Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Public funded and PPP institutions and establishments in Odisha

Note: Undivided Kalahandi, Undivided Koraput and Undivided Boudh-Phulbani were only districts not having any state and/or central Govt higher/technical institutions till 2008, whereas most of the undivided districts had multiple institutions, Orissa has not equally even disitributed in the undivided disitrct level (which is 13). Going back to divided district level (which is 30) again KBK and Western Orissa districts are more sufferer, for example Govt. has made efforts for Gajapati, Puri/Khordha, etc before even establishing any institution in undivided Boudh-Phulbani. Similarly higher education task force has recommneded at least a University campus along with Govt. college in all the divided district in costal Orissa including Gajapati, but Nuapada, Nabarangpur, Boudh, Bargarh, Malkangiri, Jharsuguda, Sonepur and Deogarh are missing for any such campus except Govt. college. The task force has also mentioned to have at least one PPP or Govt. medical college in the undivided district level whereas medical college, University and special instituion are being recommneded in Gajapati, part of undivided Ganjam having medical college, University and engineering institute. Our argument is simple, if the state Govt could afford 30, then establish in all the 30 districts, if it can't then establish in at least 13 undivided district. One logical approach would be to make 13 University and medical college in each undivded district whereras all those divided districts not having Universties should get university campuses and nursing/phamacy colleges. Undivided/divided district that already have these facilties should not need to have establish or upgrade new one. As you can see from the list below now the focus has to shift to other undivided district and after that divided district level.


Undivided Ganjam, Puri and Cuttack districts together (39-40 % population and less than 30% area)


Before Naveen Babu’s term

Solely Public Funding

  • Utkal University Bhubaneswar
  • Sri Jagganath Sankrit University Puri
  • Utkal University of Culture Bhubaneswar
  • OUAT Bhubaneswar
  • CET Bhubaneswar
  • Institute of Physics Bhubaneswar
  • Central Rice Research Institute Cuttack
  • Regional Medical Research Centre Bhubaneswar
  • Institute of Matallury (formerly Regional Research Laboratory)
  • Central Institute of Fresh Water Aquaculture Bhubaneswar
  • Central Institute of Plastic and Engineering Technology Bhubaneswar
  • National Research Center for Women in Agriculture, Bhubaneswar
  • Central Tuber Crops Research Institute Regional Centre Bhubaneswar
  • National Institute of Rehabilitation Training and Research, Olatpur, Cuttack
  • ICAR institutes
  • Dr.Avirna Chandra Homeopathy Medical College & Hospital, Bhubaneswar
  • SCB Medical College Cuttack
  • Phamacy College Cuttack (under SCB medical college)
  • School of Nursing, Cuttack (under SCB medical college)
  • School of Nursing, Berhampur (under MKCG medical college)
  • Berhampur University
  • MKCG Medical College
  • Fishery College Rangeilunda Berhampur
  • Gopabandu Ayurved Mahavidyalay Puri
  • Kaviraj Ananta Tripathy Sharma Ayurveda College, Akuspur, Berhanpur, Ganjam
  • Biju Pattnaik Homeopathy Medical College & Hospital, Berhampur
  • Women Polytechnic Berhampur
Public Sector Establishments
  • Mancheswar Rail Coach Repair Unit (newly added)
  • STPI Bhubaneswar
  • Paradeep Port
  • Bhubaneswar Airport
  • State Capital at Bhubaneswar
  • Regional station (RDCs) at Bhubaneswar
  • Regional station (RDCs) at Berhampur
  • High Court at Cuttack
After Naveen Babu’s term

Solely Public Funding

  • NISER Bhubaneswar (800 crore)
  • IIIT Bhubaneswar (100 crore)
  • IIT Bhubaneswar (700 crore)
  • World Class Central University (800 crore)
  • Ravenshaw University Cuttack (100 crore)
  • National Law University Cuttack
  • Orissa Open University Bhubaneswar (under proposal)
  • Capital Medical College Bhubaneswar (fully state Govt.)
  • AIIMS (700 crore)
  • NIFT Bhubaneswar
  • NIA Bhubaneswar (proposed)
  • National Research Centre on Foot and Mouth Disease, Bhubaneswar
  • Institute of Life Sciences Bhubaneswar
  • Biju Patnaik National Institute of Steel Puri
  • Parala Engineering College Berhampur
  • IIIT Berhampur (site already identified)
  • 40 crore budget for Berhampur University
  • ESIC Medical College Bhubaneswar
  • Railway Medical College Bhubaneswar (proposed)
  • Institute of Material Science Bhubaneswar
  • Up gradation of SCB Dental College Cuttack
  • Up gradation to Khalikote University (CM has announced about the proposal)
  • SCB Medical up gradation to University (under proposal)
  • MKCG Medical College to University (under proposal)
  • Institute of Mathematics and Application Bhubaneswar
  • Flying Training Institute Rangeilunda Berhampur
  • Marine Institute (proposed)
  • Branch of BPUT functioning at Bhubaneswar
  • IIPH (proposed)
    • Excluding 80 or more engineering, management or medical institutions
    • Excluding private one like LV Prasad, Appolo, KIMS, HighTech, IMS, and many others
    • Excluding private parties like Vedanta Univ Puri, XIMB University Puri, Sri Sri Ravishankar University, Centurion University and other proposals
PPP

  • Medical College in Jagatpur or Naraj under PPP (under proposal)
Public Sector Establishments
  • Paradeep Refinery and Petrochemicals by IOC in Paradeep
  • Second Software Technology Park in Bhubaneswar
  • Soft Ware Tachnology Park in Berhampur
  • Thermal Plant in Sakhigopal by NTPC
  • Wagon Factory in Berhampur by Railway Ministry
  • East Coast Railway Zone Bhubaneswar
  • World Class Railway Stations at Bhubaneswar
  • World Class Railway Stations at Puri
  • International Airport Bhubaneswar (under proposal)

Rest of Orissa together (above 60% population and above 70 % area)

Before Naveen Babu’s term

Solely Public Funding

  • Sambalpur University
  • VSS Medical College Burla
  • School of Nursing Burla (under VSS medical college)
  • UCE Burla
  • Orissa Medical College of Homeopathy & Research, Sambalpur
  • Agriculture College Chiplima Sambalpur
  • Utkalmani Homeopathy Medical College & Hospital, Rourkela
  • NIT Rourkela
  • Indira Gandhi Institute of Technology Saarang, Dhenkanal
  • Indian Institute of Mass Communication Dhenkanal
  • Govt Ayurvedic College Balangir
  • Institute of Food and Craft Titilagarh, Balangir (polytechnic but may get upgrade to hotel management)
  • North Orissa University Baripada
  • Fakir Mohan University Balasore
  • ISRO Balasore (includes Proof and Experimental Establishment)
  • Orissa School of Mining Keonjhar (polytechnic)
Public Sector Establishments

  • SAIL Rourkela
  • MCL, Sambalpur
  • NACLO Damanjodi, Koraput
  • HAL Sunabeda, Koraput
  • NTPC Talcher, Angul
  • NALCO, Angul
  • DRDO, Balasore
  • Ordinance Factory Balangir
  • Regional station (RDCs) at Sambalpur

After Naveen Babu’s term

Solely Public Funding
  • Central University Koraput (800 crore)
  • Govt. Engineering College Kalahandi (10-20 crore, part of the money comes from VAL’s local development program to construct hostel, similarly a BSc Science college and an International School by Vedanta in Lanjigarh comes under Lanjigarh development project as per Supreme Court ruling which are private investments like hundreds of college and schools coming in other parts of the state)
  • Agriculture College Bhawanipatna (10 crore) under OUAT
  • College of Horticulture Chiplima, Sambalpur under OUAT
  • VSSUT Burla (10-20 crore)
  • SU-IIIT (Self financed course where state Govt contributes 10 crore)
  • Up gradation of VSS Medical College (proposal)
  • BPUT Rourkela\
  • ESIC Dental and Nursing College (under proposal)
  • Medical College in Talcher, Angul
  • NTPC Power Management Institute, probable location Angul or Dhenkanal
  • NTPC Medical College, probable location Angul or Dhenkanal
  • Up gradation of Orissa School of Mining to degree college, Keonjhar
  • Advanced Plastic Research Centre Balasore
  • Atronaut Training Centre, Balasore (proposed)
  • Upgradation of IFC to Hotel Management Institute in Balangir (proposal)
  • IIHT Bargarh (indeed is a polytechnic institution)
PPP

  • WODC sponsored private medical college at Rourkela
  • WODC sponsored private medical college at Jaring, Kalahandi
  • WODC sponsored private medical college at Balangir (proposed and has not started)
  • Medical college in Keonjhar under PPP (10 crore and land)
  • XIMB campus proposed in Balangir (Govt may provide land only for Balangir)
  • XIMB campus in Sambalpur (Govt may provide land)
 Public Sector Establishments

  • Thermal Plant in Sundergarh by NTPC
  • STPI Rourkela
  • Plastic/Polymer Park Balasore
  • Domestic Airport Jharsuguda (under proposal)

Main Controversial Issues

Location of IIT (700 crore): Though Sambalpur, Berhampur and Rourkela were seriously making their efforts, there was no promise or confirmation on this issue. Demand was limited to political level.

Location of Central University (800 crore): Chief Minister promised the delegation from Kalahandi but later on changed his stand; largely allegation was that due to influence of a certain BJD leader and keeping far political sight of BJD in mind such a decision was made. When NISER in Orissa was announced in the same budgetary scale of IISER by the prime minister, in Orissa chief minister did not do for Kalahandi in the same scale of Central University, which had initiated KBK central University demand in 2000 with 80,000 signatures and 4000 post card letters campaign.

Location of ESIC Medical College (700 crore): State Govt. had initiated four possible sites including Balangir which was rejected based on ESIC members, whereas Rourkela region having largest number of ESIC members was rejected and the medical college was located in Bhubaneswar.

Location of Wagon Factory (200 - 1000 crore): It was announced in 2010-11 railway budgets to be located in Bhubaneswar/Kalahandi. Often railway minister Ms Banerjee had expressed to establish in Kalahandi, but the chief minister of Orissa recommended near Berhampur for the same citing land and suitability.

Major Losers in the Controversy: Kalahandi and Rourkela

Consolation: Kalahandi was allotted two state level institutions of less than 30 crore budget instead of 800 crore Central University and Rourkela was promised for ESIC nusring and dental college instead of 700 crore ESIC medical college, on the other hand there was no any official announcement and promised made to Berhampur, still Berhampur was given a state level engineering institution (10-20 crore) and promised for IIIT (100 crore) in exchange of IIT demand. Wagon Factory was also shifted to Berhampur region by the chief minister of Orissa.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Chief Engineer (DPI & Roads), Orissa has been requested vide Works Department Letter No. 2850 by CMO to take immediate necessary action for M.Rampur - Kantamal road

OUR CONCERN
The proposed route of Vijayawada – Ranchi highway by state Govt. does not serve the economic reason between above two cities except passing through Maoists influence districts in Odisha. Indeed a better short and convenient route with economic reason would be a Vijayawada-Ranchi route passing through Motu,  Malkangiri, Jeypore, Dasmantpur, Kashipur in Rayagada, Bhawanipatna, Madanpur Rampur, Kantamal in Boudh,  Sonepur,  Sambalpur  and Rourkela. This would have covered large part of KBK region benefiting 5 out of 8 districts and major towns like Jeypore, Bhawanipatna, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Rourkela. Major part of this route is state highway except Madanpur Rampur to Kantamal. A bridge is required to connect Madanpur Rampur directly with Kantamal which will reduce the distance further. Why Vijayawada-Ranchi route is not proposed in this route and a new route Koraput - Baripada is NOT proposed in the Maoist prone districts in Odisha. People in KBK are suffering as there is no direct route between Kantamal  and Madanpur Rampur, this inter district route could be made a state highway by extending SH6A from Madanpur Rampur to Gantapada to meet SH41. Why this has not been done? If steps have been taken in this regard, when and what are these?
Reply from CMO

To
Digambara Patra
.........................
....

Chief Engineer (DPI & Roads), Orissa has been requested vide Works Department Letter No. 2850 dated 14.03.2011 to take immediate necessary action as deemed proper for quick redressal of the grievance petition.

( Chief Ministers Office )
Under Secretary

State Govt.'s confusion exposes favoritism while establishing Wagon Factory

Initially BJD MPs in the parliament and other leaders claimed that 500 acres of land has been identified near Chhatrapur in Ganjam for Wagon Factory, the commerce and transport minister Sanjeev Sahoo also made a statement in Odisha assembly that there is no land in Narla in Kalahandi and Bhubaneswar for Wagon Factory.

Through our email letters (Dated March 1, March 5, and March 9, 2011) when we brought this issue to the notice of Odisha state Government that 100 acres is enough for Wagon Factory and plenty of land is available in Kalahandi (some state media also separately published land details with plot numbers), now the state Government has sent a new proposal to establish the Wagon Factory near Berhampur citing convenience of railway and proposed TATA industrial park near the site. It also now points out that site for Kesinga, Narla, etc was not suitable as per railway, when the proposal for Chhatrapur was already submitted.

TATA might be establishing an industrial park near the proposed Wagon Factory in Ganjam, but that is nothing to do with why Wagon Factory could not be established in Kalahandi as the region has plenty of lands near to railway track in Kesinga, Narla, Bhawanipatna, Jaring etc.

Raipur or Bhilai could have better infrastructure in terms of establishing Wagon Factory compare to present site indentified near Berhampur, does it mean Wagon Factory should come in Bhilai? This is totally injustice for Kalahandi when backward Kalahandi has a golden opportunity to have a Wagon Factory.

A joint inspection team of east coast railway authority and district administration of Ganjam made inspection for site selection in that district, but in Kalahandi no joint inspection team was formed, after seeing the site in Ganjam the railway officials hurriedly visited few places in Kalahandi and gave a recommendation to suit the Govt. This shows the intention was deliberate to shift to Ganjam.

If state Government had recommended the site in Kalahandi to central Govt. and central Govt. had not agreed then the situation could have been different. This is too when railway minister is openly favoring to have a Wagon Factory in Kalahandi in the parliament as well as other public meeting. Wagon Factory was also announced for Bhubaneswar or Kalahandi in the railway budget 2010-2011. Then how could state Government proposed in Ganjam?

This should be rectified by Orissa Government sending for a second proposal to have a second Wagon Factory in Kalahandi in the line of railway minister’s statement in the parliament on March 3, 2011.

Monday, March 28, 2011

An analysis: Favoritism towards Ganjam by state Governement

Earlier some of the readers alleged that there is no favoritism towards Ganajm by state Govenrment rather the opposite and some of us are making issue out of this. We are putting following points for further discussion.

Historical favoritism towards Ganjam by Orissa Government
  • Number of proejcts being inagurated in Ganjam district in past 10 years by the Chief Minister is one of the highest in Orissa
  • IIIT (central Govt funded information technology institute) in Orissa was proposed in Berhampur by the state Govt.
  • CM and Higher Education minister had announced that Khallikote College will be a University soon even without announching much needed state University in South Western part of the state (KBK).
  • Confidentially one University personal infomed a senior NRO that the state Govt. provided 40 cores of AID to Berhampur University and merely 10 crore to Sambalpur University in the name of SU-IIIT.
  • State Governemnt has recommended for a High Court Bench in Berhampur for South Orissa when the location is less convinient to the people in KBK.
  • Proposed railway Wagon Factory in the budget 2010-11 was shifted from Bhubaneswar/Kalahandi to Berhampur (Ganjam), home dist of CM.
  • Berhampur has one of the highest numbers of soley state Government funded higher/technical education instutions in Orissa after the state capital compared to any other district or city in Orissa.
  • Khordha and Ganjam are neighbouring districts but every thing (administrative offices) are established in Ganjam in the name South Orissa and not in far off place from state capital. It is much convinient for the peopple of Ganjam to reach Bhubaneswar than people in KBK to reach Ganjam, what sort of logic is operational except to exploit marginalized people in the state? If it was the case why not administrartive office in Rourkela?
  • Despite without having any iron ore, coal, chromium, Biju Patnaik had politically convienced TATA to establish second steel plant in Gopalpur in Ganjam, fortunately political favorotim did not suit the company later on and TATA moved to Kalinga Nagar (though there is serious problem in Kalinga Nagar TATA group still prefers Kalinga Nagar over Gopalpur for steel plant which expose the political favoritim towards Ganjam by Biju Patnaik)
  • Among the district Ganjam has highest population but its size (5th in Orissa) is comparable to Kalahandi and less than Mayurbhanj, Sundergarh, Keonjhar and Koraput. It has the maximum number of SH plus NH per 1000 sqkm of area, one of the highest in Orissa. Road should be constructed based on area rather than population. For example UP is 1.55 times larger by area than Orissa and 5.3 times larger by population than Orissa, but the NH in UP is 1.8 times than that of Orissa. Is Orissa following a similar guide line among its districts? Are the SH and NH in Kalahandi and Ganjam comparable? Last year state Govt spent 180 cores for highways in Ganjam compared to 18-30 crore in Kalahandi. Similarly, should Sundergarh, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Koraput not have more SH and NH compared to Ganjam?
  • Railway is a concern for Ganajm, but its not by state Govt rather by the central Govt for which state Govt is not able to favor its favorite district. However, there are districts in Orissa without having any rail network like Nabarangpur, Kandhamal whose size would be more than the half of size of Ganjam.
  • For conservation of ecologically sensitive stone mountains (LANDA PAHADA), Orissa Govt last year spent 100% of the budget in Ganjam, when Ganjam has ~ 30%, Balangir has ~ 20%, Kalahandi has ~ 20%, Koraput has another substantial percentage of LANDA PAHAD in the state, why the budget was not distributed based on percentage? There is serious speculation that if there could have a substantial share in any of the other coastal district budget distribution would have been different. If its in KBK or Western Orissa policy is different.
  • If one village has population 250 and another having 2000, than both the villages may need one school, but one having 2000 population may need more class rooms, teachers, books, blackboard etc. In the mean time first one must have a school. Ganjam has two times population than that of Kalahandi but it has 3212 villages compared to 2236 villages in Kalahandi. Is there a fairness in alloting budget in health, education and infrastructure?
  • Ganjam receives highest number of MGNREGA schemes, which is acceptable as per population but not the SH and NH.
  • Similarly regional institutions should come based on convinience and geography. If neighbouring undivided Ganajm could be considered for regional offices based on population than why not other neighbouring undivided Cuttack district for the same, when each undivided Cuttack and undivided Puri districts (capital and central RDC) had more population than undivided Ganjam district?
  • MLA, Sri Jayanarayan Mishra alleged in the assembly of Orissa in past years that 30 % of Chief Minister's releif fund was spent only in Hinjilikatu contituency.
  • Another one alleged that the money spent from state Govt. budget only in Hinjilikatu could be more than that of state Govt fund being spent in district like Malkangiri/Nuapada (exluding central Govt fund)
Updated: Inputs from Situn Babu
Correction: Another comparison between Rourkela and Berampur, this CM does not know anything except Bhubaneswar and Berhampur

http://www.rourkelacity.com/top-news/rdf-urged-for-municipal-corporation-status-to-rourkela/

Naveen bats Ganjam rail plant

Note:
  • It is not clear why a joint inspectection team of east coast railway authority and district administration of Ganjam made inspection for site selection, whereas NO such joint inpection was done in Kalahandi, if state Govt. was serious Kalahandi as a site.
  • Some of the land available in Kalahandi such as one in Kesinga, Jaring (Badchergaon) does not need even 2.5 km rail link, they are touching railway track. 
  • Most of the lands in Kalahandi does not need acquisition of agricultural field like the state Govt. identified site in Ganjam.
  • There is land of similar scale even 2-3 km from the Bhawanipatna town itslef if urbanisation was by chance a criteria.
  • There is definitely an internal agreement between state Govt. and east coast railway authority to favor home district of the Cheif Minister
  • As per sources (need to be confimed) railway ministry has asked to find land in Bhubaneswar/Kalahandi, then how Ganjam came to picture if the state Govt. was not keen?
  • This clearly exposes another mean mindedness of Naveen Babu's Government in the history of Orissa knowing the fact that state Govt is all in all while identifying land and site for any project.
Tathya.in, March 27, 2011
Bhubaneswar:28/March/2011

Naveen Patnaik has favored the proposed Rail Wagon manufacturing factory in Ganjam.


The Chief Minister in a letter to the Union Minister Railways has specified about the land available for the wagon factory to be taken up in Public Private Partnership (PPP) or Joint Venture (JV) mode.

Once the announcement to set up a Rail Wagon factory in Odisha in the Railways Budget for 2011-12, East Coast Railways moved fast to identify the land for such Greenfield project in the State Government.

They scouted in various places of the state including that of Kalahandi for which Bhakta Charan Das is making serious efforts to impress upon the Union Government.

However the State Administration moved fast and along with experts of the Indian Railways in East Coast Railways have located a patch of 101 acres of plot at Sitapalli near Jagannathpur Railway Station, in Berhampur tahsil said sources.

Experts feel that this place will be eminently suitable as the land is available in a contiguous patch.

Secondly it will be suitable from the railway point of view as it will only require 2.5 kilometer rail link.

And the proposed link will pass through the agricultural field for which land acquisition shall not be a problem.

Under this backdrop, the Chief Minister has urged upon the Minister Railways to take early steps for setting up the wagon factory at an early date.

Odisha faces serious problem for land acquisition required for industries.

East Coast Railways has found out that the entire rail link will be extended solely to be used by Indian Railways authorities.


Other report in Sambad: http://www.orissasambad.com/news_article.php?id=50251

Move to shift wagon factory from K’handi sparks resentment

The Pioneer, March 28, 2011
SWARNENDU PATTNAIK, Dharamgarh

Of late, the people of Kalahandi district are an apprehensive lot after getting the information that the proposed rail wagon industry promised by Railway Minister Mamata Banarjee is likely to be shifted from the district to Ganjam.

According to sources, the Railway Minister has assured local MP Bhakta Charan Das to set up rail wagon industry in the district in Parliament but other sources said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, meanwhile, has written a letter to Mamata Banerjee proposing to set up rail wagon industry in Ganjam district.

Kalahandi is one of the country’s most poverty-stricken districts. Huge funds pumped in for development of poor have not yielded fruitful results.

The political leadership as the past is now suspected again to fail to bring the rail wagon factory like the Central University was shifted from Kalahandi to Koraput.

The Chief Minister during his visit to Kalahandi recently was presented with a memorandum by the aggrieved political parties, intellectual forums, different organisations, demanding to recommend the Central Government to set up the proposed rail wagon industry in the district.

However, sources said the Chief Minister has not yet taken any steps on the demand of the locals and this has triggered resentment and a feeling that the district again will be betrayed.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Petitin to Prime Minister

Dear Honorable Prime Minister Dr Singh,


I would like to petition for the following issue.

In the railway budget 2010-11 railway minister you (Smt Mamata Benerjee) had proposed one of the railway Wagon Factories in Bhubaneswar/Kalahandi.

http://india.gov.in/images/rlybudget_eng_highlights_10-11.pdf  (See page 4 in the report)

However, the state Government had pointed out that there was no 500 acres of land available in Kalahandi for the proposed Wagon Factory and sent a proposal for railway Wagon Factory in Ganjam even without intimating the local district administration of Kalahandi for identification land for the proposed Wagon Factory in Kalahandi. (Dharitri, March 1, 2011 http://www.dharitri.com/010311/story10.asp )

There was serious debate in the parliament on March 3, 2011 on this issue and all the MPs from Odisha irrespective of political parties unanimously said they are not opposed to establishment of Railway Wagon Factory in Kalahandi. Indeed railway minister Ms Banerjee had categorically pointed in the same debate that if land is provided in Kalahandi another Wagon Factory could be established (available in parliament record on March 3, 2011 and reported in Samaja, March 4, 2011).

When the local people and intellectual of Odisha realized the politics played by Odisha state Government to shift the Wagon Factory from congress party dominated Kalahandi district to the home district of Chief Minister, they opposed the move.

We brought to the notice of Odisha Government that Wagon Factory in Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal is being established in less than 100 acres of land (Reported Frontier India on Sept 14, 2010, http://frontierindia.net/new-wagon-factory-to-be-built-at-kulti  and Decan Chronicle, Feb 28, 2011, http://www.deccanchronicle.com/karimnagar/confusion-rail-unit-369 ) and there are plenty of land available in Kalahandi.

Now another explanation is provided for the injustice saying the railway authorities visited Kesinga, Narla Road, Lanjigarh Road, and Bhawanipatna area of Kalahandi to find out 100 acres of land adjacent to the rail track and the railway administration could not find a suitable place for the purpose and moved to coastal district, Ganjam, for feasible locations for wagon factory (The Pioneer, March 25, 2011, http://www.dailypioneer.com/326657/Berhampur’s-Santipalli-to-have-wagon-factory.html ).

Anywhere in this world, a Wagon Factory just needs access to a railway track, and such connection is also easily made by railway department to link with the factory. Many coal based industries in India do have railway connection (track) and in the name of feasibility study it is surprising why Wagon Factory could be established in Ganjam and not in Kalahandi, if both the locations have access to railway track within affordable distance of available land.

It also sounds fishy why the railway authorities could not contact local Kalahandi district administration while visiting the sites in Kesinga, Narla, Lanjigarh road and Bhawanipatna.

On the other hand the major Odia local daily Samaja (March 25, 2011) elaborated with plot number details on 1000 acres of Government land available in Narla adjacent to railway track for possibility of a Wagon Factory in Kalahandi.

( http://kalahandia.blogspot.com/2011/03/1000-acres-of-government-land-available.html ).

Fortunately, all these state Government records on availability of land is proving that commerce and transport minister of Odisha had given false statement in last assembly session on March 17, 2011 (Dharitri, March 18, 2011, http://kalahandia.blogspot.com/2011/03/odisha-govt-says-it-is-unable-to-find.html ) saying there was no land for Wagon Factory in Narla.

In the similar line other major Odia daily Sambad (March 23, 2011) reported that hundreds of acres of land is also available in Kesinga, Thumaul Rampur and Narla region for possible Wagon Factory.

Beside that as per information collected there is another 100 acres of Government land near Jaring (perhaps the village name is Badchergaon) adjacent to railway track (Junagarh – Lanjigarh road railway line). Government land is also available within 2 - 3 km of Bhawanipatna railway station, 2-3 km distance is not far and acceptable for any factory and industries like INDAL, Vedanta, etc have established more than 15 km of railway track to connect their factories with main railway track.

If there is no problem with available land and there is access to railway track from these land area, we do not see why sites in Kalahandi would fail the feasibility study for a Wagon Factory.

There is serious dirty politics by Odisha Government collaborating with East Coast railway authorities while establishing railway Wagon Factory in Odisha and a backward region like Kalahandi is being marginalized.

When railway ministry and central railway board have suggested Kalahandi as one potential location for proposed Wagon factory, it is irrelevant to argue that the sites are not suitable for a Wagon Factory if land is available within affordable distance from railway track. To our knowledge, many of these locations in Kalahandi are suitable for Wagon factory in Kalahandi and injustice is being made by railway authority of East Coast railway division and Odisha Government.

I pray you to kindly look into this matter and stop approving railway Wagon Factory in Ganjam, home district of Chief Minister of Odisha, instead of Kalahandi.

Anticipating your acknowledgement in this regard

Thank you and best regards

Digambara Patra

Friday, March 25, 2011

1000 acres of Government land available in Narla for possible Wagon Facotry: Samaja, March 25, 2011

Thanks to Dr Baba Mishra for sharing this news.

Note: Earlier we had siad more than 500 acres of Governemnt land available in Narla and this report correctly present 1000 acres of Govt. land available in Narla for a possible Wagon Facotry in Kalahandi.

Samaja, March 25, 2011

Berhampur’s Santipalli to have wagon factory

Note: Thank you Situn babu for sharing this and for his comment

P.S: How the rail authority did not find suitable land when railway minister is saying where ever state Govt would allot land, railway would establish wagon factory. Its confusing. Was the district administration aware when railway authority visited locations in Kalahandi?


The Pioneer, March 25, 2011
PNS, Bhubaneswar

The railway authorities after inspecting number of places in KBK districts and not finding them suitable have identified Santipalli at Berhampur in Ganjam district to set up the proposed rail wagon factory.

According to sources, a rail wagon factory is to be set up in KBK districts of Odisha as per the 2010-2011 Railway Budget. Accordingly, the railway authorities visited Kalahandi, Kesinga, Narla Road, Lanjigarh Road, and Bhawanipatna Railway Station area to find out 100 acres of land adjacent to the rail track and submit a feasible report to the Government of Odisha for acquisition of land. However, the railway administration could not find a suitable place for the purpose and moved to coastal districts for feasible locations for wagon factory.

The Ganjam district administration and rail officers made a joint inspection in the district and found a place at Santipalli near Jagannathpur Railway Station of Berhampur. The State Government has approved to provide the 100 acre of land at Santipalli and the proposal has been sent to Railway Ministry, for their final consent for further plan of action. The project would be taken up in public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Agriculture education gets a boost

Expressbuzz, March 23, 2011
BHUBANESWAR: The Government today announced setting up of one agriculture polytechnic in each of the 10 agro-climatic zones of the State.


Replying to the demand discussion on Agriculture, Cooperation and Fisheries and Animal Resources Department Minister Damodar Rout said two such polytechnics opened at Boudh and Deogarh with assistance from the Western Orissa Development Council fund have started functioning from the current academic session.

The proposed polytechnics have received concurrence of the Finance Department. Construction work of the institutes will start shortly after finalisation of the locations. The objective of opening more polytechnics is to expand education on agriculture.

Admitting that agriculture extension services have suffered due to staff shortage, the Minister said a dedicated machinery will be put in place for the extension works.

There will be a statelevel coordinator to monitor the overall extension works, while each district will have project director research (PDR) and two deputy PDRs under the Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA).

At the block level, there will be a block technology manager and two subject matter specialists, while a farmer friend will be posted at the village level. Each farmer friend will be in charge of two villages and he will assist the farmers by extending all the programmes of the Government. The farmer friend will be given an annual remuneration of Rs 4,000.

Dismissing the opposition charges that the Government has failed to protect interest of the farmers, the Minister said despite vagaries of nature the State has maintained its food surplus status. Even as Bargarh district suffered 50 per cent crop loss due to insufficient rain and another 70 per cent to unseasonal rain, it has recorded a surplus paddy production of over one lakh tonne compared to the last kharif season.

Asserting that there is no shortage of fund, the Minister said the orientation of the farmers needed to be changed. The farmers need to be sensitised and encouraged to make a shift from the traditional to scientific farming. The Government has made a budgetary provision of Rs 1,167.97 crore for 201112 as against Rs 648.72 crore in last fiscal, he added.

Initiating the discussion, Anup Sai of the Congress said the State was at the bottom of the list so far as agriculture production is concerned. This is because of continuous neglect to the farm sector by the Naveen Patnaik Government for 11 years.

While many farmers are committing suicide due to crop loss and increasing loan burden, the Government is not ready to accept the fact and take corrective measures.

Sai attributed the low farm production of the State to low irrigation facility. While the Government has not been able to redeem its promise to provide irrigation to at least 35 per cent of agriculture land in each block, fertiliser consumption in the State is one of the lowest in the country, he rued.

Senior BJD leader Pradip Maharathy provided some valuable suggestions to the Government for value addition to farm production.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

K'handi villagers hold annual meet on area growth

The Pioneer, March 22, 2011
PNS, BHAWANIPATNA

An annual meeting was convened at Dhanrabhata village in the district here by the Badaka Anchala Vikas Parishad (BAVP) to discuss over various issues related to the development of the areas.

Badaka Anchala is an undeveloped and backward region comprising of five Panchayats Duarsuni, Talbelgaon, Chancher, Sagada and Jugsaipatna under Bhawanipatna Sadar block mostly populated by the Adivasis, Harijans and backward class. Even after 63 years of Independence, the region is allegedly being neglected in the education, communication, water, electricity and health sectors by the State Government.

The tardy progress in the region always irks the locals who often take out rallies and demonstrate before the administration.

The meeting was participated by hundreds of villagers who discussed with the forest officials on land rights and pattas invited by the Parishad.

Though Badaka Anchala is gradually being developed by the joint efforts of the NGOs, the Friday's third annual meeting was convened by the Jana Kalyan Sanstha who has also constructed a Sudama Shanti Ashram at Dhanrabhata sheltering around thirty children studying in the nearby schools.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Copy of forwarded letter from PMO for appropriate action to HRD Ministry on railways


Copy of Email Letter on Railway dated 24 Dec 2010

To

The President of India, Smt. Patil
The Prime Minister of India, Dr. Singh
UPA Chairperson, Smt. Gandhi
The Speaker of Lok Sabha, Smt. Kumar
The Railway Board
The Chief Minister of Odisha, Sri Patnaik
Leader of Opposition, Odisha Assembly, Sri Singh
Chairman of the Railway Expert Committee, Dr Maitra
MPs from Odisha

Respected Sirs and Madam,
New Year Greetings in Advance!

Though separate East Coast Railway Zone has been established, the new zone has not given much importance towards train connection in place like Kalahandi. Among the far off places Kalahandi is one of the worst sufferers in terms of train connectivity with Odisha’s state capital.

Despite strong local demand to extend Bhubaneswar – Balangir intercity express upto Kesinga and extension of Raipur-Puri intercity express via Titilagarh to via Kesinga, the local people’s desire has not been fulfilled.

Though the railway track distance between Titilagarh and Kesinga is just 13 km, due to lack of a bridge over Tel River there is no direct short road route between Kesinga and Titilagarh that needs additional 40 km to connect these two towns. Extension of Raipur-Puri intercity express via Kesinga may take maximum additional half an hour for the train but will benefit whole Kalahandi region to reach state capital, Bhubaneswar and Raipur, both are two important cities for administrative and commercial need of the region.

Subsequently with Bhawanipatna railway link being operative I request you to kindly extend Howrah-Titilagarh Ispat Express, Bhubaneswar-Balangir express, Raipur – Kesinga passenger, Vizag - Rayagada passenger, Vijaywada – Rayagada passenger and Jharsuguda-Titlagarh passenger trains till upto Bhawanipatna in the coming railway budget. Similarly, new train should be introduced from Bhawanipanta to Vishakhapatnam.

Considering KBK-Kandhamal railway network under economically unviable but socially desired projects a new Railway division at Bhawanipatna, a central location in KBK-Kandhamal, should be established under East Coast Railway Zone to focus railway development for KBK, Kandhamal, Boudh, Gajapati and Bargarh districts.

In the budget kindly allot substantial amount to complete Khurdha - Balangir line as soon as possible, this line will directly connect Balangir, Sonepur and Boudh with Bhubaneswar.

In the budget 2010-11, approve 100 crore for Kantabanji – Jeypore line considered as heart line connecting Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur and Koraput districts. This will facilitate first time a rail connection to Nabarangpur district by this line.

Speed up the progress of under survey Lanjigarh road - Phulbani – Talcher line connecting Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Titilagarh (Balangir dist), Nabarangpur and Rayagada districts with Bhubaneswar (Orissa’s state capital) by joining with Khurda-Balangir line near Puruna Cuttack (or Charichok). This will not only bring first time railway network to Kandhamal district but also make accessible to large part of inaccessible KBK and Kandhamal region from the state capital directly. Beside that this line will facilitate alumina/coal transportation for NALCO from its refinery in Damajodi to its Smelter in Angul by reducing distance about 100 km.

In the budget 2010-11, kindly consider to survey for Raipur - Rajim - Debhog - Dharamgarh – Junagarh and Lanjigarh road-Gopalpur railway lines directly connecting Bhilai steel plant with Gopalpur port. Beside social development in KBK-Kandhamal-Ganjam region this line may be exploited commercially by many steel, iron and coal plants in Bhilai and Raipur regions to connect with Gopalpur port.

As East Coast Railway Zone is one of the larger profit making zone, more funds should be allotted to this zone for the development of economically unviable but socially desired projects such as KBK-Kandhamal region, I hope all of you will look into this matter for immediate action.

Thanking you and best regards

Madhusmita Panda

Copy of forwarded letter from PMO for appropriate action to HRD Ministry on Tribal University Off Campus



Copy of Email Letter Sent on Dec 4, 2010
Dear esteemed Prime Minister Dr Singh,

In July 2009 I was informed by the Ministry of Human Resource Development, as per attached letter, that

“on receipt of letter from late Sri Bikram Keshari Deo, former member of Parliament about the locating of the Central University of Orissa in Kalahandi district instead of Koraput district as recommended by the state Government, the Ministry of Human Resource Development had decided that Indira Gandhi National Tribal University could consider establishment of one of its off-campuses in Kalahandi district during the 11th plan period, subject to availability of sources”.

Central University is an emotional issue for the people of Kalahandi since over two decades. People of Kalahandi were first to raise such a demand in Orissa. Many protest letters and memorandums have been submitted by people in this respect to both the central and state Governments since past decade.

Though initially promised by the Chief Minister of Orissa, Orissa state Government played foul at the last moment and recommended for location of central university of Orissa at Koraput instead of Kalahandi when Kalahandi is the central location among KBK districts and has better train communication to most of the major cities in India.

Orissa state Government’s apathy towards Kalahandi has recently increased as the district has opted for Congress Party by electing maximum percentage of MLAs from congress party from any district in Orissa presently. The leader of opposition in Orissa assembly comes from the district and local MP Bhakta Charan Das won in highest margin of vote among any elected congress candidate in Orissa.

Kalahandi district is well known for backwardness and about 30% of its population is tribal and 15 % population is scheduled caste. It is also centrally located not only among KBK districts but also among all the tribal dominated districts in Orissa such as KBK, Kandhamal, Boudh, Gajapati and Bargarh, justifying itself as ideal location for branch of Indira Gandhi National Tribal University in Orissa .

As we are now towards the end of 11th plan period, I request you to kindly consider establishing an off-campus of Indira Gandhi National Tribal University in Kalahandi in the academic year 2011-12.

Thank you and warm regards,

Yours sincerely

Madhusmita Panda

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Sakhigopal is other site for second UMPP in Orissa

Note: Earlier state Govt. had proposed Balangir and Bhadrak for second and third UMPPs beside first one at Bedabahal. It is not clear yet why neither Balangir nor Bhadrak materialized.

UMPPs get rolling again, two in Orissa, one in TN next fiscal
Financial Express, March 19, 2011
New Delhi: The ultra mega power project (UMPP) scheme which has faced slippages due to various reasons, is set to get a boost in the next financial year, with the government planning to bid out at least three such projects over the next few months.


Among the three projects, two will be in Orissa and one in Tamil Nadu. There is also the possibility of a fourth to be explored in Gujarat even though this proposal is at an initial stage, a power ministry official told FE, asking not to be named.

Out of the three, the proposed UMPP at Bedabahal in Orissa is at advanced stage as it has received all clearances. It is awaiting clarity over the use of captive coal mines which have come under the environment’s ministry recent no-go categorisation restricting any mining activity.

Power Finance Corporation (PFC), the nodal agency for UMPP programme, is also working at a feverish pitch to get two other projects —one at Cheyyur in Tamil Nadu and the other at Sakhigopal in Orissa —cleared so that these could also be put up for bidding in 2011-12. In addition, Gujarat has offered four different sites in the districts of Porbandar, Junagarh, Navsari and Kutchh for setting up a second UMPP in the state, but this is yet to be vetted by the Central Electricity Authority (CEA).

“We hope to get clearances for the three projects and a fourth will be a bonus,” said a PFC official involved in the UMPP programme.

The government is reviving the UMPP programme, since just a few such projects of 4,000 mw each could add substantial capacity to the Indian generation basket.
 
Though the scheme was launched with much fanfare in 2006, only four UMPPs have been allotted so far, of which three were bagged by Reliance Power in Sasan (Madhya Pradesh), Krishnapatnam (Andhra Pradesh) and Tilaiya (Jharkhand). The fourth, at Mundra in Gujarat, was bagged by Tata Power. No UMPP was put under bidding in 2010-11.


The power ministry plans to set up nine such plants, with four projects at pithead and five in coastal locations, to help meet the electricity generation target of 100,000 MW for the 12th Plan period (2012-17). UMPPs are large-sized power projects requiring investment between R16,000 and R20,000 crore. The projects will use super-critical technology to achieve higher levels of fuel efficiency with less green house emissions. The UMPP at Bedabahal in Orissa was put under initial bidding last year, but the last date for submitting requests for qualification (RFQ) was extended several times, since there is no clarity on captive coal blocks. The latest extension expires March 31. “We expect the project to be cleared after it gets another extension for a couple of months. The environment ministry has already shown flexibility in giving clearance for the captive coal blocks and a group of ministers (GoM) is examining the 'go, no-go' policy of MoEF,” the power ministry official said. In the case of Cheyyur project, clearance for the port — to ship coal as the project will be based on imported fuel — is expected soon. The committee set up to examine the port project in the light of coastal regulation zone (CRZ) provisions will submit its report to the government soon, after which clearances will be given. The project also requires forestry clearance, for which PFC is in touch with MoEF. The government’s capacity addition programme has been grossly inadequate in the past.

In the 9th and 10th Plans, less than half the targeted capacity was added. In the ongoing 11th Plan, while the Centre had originally planned to add 7,68,577 mw of capacity, the power ministry has now scaled down the target to 62,000 mw.

Capacity addition is critical as the country faces a huge energy deficit of 8.6% (2010-11 up to February) and peak deficit of 10.3%. The UMPPs, due to their sheer size, are positioned to play a key role in the government’s power capacity addition programme. Only a handful of such projects can deliver power equivalent to several conventional-sized power projects.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Kalahandi protest against liquor unit

The Pioneer, March 18, 2011
Bhawanipatna: The irate inhabitants of Dengsaru village under Barabandha GP in M Rampur block are on a dharna before the Collectorate here since Wednesday morning protesting against the newly-opened country liquor industry there. The Panchayat is dominated by the Adivasis and Harijans and the industry has been opened on the main road of the village. While a memorandum has already been submitted with the Kalahandi Collector, the agitating villagers were seen continuing their dharna till the filing of the report.

Like varsity, proposed K'handi rail wagon unit a mirage!

The Pioneer, March 18, 2011
PIONEER NEWS SERVICE, DHARAMGARH

An aura of apprehensions writ large over the faces of the people of Kalahandi district here anticipating that the venue of the proposed Rail Wagon Factory is going to meet the same fate of the Central University.

Sources confided that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has, meanwhile, written a letter to Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee to set up the proposed rail wagon project in Ganjam district instead, represented by him while Didi has assured Kalahandi MP and her former counterpart Bhakta Charan Das in the Parliament for Kalahandi as it has earned a dubious distinction at the national level for being one of the country's most poverty-ridden districts.

Needless to mention that despite the huge flow of funds over the years for the development of the district, poverty still stares in the face yielding no fruitful results yet.

The main cause can be attributed to lack of political will, able leadership and MLAs and MPs being at loggerheads following which the past bitter experience has already been evident in the case of setting-up of the Central University that got unfortunately shifted from Kalahandi to Koraput even though both being a part and parcel of the so-called favoured triangle of the KBK region.

Moreover, the Chief Minister, during his visit to Kalahandi recently, was presented a memorandum by the aggrieved political parties, intellectual forums and different organisations here reiterating the mass demand and urging him to recommend for the setting-up of the proposed rail wagon factory in Kalahandi.

However, reliable sources revealed that Naveen has not yet taken any steps in this direction and has rather recommended for his own home turf Ganjam for the project following which a strong wave of resentment is brewing among the people across the district here as yet another betrayal is looming large like that of the Central University.

Ministry of environment and forests’ silence puts Sterlite in a fix

DNA, March 18, 2011
Anil Agarwal controlled-Sterlite Industries has been awaiting a reply from the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) for over three months now on whether to continue with its rehabilitation programme in Lanjigarh, Orissa.


Pursuant to the Supreme Court’s order in 2007, the company had to implement a rehabilitation package in Lanjigarh as an imperative measure to mine bauxite from Niyamgiri Hills.

However, with the MoEF’s ban on mining bauxite in Niyamgiri Hills, the company is now in a fix on what it should do with the rehabilitation programme after having committed over `100 crore in investments.

“The company had written a letter to the ministry on December 4, 2010 seeking its opinion about the rehabilitation programme currently underway and there has been no response from them so far,” said a source close to Sterlite. The official spokesperson of Sterlite refused to comment on the issue.

In an order issued on August 8, 2008, the Supreme Court allowed diversion of 660.749 hectares (ha) of forest land from Niyamgiri Hills in Lanjigarh for bauxite mining provided the company implements a rehabilitation package proposed by the court.

“Under our order, we suggest rehabilitation package under which, apart from NPV, Sterlite Industries is also required to deposit 5% of annual profits before tax and interest from Lanjigarh project or Rs10 crore per annum, whichever is higher. The said project covers both mining and refining. The amount is required to be deposited by Sterlite with SPV every year commencing from 01.04.2007,” said the Supreme Court order.

The order also said that going forward, it would be for the MoEF to grant its approval in accordance with the law. As a result, the MoEF, on December 11, 2008, gave in-principal approval for the diversion of forest land on condition of implementation of the rehabilitation project as directed by the court.

Consequently, Sterlite formed a special purpose vehicle (SPV) called Lanjigarh Project Area Development Foundationand deposited `20 crore as contribution for scheduled area development for the year 2007-08 and 2008-09 to the SPV.

Confirmed sources said that Sterlite had also deposited Rs55 crore towards NPV, Rs50.53 crore towards wild life management, Rs12.20 crore towards tribal development and committing some investments in compensatory afforestation etc.

However, now with the MoEF rejecting the formal forest clearance for the bauxite mining project at Niyamgiri Hills, Sterlite has no clue on what to do with the rehabilitation package. The MoEF could not be contacted on the issue.

“The company had deposited Rs10 crore each with the SPV for the year 2007-08 and 2008-09 but wondering what to do for the year 2009-10 as the mining project is no more in operation,” the source said.

He said the company has also started building several facilities in Lanjigarh which are currently under construction, such as the Lanjigarh Hospital, Lanjigarh water supply system, link road, upgradation of electrical system, land irrigation project, investments in girls’ school and college, malaria eradication scheme etc.

Politics of Land Requirement in Kalahandi by Odisha Government

State Government plays an important role while acquiring land for any new establishment in India. In Orissa, the state Government has acquired Government land, forest land and private land for many new establishments. Institutions like Central University of Orissa, Indian Institute of Technology Bhubaneswar and other national institutes have been given forest land for establishing such institutions or industries in various districts in Orissa. However, in Kalahandi land is being made an issue by the state Government for establishing any new public sector central Government institution or industry. If the state Government takes serious interest in a backward district like Kalahandi, along with Government land, private land and forest land could be easily used for new establishment like happening in other states and other districts of Orissa. In Kalahandi there is hundreds to thousands acres of forest land where there is no more dense forest or trees except shrubs, such land can be used for development of backward region, such lands are available in Narla, Karlapada, Kesinga, Jaring and Junagarh region. Forest lands where there is shrub and no more dense forest could be converted to Government land for establishing higher educational institutions, engineering industries like Wagon factory, food processing industries, etc. For mining dense forest and ecologically sensitive lands are being handed over by the state Government, in this circumstance why other forest lands cannot be used in Kalahandi for establishing educational institutes or engineering/public sector industries. Without trying to acquire forest, Government and/or private land, rejecting Kalahandi while establishing any new central Government  industries or institution is very much injustice to this backward region.

Odisha Govt says it is unable to find land in Narla and Bhubaneswar for Wagon Factory

NOTE: Earlier people in Narla along with Kalahandi intelecutlas have identified land in Narla region, which was around 300 to 500 acres. It is also found that district administration of Kalahandi was not informed to identify land in Kalahandi as per Governmental policy. Perhaps, the state Government is looking for an escape route after proposing land in Ganjam. Hope things will be clearer soon.


Dharitri, March 18, 2011

Jairam Ramesh changed rules for MP Navin Jindal’s plant

DNA, March 18, 2011
The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) seems all set to add to the scams and scandals surrounding the UPA government at the Centre thanks to a controversial clearance given to Congress MP Navin Jindal’s proposed steel and power plant in Orissa.


Documents with DNA show that the MoEF issued a circular to change a few words of the guidelines of the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 only to allow the withdrawal of a showcause notice issued to the Jindal project.

This notice, that made headlines when it was issued in November 2010, asked why the earlier issued environmental clearance may not be quashed because Jindal had started construction at the site before the forest clearance — the supplement to the mandatory environment clearance — was given.

Documents show that the provision of the Forest Act that was quoted by the MoEF to legitimise the transgressions of Jindal and withdraw the show cause notice was created only on January 6, 2011 — two months after the showcause notice was issued.

Documents also show that the provision (made through a circular) was scrapped on 17 February, 2011 — exactly a week after the notice to Jindal was withdrawn.

This makes it clear that the circular was issued purely for the benefit of Congress MP Navin Jindal’s project alone.

Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL) had filed for environmental clearance for a 6 million tonne steel plant and a medium-sized integrated power plant in Kerjang, in Anjul district of Orissa in 2006.

The firm got environmental clearance in 2007, with the condition that no development should start till the other half of that clearance, a ‘forest clearance’, was also granted.

But Jindal started construction before the forest clearance was obtained and this was pointed out by Biswajit Mohanty, wildlife activist and member of the National Board for Wildlife, to Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh last October.

A month later, the MoEF issued the showcause notice to Jindal.

However, on January 6, 2011, the MoEF issued a circular that changed certain words in the Forest Act that legalised the violations and weakened the case against Jindal.

Documents with DNA show that the original guidelines of the Forest Act, which were in force when the showcause notice was issued to Jindal for breaching the conditions of environmental clearance, said: “work should not be started” till the project gets the requisite forest clearance.

However, in its circular, the MoEF changed this phrase to: “it is advisable that work should not be started” till forest clearance is granted.

After the circular was issued, Jindal officials pointed out to the MoEF that its own circular indicated that the provision was not binding on them. Based on this argument, the MoEF withdrew the showcause notice to the Jindal project on Feb 10, 2011. Seven days later, the circular was scrapped.

To a question in Parliament as to how many projects were cleared during the time the circular was in existence (a little over a month), Ramesh pointed out that only one project had been cleared: Jindal’s Angul project.

This is all very, very fishy,” says Mohanty, a noted conservationist known for his contribution to saving Orissa’s sea turtles. “This case needs to be probed. You can’t bring in a circular to help just one company and then withdraw it and not let any other company take advantage of it,” he says.

Mohanty, who maintains Ramesh is the best environment minister India has ever had, says the ministry’s actions are starting to smack of arbitrariness. “You can’t have one yardstick for Vedanta (Resources) and another where a ruling party MP is involved.”

This whole incident indicates that Ramesh, who has a clean reputation otherwise, has his limitations when faced with powerful groups within his party.

Jairam Ramesh did not respond to request for comments on the matter.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Image of Wild Animal of Kalahandi: Mating of snakes in Melghara village of Karlapat

Contributed by Sri Dillip Kumar Das
Wild animal of Kalahandi which may disappear if there will be mining in the region. The photograph is taken during the mating of snakes in Melghara village of Karlapat GP recently by Antodaya Kalahandi.

Monday, March 14, 2011

MoEF seeks fresh application on Vedanta expansion

Business Standard, March 14, 2011
Despite a stay on the proposed expansion of Vedanta's alumina refinery at Lanjigarh in Orissa's Kalahandi district, the Centre has now sought a fresh application for the purpose from the state.


This was stated by Orissa's Revenue Minister S N Patro in the assembly while replying to a written question. Patro was speaking on behalf of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who holds the forest and environment portfolio.

"Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) in a letter on January 11 directed authorities of Vedanta project to make fresh application for expansion plan," he said.


On October 20, 2010, MoEF had stayed the proposed expansion of Vedanta's refinery from 1mtpa to 6mtpa. The ministry put the stay stating that provision under section 5 of the Environment Protection Act, 1986, were violated.

The authorities of Vedanta, however, moved the ministry and requested it to allow its expansion plan as the company had met all terms and conditions under the EPA, 1986.

Meanwhile, the company had moved Orissa High Court, challenging MoEF's rejection of its refinery expansion plan. The case was pending for disposal.

Lanjigarh foundation website launched

Tathya.in, March 14, 2011
Lanjigarh:14/March/2011


Laxmi Narayan Nayak, RDC Southern Division launched the Website of Lanjigarh Project Area Development Foundation (LPADF) www.lpadf.org here.


The LPADF is a special purpose vehicle(SPV) formed by Government of Orissa (GOO), Sterlite Industries India Limited (SIIL) and Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC); as per the Supreme Court’s Order on 8 August, 2008.

The Foundation is registered under Section 25 of the Companies Registration Act is chaired by the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (South).

Sterlite Industries India Limited deposits 5 per cent of the profit or Rs. 10 Crore per Year- whichever is higher.


LPADF website launching ceremony was graced by Roopa Mishra District Collector of Kalahandi and Director of LPADF.

Mukesh Kumar, another Director of LPADF was also present in the ceremony.

Dr.Kumar has all along supported the developmental activities in this backward region.

The website was launched during the sixth meeting of the Board of Directors to review the status of the development projects by the Foundation to.

The website can be accessed at www.lpadf.organd gives detail information about its projects, organizations, and photographs.

Sterlite Industries India Limited (SIIL) has deposited Rs. 20 Crore in the Foundation.

In the Board Meeting it was also decided that SIIL will deposit Rs. 10 Crore for the year 2009-10 to take up more developmental projects.

Since formation in 2009, the LPADF has taken up several Projects for within 50 km radius of Lanjigarh.

It works in close collaboration with specialized government development agencies like Dongria Kondh Development Agency, Kutia Kondh Development Agencies, SC ST Research and Training Institutes, RWSS, ITDA, District Watershed Mission.

It has works in both Kalahandi and Rayagada district.

It has taken up initiatives in the areas of healthcare, education, infrastructure development as well as livelihood promotion.

Mr. Nayak, RDC also also inaugurated a health care centre funded by LPADF at Jugasaipatna, Kalahandi.

Professor G B Behera's speech as honorary speaker during Golden Jubilee closing ceremony of Govt. College Bhawanipatna on Feb 28, 2011



Orissa Mining Corporation to seek for speedy hearing of Niyamgiri Hills case today

DNA, March 14, 2011
Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC), the mining body of the Orissa government, is planning to appeal in the Supreme Court on Monday for speedy hearing of its case it filed against the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) last week.


Almost six months after the MoEF directed OMC and the Vedanta Group to stop mining bauxite from the Niyamgiri Hills in the Kalahandi district, Lanjigarh, OMC filed an Interlocutory Application (IA) in the Supreme Court challenging MoEF’s decision on March 10.

Now, the company is planning to put the case on ‘mention’, which means that if accepted, the case will be considered on a priority and emergency basis.

“OMC, through its advocate KK Venugopal, will put up the case for mention in the Green Bench of the Supreme Court to be heard by Justice Sudarshan Reddy. It would then depend on the judge whether he wants to refer it to the Chief Justice of India or wants to hear it himself,” said an industry source, adding that if the plea is accepted then the case could come up for hearing as early as the next week itself.

In the application filed with the Supreme Court on Thursday, OMC had said that the company had to apply in the court since the MoEF has rejected the Stage- II forest clearance for the OMC bauxite mining project in the Niyamgiri Hills of Lanjigarh, thereby effectively neutralising the SC judgements dated November 22, 2007 and August 8, 2008.

In these judgements, the court had granted clearance for diversion of forest land of 660.749 hectares for mining bauxite.

“The most unfortunate aspect of the matter is that the considerations which form the foundation of the decision of the MoEF are the very same considerations which were urged before the Honourable Court, and which were all taken into account by this Honourable Court while granting clearance to the project in question,” the application said.

The MoEF in August 2010 accepted the recommendations of the four-member Forest Advisory Committee headed by N C Saxena and stopped mining in Niyamgiri Hills and the expansion of Vedanta’s one million tonne alumina refinery in Lanjigarh, citing that mining would severely impact the ecology of the Niyamgiri Hills.

The mining contractor for the Niyamgiri project was a joint venture company with 76% stake of Sterlite Industries, a listed subsidiary of Vedanta Group, and the remaining with OMC. The bauxite to be mined was to be fed to Vedanta’s Lanjigarh refinery.

Poverty-hit Kalahandi's cup of woes runneth over

Times of India, March 12, 2011
Sandeep Mishra

Kalahandi has been in the news for all the wrong reasons for decades now, and has attracted much aid and assistance from the centre. But the lot of the tribals here is as bad as ever. A TOI report

Kumuti Majhi is a disturbed man. Notwithstanding the flow of huge funds into his native Kalahandi district over the past few years, this tribal is worried about what the future holds for his brethren. "Tribals have not benefited in any way from the various so-called development initiatives of the government, " complains Majhi, who has been at the forefront of the agitation opposing the Orissa government and the Vedanta group's bid to mine bauxite from Niyamgiri Hills. Tribals constitute over 30 per cent of Kalahandi's estimated 15 lakh population. And primitive tribal groups like the Dongaria Kondhs, Kutia Kondhs and Jharania Kondhs are particularly oppressed and deprived.

"Corrupt government officers and touts misappropriate whatever money comes to the district for tribal welfare, " he says, pointing, as an example, to the Indravati irrigation project, credited for turning around the tribal-dominated region's agricultural fortunes since over a decade. "The majority of those displaced were tribals, but non-tribals gained. Tribals turned beggars, " rues Majhi, a Kutia Kondh living in the foothills of the Niyamgiri Hills in Lanjigarh block, where the Vedanta Aluminium Limited's controversial Rs 5000-crore refinery has been established despite many protests by locals.


Majhi's sentiments are shared by many in the south-western Orissa district. "Tribals have been the worst sufferers of the Indravati project, though the district surely benefited from it, " says Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das.

The Congress leader adds: "Things have certainly improved since the 70s and 80s when starvation deaths and child sale made Kalahandi infamous. But the tribals continue to rot, exploited and left to the mercy of God."

In popular literature and media, the Kalahandi Syndrome is something that still means hunger deaths, acute poverty, and child sale. The area, forming part of KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput ), has over the decades enjoyed such an unenviable reputation that it's a favourite pitstop for VVIPs to pay visits and make grand promises. Last August, when Rahul Gandhi announced that he would be the sipahi (soldier) for Kalahandi's tribals in New Delhi at a public meeting in Lanjigarh, he was doing what his family elders had done before. Four years before 40-year-old Rahul was born, his grandmother, Indira Gandhi, toured Sinapalli (then part of Kalahandi district) during a drought. In 1984, Rajiv Gandhi toured Amlapalli village (now in Nuapada) with wife Sonia in tow in the wake of Phanus Punji, a tribal woman, selling away her sister-in-law Banita for Rs 40 and a saree to a blind man. Three years later, 200 people perished from starvation, forcing Rajiv to show up in Kashipur in Koraput district. Keeping with the family tradition, Rahul launched his Discovery of India journey in March 2008, from Nuapada district and visited Ijurpa, a Dongaria Kondh village. Chandra Sekhar, P V Narasimha Rao, H D Deve Gowda and A B Vajpayee, too, have made trips as prime ministers to KBK, promising help.


But despite such attention, the socio-economic status of tribals here has not changed much. "Be it education, healthcare, infrastructure or any other development indicator, tribals have got hardly anything. Governments, NGOs, and businessmen have looted Kalahandi and its tribals in every possible way, " says Siddhartha Nayak, chairman, Green Kalahandi, a socio-political outfit. "Most tribals are far away from whatever development has taken place, " says social activist Jagadish Pradhan. "VVIP trips have brought in lots of money, but development does not follow the flow of funds, " he points out, adding that the reason for this is an absence of political commitment.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Letter of Professor G B Behera to the Chairman of Higher Education Task Force Govt of Odisha

NOTE: Although initially when the proposal was submitted South Western Odisha University was proposed by intelectuals of Kalahandi, now many of us feel Odisha University would be more appropriate and people of Kalahandi will be happy to name as Odisha University over South Western Odisha University. Indravati and Mahakantara name could also be seriously considered.

To

The Chairman, Task Force for HE
Bhubaneswar.

Sub: Establishment of a University at Kalahandi.

Sir,
I may be permitted to bring to your kind notice regarding our long standing continuous and constant appeal for establishment of a University at Kalahandi, the center of KBK districts. This appeal of the people of Kalahandi dates back to 1990 which started with a feeble voice and with time has strengthened into a mega voice.

The knowledge commission has said,’ the transformation of economy and society in the 21st century would depend in significant part, on the spread and quality of education among the people, particularly in the sphere of higher education”.(recommendation of the NKC: Report to the Nation-2006, p-19) They have recommended establishment of 1500 universities in India to bring a gross enrolment ratio of at least 15% by 2015 since they have observed that no country could become an economically advanced country, if the enrolment ratio in HE is less than 20%. The enrolment ratio in Odisha is 8.71%. They have recommended, “… some clusters of affiliated colleges could also become universities.” (loc cit-p. 43). They have further said,” The need is for smaller Universities which are responsive to change and easier to manage and these should be created.” ( loc cit P-45). Investment in higher education makes a vital contribution to accelerate the process and rate of economic growth, through increasing human productivity.

We have made several efforts (given below) peacefully in this direction to achieve our goal.

1. Memorandum submitted to the CM on 14.01.2002.

2. Our late honorable MP presented a memorandum personally to the CM

3. Submitted a copy to the NDA Govt.(Hon’ able PM and Minister HRD) and also to the State govt.(Hon’ able CM and minister HE)

4. Submitted a copy to UPA Govt. (Hon’ able PM, Srimati Soniaji, Minister HRD, Vice-Chairman Planning Commission, Chairman Knowledge commission) and also to the State govt. (Hon’ able CM and Minister HE).

5. A petition to this effect has been submitted to the honorable speaker, Loksabha

6. Some of our NROs have written to the CM and also to the center justifying the establishment of a University at Kalahandi

7. A wave of silent movement moved across the entire district and as a result copies of one para appeal signed by more than 80.000 people sent separately to Honorable PM, HRD Minister, CM, Minister HE. This wave also inspired about 4000 individuals to write post cards to these four distinguished offices separately.

8. The Hon ‘able CM was kind enough in granting an audience to a delegate headed by four honorable MLAs, some educationists and some senior citizens of Kalahandi to discuss about the feasibility and justification for establishment of a university at Kalahandi. The Hon’ able CM was very kind in listening and discussing the issue. His response appeared positive to the people.

9. A delegation of 40 people representing Kalahandi met the CM on 12.08.08 and presented (perhaps in vain!) before him through a CD consisting all aspects of available infrastructure.

People of Kalahandi have never adopted violent methods bringing about a loss to the Nation to ventilate their genuine demand. They have tried to follow the principles of non-violence and dignity. This district is also a Naxal free zone till now.

INFRASTRUCTURAL FACILITIES:

1. Government land (Site 1) worth more than 500 acres. The Govt.(A) College has about 50 acres of land and about 30-40 acres can be acquired adjacent to it (site 2).

2. The railway line at Kesinga and the airport at Utkela are about 8 kms from site 1. The new railway station (Lanjigarh-Junagarh line) is close to this site.

3. The water facility is excellent.

4. The road facilities are also very good. Bhawanipatna-Khariar highway in one side, Pradhanmantri Sadak is on another side.

5. The site with hills and lakes is a picturesque one.

6. Bhawanipatna is at the central zone of KBK. The concept of KBK started with Kalahandi but is getting continuously neglected.

7. If the state of odisha is peeled into two, the centre of one is Bhawanipatna

and the other is Bhubaneswar.
Thus Kalahandi deserves the establishment of a State University so that a leveled play field is created.

ACADEMIC OUTLINES FOR THE PROPOSED UNIVERSITY

1. The university can introduce 5 year course with a lateral movement after three years (Like NISER).

2. The University may have a few constituent colleges (Like Govt. Autonomous College, Bhawanipatna) and some affliated colleges.

3. Interdisciplinary courses can start from the beginning. Students can take up credit courses in different departments as per the advice of a committee. Thus the boundaries between disciplines acting as dividing walls must collapse since knowledge is developing at the intersection of disciplines.

4. The present law college can be a part of the university, but with a 5 years course structure since law degree has started playing an important role now.

5. The University shall have M.Phil and Ph.D programmes with a course work.

NAME OF THE UNIVERSITY
One of the following names can be chosen for the university.

1 INDRAVATI UNIVERSITY
River Indravati is perhaps the longest river with a source from Kalahandi. She has brought economic development to the area. The Indravati civilization is yet to be brought to the notice of the people through research.

2. SOUTH-WESTERN UNIVERSITY (SWU)

3. MAHAKANTAR UNIVERSITY ( MU).
Mahakantar is a historical name of the area.

Yours faithfully, (G.B.Behera)

President

Encl:
Four pictures showing the geographical importance of Kalahandi.
This document is approved in a meeting of the intellectuals held on13.03.10 in the premises of Kalahandi Lekhak Kala Parishad.

Security Battalion Proposed for Jails in Maoist-Hit Areas

Outlook, March 11, 2011
With the Maoists unleashing violence in 17 districts of the state, a standing committee of Orissa Legislative Assembly on home department today recommended creation of a security battalion to guard 16 jails in naxal-affected areas and 8 other highly sensitive prisons.


Maoists maintain significant influence in pockets of Malkangiri and Koraput districts in south Orissa and in areas bordering Saranda jungle in Rourkela police district, the committee observed.

It said that the out-lawed outfit was also trying to open up new fronts in Orissa-Chhatishgarh border by expanding its activities to districts like Nabarangapur, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Bolangir and Baragarh.

"The outfit is also trying to consolidate in Mayurbhanj district bordering West Midnapore district of West Bengal," the committee cautioned the state government in its report tabled in the Assembly today.

Stating that as many as 179 Maoists were arrested till November 2010, the committee suggested that adequate security needs to be placed around jails housing hardcore ultras.

The committee said that the new battalion for jails could be created by taking tribal youths from among the special police officers (SPOs).

It also suggested the state government to waive any income ceiling for families to get rehabilitation due to killing of their men in naxal attack.

Though the government has decided to provide rehabilitation assistance to the next of the kin of police personnel killed in naxal attack but due to income ceiling fixed, most of the genuine beneficiaries could not avail assistance, it said.

The committee headed by senior BJD MLA Ramesh Chandra Chyau Patnaik also suggested creation of an economic offence wing for investigation of economic crimes like investment, deposit related fraud, land related forgery and fraud, job rackets, bank fraud and credit card frauds.

Environment ministry’s SAIL tilt miffs Orissa

DNAindia, March 10, 2011
After the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) cancelled several projects and put roadblocks (read riders) on many other, it seems the companies or organisations at the receiving end are not ready to give up without a fight.


The Orissa government’s mining entity Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) on Tuesday knocked at the doors of Supreme Court challenging the ministry’s August 2010 decision to stop mining bauxite from the Niyamgiri Hills.

The ministry and its boss Jairam Ramesh had in August 2010 accepted the recommendations of the four-member forest advisory committee headed by NC Saxena and pulled the curtains down on mining in Niyamgiri Hills citing severe flouting of environmental and forest conservation norms.

The mining contractor for the Niyamgiri project was a joint venture company with 76% stake of Sterlite Industries, a the listed-subsidiary of Vedanta Resources and the remaining with OMC.

The bauxite to be mined was to be fed to Vedanta’s Lanjigarh refinery.

Sources say the Orissa government, after an endless wait and a fruitless representation to the MoEF, has finally decided to go the legal way and has prepared a complete war chest of arguments to take on the ministry.

“While the Orissa government was planning to challenge MoEF’s decision in the Supreme Court for quite sometime, the what finally prompted it was Ramesh’s nod to a larger and environmentally more damaging project of Chiria mines in Jharkhand,” said a highly reliable source in OMC.

On February 22, Ramesh, in a surprising change of stance by over-ruling negative reports from the ministry’s forest advisory committee (FAC), gave a go-ahead to Steel Authority of India (SAIL) to mine iron ore from the prolific Chiria mines in Jharkhand.

In a statement on February 22, Ramesh said: “The FAC will continue to focus on bio-diversity-related issues and concerns, while as minister I will have to necessarily take a broader view but placing on record in a complete manner the reasons for taking that view.”

However, Orissa is particularly miffed with this decision since it claims that on a comparative scale the Niyamgiri Hills too had a merit for approval and its impact on the environment would have been far less than the Chiria mines.

“Much before the FAC was appointed, several other committees had done a study on the project and had given a decision in its favour,” the source said.

Ironically, these bodies were appointed by the ministry to clear the mining project in 2007.

The Central Mine Planning and Design Institute in its study on hydro-geological aspects had said that there are no water bodies, water table is available at a depth of 78m from top of the hill and mineral is available only up to 30-35m depth from top, therefore, no impact on groundwater.

Similarly, Orissa Agriculture University of Technology (OAUT) established that due to khondalite rocks and very minimal soil cover available, soil erosion is negligible at Niyamgiri Hills and there is no possibility of choking any stream running at the bottom of the hill.

Only, Wildlife Institute of India (WII) had said that in any case the Wildlife Sanctuary located nearby Niyamgiri should not be affected.

The Supreme Court, on August 8, 2008, based on detailed studies conducted by WII, CMPDIL, OAUT and recommendation of MOEF had cleared the Forest Diversion proposal after a prolonged debate spanning three years.

“In spite of these, OMC was stopped from mining, while a central PSU like SAIL was given a go ahead,” he said.

The source said Chiria iron ore mining project covers an area of around 2,376 hectares, which is 3% of total Saranda Forest area in Jharkhand where it is located. On the other hand, the total Niyamgiri Hill range is around 250 square km out of which nearly 7 sq km is the proposed mining lease area which constitute nearly 1.5 % of the total area.

“Hence the forest cover diverted will be much less than that in Chiria,” he said.

In the MoEF note, Ramesh said SAIL being a public sector unit, has a good track record of delivering corporate social responsibility.

“Going by this track record, our partner Vedanta has already been investing Rs10 crore as profit from notional profit from proposed mining every year and Rs12.20 crore towards tribal development,” the source said.

The area in and around Chiria is predominantly inhabited by Ho tribal community, which constitutes nearly 10% population (approx. 70,00,000) of Jharkhand population. While the number of tribals living in and around Niyamgiri are inhabited by Dongria Kondh tribal race having a total population of nearly 8600. “So the number of people affected through the project are far less,” he said.

The mining process in Chiria will involve blasting, there by impacting the wildlife near Chiria forests while OMC will be incorporating surface miner and ripper dozer techniques which are blast-free processes, he said.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

38 Kalahandi migrants want to return home from TN

The Pioneer, March 10, 2011
BIKASH KHEMKA | Bhawanipatna

Thirty eight inhabitants who had migrated to Tamil Nadu in search of better wage, lured by a local man two months back, now reportedly want to come back after being harassed by the part-time employer.

Report said that at least 40 labourers, including women and nine children aged about one to ten years, belonging to Brahmani village under Kandel gram panchayat in Kesinga block migrated to Tamil Nadu following the former -sarpanch of the nearby Matia village, Brushava Bhoi allegedly lured them by paying Rs 8,000 per head and assured them to get daily wage of Rs 300 so that they will have a better lifestyle than in their own village.

With restless work and alleged exploitation continuously for two months after getting a minimum wage of Rs 60, two workers Chhabi Majhi (35) and his son Dharani Majhi (16) managed to escape from the village of Amli near Titotani railway station of Tamil Nadu and took a sigh of relief when they reached Brahmani village. The rest of 36 still want to come back and are reportedly in miserable condition. When the relatives of the rest 36 migrants heard the entire story from Chhabi and Dharani they started wailing whether their son, son in-law, daughters and kin will come back or not.

Seven kuchha houses have been completely locked since the migration in Brahamani village and a 68 year old woman Hema Bati was requesting with folded hands to the reporters to bring back her son and son in-law at any cost and in few houses the old age fathers were witnessed of wailing for the arrival of his children.

However, though the villagers have reported the matter to Labour and Employment Minister Pushpendu Singh Deo and District Labour Officer, till now no Government officials have allegedly reached Brahmani village.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Response to a comment on HC branch in KBK?

Some people pointed that High Court Bench in Bhawanipatna instead of Sambalpur/Berhampur is motivated and it should be based on population, not by geography. We urgue them to read the article (Samaja, Aug 7, 2010) below (posting again) carefully.



(1) Lucknow High Court Bench was created based on severe work pressuer and load in Allahabad Hig Court whereas Cuttack HC does not have such problem.


(2) Shilong was created based on inaccessibility and backwardness in north eastern states where logic for KBK fits.

(3) If population is every thing, then in Odisha every thing should be located in Coastal Odisha where poulation is high, and not in Sambalpur (instead of Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Berhampur). For western Odisha it should go to Rourkela by population. Similarly in India every thing should be located in UP, Maharastra, West Bengal, Bihar etc and not in Odisha. IIT Bhubaneswar would have been located in Nagpur instead of Bhubaneswar as Bhubaneswar is 48th city by population in India.

(4) Our beleive is things should be located based on geography (regional basis), for which a town may be chosen in a region convinient to every one based on distance. IIT, NISER etc were located in Bhubaneswar based on reginal basis (state quota). In the country still many things are located based on regional basis (state basis). In odisha also University, medical college, engg college etc were established earlier in Sambalpur and Berhampur based on regional basis (geography), so were RDCs.

(5) As the communication between Bhubaneswar and Sambalpur/Berhampur has improved, to and fro communication is possible within a day, such regional development now should concentrate in far off remote and backward region like KBK. The direct rail connectivity from Bhubaneswar-Cuttack to KBK may take at least another two decades, that too to place like Bhawanipatna, Nabarangpur and Koraput, it is in doubt.
 
(6) Our guess is Bhawanipatna could be a central town suitable for all KBK-Kandhamal districts, where direct train communication to state capital or Cuttack may not be possible in next two decades. In that respect Bhawanipatna remains inaccessible for next two decades or more along with Koraput. If Khordha-Balangir railway is made by this time, it may help for Boudh, Sonepur and Balangir to have direct link with Bhubaneswar, but not for Bhawanipatna, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Ryagada, Malakangiri etc.
 
(7) However, for medical college, hospital and university we continue to argue each undivided disitrict of KBK should have at least ONE. Of course, any establishement including HC bench in KBK if there is more than ONE possibility, it should be distributed among KBK districts or in undivided district level.

Dr. Digambara Patra seeks University and Wagon Factory in Kalahandi

www.odishanewstoday.com, March 6, 2011

News Desk: Dr. Digambara Patra has sought early establishment of the Wagon Factory in Kalahandi. He also requested the government to convert the Bhawanipatna College into a University.

He urged the Chief Minister of Odisha and other relevant authorities to take necessary action so that growth and development takes the centrestage in Kalahandi. Here's what Dr. Patra has to say:

"It is astonishing how politics is being made against Kalahandi, a backward region in Koshal, for any new establishment coming to the region. It was for an engineering college in 1980s, then for a central university in 2000s and now for a Wagon Factory in 2010s.

Based on geography and accessibility Kalahandi region deserves a University since a long time. Late Biju Panaik had once promised to consider for a University in Kalahandi in due time.

The distance between Utkal University and Berhampur University is much shorter and better accessible than the distance between Bhawanipatna and any other University in the state including recently established Central University of Orissa at Koraput in KBK.

In last few months both the Higher Education Minister Dr Mishra and Chief Minister of Odisha Mr Patnaik separately visited Khallikote College and announced to make it a University soon.

Although Chief Minister Mr. Patnaik visited recently to Govt. Autonomous College Bhawanipatna on Feb 28, 2011, he did not announce to upgrade it to a State University despite there was a strong local speculation and expectation from the students.

The higher education task force in its report has recommended for up gradation of Govt. Autonomous College Bhawanipatna (GACB) to a state (affiliated) University and Khallikote College (KC) to a Unitary University.  In the page 68 of the report it has also mentioned to finance up gradation of GACB in the year 2010-11 whereas in page 66 it mentions to start financing Khallikote College in the year 2012-2017. Thus, GACB should be made University before KC.

Beside that as per the convenience of students and faculties affiliated University in KBK is more urgent than a Unitary University for an Autonomous College in a stone through distance from an existing state University.

GACB has got Potential Center of Excellence by UGC much before than KC.Unfortunately, politics is spoiling the chance of Kalahandi’s development every time as there is no rationality in state Government judgment for the above.

A big question is why the state Government has sent the proposal for Wagon Factory in Ganjam instead of Kalahandi if there was no ill motivation when railway budget 2010-11 clearly mentions Bhubaneswar/Kalahandi for the same?

As per the news report Wagon Factory proposal in Kulti near Asansol in Bardhaman of West Bengal needs just 20-30 acres of land, privately railway ministry has also mentioned requirement of 30-40 acres of land for the same, in that respect why 500 acres of land in Ganjam is being proposed by the state Government and sent to Railway minister?

Was it just to divert the attention to favour a particular region, so that once site is identified by using 500 acres of land tag, it could be easily established in 50 acres in Ganjam?

There is plenty of sites having 30 -50 acres of Government non-forest and unused land near to railway lines in Kalahandi. In fact there are many sites where 500 acres of land can be allotted. If state Government was serious for the site in Kalahandi, the land requirement could be easily fulfilled.

As per information, the district administration in Kalahandi was never asked to find out the land requirement for the proposed Wagon Factory, than how could the land in Ganjam be identified before that?

When state Government is diverting forest land for mining and other industries against the local people’s will, it is strange why such thing is not possible in Kalahandi for a public sector less polluting Wagon Factory when local people are very much interested.

To our knowledge there are plenty of lands, more than 500 acres each, in Narla, Kesinga, Lanjigarh road, Jaring etc near the railway tracks, some of this lands are by name shake forest land as in reality they are no more forests, which can be easily used for establishing such a factory. More than 180 acres of non-forest Government unused land is also available near Sardar Medical College in Jaring adjacent to railway track.

On the other hand state Govt. is directly encouraging forest land having dense trees for Vedanta in the same Kalahandi district.

Whether forest or non-forest land, if the Government was serious for Kalahandi, land could be easily found and it is absolutely illogical to say land cannot be found for Wagon Factory in Kalahandi.

Railway ministry is even kind enough to express in the parliament on March 3, 2011 (Samaja, March 4, 2011) that if land is allotted in Kalahandi by the state Government, then it may establish second Wagon Factory in Kalahandi in the state.

In this respect if state Government does not send a new proposal for Kalahandi, the ill motivation of the state Government against Kalahandi will clearly be exposed.

I request you to kindly consider upgradation of GACB immediately to a state University and send another proposal to railway ministry identifying land for Wagon Factory in Kalahandi."

Dr. Digambara Patra is the Assistant Professor Department of Chemistry at the American University of Beirut.