Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Eye on polls, Naveen announces Re 1/kg rice

The Indian Express, Jan 26, 2013

With an eye on early Lok Sabha and Assembly polls, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday announced rice at Re 1 a kg to about 58 lakh people in the state, including all BPL families and disabled people, four and half years after he started the Rs 2 a kg rice scheme.
Hoisting the Tricolour at Cuttack's Barabati stadium on Republic Day, Naveen said that the Re 1 a kg rice scheme was a step in his effort "to build a hunger-free Orissa". The scheme, to be implemented from February 1, would benefit over 58 lakh families including Antyodaya beneficiaries, SC&ST hostel inmates, disabled people and all APL families of Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput districts.
As per the scheme, each eligible BPL family would get 25 kg of rice every month while those under the Antyodaya Yojana will get 35 kg rice. Though the Centre gives 35 kg of rice to states for distribution among BPL families under Targeted Public Distribution System at Rs 5.65 a kg, Orissa has been subsidising the cost further by Rs 3.65 a kg.
In 2011-12, the rice subsidy had cost the state Rs 979 crore.
In August 2008, Naveen had launched the Rs 2 a kg rice for BPL families, a year before he faced the Assembly polls. Political observers said that with his mentor-turned-rival Pyari Mohan Mohapatra snapping at his heels, the Re 1 a kg rice scheme would upset the opposition's plans.
BJD sources said that the party was banking on the success of the new scheme as the Rs 2 a kg rice helped the party register comfortable win the 2009 Assembly polls and 2012 panchayat polls. With food inflation hitting the poor, BJD sources said that Naveen wants to make price rise the main issue in the polls.
Last month, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India had slammed the Rs 2 a kg rice scheme saying the government was illegally diverting rice for BPL families from the specified amount of 35 kg a month to 25 kg a month.
While the Orissa government said it was trying to cover more BPL families by reducing the allocation, the CAG in its report said by depriving the BPL families 10 kg of rice every month, the state diverted the rice involving the central subsidy of
Rs 2565.61 crore between 2002 and 2012.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

All Eyes On Govt Vs Vedanta Case

Forbes India, Jan 22, 2013
The government versus Vedanta case has the entire mining industry interested in the outcome, in the hope of getting more clarity on mining permissions

he Supreme Court is hearing a petition filed by the Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) against the Ministry of Environment and Forests’ decision to withdraw the permission given to mine bauxite reserves on the Niyamgiri hill range. A joint venture between OMC and the local unit of the Anil Agarwal-owned Vedanta Resources, wants to develop the mines in Orissa and supply bauxite to the alumina refinery run by the London-based company. 

Though the Supreme Court had cleared the mining proposal in 2008, three years later the environment ministry withdrew its clearance. A committee set up by the then Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh alleged that provisions of the Forest Rights Act had been violated.

The apex court’s ruling will decide the fate of Agarwal’s aluminium project in Orissa that has till now coughed up losses of Rs 2,500 crore. The refinery is right now shut down for want of bauxite supply. 

But the whole mining industry is interested in the outcome of the case. Some of the biggest companies, from SAIL to ArcelorMittal and Posco have applied for mines that fall in forest areas, and one of the most important aspects discussed by the Supreme Court is the scope of the Forest Rights Act. In a hearing on December 6, the court had asked the Central government to make its stand clear on whether a local gram sabha has the final right over mine reserves. 

In a 2009 directive, the environment ministry had said that any project that intends to use forest land will need to first settle the rights, including taking consent of tribals and other traditional forest dwellers, through a gram sabha before the land is taken from them. 

While companies like Vedanta claim to have held gram sabhas for land-owing tribals, bringing "other traditional forest dwellers" under the purview of the Forest Rights Act would "increase expenditure", said a senior executive of a leading private Indian mining company. 

Interestingly, there might be a re-think happening at the Centre. This prompted Tribal Affairs Minister Kishore Chandra Deo to warn in his letter in early December to Environment Minister Jayanthi Natarajan, "This order is extremely significant… any dilution of the above mentioned circular of 2009 will have an adverse impact on the Vedanta case which is sub-judice," a newspaper report quoted him.

The biggest concern though is whether this will further increase the uncertainty around mining project permissions. "A balance is needed as neither environment nor industrial development should suffer. Any clarification from the government should help reduce the confusion on what is and what is not allowed to be mined. Overall, government policies should be aimed at reducing the uncertainties for project proponents who put risk capital on large infrastructure projects," says Gurpreet Singh Chugh, director, Natural Resources, Crisil Infrastructure Advisory. 

Apex court defers hearing in Niyamgiri mining case

Economic Times, Jan 22, 2013
BHUBANESWAR: Vedanta Aluminium (VAL), a unit of Vedanta Resources, will have to wait for two more weeks after the Supreme Court on Monday deferred the hearing on Niyamgiri bauxite mines in Odisha's Kalahandi district. The apex court deferred hearing for two weeks due to non-submission of affidavit by the Union ministry of environment and forests (MoEF).

The ministry has sought two weeks time to submit its affidavit pertaining to the bauxite mining of Niyamgiri hills. The state-owned Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) had moved the Supreme Court in March 2011, protesting the ministry's withdrawals of regulatory clearances to Niyamgiri.

On August 24, 2010, the MoEF withdrew the Stage II forest clearance for mining bauxite and temporarily withdrew the Stage I clearance after the NC Saxena panel recommended that mining in Niyamgiri would severely affect the ecology as well as the primitive tribal group of Dongria Kondhs, living on the mountain slopes. It also withdrew the earlier permission given to Vedanta for expansion of its 1 MT alumina refinery to 6 MT at Lanjigarh block of Kalahandi.

The court was to hear on OMC's application on Monday. The apex court has asked both the state and the Centre to submit affidavits on the implementation of the Forest Conservation Act in the mining area, sources in OMC said.

In 2008, the Apex Court had given permission to Sterlite India Company of the Vedanta Group for diversion of 660 hectares of forest land of Niyamgiri Hills. But the MoEF had refused stage-II forest clearance for bauxite mining on August 24, 2010, from the Niyamgiri hills, following allegations against VAL for violating the Forest Rights Act in the area.

The SC hearing is significant for VAL as it shut down its Lanjigarh refinery on December 5, citing shortage of bauxite. As per the MoU with VAL, OMC is supposed to supply up to 150 million tonne of bauxite for Lanjigarh Refinery from Niyamgiri and other adjoining bauxite deposits.

Monday, January 21, 2013


Shared by Sri Bikash Padhan
Toki Parab in Kalahandi


Introduction :


Toki means a virgin girl and Parab means festival, also known as Tokimara parab. Literally meaning of Tokimara is sacrifice of a virgin girl. Mara means sacrifice Toki Parab is a festival observed by the Kondh-paraja tribe of Kalahandi and Koraput districts in the state of Odisha.The Kondh-paraja tribe live in the Jaipatna, Koksora and Thuamul RampurPanchyat Samitis, especially in the eastern part of kalahandi bounded by the Nawarangpur sub-division of Koraput district. Kalahandi was formerly known as Kondhan raij. The Kandh-paraja tribe is the offshoot of Kandh and Paraja, both belonging to the Dravidian language group. Though it is a festival observed bythe Kondh-Paraja tribe, thousands of people from other castes and communitiesof this locality also participate in the festival.

Historical Background :

In the past the Kondh-paraja tribe were to sacrifice their virgin daughter before the earth Goddess. The Kandh tribe of south eastIndia were practicing ‘Meriah’ or human sacrifice to appease their earth mothergoddess. Even the Kandh priest were sacrificing their eldest son to earthmother Goddess for the shake of their community to get good harvest, good rain,to save their men and domestic animals, from the attack of wild animals and tosave their community from cholera and small-pox etc.

In the last part of nineteenth century the Kandha were practicing meriah-human sacrifice and the Kandh-Paraja were used to practicing tokimara (femal-infanticide). Major Campbell, the agent of suppressing meriahsacrifice in Kandhisthan stopped this cruel tradition forcibly (1838 : 132).

The tradition of Meriah sacrifice was patronized by theRaja and Zamindars of Thuamool Rampur, Mahulpatna (present Jaipatna) andKarlapat in kalahandi Estate. They were arranging the meriah out of their ownprisoners and were getting financial gain as well as their own prisoners andwere getting financial gain as well as the administrative support

Suppression of Meriah is a cultural loss for Kandha andkandh-Paraja as well. So to compensate this loss they substituted buffalo forthe meriah or human sacrifice and an ewe for the female infanticide. To keeptheir ethnic culture and religious tradition the Kandhs perform the Pod-puja (literallymeaning buffalo sacrifice) in their community once in every twelve years. Thebuffalo brought for sacrifice is marked as Janipod which means the son ofJani-kandh priest. Similarly the ewe representing the eldest daughter of theKandh-Paraja priest is known as Toki. ‘Toki’ means virgin unmarried girl andmara means sacrifice. Now the Kandh-Parajas are being presented with an ewe bytheir traditional kings and Zamindars of respective areas and name it asJani-toki the daughter of the Priest.

How does toki parab takes place :

It is interesting to observe how the aura of a villagecomes for celebrating the Festival. Toki parab. This festival falls on thepreceding or the following Sunday of the Pongal or Makar Samkranti on thebright fortnight of Pausa (January). The festival continues for seven days.This festival falls in Kandh-paraja village in a peculiar manner.

During the dasahara festival; the Jani of the villageputs two pegs vertically parallel to each other on the worship ground and tiesa bamboo rope on it. It looks like the English capital letter ‘H’ standing onthe ground. When the upper ends of the pegs close up to form a shape likeEnglish letter ‘A’ on the ground, the priest proclaims that the festival willbe observed in that village. After this declaration, the village invites allthe Janis and Disaries (Priest andShamans) of the Panchura and Pali (literally meaning; the villages sharing acommon Goddess worshipped by them, usually five villages constitutes Panchuraand twelve villages constitutes Barapali) and declares the festival Tokiparabto be observed as he has got the auspicious omen of joining two pegs in theworship place of Dharnikhal.

Then the Jani informs it to the Raja of his respectiveregion. The Raja, as a reverence to the ritual offers an ewe to the jani. Alongwith it the king provides some financial assistance to the Jani for the smoothmanagement of the festival. The ewe offered by the king is known as Tokidaughter of jani. The Toki is named as Rasmuana. Fund is collected from all thevillagers to meet the expenses of the festival. As it is an agriculturalfestival, besides Kandha-Paraja, others also contribute funds for it. The Jani,the Disari and the two village headman of each Pali are invited to the Tokivillage to form a committee for the management of the festival. The invitedguests from their pali are provided with lodging and fooding. These guests arethe representatives of their respective village Goddesses. So they come withthe Chhatra the symbol of the Goddess, accompanied by a musician group.

Toki parab in context :

The festival is observed for seven days with pomp andceremony. The festival begins on Wednesday; four days prior to the fatal day ofthe sacrifice of the Toki. The distribution of rituals over the seven days isas follows :

1. Preparation and collection of leaf and wood.

2. Gurupuja

3. Tokipargha

4. Sadarpuja

5. Tokimara

6. Dhangaridola

7. Tangiulen.


On the first day, all the men and women of the Tokivillage go to the nearest forest for collecting leaves and fire wood. On thisday collection of all necessary required things meant for the festival is madein the village by the responsible members of the committee. On this day thepriest worship the Dharamdebta—Sun God.


The second day of the festival is known as Gurupuja. Onthis day the Priest and the shaman along with other people of the village go tothe nearby hill. The name of the hill is Gurudongar, where the Gurubudha orBudharaja the universal tribal God is seated. It is believed that all the hillsand mountains are the Gudi; the worship place of God and Goddess.

After worshipping Gurubudha they come to the seat ofDharani mata—earth mother goddess. In a large sacrificial axe called ‘Tangi’ inlocal language the Jani mounts the spirit of Dharnimata and brings the axe tothe village. This ritual is known as Tangi utara literally meaning the bringingdown of axe from seat of the Goddess. It is the symbol of the Goddess’s spiritanimated in it.


The third day of festival is known as Tokipraba—worshipritual of Toki. On this day the Toki is bathed with turmeric water by the womenof every house. A procession of Jani and other people starts in along withvillage with music and dance. The toki is moved from door to door to getworshipped by the villagers. The community treats the Toki as the actualdaughter of the Jani. In the evening the community eats, drinks and dances withtheir local music and make merriment.


On the fourth day the Jani and Disari of all the villages assemble in the Toki village with their respective village Goddess. They are treated as the representatives of their villages. Arrangements are made fortheir lodging and fooding by the Toki villagers. On this day the communitycleans the road and the houses of the village.

At every entrance of the village they plant two bananatrees as the sign of welcome. The sadargudi is designed with the festoons ofmangoleaf with folk art on the wallIn this night the priest and the Shaman ofthe Toki village alongwith the Priests and Shaman of other villages unite atSadargudi. Here, right from the mid-night the ritual begins with strictdiscipline. The Jani moves around the Sadargudi for four times folding hishands to Dharnimata.Also there are sacrifice of sheep/goats and a pig on the occasion.

Day—5 : The ritual performance

Fifth day is known as Tokimara day. The Toki is offered to the earth Goddesses on this day. Villagers from all sides come to Toki village in a procession with their traditional music and warfare dance. In theprocession each one has a wooden club, hand axe and big stick in his hand. Theycome with their symbolic village Goddess animated in a long bamboo stickdesigned with red clothes and peacock feathers, and also in a big nisan (alocal drum) from every village such procession come to attend the festival.When the procession enters near the gate of the village the receptionists ofthe Toki village receive them in a peculiar manner. Unless the banana treesposted on the both sides of the gate are not cut down with one axe, theprocession never enters into the village. It is a symbol of inviting them intothe festival. Thus all the parties are invited from all sides of thevillage. The procession arrives on Sunday morning. On this day the wholelocality irrespective of caste, age and sex come to the Toki village to attendthe festival. This reception does not end up until all the parties of theinvited villages arrive.

At the time of midnoon, the Jani and Disari make properarrangements to take the ‘Toki’ (deadbody of the ewe) and ‘Mutpani’ from theSadargudi of the village to the Dharnikhal. It is about two hundred meters awayfrom Sadargudi. A virgin girl from their community is invited to invited tocarry up the earthen pot taking Toki’s ‘Mutpani’. The girl is dressed with anew red saree to take part in that ritual. She takes the mutpani from Sadargudito Dharnikhal. The Jani holds up the Toki in a Jahpi-bamboo box on his headguarded around a military array of young Kandh-Parajas.

While the Jani and the girl with their respective Jhapiand earthen pot start from Sadargudi about fifty to sixty young Kandh-parajacommunity with their sword, hand axe, wooden club and sticks encircle them toprotect the Toki and Mutpani from the attack of others. They all intoxicatedwith liquor, are preoccupied with a sense of trans—. It is believed that if anyoutsider plunders away even if a single hair of the Toki by any means fromtheir array, them all the holy action and virtues made by the Toki village willbe invain. As a result of losing a hair or a piece of flesh of the Toki; theymay face the loss of harvest and rain, also many unforeseen dangers in theirvillage in forth coming years. They also believe that if any body snatches awaya flesh or a hair of the Toki from the procession and offers it to his earthgoddess will be rewarded with ample harvest in forthcoming year. So whiletaking the Toki with mutpani from the Sadargudi to Dharnikhal the youth of thetoki village try their best to save the toki from others. In spite of all thesestrict cautions taken by them, the out-siders manage to take the flesh or ahair plundering from the Jani’s Jhapi out of the procession may it be by forceby tricks. If some outsider succeeds to get the flesh or hair from the Jani,suddenly the protectors run after him with weapons to take his life. If theplunderer offers the stolen flesh to his own goddesses situated in their camp,then the attackers never do any harm to him. But if captured by them, thevictim is wounded mercilessly. Instances of putting them victim to death arealso heard. So in the festival the Government police from district Headquarters are deputed to watch over them.

Thus with great care and protection the ‘Toki’ &‘Mutpani’ are brought to Dharnikhal. Here the Linga is taken off out of theDharnikhal by the Jani and put in front of the worship place. The Lingarepresents ‘Dharam debta’ and the stone simbolizes the ‘Dharnimata’. Dharnikhalis the main worship place where one can see the symbolic images of God andGoddesses such as; a long bamboo stick designed with peacock feathers, a metalimage of peacock on the metal pillar, a sacrificial axe, some arrows and a bow,a cluster of weapons like knife, spear etc.

In the worship place, the Jani alongwith the otherpriests start the ritual. Burning a lamp before the Goddess, throwing some rice on the sacrificial pit (Dharnikhal) the Jani begins the invocation.

After praying all the Gods and the Goddesses of all the invited villagers the Jani takes off the mutpani from the pot. Holding it in his hands, kneeling down before the pit he recites some hymns and offers it tothe earth goddess. This ritual is called Tokipara. After this, the otherGoddesses of the locality are worshipped by the Jani one by one. The Janidevides the flesh of the Toki and distribute it among all the Janis of invitedvillages. The Janis of the respective villages consider themselves fortunate tohave the auspicious toki flesh and take it with reverece. After this, thegathering disburse; the Jani and his followers remain there for furtherrituals.

In the evening the Jani and the Disari worship thegoddess. The rest flesh and bones of the ewe is burried by ‘Rapia’ belongingthe ‘Dom’—a scheduled caste. The ‘rapia’ is alienated as impure and unholy forthat day. Next the Jani offers a pig to the earth goddess to purify the Rapiaand declares him as sacred. Then mix with his society again.


The Sixth day of the festival is known as Dhangridola. Onthis day the young unmarried Kandh-paraja boys and girls have the freedom tochoose their life-partner with a socioreligious recongition in the festivalground. On this day the parents of the boys and girls have nothing to protestagainst their love marriage, as the whole community gives sanction to them. Theyouth, on this day wearing beads around his neck is expected to pull the handof his beloved young girl. This system is popularly known as ‘Malichagha’,literally means wearing of beads. It symbolizes the snatching of a girl by theboy.

This is the day giving opportunity to the youth toextend love and friendship with opposite sex. The unknown boys and girls makepermanent friendship ritually by addressing each other ‘Baligaja’ and ‘Sari’ ora Baligaja by tucking it on the right ear of the other. On this day many groupsof girls and boys with the local music, dance and sing on the group. One groupsing the love song competing to defeat the other. At this time a choir ofsingers with their Dungdunga and Dhap (two local musical instruments) sing thesong describing Gods and Goddesses, hills and mountains, rivers, villages andthe deities of their locality, which reflects their love and involvement ofnature and spirit.

In the afternoon, the young girls of this community makea lovely arrangement of receiving the guests to appease them. They invite theguests to whom they choose to be their own friend or sari. The group of girlsholding the hands of the guest, take him to the place of worship. They sit theguest on a cot; carrying the cot on their shoulders on four sides they movearound the worship place seven times. At the time all the girls sing the songthe entertain the guests. After moving around, they keep the cot in front ofthe Goddess and touch the feet of the guest one by one and make ‘Juhar’(obeisance). This ritual is called Dhangridola. Literally meaning a swinging ofthe young girls. They also collect some tips; money as a regard from theguests. The singing and dancing goes on till evening. Thus, the ritual of thesixth day ends.


In the seventh day the Jani along with the newly marriedcouple of the previous day, leads a huge procession to the Gurudongar, the seatof Gurubudha. There they beg the blessings from Gorubudha. After coming fromGurudongar, they seat, drink and make merry by singing, dancing andmerrymaking. At night the Jani returns the sacrificial axe to the earth goddess.After it the Jani close the festival. The next day the associates of the Tokivillage bring down the festoons of mango leaves. Thus the grand festival endsafter the observation of seven days.

Myths on toki parab :

There is a myth found among this community as to why theTokiparab is observed. The myth corresponds tot he problem of bride, price andfree marriage system among the Kandh-paraja tribe. The myth is as follows :

"In a kandh-paraja village the Jani had a daughter namedRasamauna. After maturity her father proposed to give her in marriage with alad of the village name Mundradharia. The negotiation was also over. Marriagedate was fixed up. A few days remained for the marriage ceremony. MeanwhileRasmuana fell in love with Baplamada, another youngman of the same village. Asto keep his beloved daughter’s interest, the Jani cancelled the previousnegotiation made with Mundradharia and gave his daughter in marriage withBaplamada. Time passed on.

One day Rasmuana went to the nearby forest to collectfire-wood. There she saw Mundradhar is—the groom proposed for her. She, out ofpassion fell in love with him in the forest and this game of love went on.Baplamada, her actual husband new this and he went to the jani—hisfather-in-law and told every thing. He also claimed the Jani that he woulddivorce his wife for her infidelity. So he demanded the Hajra(18) bride pricewhich he had paid to his father-in-law during his marriage. He also suggestedthe Jani to hand over his daughter to Mundradharia according to her will.

So the Jani had to return the Harja—bride price takenfrom Bapalamada. Also he had to pay ‘Mandpani’ (19) fine fixed by his communityfor the divorce and the remarriage of his daughter. Again Jani fixed up a datefor his daughter’s marriage in the month a pousa. At that time the Kandh-parajawere to observe the festival of mariah. The community reported the Jani that novictim was found out for the sacrifice and asked him to arrange the sacrificeof his own for the festival. The festival arrived. No victim was found. TheJani suddenly sacrificed his own daughter Rasamuana before the Goddess. Thus itbecame a tradition that the Jani would give his own daughter for the sacrifice.Now the female infenticide has stopped, by instead of it an ewe is symbolicallypresented to the earth goddess as a substitution.

Now if we analyse the above myth is would be revealedthat marriage with social recognition is accepted where as violation of socialrules results fine and punishment by the community. The illicit love violatingthe social norms causes hatred and results in the punishment like eliminationof the defaulter.

In Kandh-paraja community, Jani, the religious head has alot of socio-religious responsibilities. Their religious belief is that thepure character and action of the Jani could save their community from theunseen dangers. The Gods and Goddesses are appeased according to the manner ofworship and action of the Jani. He propitiates them by means of his own virtueand spiritual power. He is the mediator of man and spirit. So if the purity inhis personality is deviated or some social norms are violated by him, it isbelieved that the Jani would not be able to appease the earth Goddess, or if hedoes so, the result would be harmful for the whole community. So in the myth,the Jani sacrificed his own daughter, to prove himself pure and to escape fromsuch socio-economic and psychological burden. It is a fact that, thehatred of Jani for his daughter, at the same time the need for a victim forsacrifice both the causes have doubled the problem in his mind. Individually inorder to maintain his priesthood status also as a community leader to managethe welfare of his society by propitiating the earth Goddess with a sacrifice,the Jani tried to kill two birds in one arrow by offering his own daughter tothe earth goddess in the festival.

By doing this the Jani mentally compensated the loss ofhis daughter by receiving a sanction from the community on him. He has not considered it a sin as he has got rid of two problems burying it under areligious mask. The plea by the Jani in his invocation depicts that Goddess Herself choose the victim for her sacrifice. The donor of the sacrifice bearson sin for his act.

The religious rites are meant to solve the problem of thecommunity. (1980 : 344) This may be examined from the present festival studied,the sixth day of Tokiparab, known as dhangridola the love marriage of boys andgirls with socio-reiligous recongitions and sanctions and to solves the problemof bride price. The social problem of ‘Harja’—bride price among the Kandh andthe other communities of Kalahandi is still prevailing in the society. Thebride groom pays bride price as demanded by the bride’s father. Even if a groomis unable to pay the bride price and want to marry a girl, the father of thegirl may agree to adopt the by as ‘bride service’ for a fixed period of time asto compensate the amount of bride. After the amount is collected from ‘brideservice’ the couple set free. But in some places where the bride’s fatherrefuses to accept the proposal of the boy, the marriage between the interestedboys and girls fails. This failure is only due to the poor economic conditionof the boy.

This ritual, thus, helps the loving couple getting married, who were unable to marry due to lack of providing bride price. Thisritual is known as Dhangrighicha.

Moreover, the guests and participants honoured by theyoung Kandh-paraja girls in the ritual of Dhangridola, irrespective of casteand creed shows the oneness in tribal culture shared by the non-tribals. TheRaja, the Bramhins, the village headmen and the other gentlemen are invited forthis ritual. Thus, the entertaining of the guest in this festival shows themutual sharing of culture among the tribal and non-tribals.

As this is a festival to pay reverence to the earthGoddess, also to assure more harvest in future, all the peasants of thesociety, irrespective of caste and creed take part in it. The non-tribals alsobelieve the philosophy of Kondh-Paraja and want to bury some flesh of the Tokiin their field to get ample harvest. So the influence of the tribal cultureamong the non-tribals of this locality is represented in this festival.

In this world man exploit the men exploiting the nature.But the indigenous people of this land bear the naturalistic world view. Theyhave their way of thinking, which has been symbolically represented in theirrites and rituals. The equality of man and nature keeping the balance of theearth basing on reciprocal dependence is the sole philosophy of the people of thislocality. Here no difference is seen in between the animal and nature as bothare the creature of a supernatural power Dharnimata—the earth mother Goddess.

Green, tribal ministries’ stand on Vedanta case in SC to determine other projects’ fate

Times of India, Jan 21, 2013
NEW DELHI: The joint stand that environment ministry and the tribal affairs ministry takes in the critical Vedanta bauxite mining case in the Supreme Court on Monday is set to decide the fate of hundreds of other projects that require forest lands as well as the rights of tribals under UPA's flagship Forest Rights Act (FRA).

The government had earlier bound itself in knots in an affidavit in the Supreme Court by stating that tribals' forests cannot be used for any other development project. It had cited the argument while defending its decision to scrap the Vedanta mining project in Odisha, but the position now threatens hundreds of other ventures that require forestlands over which tribals have either claimed or already got rights under the FRA.

In the court case, the government moved away from its existing middle path policy, which allows it to give forest lands to private developers in tribal areas only after getting the affected gram sabhas' nod.
It was the lack of this consent and other environmental failures that the government had cited while blocking Vedanta's mining proposal in Odisha. The move had also led to the pro-tribal image building of Congress heir apparent Rahul Gandhi.

But, the government's hard position in the court case — arguing forest lands handed back to tribals under the FRA can be used only for wildlife conservation — had made even a SC bench to ask the Centre to file its comprehensive views on the Act.

The confusion in the government's position deepened when the PMO asked the two ministries concerned to dilute the need for consent even further in the forest clearance process. The two ministries were caught in a cleft. For instance, at one level, they were contemplating dilution of tribal concerns in the clearance business and at the other taking a hard position while defending the order to cancel Vedanta's project citing violation of tribal rights.

The ministries have so far withheld taking a decision on the dilution of the clearance procedures, even though the PMO had asked them to do so by December 31, 2012.

Maoists on wane as cadres, tribals desert camp

The Pioneer, Jan 21, 2013
Three separate groups of tribals from Nachika Linga's village last week reached the Narayanpatna police station and expressed their solidarity with the administration. They made it clear that they should not be considered as sympathisers of the Maoists anymore.  Narayanpatna, considered as the second Lalgarh by the administration, has marked the fall of an empire built brick by brick by the Red rebels. While Nachika Linga was taking shelter in the dense jungles of Koraput district, his erstwhile supporters faced tough times.

The innocent, poor tribals have now realised that they suffer in the tussle between the police and the Maoists. Top Maoist leader Ramakrishna, who was in-charge of Maoist operations in the district, has also been feeling isolated, security experts suggest.

Both Nachika Linga and Ramakrishna used tribals as their shields to protect themselves. Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka was abducted last year reportedly by Nachika's men and later handed over to the Ramakrishna group obviously with some help from local villagers.

The State Government, which seemed to be worried over the Maoist menace, has, however, remained silent. It seems that the State administration has no specific action plan ready to reap the benefits of such a situation.

Since there has been a sea change in the mindset of the people, who used to protect a number of armed Maoists, the Government must take them into confidence and take steps to liberate Narayanpatna completely, feel security experts.

The Maoist menace as a whole has certainly declined in the State after reaching a peak recently. Odisha's top Red rebel Sabyasachi Panda has been rendered all but defunct after being expelled from the main Maoist party. His supporters have started deserting him. With the massive presence of Central forces, the ultras have been forced to retreat.

Time has come for the general administration to swing into action and expedite development activities to win the confidence of the people and recapture the areas once dominated by the rebels, it is felt. According to sources, there were only 400plus ultras operating in the State, of whom a majority has been restricted to their hideouts. They operate under the various regional units like the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC), Bihar-Jharkhand-North Chhattisgarh Special Area Committee (BJNCSAC), Odisha State Unit (OSU), Chhattisgarh-Odisha Border State Committee (COBSC), Dandakaranya Zonal Committee (DZC) and Bengal-Jharkhand-Odisha Border Committee (BJOBC).

While three divisions of the AOBSZC are active in Malkangiri and Koraput districts, the operational area of the BJNCSAC is the districts of Sambalpur, Deogarh and Sundargarh.

With Sabyasachi Panda neutralised, the OSU's operational area has remained largely free of violence while the Kalinga Nagar Division is almost nonexistent these days. The COBSC, the most powerful unit, is active in Nuapada and Balangir areas. The BJOD too has not been seen in action for a long time now.

However, the rebels are still active in Koraput, Malkangiri, Bargarh, Balangir and Nuapada districts. "These areas are certainly a cause for concern for the police," a top cop engaged in anti-Maoist operations said.

The police administration has reasons to be happy as there has been no Maoist violence in 2012 in five districts, Nayagarh, Mayurbhanj, Dhenkanal, Jajpur and Sambalpur. The years 2011 and 2012 witnessed the surrender of a good number of rebels. While 50 ultras surrendering in 2011, their number was reduced to 34 in 2012. The police also arrested 167 rebels in 2012 compared to 146 in 2011.

Looking at the statistics, the number of "badly-affected" districts has come down to just two, Koraput and Malkangiri while seven districts are "highly-affected" and six others "moderately-affected".

However, though there has been no Maoist violence in five districts in 2012, the rebels are found to be consolidating their base in districts like Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Balangir, Bargarh and Kalahandi on the Odisha-Chhattisgarh border. "A special action plan is needed to deal with the Chhattisgarhi red rebels," a top police officer said.

He said that under the changed circumstances, the police and the administration must focus on districts like Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Balangir, Bargarh and Kalahandi. A redeployment of central forces in these areas is the need of the hour. The Government must also keep a close watch on districts like Rayagada, Kandhamal and Gajapati, where the Panda group is active, besides the minerals-rich Keonjhar district, he said.

"We are planning to withdraw forces from certain pockets," DGP Prakash Mishra recently told the media. However, the police are yet to take any such step even as the Centre too has suggested undertaking similar action to concentrate on areas heavily infested by the Maoists.

The State is presently having about 14 battalions of Central forces (about 10,000 personnel) comprising BSF and CRPF jawans in addition to the State's own Special Operation Group (SOG) to counter the ultras.

The Union Home Ministry has issued advisory to all affected States to beef up security preparedness and response in view of an anticipated escalation in the Maoist activities in the coming summer months.

The advisory has been issued in the light of the Tactical Counter Offensive Campaign (TCOC) carried out by the Maoists during summers in which security forces witness a lot of movement of these groups and an increased risk of attacks. The TCOC is undertaken till the month of June while the Maoists begin their preparations around February.

Meanwhile, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh has also categorically said that the Dongaria Kandhas of Kalahandi and Rayagada region are the new target of the rebels. He has suggested several developmental proposals to win the confidence of the people in underdeveloped places. The people there fall prey to the Maoist evil design. Ramesh has also identified the Sunabeda sanctuary in Nuapada district as the hotbed of rebels. The rebels operate in Kalahandi, Nuapada, Balangir and other nearby districts out of their base in this wildlife sanctuary.

Friday, January 18, 2013

State government killing spirit of Forest Rights Act: Kalahandi MP

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Jan 18, 2013
Criticising the State Government for not implementing the Forest Rights Act (FRA) in true spirit, Congress MP from Kalahandi Bhakta Charan Das on Saturday demanded recognition to  individual and community rights in reserve forests, protected areas and national parks.

Though the State Government has issued 3,04,660 title certificates, rights of a majority of families, using forest land in reserve forest, protected area and national park for agriculture and allied purposes have not been recognised, Das told mediapersons here.

He said rights of all the eligible families under the Act should be recognised. Das said for families to whom titles had been issued in smaller areas but  used by them for agriculture, a process should be started to recognise the whole area and new title should be issued.

Only 545 villages in the State have been recognised and titles issued though 29,302 forest villages are eligible, Das, a former Union minister, said. He alleged that there is no initiative by the State Government in supporting the gram sabha in the management of the community forest resources.

Dubbing the State Government as anti-tribal, the Congress MP alleged that it is harvesting bamboo through the Odisha Forest Development Corporation (OFDC) from the community resource areas in various parts of the State by violating the Act.

Das alleged that the Jamguda gram sabha in Kalahandi district harvested bamboo from the community forest resource in June 2012, but it could not sell as the Forest Department refused to issue transit pass.

The State Government did not make any arrangement in this regard despite a letter from the Ministry of Tribal Affairs, Das said and added that bamboo worth crores of rupees rotted because of this. He demanded amendment to the existing rules for issue of transit pass to stop sale of bamboo to paper mills from the community resource areas.

Stating that the State Government should stop its monopoly over kendu leaf trade, Bhakta demanded free trade of kendu leaf. He said the royalty from kendu leaf which was Rs 140 crore in 2010 should be distributed among 7.5 lakh pluckers.

Das demanded support to the cooperatives of the minor forest produce (MFP) collectors/gram sabha for infrastructure development of MFP procurement, value addition, processing, storage and marketing.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Ramesh now wants to take on Reds in Odisha's Nuapeda

Business Standard, Jan 17, 2013
Press Trust of India / New Delhi January 17, 2013, 18:15
Concerned over a key forest area in Odisha's Nuapeda district becoming a hub of Maoist activity, Centre today proposed a special development plan to improve living of deprived tribal communities there.
Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, who visited Naxal-affected Kalahandi and Nuapada districts and Lanjigarh block last week, has written to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik assuring his Ministry's support to implement the initiative along the lines of the one being implemented in Saranda forests in Jharkhand.
"In Nuapada district, it is clear that the incidents of Maoist violence have gone up sharply in the last few years. The Sunabeda forest area has become the hub of Maoist activity and the attacks on the neighbouring districts like Kalahandi and Bolangir are being executed from Sunabeda area," Ramesh said in his letter proposing the special development plan in the area.
The Minister said that he had asked the district administration to prepare a draft plan for the Sunabeda forest area.

Ramesh, who would be visiting Sunabeda again on February 15, requested the Chief Minister to direct the concerned officials to focus on Sunabeda plan preparation.
Saranda Development Plan is the government's first systematic experiment in combining a security-oriented and development-focussed approach in Maoist-affected areas on a large scale.
It is being implemented after the CRPF and the state police jointly "liberated" this area of West Singbhum district of Jharkhand in August 2011 from 11 years of Maoist control.
The Saranda Development Plan was prepared by the West Singhbhum district administration covering 56 villages in six gram panchayats of Manoharpur block. The population covered is around 36,000 (7,000 households).
The main elements of the Saranda Development Plan include building houses for 6,000 households under the Indira Awaas Yojana, construction of roads and one bridge under the PMGSY for improving connectivity to all habitations, implementation of the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and distribution of 7,000 solar lanterns, 7,000 transistors and 7,000 bicycles to the tribals.

Minister Majhi inaugurates Kalahandi fest Ghumura

The Pioneer, Jan 17, 2013
The 17th Kalahandi Utsav Ghumura-2013 was inaugurated here by Science and Technology Minister Ramesh Majhi on Monday. A torch rally by various cultural teams was taken out from Maa Manikeswari temple to the Rendo Majhi Manch, the venue of the festival.
Bhawanipatna MLA Dushmanta Naik, Dharmagarh MLA Pushpendra Singhdeo and Kalahandi District Collector Govinda Chandra Sethi, among other dignitaries were present.
In the first evening, traditional musical instruments Ghumura, Nissan and Banabadi echoed on the Rendo Majhi stage. Besides, Jodi Sankh and Goti Pua artists performed. Banabadi of Habaspur, Singha Khela of Papadahandi, Paika akhada of Depur and Baja Saal dance of Brundaban and Sanskrutika Anusthan enthralled the audience.
The utsav promotes self help groups, primary producers and rural artisans. It also provides a platform to the rural producers and household entrepreneurs, said sources.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Expedite Wagon Factory in Kalahandi as per railway budget 2010-11

Odisha: NRO Prof Digambara Patra urged Prime Minister to Expedite Wagon Factory work in Kalahandi 
India Education, Jan 9, 2013

Bhubaneswar: Non-resident Odia Prof Digambara Patra has urged Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Expedite Wagon Factory work in Kalahandi as per railway budget 2010-11. 
In a missive to the Prime Minister, Prof Patra said that people of Kalahandi have been demanding for a railway Wagon factory since years and railway ministry had approved one such establishment in the railway budget 2010-11. However, due to state politics an attempt was made to shift it to somewhere else.  Taking notice of this injustice former railway minister had promised for another railway wagon factory in Odisha, especially for Kalahandi.

In one of the parliament sessions in 2012, honourable president Sri Pranab Mukherjee, then finance minister, and honourable Smt Sonia Gandhi also took it to railway minister to establish the Wagon factory in Kalahandi and promised to Kalahandi MP Sri Bhakta Charan Das that such an establishment will be made soon in Kalahandi.

With public demand, Odisha Govt. had also sent a letter to railway minister saying arrangement of land in Kalahandi would be made for railway Wagon factory. However, no concrete move has been made yet by the railway minister to construct a Wagon factory in Kalahandi, even after the assurance given by the railway minister, Sri Pranab Mukherjee, Smt. Sonia Gandhi and others in the parliament.

Though state Govt. was making the issue political, the fact is that Wagon factory in Kalahandi/Bhubaneswar was approved in 2010-11 railway budget which is much before than 2012-13 railway budget when Sitapalli in Ganjam was mentioned based on state Govt. request to undermine interest of Kalahandi.

Prof. Patro urged Prime Minister to expedite the process to establish the railway Wagon factory in Kalahandi in priority basis as per 2010-11-railway budget announcement.

Similarly, extension of Ispat express train (Howrah – Titilagarh) to Bhawanipatna and a new train between Bhawanipatna and Visakhapatnam are needed for KBK region.

Construction work of surveyed railway lines, such as Kantabanji-Jeypore-Malkangiri and Lanjigarh road-Talcher, should be initiated to link Bhadrachalam road-Talcher immediately and bring development in KBK-Kandhamal districts. Survey for Rajim (Raipur)-Debhog-Dharamgarh-Junagarh as per 2012-13 railway budget should be speeded up. 

He further said that, "I am very astonished and disheartened that such important projects and train connections as above have missed in the letters by Odisha chief minister addressed separately to the Prime Minister and Railway Minister in past two days mirroring actual seriousness of state Govt. towards KBK region in railway development."
Bhawanipatna : 9/ January/2013 
Kalahandias are shocked and disheartened as mention of Railway Wagon Factory and expansion of major railway projects and train connections have missed in the letters issued recently by the Odisha Chief Minister addressed to the Prime Minister and Union Minister Railways for development of railways in the state.

This is mirroring actual seriousness of State Government towards KBK region in railway development, rued leading NRO Digambara Patra. 

Dr.Patra, pointed out that with the people of Kalahandi have been demanding for a Railway Wagon factory since years together, the Ministry of Railways had approved one such establishment in the Railway Budget- 2010-11.

However, due to internal squabbles in state politics, an attempt was made to shift it to somewhere else.  Taking notice of this injustice former Minister Railways had promised for another railway wagon factory in Odisha, especially for Kalahandi.

Reminding the Chief Minister, another NRO, Madhusmita Panda said that in one of the parliament sessions in 2012, now the President of India, Pranab Mukherjee, who was then Minister Finance, and Sonia Gandhi, Chairperson UPA also took it to Minister Railways to establish the Wagon factory in Kalahandi and promised to Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das that such an establishment will be made soon in Kalahandi.

Respecting the public demand, Odisha Government had also sent a letter to Union Minister Railways saying arrangement of land in Kalahandi would be made for a Wagon factory in Kalahandi. However, no concrete move has been made yet by the Minister Railways to construct the factory in Kalahandi, even after the assurance given by the Minister Railways, Pranab Mukherjee, Sonia Gandhi and others in the Parliament, said Ms.Panda.

Though the move is to make the issue political, the fact is that Wagon factory in Kalahandi/Bhubaneswar was approved in 2010-11 Railway Budget which is much before than 2012-13 Railway Budget when Sitapalli in Ganjam was mentioned based on State Government request to undermine interest of Kalahandi, alleged Dr.Patra.

He has urged to expedite the process to establish the railway Wagon factory in Kalahandi in priority basis as per earlier announcement.

Similarly, extension of Ispat express train (Howrah – Titilagarh) to Bhawanipatna and a new train between Bhawanipatna and Visakhapatnam are needed for KBK region.
Construction work of surveyed railway lines, such as Kantabanji-Jeypore-Malkangiri and Lanjigarh road-Talcher, should be initiated to link Bhadrachalam road-Talcher immediately and bring development in KBK-Kandhamal districts.

Survey for Rajim (Raipur)-Debhog-Dharamgarh-Junagarh as per 2012-13 railway budget should be speeded up, urged Dr.Patra and Ms.Panda. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Kalahandi Utsav "GHUMURA" inaugurated with great enthusiasm for 2013

Shared by Sri Bikash Padhan

Dharamgarh Vikash Chetna Parishad writes to Chief Minister for 20 points demand of Dharamgarh sub-division

                                                               Date : 07/Jan/2013
The Hon’ble Chief Minister
Government of Odisha, Bhubaneswar.
Our salutation to Srijukta Nabin Patnaik.

Sub:-Request to take a note for Executing necessary steps to improve the life
style of Dharamgarh area.

Beloved  Sir,

    The Dharamgarh Sub-Division has been neglected by the State Government and very purpose of making it Sub-Division Headquarter is not achieved. The people’s representatives, Administrative Officers and Department Officers have neglected the developmental works since years and as a result the developmental activity has come to grinding halt.
    The Sub-Divisional headquarter is badly affected by Improper Education Facility, Roads, Drinking Water Facility, Sanitation and Unemployment and is the root cause for the least developmental activities and these are very basic problems and needs which requires  immediate remedial measures.
    Now the people of Dharamgarh have started to raise their voices so as to solve the problems and if in time these issues are not taken at the grass root level the people may suffer heavily and administration can only be an onlooker.
    The people of Dharamgarh sub-Division have made a charter of Demands and we are very hopefully making a sincere request before you so that your necessary directives will awaken the Administration.
    Below given is a list of demands by the people of Dharamgarh and we hope your intervention in this demands will be enough for the concern Administration to take necessary remedial measures to solve the burning problems. We are also very much determined to make the administration  feel the necessity of the demands in fact these are not demands rather these are basic human needs and necessity to live a healthy life.
    We have proposed to make a appeal to the public of Dharamgarh for a total bandh in a democratic way if Hon’ble Chief Minister does not heed to our genuine demands and which does not have any selfish egoistic achievement. We demand an assurance in written, within a month, from you that necessary steps will  be taken at the earliest.

1:    Having all the potentiality , The Dharamgarh Gram Panchayat is awaiting to be declared   as Notified Area Council .The matter is  pending at the administrative level in top list since long. In March- 2012 down listed 3 GP has been declared as NAC and Dharamgarh has been getting neglected till date as it is in the so called backward district of Kalahandi where local M.L.A/ M.P and peoples representatives are found least interested for development and upgradation of concerned area. To consider Dharamgarh G.P. as N.A.C. as it has technically surveyed potentials and found feasible in every sense.

2:    Dharamgarh Sub-Divisional Hospital is the only ray of hope for the entire sub-division     when Medical facilities are taken into consideration. With lack of doctors and the respective vacant posts, the health security has become a cause of concern. We request appointment of specialists for the same. A Pediatrician and a Gynecologist are immediately needed.
3:    Last Year i.e. 2011-2012, Dharamgarh Sub-Division was badly affected by drought. A huge number of farmers deposited their Agricultural Crop Insurance Premium in different banks. Unfortunately the concerned banks have not delivered the insurance benefit to the effected farmers. We thus, request for an immediate disbursement by the Loan Waiver to relive the farmers.
4:    There was a proposal for the Establishment of a Central School in Dharamgarh which has been long due. Immediate consideration of yours is required in this matter.
5:-    There was a Bridge to be constructed over the River Tel for permanent road connection between Dharamgarh and Deobhog of Chhattisgarh State at Sandhikulihari the boarder     village of Odisha. The work has been continuing for the last 10 years and is moving at a     snails pace. The work should be taken on war footing basis so as to complete it.
In addition to this, we also request you to look into the matter of construction of Hati Nadi Bridge over River Hati near Junagarh whose progress performance is not upto the mark. Hati Nadi Bridge is one among the most important bridges in Kalahandi which links the western part with the eastern part as well as with other neighbor states like Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh. We action at the earliest will be cordially appreciated.
6:    The Bridge between village Mahaling and Jogibahal on the river Udanti should be completed soon. The progress of work is very slow, the concerned department should be     given direction as to this regards.
7:-    The PMGSY  Road between Dharamgarh town to Jharkundamal is not completed since     last 8years and in a very bad shape which need to be completed.
8:-    An Industrial Training Institute (I.T.I) can be opened in the Dharamgarh Sub-Division so that the unemployed educated youth,   both boys and girls, of the area can be trained and can be made self -reliant.
9:-    An Overhead Water Tank in Char Chowk  area can be build to supply drinking water in the locality as the area is water scarce and in summer the people suffer very much to fetch drinking water. As the water level goes down in summer.
10:-    Encroachment of Dharamgarh main road and Panchayat roads should be removed by taking  necessary steps by Administration by giving suitable time period warning to the encroachers. And in place proper drainage facility should be made available.
11:-    An Evening Branch of State Bank of India may be opened in the Dharamgarh. This would reduce the workload on the staff and will facilitate with timely service.
12:-    A By-pass Road can be proposed for by passing the Dharamgarh town as in future this     will be a necessity. The same can pass though Chattisgarh- Odisha Border village     Sandhikulihari to meet  NH- 26 at Junagarh.
13:    The Daily market vendors who are selling vegetables and other daily necessary goods on the road side can be allotted a suitable government place in the town area to sell. The root     cause of congestion of the road can be avoided by this and also minor accidents on the     roads can be curbed.
14:-    The whole Sub-Division having 6 (six ) Blocks under its jurisdiction can be connected with Cement Concrete Road and Lighting Arrangement may be made on the streets. There is a Low-Voltage Problem in  Dharamgarh town the same can be improved by providing necessary High Power Transformers at the necessary place.
15:-    There should be a Grievances /Complaint Cell in the Dharamgarh Sub-Division of the local M.L.A. of this constituency so that the people of this area should register their grievances complaints to the Hon’ble M.L.A. and redress their complaints. This would be a good initiative by your good self if such a step should be taken up. It will be helpful for the needy to reach you through the local representative of Legislative Assembly.
16:-    The Dharamgarh Panchayat should be benefited from RMC, Junagarh through its share from business establishments i.e. from the rents of the shops as the Junagarh R.M.C. is the custodian of the shops and establishments. Lakhs of rupees are being collected as rent from this shops, this can be partly diverted for  untilisation  by Dharamgarh Panchayat     for the local developments.
17:-    The villages whose population is more then 500 should be connected with the Pradhan     Mantri Garamya Sadak Yojana for the better communication between  villages to the     Dharamgarh Sub-Division head quarter.
18:-    There is huge vacancy in the Primary and Upper Primary and High School teachers for  which the educational needs of the local area is not fulfilled. Steps should be taken immediately to fill up the vacant posts.
19:-    A to-and-fro communication between Dharamgarh to Berhampur is badly necessary as people of this area has been  depending on Bhawanipatna to go Berhampur.   
20:-    The admission to Medical College in Jaring in Kalahandi District i.e. Sardar Rajas Medical College & Hospital, Jaring Junagarh should be taken up early and Medical Council should take necessary steps in this regard.

We anticipate your early response in this regards.
Thank you Sir.
Copy To:

  • Governor of Odisha.
  • Chief Secretary of Odisha.
  • Collector Kalahandi.
  • Sub-Collector, Dharamgarh

  • Project Director (DRDA), Kalahandi.
  • Local MP.
  • Local MLA.
  • Rural Development Minister of India.
  • Human Resource Development Minster of India.
  • Chairman-cum-MD, SBI, Mumbai.
  • Health Minister Of India.
  • Ministry of Small Scale Industries (GOI).


On behalf of Dharamgarh Vikash Chetna Parishad


Bajrang Agrawal
S/o – Radheshyam Agrawal
At/Po- Dharamgarh, Dist – Kalahandi,
Odisha – 766015