Monday, October 31, 2011

Orissa: District-wise budget can tackle regional imbalances reveals CYSD Study

Orissadiary, Oct 31, 2011
Bhubaneswar: A district-wise budget process is the need of hour which can eradicate regional imbalances in terms of state resource allocation and spending, said civil society think-tanks in a workshop on the District Budget for Elementary Education in Odisha conducted by one of the state’s leading NGOs, CYSD here recently.

The study covered four tribal districts namely Koraput, Kalahandi, Keonjhar and Sundargarh. It highlighted acute deficit of elementary teachers in these districts. However, the concerned funds are not spent fully.

In Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts, the SC ST development department (SSD) shared only 4 per cent to 6 per cent of the total funds utilised in elementary education.

Surprisingly, the SSD has not spent a single coin in any kind of infrastructure establishment. The size of off-budget funds flow is very high. Plan expenditure is not prioritised in the tribal districts. A study done by CYSD-OBAC in four tribal-populated districts on budgetary practice of elementary education revealed in all four districts, the school and mass education department (SME) has not spent a coin in school building, additional classroom, urinal, toilet, water supply, boundary wall construction or its repairing works.

Such expenditures were made by Sarva Siksha Abhiyan (SSA) only. As per data of 2009-10 financial year, about 24 per cent to 54 per cent schools of concerned districts don’t have students’ conveniences. In the same financial year, the SME has allocated only Rs 549 to Rs 920 per school for furniture, library, teaching aids, sports equipment.

The allocated funds of SSA for teachers’ salary head are lying unspent. Expenditures on teachers’ training are comparatively low.

Kalahandi and Keonjhar districts are poor performers in spending allocated budget on these heads.

Schools inspection is seriously neglected. A maximum Rs 400 was allocated for school inspection per month per inspector. Expenditure on girl child education is very low too.

Free text book distribution under SSA has been seriously neglected. In some cases, only Rs 18.06 was spent per student for the purpose, where as the average norm is Rs 150 for primary and Rs 250 for upper primary students.

Similarly, in financial year 2009-10, there are insignificant differences between estimated amount and actual expenditures made for Mid Day Meal (MDM) programme.

This might be the outcome of the MDM stopped in hundreds of schools due to various reasons.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Joint committe leaded by Tasildar Narla gave the sketch map of land of 70 acres near Chapata Khanda to district administration for the said wagon unit

Contributed by Sri Santosh Kumar Kar
Secretary, Rail Wagon Sangram Samiti, Narla

A joint committe leaded by Tasildar Narla gave the sketch map of land of 70 acres near chapata khanda, narla to district administration for the said wagon unit.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Public Hearing on Primary Education: Good initiative by Antodaya

Shared by Dillip Kumar Das

Shyama Nial and his daughter Kamalini

Manika Gadtia

Passions run high at House Panel Meet

IBNlive, Oct 28, 2011
BHUBANESWAR: Charges and counter charges marked the meeting of the Assembly committee on Railways here on Thursday.

�While members of the ruling BJD blamed the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre for the poor railway network in the State, Leader of Opposition Bhupinder Singh said the railway projects had been languishing due to inefficiency of the State Government.

�The meeting presided by Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat expressed concern over prolonged delay in execution of railway projects. Majority of the members said the paltry allocations by the Centre is the major hurdle in the way of execution. The Opposition members, however, blamed the State Government for slow progress of land acquisition.

�Citing the example of Khurda-Balangir rail projects, the ruling party members said the Centre sanctioned the construction of 289 km of railway line in 1994-95 with an estimated cost of ` 1,000 crore. Land acquisition for the project has been completed for only 36 km towards Khurda Road.

�Laying of railway lines for the 56-km stretch from Lanjigarh to Junagarh in Kalahandi district is also facing the same problem. The project sanctioned in 1993-94 with an estimated cost of ` 142.98 crore is progressing at a snail’s pace.

�The project required 1,022.72 acres of land out of which private land of 869.89 acres and Government land of 81.97 acres have been acquired.� The construction of the project could not be taken up due to delay in conversion of 114.23 acres of forest land for non-forest activities.

�The Haridaspur-Paradip railway project is hanging fire since 1996-97 due to the same problem. The ` 1,000-crore project taken up in a public-private partnership (PPP) mode is languishing due to delay in land acquisition and other problems like selection of contractors, a member of the House committee said.

�Angul-Duburi-Sukinda-Jajpur Road is also a victim of Central negligence. The 90 km of railway project sanctioned in 1996-97 at an estimated cost of ` 638.50 crore will provide critical link to industrial hubs of Angul, Dhenkanal and Jajpur districts. The project has been delayed considerably.

�Senior officials of the East Coast Railways present at the meeting requested the House committee to set up a special land acquisition cells for different projects.

� The meeting decided to prepare a memorandum on the status of railway projects in the State within a week. The House committee will submit the memorandum to the Prime Minister sometime in the second week of November.

� Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadei, Minister of State for Commerce and Transport Sanjib Sahu, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Sarada Nayak, Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Niranjan Pujari, leader of the BJP Legislature Party KV Singhdeo, Jayanarayan Mishra, and Amar Satpathy of NCP were present.

RTI exposes political ill motivation while establishing Wagon Factory

The state Govt.'s tall claims for working towards development of KBK region and upliftment of its people is proving to be futile as per the information obtained through RTI by Sanjeeb Kumar Satapathy. In the railway budget 2010-11 railway minister in Feb 2010 has proposed one of the railway Wagon Factories in Bhubaneswar or Kalahandi. Without waiting for any correspondence from the railway ministry Mr Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha immediately shot a letter to Minister of Railway on 18-03-2010 with D.O.No. UM-6/2010-116-CM to set up the railway factory in Chhatrapur of Ganjam district arguing it’s close to urban area and NH5 against the interest of railway board to establish in Kalahandi/Bhubaneswar. When local people and intellectual of Odisha raised that Odisha state Government should establish the proposed Wagon Factory in Kalahandi district, Smt Mamata Benerjee clearly also mentioned on Nov 16, 2010 in West Bengal saying one of the proposed Wagon factories would come in Kalahandi of Orissa. In response to that Chief Minister of Odisha shot another letter to Minister of Railway on 29-12-2010 with D.O.No. UM-6/2010-483-CM to set up the railway factory in Ganjam district explaining that this particular land is suitable and no suitable land is available in Kalahandi for Wagon factory NH5. RTI information also states that Orissa state Govt. has not submitted any site in Kalahandi for Wagon factory to the ministry of railway due to non availability of railway land at Kalahandi district. It is also stated in the same RTI reply that after joint verification conducted by East Coast railway (ECOR) and district administration of Ganjam, a suitable land was identified for setting up Wagon factory. It is surprising that ECOR and state Govt. of Odisha have categorically stated non availability of railway land in Kalahandi, whereas they did not emphasize the same railway land for Ganjam but stated about availability of Govt. land when hundreds of Govt. land is available within 2.5 km radius of railway stations/track in Kalahandi, the guidelines opted for Ganjam district by the Orissa Govt. and ECOR. If the railway land was the actual reason, then Kantabanji in Balangir should have been proposed by Orissa Govt. instead of Ganjam. Making the issue further complicated when the first proposal for Ganjam was sent to railway ministry in Mach 2010 by chief minister of Odisha, East coast railway authority had not performed any joint inspection along with Kalahandi district administration to find a suitable site for Wagon Factory in Kalahandi whereas same was done for Ganjam, despite railway budget 2010-11 clearly proposed to set up five state of the art Wagon factories in JV/PPP mode at Secunderabad, Barddhamanm Bhubaneswar/Kalahandi, Guwahati and Haldia, which was approved in the parliament budget session. Kalahandi has plenty of Govt. land available near to the railway track like the case of Ganjam. After receiving the letter dated on 29-12-2010 by Mr Naveen Patnaik, on 25.01.2011 railway minister wrote back to chief minister of Orissa with letter no. 2010/M(W)/964/53 that the proposed site in Ganjam would make the project financially unviable. If the land near Chhatrapur in Ganjam was initially identified based on input of railway authority as claimed by state Govt., then how the same site was rejected by railway ministry? On March 4, 2011 in the parliament railway minister Ms Banerjee had again categorically pointed if land is provided in the under developed Kalahandi Wagon Factory could be established there. The Chief Minister of Odisha wrote back on 25.3.2011 with D.O. No. UM-6/11-51/CM to the railway minister to establish the Wagon factory in Sitapali, another location in Ganjam district. When railway ministry has repeatedly favored to establish Wagon factory in backward Kalahandi in the parliament and RTI information obtained from railway board also clearly says railway has intention to establish a Wagon factory in Kalahandi, the state Govt.’s argument in favor of urban area, NH5 etc and reluctant to provide land in Kalahandi has worried intellectuals of the state and raised questions on whether Naveen Patnaik Govt. is really interested for the development of backward region except political hype.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

An email to Rural Minister and Odisha Govt by Bajrang Agrawal

Dear Sir,

The overhead water tanks in the townships and Rural supply and hospitals are generally made up of Cement and which in due course of time gets silted and deposits soil materials which creates a breed ground for different water borne germs. This water when supplied untreated causes a concern for different diseases. This hazard is unseen but greatly felt in shape of water borne diseases like dissentry , diorrea etc and takes lives of poor who drinks water directly without any treatment.

My proposal is that the overhead water tanks should be replaced with good qualtiy plastic tanks of any good company make, which can give a permanent solution to the general problems of water borne diseases . Also in the long run these water tanks can give good value. The water will be safe as it will not get soiled in the long run.Also it takes little to maintain the tanks.

Hence the proposal of mine may please be considered and at least some water tanks of cement should be replace with plastic one in the prone area of water borne diseases .

I shall be thankful if my proposal shall be considered.


Bajrang Agrawal
( Social Activist)
Dharamgarh : Kalahandi

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Good initiatived by Odisha Chief Minister

Read in: Orissadiary
Dear Honorable Chief Minister Mr Patnaik,
I would like to congratulate and thank you for your consistent demand to include Nuapada, Bargarh, Balangir and Kalahandi districts under SRE scheme, which has been finally accepted by the central Government.
Your insistence with the central ministry for approving five State Roads such as Berhampur-Koraput; Madhapur-Rayagada; Phulnakhara-Konark;  Kuakhia-Aradi-Bhadrak and Palasa-Khariar as National Highways is also exceedingly palpable.
These routes are very important and some of them are backbone to bring major infrastructure development in KBK and to counter Naxal influence in the region.
However, the most sensitive regions for growing Naxal activity in Odisha are those regions which are in the border of major Naxal affected districts in Chhattisgarh.
Padampur, Paikmal, Sunabeda, Sinapali, Dharamgarh, Golamunda, Umarkote, etc are located in the border of Chhattisgarh and getting extremely susceptible to Naxal activities in recent time. The major roads in these localities are in bad shape making vulnerable to Naxal activities and require instant consideration before things become worst. This is right time to take initiative for constructing major roads and bridges in these bordering parts before the situation turns out to be like Malkangiri. 
Some of the routes in these localities call for immediate attention and could be recommended for highways are:
Khariar – Golamunda – Moter – Mukhiguda – Kashipur – Rayagada;
Dhamtari (Chhatisgarh) – Kundai – Raighar – Umarkote – Papdahandi;
Abhanpur (Chhatisgarh) – Debhog – Baldhiamal (Junagarh) –Kalyasingpur – Jaykaypur;
Umarkote – Jharigaon – Gotomunda – Dharamgarh;
Sohela – Padampur – Paikmal – Nuapada – Sunabeda – Niliji – Sinapali – Debhog (Chhattisgarh) – Ampani – Mahajanguda – Baner – Thuamul Rampur – Kashipur – Lakshmipur (Koraput)
I anticipate you will look into this matter and take necessary action.
Thank you and best regards
Digambara Patra

Naveen seeks nod to 45 roads

IBNlive, Oct 22, 2011
BHUBANESWAR: Highlighting the rising Left- wing extremism (LWE) in the State, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday requested the Centre for early approval of 45 roads in the Maoist-affected districts.
The roads running into 1,358 km would cost� Rs. 2,674 crore. The issue was raised by the Chief Minister during his meeting with Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Dr CP Joshi in New Delhi. Joshi assured the Chief Minister that the Centre is committed to sanction roads in Naxal-affected districts and the proposal for the 45 new roads will be approved during the current financial year.
� Naveen informed the the Union Minister about the loss of life and large-scale damage caused by the unprecedented September floods.
He sought Rs. 50 crore for urgent repair and restoration of damaged National Highways.

� The Chief Minister requested that upgradation of two approved NHs __ Panikoili to Remuli and Talcher to Chandikhole __� to four lanes may be taken up at the earliest.� He said there is a need to provide adequate funds for repair and maintenance of National Highways in the State besides a provision of ` 36 crore for periodic renewal of specified stretches of NHs which have been approved for upgradation under National Highway Development Project (NHDP).

� Naveen demanded that five State Highways __ Berhampur-Koraput, Madhapur-Rayagada, Phulnakhara-Konark, Kuakhia-Aradi-Bhadrak and Palasa-Khariar __ be upgraded to NHs. He further demanded that there should be immediate repair of the high-level bridge over river Jira on NH-6 in addition to construction of additional waterway on NH-60.
�� The Union Minister was also requested to expedite sanction of estimates for land acquisition for enabling construction of seven new bypasses in Balangir on NH-26, Titlagarh on NH-59, Berhampur on NH-59, Nabarangpur on NH-26, Boriguma on NH-26, Jeypore on NH-26 and Koraput on NH-26 and� urgently allocate funds to the State under the Central Road Fund.
� Joshi informed Naveen that he will depute chairman, NHAI, to the State to assess the difficulties associated with NHs and take appropriate action to ensure their upgradation. On construction of bypasses, he assured that Berhampur bypass on NH-59 will be taken up immediately and the proposals for other bypasses will be considered in due course.
He informed that his Ministry has approved the Transport Management System for Orissa State Road Transport Corporation at a cost of Rs. 4.7 crore for improving road safety on NHs.

Tender for Construction of Staff Quarters, Service Buildings, Signal Goomties, Colony Road and other allied works at Junagarh

Source: East Coast Railway

Complete Details of selected Tender
Division HQConstuction
Department Civil Engineering

Tender No. CE/Con/III/BBS/T/28/2011

Publication date on website 19-09-2011 At : 16:30

Description Lanjigarh Road- Junagarh New B.G Line: Construction of Staff Quarters, Service Buildings, Signal Goomties, Colony Road and other allied works at Junagarh
Tender Notice Document Download NIT
Approximate Cost 3,28,27,012

EMD Cost 3,14,140
Tender Document Cost 10,000
Last Date of Document Collection 24-10-2011 Up to : 18:15
Last Date of Document submission 25-10-2011 Up to : 12:00
Tender Opening Date 25-10-2011 At : 12:30
Tender Document Download Document

For further information contact:
Name A.K.Behera
Telephone Number 0674-2301317
Address C-67G, Rail Vihar, C.S.Pur, BBS

4 more districts included under SRE scheme

The Pioneer, Oct 22, 2011
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Friday met Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and raised the issue of growing Maoist menace and sought strategic Central assistance to deal with the problem.
Appreciating the issue raised by Patnaik, the Union Home Minister assured all possible assistance to combat the Maoists and said the Central Government had approved Odisha's proposal for inclusion of four Maoist-prone districts under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE) Scheme as well as decided to include three more districts under the Integrated Action Plan.

On the Maoist management issues, the Chief Minister emphasised the expansion of SRE to more districts in view of the increasing activities of the Maoists. He reiterated the demand to include four more districts of Nuapada, Bargarh, Balangir and Kalahandi under the (SRE) scheme.

He also requested Chidambaram for deployment of two additional battalions of Central Para Military Force (CPMF) by December 2011, early deputation of experienced field level officers from CPMF to Government of Odisha and placement of at least two MI-17 helicopters at the disposal of the State Police deserve to be accorded priority to accelerate the fight against the Maoists.
The Union Home Minister was requested to entrust construction of Gurupriya Bridge in Malkangiri district to the CPMF, considered necessary for carrying out effective anti-Maoist operations.
The Chief Minister also sought from Chidambaram for waiver of charges amounting to `567.55 crore towards deployment of CPMF covering the period up to July 30, 2011 and reiterated his request to include five more districts — Bargarh, Ganjam, Nayagarh,Dhenkanal and Jajpur —, under the Integrated Action Plan (lAP) Scheme.

The Union Home Minister also informed that the Government of India has approved four more districts namely, Nuapada, Bargarh, Bolangir and Kalahandi under the SRE scheme. Deputation of suitable officers from CPMF for deployment in Odisha is also under active consideration, he stated.

Chidambaram informed that one additional battalion of CRPF is being deployed shortly but the deployment of BSF battalion may take another two-three months. He added that indent for two MI-17 helicopters has already been issued and placement is expected shortly. It was also informed that the Central Government has approved three more districts of Ganjam, Nayagarh and Jajpur under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP).

The Union Minister appreciated the difficulties being faced by the State in carrying out effective anti-Maoist operations due to delay in construction of Gurupriya Bridge and assured that he would seriously consider the proposal for having the work executed through a Central agency.

Regarding the Chief Minister's demand for waiver of charges towards deployment of CPMF covering a period up to June 30, 2011, the Union Home Minister informed that he had already taken up the matter with the Union Finance Minister.

Besides, the Union Home Minister assured to consider and approve the flood assistance to Odisha soon as the Chief Minister expressed his displeasure on the delay in release of Central assistance towards the flood damage.

During the meeting with the Chief Minister who urged for immediate release of Rs1,000 crore to continue the post flood repair and restoration work in 21 districts, Chidambaram informed that the Central team that visited Odisha assessed the flood damage, would submit its final report by October 24. The high-level committee comprising Union Agriculture, Finance and Home Ministers is expected to be convened very shortly to consider and approve assistance, Chidambaram said.

Patnaik ,who was in Delhi on a five-day visit apprised Chidambaram about large-scale loss of life, individual property and public infrastructure caused by the two phases of severe floods.

Drawing the attention of the Union Home Minister regarding the damage caused in the rural areas and the sufferings of large number of marginal farmers, whose standing crops suffered widespread damage, the Chief Minister urged him on the need to liberally provide assistance to the Government of Odisha to mitigate the adverse impact of the natural calamity.

Stating that the damage in various sectors due to the floods has been estimated at `3,265 crore and the State Government had already initiated repair and restoration work on war footing, the Chief Minister requested the Union Home Minister to immediately consider releasing `1,000 crore as advance assistance from the National Disaster Response Fund to enable the State to sustain its efforts.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Response to Mamata heartening

IBNlive, Oct 20, 2011
BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday formally launched yet another populist scheme, ‘Mamata’ __ under which Rs. 5,000 will be paid to six lakh pregnant and lactating women in rural areas every year __ to woo women voters ahead of the panchayat polls in February next year.

‘Mamata’ is the third major scheme launched or announced by Naveen in the past one month provoking criticism from the Opposition. The Chief Minister had earlier announced the Biju Setu Yojana (BBY) and a proposal to build cement concrete roads (CCRs) in 4,000 flood-affected villages.

�While 400 bridges will be constructed under the BBY in three years at a cost of Rs. 1,000 crore, the CCRs will cost Rs.150 crore. ‘Mamata’, the Chief Minister said, was announced some time ago and registration of pregnant women started on September 5. It is heartening to note that within one month, nearly two lakh pregnant women have registered under this scheme, he said. ‘Mamata’ aims to cover all pregnant women above 19 years of age.

�While the scheme aims at reducing the Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) and Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in a big way, it will also help in improvement of nutrition status of pregnant women and newborns.

�Over 50,000 pregnant women received their first instalment of Rs. 1,500 each on Wednesday. During the function, the Chief Minister interacted with beneficiaries from Ganjam, Koraput, Kalahandi, Mayurbhanj and Jajpur through video conferencing.

�As per the scheme, pregnant women registered with ‘anganwadi’ centres will receive Rs. 5,000 in four instalments through bank accounts.� The instalments have been designed to ensure that the beneficiary gets cash assistance every three months. The last instalment would be given on completion of measles immunisation. Naveen said health and nutrition needs of women and children have been the key areas of concern before the Government.� The latest data shows that IMR in Orissa has declined to 65 from 98 in the last 10 years and MMR to 258 from 358. The National Family Health Survey 3 data show that Orissa has had a decline of 10 points in child under-nutrition __ probably the biggest drop in the country. A lot still needs to be done, he said.�� Women and Child Development Minister Anjali Behera,� Chief secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik and senior officials were present.

Orissa: Health awareness programme by DAV Vedanta International School students

Orissadiary, Oct 20, 2011
Report by OrissaDiary.ocm correspondent; Lanjigarh: Sindhbahal village near Lanjigarh houses about 25 families in the Kalahandi district of Orissa. There are hardly any educated residents in this village and most of the men work on farmlands for their livelihood.

The villagers had an incredible experience when students of DAV Vedanta International School, Lanjigarh organized an awareness programme on health and sanitation by performing street plays, dance shows and singing songs which carried messages on maintaining health and hygiene. The students got involved in sanitizing the village with full vigour.

Mrs. Shukla Chakrobarty, Principal of the school played an instrumental role in organizing this programme. She is very optimistic about replicating the success achieved from this activity by organizing it in other villages too. The Head of Sindhbahal village, Mr. Naklula Majhi, thanked the school authorities and the students for organizing such an informative programme and appreciated their enthusiasm and efforts. He affirmed that the villagers would continue to keep the village clean and beautiful.

The programme was also attended by Dr. Malaya Tripathy from the Government hospital, Biswanathpur and Dr. Sabita Swain from Vedanta Hospital. Dr. Tripathy gave a few tips on maintaining health and hygiene while addressing the villagers. This programme successfully helped in spreading the importance of cleanliness and tidiness in the village.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Agri department exudes optimism on Kharif output

IBNlive, Oct 17, 2011

BHUBANESWAR: Even as the State is visited by two natural calamities - drought followed by two spell of floods - the Agriculture Department is confident of a good kharif harvest.

The department has projected paddy production of 65 to 68 lakh tonnes during the current kharif marketing season as against a target of 73 lakh tonnes.

The paddy production will be almost equal to the last year’s production of 69 lakh tonnes notwithstanding the drought and floods, claimed a senior officer of the department.

�The department has estimated a crop loss of less than 1 per cent due to drought while the loss due to the two spell of floods will be 4 to 5 per cent. If the total loss will be 5 per cent, the paddy production will easily touch the last year’s production, the sources said.

�According to field reports of the department, crop condition is excellent in Bargarh, Kalahandi and Sonepur. The three districts contributed about 40 per cent of the total paddy production of the State. Bargarh is considered to be the rice bowl of the State.

�The department is confident of a good harvest in the western Orissa districts despite deficient rainfall in some parts. Crop condition is equally good in Sambalpur and Nuapada districts. About 60 per cent of the paddy production comes from Bargarh, Sambalpur, Sonepur, Kalahandi and Nuapada districts.

�The Agriculture Commissioner from the Ministry of Agriculture recently visited Juanagarh, Dharmagarh and Jaipatna areas of Kalahanid district and was very much impressed with the paddy crops. He told the department officers accompanying him that the district was no less than Punjab.

�Ironically, the Government goes by the statistics of the Revenue Department which always gave a negative picture on the crop condition. The department predicted a huge crop loss in undivided Sambalpur district last year. Contrary to the assessment of the Revenue Department, Bargarh and Sambalpur had a record paddy production.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Bringing into your kind notice about the problems being faced by two of the villages of Golamunda Block of Kalahandi District of Odisha and requesting for immediate plans to overcome the problems

Bajrang Lal Agrawal,
Social Activist,
Dharamgarh, Kalahandi, Odisha – 766015

The Rural Development Minister of  India,
Shri Jairam Ramesh ,
Government of India,
New Delhi – India.

Date: 15th – Oct- 2011

[Sub:  Bringing into your kind notice about the problems being faced by two of the villages of  Golamunda Block of Kalahandi District of Odisha and requesting for immediate plans to overcome the problems]

Respected Sir,


This is to bring to your kind notice about the problems of basic facilities being faced by two of the villages of Golamunda Block namely “KASTURAPADAR” and “BHANDAR KACHHAR”.
I, thus, request you to kindly go through the details and take immediate actions of relief for which I and the people of these two villages would be highly obliged and thankful to you.

The details have been furnished in the very next lines, that too village wise for your quick reading and understanding.


·        Belongs to Khaliapali Panchayat of Golamunda Block of Kalahandi District of Odisha.
·        Consists of Adivashis  and Harizon people.
·        Number of families is almost 50 i.e. the population is almost 700.
·        There is no road at all to the village. People use the agricultural land as roads and thus face severe problems during rains.
·        There is no Anganwadi Facility in the village and thus the development of the children and the women is almost zero.
·        There is a school but no roads to it. There is only one teacher for almost 100+ students.
·        The availability of drinking water facility is still worse. There are only three Borewells, of which Two are not under operational conditions.
·        Due to a single pond available, humans and cattles use the same pond. This results in health hazards.Moreover there is no proper hospital facility nearby.
·        Out of almost 100 old men and women, only 23 of them get their old age pensions. No furthur survey is being made to avail the needy people with their old age pensions.
·        Many More Problems.
and many more…


·        Belongs to Khaliyapali Panchayat of Golamunda Block of  Kahalandi District of Odisha.
·        Consists of Adivashis and Harizon Class People.
·        Population is 300+.
·        No  roads and agricultural lands are being used as temporary roads. Two wheelers and four wheeler vehicles cannot go in and out of the village.
·        There is a primary school which is under construction and the classes are being held under the trees. There are no roads to school too. Students face great difficulty during rainfall.
·        Due to unavailability of Anganwadi facilities people are unaware of the developmental plans being made for them by the government.
·        The hospital facilities are almost 15 kilometers away and during emergency the chances  of losing life is 100%.
·        Only 14 people are availed with old age pensions although many more are still waiting for their pensions.
·        Kerosin, Rice, Sugar and other basic emenities are only limited to pen and paper. Actual distribution is only imaginary.
·        The concerned authorities only assure to help and later forget everything.
and many more…

These are some of the problems being faced by the people of these two villages.

I, therefore request you to understand the depth of the problems and take immediate actions.

Hope for your co-operation and kind help.

Awaiting for your reply and actions.

Thank You.

Contact Details:

Copy To:

1.     President Of India
2.     Prime Minister Of India
3.     Home Minister Of India
4.     Cabinet Secretariat
5.     Chief Minister Of Odisha
6.     Chief Secretary Of Odisha
7.     Collector Of Kalahandi, Odisha
8.     Sub-Collector Of Dharamgarh, Kalahandi, Odisha (Smt. Gauri Parasher)
9.     MP of Kalahandi (Shri Bhakta Charan Dash)
10.  Rural Development Secretary Of Odisha, (Shri Rang Lal Jamuda)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Schemes in KBK region to be monitored

The Pioneer, Oct 12, 2011
With the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) expressing concern over the precarious health services, sanitation and lack of awareness in the most backward region of the undivided Kalahandi-Balangir and Koraput districts (KBK), the State Government on Monday decided to prepare a broad based Monitoring Action Framework (MAFW) relating to the implementation of various programmes.

“A broad based report on MAFW would be prepared soon by the stakeholder departments in consultation with the NHRC. The comprehensive MAFW would be submitted before the Union Government seeking necessary support,” said Chief Secretary Bijay Patnaik.

After a two hour long consultation held between the NHRC rapportuer Damodar Sadangi and senior officials of the State Government, Chief Secretary Patnaik told medipersons that it was decided to prepare a monitoring action frame work to ensure the successful implementation of the various basic developmental progammes like health services, sanitation, drinking water, primary education and livelihood initiative under progress in the entire KBK region.

Land to landless in Kalahandi -still in papers

Shared by Sri Dillip Kumar Das

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Handloom faces untimely death

IBNlive, Oct 11, 2011
BHAWANIPATNA: The handloom industry which once flourished in Kalahandi, is today struggling for survival. Tribal communities like Dom and Bhulias have given up weaving and switched to alternative professions for better livelihood.

The situation has worsened in the absence of government patronage, funds and marketing facilities to the handloom products. Even the Pata and Kosa weavers� face similar fate.

For instance, Parmanandpur village on the outskirts of Bhawanipatna was once famous for Pata and Kosa handloom products in the pre-Independence period. Today no weaver in this village takes up the work due to lack of patronage. Besides, there are only a few looms left. Sources said most of the weaver cooperative societies are either sick or lying defunct.

As per official records in the office of Assistant Director (Textiles), Kalahandi, there are 58 primary weaver cooperative societies registered in the district with 2,715 members. However, out of these, by August 2011, only 14 societies are in working condition having only 142 looms. The rest 11 societies are dormant and 33 have already been liquidated.� The Apex Handloom Weavers Society’s branch at Bhawanipatna has been lying defunct for several years now. It was set up to provide forward and backward linkage to the weavers. Besides, there is no arrangement for supply of raw materials to them.� To further add to their woes, the cash credit operation through the assistance of NABARD has been discontinued since 2005-06.

To improve the scenario, Directorate of Textiles conducts skill upgradation of weavers at regular intervals, but in the absence of financial help these measures are of little help.

Sources said to revive the industry, there is a necessity to develop clusters with components of skill upgradation, design development and marketing tie-ups.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Vedanta Resources enjoys broad-based production growth, Oct 7, 2011
Metals and mining group Vedanta Resources said today that it saw a growth in production in zinc, lead, silver, copper and power in a second quarter in which the acquisition of Cairn India was approved.

Zinc India mined metal production was 210,000 tonnes in Q2 and 398,000 tonnes in H1, up 2% and 3%, respectively, as compared with the corresponding prior periods, reflecting near normal production at Rampura Agucha following the maintenance shutdown in Q1. Ramp-up of the SK mine is on track to achieve its targeted 2 mtpa capacity by the end of the year.
Refined zinc production was 185,000 tonnes in Q2 and 378,000 tonnes in H1, up 5% and 11%, respectively, primarily due to improved operational performance at our hydro smelters. Refined lead production was 17,000 tonnes in Q2 and 33,000 in H1, up 6% and 6%, respectively, primarily due to volumes from the new 100kt Dariba lead smelter, which was commissioned and capitalized during the quarter.

Silver production was 1.58 million ounces in Q2 and 3.09 million ounces in H1, up 12% and 10%, respectively. The new silver refinery is planned to be commissioned in the current quarter. With the ramp up of the SK mine and commissioning of the refinery, silver capacity will reach 16 million ounces by the end of FY2011-12.
Zinc International total equivalent zinc-lead production was 114,000 tonnes in Q2 and 233,000 tonnes in H1, down 2% and up 5%, respectively, as compared with the corresponding prior periods. This comprised production of zinc-lead concentrate of 77,000 tonnes MIC in Q2 and 157,000 tonnes MIC in H1 at Black Mountain and Lisheen, and refined zinc production of 37,000 tonnes in Q2 and 76,000 tonnes in H1 at Skorpion.
During Q2, iron ore sales were 1.55 mt as compared with 1.82 mt (1.37 mt excluding Orissa) in the corresponding prior quarter. During H1, sales were 5.80 mt as compared with 6.71 mt (5.65 mt excluding Orissa) in the corresponding prior period. Sales were benefitted by higher volumes at Karnataka prior to the imposition of the Karnataka mining ban.

On 26th August 2011, the Supreme Court ordered a ban on iron ore mining and direct sales in Karnataka. The Court has currently ordered a study by government agencies and also allowed the sale of inventory by e-auction through appointed agency.
At Karnataka, Vedanta sold 0.71 mt of iron ore in Q2, and 1.81 mt of iron ore in H1, as compared with 0.45 mt and 0.95 mt in the corresponding prior periods. At Goa, we sold 0.83 mt of iron ore in Q2, and 3.98 mt of iron ore in H1, as compared with 0.92 mt and 4.71 mt in the corresponding prior periods.
During Q2, iron ore production was 1.12 mt as compared with 2.88 mt (2.43 mt excluding Orissa) in the corresponding prior quarter due to the ban on mining in Karnataka announced on 26 August 2011, the discontinuation of operations at Orissa in November 2010, and most importantly, the planned reduction in inventories. During H1, production was 5.51 mt as compared with 8.61 mt (7.61 mt excluding Orissa) in the corresponding prior period.
In August 2011, Vedanta completed the acquisition of a 51% stake in three iron ore assets in Liberia, with 1 billion tonnes of R&R, for a consideration of $90m. Sesa Goa will work on developing these assets in the emerging iron ore hub of Western Africa.
During Q2, the Tuticorin copper smelter produced 87,000 tonnes of copper cathode, 28% higher than the corresponding prior quarter. Production in the prior year period was lower on account of a planned bi-annual maintenance shut-down. During H1, production of copper cathode was up 11% at 161,000 tonnes.
Mined metal production at Australia was 5,000 tonnes in Q2 and 11,000 tonnes in H1. Construction of the 160 MW captive power plant at Tuticorin is in progress and the first unit is scheduled for commissioning in Q4 FY2011-12. The 400 ktpa copper smelter expansion project at Tuticorin is awaiting approval.
Following the submission of the NEERI (National Environmental Engineering Research Institute) report and comments of the State Government and the State Pollution Control Board, the Supreme Court has reserved its order on interim directions.
Zambia mined metal production was 28,000 tonnes in Q2 and 52,000 tonnes in H1, up 27% and 12%, respectively, as compared with the corresponding prior periods. Higher production at the Nchanga mine is the result of various improvement initiatives, which have increased concentrator throughput. Production at the tailings leach plant (TLP) was 11,000 tonnes in Q2 as compared with 15,000 tonnes in corresponding prior quarter, primarily due to lower grades caused by revised life of mine plan at Fitwaola.

Production of copper cathodes was 52,000 tonnes in Q2 and 102,000 tonnes in H1. Integrated production was 2% higher at 33,000 tonnes in Q2, on account of higher mine production, which was partially offset by lower production from the TLP. Production from custom smelting was 19,000 tonnes in Q2 as compared with 26,000 tonnes in corresponding prior quarter, due to lower availability of concentrate.

At KDMP, the shaft number 4 has been sunk to its final depth, and shaft equipping work for bottom shaft loading is on track for completion by Q3 FY2012-13.
Aluminium production in H1 was 322,000 tonnes, 7% higher than the corresponding prior period. Aluminium production in Q2 was 8% lower at 149,000 tonnes post the pot outage in Q1 at the 500 ktpa Jharsuguda-I smelter. The Korba smelter continues to operate above its rated capacity. Aluminium costs were higher due to pot relining and higher coal prices.
Alumina production at Lanjigarh was 228,000 tonnes in Q2 and 451,000 tonnes in H1, up 33% and 20%, respectively, as compared with the corresponding prior periods.
The first unit of the BALCO 1,200 MW (4x300 MW) captive power plant is now expected to be synchronised in Q3 FY2011-12 and work on the other units is progressing as planned. The 325 ktpa Korba smelter construction is progressing well and first metal tapping is expected in Q4 FY2011-12.
The 1.25 mtpa Jharsuguda-II smelter project is in final stages of completion, and we continue to evaluate the option of selling power versus producing aluminium at this smelter.

Vedanta sold 1,435 million units of power in Q2 as compared with 267 million units in the corresponding prior quarter. It sold 2,851 million units of power in H1, compared with 553 million units in corresponding prior period. The significant increase was mainly due to power sales from the new 2,400 MW power plant at Jharsuguda. However, coal supplies to Jharsuguda were adversely affected due to heavy rainfall in the coal belt, affecting our ability to generate power at our rated capacity. While the group is currently seeing higher power tariffs, H1 saw lower tariffs despite higher coal prices.

The third unit of the Jharsuguda 2,400 MW (4x600 MW) power project is expected to be commissioned in Q3 FY2011-12. Work on the Talwandi Sabo supercritical power project is progressing as scheduled. 105 MW of the 150 MW wind power expansion project has been commissioned by H1, and the balance 45 MW is expected to be completed in the current quarter. Story provided by

Government to pump Rs 400 crore into coffee cup

IBNlive, Oct 9, 2011
BHUBANESWAR: The State Government is planning to expand areas under coffee cultivation to 22,700 hectare by 2021-22 with a massive investment of Rs 400 crore.

� The coffee plantation would be taken up in the undivided Koraput district where currently about 1,300 hectares are under cultivation. Official sources said� extension of coffee plantation in the State� was discussed during the recent visit of Indian Coffee Board (ICB) chairman Jawaid Akhtar to the State.

� It has been decided to invest the ` 400 crore over a period of 10 years from 2011-12. The ICB would fund ` 35 crore for a programme on organic coffee production in the State. Rest of the funds will be pooled from MGNREGS, Revised Long Term Action Plan (RLTAP) for KBK districts and other schemes.

� As per the survey conducted by the Coffee Board, an area of 11,650 hectare in the Koraput, Kalahandi, Ganjam, Phulbani and Keonjhar districts has been found suitable for coffee cultivation.

� Public sector industries like Nalco, Hindustan Aluminium Company and a host of private sector enterprises have evinced interest to take up coffee cultivation in about 1,000 acres which is mined for bauxite ore extraction.

� During the 9th Five Year Plan, the Board has been implementing a number of schemes for development of the coffee sector in traditional as well as non-traditional coffee-growing states. For Orissa, the Board is implementing a Special Area Programme with the objective of checking ‘Podu’ cultivation, rejuvenating small coffee holdings and expanding coffee plantation in the tribal sector by providing a subsidy of ` l5,000 per hectare.

� Besides, the Board is also providing financial assistance for installation of coffee processing units and imparting training to coffee growers on latest coffee husbandry practices and scientific methods of cultivation.

� Six hulling units were also supplied under the scheme to the State during 1999- 2000 to process coffee at farm level.

� At present, there are about 122 private coffee growers in the Koraput who have taken to commercial cultivation. The coffee growers in Koraput and Rayagada districts have made huge profits ushering in a positive change in the socio-economic condition of tribals. Official sources said the expansion programme will benefit the locals immensely.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Large crowds celebrate Chhatar Yatra at B’patna

The Pioneer, Oct 4, 2011
The famous Chhatar Yatra of Goddess Manikeswari was held here on Tuesday amidst traditional rites and rituals with more than one lakh enthusiastic devotees congregating on the main road near the temple to participate in the celebration.

After performing the traditional Sandhi Puja in the Manikeswari Temple on the Mahastami night, the ceremonial Chhatar Yatra of the goddess was taken out to Jenakhal, around three kilometre from the town, where the rituals were performed in the early hours of the Mahanavami.

During the return journey with the thrilling beats of Jenabadya, Nisan and Ghanta, the deity was accompanied by dancers performing Ghumura and traditional marital dance forms. Devotees sacrificed goats and hens and released hundreds of doves into the air to propitiate the goddess for fulfilment of their wishes.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Letter to CM: Controlling Flood by Barrages

Dear Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Patnaik,

I feel sad that recent flood has brought huge and large scale damage to Odisha, some are irreversible loss.

As many of us realize, the acute flood in the coastal belt of the state is due to excess water in the river Mahanadi and its tributaries. It is difficult for the state Government to control water entering from Chhattisgarh to Hirakud dam. On the other hand projects like Sindhol are unpopular among local inhabitants. Previously Manibhadra and Tikarpada projects were abandoned due to people’s opposition. In this scenario, at least 40% of the flood water of the Mahanadi could be tamed by controlling flood water of the Tel river. Such possibilities are there by erecting a number of barrages of check dams around Sonepur, Tusra, Kesinga, Karlapat, Nandul, Sandhikuler, Chandahandi, etc. Check dams can also be constructed at various points of the tributaries of the Tel like - Rahul, Utei, Sagada, Hati, Suktel, Udanti, Sandul etc. Construction of water storage systems on the Tel and its tributaries would not disturb or replace human habitation unlike proposed projects like Manibhadra, Tikarpada, etc and there is less chance of public protest. At the same time many parts of backward KBK would be irrigated, which would even boost hydro electricity generation.

Feasibility of few such projects along with their irrigation potential is attached for your consideration.

Anticipating your necessary action in this regard

Thank you and best regards

Digambara Patra

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Universalization of Icons : A study of Chhattar

By Himansu Charan Sadangi

Lecturer (SS) in Sociology
Govt. College (Auto), Bhawanipatna

Rituals are the language through which culture expresses itself. Rituals are also the mirror through which we get the reflection of people’s history. So, the observation of rituals reveals many historical processes of cultural confluences. The study of the ritual of “Chhattar” is aimed at this end. An observation of the ritual ‘Chhatar’ reveals a st...rong influence of the ritual practices of the ‘Kandh’ tribal communities. As such, this is a living example of the process of the Little Tradition getting amalgamated into the Sanskritic Great Tradition resulting in what Mariot called Universalization. Through the present work an attempt has been made to understand this process.]

Central to all religions is the concept of faith. Faith is something which binds people together. Consequently faith is more important than reason from social solidarity point of view. All traditional societies constitute their faith in such order as may make interaction between individuals possible. The movement from temporal to transcendence becomes a reality only through faith. Rituals are only expression of faith. Rites and rituals are the modes of behavior which delineate how a man should conduct himself in the presence of sacred objects. Although in modern complex religions one may draw a faint line between rituals and religious philosophy, this task is quite impossible in the case of less complex religious practices which lack a comprehensive body of doctrine that the adherents are required to believe and follow. Unlike religion which lies in the philosophical realm of mankind, rituals are the product of man’s day to day existence. Ritual is a special kind of performance which is both an act as well as a statement. Thus ritual while putting on a performance also communicates. Consequently a community’s socio-cultural life style, body politics as well as its historicity, every thing are reflected in the practice of rituals. Thus, in rituals one can find the real imprint of the historical development of mankind. As human actions in ritual context communicate, in attempting to understand ritual we are actually trying to discover the rules of grammar and syntax of an unknown language. The present endeavor has been undertaken under these premises.

Hinduism is a process (and not an end product) resulting from the amalgamation of diverse faiths, beliefs and innumerable cultural practices. The rites and rituals of each community is a reflection of its culture and life style. Hinduism is nothing but a domain of great tradition which is supplemented by innumerable little traditions. There exists a co-existential and mutually supplementary relation between these two traditions. Various ritualistic elements of little traditions through successive phases of metamorphosis get identified with the great tradition. Each Sanskritic deity, both in their physical forms as well as ritual practices, reveals traces of elementary religious rituals and practices of the indigenous communities. A genealogical study of various cults and deities reveals a process of interesting metamorphosis.

Maa Manikeswari is the local deity (adhistatri Devi) of Bhawanipatna, the district head quarters of Kalahandi district in the state of Orissa. Manikeswari (goddess of Manikya or Ruby) was a deity worshipped in the west, south and some of the coastal parts of Orissa during the medieval period. This goddess is identified with the categories of Sakta divinities. The Chhatar festival is associated with Manikeswari.

Every year during the Dussera festival in the Asthami Tithi i.e.8th day from the full moon (Mulasthami), after the evening worship in the temple, the sword of the goddess is washed in the pond situated in the back side of the royal palace. It is then worshipped according to the traditional rituals and is brought back to the temple amidst traditional music (Ghumra) [On the same day the ‘Khandabasa’ (sword placement) ritual is also performed in Lakenswari and Knakadurga temples of Junagarh]. In the midnight of ‘Mulasthami’, the head of the deity (Manikeswari) is removed from its body. A new head made of clay and decorated with ornaments, is then placed on the body of the deity (Nabakalebara). The old head is then immersed in the Purusottam Tank situated near the temple. These rituals are carried out in the dead of the mid night in a most secret ceremony. During the Dushera festival, in the mid night of Mahasthami (8th day from new moon), buffalo sacrifice is made to the Budharaja (or Vairab, a deity placed in a small shrine situated near the north entrance of the Manikeswari temple). It is the only time this shrine is opened and the deity is worshipped during the entire year. Following this ritual, the Chhatar or umbrella of the goddess, along with two sword of the deity, is taken in the night of Mahasthami to a particular spot known as Jenakhal located in the out skirt of Bhawanipatna, near about three km. from the temple of Manikeswari. Here, after buffalo sacrifice, the consecration of Chhatra is made by blood. In the early morning of Navami (9th day) the ‘Chhatra’ returns from Jenakhal to the temple. This return journey is celebrated as ‘Chhatar Yatra’ amidst much fan fair. The Ghumura musicians play their war music in front of the Chhatar procession. During this time large number of goat, sheep and hen are sacrificed by the people. The Chhatar is reinstalled in the sanctum of the temple. During this time buffalo, supplied by the royal family, is sacrificed. Through out this yatra the Brahmin and non-Brahmin (Paika or Kandh) priests play their respectively assigned rites.

On the following day i.e. on Vijay Dasami, the Chhatra is again taken to a mango groove situated in Naktiguda village on the outskirts of the town. The Chhatra is worshipped there with goat sacrifice followed by a rifle shooting competition. An earthen pot is tied to a mango tree which serves as a target for the competitors. The winner gets prizes from the royal family and also gets the privilege of accompanying the Chhatra on its return journey to the temple. This practice is known as the Lakha Bindha festival. Chhatar is one of the main festivals of the people of Kalahandi.

There are diverse opinions regarding the origin of Chhatar. According to Rajdarwar record, Chhatar festival is observed to commemorate the bringing of goddess Manikeswari by the 7th Naga Vamsi king Ramachandra Deo (1201-1234 A.D.) from his maternal uncle’s place at Gadapur to Bundeseer (the present Bhawanipatna)1. Another view is that ‘Jena’ is the Kandh god associated with human sacrifice (Maria Bali). ‘Khal’ is the local name for a pit. The name of the place ‘Jenakhal’ might have come from these associations. The once prevalent human sacrifice (Meria Bali) was effectively stopped by Maharaja Fate Narayan Deo (1831-53). Further, Jena also means prince2. So Jenakhal can be associated with a place where the defeated princes were sacrificed and their body was put in a pit (i.e. in a khal). Incidentally, the Chhatar procession is also accompanied by the Ghumura war beats. So, this Yatra may be reminiscent of a war victory procession. There is still a khal or pit in the present Jenakhal into which the sacrificed animals are thrown.

CONFLUENCE OF TRADITIONS: The process of Universalisation.
It would be interesting to find how many aspects of the tribal, mainly Kondh tradition (little tradition), have got face-lift to become a part of the great Sanskritic tradition.

The earliest evidences of Manikeswari worship can be traced back to the 5th Century3. It has been postulated that the goddess is so named because of the precious gem stone Manikya (Ruby) which was abundantly available in the place of its origin4. It is interesting to note here that the region between river Tel and Indravati was known as Karund-Mandala during the Marhatta and British period5. This name Karund seem to have been derived from the term Corundum, a mineral (Al2O3) remarkable for its hardness. This mineral was available in this region6. There is a place near Junagarh (the old capital of Kalahandi) named Manikpadar, where Ruby is found even today. In Jillingpadar, near Junagarh, the largest deposit of the precious Pigeon blood Ruby is found.

The Kandh tribes, during ‘Maria Bali’ (human sacrifice) worship a goddess named ‘Manikasairo’. Kandh treat Manikasairo as the sister of their chief deity ‘dharani Penu’. Probably this ‘Manikasairo’ later transformed into Manika Devi, then to Manikeswari and the Sanskritic meaning (goddess of Manikya) got attached with it. It would not be out of context here to site a few lines from the Kandh ‘Dhap’ song (A particular type of narrative song sang only by the Kandh tribes) where Manikeswari has been described as the sister of Dharani Penu (The Earth deity).

Juar juar Manikesari Ma rayeje maharmani,

Sayebani Mahan Layebani Mahan Dharani san baheni,

Juar Ma aamar matkat ke,

Dhangri gutek milu aamke.7

So, there is strong reason to believe that Manikeswari has her origin in Manikasairo of the Kondh tradition.

The ‘Astha Chandi Upasana’ culture found in Sonepur (the capital of the ancient Kosala Empire) found no mention in the traditional ‘Puranas’. This ‘Sakta’ tradition is found in the vast region from the bank of river Mahanadi up to Tel, Aang and Ib river valley. Manikeswari is worshipped as one among the Astha Chandi along with Samaleswari, Sureswari etc. In the worship of all these deities, except for some stages of worship, the tribal rituals play very important part. It is worth mentioning here that the Kandh of Kalahandi, Titlagarh and Bastar worship seven deities in the form of Saatbahani. The above discussed Asthachandi cult, most probably, have evolved from this Kandh tradition of Saatbahani.

During the 10th/11th Century A.D, Chakra-Mandala (comprising of Koraput, Kalahandi and Bastar) was ruled by ‘Chindakanaga’dynasty. Their tutelary deity was ‘Manika Devi’ 8. It is also likely that this Manika Devi later became Manikeswari. This region came under the Gangas during the time of Gajapati Cholaganga Dev in the 12th Century A.D. During the time of Gangas this region was known as Kamala Mandala (2). Raghunath Sai, the Naga prince of Chotanagpur, laid the foundation of the Naga rule in Kamala Mandala9. His capital was in Junagarh or Junabali. Goddess Kanaka Durga was the tutelary deity of the Naga vamsi10. Kanaka Durga is still worshipped in a separate shrine in Junagarh.

After the death of the 6th king of Naga Vamsa Harichandra Deo, the kingdom went disarray. The queen left for her father’s home at Gadapur of Phulbani district where she gave birth to Ramchandra Deo. It is said that the Kandh Heads (Umra) had discussion among them and decided to put their young prince Ramchandra Deo on the throne at Jugsaipatna11. Probably the Kondh chiefs assured the young prince security. May be as a symbol of protection and assurance one of the chief put the young prince on his lap during the coronation ceremony (symbolizing father or protector). This practice is still in use even today and the particular Kandh chief is known as Patmajhi.



[Universalization of deities]
It is said that, the queen brought the deity Manika Devi from Gadapur and installed her at Bundeseer 12. This Bundeseer later became Bhawaniptna, probably after the construction of the Bhawanishankar temple here. But this assumption seems to be quite illogical. The Kondh, as protector of the new king, must have given Manikasairo, the sister of their own goddess Dharani Penu to the king for worship (as they cannot give their main deity to anybody for worship). But the Kondh could not give their deity to any one outside their kinship circle. So, the king was brought under the Kondh kinship circle by marrying him to a Kondh daughter (This tradition is still continuing, although symbolically). It may also be possible that the queen brought Manikasairon, in the form of Manika Devi from Gadapur (which is also a Kondh dominated area in Phulbani). The goddess was worshiped by the Paik priest (most probably a Kondh priest or Jhankar) under a thatched roof at Bundeseer (again a Kondh tradition).When the capital of Kalahandi was shifted to Bundeseer (Bhawanipatna) during Fate Narayan Deo (As a result of the outbreak of a deadly epidemic of cholera in Junagarh)13, Manikeswari became the tutelary deity of the Naga Dynasty. Udit Narayan Deo, the sun of Fateh Narayan Deo, laid the foundation of the present shrine of Manikeswari at Bhawanipatna which was later completed by Brajamohan Deo in 1907 A.D.14

So, most probably the little tradition in the form of ‘Manikasairo’ got a face lift to become ‘Manikeswari’, there by becoming a part of the Great Tradition (Universalization). A similar parallel can be found in the Sanskritization of the Kandh deity Budha Penu into Budha Raja or Vhairav or Vairon, which is worshipped in many places of western and southern Orissa (we have already mentioned the worship of Budharaja in manikeswari temple before the Chhatar festival).The possibility of a link between Chhatar Baeti, the Kondh goddess, and the Chhatar procession cannot be entirely ruled out (In fact one Bauti Chhatra is used in the Bali Yatra of Sonepur). In the ancient period, the Kondh used to worship a square slab of stone (Charkunia Pathar) through human sacrifice (Meria Bali). This can be illustrated through a portion of a Kondh Dhap song;

‘Aaye Mahul pure pure, Jaye Mahular pure,

Aamar Chakardhar, Puja chhinuchhe charkunia pathare.’ 15

A link between this Charkunia Pathar and the cult of Manikeswari cannot be ruled out. This is because both the Chhatar in Jenakhal as well as the deity in the temple are placed over a square shaped structure.

The cult of Stambheswari is the earliest form of the Shakti cult found in the Kosala Kingdom (roughly comprising the Mahanadi, Tel and Ib valley). In Stambheswari cult pillars and posts (mostly wooden) were worshipped as goddess. Karunda (now Kalahandi) was an important centre of Stambheswari cult16. Bhagawati Stambheswari was the tutelary deity of the maharaja of Kosala Tustikara (it is assumed that his capital was at the present Belkhandi of Kalahandi)17. Sonepur was the main center of Stambheswari cult during the Somavamsis (there still exists a Stambheswari temple at Sonepur).

In course of time Stambheswari was identified with Ambika and Bhadra (influence of Great tradition and a process of Universalisation). The Somavamsis brought the concept of Stambheswari to the coastal tracts when they occupied Utkala. In this process Stambheswari got integrated with Bhadrambika and Ekanamsa ultimately giving rise to goddess Subhadra of Juggannath cult18. The impact of Stambheswari cult was so overpowering that in most of the villages of this area, Stambheswasi of Khambeswari is worshipped as village deity. Not only this, almost all main deities of this area are either in the form of a post or pillar. Samaleswari in Sambalpur, Stambheswari, Lankeswari and Sureswari in Sonepur, Patneswari of Patna kingdom and Manikeswari of Bhawanipatna, all are worshipped in the form of post.

Kandh were the dominant tribal group in Chakra–Mandala, comprising of Koraput, Kalahandi and Bastar (of MP) in the Indravati-Mahanadi river valley (10th/11th Century A.D.)19 The Kandh tribe worship several deities such as Dharani deity, Village deity, Family deity, Bhima deity, Khandul, Saat Bhayen, Kandul Boja, Jina, Duma etc. In every Kondh village one can find a place of worship consisting of three stone or wooden poles dug into the ground in upright position placed in one line in close proximity to each other. Over these three poles is placed another stone or wooden plate like a roof to the earlier structure. These three upright structures represent three deities. The central pole represents the Tana Penu (Earth deity), in the left is Muchbi Penu (Younger brother) and to the right is Jakeri Penu (Elder brother). Researchers stretch the origin of the Tri-divinity of Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra to these three Kandh deities. The roof over the Kandh deities is being associated with the Sudarshan20. Tana Penu or Dharani Penu (Goddess Earth) is the chief Kandh deity.





[Sanskritization of cult]
So, we can logically assume that the Kondh objects of veneration like wooden post and stone underwent a process of Sanskritization (or one may call it Universalization) and assumed a Sanskritic name like Stambheswari in around 5th Century A.D. (e-swari is a typical suffices attached with the female gods of the Sanskritic tradition). Stambheswari went for further sanskritisation during 10th/11th Century A.D. when the Chindakanaga dynasty of Chakrakota Mandala gave her a new denomination in the form of Manika Devi (or Manikeswari ?). This fact is apparent from the iconographical features of Stambheswari and Manikeswari. Both Stambeswari (now worshipped in Aska of Ganjam district) and Manikeswari are roughly like cylindrical post, devoid of hand and leg, on which a head is placed.





The icon of Manikeswari in Bhawanipatna is nothing but a ‘head’ made up of clay. It is placed on a straight structure (a post or Stambha). In the middle of the cellar (Garbhagriha) of the shrine, the effigy of the deity is installed on a raised throne. The throne and the effigy closely connect with the back wall of the cellar. Except the head of the deity, nothing else is visible to the visitors. The general feature appears like a pole or a cylinder. The icon of Manikeswari has no hand or leg. The head is made up of clay and is oval in shape. With it, the tongue and eyes made up of silver are fixed (a process of Anthromorphization usually associated with the great Sanskritic tradition). The goddess is worshipped by Ekakhyari mantra similar to that of ‘kali’ the Sanskritc primordial mother. The Chhatra or Chhatar in colloquial term represent the representation or ‘chalanti pratima’ (mobile representation of deity) of the main icon (a practice synonym with the great tradition). The daily ‘Puja’ is performed by the Brahmin priest. Occasional ‘Chakra Puja’ is also performed in the temple (reminiscent of the ‘Chhinnamastha’ cult). The goddess is offered two types of puja or worship, Satwik (Sanskritic or great tradition) offered by a Brahmin priest and Tamsik (Little Kondh tradition) offered by Kondh priest. In fact the Satwik puja started only during Maharaja Udit Pratap Deo(1853-81), when he brought a Brahmin priest Narayan Badpanda from Sambalpur(Here also we find a process of Sanskritization of worship).

So, the cultural practices and historicity associated with Manikeswari and the festival of Chhatar reveals a clear picture of a process the confluence of the Little Tradition (Marginal tradition) and the Great Tradition (Mainstream Tradition). A smooth transition along with a compatible co-existence of the two (some time many) traditions is also quite evident here. This study also reveals a microscopic, but very significant process of the gradual and somewhat harmonious evolution of the Indian tradition in the form of a mosaic of traditions.

1. Panda, Bhabanishankar (1991): Kalahandira Isthadevi Ma Manikeswari-Part 1(Oriya),Kalahandi Jilla Sakhyarata Samiti,Bhawanipatna, p 6-7.
2. Ibid, p 8.
3. Eschmann, A. et el (ed) (1998): The cult of Jagannath and the Regional Tradition of Orissa, Cuttack, p 129
4. Das, P.K. : ‘Why Kalahandi is called Karond or Kharonde?’,The Orissa Historical Research Journal, Vol. XXXI, No. 2,3 & 4, p 12.
5. Deo P.K : ‘Why the name Kalahandi’, The journal of Kalahandi Utshab(1991), Rourkela.
6. Panda, B (1991) Op. Cit. p 2.
7. Bisi, D.G (1988) :Kalahandira Lokagita Dhap ra Sangraha ‘O’ Samikshya(Oriya),Bhawanipatna, Stanza 66.
8. Sing Deo, J.P (1987) : Cultural Profile of South Kosala, Cuttack, pp 236- 37.
9. Mishra, B : ‘The Cult of Manikeswari’, The Journal of Orissan History, Vol. XII, June 1992, p 38.
10. Ichhapur Sasan cupper plate of Maharaja Jugsai Deo IV (unpublished), in possession of Sri K.C. Acharya of Ichhapur, Kalahandi.
11. Panda, B (1991) Op. Cit. p 6.
12. Sing Deo, J.P : ‘Manikeswari Temple and the Icon of the Deity’, Ma Manikeswari (1989), Bhawanipatna, p 7.
13. Mishra, B. Op. Cit. p 39.
14. Sing Deo, J.P. Op. Cit. p 8.
15. Bisi, D.G : ‘Kalahandi Jillara Aaitihasika prustha bhumi ‘o’ tahinre Kandha Jarira bhumika (Oriya), Kalahandi Kala ‘O’ Sanskruti (Oriya), Mahavir Sanskrutika Anusthan,Bhawanipatna , 1989, p 121.
16. Raj Guru, S.N : Gazetters of Orissa, Vol 1, Part 2, pp 82-86.
17. Mishra, B. Op. Cit. p 40.
18. Das, M.P : A Descriptive Catalogue of Sanskrit Manuscript in Orissa, Vol. V, p xxii.
19. Sing Deo, J.P. Op. Cit. pp 236-37.
20. Panda, B.S : ‘Aaji Banabasi Debata ‘O’ Gayetri’(Oriya), Utkala Prasanga, Vol. 43 No. 11, June 1987.
21. Panda, B (1991) Op. Cit. p 9.

[ ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: This work is a product of logical deduction of various works done earlier by so many scholars. I have liberally borrowed from these works. I have also taken help from many of my friends who have interest in this field. I acknowledge the direct and indirect help I received from –Mr. Bhabanishankar Panda, Mr.P.K. Das,Mr. P.K. Deo, Dr. D.G. Bisi, Mr. J.P. Sing Deo, Dr.Baba Mishra, Mr.Parameswar Mund and Dr. Mahendra Ku. Mishra ]

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Storage Agent held after absconding for 4 yrs

The Pioneer, Oct 2, 2011
Storage agent Durga Patnaik was arrested here on Friday after absconding for about four years to evade arrest over two cases filed against him for siphoning off BPL rice. He was forwarded to court immediately. Patnaik was remanded to judicial custody as his bail application was rejected.

It was reported earlier that BPL rice meant for poor people was siphoned of by the storage agent on a massive scale.

While a case (48/2007) was registered against him in the Thuamur Rampur police station the Crime Branch had also registered another case in 2008. Around forty tribals in Thuamul Rampur block reportedly died of starvation in 2007 because they did not get a kilo gram of BPL rice which was siphoned off by the storage agent.

Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das had sat on fast for 72 hours before the district Collectorate demanding his arrest and dispensation of justice to the deceased.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Essar distributes relief material to 30,000 flood affected villagers in Orissa

ESSAR distributed relief material worth more than Rs 15 lakhs in the flood affected areas of Keonjhar recently. The relief materials were distributed to the people of the Hatadiha and Anandapur block and Ramachandrapur constituency of the Keonjhar District in the presence of Hon’ble MLA Mr Bhagirathi Sethy (Anandapur) and Hon’ble State Cabinet Minister Mr Badrinarayan Patra and Essar authorities. The relief material were distributed in the Mugpur, Bancho, Khadisahi, Tarva, Gabagada and Tartara villages which were worst affected during the last flood that has wretched the entire state.

It is noteworthy that earlier Essar distributed the relief material to benefit 30,000 people, in 20 areas in the districts of Jagatsingpur and Kendrapara in the state of Orissa, which were badly affected by the recent floods in the state.

Immediately on being informed by the administration on September 9, 2011, that fifty-nine gates of the Hirkund dam were opened to discharge water collected due to incessant rains in Chattisgarh, the Essar management in Orissa, reached out to the local Chassi Committee, and organized the relief material distribution programme.

Essar is recognized as a responsible corporate citizen that is quick to respond to the needs of the communities in which it operates. The Group supports a wide variety of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives which help address the developmental needs of these communities in a structured way.

Between September 10th – 15th, Essar Relief teams, working in tandem with local farmers and administration, distributed relief materials such as chuda, guda, biscuits, water pouches, candles match boxes and polythelene sheets in the areas of Jilansi, Kathakot, Hansura, Teramanpur, Thanagada, Tirtol, Balikani, Bargi, Musadia, Naugaon, Saharadia and Jaysekharpur in Jagatsingpur District. Relief materials were also distributed in the adjoining Kendrapara District in the areas of Tikhiri, Chandwa, Purshottampur, Dhaniapara, Patalipank, Mangatajpur, Tentulia Khamar, Daga and Haldiagada.

In addition, Essar also helped prevent flooding in Musadia, Rahama and Tirtol areas by providing 75,000 sand bags, 1,000 bamboos, construction equipment such as excavators and motorized vehicles, to strengthen the embankment of the Mahanadi in these areas.

Essar was guided in these relief operations by the local MLAs, Addl. Dist. Magistrate, Block Dev. Officer and Tahsildar in the areas.

About Essar Steel

Essar Steel, a global producer of steel with a production capacity of 14 MTPA. It is a fully integrated flat carbon steel manufacturer with a presence in North America, Europe, Middle East and South East Asia, UK, UAE and Indonesia. Its products find wide acceptance in highly discerning consumer sectors such as automotive, white goods, construction, engineering, hydrocarbon and shipbuilding. It is the most versatile flat steel producer with integrated facilities from 5-m wide plates, hot rolling, cold rolling, galvanizing and color coating, pipes with a full distribution business consisting of steel processing, distribution centres and retail outlets under the brand - Essar Hypermart. It operates nine steel processing and distribution centres globally with an aggregate capacity of over 4.5 million tonnes. Essar has the largest retail channel through 620 Essar Hypermarts.

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