Friday, December 30, 2011

CM sends wishlist on railway projects

Note: Construction of Bhadrachalam Road-Talcher rail link via Malkangiri, Jeypore, Lanjigarh, Sambalpur-Berhampur line via Phulbani and Rayagada-Gopalpur rail-link via Bhismagiri are good porposals by the CM

IBNlive, Dec 29, 2011

BHUBANESWAR: The State Government on Wednesday demanded a package for Odisha in the forthcoming railway budget as the route length and rail density in the State is well below national average and also substantially lower vis-a-vis the neighbors.
�The package includes proposals for enhanced provisions for ongoing projects, sanctioning of new lines, surveys, introduction of new trains, extension and increase in frequency of existing mail/express trains, improved passenger amenities at stations and on board.
�In separate letters to the Prime Minister and the� Railway Minister, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has demanded allocation of a sizeable part of the revenue generated from Odisha for the State for strengthening and expanding rail infrastructure. Gross earnings from various stations are estimated to be more than Rs 7500 crore during 2010-11.
� In his letter to Manmohan Singh, Naveen said that the Centre has initiated many ambitious projects like dedicated freight corridor aligned with mega industrial hubs, national road expressways and high speed train projects which have completely bypassed Odisha. However, some of the country’s largest investments in the steel, aluminium and power sectors are coming up in the State.
Naveen said his Government has planned setting up of greenfield ports dotting the state’s coastline which will be the country’s gateway to international maritime trade as well as a logistics channel between the eastern and western coasts. A synchronised development plan between the ports and rail connectivity is a necessity for maximising economic gains.
The Chief Minister demanded that the eastern dedicated freight corridor from Ludhiana to Dankuni should be extended to Berhampur to ensure seamless movement of freight between the ports and the vast northern and southern hinterland of the country.
The construction of Bhadrachalam Road-Talcher rail link via Malkangiri, Jeypore, Lanjigarh, Sambalpur-Berhampur line via Phulbani and Rayagada-Gopalpur rail-link via Bhismagiri should be expedited as these areas are untouched by railways. These projects should also be declared as national projects, he said.
Because of proposed investments in steel, aluminium, coal and petrochemicals, the Chief Minister also proposed dedicated rail corridors in Angul-Talcher coal belt and Banspani-Nayagarh iron ore region.

Dharmagarh livestock centres in disarray

The Pioneer, Dec 29, 2011

While the Government claims to have opened 9,000 veterinary dispensaries all over Odisha for treatment of the animals, in Dharamgarh sub-division, the Parla veterinary dispensary is in complete disarray.
Similarly, a few other centres are also haunted by the problem of doctors and livestock inspectors playing truant. At these centers and dispensaries, night watchers in drunken mood perform the duties of the doctors.
A beautiful building with all facilities at a cost of Rs7 lakh has been constructed for the dispensary at Parla, but the doctor hardly stays there.
The livestock inspectors are no better and are neglecting the treatment of the animals with impunity.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

HIV+ patients on rise in Kalahandi

The Pioneer, Dec 27, 2011

The number of HIV+ patients is on the rise in Kalahandi district. As per the available information, 356 patients with AIDS are undergoing treatment at various hospitals in the district while an unofficial assessment puts the figure at over 1,000. Sources said most patients are found in 13 blocks and three urban towns of the district. Basically, migrating labourers from outside the State are bringing the virus. The number of migrating labourers in the district has risen up to 1,500.
As per a health department report, out of 356 AIDS affected patients, 35 have already died and now seven women and 10 children are undergoing treatment at the district headquarters hospital. For detection of AIDS and preventive health measure, integrated AIDS examination centres have been opened at Bhawanipatna, Kesinga and Dharamgarh.
Sources informed from 2006 to 2011, 14,208 AIDS patients have been detected in the district and given counselling. Out of them, the blood samples of 10,988 patients had been examined at Bhawanipatna district headquarters hospital and 236 patients were detected as HIV positive.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

District Level Nation Pess Day Celebraion at Dharamgarh

Shared by Sri Ingit Panda

Sage of Kalahandi Utsav - Ghumura at Dharamgarh since past 9 years

Contributed by Sri Ingit Panda

Paradeswar Temple - 2003
Dokri Chanchara - 2004
Palace and Manikeswar Temple - 2005
Asurgad - 2006
Brajamohan Temple - 2007
Indravati - 2008
Junagad-Old Capital of Kalahandi - 2009
Churapahad - 2010
Belkhandi - 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

Hydel project: K’handi villagers get power 16 hrs per day

Note: Good initiative. Efforts should be made to establish more such project.
The Pioneer, Dec 23, 2011
While the demand for electricity has been increasing day by day, the Government is unable to provide sufficient electricity to its consumers.
But with the combined effort of an NGO and poor people, a micro hydro system has been initiated that is catering to the need of 285 families of five villages with uninterrupted supply of electricity for 16 hours a day over last three years at Purunuguma village under Thuamul Rampur block. The people of the remote pocket were living without electricity before 2008.
With the financial aid of Rs 30 lakh from Switzerland Development Corporation, an NGO “Gram Vikas” accumulated the stream water flowing from a hilly area and diverted it through a small tunnel and succeed in generating electricity after setting up of a micro hydro system in the village.
The project was started after collecting Rs 1,000 from each household. It was commissioned in November, 2008 with the concrete efforts of Purunaguma, Lineguda and Choudaguda villagers. The denizens are now enjoying 16 hours of power supply which helps them watch television at homes and their children study at night. The micro hydro system is providing the energy from 4 pm to 8 am. However, efforts are being made to provide 24 hours uninterrupted power supply to the locals by the NGO.
The beneficiaries pay Rs 30 per month for which maintenance expenses is incurred. Apart from this, a rice mill and a mini oil mill have been set up in Purunaguma that run with electricity from the project and help the inhabitants increase their income. A survey report said that more than 40 micro hydro projects can be set up in different remote pockets in Kalahandi after collecting stream waters from the hilly areas. For sure, if the Government focuses on such projects, power shortage will be a thing of the past.

Locals demand probe into K’handi school building scam

The Pioneer, Dec 23, 2011

The salaries of defaulting 28 headmasters of Bhawanipatna education sub-division and 16 headmasters of Dharamgarh education sub-division have been withheld for financial irregularities in building works in their schools.
They allegedly maintained serious lapses in the school buildings works as most of the projects are lying incomplete beyond their due time of completion. These building construction works had been started in 2004 but till date they are unfinished.
Sources said Rs 41.89 lakh had been given as advance to authorities of various schools in Kalahandi district to undertake the building works in 2004.
The locals have demanded a thorough probe into all irregularities and strict punishment against not only the headmasters of the schools but also all the officials who connived with them.

Tourism: Paradeswar in Dharamgarh

Reported by Ingit Panda

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Preparatory meet held for K’handi Ghoomura fest

The Pioneer, Dec 22, 2011

Preparations are underway to make the NAC — and block-level Kalahandi Ghoomura Utsav a success. A preparatory meeting for organising the festival was recently held here at the block conference hall under the chairmanship of BDO Trilochan Mohanty.
In his preliminary address, Mohanty thanked the people of the town and the block area for their whole-hearted support for success of the festival last year. The festival will start from January 7 and continue for three days. On the inaugural day Kalahandi Collector Dukhishyam Satpathi will receive the Maa Lankeswari Masal and inaugurate the Lankeswari Manch.
Different cultural programmes will be held during the festival besides competitions in volleyball, cycling, cycling by the physically challenged, jhoti, sweet ululation, debate, song and essay writing. In addition, sand art competition will also be held during the festival.
Mohanty appealed the police and officials of different departments like electricity, public health and sanitation of Junagarh NAC to extend their full-fledged cooperation to make the festival a success. For smooth arrangement, some committees were formed at the meeting. Among others, tehsildar Rabindranath Kanhar, IIC of the local PS Birabal Badi, Uco Bank Branch Manager I Chouhan, NAC chairman Sudhansu Barad and activist Ashok Patnaik were present.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Paddy procurement in mess: Cong

The Pioneer, Dec 20, 2011
The Kalahandi District Congress Harijan Cell alleged kharif paddy procurement had been disrupted in the district due to undue interference by local leaders, dalals, millers and corrupt Government employees leading to harassment of the farmers.

Sources said as per an order of the district collector, the civil supplies department has been entrusted to procure kharif paddy this year. Though mandis were opened, the farmers were not informed where to shift their paddy. When farmers are carrying their paddy to the nearest mandi, their prices are deducted.
The Harijan Cell demanded for an enquiry into the paddy procurement method, all irregularities done to harass the farmers and strict action against the dalals and dishonest traders who are making a mess of things.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Indravati reservoir needs urgent renovation

The Pioneer, Dec 19, 2011

Water level capacity and production of electricity are gradually decreasing from Indravati Irrigation Project.
Due to shortfall of rain this year, only 10, 000 hectares of land have been irrigated against its capacity to irrigate 54, 000 hectares of land during both Rabi and Khariff seasons.
Now, the reservoir has 629 metres of water at surface level. It is doubtful after extension work of canals, the planned programme for irrigating 1,28,000 hectares of land will ever be met. Hence, renovation of the project is badly needed, said sources.

Child rights convention held in Kalahandi

The Pioneer, Dec 19, 2011

An annual convention on child rights was organised by Help a Child of India in Thuamul Rampur Block on Thursday where around 600 children from 12 villages participated. The children took out a rally focusing on child rights in the block.
Zila Parishad member Banamali Naik attended the meeting as a chief guest. He dealt at length the measures taken by the Government to ensure child rights in a remote place like Thuamul Rampur.
Meritorious children were awarded. A cultural programme was conducted by the children. MLA representatives Kunja Naik, Arindam Kalesh, John Williams, Jaywant Das, Jagdiswar Naik were present.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Railway Infrastructure in PPP Mode

Dear Honorable Chief Minister Mr Patnaik,
Expecting an early recovery from your ankle injury, I am pleased that you have been consistent while raising the railway interest of the state, while a 20-member assembly delegation led by Speaker Pradip Amat and a number of MPs from Odisha met railway minister taking various demand of the state recently.

However, beside all these efforts mining companies should be persuaded to develop internal infrastructure in railway through PPP mode. Many mining companies are engaged in Australia, Brazil, etc to develop local railway infrastructure while exploring for mining & metal industries, in Odisha such practice is being limited to port connectivity and eastern part of the state, whereas backward and mining regions are rarely getting any benefit in terms of railway infrastructure.

With the current speed of railway development, especially in KBK-Kandhamal-Boudh-Gajapati districts, it is doubtful whether connecting all these districts in this region with the state capital will ever be possible in next 50 years. Few innovative proposals are urgently required for speed expansion of railway infrastructure in this region.

For instance NALCO and RSB Metaltech Ltd have major interests for alumina in Damanjodi in Koraput and Kalyansingpur in Rayagada and are, respectively, engaged for aluminum smelters and parks in Angul and Dhenkanal. These companies are required to transport their minerals/coals from Damanjodi/Kalyansingpur to Angul/Dhenkanal and vice versa. Constructing Lanjigarh road - Phulbani-Talcher railway line will at least reduce 100 km for NALCO for its mineral transportation from Damanjodi to Angul and vice versa.

Similarly RSB Metaltech Ltd will be benefited from this railway line when the company will link Kalyansingpur with Lanjigarh via Ambadola. Lanjigarh-Ambdola railway link is already constructed by Vedanta Aluminum Limited (VAL). It will be wise to engage the above three companies to construct  Lanjigarh road - Phulbani- Talcher railway line, which is under survey, through PPP mode.

This line will boost backward Kandhamal district most and bring it to the railway map by directly connecting with the state capital. Other regions like Kalahandi, Nuapada, Titilagarh (Balangir dist), Nabarangpur and Rayagada districts will be also directly get rail connectivity with Bhubaneswar as this line joins Khurda road-Balangir line near Puruna Cuttack (or Charichok). Thus, along with Khurdha road-Balangir line this line would facilitate most of the KBKK districts to have direct link with state capital which will helping in eliminating their remoteness. Kandhamal district may also receive some industrial investment such as for thermal plant if it is directly linked with Angul and Talcher by railway.     

On the other side, NALCO, Utkal Alumina and L&T are planning their aluminum plants in Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundergarh regions but their major mining interests are located around Kashipur, Thuamul Rampur, Dasmantpur and Damanjodi. A railway line connecting Damanjodi-Dasmantpur-Kashipur-Karlapat-Bhawanipatna-Kesinga will be of their interest to link their refineries and smelters cum Aluminum Parks in a shortest possible way. This will also bring Dasmantpur, Karlapat, Kashipur, Thuamul Rampur etc which are rich in minerals, one of the highest bauxites deposits in Asia, and known for their touristic opportunities to the railway map by creating infrastructure development in the backward pockets and making a win-win business opportunities for the Government, local people and mining companies, thus, such possibilities in KBKK region should be given high priority. NALCO, Utkal Alumina, Vedanta Aluminum Limited, RSB Metaltech, L&T etc should be engaged while signing the MoU and there after as a precondition to participate in railway development in the local region.

I am optimistic you will look into this matter and take the issue to railway ministry, ECOR and concerned mining companies.

Thanking you

Best regards

Digambara Patra

NOTE: It was copied to railway ministry and chief secretary of Odisha.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Congress rally demands K’handi declared drought-hit

The Pioneer, Dec 16, 2011

Kalahandi District Congress Committee organised a massive rally on Wednesday demanding declaration of Kalahandi district as drought-hit.
More than 6,000 farmers from six blocks assembled at this sub-divisional headquarters where State Congress Committee president Niranjan Patnaik addressed the rally and warned the Government that the farmers of the entire district would be forced to court arrest in a jail bharo movement from January 15 if the problems faced by the farmers were not solved within the deadline.
Patnaik mounted a scathing attack on the Government for indulgence in corrupt practices at all levels.
This huge gathering was also addressed by Opposition leader in the Assembly Bhupinder Singh, Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das, former Ministers Jagannath Patnaik and Rahasa Bihari Behera, Junagarh MLA Gobardhan Dash, senior Congress leader Rabindra Pattjoshi and Dharmagarh Block Congress vice-president Bishnu Prasad Agrawal who accused the Government of total failure in solving farmers’ genuine problems and cautioned it about the jail bharo programme the Government failed to declare Kalahandi as drought-affected.
A memorandum with 24 demands, addressed to the Governor, was handed over to the Sub-Collector.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

PR Secy visits K’handi, reviews projects

The Pioneer, Dec 14, 2011

Panchayati Raj Department Secretary Pradeep Jena on a flying visit reached Golamunda block known as an interior part of Kalahandi district.
His visit was aimed at looking closely various developmental works being implemented in the area. Dharamgarh Sub-Collector Gouri Parashar, Project Director DRDA and various officials accompanied Jena. The team visited various Gram Panchayats where Bharat Nirman Rajiv Gandhi Seva Kendras are being constructed.
During his inspection of the pattern of construction works, Jena was pleased with the quality maintained in the work. Jenawas however annoyed when he knew that the seva kendra at Brundabahal GP was incomplete but earlier it had been inaugurated.
He instructed the executive agency to take quick step to complete the construction works within stipulated time.
At the same time, he inspected various Aaganwadi Centres and observed the cooking of food.
He took serious note of the case of the seven pregnant women, who were deprived of the benefits under Mamata Yojana.
The Secretary required explanation from Golamunda CDPO as well concerned supervisor for such lapses. At the same time, he instructed the Sub-Collector and the CDPO to take quick step to include the women in the scheme.
On the way, Jena visited an ideal banana garden of a youth farmer at Rengsapali. Jena inspected Patramara reserved forest and reviewed the plantation works of 40 lakh teak wood trees in the forest.
He also visited a newly constructed bridge at Deykote, which was completed recently at a cost of `4 lakh. Later, at Dharamgarh, he reviewed various developmental works.

Junagarh hospital cuts sorry figure sans facilities

The Pioneer, Dec 14, 2011

The Community Health Centre (CHC) established in 1932 and catering to the need of the people of Junagarh block and the adjoining village areas is sadly deficient of essential treatment facilities.
Everyday around 300 people register their name in the hospital but have to face many problems in getting the treatment. The hospital has 30 beds, but everyday almost 50 patients come for admission. They have to get treated on the floor. Against eight sanctioned posts of doctors and 12 staff nurses, only four doctors and six staff nurses are available in the hospital.
Under the CHC, there are six PHCs. But only in Charbahal and Kulihari PHCs, a doctor each is available, where as in Chilguda, Mahichala and Habaspur PHCs, the post of doctor has been lying vacant since long. There is no blood bank in the hospital and no Xray. To give blood for test, patients have to go to Bhawanipatana and Dharamagah.
For treatment of major ailments, the patients have to depend on district headquarters hospital at Bhawanipatana.
Resentment is brewing up among the general public with the hospital cutting a sorry figure and the higher authority remaining silent over taking steps to ameliorate the situation.

Misappropriation of farmers compensation cheque

Contributed by Sri Debendra Bisi
Sambad, Dec 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Congress legislators threw chair into Odisha Speaker's podium

Orissadiary, Dec 12, 2011

Bhubaneswar: Congress legislators threw a chair into Speaker's podium and snatched papers from his table demanding declaration of Kalahandi as drought affected district. As unruly scenes prevailed, Speaker adjourned the House till 12 noon after which members discussed law and order problem.

As in the morning opposition Congress voiced concern over security of MLAs citing the killing of legislator Jagabandhu Majhi in Nabarangpur district on September 24. The assembly was adjourned twice today amid uproar as opposition Congress stormed into the well alleging a "fixing" during the Question hour by the ruling BJD. As the House assembled for the day, Speaker Pradip Amat called out the name of BJD MLA Khageswar Behera for the first question relating to Home department and meant to be replied by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
Though the chief minister was present, Behera was yet to enter into the House, prompting Congress MLAs to allege that he deliberately avoided entering despite being present in the Assembly building as part of a "fixing" by the ruling BJD. As the Speaker moved to the next question, Congress members trooped into the well alleging a deliberate move by BJD to skip the first question which would have led to a discussion on Naxal problem.
Shouting slogans, Congress legislators threw a chair into Speaker's podium and snatched papers from his table demanding declaration of Kalahandi as drought affected district. As unruly scenes prevailed, Speaker adjourned the House till 12 noon after which members discussed law and order problem. Opposition Congress voiced concern over security of MLAs citing the killing of legislator Jagabandhu Majhi in Nabarangpur district on September 24.

Monday, December 12, 2011

State Budget should reflect people's aspirations

Shared by Sri Sudhir Mishra
Note: We have been raising that contructing barrages on Tel reiver would help Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Balangir, Sonepur and Boudh. In this report one view on one of the possible barrage is presented by rerired Er. Premraj Sai which can irrigate 204, 000 hectares of land and submerge 100 hectares of Govt. land. This idea could be pursued by local politicans.

The Pioneer, Dec 11, 2011
To ensure peoples' participation and to reflect peoples' aspirations in the State Budget and acquaint them with it and its process, a pre-budget consultation meet for Balangir was held here on Tuesday.

The budget is prepared by bureaucrats where involvement of people at the grassroots is very less. There should be more peoples' participation in budgetary process, observed farmer leader Uday Singh Thakur.

Besides taking steps for creation of more irrigation facility in the district, special attention should be given to the displaced person, Thakur opined, adding that more hospitals should be opened at the Gram Panchayat level for better delivery of healthcare and services to the rural people.

The Odisha Budget and Accountability Centre of CYSD along with ADHAR organised the consultation meet.

The needs and aspirations of the people of the district will be reflected in the forthcoming budget, observed Prakash Barik of Odisha Budget and Accountability Centre (OBAC), CYSD. Over last seven years, the OBAC is carrying out the process, Barik informed.

A sample survey in 22villages of the district revealed four priority areas of Balangir district, namely education, health service, women and child development and agriculture, pointed out Nandi Kishore Sandh of Balangir district budget watch group.

There should be more number of regular teachers, better infrastructure in schools and better monitoring of functioning of the schools to realise the desired objective of Right to Education Act (RTE), Nandi said further.

For better delivery of health care and services in the district, the number beds of district headquarters hospital should be increased to 500 and more mobile teams should be engaged to deliver health care services in rural areas. The ICDS system in the district should be strengthened and steps should be taken to ensure their transparency through social audit and public hearing, Nandi asserted.

By constructing a barrage on Tel river, irrigation could be provided to 20,40,00 hectares of land in Kalahandi, Balangir, Sonepur and Boudh districts. This would lead to submergence of 100 hectares of Government land, pointed out a retired engineer Premraj Sai. Sai presented a paper on irrigation prospect in the district.

The health care system which is reeling under vacant doctors' posts is also suffering from the problem of "deputation".

"A doctor posted in rural areas is being brought to district headquarters hospital or other hospitals on deputation. This makes it difficult for a doctor to serve properly to the patients in all the hospitals at a time," pointed out Patnagarh MLA KV Singhdeo. Uma Shankar Sahu stressed the need for addressing the issue of dropouts in schools and migrant children in the district.

Rice mills shut: K'handi workers migrate for jobs

The Pioneer, Dec 12, 2011
Thousands of labourers are preparing to migrate to other States as the medium scale industries are on a verge of closure in Kalahandi.

Report said due to closure of nine rice mills in the district, it has rendered thousands of workers jobless and they were preparing to migrate to other cities for their livelihood.

During the Kharif season, the district administration has directed 75 millers out of 120 mills to deliver rice to the State Government. Report said that nine rice millers had been punished by the district administration as they were found defaulters in providing rice last year.

"We were barred to procure paddy in Rabi crop too but again we are facing the same situation in the current Kharif procurement. How long will it continue?" a mill owner asked. Most of the workers have set up their mind to go outside. We should be made free to lift the paddy from PACs this year by the administration.

But it is lingering the matter unnecessarily which has provoked the workers to go to other States for work. We appealed to the Kalahandi district collector several times and he also assured us to start the procurement this year, but the CSO is lingering the matter, they rued.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Adivasis in Odisha observe martyr's day

IBNlive, Dec 10, 2011
Bhawanipatna (Odisha), Dec 10 (PTI) The Adivais in tribal-dominated Kalahandi district of Odisha today observed the martyr's day on the death anniversary of noted Adivasi leader Rindo Majhi. Majhi, had died of bullet wounds on this day in 1855. Majhi and 18 of his supporters were shot by East India Company force. A rally and public meetings were held at Urladani and Bhawanipatna. Floral tributes were offered to the martyrs in the Sahid Memorial pillar at Urladani where tribals with weapons, musical instruments and dressed up in traditional dress took part in large numbers. The tribal uprising against East India Company's rule in Kalahandi led by Rindo Majhi is popularly known as "Kondh Mellee".

Wagon Factory at Narla: CM is the culprit

Note: Sri Debendra Bisi is behind this report based on RTI information we received. Lots of thanks to him. Some of the young journalists are slowly powering themselves to take the local issues in infrastructure, industry, education etc. Its a good sign.

Sambad, Dec 9, 2011

Corruption: Poor construction of Ladugaon-Sunamal, Uchhula-Gargab, Dharamgarh-Kharipadar, Parla-Behera PMGSY roads under Dhramgarh Rural Development Division

Sambad, Dec 9, 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

B’patna road work hits low quality row

Note: This road was named as a state highway 42

The Pioneer, Dec 9, 2011

Allegations are galore that low quality material is being used in the construction of a PWD road from Bhawanipatna to Kasipur via Gunpur.
In the first phase, Rs 50 lakh was allotted for construction of 10.7 km of the road. But the contractor allegedly managed to withdraw Rs 20 lakh after using low quality metal, sand, and insufficient cement on the road. Also, the road was left half-finished. Now the road has started developing cracks on it.
Sources alleged that in spite of a bad track record of the contractor, the PWD Executive Engineer is ready to handover another three km road work project to him for reasons best known to him.
Locals demand due vigilance on the road works by the district administration. The PWD Executive Engineer did not respond, when asked why he was interested to appoint the same contractor for further projects.

New railway lines on track: ECoR

Times of India, Dec 8, 2011

BHUBANESWAR: The Bhubaneswar-Kendujhargarh fast passenger was flagged off by Lok Sabha member Prasanna Kumar Patasani here on Wednesday.
The new train will leave Bhubaneswar at 4 pm on every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday.
It will reach Kendujhargarh the same day at 9.15 pm and start its return journey at 5.30 am the next day to reach Bhubaneswar at 11.20 am.

Speaking on the occasion, general manager (East Coast Railway) Indra Ghosh said out of eleven new trains announced in the last Railway Budget for introduction in East Coast Railway; four new trains viz. Puri-Shalimar Weekly express, Bhubaneswar-Jharsuguda Rajyarani tri weekly express, Visakhapatnam-Shalimar weekly express and Puri-Gandhigham express have already been introduced. Similarly, Sambalpur-Nizamabad and Visakhapatnam-Nazimabad express trains have already been extended to Nanded.
Ghosh said railways have made considerable progress on construction of new lines and would shortly open the section between Lanjigarh to Bhawanipatna of Lanjigarh-Junagarh new line and Khurda Road to Begunia as a part of Khurda Road-Bolangir new line and also Haridaspur-Jenapur 3rd line as a part of Jakhapura-Haridaspur 3rd line. He said planning work on doubling of Puri-Delang section is also at an advance stage" added Ghosh.
The survey for New BG lines between Rayagada-Gopalpur, Junagarh-Ambaguda, Khurda Road-Rajathgarh bye-passing Bhubaneswar, Kantabanji-Jeypore, Sambalpur-Brahmapur, Bolangir-Nawapara, Dantewara-Malkanagiri, Talcher-Phulbani & Junagarh-Malkanagiri have been taken up in a big way and are in various stages of progress.
On completion of all these projects, East Coast Railway will definitely justify its importance on the map of Indian Railways, said the General Manager.
Divisional Railway Manager, S. K. Mohanty among others also spoke on the occasion.

Special package for backward districts, demands Naveen

The Hindu, Dec 8, 2011

Alleging neglect of Odisha by the Centre amid bonanza to other States, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday cried injustice and urged Prime Minister Manmmohan Singh to sanction a special package for the backward districts of the state at the earliest.
Mr. Patnaik conveyed the Orissa government’s feeling in a letter to the Prime Minister.
The fresh move came barely 15 days after the chief minister wrote a strongly worded letter to the prime minister on November 24 resenting the Centre’s refusal to grant special category state status to Odisha.
Quoting media reports, Mr. Patnaik said: “We come to know that the Union Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved a special package of Rs 8,750 crore for five years for the development of backward districts of West Bengal.”
Odisha, on other hand, got only Rs 340 crore under the Backward Region Grants Fund (BRGF) for 2011—12 for 19 backward districts (About Rs 1,700 crore over five years), he said.
This apart, Odisha’s proposal for continuation of the special package for KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput) districts in the 12th plan has not been considered so far, Mr. Patnaik said.
“Would it not seem to you, Sir, this is an injustice?,” Mr. Patnaik said in the letter to Prime Minister.
Stating that every part of India should get benefits under the BRGF, Mr. Patnaik said “the disparity between Rs 8,750 crore and Rs 1,700 crore seems to be quite glaring.”
Union Home minister P Chidambaram, who visited Odisha last month, should have apprised the Prime Minister about the situation here, he said. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Centre sanctions 19 polytechnics

Note: One of the polytechnics will be in Jaipatna in Kalahandi. This is a good initiative as Jaipatna was not getting much attention in education.

Expressbuzz, Dec 8, 2011
BHUBANESWAR: The Centre has sanctioned 19 polytechnics for the State to be established under the public private partnership (PPP) mode.

The State Government has proposed to set up the polytechnics at Kalinga Nagar, Champua, Padampur, Rairangpur, Paradip, Astarang, Bhanjanagar, Baliapal, Khurda, Koraput, Daspalla, Rairakhole, Pallahara, Narsingpur, Titlagarh, Jaipatana, Bisamkatak, Sundargarh and Umerkote.

The Ministry will provide ` 3 crore one- time assistance for each polytechnic on the recommendation of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). The State Government will provide either land or ` 2 crore as its share.

The industry partners will deposit a minimum amount of ` 10 crore for infrastructure development like construction of building and procurement of equipment for the institute.

The industry partners may set up the polytechnics within the industry campus or else the State Government will provide land. If the industry partner provides land, the land deeds are to be transferred to the management committee of the institute.

The recurring expenditure of the proposed institute will be borne by the management committee from fees collected from the students and internal revenue generation. The private partners will meet the additional expenditure, if any, of the institute.

Admission to the polytechnics will be based on common entrance examination or the existing procedure adopted in the State. However, concessional fees will be mandatory for weaker and disadvantaged section of society.

The Government and the private promoters will sign a memorandum of understanding with AICTE.

Admission fee for the polytechnics will be decided by the State Government in consultation with the management committee of each institute.

As per the circular of the Ministry of Human Resource Development, programmes or courses to be offered by polytechnics will be decided by the management committee. The trades to be offered should relate to the industries partnering under the project.

If the private partner is not an industry, the Government will identify the needs of the region in consultation with the managing committee.

The proposed polytechnics will be affiliated to the Board of Technical Education and the State Government may accord autonomous status in consultation with the AICTE.

Multiple industry partners may join together to set up polytechnics so that collaboration in different areas will be possible.

Plans Afoot
* The Ministry will provide ` 3 crore one-time assistance for each polytechnic
* The State Government will provide either land or ` 2 crore as its share.
* The industry partners will deposit a minimum amount of ` 10 crore for infrastructure development
* The industry partners may set up the polytechnics within its campus or else the State Government will provide land

Bridge over Hati river: Lotus is moving away

Shared by Sri Debendra Bisi

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

MoEF puts Vedanta ToR on hold

Expressbuzz, Dec 6, 2011
BHUBANESWAR: In a fresh setback to Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL), the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has put off the issue of terms of reference (ToR) for the expansion of the company’s Lanjigarh refinery project.
The ToR issuance is necessary to conduct environment impact assessment (EIA) study for VAL’s alumina refinery project. The MoEF took the decision in view of the Review Petition which VAL had filed before the Odisha High Court seeking reconsideration of the court’s decision to stop the expansion.
“It is proposed that the issuance of ToR be kept in abeyance till the disposal of the Review Petition by the High Court of Odisha,” the MoEF notice said.
Earlier in August, the Vedanta Aluminium Ltd had applied to the Ministry for issue of ToR as a pre-condition to carry out the EIA study for its expansion project.
Vedanta’s proposed expansion of its 1 million tonne per annum (MTPA) alumina refinery to 6 MTPA had been halted by the MoEF following a report from the Saxena Committee which castigated VAL for carrying out the expansion programme without any environment clearance. The Ministry had issued stop work order in October last year.
Later, the High Court also rejected plea of Vedanta in July upholding the MoEF decision to stay the expansion of the alumina refinery in Lanjigarh.

The VAL had also sought enhancement of the captive power generation to 285 MW from the existing 75 MW at its facility at Lanjigarh but the MoEF decision has put it in the backburner too.

Chhoriagad U.P. School Celebrates its Century

Thanks to Sri Debendra Bisi for sharing this.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Former Odisha Minister Kiran Chandra Singh Deo Dead

Outlook, Dec 4, 2011
Senior BJD leader and former Odisha minister Kiran Chandra Singh Deo died following a heart attack at Purulia in West Bengal, family sources said here today.

Singh Deo (81), who had gone to Purlia to attend a wedding was rushed to the hospital following heart attack and and doctors declared him dead yesterday, they said.

He is survived by three sons and two daughters.

Singh Deo represented Kesinga assembly segment in Kalahandi district from 1990-95 as a Janata Dal candidate and was minister of state for Works, Housing and Urban Development in Biju Patnaik cabinet.

Three Odia activists bag national award, Oct 2, 2011
Bhubaneswar: Roshnara Mohanty of Seba Jagat and Tulashi Ballav Dash an SHG promoter in tribal areas of western Odisha were awarded the sixth annual Karmaveer Puraskaar while Banita Malik an activist of Kalahandi was awarded Karmaveer Chakra by the People Sector on the occasion of National Social Justice and Citizen Action Day on November 26.
They were felicitated for their social commitment and proactive work to bring in a positive transformation in the society.

K’handi engineering students threaten class boycott

The Pioneer, Oct 3, 2011
The students of the Government College of Engineering, Kalahandi on Friday threatened to boycott classes indefinitely if their demands are not met by the Government.
The students told reporters here that the college has no laboratory even as they are going to enter the third semester this year. After a year, they will pass out from the college without any practical experience, they alleged.
The students also alleged that the college gets `29.72 lakh every year towards the fees from 743 students, but it has failed to provide books in the library for 3rd year students.
It was also alleged that the college started without hostel facility, and now even after two years only the foundations of a hostel building has been laid.
Owing to the adverse condition after their admission in the college, 15 students have already taken TC from the college, they pointed out.

The students said violating the AICTE guidelines, BTech pass-out faculties have been appointed in the college instead of minimum pass-out of MTech to teach the engineering students.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Railways to give Rs2345 cr for pending projects

Constructionweekonline, Oct 1, 2011
Odisha has demanded allocation of Rs 2345 crore in coming railway budget to expedite completion of various ongoing projects in the state.

The demand was put forth by members of the House Committee of Odisha Legislative Assembly on Railways along with a memorandum during their meeting with Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi.

Contending that the state has always been ‘deprived’ of its due share despite contributing Rs7,500 crore to Railways, the members said their demand was prudent to ensure rail connectivity to backward and interior regions of the state.

"There are seven districts which are yet to be brought under the railway network," state Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadai said.

He said construction work of six projects, which are vital for the state, and gauge conversion work was still pending due to paucity of funds. He said Railways should also consider setting up of coach manufacturing units in Kalahandi and Ganjam. Ghadai said that during their interaction, Trivedi assured them to visit the state soon. The memorandum listed a host of other demands which include new passenger services and addition of pantry cars in important trains.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Unidentified diseases render K’handi villagers disabled

The Pioneer, Dec 1, 2011
Even as unidentified diseases make inhabitants disabled in Chahaka village of Golamunda block in Kalahandi, the district administration is yet to take the necessary steps to provide the much needed treatment. At present, there are around 30 persons suffering from various kinds of disability, where as the village has a population of 600.

Sources said the village is electrified, has four tube wells and a school but the residents are still unaware of the reason that creates disability among the inhabitants for last 25 years. Though the implementation of several State and Central schemes have been quite successful in the village but communication and health problems are still not taken care of by the authorities.

Reports said that people of all age groups, from kids, young boys and girls to old men and women, in the village are victims of various kinds of disabilities. The kids suffer from dumbness, blindness, deafness and complete disability before birth or after two to five years of birth.

The village is situated 40 km from Bhawanipatna and commuters cross the Tel river through a country boat after loading bikes, cycles, and luggage on it from Pandigaon ghat.

Golamunda Zilla Parishad member Samanta Khamari said he had brought the matter before many Zilla Parishad meetings at Bhawanipatna but the administration did not take steps to know the exact reason of the disability.

“A doctor has been appointed in the primary health centre at Uchhala GP which covers the residents of five GPs including Chahaka village.

But the doctor remains absent most of the time and hence, the patients are not able to get proper treatment. They have to cross the Tel river to reach Bhawanipatna hospital,” Khamari lamented.

Kesab Pujhari, a disabled youth, said,” My parents say I was healthy when I was two years’ old but after that, I became disabled.”

When asked whether polio vaccine had been given, Pujhari said: “Exactly I can’t say but you will find so many disabled persons in Chahaka village, with same problem.”

Durbal Patel, another villager, said,” I was able to walk up to the age of five years, but afterwards, I became disabled. In our village, around 25 men and women have been affected by disability.”

A 10-year-old girl’s mother said she has been disabled since her birth. She was given polio vaccine, but to no avail. A doctor said she had been suffering from polio and could not be treated anymore, she rued.

Another polio patient said,” Since childhood I have been disabled but I have not been provided tricycle though I get pension of `200.”

Daitari, a villager said, “Generally, we cross the Tel river for health check up either at a Bhawanipatna hospital or at PHC at Uchhala Gram Panchayat. During flood, patients can not cross the river and die when they become serious.” Bhupi said during election hours, leaders visit the people and after that they forget their woes. Dinesh Bag said his villagers have to undergo many difficulties due to the communication problem posed by the Telriver. He said a bridge over the river is the need of the hour.

ADMO Ashok Kumar Mund said a medical team will be sent and after receiving the report, he will confirm the reason behind the disability.

District Collector of Kalahandi told The Pioneer he will look into the matter after sending an enquiry team to the village.

Traders employ delay tactics

IBNlive, Nov 30, 2011
BHAWANIPATNA: Procurement of cotton in the market yards in Kalahandi has been little or nothing with most traders restricting themselves to window shopping. With the non-intervention of Cotton Corporation of India and the delaying tactics of traders, the farmers are at the end of their tether. They are demanding better price for their produce.

The district administration had decided to operate regular market yards, twice a week, at Karlapada and Utkela and fortnightly at Uchla and Biswanathpur. Temporary yards would be opened at Koten, Panimunda and Godipata, as need be.

Though the procurement process in the market yards at Karlapada and Utkella began as per schedule, the business is yet to pick up.

At Karlapada, only 139 quintals of seed cotton were sold on the first day at the rate of ` 3,910 per quintal, while at Utkella 146 quintals were sold at ` 3,850 on the second day and 140 quintals at ` 3,780, on the third day.

With traders playing the wait and watch game, farmers too are cautious and avoiding the yards. The farmers are also not happy with the prices being offered.

A field functionary of the Agriculture Department said the traders are employing demotivating tactics on farmers with the latter skipping the market yards. Once cotton piles up, the traders would be able to dictate terms and purchase the produce at a lower price at the village-level, he added.

This despite the fact that the staple length and strength of Kalahandi cotton are more than the standard set for the minimum support price. Considered as one of the best in the country, the staple cotton here is 33 MM against the stipulated length of 29.5 MM.

Lack of services like mechanical sample analysis and means to measure staple length and strength of seed cotton has proved detrimental to farmers. The regulated market committees (RMC) get 1 per cent in every deal and its last year’s earning from cotton trading was ` 40 lakh. Cotton was this year grown in a record area of 34,315 hectares with the harvest stretching of 4 lakh quintal. While the farmers are expecting more than ` 6,000 per quintal, the highest price offered last year, their fate hangs on market forces.

Odisha: Vedanta Foundation Organizes Healthy Baby Competition at Bhawanipatna

Orissadiary. Nov 30, 2011
Report by correspondent; Bhawanipatna: Healthy children are necessary for a health society, keeping this in mind, Vedanta Foundation on November 29, 2011 organized a Health baby Competition at Bhawanipatna where 60 babies of seven months to one years of age participated. Rupa Nayak - an 11-month baby won the first prize while Premjot Singh and Swastika Panda bagged second and third prize respectively.

Chief Guest on the occasion, Saudamini Das – DSWO, Kalahandi, attended the function and advised the mothers to take care of their babies and gave some valuable tips to keep the babies healthy. Dr. Sabita Swain – Chief Medical officer, Vedanta Hospital, Lanjigarh gave some valuable tips to minimize the child death rate. Other guests present on the occasion were: Banabasini Biswal – Programme Officer - ICDS, Kalahandi; Dr. Bijaya Kumar Kampa and members of Vedanta Balchetna Anganwadi Project (VBCAP).

Apart from the top three healthy babies, three other prizes were distributed where prize for Healthy Skin went to Adyasha Padhee; Prize for Beautiful Eye went to Pratikhya Mahakud and Prize for Cute Smile went to Bikash Ranjan Pradhan.

Balakrushna Rath, project head – VBCAP, spearheaded the programme while Gaurab Parida – district head, was instrumental in organizing the programme.