Friday, March 30, 2012

CAG raps Orissa over land buying for mega industries

Business Standard, March 30, 2012

Acquisition of nearly 5,000 acres of land for six major industrial players including Posco India and Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) has turned out to be a sticky thorn in the flesh of the Orissa government.
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) in its latest report (civil) for the year ended March 31, 2011 has rapped the state revenue department for acquiring land for these industries by invoking emergency provisions without fulfilling the conditions prescribed under Land Acquisition Act-1894.
An audit scrutiny of these land acquisition cases reveals that 4,967.08 acres of land valued at Rs 165 crore (approximate present market value Rs 901.30 crore) were acquired between July 2002 and March 2011 for establishment of industries by six promoters- Aditya Aluminium Ltd (Sambalpur)-2021.41 acres, Bhusan Power & Steel Ltd (Sambalpur)-608.67 acres, Viraj Steel & Energy Ltd (Sambalpur)-2.58 acres, VAL (Kalahandi)-826.56 acres, Dhamara Port Company Ltd (Bhadrak)-1070 acres and Posco India Ltd (Jagatsinghpur)-437.86 acres.

The CAG is also sore over the fact that land acquired in case of all these six industrial projects was not put to use for a period ranging from 15 months to six years three months from the date of publication of notification under Section 4 (1) against the stipulated time period of six months.
“Instead of giving detailed justification for applying emergency provision, only general remarks like ‘the project is being executed on priority basis’ and ‘requirement of land was of emergent nature’ were indicated in the applications by the requisitioning officers. During joint physical inspection in March 2011 by audit of the land acquired for Aditya Aluminium Ltd in the presence of the tahsildar of Rengali, it was observed that except for a compound wall over a portion of the land and one office building on 60 decimal of land, non construction had been made on the said land though land leveling was found to be under progress”, the CAG said in its report.
The CAG has also pointed out that application of emergency clause in these cases was misplaced and deprived the land losers of the opportunity to contest the propriety of such acquisition and to be heard under Section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act.
Under the Land Acquisition Act, the government is empowered to acquire land in case of urgency, invoking provisions prescribed at Section 17 (4), without giving the land losers the opportunity to contest the propriety of the acquisition and the opportunity to be heard as per Section 5A of the Act.
However, such acquisitions are to be made for a specific purpose subject to fulfillment of prescribed conditions and the acquisition process is to be completed within six months.
These conditions stipulate that the land has to be acquired for public purpose and funds available for the public purpose to meet the cost of acquisition of land might get lapsed if not spent within the prescribed time-frame of six months. Besides, public purpose must be requiring assistance from Centre or states and from the World Bank of from any international agency.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Vedanta Aluminium Limited Wins 'British Safety Award 2012' Under Distinction Category

Orissadiary, March 27, 2012

Report by bureau; Lanjigarh:  The alumina refinery of Vedanta Aluminium Limited (VAL) at Lanjigarh, Odisha has been conferred with the prestigious ‘International Safety Award’ by one of the world's leading Health and Safety organisations - British Safety Council, London. Vedanta has won this award with Distinction by securing highest marks in the category.
Vedanta’s alumina refinery strictly follows the OHSAS-18001 standards for its operations. With zero Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR), the company boasts of having 19.8 million accident free man hours till March 2012.
According to Dr. Mukesh Kumar, President & Chief Operating Officer, VAL-Lanjigarh, “Environmental protection and safety is an integral part of Vedanta’s business practices. We are consistently working towards achieving our goal of zero harm at the plant site.”

Every year, the British Safety Council runs prestigious award schemes which allow organisations to benchmark their performance and gain external endorsement of their health, safety and environmental management. This year 550 applicants were judged by a panel of independent health and safety professionals under three categories - Distinction, Merit and Pass. The award ceremony would be held at London's Grosvenor House on 18th May 2012.

Image of train run on Bhawanipatna station during CRS inspection

Contributed by Dev (Devaki Tripathy), our sincere thanks to him.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Water Problem in Dharamgarh

Reported by Sri Anshuman Patra
Dhatriti, March 27, 2012

Lower Indra works halted after Maoist attack in Nuapada

The Pioneer, March 27, 2012

The construction work of the Lower Indra Irrigation Project has come to a grinding halt after the Maoists attacked the camp of DD Company which has undertaken the construction of the project.
The ultras raided the camp of the construction company on March 4 and torched over 15 vehicles of the company. Even crosser machines and generator sets were reduced to ashes. Two days after the incident, the project site wore a deserted look as workers and labourers stopped coming out of fear.
The Lower Indra Project was started in 2002. Then its budget was pegged at Rs 211.70 crore. Meanwhile, Rs 1182.23 crore has already been spent for the project. The project, when completed, would provide irrigation facilities to 90 villages in Nuapada and 122 villages in Bolangir measuring over 30,000 hectares. But the latest attack by the Maoists has raised doubts about the continuation of the project work.
The Maoists have been too often creating hurdles in developmental works. They have created hindrance in the construction of the Gurupriya dam over river Janbai in Malkangiri district. No companies were interested to undertake construction of the project after eight tenders. Finally, the work was handed over to the Odisha Bridge Construction Company (OBCC). The Maoists have attacked the Essar pipelines eight times too.

Inspection by Commissioner of Railway Safety for passenger transport from Lanjigarh Road to Bhawanipatna is scheduled on March 27, 2012

Commented and Shared by Dev
(Thanks to Dev for this information)

The inspection by Commissioner of Railway Safety for passenger transport of Lanjigarh Road Junagarh Railway line (Part) from Lanjigarh Road to Bhawanipatna is scheduled on Dt. 27.03.2012. If all goes well, the line will be ready for passenger trains within 3 months.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Early steps sought for wagon unit in K’handi

The Pioneer, March 26, 2012

In view of Railway Minister Mukul Roy’s announcement for establishing a wagon factory in Kalahandi provided land is available, non-resident Odia (NRO) Prof. Digambara Patra has urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to immediately send a proposal including land details, for the same to the Railway Ministry.
In a letter to the Chief Minister, Professor Patra, who is based in Beirut of Lebanon, lamented that the State Government has been taking step-motherly attitude while it comes to establishing the wagon factory at Kalahandi, considered as one of the most backward districts in Odisha.
“It is unreasonable why the State Government of Odisha is totally silent while sending land details proposal for a wagon factory even as one year has already passed off after a similar announcement by former Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee in March, 2011,” he said.
He further said in the letter that the Chief Minister on his own had written to then Railway Minister on March 18, 2010 to set up the proposed factory in Ganjam district citing its proximity to an urban area and National Highway-5, instead of establishing it in Kalahandi.
“It would have been impartial if the State Government had sent the proposal of land details for two factories both at Bhubaneswar and Kalahandi and let the Railway Minister take the final decision based on technical feasibility study. The Chief Minister had also written separate letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on Jan 17, 2009 urging them to take steps for establishing a rail coach factory in a backward region of the State. However, the same Chief Minister turned a blind eye in 2010 to the possibility of establishing such a factory in backward district of Kalahandi,” he rued.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bajei Dema Ghumra Fakei Dema Jhumara ....

By Samarendra Pratap

Gidji gijin gidji gijin bajei dema ghumra
Soi jouche sarkar tar fakei dema jhumra..

Kalahandir pila ame kala dekhaidema
Ek hele sarkar ra gadi haleidema..

Purub digar sarkar amar ..
Purub dige sabu hela
Pachhim digke sabu bele
Kaen hesi abhela

Amar neta vot bele var var katha kaisi
Jilla vikas katha padle bakat bandi jesi

Nai parun sahi ame hak amar magma..
Kalahandir vikash lagi sabe hi kari lagma ..

Ame ekjut hikari lagma ..

Letter to CM: Sending land details in Kalahandi for possibilit​y of Wagon Factory in Odisha

March 22, 2012

Esteem Chief Minister and Chief Secretary of Odisha,

On March 23, 2012 railway minister Mr Roy again announced in the parliament to establish a Wagon Factory in Kalahandi if land is provided.

It is unreasonable why the state Govt. of Odisha is totally silent while sending land detail proposal in Kalahandi for Wagon Factory even one year has already passed after the similar announcement was made by Ms. Banerjee in March 2011 in the parliament where she had positively proclaimed that if land will be available railway will establish another Wagon Factory in Kalahandi beside the one already proposed in Odisha.

Many state media have reported availability of hundreds of acres of land in the vicinity of railway track in Kalahandi district. This was also corroborated by local administration.

Written information obtained through RTI act from Railway Board also confirmed us that railway had an interest to establish a Wagon Factory in Kalahandi. The information also clarifies that after the railway budget speech in Feb 2010 without getting any further correspondence from railway board the Chief Minister of Odisha on his own wrote to then railway minister on 18 March 2010 to set up the proposed factory in Ganjam district citing its close to urban area and NH5, when the railway minister had clearly announced to establish a Wagon Factory in either Bhubaneswar or Kalahandi in Feb 2010.

It would have been impartial if the state Govt. would have sent the proposal of land details in both Bhubaneswar and Kalahandi and let the railway minister to take the final decision based on technical feasibility study. Instead of doing that the state Govt. did not wait for any correspondence from railway ministry, not even one month past, the Chief Minister wrote to then railway minister to establish the Wagon Factory in Ganjam without even mentioning anything about Bhubaneswar or Kalahandi in his first letter on March 18, 2010.

The RTI information supplied by railway board also contradicts state Govt.’s claim that such a decision for relocating the proposed site in Ganjam was made by East Coast Railway. The railway minister also reconfirmed this in budget 2012-13 mentioning that “in view of the request received from state Govt. of Odisha, Wagon Factory is being located in Sitapali (Ganjam district)”

Coincidentally Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik himself had written separate letters to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then Railway Minister Lalu Prasad on Jan 17, 2009 urging them to take steps for establishing a rail coach factory in backward region of the state (Report published in The Pioneer, Bhubaneswar Edition, Jan 18, 2009 and The Hindu Business Lines Jan 17, 2009). However, the same chief minister has turned a blind eye in 2010 for possibility of establishing such a factory in backward district of Kalahandi is unthinkable.

It is not understood why the state Govt. is acting differently for Ganjam against the interest of the people of Kalahandi for the same issue if the reason was not political!

If there is no ill motivation by the state Govt. for the people of Kalahandi and backward region of the state, I urge the state Govt. without waiting for any correspondence from the railway ministry/board, , like was done for Ganjam, to immediately send a new proposal including land details in Kalahandi to railway minister for establishing another Wagon Factory in the state towards the benefit of the whole state.

Thank you and best regards

Digambara Patra

Odisha assured railway project, courtesy Sonia

Hindustan TimesSaubhadra Chatterji, March 23, 2012

Railway minister Mukul Roy’s response to the budget debate may have heavily depended on directions given by party chief Mamata Banerjee, but the final twist in Roy’s scripted reply—a development project for Odisha’s backward Kalahandi region— came from Congress president Sonia Gandhi.

Barely 10 minutes before Roy was scheduled to reply in Lok Sabha on Thursday, Gandhi and finance minister Pranab Mukherjee called Trinamool Congress parliamentary party chief Sudip Bandopadhyay, and requested an announcement from Roy for a railway wagon factory at Kalahandi region.

Gandhi even insisted that Bandopadhyay hand over a written proposal to Roy.
Even as Bandopahyay politely told the UPA chairperson that he was aware of the problems in Kalahandi, Gandhi told him, “Please mention it is a backward region.”
With time running out, Bandopadhyay rushed to meet Roy in his chamber at the Parliament house.
Though the Trinamool leadership couldn’t contact Banerjee immediately, Roy decided to honour Gandhi’s request and announced in the House that if land was available, the Railways would build a wagon factory in the Kalahandi region.
The announcement was met with enthusiastic thumping of desks not only from Gandhi but also BJD MPs, sitting on opposition benches.
BJD’s Bhartruhari Mahtab, a close lieutenant of Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, pointed out that a wagon project has already been announced for Ganjam district.
Political observers saw the incident as yet another instance of the Congress and Trinamool mending fences.
Besides stalling key government initiatives such as FDI in retail, the National Counter-Terror Centre (NCTC) and the Pension Fund Bill, Banerjee
had even ensured railway minister Dinesh Trivedi’s removal against the wishes of the Congress brass.
Sources say this initiative for the BJD-ruled Odisha — coming directly from Congress chief Sonia Gandhi — may help the party send a larger political signal to the opposition camp.

Railway Minister promises wagon factory in K’handi

Note: Good job by Sri Bhakta Charan Das

The Pioneer, March 23, 2012

Railway Minister Mukul Roy on Thursday reportedly promised Congress MP from Kalahandi and former Union Minister Bhakta Charan Das that his demand to set up a rail wagon factory at Narla in Kalahandi district would be considered favourably.
The assurance came after Das threatened to launch hunger strike in the Parliament premises from Monday next in protest against non-fulfilment of the earlier promise in this regard.
Das met UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Thursday regarding the issue, following which she reportedly talked to Roy. Later, Das met Roy, who made him the promise.
Das, while taking part in discussion in Lok Sabha on Wednesday, had even threatened to resign his Parliament seat if the wrong meted out to Kalahandi in the new Railway Budget is not undone.
He pointed out that Mamata Banerjee as the then Railway Minister had promised twice that the proposed wagon factory for Odisha would be established at Narla. But Dinesh Trivedi in his budget this time had allotted the project in the State’s Ganjam district.
Das said he learnt from the Railway Board that it was at the instance of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik that the wagon factory’s location was decided in favour of Ganjam, which is Patnaik’s home district.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rail connect to ultra zone

Tathya.inBhubaneswar : 18/March/2012 

Top administrators in the Odisha Administration are clueless about the latest move of the Indian Railways authorities to provide connectivity in the regions affected by Left wing Extremists (LWE).

Vinay Mittal, Chairman Railway Board has written to the Odisha Chief Secretary B K Patnaik that as the Ministry of Railways has decided it that connectivity in the LWE districts will be provided.
Mr.Mittal has said that accordingly, Indian Railways will determine the requirement of such rail connectivity in consultation with the State Government.
The letter follows after the rejection of Odisha Government proposal to provide connectivity in worst Maoist affected zones of Kalahandi, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur and several other districts by the Ministry of Railways in the Budget-2012-13.
Odisha Government in its earlier proposal said that large parts of Odisha covering the backward region of undivided districts of Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK), which remained untouched by the railways.
The State Government harped on the menace of Maoist, which is causing havoc in these regions and said that proposed rail connectivity from Bhadrachalam in Andhra Pradesh- Malkangiri-Jeypore in Odisha will go a long way to fight LWE.
Immediate commencement of work on sections of Jeypore-Malkangiri and Bargarh-Balangir-Nuapada via Padmapur where survey has been completed will create alternative corridors for movement in the Maoist zones.
Ministry of Railways coolly ignored the proposal of the Odisha Government and even never bothered to respond the repeated queries of the State, lamented a senior mandarin in the Department of Commerce & Transport.
“This speaks volumes of the ‘Double Standard’ of the Indian Railways, which has recently written a letter to the Government for connectivity in Maoist zones”, rued he.

Mr.Mittal in his letter has said that the requirement needs to be duly examined in the State Government and Ministry of Railways to be advised about the geographical locations  in the state where extending the rail connectivity would help the administration in the matter of LWE menace.
It may be mentioned here that Odisha is having LWE meance in at least 22 districts, where as most of the districts like Kandhamal, Malkangir, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Nuapada are not connected with railways properly.
Keeping this in view Odisha Government requested the Ministry of Railways to take up the proposed railway line between Malkangiri- Koraput- Nabarangpur, which was never considered in the Budget-2012-13, said he.

Antodaya Organises Mahila Sammilani at Junagarh

Shared by Sri Dillip Kumar Das

CJM P.K.Patsani Speaks at Mahila Sammilani

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Odisha: Palli Sabha for Rehabilitation Conducted Peacefully at Lanjigarh; Villagers Happy to Get New Homes

Orissadiary., March 18, 2012
Report by bureau; Lanjigarh: In a peaceful consultation process called Palli Sabha, villagers of Rengopalli, Bandhuguda and Kothduar – near where Vedanta Aluminium Limited has set up alumina refinery – agreed in unison before the district administration of Kalahandi, Odisha that they want to be rehabilitated giving away their land to the company.

The three Palli Sabhas, conducted in these three villages from March 15-17, were peaceful and no voice of opposition was seen by any villagers; in fact all villagers were happy to avail the fruits of industrial development. However, the absence of so called NGOs especially from western countries who claim to be the safeguard of Environment and Human Rights, resulted in such peaceful process, opines intelligentsia of these region.

“Outsiders were not allowed to speak a word in the Palli Sabha. District administration, company and we villagers mutually consulted and agreed for rehabilitation which is good for all of us”, said Linga Majhi and Daka Majhi. The rehabilitation process will give new homes, livelihood opportunities and other benefits to more than 100 families will be given new homes by VAL.

Contrary to the reports of NGOs, villagers of Rengopalli, Bandhuguda and Kothduar agreed for rehabilitation and supported VAL, Lanjigarh. Even village leaders raised voice for the expansion of the company which can employ thousands of their fellow villagers directly and indirectly. “We want expansion after which many maximum of the villagers will get employment opportunities”, said Anant Nag, a villager of Kothduar.

Villagers have shown complete faith in the present Collector & District Magistrate Mr. Dukhishyam Satapathy who, before the Panchayat election, gave an assurance to the people for holding Palli Sabha and honored the same. The three Palli Sabha in these villages were conducted by officials of district administration like Dr. B S Sethi, Land Acquisition Officer, Kalahandi; Mr. Prabir Nayak, Block Development Officer, Lanjigarh Block; Mr. S K Patel, Tahasildar, Lanjigarh Block; whereas public representatives present were Pradeep Majhi and Saraswati Munda – Sarpanch and ex-Sarpanch respectively of Lanjigarh Block along with the local leaders like Linga Majhi, Subas Naik, Laachha Majhi from Regopali; Daka Majhi from Bandguda and Rajin Majhi, Anant Nag from Kothduar.  . Mr. Nabal Kishore Sharma and other officials like Bharat Bhusan Joshi and Sanjib Prusty from VAL, Lanjigarh were also present on the occasion.

When contacted, Dr. Mukesh Kumar, President – VAL, Lanjigarh said, “The success of these three Palli Sabhas and people’s willingness to offer their homestead and land for the alumina project is a true reflection that these deprived tribal communities want development to improve their life and living standard but they are being projected differently by some external people in their vested interest.”

The initiatives taken by Government of Orissa in regulating movement of foreign NGO’s and visitors in such tribal areas has started yielding result and success of these Gram Sabha’s are testimony to the same.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Centre disappoints mineral-rich, tribal Odisha

Times of India, March 17, 2012

BHUBANESWAR: Lack of any significant announcement for mineral rich states or the poverty-stricken tribal populace of Odisha in finance minister Pranab Mukherjee's latest budget has not gone down well with the state government. CM Naveen Patnaik's strong plea for introduction of mineral resource rent tax (MRRT) has also not found favour with Mukherjee.
"We are greatly disappointed that Mukherjee has not provided anything to mineral-rich states like Odisha, which continue to suffer from high poverty levels. He has also not given any special dispensation for our high tribal population, especially those living in the KBK areas," finance minister Prafulla Ghadai told TOI on Friday. About 22.5% of Odisha's 4.19 crore people are tribals.
Mukherjee announced enhancement in allocation for the Backward Regions Grant Fund (BRGF), under which KBK would benefit. But the state government's demand for an eight-year perspective plan worth Rs 4,500 crore to expedite socio-economic development of the backward KBK region has not got the Centre's nod.
Similarly, Odisha's demand for a special development package as given to states like Tamil NaduWest Bengal and the Bundelkhand region of Uttar Pradesh in the past has also been ignored, officials said. Odisha could, however, hope to benefit from enhanced allocation to agriculture sector, including Rs 50 crore announced for Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology.
With huge deposits of iron ore, bauxite, chromite and coal, among other minerals, Odisha has since the last several years been fighting for enhancement of royalty on major minerals and of late proposed levy of MRRT at the rate of 50% of surplus rent on iron ore in view of "super normal profits" being earned by miners. MRRT could mean miners paying half of the extra money they earned from iron ore above a base price to be fixed by the Centre.
Presently, mineral-bearing states get 10% of the pit-head price of iron ore as royalty. This, the Odisha government says, is paltry and wants a new law, under which miners shall have to give half of the profits they earn to the state when the market price of ore is above the base price, official sources said, adding, Odisha could generate an estimated Rs 5,000 crore additional revenue annually from the proposed tax. Naveen, in letters to PM Manmohan Singh and Union mines minister Dinsha Patel, has said the state government wishes to use the revenue generated from MRRT for social and physical infrastructure and strengthening welfare measures to improve livelihood of poor people in the state, especially in mining districts.
However, Mukherjee's budgetary proposals made no mention of MRRT. Rather, for improving productivity and efficiency in surveying and prospecting for minerals he proposed slashing of basic customs duty on machinery and instruments for surveying and prospecting from 10% or 7.5% to 2.5%. He also announced full exemption from basic customs duty for coal mining projects.

7 docs suspended for faking as KIMS staff

Times of India, March 17, 2012

BHUBANESWAR: The state government on Friday suspended seven doctors for faking as employees of a private medical college to save it from Medical Council of India (MCI) de-recognition.
This followed CM Naveen Patnaik directing the health department to initiate action against them after CBI found the doctors engaging in a fraud by posing as doctors of Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences (KIMS), part of the KIIT group of institutions here.
The suspended doctors, Bablu Tudu, posted at Badampahad in Mayurbhanj district, Jyoti Prakash Behera (Bhawanipatna district headquarters hospital), Amiya Shankar Pal (Madhupur, Kalahandi), Manoranjan Panigrahi (Police Hospital, Bhawanipatna), Jagannath Hansda (Gadia, Mayurbhanj), Jyoti Ranjan Pradhan (Rangamatia, Mayurbhanj) and Sanjay KumarSahoo of Muribahal hospital in Balangir district face strict disciplinary proceedings under the Orissa Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1962, health minister Prasanna Acharya said.
"The government will show no leniency towards the erring doctors. We will take strict action against those guilty," Acharya added. CBI sources said the government medicos were paid hefty amounts to masquerade as KIMS doctors.
CBI sources said it had on January 30 chargesheeted four senior functionaries of KIMS - Bhagabati Charan Das (dean-cum-principal), Achyuta Samanta (secretary, KIIT), Debasish Debata (assistant personnel officer) and Dilip Kumar Panda (deputy chief executive officer) - for resorting to "fraudulent" practice to impress the MCI squad, which inspected the institute on March 5, 2010.
KIMS, in a media statement, was silent on the chargesheet against its functionaries, but said it was not responsible for the forgery by the doctors. "The seven doctors had applied for jobs in KIMS and there was no way we could know from around our 5,000 employees that they were government employees. They concealed information that they were government doctors," the statement said. "The development would not cause any damage to KIMS nor will it affect its recognition with MCI," it added.
CBI sources said the four KIMS functionaries were chargesheeted under sections 120 (B), 420 (cheating), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using forged documents as genuine) and 176 IPC. "We have incriminating evidence against the accused and also recommended MCI to cancel recognition to KIMS," CBI SP (Bhubaneswar) M S Khan said. However, the seven doctors were not chargesheeted in the case. They were not available for comments.
On November 11, 2010, CBI registered a case against KIMS authorities following allegations of irregularities, Khan said. Asked whether CBI would arrest those named in the chargesheet, Khan said, "We will arrest them if required. Otherwise, the court will issue them summons."

Friday, March 16, 2012

Rail Budget 2012-13: Good and Bad things for Kalahandi

Reported by Sri Debendra Bisi
Sambad (Sambalpur), March 15, 2012

While the Union Government had decided to set up a wagon factory at Kalahandi, Patnaik wrote a letter to the Ministry of Railways for shifting it to Sitapally of Ganjam district: Leader of Opposition

State given Rs 2,434-crore rail fund, says Congress

The Pioneer, March 16, 2012
Amidst the hue and cry over neglect to railway development in Odisha in the Railway Budget, Leader of Opposition in the State Assembly Bhupinder Singh and Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan claimed at a news conference here that Rs 2,434 crore has been allocated in the budget against the State Government’s demand for Rs 2,345 crore.
Addressing mediapersons here, Singh said while the Union Minister for Railways allocated Rs 1,108 crore during 2011-12, the State Government failed to utilise the fund due to delay in providing land to the railway authorities for the progress of the work in the scheduled time period. Only Rs 209 crore was spent for development works.
Singh said while Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was in the Cabinet of the NDA Government, he did little for the State. While the Union Government had decided to set up a wagon factory at Kalahandi, Patnaik wrote a letter to the Ministry of Railways for shifting it to Sitapally of Ganjam district.
Harichandan said the Chief Minister is misleading the people of the State by providing wrong information on the Central Rail Budget for 2012-13. Harichandan said the Union Minister for Railways provided Rs 2,434 crore against Rs 2,345 crore demanded by the State.
The sum includes purchase of rolling stock like wagon, machinery and plants for the State. Of the Rs 2,434 crore, Rs 326 crore is meant for doubling the rail line, Rs 14 crore for Railway Vikas Nigam Limited and Rs 72 crore under PPP mode on NMDC. As a little part of Andhra Pradesh comes under the East Coast Railways, some budgetary amount will be diverted there and similarly, some parts of Odisha coming under the control of the other Railways of neighbouring States like Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhyan Pradesh, would also be benefited from the fund earmarked in those States, he said.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

CM seeks Central Farm Varsity for state

NOTE: Our sincere thanks to all, specially those who took initiatives including Prof. Chitta Baral, Agami Odisha team,and those who sent emails to CMO. Finally CM has sent official letter to establish a Central Agriculture University in KBK region, we should approach our MLAs and MP to take this matter to the central and state Govt. particularly to establish in Kalahandi, as its not only central to KBK disitricts but also  center for agriculture and horticulture, specially for paddy, pulses, corn and cotton production. 

IBNlive, March 15, 2012
BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday demanded establishment of a Central agricultural university to serve the needs of Odisha, particularly the KBK (undivided Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput)districts.

�“The ideal location for such a university will be any of the KBK districts,” the Chief Minister said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

�“I believe that an important component of extending the green revolution to the eastern region is to establish one or more Central agricultural universities in the region, especially in areas strategic to agriculture and possibly in the vicinity of backward districts,” he said.

�Stating that Odisha has nearly 64 lakh hectares of cultivable land, Naveen said that the State can certainly play a vital role in enhancing agricultural production in the country which will go a long way in providing food security to the nation.

�The Union Agriculture Ministry has already declared 2012 as ‘year of horticulture’ and Odisha is intensifying horticultural activities particularly in KBK districts to create more opportunities for tribal people, he said.

�The Chief Minister said that the workload of Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), the only agriculture university in the State, has substantially increased in the recent years after the implementation of the Rashtriya Krishi Vikash Yojana (RKVY), particularly after the introduction of ‘bringing green revolution to eastern India’, one of its sub-schemes. “We, therefore, need one more agriculture university,” he said.

Naveen bats for agri varsity, March 15, 2012
Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has demanded the setting up of a Central Agriculture University in Odisha, preferably in the underdeveloped KBK region.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Wednesday, the Chief Minister said; “Such a University will not only be able to educate and disseminate innovative agricultural practices and pursue research and come up with new innovations in agriculture, but will also address inequities and help develop the nearby backward districts.”

Patnaik said the workload of the Odisha University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT), the lone Agriculture University in the state, had increased substantially in recent years, especially after the introduction of “Bringing Green Revolution to Eastern India “ as a sub scheme under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY). “We, therefore, need one more Agriculture university”, he said in the letter.

The Chief Minister said the state had intensified horticultural activities in general and in KBK districts in particular in view of the declaration of 2012 as the ‘Year of Horticulture’ by the Union Agriculture ministry.

Pointing out that the people in the predominantly tribal inhabited KBK region have a special liking for forestry and horticultural activities, he said this would give them additional livelihood opportunities.

“Further, Odisha has early 64 lakh hectares of cultivable land and there is an urgency to intensify the activities in agriculture and allied sectors to make the seond Green Revolution a great success in Eastern India”, Patnaik said in his letter.

It may be pointed out that earlier leading NRO Chitta Baral has brought it to the notice of the Odisha Administration in this regard.

While mandarins turned deaf ear, it was brought to the notice of the Chief Minister, who has raised the issue by sending a letter to the Prime Minister.

Other media coverage:

Bhakta Charan Das threatens to make Hartal in the Parliament if Wagon Factory is not established at Narla Road

Sambad, March 15, 2012

Ganjam welcomes wagon factory announcement

Business Standard, March 15, 2012

Union railway minister Dinesh Trivedi’s announcement to set up a wagon factory at Sitalapalli in Ganjam district has been welcomed by the people of the district.
It may be noted that the proposal to establish a wagon factory in the state was first mentioned in the Railway budget of 2011-12. But the then Railway minister Mamata Banerjee had said, the factory would come up either at Bhubaneswar or in Kalahandi.

But in this year’s budget the site has been changed to Sitalapalli in Ganjam district.

“The state government had already identified about 101 acres of land at Sitalapalli after the then Railway minister had announced for a wagon factory in Orissa under the public, private partnership (PPP) mode. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had also asked the Railway ministry to take necessary step for setting up of the project, about a year ago,” said local BJD MLA (Gopalpur) Pradeep Panigrahi.
He said, the Railway ministry was responsible for the delay in implementation of the project, when the land has already been identified by the state government for the proposed factory.
He urged the Railway ministry to immediately start work on the project.
Senior Congress leader and former Union minister Chandra Sekhar Sahu also welcomed the Railway minister’s announcement. “The proposed factory will boost the economy of the area, while several youths will get direct and indirect employment opportunity” ,Sahu said.
Sources said, after inspection of four sites in different places of Ganjam district jointly by the officials of the East Cost Railway and Ganjam district administration last year, finally the site near Sitalapalli was selected for the project.
The land coming under Berhampur tehsil, belongs to the government. The selected site is about 1.5 km from Jagannathpur station and near the proposed Industrial Park of the Tata Steel.
The detail project report for the proposed factory would be worked out by the railway ministry, while the ministry is likely to float the bid soon inviting the companies to participate in the project, sources said.

Image of Newly Built Bhawanipatna Railway Station

Shared by Sri Prem Mishra

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Except for surveying Raipur-Rajim, Gariyabandh, Mainpur, Devbhog to Odisha and Bhubaneswar - Bhawanipatna train nothing to cheers for Kalahandi in Railway Budget

Perhaps its a very disappointing railway budget for Odisha in terms of new projects. We have been demanding to survey Junagarh - Dharamgarh- Debhog-Garibandh-Rajim and probably the proposed line  Raipur-Rajim, Gariyabandh, Mainpur, Devbhog to Odisha for survey is the same. However other possible survey line are Tikiri (Rayagada dist) - Karlapat - Bhawanipatna - Kesinga, Lanjigarh road - Berhampur, Narla road - M. Rampur - Boudh. Similarly sanction for Kantabanji - Jeypore, Lanjigarh road-Talcher and Junagarh-Amaguda were important.

Other sanctioned projects in Odisha include:

New Line Project Apprised to Planning Commission:
Rayagada-Gopalpur (Note: this is good for KBK)

New Line Survey to be Taken:
Raipur-Rajim, Gariyabandh, Mainpur, Devbhog to Odisha (Note: this is good for KBK)
Gunupur -Narsipattanam Road  via Kurupam, Parvatipuram, Makkava, Salur, Narsipatnam
Jajpur Keonjhar Road- Dhamara Port via Jaipur , Aradi. (Note: commercially important)
Pilda-Palavi-Balauda Bazar-Kasdol-Sarsiwan-Orissa
Talcher - Anugul
Extension of Rupsa-Burhamara line up to Chakulia
 Kendujhar Road-Jajpur
Raipur-Bargarh via Aarang, Tumgaon, Jhalap, Patewa, Basana and Saraipaali. (Note: Good for Bargarh dist and Sambalpur to directly connect with Raipur)
Ambikapur to Jharsuguda to connect it with Delhi mainline.(Note: its  good for Chhattisgarh)
Ambikapur to Jharsuguda via Batuali Sitapur, Pathalgaon, Kotba

New Trains:
Barbil-Chakradharpur Intercity  Express  (Daily) via Dongoaposi, Jhinkpani (express)
Gunupur-Palasa (Via Parlakhemundi) Passenger (Daily)
Bhubaneswar-Bhawanipatna Link Express (Daily) via Vizianagaram (express)
Puri-Yesvantpur Garib Rath Express (Weekly) via Visakhapatnam, Guntur
 Bhubaneswar-Tirupati Express (Weekly) via Visakhapatnam,Gudur
 Visakhapatnam-Lokmanya Tilak(T) Express (Weekly) via Titlagarh,Raipur (pass through Kesinga)
 Durg-Jagdalpur Express (Tri-Weekly) via Titlagarh (pass through Kesinga)
 Chennai-Puri Express (Weekly)
 Asansol-Chennai Express (Weekly) via Purulia, Sambalpur,Vizianagara (it may pass if it goes via Titilagarh instead of Bhubaneswar)
 Baripada-Bangriposi  (Daily) (DEMU)

Extension of Train
18417/18418 Bhubaneswar-Jharsuguda Rajya Rani Express to Rourkel
 18005/18006 Howrah-Koraput Express to Jagdalpur
58207/58208 Raipur-Kesinga Passenger to Bhawanipatna

Wagon unit to be set at Sitapali in Ganjam district of Orissa

In this railway budget (2012-13) it was announced that Wagon unit to be set at Sitapali in Ganjam district of Orissa.

I think now Odisha Govt. should immediately send a land proposal for Second Wagon Factory in Narla of Kalahandi, so that Odisha does not lose the second chance as per former Railway Minister Ms Mamanta Banerjee's assurance in the parliament.

Abstract from Budget Speech:

Point 73: As per a budget announcement made earlier by Mamata Ji, a wagon factory was to be located at a suitable location in Odisha.  In view of the request received from State Govt of Odisha, wagon factory is being located at Sitapali (Ganjam District).

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Odisha: National Safety Week observed at Vedanta Aluminium -Lanjigarh

Orissadiary, March 13, 2012
Report by bureau; Lanjigarh: The 10-day long 41st National Safety Week Celebration, started on March 3, was concluded at Vedanta Aluminium Limited, Lanjigarh complex on March 12, 2012 with several awareness programmes and competitions organized as part of it. On the final day, the concluding function was attended by all senior officials of the company including Chief Guest Mr. Abani Naik, Deputy Director – Factories and Boilor.

The week-long schedule included various programmes related to safety measures such as Defensive Driving Training, Road Safety Campaign, Safety Park, and Mock Drill – Rescue Operation etc.

Speaking on the occasion Dr. Mukesh Kumar said, “Occupational Safety is most important for VAL. Due to the regular implementation of safety measures, the number of accidents has been reduced to almost zero at VAL-Lanjigarh.”

Chief Guest Mr. Abani Naik applauded VAL-Lanjigarh for marinating accident free zone in the last year. He also asked to maintain safety in other day-to-day life also.

In the concluding function welcome address was given by Mr. Rabi Narayan Mishra-Head, Health, Safety and Environment; while Mr. Bimalananda Senapati, Head-Operations; Mr. Prem Kumar, Head-Commercials; Mr. K R Kundu, Head-HR, Mr. Jugal Kishor Mishra and Mr. D Rabindranath addressed the gathering to brief about various safety measures. Including all the employees of VAL and its associate partners, also present on the occasion were – Pramod Kumar and Soumya Ranjan Nayak.

Several activities for awareness such as Essay, Drawing and painting competition were organized among 1400 school children of the periphery area. Competitions like safety slogans, poster were conducted among VAL employees and other partners.

Earlier, on the inaugural day, a ‘Safety March’ was conducted on March 3 led by Dr. Mukesh Kumar. The ‘Safety March’ was started from the Niyamgiri Vedanta Nagar to the plant area of VAL. Consequent to the march, safety pledge was taken by B S Mund, D Ravindranath of VAL and Mr. Bibhu Prasad, Assistant Director, Factories and Boilor, Kalahandi zone.

Is CRPF supressing and harrshing tribals of Niyamgiri!!

Reported by Sri Debendra Bisi

In one hand, in the name of giving protection to the premitive tribes i.e. Banda, Dongaria and Jharania Kondha, state government has impossed several conditions and on the other hand, the Govt security mechaniries - CRPF is supressing and harrshing tribals of Niyamgiri. Govt. must listin to the voice of these tribals who are fighting for their rights. A fair assessment may disclose the fact, who are using these innocent tribals as Brands Names from "the streets of the Capital" to "the name of Development"!!!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Publication of 'Bhubaneswar Behera Sahitya-Samagra

Shared by Dr Yashodhara Mishra
"Bhubaneswar Behera Sahitya Samagra" - the complete literary works of Prof. Bhubaneswar Behera (published by "Ink Odisha", Bhubaneswar. 1200 pages, price - Rs 800) has been published . The book was released at a grand function in the Town Hall, Bhawanipatna in January and also in Feb. at the Bhubaneswar Pustak Mela , the main gate of which was named after Prof. Behera.

Those interested in the book may contact Chinmay Behera and Abinash Mund at Bhawanipatna.

BJD man wins in Bhawanipatna

The Pioneer, March 12, 2012

BJD-backed candidate Prem Ranjan Panigrahi won as the chairman of Bhawanipatna block.
He got 17 votes against Congress-supported candidate Sachi Mahakud’s 14. Mahakud’s wife Sarita Mahakud had earlier won the post for five years.
Kalahandi Congress MP Bhakta Charan Das did not take an interest in this election and, instead, left for Delhi.
In Karlamunda block, Manikya Suna won the chairman post uncontested. In Kesinga, Santosh Sahoo was the winner while in Madanpur-Rampur Santoshini Senapati came out victorious.
Babita Sahoo won in Narla, Susmita Majhi in Lanjigarh and Pushpa Dhangdamajhi in Junagarh. In Kalampur, Haridra Majhi won uncontested, In Thuamul-Rampur, Draupadi Majhi was the winner while in Dharmagarh Jadaba Majhi and in Jaipatna Balabati Bag won the elections. In Golamunda Lilabati Majhi and in Koksara Rajasri Pradhani were elected uncontested.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Centra Agriculture University Demanded

Note: Thanks to Prof. Chitta Baral for sharing this and his proactive initiative. Agami Odisha has taken a leading role, our sincere thanks to the team for taking this issue. Hope all of us in Odisha take this issue together for establishing a Central Agriculture University in Kalahandi.
Sambad, March 3, 2012

Monday, March 5, 2012

Hope for Bhawanipatna, college upgrade likely

Note: This seems a good initiative by our college union and students, keep puttting pressure on the state Govt till we get a University status, we do not need to fight politicians but should mobilize them in our favor, well done! Earlier CM had come and said he will look into, lets try our best. you may invite Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, Education Secretatry, etc in the next round.

The Pioneer, March 5, 2012
The Government Autonomous College here celebrated its Annual Day at the college premises on Sunday with Minister for Higher Education Badri Narayan Patra attending as chief guest.
The Minister assured the students that their demand to upgrade the college to a university will be considered.
Minister of State for Labour and Employment Puhspendu Singh Deo, Kalahandi Collector Dukhishyam Satapathy, district BJD president Balabhadra Majhi, Prof Gopabandhu Behera, college principal Badrika Prasad Das, College Students’ Union advisor Ajay Kumar Mishra and Students’ Union president Malay Naik were present on the dais. Students’ Union secretary Sunit Kumar Dora was also present during the function.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Government to Set up Nursing schools

NOTE: Earlier we had written for a Nursing College to establish in Kalahandi, its a good initiaitve GNM schools will be established in Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Sundergarh and Dhenkanal.

IBNlive, March 4, 2012
BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has decided to establish general nursing and midwifery (GNM) schools in Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Sundargarh and Dhenkanal districts. The Centre has approved the proposal of the Government for opening GNM schools in the peripheral districts to churn out more number of nurses to meet the acute shortage of trained manpower in the hospitals. The schools would be set up at a cost of ` 10 crore each with the Centre providing 85 per cent of the amount and the State Government bearing the rest 15 per cent. The State Budget for 2012-13 has earmarked ` 6.22 crore for the purpose and work on the institutes would start at the earliest, Health Minister Prasanna Acharya said.
�Odisha will also be home to one of the eight regional institutes of paramedic sciences announced by the Centre. The Government has allotted five acre of land on the outskirts of Bhubaneswar. The Institute would come up at a cost of ` 75 crore with the Centre providing 75 per cent and the State 25 per cent. The institute would augment availability of skilled paramedics for the health delivery system.
�Meanwhile, work on the earlier approved GNM school project along with two ANM schools has started. The GNM school is coming up at Nabarangpur, while the ANM schools are being set up in Sonepur and Boudh districts.
�The Government has already created posts of the principal, 14 tutors and other allied staff and personnel for the GNM institution. For the ANM Schools, posts of principal tutors, five tutors and other staff have been created for both the districts.
�The Centre has already sanctioned ` 17 crore for the three projects and released ` 4.75 crore till date. The State Government has also provided ` 1 crore of its share of ` 3.33 crore.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Habaspuri weavers seek marketing facilities

IBNlive, March 3, 2012
Uma Shankar Kar

BHAWANIPATNA: The painstaking efforts and creativity of Chicheguda weavers make every Habaspuri saree produced here a special piece.
Mostly done in cotton, traditional designs of Kandha tribes like Kumbha (temple), fish and flowers are woven into the sarees.
Home to 30 weaver families, Chicheguda village has been instrumental in reviving the Habaspuri handloom which was originally woven in Habaspur village of Kalahandi district during the 19th century.
With the decline of dynasty rule, the pattern of weave too passed into oblivion. However, it was revived by master weaver Ugrasen Meher in Chicheguda. One of the many high profile people wearing the Habaspuri sarees includes Congress chief Sonia Gandhi.
Subsequently, the government formed the Chicheguda handloom cooperative society to look into training of weavers and marketing of the final products.
However, weavers of the village said even as steps have been taken to revive the Habaspuri weave, a lot more needs to be done for skill upgradation at regular intervals and providing marketing opportunities to them. They also demanded speeding up of the process for geographical indication, copyrights and design patent of the Habaspuri design which has already been delayed by over a year.
The Assistant Director of Textiles Lingaraj Rath said all formalities have been completed to grant the Geographical Index registration to the Chicheguda handloom cooperative society.
He said the department is contemplating to provide crash courses to weavers in producing products in Habaspuri design like bed spreads, table mats apart from saree.
There are also plans to improve weaving methods to increase the productivity. Rath added that all possible steps are being taken to popularise the traditional fabric.