Bihar recently and interacted with the vice-chancellors and other senior officials of all the universities in the state in this connection.

The team advised the universities to assess their requirements properly and submit the same to the DST. The team also announced that a Task Force headed by Hyderabad-based Central University VC S Hasnain will be visiting different universities of the state soon to make an on-the-spot assessment of their requirements. As proposed, as many as 60 selected colleges of the state would be getting Rs 50 lakh each and each university would be getting Rs 1.5 crore for strengthening their science departments. The objective behind this out of turn funding by DST is to accelerate research activities in science departments.

PU vice-chancellor Shyam Lal has directed the principals of colleges and heads of science departments to prepare a comprehensive plan for the development and augmentation of their science laboratories so that the same could be submitted to the Task Force during its visit. The departments must justify the requirements of equipment needed for their labs. A meeting of the principals and heads was held under the chairmanship of the VC here on Saturday to discuss the issue in detail. PU science faculty dean Arun Kumar Sinha also attended.

DST advisor Arvind Mitra told TOI that the state universities must take maximum benefits of various schemes of the DST. There is no dearth of funds for research activities. A single science department may get funds up to Rs five crore for strengthening research activities. Besides, the DST has also launched a number of schemes with a view to attracting talents to higher education and research in science subjects.

Postgraduate students can get scholarship up to Rs 1 lakh and the postgraduate toppers are getting fellowship for carrying out research. As many as 50 research scholars would be sent to the US for a period ranging between one and three months for studying in American universities, Mitra added.

Panel to consider demands for HC benches: Moily

The Hindu, May 17, 2010
Amid growing clamour for setting up High Court benches in various states, the Government has decided to form a one—man committee to look into the issue.

“We have decided to form a one—man committee to look into demands for setting up High Court benches,” Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily said here.

A former Chief Justice of India would be entrusted with the task and the Law Ministry would move the Union Cabinet shortly for its nod to set up the committee.

Sources said former CJI Justice A. M. Ahmadi is a frontrunner for the post. But Mr. Moily said no name has been decided so far. “It is too early to comment,” he said.

Mr. Moily said as of now, unless the Chief Justice of the High Court agrees, the government cannot consider any request to set up a high court bench in any state.

He was referring to a Supreme Court judgement which said any decision on establishing new benches in any state has to be approved by the Chief Justice of particular High Court.

There has been a demand from several quarters to set up benches of high courts in various states so that the cases pending before the respective high courts can be heard at a faster rate.

In the 1980s, Justice Jaswant Singh Commission was set up to fix the yardsticks for setting up new High Court benches.

The yardsticks included population of the area and the distance of the proposed bench from the principal bench.

Kerala has been demanding setting up a bench of the High Court in capital Thiruvananthapuram. The state government has insisted that the capital should have a bench as sending officials to Kochi was a costly affair.

Similar demands have been aired by lawyers from western Uttar Pradesh who want benches of the Allahabad High Court to come up at Agra and Muzzaffarnagar.

Lawyers from Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court have opposed creation of a new bench fearing loss of clientele.

Lawyers and politicians have demanded benches of the Rajasthan High Court in Bikaner. Similar demands have come from Orissa for a Sambalpur bench.

“It is also necessary that the work of the High Courts is decentralised, that is, more benches are established in all states. If there is manifold increase in the strength of the judges and the staff, all cannot be housed in one campus.

Therefore, establishment of new benches is necessary....” an August, 2009 Law Commission report on judicial reforms had said.

The report had said new benches would also help save time of litigants who have to travel to other cities.

PM orders fresh look at KBK aid

Indian Express, May 17, 2010
By PranabDhalSamanta

Unimpressed by the progress made under the well-known KBK assistance plan, where over Rs 1,600 crore has been spent over the last decade, a concerned Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has asked the Planning Commission to immediately carry out a fresh time-bound re-evaluation of the programme with special focus on the state of poverty and hunger.

The Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput region of Orissa, which has over the years been divided into eight districts, including the Naxal-affected district of Malkangiri, had come in for sharp focus many years back for starvation deaths largely caused by extreme poverty.

The widely documented condition of people in the area became a source of major embarrassment for the country, which provoked the government to chart out a special assistance package for the KBK districts to be directly monitored by the Planning Commission.

Despite these efforts, the Suresh Tendulkar Committee has noted that Orissa has the highest poverty rate of 60 per cent among all the states. And within Orissa, people in these eight districts have clearly continued to remain under the poverty line. This, sources said, flies in the face of Planning Commission reports which have indicated improvements in social and health indicators.
The Prime Minister’s Office now says that these indicators do not reflect the actual state of poverty in the area. It wants the Planning Commission to undertake a fresh study on the specific parameters for which the assistance package was drawn up that would give an idea of how the per capita income levels of those living in the area have changed.

On paper, according to the Planning Commission, most schemes seem to be doing well going by the utility of funds. In fact, the Rajiv Gandhi Vidyutikaran Yojna is the only programme that is said to be not performing that well, particularly in Malkangiri district.

But the issue raised by the PMO is that these schemes along with NREGA, PMGSY and NRHM are being implemented separately, which should not be confused with the KBK assistance programme that was directed specifically at lifting people from poverty and hunger in the region.

The Planning Commission is learnt to have started to get its act together as there is also a demand from the State to double allocation under KBK to Rs 500 crore per year. The PMO is of the view that it is first important to assess the impact this package is making on the ground. With the overall situation not showing improvement, sources said, the programme may have to even be revisited.

BSNL cell phone service goes for a toss in Khariar

The Pioneer, May 17, 2010
Biswajit Padhi, Khariar

The BSNL services goes for a spin in this Chhattisgarh-bordering district once the WESCO authorities go for their mandatory load restrictions twice a day.

When the competitor private service providers make more than Rs 10 lakh per minute per tower, the BSNL chooses to lose revenue by its inability to buy diesel to run gensets.

Efforts by this scribe to contact the Bhawanipatna Telecom District Manager (06670232899), under whose jurisdiction this district comes, was busy and was unable to come on the line when an answer was sought from him.

The Nuapada telecom SDO (06678223599) was also not available for comments as the phone is generally never picked up.

Meanwhile, the Junior Engineer here admitted that they do not have adequate supply of diesel to run the gensets during the load restrictions.

“I have sent an indent for purchasing diesel to the Nuapada Telecom SDO and pending sanctions for which we are unable to start the generator during power restrictions for which the mobile service goes for a toss in Khariar,” the JE said.

Inquires by this scribe reveals that the mobile towers at Komna, Tarbod, Budhi Komna and Boden are without a statutory generator when there are more frequent power break downs in the remote areas of the district.

“We are forced to switch to more expensive private service providers because of this hide and seek game of the BSNL,” confided an electronic mediaperson Mayadhar Saraff, adding the Bhawanipatna TDM does not respond to complaints of this district despite under his jurisdiction whereas he only responds to the people of Kalahandi.

Staffs under conditions of anonymity said that they are unable to handle frequent break downs which is beyond their jurisdiction as most mobile operations are centrally controlled by the TDE’s office at Bhawanipatna.

Most importantly, large scale corruption in the laying of Optical Fibre Cables (OFC) is the major reason of the failure.

Sources within the department admit that, all OFC cables are supposed to be laid at least five-foot below the ground whereas most of the cables are laid around two-foot below the ground.

Since all major roads are under construction in and around Nuapada and Bhawanipatna, the excavators employed by the road builders damage the cable, sources informed. Interestingly, Bharati Telecom, which provides AIRTEL services has also laid OFC cables below the ground , but we experience problems only with the BSNL authorities said an exasperated consumer Pabitra Pradhan.

Such is the plight, now BSNL has OFC hanging from trees in most part of the district, added Pradhan.

The broadband connections also fail due to frequent cable damage. Though they provide limited broadband service, the BSNL has never given a rebate in the bill, fumed Lohitaksya, a consumer.

Kalahandi MP Nuapada district representative Gobaradhan Suna has demanded a high-level probe into the corruption in the laying of cables in Nuapada district.

Suna has also appealed to the BSNL authorities to provide alternative route incase of failure in one line so that consumers can get uninterrupted service.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Meeting on Rail Wagon Factory in Odisha at Chapatkhanda of Narla Block

Information provided in Kalahandia yahoo group.
A meeting was held on 13th may 2010 at B.R.C Narla to discuss about Rail Wagon Factory in Odisha at Chapatkhanda of Narla. A committee was made constituting twelve members including 1 President, 5 Vice President, 1 General Secretary, 4 Joint Secretaries and a Cashier.

President- Sri Bishnu Gahir
Vice-President- Sri Rajendra Prasad Chand
Sri Khirabdi Sahu
Sri Jayachandra Majhi
Sri Debendra Sa
Sri Benudhar Bhoi

General Secretary- Sri Santosh Kumar Kar
Cashier- Sri Badriprasad Mishra
Co-Ordinator- Sri Debideba Sharma

The committee decided to make a signature campaign of about 10000 people with in seven days. Then a memorandum will be given to the Chief Minister with those signatures. Then a committee will meet the CM with this matter.

With best regards

Santosh Kumar Kar

General Secretary
Chapatkhanda “Rail Daba Nirmana“ Committee.
Po: Narla Road
Kalahandi, 766110

Railway Wagon Factory an oppertunity for Kalahandi: Meeting in Narla for presenting the demand

Sambad, May 9, 2010
(Thanks to Shri Santosh Kar for sharing this)

Orissa signs deal with C-DAC for implementation of 3rd phase Telemedicine network, May 15, 2010
Report by Orissadiary bureau; Bhubaneswar: The Orissa government on Friday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) for implementation of third phase of Odisha Telemedicine Network.

Present on the occasion, health and family welfare minister Prasanna Acharya said that the new medical technology telemedicine has benefited 2,306 patients who suffered from major illness in first and second phase of the network.

These patients took Tele-Follow Up services offered by Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS), Lucknow and AIIMS, New Delhi through Government Medical College Hospitals of Odisha. Similarly, 269 patients with complicated health problems have been benefited by availing super-specialist care from SCB Medical College Hospital during last two years.

In fact, telemedicine has been extremely beneficial to poor people who suffer from serious diseases, Acharya said, hoping that the third phase would help poor people in the same way.

Informing about the success of Odisha Health Network, Health Secretary Anu said its first phase started in 2003 and it was connected to three Government Medical Colleges of the State. But in the second phase that started in 2007, the network expanded to all the district hospitals of six districts- Koraput, Bhawanipatna, Baripada, Rayagada, sundergarh and Capital Hospital of Bhubaneswar.

Poverty-stricken KBK to get Rs 490 crore in 2010-11

Hindustantimes, May 16, 2010
The Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput region in Orissa, popularly known as KBK, where starvation deaths, baby sale and famines are rampant, will get a special assistance of Rs 490 crore in the current financial year which is nearly double the amount allocated previously by the Centre.

While the eight districts of the KBK will get Rs 250 crore under the revised Long Term Action Plan, Rs 120 crore will flow to the region under the Backward Region Grant Fund as central assistance, a senior official of the planning and coordination department said.

Another Rs 120 crore would be spent in the region under the Biju KBK Yojana, he said adding the backward districts would also get regular allocations made under the state budget.

The grinding poverty in the KBK had attracted personal attention of prime ministers down the years.

Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and Narasimha Rao had personally visited the region and were instrumental in launching special schemes like the Long Term Action Plan in 1998 and 2002-03.

However, despite the existence of various special poverty alleviation schemes the region has ended up receiving only Rs 1833 crore in a span of 12 years from 1998 to 2009-10, Orissa planning and cooridination minister A U Singhdeo said.

Power distribution firms ignoring Govt orders: Bhupinder

The Pioneer, May 14, 2010
PNS, Bhubaneswar

The leader of Opposition in the State Legislative Assembly Bhupinder Singh said on Wednesday the State Government’s announcement of stopping of power cuts across the State is nothing but a farce.

Singh said after he read in the newspapers about the stopping of power cuts, he came to know that power cuts are not only still on in Kalahandi, Nuapada, Koraput, Balasore, Mayurbhanj and every other district but the time frame has increased. On Wednesday there was a power cut of one hour in the MLA Colony in the city. The people in Titlagarh after being fed up with the excessive power cuts torched the WESCO office.

Similarly, people of Kalahandi district after being irritated with the frequent power cuts blocked the National Highway 201 on Tuesday night. He further said that there is a feeling that to supply uninterrupted power to the industries the State Government had announced power cuts. He alleged that due to the Government’s inefficiency and incompetence the power distribution companies are ignoring its orders or suggestions.

Locals block road to protest power cuts in B’patna

The Pioneer, May 14, 2010
Pioneer News Service, Bhawanipatna

Hundreds of locals on Tuesday night jammed the main street at Pipal Nalah and shouted slogan against the electricity department officials demanding their arrest for defying written assurances given to the district administration for the unscheduled power cuts in the town.

It was reported earlier that the town remained closed for three days last week for unscheduled power cuts after which the Superintendent Engineer and Executive Engineer of Power Supply Department had given a written assurance to the ADM. Later, the Kalahandi Merchant Association and steering committee had called off the strike.

The power failure again began after the strike was called off and the power supply was disrupted totally on Monday night. The residents came out from their homes and tried to contact the junior engineer, SDO, and executive engineer and failed to communicate with them as their mobiles remained switched off.

The stir again began on Tuesday evening and hundreds of vehicles were stranded due to the road blockade. The agitated people also shouted slogans against Kalahandi MP and Bhawanipatna MLA demanding their resignation.
On Wednesday when a meeting on natural calamity was going on at the Collectorate where Kalahandi MP Bhakta Das was attending the meeting the agitated locals went inside the meeting hall and demanded to resolve the issue immediately. The MP tried to pacify the locals but they did not listen to him, later it was decided to limit the power cuts to two and half hour.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dark Kalahandi Part II: Unofficial power cuts in Kalahandi

By Capt R. Senapati
As usual (see attachment) after the day long ordeal suffered by already electrically harrassed public, people in AC rooms rushed in to take credit. But alas, in utter disregard to their efforts, today we still had, legal/illegal, 6 hours of life without electricity. Why could not these people in big chairs think of these actions beforehand? Is it traditional for them to let a problem occur, wait and watch for it to brew and then make a show of trying to solve it?

It's time the authorities understood that no one cares for them two hoot if they are not with their own people. The Government, The Wesco and The Gridco people very well understand that the local leaders lack substance. So, do anything you want, It's a "Free for all" district.

The New Indian Express, May 13, 2010
(contributed by Capt R Senapati)

Mumbai varsity to offer credits system: Orissa universities should follow it

Mumbai varsity to offer credits system
Times of India, May 13, 2010
MUMBAI: Studying economics along with law or maths in tandem with music will now be possible at the University of Mumbai.

In a watershed move, the faculty of the university's three largest streams—arts, science and commerce—have approved a choice-based credit and semester system at the undergraduate and post-graduate level from this June. The three proposals will now move up to the academic council, and will be tabled later before the management council for official sanctions.

The credit system, followed for aeons in universities around the world, takes into account a student's performance throughout the entire duration of the course, unlike now, where only his/her final exam scores get recorded. Also, credits are given for the number of hours a student attends class, thus keeping a check on attendance. Hence, credit is defined in terms of hours, and students are evaluated based on classroom tests and final semester exams.

Each of the three-year-long courses will now be sliced into six semesters, two semesters making up a year. Eventually, the cumulative of each semester's average will make up the final score (see credit calculator). Examinations will have two components: a written examination at the end of each semester and a host of classroom-level tests, where teachers will conduct internal continuous assessment in the form of surprises tests, quizzes, written assignments or fieldwork. This will allow flexibility to faculty members and ensure that a student is up to date with course work.

"The credit system will ensure that students attend class to earn their credits.

The final graduation marksheet will reflect what the student has picked up in the entire three-year course. Classroom tests and presentations will empower teachers and will cut down students' stress levels too," said Parvathi Venkatesh, dean of faculty, arts.

Internally, the university will continue assessing students in marks, but these scores will be converted to grades (quality) points. For example, a student scoring between 70 and 80 will have a quality point of 8.

The maximum quality point is 10 (scores between 90 and 100) and minimum is 0 (scores less than 40).

Siddheshwar Gadade, dean of the faculty of commerce, said the university would not be able to immediately allow students to take up courses across different streams.

"Hence we have merely woven the credit system into the existing structure," he explained. "But once the system is well oiled and functioning smoothly, we will allow students to move across streams—eventually, our system will provide the flexibility to study commerce with chemistry or even history."

S B Patil, dean of science, said, "The new system will enable a science student to take up psychology if he wants and complete his credits. If a student wants to move to another university or institute, his/her credits will be transferred." He added that continuous assessment, open book tests and other progressive developments in colleges and university departments would follow soon.

The originating point of the credit system was in 2008 when the University Grants Commission directed all vice-chancellors to adopt the semester system, introduce academic reforms and go in for the choice-based credit system (CBCS). While drawing up the fund allocation under the 11th Plan Statement, the UGC had stated that grants would be directly proportional to the implementation of the academic and administrative reforms suggested by it.

When varsities in Maharashtra did not act upon the directive, the state government rapped them and linked their annual grants to the implementation of CBCS. Now other state universities are to follow suit and usher in the academic reforms from either the coming academic session or the next one.

According to the UGC, close to 70 universities have so far agreed to adopt the new system—several central and state varsities have already implemented CBCS. Currently, the UGC give grants to 180 universities across India.

"The semester system will hopefully end the tried-and-tested method of selective cramming just in time for the final exams," said a former vice-chancellor. Mumbai University will be expected to conduct exams more frequently so that students can take them as and when they want to.

Once the university councils okay the proposals, the varsity will conduct workshops for college heads and teachers so that the implementation process is smooth.

Centre wants large flood control proposals from State

The Pioneer, May 13, 2010
Pioneer News Service, Bhubaneswar

In a meeting with Union Minister for Water Resources Pawan Kumar Bansal in New Delhi on Wednesday, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik discussed various proposals relating to development of water resources in the State.

Patnaik informed the Union Minister that Odisha, during the recent years, has made serious efforts for enhancing irrigation potential and controlling floods. He pointed out that recurrent floods and drought occurring in the State almost every year, cause heavy losses and seriously dent the ongoing development process.

Patnaik appreciated the support extended by the Union Ministry for various ongoing schemes like the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme, Flood Management Programme and Minor Irrigation Projects and stressed that increased resources for strengthening the irrigation system needs substantial network and flood control measures.

The Chief Minister requested the Union Minister to expedite sanction in respect of the technical clearance for the left canal system of the Upper Indravati Project and Brahmani Birupa Kelua Doab Project pending the environmental clearance by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.

Bansal appreciated the progress achieved by the State under the ongoing Centrally-sponsored irrigation and flood control programmes and assured that the proposals of the State would be considered and approved on priority.

The Union Minister for Water Resources advised the State to take full advantage of the Flood Management Programme by formulating large project proposals on an integrated basis and make adequate provision in the State Budget during 2010-11 to take up new Minor Irrigation Projects.

The Dark Kalahandi: Opinion by Capt R Senapati

Bhawanipatna, May 12, 2010

Someone rightly has named it Kalahandi. Yesterday the CM declared no more power cut in the state, yet there is timely light out in Kalahandi. Please someone tell me - Is Kalahandi not a part of Orissa?

The Grid agreed that there will be only 2&half hours power cut and since this morning there is more than 3 hours power cut with atleast in total 1 hour failure. Last night there was a 'Rasta Roko' in Bhawanipatna protesting the inhumane power cut and random power failures. This morning there was a demonstartion where the Electricity department official was made to walk with the public. It was heard some other officials saying this as improper.

What is proper then? Begging for electricity as alms for decades together and getting step brother's behaviour in return is proper? The people of Kalahandi have been approaching for years with all decent procedures. The authority has left them with no more options but to show resentment.

Our Political leaders have never done anything so far in fields of Water & Electricity. Power cut & Power failure together sometimes totals to 6-7 hours of suffering in a day. Yet none of the NETAs come out to do anything. Is it expected of a common man to come out everytime and fight for himself? They have chosen the MLAs & the MPs for this job who don't seem to be doing their duty. Are they waiting for the public to go kneeling down to them and beg?

I don't much know about politics and other things, but I think if the leaders still keep sleeping and things are made to be sorted out by the public then in coming days frequent law and order problem may become a common thing. Life in Kalahandi may not be as pleasing as it seems to be.

I would like readers to give their opinion on this.
Regards - Capt R Senapati

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Conflicting report about Indira Gandhi National Tribal University campus: Orissa CM does not favor Kalahandi at all

Note: As per the information provided to Prof. Gopa Bandhu Behera there was a meeting towards the end of April (probably April 22, 2010) in Amarkantak/Bhopal favoring for a campus of IGNTU Amarkantak in Kalahandi, however, following news report says for similar campus in Phulbani. It seems as usual Orissa Chief Minister is not in favor of Kalahandi for any central Government institution.

Naveen demands special tag for KBK, May 11, 2010
New Delhi:11/May/2010

Naveen Patnaik has renewed his demand for a Special Category Status for the state in a different way.

Odisha Chief Minister asked Kapil Sibal to accord ‘Special Category Status’ for 11 districts included in the KBK region and Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected Areas for the Schemes of Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD).

Mr.Patnaik and Union Minister for HRD held one-to-one discussion here on 11 May on various developmental issue on HRD Sector.

It came to light that the Union Government has favored for the establishment of a Regional Centre of Indira Gandhi National Tribal University (IGNTU) in Odisha.

This was also revealed by Mr.Sibal that Centre has recommended the proposal of the State Government to IGNTU for a Regional Centre at Phulbani.

Mr.Patnaik reminded Union Minister HRD that Odisha is yet to get World Class University declared by MHRD in 2008, after lapse of 2 years.

Mr.Sibal said that now World Class University is rephrased as “Innovation University” and is under active consideration of the Union Government.

In the meeting Mr.Patnaik, discussed various issues of concern for the development of ‘Human Resource’ in the State, particularly in the context of Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RCFCE) Act 2009, Vocational Training and Higher Education.

Chief Minister informed the Union Minister that Orissa, during recent years, has made concerted efforts for improving the educational infrastructure at all levels and for enhancing the technical skills and capabilities of its human resource, with the objective to sustain the development and industrialization process in the State.

He appreciated the support extended by the Union Ministry and emphasized that the magnitude of the task faced by the State has suddenly increased manifold primarily on account of RCFCE Act and the additional requirement of trained and technically qualified manpower necessitated by the on-going industrialization process.

Chief Minister impressed upon the Union Minister that about half of the State is covered by KBK Region and Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected areas, which have extremely high concentration of the vulnerable population including SCs & STs and the problem is accentuated by the fact that this vulnerable population is dispersed in scattered remote villages.

He emphasized that vulnerable population in these areas require some serious special efforts and there is therefore a strong and justified need to treat KBK/LWE area in the State at par with North Eastern States and other Hill States, for the purpose of all Schemes of MHRD.

Chief Minister requested the Union Minister to consider and approve following specific requests of the State, on priority:

Approve Central-State share in the ratio of 90:10 to implement the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RCFCE) Act 2009 at least for two plan periods

Sanction all ‘school buildings’ and ‘additional class rooms’ as per the requirement of RCFCE Act during 2010-11.

Consider allotting 1/3rd Central share as envisaged under the Scheme for new colleges for up-gradation of existing colleges in 18 low Gross Enrolment Ratio(GER) districts as part of the Model College Scheme

Provide assistance for upgrading Model Degree Colleges in Districts having low Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in higher education

Sanction new Vocational Junior Colleges and strengthen existing Vocational Colleges

Union Minister appreciated the efforts being made by the State to develop its human resource and for efficiently utilizing the Central Government funds.

Mr.Sibal informed that the Union Government was in the process to finalize the arrangement of sharing of funds required to enforce Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (RCFCE) Act 2009.

He assured that efforts will be made to minimize the burden on the State.

He advised that the State should take advantage of the Central Scheme for setting up new Degree Colleges in 18 Low Gross Enrolment Ratio Districts.

For developing playgrounds, Union Minister appreciated the suggestion of the State and assured to take up the matter with Ministry of Rural Development to include these under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

Orissa initiates process for bidding for eight projects

PTInews, May 11, 2010
Bhubaneswar, May 11 (PTI) Unable to construct major roads in Maoist-affected areas for long due to threat by extremists, Orissa government today initiated the process for inviting national bidding for eight projects at an investment of Rs 560 crore following Centre's promise of help.

"The process has started for national competitive bidding for starting of construction of eight important roads spread over five Maoist-affected districts," state works secretary S K Ray said here.

The projects would be implemented on a fast track basis as the state government has set the target of completing the construction of the long awaited roads within a year, he said.

Rs 560 crore would be spent on constructing the 475-km long roads to improve connectivity in Malkangiri, Rayagada, Gajapati, Deogarh and Sambalpur districts, he said adding that a small stretch of road would also pass through the tribal- dominated Kalahandi district.

Rs 560 cr for 8 roads in Maoists-hit dists

The Pioneer, May 12, 2010
PNS, Bhubaneswar

The Centre has sanctioned Rs 560 crore to take up eight road projects in the Maoist-hit five districts of the State. “Considering the demands of State Government to construct roads in Maoists- affected districts, the Union Government has sanctioned the roads,” said works secretary Subhendu Ray here on Tuesday, adding that that the tender process has already started for these projects. The five districts include Malkanagiri, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Deogarh and Gajapati.

Among the sanctioned roads, while 102 km long Paralkhemundi-Mohana would be constructed at a cost of Rs 140 crore, Rs 120 crore would be spent on 80 km long JKPur-Muniguda Road.

Similarly 62 km long Gunupur- Andhra Pradesh border road would be built at cost of Rs 88 crore, 94 km long Govindapali-Sileru road at a cost of Rs 51 crore, 39 km long Sindurpanka- Samarsingha road to be build at a cost of Rs 63 crore, 33 km long Bhawanipatana-Gunupur- Kashipur- Gurukunda road to be built at a cost of Rs 55 crore, 25 km long Kalimela junction-Gaighutel road at a cost of Rs 40 crore and 40 km long Malkanagiri- Kalimela road to be built at a cost of Rs 62 crore.

Ray further informed that the Centre has already sanctioned a number of roads in 33 Maoists affected districts of the Country which includes five districts of Odisha.

Vedanta SPV takes up development, May 11, 2010

Mukesh Kumar is now busy in pro-people activities.

So the Director, Lanjigarh Project Area Development Foundation (LPADF) laid the foundation stone for construction of a high level bridge over River Banshadhara on 11 May.

The long-awaited bridge is being constructed by LPDAF, a special purpose vehicle promoted by the Government of Odisha, Odisha Mining Corporation and Sterlite Industries.

Sridhar Pesnia, Ex-Vice-Chairman, Lanjigarh, Chandradhwaja Pesnia, Ex-Sarpanch, Lanjigarh, Trinath Mahakud and Bibhuti Bhushan Kumar were also present during the occasion.

The project worth Rs. 66 lakhs will connect Lanjigarh with Jagannathpur and other tribal villages in the locality.

This development has been embraced with joy by the people of the area, as this will go a long way in improving the lives of the people in the locality by facilitating communication, said a local youth.

"This was a long-standing demand for people of Lanjigarh. We welcome LPADF for taking up this project, which will connect Lanjigarh with K.Singhpur and Rayagada," said Mr. Pesnia.

Addressing the gathering, Dr. Mukesh Kumar, Director, LPADF from Sterlite Industries said, “the Bridge is very important for connecting tribal villages with Lanjigarh and this would be completed by August 2010”.

The LPADF, he informed, has lined up several development projects in the areas of health, education and infrastructure for development of Lanjigarh area.

LPDAF is a special purpose vehicle formed, as per Supreme Court’s Order .

The LPADF would dedicatedly take up development project in 50 km radius around Vedanta Alumina Refinery Project at Lanjigarh.

Sterlite Industries will deposit 5 per cent of the profit or Rs. 10 Crore - whichever is higher - from the project for local area development with this SPV.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Western Orissa Development Council: where is it moving?

Samaja, May 11, 2010 (image shared by Dr Sanib Kumar Karmee)
The review rasied 59 under developed blocks in Western Orissa compared to 8 in Coastal Orissa. It also raises why Ganjam is considered in South Orissa despite being a Coastal Orissa district.

Procurement of paddy reduces

(shared by Dr Sanjib Kumar Karmee)

Samaja, May 11, 2010

Western Orissa is boiling

Shared by Dr Sanjib Kumar Karmee
Samaja, May 11, 2010