Thursday, August 25, 2011

In this week with ther request from state Govt. the district administration of Kalahandi has identified 70 acres of land at Narla and forwarded to the state Govt. for the proposed Wagon Factory

With the request from the state Govt., the district administration of Kalahandi has identified 70 acres of land at Narla and forwarded to the state Govt. for the proposed Wagon Factory.
We sincerely hope there will be cooperation between state and central Govt. to establish the Wagon Factory in Kalahandi without any politics.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

VAL gets ISO 50001:2011 from British institute

The Pioneer, Aug 24, 2011
PNS | Bhubaneswar

Vedanta Aluminium Limited, (VAL), an associate company of the globally diversified metals and mining group Vedanta Resources PLC, became the first mining and metal industry in the country to get accreditation for its energy management system for ISO 50001:2011 from the British Standards Institution, for efficiently managing the existing natural resources and mitigating the impact of climate change at its Lanjigarh unit in Kalahandi district ISO 50001:2011, the international standard on energy management, seeks to drive the attention of industrial houses to lay greater focus on augmenting their existing energy efficiency.

It is a framework for entwining energy efficiency into management practices so that the existing energy-consuming assets can be used in a better manner tol ultimately help reduce levels of Green House Gas emission.

VAL president & COO Dr Mukesh Kumar said, “With the obtaining of the ISO 50001:2011, VAL aims to minimise energy consumption to a greater level. The accreditation for ISO 50001 also reflects VAL’s determined attempt in energy-saving green practices. VAL is committed for overall area development and environment protection. The Lanjigarh plant is the only alumina refinery in the country having zero discharge system and aiming to become the first alumina refinery in the world by developing zero waste roadmap. It has already started recovery of valuable vanadium from waste, which is helping in reducing import of vanadium sludge.”

After attaining of the ISO 50001 certification, VAL has adhered to a framework of stringent energy conservation and efficient natural resource usage policy, which require it to align its operations to four aspects affecting energy management such as; mitigation of climate change, world-class energy performance, support BEE, Union Ministry of Power and energy-efficient procurement. Now its system has been certified as per ISO 50001:2011.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Sanitation dismal in Bhawanipatna

IBNlive, Aug 23, 2011

BHAWANIPATNA: Sanitation in urban pockets of Bhawanipatna is dismal owing to the lackadaisical attitude of the municipal authorities. This� situation continues despite dengue assuming alarming proportions in some parts of the State.
Garbage has mounted on the roadsides, much to the inconvenience of the residents. To add to the woes of the town, the sewage system has gone awry. In areas under the Bhawanipatna Municipality, having a population of a lakh, sanitation measures are virtually non-existent. The municipality has 20 wards and sanitation works in seven wards are managed by 292 workers hired by the civic body. Work in the rest 13 wards had been outsourced for Rs. 4,99,000 a month.
�Sources said contract term of the private agency lapsed last month but no step has been taken to call fresh tender to appoint new agency or renew the old one. As a result, no adequate sanitation measures are being taken causing much inconvenience to the residents.
Sources said except a few VIP pockets, roads and drains, other areas are
�not cleaned for months
The overflowing drains and puddles filled with rainwater have turned breeding grounds for mosquitoes. Locals said if the situation continues, outbreak of vector and water-borne diseases cannot be ruled out.
The Bhawanipatna Municipality has procured 2,400 litres of mosquito larvicidal (ML) oil and received DDT from the district health department. However, in the absence of fogging machines, the oil and DDT cannot be sprayed.
Municipal executive officer Nruparaj Sahoo said the Municipality is aware of the situation and efforts are on to streamline sanitation works. He said tender for appointment of a private agency for the works will be called soon.� The municipality is facing problems in implementing the sanitation works due to shortage of field staff, he added.

MP urged to back Anna in K'handi

The Pioneer, Aug 23, 2011

At the instance of anti-corruption crusader Anna Hazare to prevail upon all MPs to support the Jan Lokpal Bill, agitators here, under the banner of District Co-ordination Committee, Kalhandi, took out a procession from Gandhi Chowk up to the residence of Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das and appealed for his active support for introduction and smooth passage of the Jan Lokpal Bill in the current session of the Parliament.

Although the MP was away in Delhi to attend the Parliament session, a memorandum was submitted to one of his associates, Niranjan Pradhan.

The memorandum said Das is a committed leader of the people of Kalahandi and he could raise himself above party line, extending his support to the movement to root out corruption from the country.

Rail roko at Kesinga station for the proposed Railway Wagon Factory at Narla

On Aug 22, 2011 there was a rail roko at Kesinga railway station demanding establishment of the proposed Railway Wagon Factory at Narla.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Niyamgiri: MoEF says rejection of forest nod as per law

Indian Express, Aug 22, 2011
Krishnadas Rajagopal 

With Orissa Mining Corporation Limited (OMCL) claiming that the rejection of forest clearance to its bauxite mining project at Niyamgiri hills is aimed as a rebuff to the Supreme Court’s green signal for the billion-dollar venture, the Ministry of Environment and Forests met the charge head-on.
In a detailed affidavit filed in the Supreme Court, the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) says it is only doing its job.
The court had in two consecutive judgments dated November 23, 2007 and August 8, 2008 cleared the project.
But the ministry’s affidavit is firm: “MoEF is bound to apply its own mind and grant independent clearance to the project.” It says the rejection of stage-II forest clearance to the bauxite mining project was in “accordance with law” and certainly within its own executive powers.
The August 30, 2010 rejection of forest clearance stalled the integrated plan to divert 660.749 hectares of forest land for mining of bauxite ore on the Niyamgiri Hills region of Orissa. OMCL had in 2004 signed the original agreement with Vedanta Aluminium Ltd, later replaced by its sister concern, Sterlite. The bauxite mined would have gone to feed Vedanta’s Lanjigarh aluminium refinery. 
The rejection came after the government-appointed N C Saxena panel found the project would affect the ecology as well the primitive tribal group of Dongaria Kondhs living on the mountain slopes.
Permission to Vedanta for expansion of its 1-million tonne alumina refinery to 6-million tonne at Lanjigarh block of Kalahandi was also withdrawn.
The MoEF, represented by advocate Haris Beeran, hit back at OMCL by contending that the Supreme Court’s “in-principle” clearance of the mining project in 2008 was subject to the ministry’s own final approval.
The Supreme Court had never directed the MoEF to blindly clear the project just because the court had given the green signal. It had only said that the final approval was to be given by the ministry “in accordance with law”, argues the ministry.
“In accordance with law must mean in accordance with the provisions of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, the Environment Protection Act, 1986, and the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006. This Hon’ble Court did not direct the MoEF to issue forest clearance in accordance with its own order. The effect of order dated 8 August 2008 is therefore not that the MoEF cannot discharge its statutory obligation under the Forest Conservation Act,” states the ministry.
Similarly, in a separate affidavit simultaneously filed, the ministry countered OMCL’s frontal attack on its “last- minute” withdrawal of environmental clearance on July 7, 2011to the project.
The Orissa-government run corporation had wanted to know why the decision was made by the ministry just prior to the Cabinet reshuffle. In its nine-page application, OMCL had said the withdrawal of environmental clearance “smacked of the heights of arbitrariness”.
This had prompted a Bench of Justices R V Raveendran and A K Patnaik on August 2 to direct the ministry to explain why it had to withdraw a clearance already given.
Replying to the court’s query, the ministry simply said it had found no reason to continue with the environment clearance accorded to the project when the forest clearance had already been rejected. It said the clearance had only been “withdrawn” and not “cancelled”.

Support swells for Anna in Kalahandi

The Pioneer, Aug 22, 2011
Kalahandi: Supporting Anna Hazare’s demand for Jan Lokpal Bill, members of different Trusts have been sitting on dharna since August 16 at Gandhi Chowk. Chinmaya Behera, Kalahandi Individual Satyagraha Trust, Balakrishna Senapati, Bharat Swabhiman Trust, Manindra Mohanty, Kalahandi Youth Federation, Badri Narayan Pattnaik, Kalahandi Swabhiman Jagaran Manch, Pradeep Kumar Moharana, Gayatri Parivar, begun their fast-unto-death on last Saturday.

‘Declare Dharmagarh, Golamunda drought-hit’

Dharmagarh: Thousands of farmers belonging to Dharmagarh and Golamunda blocks took to the streets here on Friday demanding declaration of the areas as completely drought-hit. The farmers took out a rally across Dharmagarh town, followed by a meeting before the Sub-Collector’s office. Convener of Samruddha Odisha, Prabir Mohanty, State general secretary Digambar Duria, and leaders of various farmers’ associations participated in the meeting and criticised the State and Central Governments for their apathy. They said farmers have lost their hopes even if it rains adequately now. A memorandum addressed to the Governor was also given to the Sub-Collector. The farmers also threatened to intensify the agitation if their demands are not fulfilled soon.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A journey from Chennai to Niyamgiri hills

Asian Age, Aug 18, 2011
Like most good social workers, Ms Chamundi had big dreams since her childhood to serve people. She imagined good life for each and every individual. She was also equally concerned to provide good education and healthcare services to children and to create earning opportunities for all.
Born in 1962 in Chennai, Ms Chamundi initially thought of a career in medicine as she felt it was the best way to serve the people. Her mother Sulochana, a doctor by profession, always encouraged her to be a good physician.
However, defying family diktat, she decided to study social work to understand the problems and complexities plaguing the progress of the people, mainly those who are living at the grassroots.
Soon after completing her post graduation in social work, she worked with the Chennai-based Gems Foundation, a reputed social organisation which is working to provide better living conditions to the hapless citizens of the society.
At Gems Foundation, she was entrusted the responsibility to work with the state government agencies to facilitate shifting of over two dozens of slums from inside the city and the rehabilitation of displaced in new cluster of pucca houses built the local authorities.
It was a Himalayan task as convincing people to shift to new localities on the outskirt of the city was no easy. But after much persuasion and counselling, they shifted to their new houses. As most of the slum-dwellers lost their immediate jobs because of relocation, they resorted to some cheap methods, including selling of liquor, to earn easy money.
Determined to bring the relocated slum dwellers into the mainstream, Ms Chamundi, who had in between completed her master degree in business administration, vigorously executed a number of livelihood programmes. People were trained in cloth weaving and designing, plumbing and a few other trades, heralding a dawn of dignity and honour for the people who were being looked down up previously.
Mission accomplished, Ms Chamundi thought to step out of Chennai and work on a distant land where people live a primitive life. The opportunity came her way in 2000 when she was approached by London-based Vedanta Foundation to look after its Child Care Centre (CCC) project at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district.
When she arrived at Lanjigarh at the foothill of the picturesque Niyamgiri hills, she was shocked to see the children, most of them belonging to tribal communities, were malnourished and underdeveloped. They did not have scope for good education or access to quality food, healthcare services and proper clothing.
Honouring her proposal, Vedanta Foundation started 40 each two Child Care Centres — one at Niyamgiri Rehabilitation Colony and the second at Rangapalli. Children were not only given good education at the CCCs, they were also served nutritious food thrice a day. Besides a regular health check-up of the children showed an increase in their health index.
“It was here I got utmost satisfaction of my life. Today, I feel my heart and pulse is here. I have completely lost myself among these children who once lived in the dark of ignorance and neglect. You meet my children at CCCs, they will welcome in chaste Oriya, English and Hindi. Their parents are also equally happy. A social worker like me cannot ask God anything more than this perpetual bliss that got here,” says Ms Chamundi.
Inspired by the social worker’s undaunted spirit and zeal, the Vedanta Foundation has enlarged its area of operation from Kalahandi to Rayagada district. It now runs at least 36 CCCs with at least 1,440 children.
Ms Chamundi has one more dream to expand Vedanta Foundation’s activity accommodating more number of children. In fact, a beginning has already been made in 2008 when the Foundation tied up with the government agencies to implement the Central-funded Balchetna project.
“I want to spend more time here among the children and tribal people. Hope, God will not deprive me of this opportunity. Losing self among innocent children who want to stand with your cooperation is a divine bliss,” she signs off.

B’patna lawyers back Anna’s demand

The Pioneer, Aug 21, 2011
BHAWANIPATNA: With the ongoing anti-corruption agitation across the country, lawyers boycotted the court here on Saturday supporting Anna Anna Hazare’s demand for introduction of the Jan Lokpal Bill in the Parliament and took to the street shouting anti-graft slogans.

District Bar Association, Kalahandi staged a demonstration and dharna before the main gate of the Sessions Court. Judges had no way but to return to their quarters. Due to the lawyers’ strike, hearing of cases was held up for a day. The State-level Lok Adalat, which was scheduled to Saturday, was cancelled.

Railways would shortly be in a position to open Lanjigarh-Bhawanipatna stretch of Lanjigarh-Junagarh New Line

Orissa: ECoR GM says Khurda Road-Begunia line to be operational soon
Orissadiary, Aug 18, 2011
Bhubaneswar: Addressing a gathering of staff, officers and their family members on the occasion of the 65th Independence Day here on Monday, Arvind Kumar Vohra, General Manager of East Coast Railway (ECoR) said that the railways would shortly be in a position to open Lanjigarh-Bhawanipatna stretch of Lanjigarh-Junagarh New Line and Khurda Road-Begunia stretch of Khurda Road-Balangir New Lines.

He also disclosed that passenger services on Paralakhemundi-Gunupur section on the recently gauge converted route would be introduced from August 21.

Vohra briefly presented the statistics to underscore the improved performance of the zone in earnings and movement of passengers and freight.

He added that the seven new Passenger Reservation System terminals and 61 Unreserved Ticketing Systems provided in the current year, along with provision of modern amenities at stations and trains, reflect the focus on providing modern and quality services to customers.
The improved connectivity to the ports, including Dhamra, found a mention in his speech.
Vohra unfurled the National Flag and took salute from a large contingent of Railway Protection Force (RPF), Bharat Scouts and Guides and railway and non-railway school children.

A colourful cultural programme was organised by different school children, wards of railway employees, Bharat Scouts and Guides to mark the occasion.

530 watershed projects under OTELP

IBNlive, Aug 12, 2011

BHUBANESWAR: With the Orissa Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme (OTELP) entering the second phase, the Government on Thursday decided to take up 530 watershed projects with an investment of Rs 556 crore.
While the livelihood support programme was implemented in 30 blocks of seven districts, this has been extended to another 30 blocks of the districts under OTELP Plus programme.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik reviewed the progress of the externally-aided project at a meeting on Thursday. He was informed that irrigation facilities had been created in 12,175 hectares of land and cultivable land increased by 19 per cent.
In the first phase, 135 micro watershed structures have been made functional.
�According to the annual outcome survey report of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), food security situation has improved in 52 per cent households while migration has been reduced from 17 to 9 per cent. Dependency on private moneylenders too has drastically fallen from 37 to 14 per cent over the last year.
Project interventions have boosted primary sectors like agriculture, livestock, short-term employment in allied sectors and improved cash flow to the families, the report said.
The assessment done by IFAD through independent enumerators revealed that 90 per cent of the people� involved in the programme have got wage employment.
The livelihood programme is implemented in 30 backward blocks of Koraput, Kalahandi, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Nabarangpur and Rayagada districts in phases. The phase-1 programme is scheduled to close in 12 blocks of Gajapati, Kalahandi, Koraput and Kandhamal in 2012.
�The phase-II operation has started in 1,038 villages involving 56,180 households. Although it was planned to develop 358 micro watersheds in the project areas, the meeting was informed that a total of 530 projects had been taken up.
�The meeting further decided to intensify coffee cultivation in Koraput district, orange cultivation in Gajapati district and turmeric in Kandhamal district.
�Since there is huge potential to develop mini and micro hydro-electricity projects in Kalahandi and Malkangiri districts, the meeting decided to explore the opportunities.

Malaria continues to scourge KBK districts

IBNlive, Aug 18, 2011
BHUBANESWAR: Even as dengue spreads its tentacles across the State, malaria remains the major worry in the KBK districts.
Although the Orissa Government may disagree, the number of malaria deaths is on the rise in the undivided KBK region.
According to the status report submitted by the Health Department to the National Human Rights Commission, the eight KBK districts reported 96 malaria deaths in 2008 which rose to 100 in 2009.
During 2010, malaria claimed 124 lives. This year till June, 18 lives have been lost to the dreaded fever.
The number of malaria positive cases too has been rising. The KBK region threw up 1,76,640 positive cases in 2008. The figure fell marginally in 2009 but rose substantially to 2,00,111 in 2010. This year till June, 82,289 positive cases have been detected.
As expected, Kalahandi, Koraput and Rayagada districts threw up the maximum cases. Last year, Kalahandi reported 38 deaths followed by 33 in Koraput. More than 80 per cent of the deaths are due to cerebral malaria.
The availability of doctors in the KBK region seems to have a direct fallout on the situation. Most of the districts reported high vacancies. Kalahandi, with a sanctioned 176 posts, had 54 positions vacant amounting to 30 per cent. Similar was the story of Koraput where 56 out of 168 posts were lying vacant till July.
In Malkangiri, vacancies were higher at 37 per cent - 32 doctor posts out of a sanctioned strength of 86. Nabarangpur topped the list with more than half the posts waiting to be filled. There were just 56 doctors out of 116 sanctioned posts.
The gloomy health scenario in the KBK region had a direct bearing on the resources available at the ground level. Apart from non-availability of doctors, the strength of paramedics was also appalling. Staff nurses and radiographers were always short of the sanctioned posts in most of the eight districts.
In Kalahandi, there were just 81 staff nurses against the sanctioned strength of 145 whereas in Malkangiri, 37 out of 76 remained vacant. Nabarangpur faces crisis with 72 staff nurse posts lying vacant against the sanctioned strength of 90.
Similar was the position in Rayagada and Sonepur.
Besides, there is acute shortage of radiographers across the KBK region.
Against the sanctioned strength of six in Balangir, just three posts are filled.
In Koraput, four out of seven posts remain vacant.

Med research centre readies to fight sickle cell disease

Times of India, Aug 13, 2011

BHUBANESWAR: The Regional Medical Research Centre (RMRC) in Bhubaneswar will develop a strategy for management of the sickle cell disease in western Orissa.
"We will soon open a centre in Kalahandi district for long-term monitoring and treatment plan for the sickle cell disease," said Dr S K Kar, the director of RMRC.
"We will soon open a centre in Kalahandi district for long-term monitoring and treatment plan for the sickle cell disease," said Dr S K Kar, the director of RMRC.

‘Nilamadhab Panigrahi Samman’ has been conferred on Dr. Harekrishna Meher for the Book ‘Koshali Meghaduta’

Our heartiest congratulation to Dr Meher.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Letter to Rahul Gandhi: Sepoy has a job to do for the upliftment of Kalahandi

IMPORTANT NOTE:Please write this email personally to Rahul Gandhi and copy to PM, CM etc.

(Thanks to Prof. Chitta Baral for bringing it)


Sri Rahul Gandhi, Congress General Secretary

Honorable Prime Minister Dr Singh
Honorable Smt Sonia Gandhi
Honorable Minister of HRD Sri Kapil Sibal
Honorable Agriculture Minister Sri Sharad Pawar
Honorable Chief Minister of Odisha Sri Naveen Patnaik

Dear Rahul ji,
In 2008 & 2010, when you said yourself as a Sepoy of Kalahandi at Delhi, people of Kalahandi thought you will help for the development of Kalahandi and change its backward image.
Except your interference in stopping mining and mineral processing development in Niyamgiri and Lanjigarh, unfortunately your claim is getting diluted day by day.
Though you have taken in good spirit for the establishment of a Central Agriculture University in Bundelkhand, your response has been poor towards Kalahandi despite a strong public appeal for establishement of similar such institution.

Recent declaration of central Government to give special importance to agricultural growth of eastern part of the nation including Odisha, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand etc is adorable.

Agriculture contributes substantial portion to our economy and human resources. It is the prime source to the rural economy and is backbone of the nation. As the agriculture land area is decreasing due to urbanization and industries, to meet the food demand at the national and international level the stress on agricultural output per hectare of agricultural land will increase with population. This will require very advanced technology, modern tools, innovation and creativity in the world class level that institution like central University could only fulfill.

In this connection besides IITs, IIMs, IIITs, Innovative Universities, Central Universities etc establishment of high quality central agriculture university for education and research relating to agriculture bear importance. Ministry of Agriculture had already established Central Agriculture University at Imphal for North Eastern states. Recently the Union agriculture ministry had also given the go-ahead to develop a Central Agriculture University in Jhansi for Bundelkhand, which seems largely was due to your pressure on the Government.

Odisha has a great potential in agriculture in the national level and recently was recognized in the national level. Despite known for backwardness, Kalahandi is one of the top rice, cotton and pulse producing region in Odisha. This region is very rich in terms of agriculture and agriculture products. Institution of higher learning for the development of agriculture science and technology is a must in this backward cluster for the benefit of eastern states in India, particularly for Odisha and Chhatisgarh and to train and support this backward cluster in agriculture.

Although people of Odisha had initiated to establish a Central Agriculture University by writing to various ministries and department, West Bengal Govt. has recently proposed to establish a Central Agriculture University in West Medinapore district, which already has an IIT, medical college and university and more developed in terms of education and infrastructure compare to Kalahandi.

Kalahandi has more practical appeal for such an University not only for its infamous backwardness, rich agriculture potential and available infrastructure, such as railways, NH, Raipur airport within 200 km, and but also due to its ideal location in Odisha and bordering Chhatisgarh.

o Kalahandi is centrally located among the KBK districts.

o Bhawanipatna is also the central point while including other tribal and backward region in Orissa such as Boudh, Kandhamal, Bargarh and Gajpati districts, thus, Bhawanipatna could serve better to the whole region than any other location.

o Kalahandi is located in the border of Chhattisgar and near to Raipur which would make it easy to serve the interest of both Odisha and Chhatisgarh.

We are not against establishing such a University in Medinapore, but the nation deserves more Central Agriculture University as per its present need. Therefore, in the line of North Eastern states, Bundelkhand, West Medinapore, etc. we request you, being a Sipoy of Kalahandi, to take the issue to Central Govt. for establishing a Central Agriculture University at Kalahandi.

Thanking you and best regards

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Land offered by the Govt. of Orissa between Chttarpur & Brahmapur in Ganjam district is not considered suitable for Wagon Factory on account of rail connectivity issues: Railway board reply to our comment

We had petitioned to the prime minister aginst insutice caused by Odisha Govt. while selecting site for Wagon facotry. On our commet forwared by Prime Minister Office to railway board, railway board has responsed that "The land offered by the Govt. of Orissa between Chttarpur & Brahmapur in Ganjam district is not considered suitable for this purpose on account of rail connectivity issues. This had been conveyed to Govt. of Orissa who have offered an laternative site which is under consideration by the Railway."

Below is the copy of our earlier peition to the Prime Minister in March 2011:

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. (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

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, and Decan Chronicle, Feb 28, 2011, ) 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,’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.

( ).

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, ) 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

MGNREGA works have led to increased agricultural productivity

PIB, Aug 9, 2011
A Study conducted by the Central government reveals that works given under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, MGNREGS have led to increase in crop yields, besides substantial enhancement of market wage rates of agricultural and non-agricultural labourers. The positive impact of the scheme was also noticed in the considerable increase in the forest area and the decline in incidents of out-migration. The information was given by the Minister of State for Rural Development Shri Pradeep Jain Aditya in a written reply to a question in the Rajya Sabha today. He said, works permissible under MGNREGS include renovation of ponds and canals, water conservation and water harvesting, drought proofing and tree plantation, flood control, micro and minor irrigation works and land development, which have demonstrated positive impact on agriculture productivity. The Minister informed that districts like Chitradurga, Kalahandi, Lalitpur, West Medinipur and Bankura covered in the studies have also reported substantial increase in the forest area coverage due to works allocated under the MGNREGS.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dhaneswar Majhi likely to be appointed the next chairperson of WODC

Note: Last week we recived this information from Dr Baba Mishra and this report reconfirms it. Hope finally Chief Minister appoints Mr Majhi and he serves the interest of Western Odisha at his best. We had urged the chief minister ealirer to appoint someone, preferably an academician, either from undivided Kalahandi or Sundergarh district.

Deputy Speaker: BJD plays tribal card
IBNlive, Aug 8, 2011

BHUBANESWAR: As the monsoon session of the Assembly is only 10 days away, speculation is rife about the next Deputy Speaker, election for which will be held on August 17, the first day of the session.

The BJD and its allies have nearly three-fourths majority in the House of 147 and the election for the post will only be a formality. But it remains to be seen whether the Opposition parties will field any candidate.

Sources, however, said the Congress is yet to decide whether it will field its candidate. If the Congress does so, the party may not get the support from BJP MLAs, who may abstain.

The names of two BJD MLAs, Sananda Marandi and Sarojini Hembrum, are doing the rounds. Both the MLAs are from Mayurbhanj district. Marandi is a second time MLA from Baripada.

He had won from Kuliana constituency in 2004 on a BJP ticket. He crossed over to BJD in 2009 and contested from Baripada. Sarojini Hembrum is a first-timer from Bangiriposhi constituency.

Sources said the post may go to Marandi if the party leadership goes by the decision not to put up a first-timer. However, several senior leaders maintained that Hembrum’s name is under consideration. But the post will certainly go to a tribal leader, a senior party leader said. The post has fallen vacant after Lalbihari Himirika was sworn in as a Cabinet minister in the May, 2011 reshuffle.

Similarly, former MLA from Kalahandi, Dhaneswar Majhi, is likely to be appointed the next chairperson of the Western Orissa Development Council (WODC).

The post has fallen vacant since July 30. The name of former speaker Kishore Mohanty was also under consideration. Sources, however, said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik wants a tribal leader as WODC chief.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Image: Murali river near Phurli Jharan Kalahandi

Contributed by Bebina Mund
Murali river near Phurli Jharan, Bhawanipatna, Kalahandi

Kandul Debta: Tribal deity of Thuamul Rampur in Kalahandi

Contributed by Sri Satyanarayan Mundchhina
The tribal deities of Thuamulrampur KHANDUAL DEVATA,sometimes siting in the branches of the trees and sometimes on the floor of the rock cliff,its a TANTRIK devata,every tribal villages has a cottage temple for secret worship.khandual devata is the tutelary deities of Khond tribe ,there is a beautiful Waterfall in karlapat green terace slope which name is called as khandual dhara with a altidude of 3000 ft.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Bibhudatta Mahapatra bags “Best Innovator in Communications Award 2011”

Bhubaneswar: Essel Mining & Industries Ltd (EMIL)’s Corporate Communications Manager Mr Bibhudatta Mahapatra has bagged the most prestigious Best Innovator in Communications for the year 2011. This award has been handed over to Mr Mahapatra by the Hon’ble Padmashree Awardee Dr P K Jena at Soochana Bhavan on 3rd August evening in a grand ceremony on the “2nd Foundation Day of INDUS VALLEY TIMES”. Recently Mr Mahapatra has been conferred upon as the “Best Corporate Communications Professional of the Year Award 2011” by the Bhubaneswar Media Forum.

Mr Bibhu Mahapatra has been awarded the same for his excellence in the field of Corporate Communication while serving in different Corporates and Media houses. Starting his career from the Daily SAMBAD, Mr Mahapatra has worked in the INDIAN EXPRESS at Bhubaneswar. Being an alumnus of IIMC Dhenkanal, Mr Mahapatra has also worked there as a Faculty Member for few years also. In leading Corporates like Vedanta Aluminium Ltd and Aditya Birla Group he has excelled well in his profession by bringing new innovations and professionalism in the field of Corporate Communications. The Journalist turned Corp Comms Professional Mr Mahapatra bags with him more than 12 years of rich experience in the field of Journalism and Communication arena.

Among others the Minister of Energy Mr Atanu Sabyasachi, Revenue & Disaster Management Minister Mr Suryanarayana Patra, and the veteran journalist Mr Prasanna Mohanty were also present on the occasion.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

After Jairam, Vedanta in a patch-up mode with MoEF

Business Standrad, Aug 3, 2011
Piyali Mandal / New Delhi
Withdraws petition from green tribunal, makes fresh plea for Lanjigarh project.

Nearly a month after Jairam Ramesh took over as the rural development minister, the Vedanta Group is trying to patch up with the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoEF) to get its projects fast-tracked.

Vedanta Aluminum Ltd (VAL), an associate company of the globally diversified Vedanta Resources Plc, has already made a fresh proposal to obtain environmental clearance for the expansion of its aluminum refinery at Lanjigarh in Orissa. It has also withdrawn its case against the MoEF at the National Green Tribunal (NGT). The ministry under Ramesh had cancelled the environmental clearance to Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC). OMC is in agreement with Vedanta Group company Sterlite for mining bauxite at Niyamgiri hills.

OMC’s bauxite mining project falls within the forest land of Kalahandi and Rayagada area of the state, and is part of the Vedanta Group's 6 million tonne per annum aluminium refinery in Lanjigarh.

Vedanta had filed a review petition at the newly set up NGT. In August 2007, VAL had applied for expansion of its refinery capacity from 1 to 6 mtpa and captive power plant from 75 to 300 Mw. Since last year, the company was at loggerheads with the MoEF on issues of expansion of its aluminium refinery and bauxite mining at Niyamgiri.

When contacted, company officials confirmed that Vedanta had withdrawn its petition last week and had also filed a fresh application for expansion of the aluminium refinery.

“All the aspects of the project had already been reviewed. The Supreme Court is also looking into the matter. So we have withdrawn the petition from the National Green Tribunal. Besides, the National Environment Appellate Authority, which was there before the formation of NGT had also reviewed the matter and had held nine hearings on the matter,” an official said.

The move indicates a climate change at the environment ministry after Ramesh's exit. A senior official of the company said Vedanta was now hopeful of getting all the required clearances for the projects.

The state government had moved the Supreme Court against withdrawal of environmental clearance to Sterlite. They alleged that the former minister Ramesh had passed an order just a day before demitting office.

The order "has been passed in an arbitrary manner” and “it is difficult to understand the need and urgency for issuing the order on July 11 to withdraw the clearance itself,” the OMC application said.

The MoEF withdrew the clearance a day before the Cabinet reshuffle, which saw Ramesh moving to the Rural Development Ministry.

The apex court had issued a notice to MoEF yesterday on the plea of OMC challenging its decision to revoke the environmental clearance to Sterlite Industries.

Monday, August 1, 2011

SC issues notice to environment ministry on mining in Niyamgiri

Times of India, Aug 1, 2011
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday issued a notice to the MoEF on a petition by the Orissa Mining Corporation accusing Jairam Ramesh of withdrawing environment clearance to Vedanta for bauxite mining in Niyamgiri hills just a day before he was taken out of MoEF.

Seeking the government's response, a bench of justices R V Raveendran and Gyan Sudha Misra issued a notice to the ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) and directed it to file its reply within a week.

Senior advocate K K Venugopal, appearing for OMC, said the minister of state for MoEF passed an order withdrawing the environmental clearance just a day before demitting his office, PTI reported.

Venugopal submitted that no mandatory notice was given for this withdrawal.

In this regard, it is pertinent to note that prior to the withdrawal, OMC had approached the apex court three months earlier when the ministry had revoked its forest clearance, which is different from environment clearance and is aimed at ensuring that the project does not lead to depletion of green cover in the area.

Venugopal submitted that the minister withdrew the environment clearance for the project despite knowing that the matter is subjudice and before the Supreme Court.

The court, meanwhile, also allowed Prafful Samanta, on whose plea the MoEF had taken the action, to file an application to be a party in the matter.

Earlier, on April 21, the apex court issued notices to the Orissa government, the environment ministry and Sterlite Industries on a petition challenging the cancellation of forest clearance for the Niyamgiri bauxite mining project in the state on OMC's plea.

OMC had said as per the agreement, Sterlite had to pay Rs 55 crore in the wildlife fund and Rs 10 crore annually, or 5 per cent of its annual profits, whichever was higher, for development of the area.

"Sterlite has to make the payment. They have already paid Rs 55 crore for the wildlife fund and have to pay Rs 10 crore annually for the development of the area," it had said.

Sterlite is the Indian arm of UK-based Vedanta Resources. Earlier, the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) had given in-principle approval to the project in 2007.

Contesting the MoEF order of August 24, OMC had submitted that the Centre's order was illegal, arbitrary and in violation of the apex court's earlier directions that gave a green signal to the project.

The MoEF had on August 24 rejected the forest clearance granted to Sterlite's USD 1.7 billion bauxite mining project, citing the violation of various forest and environmental laws.

The ministry had refused next stage forest clearance for OMC and the Sterlite bauxite mining project in the Niyamgiri Hills area in the Lanjigarh, Kalahandi and Rayagadha districts of Orissa, accepting the Forest Advisory Committee recommendation for withdrawal of the clearance.

K'handi farmers demand extension of insurance deadline

The Pioneer, Aug 1, 2011
PNS, Bhawanipatna

Farmers blocked the main road at Dharmagarh on Saturday demanding extension of last date for filing form for crop insurance. The last date of filing in the form to insure crop was August 30 last year. There was unprecedented queue for long time at the offices to fill the forms by the farmers but many were unable to do it. The deficient rain in the months of June and July has set the alarm bell ringing for an impending drought and the farmers are in a hurry to insure their crops as it would somehow compensate them in the event of crop loss.

However, reports said that farmers did not get the actual information for the last date of filing the form.