Friday, March 29, 2013

Vedanta Aluminium ties up with NRHM to fight sickle cell anaemia in Odisha

Business Line, March 29, 2013

The National Rural Health Mission that has endeavoured to fight sickle cell anaemia on a war-footing, especially in western Odisha, got a fillip by teaming up with Vedanta Aluminium and its CSR (corporate social responsibility) activities.
Sickle cell anaemia is an inherited blood disorder characterised primarily by chronic anaemia and periodic episodes of pain leading to organ damage.
According to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), India has around l lakh sickle cell disease patients, with about 8,000 new sickle cell anaemia patients born each year in the country.
Though ICMR has set up prenatal diagnostic facilities across Maharashtra, Gujarat, West Bengal, Karnataka and Punjab, the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) had a strategic initiative to focus on western Odisha.
This was borne by the fact that more than 5 lakh people in Odisha are affected by the disease, according to the State Health Department, of which nearly 80 per cent are found in 13 western Odisha districts.


The V.S.S. Medical College in Burla, which has a sickle cell clinic that is sponsored by NRHM, recently teamed up with the Vedanta Hospital at Lanjigarh in Odisha’s Kalahandi district, to conduct a sickle cell screening camp.
Around 197 people turned up for the screening from the nearby 47 villages of Lanjigarh, like Basantpada, Jagannathpur, Jodabandh, Biswanathpur and Balabhadrapur.
Mukesh Kumar, COO, Vedanta Aluminium, Lanjigarh, noted that a lot of people are affected by sickle cell anaemia in the Lanjigarh area. The screening camp aimed at getting them free treatment through the NRHM.
Prior to the camp, the corporate social responsibility (CSR) team of Vedanta Aluminium, Lanjigarh, educated villagers on sickle cell anaemia in order to get more people to come for the screening.
Incidentally, central institutes such as AIIMS, the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education at Puducherry, the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research at Chandigarh and the Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital at Delhi have facilities for the diagnosis and treatment of the disease.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Weaving livelihood through cultivating organic cotton

The Hindu, March 21, 2013

Tentulipada, a small village in Kalahandi district in interior Odisha, is predominantly a dry area. Known for poverty and a harsh dry climate, the tillers there could hardly lead a comfortable livelihood.
Till some years back the entire village was cultivating cotton. The gamble on the crop was accompanied by a baggage of external, expensive, and often toxic inputs in the form of pesticides and fertilizers. But today this entire village is into organic cultivation.


“The transformation towards organic started sometime during 2007 when initially 39 farmers took to the sustainable practice. It took two more years for all the farmers to shift to organic. In 2001 American bollworm infestation was very high and even 15 sprays of toxic chemical pesticides wouldn’t help.
“Today, this village does not worry about pests on cotton. They use their simple, naturally made bio-pesticides to control any pest problems,” says Mr. Ananthoo, co- convener of ASHA —Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture — and coordinator of Safe Food Alliance, Tamil Nadu and an organisation called Restore in Chennai.
This was made possible by committed effort and intense dialogue with and amongst farmers by an organisation called Chetna organic. Based in Hyderabad, the organisation started a dialogue with the farmers and initiated the shift towards organic cultivation. Chetna Organic works with farmers in Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Odisha.
In Odisha alone, the company functions in five districts, having five co-operatives, operating in 132 villages, impacting more than 5,000 farmers who in turn are organized into 411 SHGs (self help groups).
While initially the focus was on cotton, today, all crops are cultivated only through organic methods.


“Chetna Organic brought in much more than just sustainable agriculture. While mixed cropping, integrated approach, crop rotation, sustainable and biological practices and self-consumption-first were the focus, they also brought in very valuable principles like natural resources management, food and nutrition security, seed sovereignty, child welfare & education. Thus the whole idea of improving livelihoods with sustainable agriculture was approached in a holistic fashion,” says Mr. Ananthoo.
Their value chain development, for instance, is very impressive.


Farmers are federated into groups and involved in the whole process of the value chain. The local administration bought organic dhal from the farmers’ federation to feed safe food to school children. Safe food for the poorest happened so easily and meticulously.
Almost all of the farmers carried the same conviction and interest.
They were proud of the fact that their own local cooperatives and national level producer company employed management graduates by paying really good salaries.
“Their CEO, an employee, hired by the farmers’ cooperative, is paid on par with the private sector/ MNCs. The pay cheque is being signed by two farmers who are on the board of directors.
“It was very heartening to see the huge storage spaces and local processing units built by the farmers for their own use,”says Mr. Ananthoo.
The processing centres are specifically for the food crops (like dhal processing). Women play an active role in both manual and mechanical processing of the organic food produces.


Chetna Organic Agriculture Producer Company works on training, certifying and establishing sustainable market linkages for all their produce including cotton.
The latter is the backbone as it is essential to have a successful market to bring about sustained interest and encourage more farmers to join in. The produce goes into branded garments in India and abroad.
Mr. Arun Ambatipudi, one of the founders of Chetna says: “Collectivization is the key for improvement of livelihood for small farmers. The other major point demonstrated here is that sustainable agriculture is the only way out for small and marginal farmers.”


“While the Government of India is busy bringing green revolution to Eastern India, It can be a good lesson to learn from such models that leverage on its strengths than copying the mistakes of elsewhere,” says Mr. Ananthoo.
For more information on Chetna Organic readers can , visit,
mobile: 9959300330 and Mr. Ananthoo, co- convener ASHA- Alliance for Sustainable and Holistic Agriculture and coordinator of Safe Food Alliance, email:, Mobile: 9444166779.

Odisha exploring possibility of mining lease grant to L&T

Business Standard, March 20, 2013
Vedanta's ailing alumina refining unit at Lanjigarh (Odisha) shut since December 5 last year on bauxite unavailability can hope for a long-term succor on raw material supplies.

After denying mining lease (ML) to L&T for Sijimali and Kutrumali bauxite  mines way back in 1994 for want of an end-use plant, the Odisha government has softened its stand.

The government has consulted its advocate general over the possibility of grant of ML to L&T which was granted prospecting license for the two deposits in 1992. The two mines spread over Raygada and Kalahandi districts have total deposits of around 300 million tonnes.

"We have sought the views of the advocate general-Odisha on the possibility of granting ML to L&T. Our consideration stems from the recent shutdown of Vedanta's Lanjigarh refinery that has triggered job losses, impacting livelihoods of hundreds of families. Vedanta which has  partnered L&T for the latter's alumina refinery project has requested us to expedite grant of ML for Sijimali and Kutrumali bauxite mines. Grant of ML for these two mines can enable Vedanta to run its refinery as it can act as end-use project for the mines”, said a senior government official.

Advocate General Ashok Mohanty denied comments, citing sensitivity of the matter.

L&T getting ML for the two bauxite leases promises to rescue Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL's) alumina refinery.

In 2005, L&T through a joint venture with Dubai Aluminium (Dubal) had proposed Rs 5000 crore alumina refinery of three million tonne per annum (mtpa) capacity at Rayagada. Though a special purpose vehicle (SPV) called Raykal Aluminium was formed for the purpose, the project remained a non-starter.

Seven years later in 2012 when Dubal walked out of the SPV, VAL bought 24% stake in the project for Rs 200.70 crore. VAL also has an option to buy out the entire 100% stake in the SPV valued at Rs 1811 crore.

VAL officials did not respond to phone calls on the issue.

Since the start of its operations, VAL has been running its Lanjigarh refinery on externally sourced bauxite, sustaining losses of around Rs 3000 crore. VAL had a joint venture arrangement with state controlled miner- Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) for supply of 150 million tonnes of bauxite from the ecologically sensitive Niyamgiri hills with proven bauxite deposits. But, OMC could not open the mine as the Union environment ministry scrapped Stage-II forest clearance for the mine on August 24, 2010.

VAL was forced to go for temporary shutdown of the one million tonne refinery on December 5 last year on bauxite unavailability. Since then, the company has been struggling to obtain the raw material from alternative sources. To operate at full capacity, VAL needed 300,000 tonnes of bauxite every month.

Recently, it had urged the state government to expedite processing of pending applications of OMC, especially those bauxite leases falling under non-forest areas. The company had also urged the state government to explore possibility of excavating bauxite from iron ore leases of Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) and Rungta Mines where deposits have exhausted and these leases are with proven availability of bauxite.

The company had also filed 26 applications for alternative bauxite mining leases of which 14 are at PL stage and the balance 12 at ML stage. These included Karlapat (south), Sasbahumali, Gandhamardhan and Ghusramali to name a few.

Rail roko by KKD at Narla: Demands for extension of Ispat Express to Bhawanipatna

Sambad, March 20, 2013

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Government’s job fair clicks for Kalahandi

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), March 19, 2013

Acknowledging that job opportunities in Government, industry, mining and service sectors are poor in Kalahandi district, a job fair sponsored by State Government proved to be a boon for the unemployed youths.
The results of January 29 job fair revealed that the concept of the Government in organising it through State Employment Mission can give many youths the hope for a bright future. It also offered employment scope to those who were unable to continue studies after primary education, said
District Employment Exchange Officer Bijaya Kumar Patra.
Explaining about the effect, Patra said the feedback received from benefited youths is encouraging. “It is only the beginning and in future, we expect more youths will benefit,” he added. However, Patra said, there is lack of awareness among the youths of the district regarding the opportunities offered by the job fair. According to the review reports, against the target of 3,000, only 2,761 youths were enrolled  through block-level enrolment drive. Of them, 2,061 participated in the job fair held at Bhawanipatna.
Besides, Patra said considering backwardness of the district in almost all sectors, the companies and employment agencies are also not forthcoming. Against the invited 188 private companies, only nine participated in the fair, he added.
The response to the fair in tribal dominated blocks like Thuamul Rampur and Lanjigarh was comparatively less than Bhawanipatna, Karlamunda, Dharamgarh and Kesinga.
According to the reports, in Lanjigarh block, 97 candidates enrolled while only 79 participated in the fair against a target of 200. However, only 26 succeeded in getting jobs.
Similarly, in Thuamul Rampur, 69 enrolled against the target of 200. Of them, 59 participated and 21 got the employment.
On the other hand, in Bhawanipatna block, while the target was to enroll 400 candidates, 630 enrolled with 570 turning up at the fair and 200 getting selected.
Lack of awareness, low standard of education, lack of infrastructure, inaccessibility in many areas and home sickness can be cited as the reasons for less participation of youths in the tribal areas, Patra said.
Emphasising on the need for building adequate infrastructure for the youths of tribal areas, the locals said motivational drives should be conducted with more intensity.

Er. Sumit Rout shared some information related to railway lines in Kalahandi

Note: The information was obtained from personal source of Er. Sumit Rout. Our sincere thanks to him for sharing with us.

(1.1) The survey of new railway line between Titlagarh & Junagarh is a bye-passing line from Norla Road (Extension) towards the C- shape curve (between Lanjigarh Road & G. Ramchandrapur section) of 6 KM only.
(1.2) The new cut-section is only for those trains which will not go Lanjigarh Road Railway Station because to reduce the 30 minutes, which is a waste to rotate the Engine from front to back & back to front.
(1.3) These benifits will get to Superfast & Express trains like Ispath Express, which will run in this route : Titlagarh - Kesinga - Kandel Road - Rupra Road - Norla Road - G. Ramchandrapur - Depur - Bhawanipatna - Kutrumukar - Junagarh.
(2.1) Engine trail between Bhawanipatna - Junagarh section will be upto march end.
(2.2) CRS Inspection will be done with in next 3 months of Bhawanipatna - Junagarh section (after the Completion Engine Trail Process) after that Bhubaneswar - Bhawanipatna Link Express will run, likely uby July/August, till Junagarh.
(3) Sikrapai - Jagsalpatri - Junagarh new survey Railway line is of Western Railway in the state of Gujrat.
(4) The Survey Report & Estimated Cost Report of Junagarh - Bhadrachalam Road & Kantabanji - Jeypore new railway line is covering in 8 Dists. (Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Nabrangpur, Koraput, Malkangiri, Sukma & Khammam) of 3 states (Odisha, Chatisgarh & Andhra Pradesh) will be submited to Railway Board by East Coast Railway by 31st march 2013.
(5.1) The route for Junagarh - Bhadrachalam New Railway Line in the state of Odisha, Chhattisgarh & Andhra Pradesh is :
Junagarh - Maechalla - Moter - Koksara - Ambapani Junction - Paprahandi - Nabrangpur - Boriguma - Jeypore Junction - Boipariguda - Govindapalli - Pangam - Malkangiri - Kalimela - Motu - Konta (C.G.) - Bhadrachalam Town (A.P.) - Bhadrachalam Road Junction (A.P.).
(5.2) The route for Kantabanji - Jeypore New Railway Line in the state of Odisha is :
Kantabanji - Raj Khariar - Dharmagarh - Ambapani Junction (at Ambapani Junction it will be joining  Junagarh - Bhadrachalam Road Railway Line).
(6) Approx. Construction Status :
(6.1) 600 Meter Long Concrete Lifting Grider Bridge over River Hati between Junagarh & Maechalla Railway Station in Kalahandi Dist.,
(6.2) U & C- shape curve turn without any tunnel in Ambapani Mountains, Kalahandi Dist.,
(6.3) 700 Meter Long Concrete Lifting Grider Bridge over River Indravati between Nabrangpur & Boriguma Railway Station in Nabrangpur & Koraput Dist.,
(6.4) U & C- shape curve turn with 4 tunnels in Govindapali Mountains, Malkangiri Dist.,
(6.5) 1.5 km Long Steel Lifting Grider Bridge over River Sabari between Motu & Konta Railway Station in Malkangiri & Sukma Dist. of Odisha & Chatisgarh under South Central Railway &
(6.6) 2 km Long Steel Lifting Grider Bridge over River Godavari between Bhadrachalam Road & Bhadrachalam Town Railway Station in Khammam Dist. of Andhra Pradesh under South Central Railway.
(7) Route Divide in Zones & Divisions :
(7.1) SOUTH CENTRAL RAILWAY, Secundrabad Division :
Malkangiri (Extention) to Bhadhrachalam Road (Extention) Section
(7.2) EAST COAST RAILWAY, Waltair Division :
Malkangiri (Intention) to Jeypore (Extension) & Jeypore (Extension) to Nabrangpur (Intention) Section;
(7.3) EAST COAST RAILWAY, Sambalpur Division :
Nabrangpur (Extention) to Ambapani (Extention), Ambapni (Intention) to Junagarh (Extention) & Ambapani (Extention) to Kantabanji (Extention) Section.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Bhawanipatna DIET gasping for help

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), March 15, 2013

15th March 2013 11:30 AM
Nothing seems right with the District Institute of Education and Training (DIET) at Bhawanipatna. While the institute lacks heavily in infrastructure, teaching has taken a major beating due to poor teachers’ strength.
The Secondary Training School of Bhawanipatna was set up in 1962 and upgraded to DIET in 1988 with 50 seats. Last year, the DIET started providing two-year diploma course in elementary education.
However, of 50 seats, only 35 have been filled up. Though classes were started in November last year, no second selection has been held for the remaining 15 seats till now. Even as the first year examination of the diploma course will be held this month, text books were provided to the students only two weeks back. School authorities informed that in the absence of new syllabus and text books, the students are being taught as per the old syllabus.
To add to the problems, most of the teaching and non-teaching posts in the institute are lying vacant for a long time. Of 20 teaching posts, 15 are vacant. Worse, the existing five teachers have not been paid their salaries for the last one year. Overburdened, these teachers take classes even during summer and Dussehra vacations to finish the course on time.
Principal of the institute Naba Kishore Giri said acute shortage of teachers has hampered education in the DIET. “Hardly any of the existing teachers has taken leave in the last one year,” he said. Apart from teaching staff, posts of office superintendent, technical assistant, PET, librarian, statistical assistant, accountant-cum-steno and junior clerk are lying vacant. Out of six Class IV posts, three are vacant.
“In the absence of staff, co-curricular activities like annual function and sports are not held,” said Murtunjaya Patel, a second year diploma student.
Though the DIET has just one boys’ hostel, it lies in a  dilapidated condition and is in urgent need of repair. While the building has developed cracks at various places, the roof leaks whenever it rains. Out of five lavatories, five are broken. There are no drinking water and mess facilities in the hostel.

‘Q’ leak: Bhakta sees a ‘plot’, shoots off letter to CM

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), March 14, 2013

14th March 2013 11:47 AM
Alleging that the State Government is intentionally making false accusations against him over question paper leak in the Plus-Two examination to damage his reputation, senior Congress leader and Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das on Wednesday demanded a judicial inquiry by a sitting judge of the High Court or an investigation by the CBI into the matter.
 ‘’This is nothing but shifting the blame to somebody else for the mistake committed by the Education Minister and you (Chief Minister),” Das said in a hard-hitting letter to Naveen Patnaik. “It is your duty to review and monitor the education system of the State as the Chief Minister.”
Stating that he had written numerous letters to  him over wagon factory, medical college and other issues concerning the poor people which were ignored, Das said, “when loophole in the system came to the fore, your government is simply trying to shift the blame to me.”
An MP is bound to listen and redress the grievances of the people. He forwarded the request of the students to the department concerned. The students of  Mahalinga Anchalika College had to travel 35-40 km to appear for examination. “But how can an MP of another political party be held responsible for the malfunctioning of the State Government,” he asked.  “Earlier also, you wanted to involve me in the case of Shivaji Majhi and mislead the people of Odisha,” the Congress MP said and added that now the truth is out.
Alleging that there is also a deep conspiracy to defame him in this case, Das said when the first inspection team from Dharamgarh visited the college, the superintendent was away and with the district level consultant (DLC). The DLC called the team and asked them to go back saying there was no need for an inspection.
Two hours later, another inspection team visited and insisted on checking the treasury. The team waited for the superintendent for three hours and found that the seal of one packet was tampered with. Stating that this gives rise to many questions, Das asked what is the system for conducting an examination. Who gave orders for declaring Mahalinga College an examination centre and what role an MP has in this.
Asking whether the superintendent and DLC wanted to keep away from the college deliberately, Bhakta asked who sent a fax message to Khariar College when the team was on its way and why.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Central fund to meet urban challenges

Times of India, By, TNN | Mar 13, 2013, 06.59 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: Major problems of urban poor in city are likely to be solved soon under 'challenge fund' project, a programme launched by Union ministry of housing and urban poverty alleviation last year. The Centre has identified Bhubaneswar and Bhawanipatna among 40 cities in India under the programme to improve socio-economic condition of urban poor. Official sources said the ministry has allocated approximately Rs 51.30 crore under the project.

The challenge fund would help the cities address major constraints in urban development and specifically focus on capacity building for successful urban management and poverty reduction. Technical and financial support will also be extended to urban local bodies (ULB) for adopting and replicating good practices.

Beneficiaries under the fund will be urban poor and other marginalised groups, including women, socially- excluded and disadvantageous groups, pavement-dwellers, disabled and children.

"Urban local bodies of Bhubaneswar and Bhawanipatna would identify areas and issues of the urban poor, which need to be addressed under the scheme. Beneficiary cities can get support for adopting or replicating around four to five good practices," housing and urban development (H&UD) department deputy secretary Anjana Panda told TOI.

Sources said the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) plans to utilize the funds for giving facelift to street vending in the city. "Since the fund would support best practices of urban local bodies, we want to utilize it for streamlining street vending," said a senior BMC officer. "Besides, we will also prepare a plan seeking funds for improving health and sanitation in slums," the officer said.

The beneficiary cities have been asked to rope in civil society groups, research and academic institutions and private sector in taking up innovative poverty alleviation projects. The project proposals should be innovative in nature, where innovativeness is defined as an initiative, which may either be a totally new concept or may have a new approach towards an existing solution, said another H&UD department officer.

The challenge fund will be operational till June, 2016. The Centre has formed a core management unit for overall management of the fund.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Monday, March 11, 2013

Onion belt neglected, cheaper seeds add to woes

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), March 11, 2013

11th March 2013 12:24 PM
Kalahandi is one of the leading onion growing districts of the state along with Balangir, Nuapada and Angul. But the farmers are not getting adequate support at the right time.
This time, not only traditionally the onion growing area has been neglected, even cheaper seed supply that too by private parties has raised suspicion. Post-harvest, the farmers face severe storage problem, but the agriculture department just sits over these issues.
 Because of wrong policy decisions, onion farming has been ironically been discouraged in the traditional belts. In the present rabi season, onion has been grown in 5000 hectares area in the district as against 3037 last year.
Harvesting has slowly begun and is expected to speed up next month. According to Lingaraj Acharya, deputy director of Horticulture, a good yield is expected.
 Bhawanipatna, Kesinga, Narla, M Rampur and Lanjigarh blocks under Bhwanipatna sub-division are the  traditional onion growing blocks. Farmers used to irrigate the crop with water drawn from wells inside the field itself. However in the rabi strategy of current year, there was substantial reduction in the area.
Strangely, more focus was given to new areas like Dharamgarh subdivision that gets enough water from the Indravarai project. The thrust was to utilise water for onion and thus divert farmers from summer paddy. But neglecting the traditional onion belt has raised many questions.
During current year, the Agriculture department has collected 25 quintals of ‘Agro Found Red’ variety of  seeds from the National Horticulture Research and Development Foundation, Nashik. This variety is said to be suitable for the area for it can be preserved for long period of 120-130 days. The seed costs ` 650 per kg but on subsidy it is supplied to the beneficiary farmer at Rs  200 per kg.
However, as against the seed requirement of 560 quintals, only 25 quintals of this variety was made available to the farmers forcing them to look to private traders. In fact, one particular trader supplied N-50 variety of seeds to the farmers raising suspicion. The keeping quality of this seed is 90-100 days and it was made available at much cheaper price of ` 50-100 per kg. Farmers were not aware about the intricacies of quality. As a result in many places there was germination problem. There is allegedly no guarantee certification from where these private seeds are obtained.
Added to the woes of the farmers is the storage issue. As against an estimated assessment of production of 27,400 tons of onion in Kalahandi, there is storage facility of only 1875.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

US NGO joins Vedanta for free cleft lip surgery

newstrackindia, March 10, 2013

Bhubaneswar, March 10 (IANS) A US-based NGO has partnered with Vedanta Hospitals, a multi-specialty healthcare facility set up in Odisha by Vedanta Aluminium Ltd. (VAL), to carry out cleft lip and palate surgeries, the company said Sunday.
Vedanta Hospitals at Lanjigarh in the state's Kalahandi district started these surgeries free of cost a year ago, VAL president Mukesh Kumar told IANS.
"The partnership with Smile Train, a US-based international charity, will leave no stone unturned to treat such cases in the state's Kalahandi-Bolangir, Rayagada and Koraput region," he said.
Cleft lip and cleft palate are birth defects that occur when a baby's lip or mouth do not form properly.
In India, over 35,000 children are born every year with clefts and over 50 per cent of them remain untreated for lack of awareness.
Smile Train conducts free cleft lip and palate surgeries worldwide and has completed more than 80,000 such surgeries. Vedanta Hospital is the only Smile Train Centre in western Odisha, Kumar said.

Examination centre superintendent held

Reported by Sri Anshuman Patra
Orissa Post, March 10, 2013

Monday, March 4, 2013

Jairam Ramesh invokes Rendo Majhi

Times of India, March 4, 2013
By, TNN | Mar 4, 2013, 11.41 AM IST

Jamguda (Kalahandi): Playing to the tribal gallery, Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh hailed the implementation of rights of villagers over bamboo under the Forest Rights Act (FRA) as a tribute to Rendo Majhi, the freedom fighter who pioneered the fight against the British to assert tribal rights over forest produce nearly 150 years ago.

During his visit to the bamboo-rich village of Jamguda, about 55 km from Bhawanipatna district headquarters town of Kalahandi, to hand over the transit permit to tribals, the Union minister said tribals have finally won the battle, started by Rendo during 1883 to 1885. "Tribals have immensely contributed to the country's freedom struggle and this fact is not well known. Like Birsa Munda in JharkhandRendo Majhi too fought against the British to give tribals the right over forest resources," said Jairam, adding Rendo's birthplace would be developed into a tourist attraction.

"Rendo belonged to Lubengad village and he was against the exploitative British administration, which was then putting restriction on collection of forest produce by tribals. He spearheaded a movement along with fellow tribal youths. He was ultimately hanged to death by the British," said Kalahandi MP Bhakta Das. The MP became the first person in the state to buy bamboo directly from the villagers on Sunday. He purchased a tractor-load of bamboo from the gram sabha at a cost of Rs 3,000 after villagers were formally given the transit pass.

Jamguda gets transit pass for bamboo

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), March 4, 2013

Jamguda gram sabha in Kalahandi was on Sunday issued transit pass to sell the harvested bamboo legally under the provision of the Forest Regulation Act 2006.
This is second such initiative in the country with the first one being in Mendhalika village under Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra.
Jamguda gram sabha comprising 64 families had been given community forest rights in 64 hectares of land where villagers had grown bamboo and harvested it in June last year. But the State Government had not issued transit pass to the gram sabha to sell the bamboo in spite of a letter of Union Tribal Affairs Minister KC Deo to the Chief Minister. As a result, bamboo worth `80,000 was destroyed causing loss to the village.
On Sunday, in presence of Deo, Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh and Revenue Minister Surya Narayan Patra, local MP Bhakta Charan Das handed over the official transit pass to the villagers for selling bamboo. Das symbolically purchased the harvested bamboo after handing over the transit pass to villagers.
“Need of the hour is tribal welfare and women empowerment. There is a wrong notion among many that Forest Rights Act is against the tribal dwellers. As far as tribal welfare is concerned, the Government should ensure ‘nasha mukti’ and ‘Naxal mukti’ campaign in tribal-inhabitated regions,” said Jairam. Deo assured that the Central Government would henceforth ensure that the primary collectors of non-timber forest produce (NTFP) are provided the minimum support price (MSP). “There have been allegations that primary collectors of NTFP are not getting MSP for their products,” he said.
Terming it as an historical event, Das said handing over community resources to people at grassroot level will bring in a transformation in their socio-economic condition.
Social activist Sudhansu Sekhar Deo, who has been fighting for the cause of tribal families in Jamguda, said issuing transit pass to the gram sabha will in a way strengthen forest conservation.

Will defeat Reds through development: Jairam Ramesh

Times of India, March 4, 2013

Kalahandi: The Centre would 'fight' Naxalitesthrough welfare and empowerment schemes and protect the tribals from being used as shields by the ultras, Union rural development ministerJairam Ramesh said on Sunday.

"In the name of protecting forest dwellers, Maoistshave created an atmosphere of fear (in society). Our fight against the rebels is continuing. Through schemes for tribal welfare and women empowerment, with a strong political willpower, we will defeat their designs," he told a meeting of Adivasi Adhikar Samavesa at Narla in Odisha's Kalahandi district.

Stating that Maoists were using tribals as shields, Ramesh said the Naxalites' issue can be tackled by strengthening gram sabhas and accelerating political processes and greater participation among forest dwellers.

"As promised, the UPA government has undertaken several developmental schemes for the uplift of tribals and many more are in the offing," Ramesh said.

Jairam also said the tribal villages will be soon be free from the liquor menace.

"Women self help groups (SHGs) have done exemplary works in curbing country liquor sale in some parts of the country. In Kalahandi also, the women SHGs will be strengthened to stop liquor sale and consumption," the Union minister said. "It has to be a social reform. The women will soon launch the anti-alcohol movement in the district," said the minister.

Jairam also said that the draft for national land reform policy is ready. "Representatives of all the states will meet on April 6 to discuss the draft," he said.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo, who also attended the function, said tribals were still deprived as benefits of developmental schemes failed to percolate to them and they should be brought into the social mainstream.

About 5,000 tribals welcomed Jairam at Asurgarh. Tribal leaders from different parts of the state appealed to the minister to fix a minimum support price for forest produce and set up a tribal museum at Asurgarh.

A large number of tribal representatives from different parts of Kalahandi and adjoining districts drew the attention of the two Union ministers to various problems, including the issue of fake caste certificates.

Kalahandi village to get official permission for selling forest produce

Times of India, March 2, 2013

BHUBANESWAR: Jamguda, a remote village in Kalahandi district is perhaps going to the first village in the state to get official permission for selling minor forest produce. Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh and tribal affairs minister V Kishore Chandra Deo are scheduled to visit the village on March 3 to hand over the official transit pass to the villagers for selling bamboo.
The Forest Rights Act (FRA) 2006 mandates individual and community rights to people for whom forest is the home and source of livelihood. But Jamguda, like thousands of such villages across Odisha, are yet to use the community title that empowers them to sell minor forest produce like bamboo and kendu leaf for which a transit permit (TP) is needed. The village came into focus when Union tribal affairs minister Deo wrote a letter to chief ministerNaveen Patnaik in May last year advising the government to allow the village body to exercise its rights for sale of bamboo in tune with the FRA.
Sources in the district said official formalities ahead of Ramesh's visit have been completed and that the minister would hand over the TP to the bamboo buyer, who in this case is none other than local Congress MP Bhakta Charan Das. "My role as a bamboo buyer is only a symbolic gesture. The message needs to go across the state about the benefits of FRA for the people, who for generations depended on the forest with trading monopoly vested with the government. Jamguda is the beginning, first time in Odisha. Money earned from the sale will directly go to the people," Das said.
Political parties, here, however see Ramesh's visit, third in the last two months to the KBK region, as a pre-election exercise to woo tribal voters. Ramesh will also address a meeting of tribal people convened at Narla.
"There is no bar on villages already given community rights to issue TP for passage of minor forest produce like bamboo. The FRA rule was amended in September 2012," said a senior official in the ST and SC development department, government's nodal wing overseeing the implementation of the FRA.
Sources said there were more than 15,000 villages in the state identified for getting community rights as per the FRA provisions. While 2,300 villages have already received the titles, the applications of 6,000 villages are currently being processed, the sources said. "The Odisha forest development corporation ( OFDC) will not harvest bamboo in villages already given community rights," the sources pointed out.

Language labs deal inked

Times of India, March 2, 2013

BHUBANESWAR: The state government on Friday signed an MoU with IIT-Kharagpur to open language laboratories in the college to make students more articulate and presentable in the job market.
Additional secretary, higher education, L N Mishra and IIT Khagargpur representative Sandip Bal inked the pact. As per the MoU, IIT-Kharagpur will run the proposed laboratories and provide all technical support while the state government will provide space in the colleges and Rs 20 lakh fund for each laboratory.
The government has decided to open five such laboratories in the first phase at BJB (autonomous) College (Bhubaneswar), Government College (Bhawanipatna), Rajendra College (Balangir), Government College (Rourkela) and Vikram Dev College Jeypore, government sources said.