Wednesday, November 30, 2011

RTI: Catalyst of change in tribals’ lives in Odisha

Shared by Sri Dillip Kumar Das
The Pioneer, Nov 29, 2011

Despite several drawbacks and problems in operational procedures, Right to Information (RTI) Act has been the savior for thousands of people.

People, especially in most backward and tribal dominated areas of the State, are increasingly using the legal weapon to get benefits from the development projects. Apart from initial hiccups, RTI has become a blessing in disguise for them, thanks to the efforts of volunteers and RTI activists, who have made it possible.

Thuamul Rampur block is surrounded by inaccessible terrain and forest and is mostly inhibited by Kondh tribes. Most of the tribals do not have lands and depend on shifting cultivation and forest produce for subsistence. The area is dreaded for malaria and basic health and education services are lacking.

Fifty eight per cent of the population of Thuamul Rampur block are tribals, 67 per cent are landless and 89 per cent belong to below poverty line (BPL), 63 per cent face food stress for a period of six to seven months a year and 77 per cent of the children (0-5 year’s age group) are malnourished, according to a survey done by Antodaya. Most of the villages lack drinking water facilities besides other basic amenities.

One third of States’ population depends on Minor Forest Produces (MFP) which provides food security to forest dwellers for 4 to 6 months in a year. They also account for 20 to 50 per cent of their annual income. 29, 302 out of 46,989 villages in Odisha have forest as land use. The State has 1,779,953 hectares (31 per cent) of forest area with a forest dependent population of 15,934,768.

Kalahandi district is a tribal dominated area where the majority of the population is below the poverty line. Kalahandi is regarded as one of the most vulnerable districts in India for food insecurity, starvation deaths, drought etc. The drought prone district has two distinct features. The plain areas, which although are very fertile, are prone to regular drought due to erratic monsoon coupled with long dry spells. The hilly areas mostly inhibited by Kondh tribals with marginal or no land holdings are exposed to regular shortages of food.

Towards new dawn Duku Majhi is a proud person today. He had never imagined seeing blooming and sparkling lights inside and outside his home. After a long persuasion and battle, a solar panel has been installed in his house in Bejiguda hamlet under Karlapat gram panchayat in Thuamul Rampur block in Kalahandi.

For the 45-year-old Duku, it was a long overdue. The tribal head, who manages his four-member family, including two children, by collecting minor forest produces and with occasional farming in his two acres of forest land, has a lot of hope now.

“I am happy to see that my son Jogeswar, who has just entered Class 10th, will be able to read in the night and will secure more marks in exam. I am also confident that my daughter who had left the study may rejoin the school to pursue higher education,” feels Duku.

It became possible through the intervention of volunteers of Karlapat Land and RTI Clinic set under Access to Justice Project for marginalised people project, a joint initiative of Antodaya and UNDP in collaboration with the Government of India.

RTI volunteers extended helping hand to Duku, who was fighting a lone battle to get electric connection to his village. When Duku filed an RTI application with District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) to know why 47 families were provided electric connection of the total 98 households in the village, within 15 days, the remaining 47 households were provided with electricity through installation of solar panels.

Sakhi Majhi of the village said, “For quite sometime, we were running from pillar to post to get power supply, but it was out of the reach for us. The Government officials simply ignored us.”

Bejiguda is a small and sleepy village situated in the foothills of Karlapat Wildlife Sanctuary in the Eastern Ghat. The village is inaccessible which can be approached through the sanctuary area.

Tribal inhabitants here have restricted living area for the fear of wild animals. Development has been a far cry for them. School-going children have to travel miles to reach the classroom. But, constant supply of electricity through solar panel has brought cheers and a ray of hope in the life of the villagers.

Road to freedom
The long wait of Naran Majhi finally comes to an end. He has got forest land patta jointly in his and his wife’s name. Till today, he was branded as an encroacher in his own land on which three generations of his family survived.

Naran is among 34 others of his village, who have been provided with land patta by the district administration. Naran alone has got the land of 2.60 decimals on March 2010, traditionally and inherently held by his family.

Out of total 45 households in his village, 43 families had applied to regularise forest land held under their possession in their favour.After due verifications and survey, the Sub Divisional Forest Rights Committee had recommended 34 applications.

“Our village is very old. We eke out a living from forest land and resources. Only when Antodaya people came to convince us to stake claim, we had applied for patta,” said Naran.

District Welfare Officer Seikh Mazeed said, “In Kalahandi district, we have regularised 21,106.76 acres of forest land in favour of 8,191 tribal families and vested community right in 155 cases.”

Till date 2, 93,901 beneficiaries have been distributed with individual titles in recognition of their rights. Out of them, only 58,724 right holders have been covered under various Government schemes.

Mazeed also expressed satisfaction over implementation of the ‘Access to Justice Project’.

Good Samaritan
Upendra Nayak (27), a high school drop-out, is now being invited to attend gram sabhas, panchayat and samiti meetings like any other sarpanch, samiti member or ward member.

Upendra was trained as an RTI volunteer along with other 15 youth of his locality during 2008 and subsequently he was attached to the RTI and land clinic set up there in Kanigumma by Antodaya, a voluntary organisation with the assistance from UNDP and Government of India.

Upendra has filed more than 10 RTI related queries to know about the real implementation of the Government sponsored schemes and programmes on progress of emergency feeding for children, Madhubabu Pension, MGNREGS, implementation of Forest Right Act, PDS, primary education and Jana Swasthy Yojana, etc. He could manage to get information on all of his queries and took necessary action on its implementation in consultation with villagers and Government officials.

On his efforts, Public Distribution System was regularised in 33 adjoining villages of his locality, besides restoration of emergency feeding for children through Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in the villages of Karaga, Dhuliguda and Anthaguda.

Not only these, people especially Adivasi beneficiaries of Kanigumma appreciated the initiatives of Upendra, when they got their MGNREGS payments through the gram panchayat which got delayed by officials and engineers.

Apart from these, Upendra is now tracking the missing files of 22 poor Indira Awas Yojana (IAY) beneficiaries through the use of RTI Act who have been cheated by corrupt officials.

“Through my interventions, people’s inspection registers have been opened in many Government offices. Officials are now making disclosures and are exhibiting in their notice boards. Even they are now sending information through posts and letters which were asked through RTI applications etc,” informed Upendra.

He further added, “Through my experience I came to know that RTI is a weapon at the hands of poor and marginalised people to stake their claim in governance and development”.

“Experiences of using RTI shows first they will ignore and misbehave you, then they will try to dissuade, discourage and harass the applicants and finally when they will come to know that you are committed and determined for the cause, they will bow down,” said Chitta Behera, an eminent policy analyst with Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhiyan, who has trained the RTI volunteers of access to justice project.

The writer is a senior freelance journalist

Drought-hit farmers block NH in K’handi

The Pioneer, Nov 30, 2011
Demanding that their areas be declared 100 per cent drought-hit, farmers of six gram panchayats on Tuesday blocked the NH-201 at Kutrukhamar in Sadar block of Bhawanipatna, due to which commuters were stranded for hours.

The small and marginal farmers of Kuliamaal, Kalam, Gandjhola, Kutrukhamar, Malgaon and Risigaon sat on dharna on the road asserting that above 50 per cent of crops have been lost in the Kharif season. They threatened to an indefinite sit-in strike if the State Government does not declare cent per cent drought within 15 days.

Commuters from Bhawanipatna to Junagarh including students of the Sardar Rajas Medical College, schoolteachers and Government staff could not reach their destinations due to the road blockade.

After submitting a memorandum to the local BDO which was addressed to the State’s Governor, the farmers withdrew the strike. The memorandum demanded waiver of farm loans, provision of loans without interest for the next Kharif crop, immediate implementation of the Indravati Right Canal project, exemption of fees of school and college students, supply pf rice at Rs 2/kg to the APL families and provision of 10 tube-wells in each GP.

Low quality rice for midday meal program!!

Shared by Sri Dillip Kumar Das

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Paddy procurement delayed, Millers to be tagged

IBNlive, Nov 29, 2011
BHAWANIPATNA: It’s� all confusion for farmers here. Paddy procurement in the district is yet to pick up even after four days of starting on November 25 while the administration is� still undecided on� whether to open the mandis or tag custom millers to the respective purchasing centres.

The administration had decided to open 67 paddy purchasing centres and 16 sub- centres, but only 5 purchasing centres have so far been opened in Kalampur block.� Here too, the work has been limited to registration of farmers and issue of tokens. The sub-divisional officers of Bhawanipatna and Dharamgarh sub-divisions have been directed to open purchasing centres as per the need in phases.

On the other hand, rice mills are yet to be tagged to any of the purchasing centres for lifting paddy. Out of 115 mills in the district, last year 94 participated in the procurement process but only 55 could complete 100 per cent delivery of rice.

This year, only 78 mills, which could deliver 90 to 100 per cent rice, have qualified. However, despite the Government’s directive no millers have turned up to sign the agreement.

This, many suspect, is a pressure tactic by the millers to include all mills which would bring down the percentage of rice they would have to return to the Government. For one quintal of paddy, the millers have to return 68 kg of boiled rice and 67 kg in case of raw rice.

Amidst confusion, reports of distress sale and exploitation of farmers by middlemen and millers are trickling in from various parts of the district.

Meanwhile, the Collector has directed all field functionaries and nodal officers to keep vigil to prevent distress sale.

Positive Initiative: RTI used by Tribal to Change his Village

Shared by Sri Dillip Kumar Das

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NROs fight for railway connectivity to Kalahandi

The Pioneer, Nov 24, 2011
While political leaders cutting across party lines have failed to impress upon the Ministry of Railways to provide connectivity from Bhawanipatna, the district headquarters of Kalahandi, two non-resident Odias (NROs) from the district have taken up the issue with the Centre for providing such facility.

Digambara Patra and Madhusmita Panda have urged the Union Minister Railways to start train service from Bhawanipatna as the railway line connecting Lanjigarh Road to Bhawanipatna has already been completed for the past one year. No train is operating from Bhawanipatna to connect major towns in Odisha and rest of the country, they have pointed out.

The process is unfortunately lingering due to negligence by the railway authorities, they rue. Therefore, they have requested Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi to ask the concerned authorities to operate trains from Bhawanipatna by January 26 next to cities like Bhubaneswar, Raipur and Visakhapatnam and extend the Howrah-Titilagarh Ispat Express to Bhawanipatna.

Dr Patra and Panda have also urged Dr Trivedi to provide `100 crore in the Railway Budget 2011-12 to for a Kantabanji-Jeypore line, which is considered as heart line connecting Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur and Koraput districts of the KBK region and take up extension work of the Junagarh-Amaguada line immediately.

Similarly, a survey for Bhilai-Rajim-Debhog-Dharamgarh-Junagarh, Lanjigarh Road-Gopalpur and Bhawanipatna-Kesinga railway lines should be given importance for infrastructure development in this Maoist-prone backward region, they have argued.

It is also important to speed up the progress of the under-survey Lanjigarh Road-Phulbani-Talcher line connecting Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Titilagarh (Balangir district), Nabarangpur and Rayagada districts with Bhubaneswar by joining with the Khurda-Balangir line near Puruna Cuttack (or Charichouk), they have pointed out.

This would not only bring a first-time railway network to Kandhamal district, it would also make large parts of the inaccessible KBK and Kandhamal regions accessible from the State capital directly and help counter the Maoist activities in the regions.

Besides, the rail line would facilitate alumina and coal transportation for Nalco from its refinery at Damanjodi to its smelter at Angul by reducing a distance about 100 km, Dr Patra and Panda further pointed out.
Kalahandia bats for connectivity, Bhawanipatna : 23/November/2011

While political leaders cutting across party line have failed to impress upon the Union Ministry of Railways to provide connectivity from the district headquarters of Kalahandi, a determined Kalahandia has taken up the issue with the Centre for providing such facilities.
Digambara Patra, a leading NRO, who has always bats for the cause of Kalahandi has urged the Union Minister Railways to start train service from Bhawanipatna as the railway line connecting Lanjigarh road to Bhawanipatna has already been completed for the past one year.

However, no train is operating from Bhawanipatna to connect with major towns in Odisha and rest of the country.

Unfortunately the process is lingering due to serious negligence by East Coast Railway Zone, rue Dr.Patra.

Therefore he has requested Dinesh Trivedi to ask the authorities to operate trains from Bhawanipatna by Jan 26, 2012 to towns like Bhubaneswar, Raipur, Visakhapatnam, etc and extend Howrah-Titilagarh Ispat express to Bhawanipatna.

He has also urged Dr.Trivedi that in the Railway Budget 2011-12, to make arrangement of Rs.100 crore for Kantabanji – Jeypore line considered as heart line connecting Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur and Koraput districtsof KBK and take up extension work of Junagarh-Amaguada line immediately.

Similarly survey for Bhilai - Rajim - Debhog - Dharamgarh – Junagarh, Lanjigarh road-Gopalpur, Bhawanipatna-Kesinga railway lines should be given importance for the infrastructure development in this Maoist prone backward region.

It is also important to speed up the progress of under survey Lanjigarh road - Phulbani – Talcher line connecting Kandhamal, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Titilagarh (Balangir dist), Nabarangpur and Rayagada districts with Bhubaneswar by joining with Khurda-Balangir line near Puruna Cuttack (or Charichok).

This will not only bring first time railway network to Kandhamal district but also make accessible to large part of inaccessible KBK and Kandhamal region from the state capital directly and help in countering Maoist activities in the region.

Beside that this the rail line will facilitate alumina/coal transportation for NALCO from its refinery in Damajodi to its Smelter in Angul by reducing distance about 100 km, said Dr.Patra.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Operating train from Bhawanipatna


Honorable Railway Minister Sri Trivedi,

Honorable President of India, Smt Patil
Honorable Prime Minister of India, Dr Singh
Honorable Chief Minister, Mr Patnaik

Dear Honorable Sri Trivedi,
The railway line connecting Lanjigarh road till Bhawanipatna has been completed in the past year. However, no train is operating from Bhawanipatna to connect with major towns in Odisha and rest of the country. Unfortunately the process is lingering due to serious negligience by east coast railway zone. Backwardness and social issues of Kalahandi are mainly due to poor infrastructure where railway could play vital role. The chairman of railway expert committee constituted by the Hon’ble Railway Minister of India advises the Railway Ministry on innovative financing and implementation of the economically unviable but socially desired projects.

Therefore we request you to operate train from Bhawanipatna by Jan 26, 2012 to cities like Bhubaneswar, Raipur, Visakhapatnam, etc and extend Howraw-Titilagarh Ispat express to Bhawanipatna.

I also urge you that in the budget 2011-12, kindly approve 100 crore for Kantabanji – Jeypore line considered as heart line connecting Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Nabarangpur and Koraput districts and take extension of Junagarh-Amaguada line immediately.

Similarly survey for Bhilai - Rajim - Debhog - Dharamgarh – Junagarh, Lanjigarh road-Gopalpur, Bhawanipatna-Kesinga railway lines should be given importance for the infrastructure development in this maoist and backward region.

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

Anticipating your positive responce in these matters

Thanking you and best regards

Digambara Patra

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Inspiring Initiative: 1200 blankets collected from people and distributed in 40 tribal villages of Thuamul Rampur

Shared by Yashodhara Mishra

Dear all,

It is a great satisfaction to know that some young volunteers are working for the poor people living in remote zones of Kalahandi, where there are no motorable roads and one needs to walk up to 8 to 10 kms to reach some villages. Some 1200 blankets were collected from people to be distributed in 40 tribal villages of Thuamul Rampur.These photos are sent with the hope that they may inspire more such seva work from those who can afford to take out some time and efforts from their own personal resources. Every drop of rain helps improve the stagnant water of a pond.

All the best !

yashodhara mishra

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Odisha: Children’s Day celebrated at Niyamgiri Vedanta Nagar

Orissadiary, Nov 16, 2011
Report by correspondent; Niyamgiri: Vedanta Foundation celebrated Children’s Day in a grand way at its R&R Colony, Niyamgiri Vedanta Nagar, in Lanjigarh (Odisha) on November 14, 2011. The program was inaugurated by the Chief Guest, Collector of Kalahandi Mr. Dukhishyam Satapathy in presence of Mrs. S Chamundi, India head of Vedanta Bal Chetna Anganwadi Project (VBCAP) , Dr. Mukesh Kumar, President – Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL), and Sanjay Pattnaik - Vice President (HR-VAL).

Applauding Vedanta’s initiatives to support the Government-run Anganwadi project Mr. Satpathy opined that other organizations also should come forward to support these kinds of projects. He, along with other guests, distributed 1250 uniforms to children of 36 Child Care Centres, run by Vedanta Foundation and 12000 pairs of foot wear to 400 Anganwadi Centres of Kalahandi district.

Among other dignitaries present were – Niharika Sahu, Head-CSR (VAL); Srimati Majhi – Chairman, Lanjigarh Block and Prabir Kumar Nayak, Block Development Officer, Lanjigarh.

Mrs. Chamundi, said, “We hope to cover all the Anganwadi Centres of Kalahandi District. Vedanta Group Chairman Mr. Anil Agrawal’s vision is to reduce the death rate of children caused due to mal-nutrition. We have tied up with Anganwadi Centres to provide nutritious food to children below five years under Vedanta Bal Chetna Anganwadi Project of Vedanta Foundation.”

Dr. Mukesh Kumar, President – Vedanta Aluminium Limited, Lanjigarh , said, “Vedanta Bal Chetna Anganwadi project is a special programme of the government. However, Vedanta is supplementing the government’s efforts by providing additional nutritious food.”

The programme was concluded with an exhibition where demonstration was given on how pre-school education through activity based learning can result in the holistic development of a child.

Vedanta Balchetna Anganwadi Project (VBCAP) & Child Care Centres are the signature projects of Vedanta Group being run across India since the year 2000. Specially, VBCAP is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode where Vedanta Foundation provided nutritious food to the govt. run Anganwadi centers.\

BPL survey takes off in seven districts

Business Standard, Nov 15, 2011
The survey for enumeration of families living below poverty line (BPL) in the state took off today in seven districts- Koraput, Malkangiri, Rayagada, Bolangir, Gajapati, Kalahandi and Kandhamal. The fresh BPL survey started after a long gap of 14 years.
Enumerators started the survey work carrying tablet PCs (personal computers). The latest BPL survey has kindled hope among the families that were excluded in the previous list. Earlier, the state government had decided to begin the survey work on September 15 and complete the process in 45 days.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

No decision yet on irrigation water

IBNlive, Nov 14, 2011
BHAWANIPATNA: Already struggling due to scanty rainfall, Kalahandi farmers are likely to face another setback if the lift irrigation and Agriculture Department officials do not finalise strategy for providing irrigation water.

The rabi season has already started and last week a strategy was hammered out. A target to cover 1,78,139 hectares for rabi crop was tentatively fixed. This is� against the rabi coverage of 2,23,948 ha last year, a shortfall of 45,809 ha. This, sources said, is mainly due to reduction of irrigated areas caused by water scarcity in the irrigation projects.

Most of the irrigation projects, including Indravati, are not in a position to cater to the needs of rabi crops, the Deputy Director Agriculture, Kalahandi, Amereswar Mishra said.

For the current rabi season, Indravati irrigation project has offered to provide water for only 8,450 ha against 54,000 ha last year. Similarly, Utei medium irrigation project (MIP) proposed to provide irrigation water to only 190 ha against last year’s 404 ha.

This exposes the poor state of affairs of MIPs. There are 77 MIPs under the Minor Irrigation Department but the department has offered to provide rabi water for only 1,380 ha through 20 MIPs. It is because pondage areas of most of the MIPs are not full and a controversy is raging over the capability of LI projects of the district, while preparing the rabi strategy.

LI department claimed to provide irrigation to 10,000 ha through 564 Government and 41 private irrigation points. However, this was disputed by the Agriculture Department against the background of field realities complaining that most of these points in the present scenario lack required water sources. After a debate in the rabi strategy meeting, this target was reduced to 6,972 ha by the LI department.

Collector Dukhisham�� had asked for a joint verification by the LI officials and the Agriculture Department to finalise the target. But ironically this joint verification is yet to come forth.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Colourful start to Balijatra

IBNlive, Nov 11, 2011
CUTTACK: Bigger and more spectacular this year, the historic Balijatra kicked off in the midst of huge turnout of visitors here on Thursday. The fair, featuring over 1,300 stalls across three grounds at Killa Maidan and the main fair ground on the Mahanadi river bed, was inaugurated by Revenue Minister Surya Narayan Patro.

�The major attraction this year is billed to be the National-level Pallishree Mela, which has brought together textiles and handlooms from all parts of the country under one platform. With the ethnic textiles and handlooms of Orissa, weavers groups from about 25 states have taken part in the exhibition organised by ORMAS in association with KVIC, Department of Textiles, Directorate of Handicrafts and Cottage Industries and Nabard.

�The expo, organised to provide exposure to SHG groups and traditional artisans, has over 307 stalls this year. It is also showcasing leather items from Punjab, Rajasthan and UP, wooden craft and furniture from Kalahandi along with Andhra Pradesh and UP, famous carpets of UP, dry flowers of North East, Sandalwood craft and products from Mysore in Karnataka.

� Besides, a special pavilion has been set up to promote and popularise jute products.� From bags, shoes, upholstery, furniture items, rugs, sheets, curtains and other decorative items, the widest variety of jute products have been put on display.

�“We are promoting jute not only as an alternative to the harmful polythene but also a very durable, decorative and upmarket product for the fashionable and discernible sections,” Chief Executive of ORMAS, Cuttack, Bipin Behari Rout said.

� The fair also encompasses the Gandhi Shilpa Bazaar on handicraft items with about 150 stalls and the much sought after silver Filigree Pavilion to promote the traditional silver filigree works of Cuttack city.

�The amusement section also has added new items to entice and entertain the children this year. The fair is expected to draw more than 3 lakh visitors a day with business transactions running into crores.

�The official website was also launched on the occasion.

�Among others, Information and Public Relations Minister Prafulla Samal, Cuttack MLA Debasish Samantray and Collector Girish SN were present at the inauguration.

Ministry of culture grants Rs. 3.01 crore to Shree Ramakrishna Ashrama (Kalahandi)

Ministry of culture to launch Cultural Heritage Young Leadership Programme
PIB, Nov 11, 2011
Swami Vivekananda

The 150th Birth Anniversary of Swami Vivekananda is being commemorated under the directions of a National Committee headed by Hon’ble Prime Minister and National Implementation Committee chaired by Hon’ble Finance Minister.

An amount of Rs. 100 crores has been sanctioned for the Vivekananda Value Education Programme to R K Mission, Belur Math. Apart from this commemoration related proposal from various organizations are being supported by this Ministry through financial assistance. A proposal for establishment of “Swami Vivekananda Indian Ministry of Culture Chair” in University of Chicago, USA by grant of an endowment is also under advanced stage of sanction.

Other approved proposals which have been approved include production of a film on Swami Vivekananda at an estimated cost of Rs. 70 lakhs by Public Service Broadcasting Trust (PSBT), renovation of 4 historical monuments by ASI at an estimated cost of Rs. 12.42 crore, upgradation of Ramakrishna Mission Sevashrama (Vrindaban) hospital at an estimated cost of Rs. 2.70 crore, grant to Shree Ramakrishna Ashrama (Kalahandi) for carrying out various commemorative activities and for addition to their existing building with an estimated expenditure of Rs. 3.01 crore, grant to Ramakrishna Vivekananda Mission, Barrackpore for construction of an auditorium with an estimated expenditure of Rs. 1.36 crore, grant to Government of Assam for undertaking commemorative activities with an estimated expenditure of Rs. 53.19 lakhs.

In addition, many proposals are under active consideration. Few notable of them are - construction of Swami Vivekananda Cardiac Care and Diagnostic Centre at an estimated cost of approx. Rs. 20.21 crores by Ramakrishna Mission Seva Pratisthan (Kolkata), grant to R.K. Mission Institute of Culture (Kolkata) for taking up various commemorative programmes at an estimated cost of approx. Rs. 6.17 crores, grant to R.K. Vivekananda Smiriti Mandir (Khetri) for conservation of their building at an estimated cost of approx. Rs. 0.73 crores, grant for the renovation of Metropolitan Institution (Kolkata), a school, where Swami Vivekananda is stated to have studies at an estimates cost of approx. Rs. 1.10 crores.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Funds unutilised, projects hang fire

IBNlive, Nov 9, 2011
BHAWANIPATNA: The State Government had launched the Biju KBK Yojana in 2006-07 after the Centre allegedly slashed funds under the Revised Long Term Action Plan (RLTAP) for most backward KBK region, comprising eight districts.

The scheme is aimed at providing financial assistance to the construction of office buildings of SHGs and anganwadi centres,� construction of girls hostels, bridge and culverts.

�However, with non-utilisation of funds sanctioned under the scheme, lack of proper monitoring and non-submission of utilisation certificates in time by the implementing agencies, development works are being delayed.

From 2006-07 to 2010-11, ` 81 crore has been allotted to the district. But with estimates of most of the projects not prepared by the implementing agencies, only ` 62.45 crore have been released to the agencies of which, only ` 53.38 crore was spent till date. Worse, utilisation certificates of only ` 33 crore have been submitted by the agencies as a result of which, the remaining funds have not been released yet. Due to these reasons, most of the works are either pending or yet to be grounded. During these five years, 1,111 works should have been undertaken under the Biju KBK scheme of which, only 137 works taken up and these too are lying incomplete.

�Sources said under the scheme, an amount of ` 1.50 crore each has been earmarked to all the blocks of the district. Out of that ` 50 lakh for each block is to be incurred by the district administration. The project proposals will be approved by the district administration. The remaining ` 1 crore will be spent by the government and projects will be approved as per the recommendation of the MPs and MLAs. It is alleged that in most cases works are being delayed due to political interference.

�There are also cases where implementing agencies are refusing to take up works on the pretext of lack of adequate manpower.

For instance, RWSS refused to take up rural piped water supply projects in Golamunda, Koksara, Karlamunda and Thuamul-Rampur blocks for which ` 66 lakh was sanctioned, citing lack of hands.

�This apart, non-finalisation of tenders in time in many cases is resulting in the delay. Bridge construction over the river Rahul in M Rampur block has been stalled since 2007-08. While it was originally estimated to cost ` 3 crore, the expenditure at present is being worked out to ` 7 crore.

Efforts to contact officials concerned proved futile.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Bhupinder Singh lays stone for two bridges in Bhawanipatna

The Pioneer, Nov 8, 2011
Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Bhupinder Singh laid the foundation-stones for construction of a high-level bridge over rivers Sandul and Rahul at two different places on Sunday.

The proposed bridge over Sandul costing Rs 389 lakh would connect the road from Balipada to Rupra and Kesinga under Narla block and the one over Rahul costing around Rs 6 crore would join the commuters of at least seven gram panchayats under Madanpur-Rampur block.

The construction works are expected to be completed within a year. Thousands of villagers congregated at the riverside to welcome Singh as their dreams were going to be accomplished. Singh was accompanied by Congress leader and Coordinator of party SC Cell Devi Prasad Sindoor.

Talking to the media, Singh admitted that construction of the bridges have been delayed due to lack of willpower of the construction agency. “But now, I assure you that the works will be expedited as sufficient funds are available with us.”

When asked about the reason of delay in opening of Mandis in Kalahandi district, Singh flayed the State Government, saying the Government has been totally ignoring the farmers’ interests and only focusing on the industrial sector. He added that distress seal of paddy has already begun in the district with the farmers selling their produce at Rs 680-750 per quintal whereas they should get the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of Rs 1,080. The State Government is fully responsible for the situation, he alleged.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Orissa: Ghumura fest inaugurated

Orissadiary, Nov 3, 2011
Bhawanipatna: The Kalahandi Pratistha Diwas and Kalahandi Utsav Ghumura 2012 was inaugurated here at the Town Hall here on Wednesday.

Organised by the District Cultural Council, a mashal yatra began on Monday from the Randomajhi Smrutipitha of Urladani, Manikeswari Shaktipitha of Thuamul-Rampur, Budharaja of Ampani, Maa Bhandar Ghareni of Dharmagarh, Saivapitha of Sapsilet and Saivapitha of Belkhandi to Bhawanipatna, where the citizens of Kalahandi district welcomed them at different Chowks before the procession was taken out across the town.

Later, district collector Dukhishyam Satpathy inaugurated the Kalahandi Utsav Ghumura 2012.

A logo on Ghumura 2012 was also unveiled.

Among others, district SP Sudha Singh, former MP Manmohan Mathur, CDMO Gunasagar Saha, ADM Ashok Kumar Nayak, sub collector Satya Narayan Das, PD DRDA Ashok Kumar Bhuyan, DPC Nruparaj Sahoo, Jagannath Mund, Durga Prasad Mishra and Jayanta Kumar Behera were present during the inaugural ceremony.