Sunday, June 30, 2013

Vedanta awaits Odisha government's report to resume Lanjigarh operations

Economic Times, June 30, 2013
MUMBAI: Vedanta Aluminium is awaiting Odisha government's report on long-term raw material supply to its Lanjigarh alumina refinery in the state before resuming operations at its unit, that has been lying closed for the past seven months, say company sources. 

The aluminium firm had closed its 1-million tonne Odisha refinery last December due to shortage of bauxite, the key raw material for aluminium production. 

"We are awaiting the ministerial group formed by Odisha government to come up with proposals for long-term supply of raw material to industrial units like ours. The report is slated to be out by anytime now. We plan to resume operations after the report comes," the company source told PTI. 

The company had, earlier, said it would resume operations by June-end or early July with alternate arrangements for bauxite supply from other sources. 

When asked about the alternate arrangement, the source said the company had taken note of the cancellation of export orders of bauxite from Gujarat in the last few days, and hoped ore prices would come down, which would help it arrange for cheaper raw material from the state. 

He, however, added the company will specify its detailed plans of procuring raw material from other states once Odisha government releases its report. 

On mining in the Niyamgiri hills, for which the Supreme Court had asked it to get permission from the Gram Sabhas, the source said the state government is working on the same.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Odisha rejects Deo's allegation on Niyamgiri mining project

Business Standard, June 29, 2013
 government today rejected the allegation of collusion with Vedanta Group to push its controversial bauxite mining project in Niyamgiri hills. 

"We are not working for Vedanta. The state government functions as per the  of the land," state SC/ST Development Minister L B Himirika said. 

He was reacting to Union Tribal Affairs Minister V 's allegation that the state was colluding with the private company on its bauxite mining project and suppressing the rights of affected 

Deo had in a strongly-worded letter to Governor S C Jamir recently requested him to invoke his constitutional powers to protect the interests of tribals. 

He had claimed that the state government was "treating with scant respect," Supreme 's order on April 18. 

Stating that he was unaware of Deo's letter to the Governor, Himirika said the state government was abiding by the Supreme Court order and was ready to hold the Gram Sabhas. 

Though the state government has decided to hold Gram Sabhas in 12 hill villages in Rayagada and Kalahandi districts, the Ministry of Tribal Affairs was in favour of holding it in all the affected villages. 

"As the Supreme Court has not mentioned the number of villages where Gram Sabhas will be held, the state government has decided to hold it in 12 places," ST/SC Development Secretary Santosh Sarangi said. 

The state government would take the advocate general's view on the Supreme Court's order, Sarangi said. 

The apex court had directed the state government to complete the Gram Sabhas within three months of receiving the order.

BJP seeks relief code change to help flood-hit

Times of India, June 29, 2013
BHUBANESWAR: Close on the heels of the recent flash floods in tribal-dominated southern districts,the BJP on Friday demanded change in relief rules for the benefit of people residing in hilly and forest areas to avail government assistance.

"The relief code makes one eligible for assistance only if the house or agriculture field remained under water for more than 48 hours. But this situation never happens in hilly areas where inundation occurs instantly after heavy rain and causes heavy damage to crop and houses," BJP state president K V Singhdeo told media personshere. He said a proposal for amendment to the existing relief code provisions had been pending with chief minister Naveen Patnaik for more than five years.

Referring to the current flood in Hati river in Kalahandi district, the BJP president said proposal for construction of the right canal of the Indravati project had also been pending with the government. "The chief minister is also sitting over the canal plan," he said.

Singhdeo questioned the government's preparation to avert flood damage and said Nagabali river has changed its course threatening Rayagada town. "If no immediate action is taken the town could face devastation," he cautioned.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Government not sincere in compensation to ryots'

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), June 28, 2013
State Government is not sincere in paying compensation to the farmers of Kalahandi who sustained heavy loss due to two consecutive floods and heavy rain, said former minister and president of Samata Kranti Dal of Odisha Braja Kishore Tripathy and former MLA Surendra Patjoshi.
They were speaking at a press conference here on Thursday.
“Ten days after the crops were damaged, assessment is yet to be completed. Foul smell of damaged paddy has filled all the village streets and mandis. The farmers are frustrated,” said Tripathy.
Even after eight days of issue of tokens to farmers in the mandis, paddy brought by farmers has not been weighed and lifted by millers, said Tripathy. He alleged that administration is at the mercy of the millers who are not cooperating.
“There is no coordination between the Irrigation and Agriculture departments. Besides, the Indravati project authority delayed the release of water to the canals by one month for the summer crop. The water was released in January and therefore the harvesting could not be completed even by mid-June,” he added.
Adding to the farmers’ problems, the procurement process and opening of mandis were also delayed by the Government.
Tripathy said the Government should ensure that in the farmers get proper price at the mandis.
Besides, in lieu of damaged Paddy in the field and the threshing ground, a compensation of Rs 10,000 per acre should be paid, he added.

Centre pulls up Odisha government for reluctance to hold gram sabhas, despite Supreme Court ruling

Economic Times, June 28, 2013
NEW DELHI: The Centre has raised concerns over Odisha government's reluctance to let all the gram sabhas in Raygada and Kalahandi districts decide the fate of Vedanta's alumina refinery and bauxite mining project in Niyamgiri as per the Supreme Court. 

Odisha government has told the Centre that it will conduct gram sabhas in only 12 villages of the two districts, a person familiar with the matter told ET, adding that the state government took this position after its law department advised it to read the apex court's final order in conjunction with the interim order. Taken aback by this interpretation, the Centre has taken up the issue with both Chief Minister Naveen Patnaikand Governor SC Jamir. 

Union Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo has shot off an urgent letter to the governor. "There is an urgent need for your intervention to safeguard the constitutional protection, guaranteed to the tribals and inhabitants of Rayagada and Kalahandi districts which are located in Schedule V areas," the minister has written. "It is also unfortunate that the directions of the Supreme Court are being treated with scant respect by the state government of Odisha which intends to hold gram sabhas only in 12 villages." 

The Supreme Court had in a landmark decision in April linked the continuance of theVedanta project to the Dongria and Kutia Kondh tribes' culture and religious rights. The apex court had asked the state government to conduct gram sabhas in all the villages of the two districts to gauge whether the tribals felt that their religious rights to worship their deity Niyam Raja, just 10 km from the mining site, was infringed upon by the project. The tribal affairs ministry, which was asked to coordinate the entire process, had laid down steps to arrive at the exact number of villages where the forest dwellers had customary religious and cultural rights. 

The state government has, however, said that it had received such claims from just a dozen villages. The Union ministry has challenged this claim, telling the state government that the ministry has received copies of several claims under the Forest Rights Act for rights, including religious and cultural rights, over Niyamgiri forests and sacred areas from people in villages other than the 12 cited by the state government.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

1,731 houses damaged in Kalahandi floods

Zeenews, June 27, 2013
Bhawanipatna: With flood waters of Hati river receding in most places of Kalahandi, the district administration on Wednesday said a total 1,731 houses have been affected in the calamity besides damage caused to 165 roads and culverts due to flash flood in three blocks. 

Official sources said about 30,000 people living in 63 villages in Kalampur, Junagarh and Jaipatna blocks have been hit by the flash flood. 

"About 1,650 houses are partially damaged, 50 severely damaged and 31 fully damaged in the flood and torrential rain in the district as per the preliminary assessment," said Kalahandi district collector Govind Candra Sethy. 

He said in the interior areas of Thuamul Rampur block rural connectivity was badly affected. 

The right main canal of Indravati project had breached in four places and at two points at Brahman Kenduguda near Kalampur, he said, adding it was now a priority to repair this canal in view of the Kharif season. 

Meanwhile, the waters of Tel river is swelling and low lying areas of Patharla and some areas of Belkhandi, located in the confluence of Tel and Utei rivers and famous for its Shiva shrine, have been submerged by its water. 

Bhawanipatna sub-collector Satyanarayan Dash, who visited Belkhandi said the eighth century Shiva temple is surrounded by water and five persons who were stranded in it have been rescued by Odisha disaster rapid action force. 

The situation is, however, under control and revenue and irrigation officials have been asked to keep close watch, he added. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Odisha flash floods affect generation at Indravati hydro power station

Business Standard, June 25, 2013
Heavy rainfall in the upper end of Hati river has affected generation at  power station. As the weather department has warned about more rainfalls in next 48 hours, generation at other stations in south  could get affected too, officials said.

The Odisha Hydro Power Corporation () has decided to shut operation at Mukhiguda (Indravati) hydro power station due to heavy rain at the upper end of the river. , which houses the 600 Mw hydro project, received 23 cm rainfall Sunday, the highest, showed data from Bhubaneswar branch of Indian Meteorological Department ().

Reservoir levels at Upper Kolab is currently at 850 meter against highest capacity of 857 meter, at  it is at 2,708 feet compared with full capacity of 2,750 feet and at Indravati the level is at 632 meter, only 10 meter down from top level of 642 meter.

“If it rains continuously for a couple of days and causes flood-like situations, then we might have to halt generation at Kolab (320 Mw) as well. About Machkund, the Andhra Pradesh energy department will take a decision. Generation at other stations will not be hampered,” said an official of OHPC without wishing to be named.

The weather department has predicted more rainfall in these areas in next two days.

“Heavy to very heavy rainfall may occur at one or two places over south interior Odisha and costal Odisha with extremely heavy rainfall at one or two places during next 48 hours,” said a warning notice on the local weather office website today.

The flood water is flowing at a height of above five feet over  at Bhawanipatna and road communication between Bhawanipatna and Nabrangpur has been snapped. As many as five villages of Kalampur block have been marooned in this flash flood.

While the road communication between Junagarh and Dharmagada State Highway has been cut off, the temporary bridge passing through the Junagarh-Kalampur road was washed away, sources said.

The state government has, meanwhile, alerted the district collectors about impending flood in the area.

“All the collectors of the concerned distrcist in south Odisa have been asked to stay alert should some emergency arises. The collector of Kalahandi has been directed to visit Mukhiguda canal and take necessary steps,” said Surya Patro, state revenue and disaster management minister.

Floods in last week had affected as many as 17,000 ha farm fields in four districts of south Odisha.

Water receding in Hati, another river rising in Kalahandi

Business Standard, June 26, 2013
Though water level of river Hati has been gradually receding, it is on a rise in the Tel, another major river of flood hit Kalahandi district, official sources said. 

Two blocks of Kalahandi district were affected by the flood as water continued to flow on roads. Low lying areas were still submerged by the flood water of the Hati. 

Flood water was flowing about three feet above a river bridge at Junagarh disrupting road communication for the second consecutive day today on the NH-201. 

Hundreds of cars, trucks and buses were lined up in both side of the bridge, the sources said. 

Water level from marooned villages of Biripur, Matikhal, Balichada, Karmeli, Bankapala, Temra and Paruaguda of Kalampur block and Kotengaon, Chikli, Talmala, Sahajkana, Bargaon Malipada and Habaspur under Junagarh was gradually receding. 

In Paruaguda village of Kalampur block, free relief for 500 villagers was arranged by the district administration. 

Kalahandi collector Gobind Chandra Sethi visited the several marooned villages in Kalampur and Junagarh blocks.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Language labs ready for four government colleges

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), June 25, 2013
The English language labs project of the Department of Higher Education (DHE) will be functional from 2013-14 academic session. The language lab facility will be available for both degree colleges and their associated junior colleges. The DHE had earlier this year signed an MoU with IIT-Kharagpur for the purpose.
While the DHE had decided to set up these labs in 10 colleges, five each in private and government, the project is complete in four government colleges. Those are BJB College at Bhubaneswar, Government College at Rourkela, Rajendra College at Balangir and Vikram Dev College at Jeypore. The one at Government College of Bhawanipatna will be ready by September this year as the building in which the lab would be set up, is under construction.
While Rs 80.73 lakh has been spent on the four labs, the total project cost of English language labs is ` two crore. Since spoken and soft skills (computer knowledge) are pre-requisites for getting jobs, the need for starting these labs was felt by the State Government, officials said. Emphasis will also be laid on developing group discussion skills, body language and communication skills of the students in these labs. The IIT-Kharagpur had prepared a project cost for 24-seater and 32-seater labs.Sandeep Pal of the Centre for Advanced Communication, IIT-Kharagpur, said the institution had invented an Interactive Software Integrated Learning System (ISILS), an updated electronic tool coupled with digital courseware for language and communication skill development. “Each lab will be equipped with one computer for each student, projector screens and other demonstration equipment,” he said.
DHE officials believe that interactive language labs would go a long way in teaching effective communication skills to the students. “The skills acquired by them from the labs would stand them in good stead in getting better jobs in the government and private sector,” said Mihir Das, officer in-charge of Performance Tracking Cell of DHE.

Rain paralyses South, West Odisha; 1 killed

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), June 25, 2013
One person died in Nabarangpur after the low pressure over coastal and north western Bay of Bengal triggered heavy rain over Southern and Western Odisha sending Hati river into spate for the second time in a month. Junagarh and Kalampur blocks of Kalahandi district bore the brunt of the torrential downpour as several villages were marooned and people had to be evacuated.
The Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force has been called for assistance. Reports coming in from the districts to the Special Relief Commissioner’s Office said Kalahandi district received torrential downpour in the last 24 hours.
The SRC office said ODRAF teams from Balangir have been deployed in Kalahandi while fire-fighters have been mobilised to conduct relief and rescue operations. The rain, it alerted, may continue for another two days.
In Nabarangpur’s Chandahandi block, one death was reported following heavy rain and flood. The block received 211 mm rain affecting over 3700 villagers.
Revenue and Disaster Management Minister SN Patro said collectors have been asked to provide relief to the affected villagers while reporting the situation to the Government at regular interval.
The India Meteorological Department said the southwest monsoon has become active over the State under influence of the low pressure lying close to coastal Odisha and north-west Bay of Bengal. As a result, rainfall occurred at most places with heavy to very heavy falls recorded at one or two places.
“Since the system was slow in its movement, it is gaining strength. We also expect rain in coastal Odisha in next 24 hours,” said IMD, Odisha Director Sarat Chandra Sahu.
The weather office said heavy to very heavy rain may occur over south and coastal Odisha with extremely heavy rainfall at one or two places over south interior pockets. Similarly, heavy rainfall may occur at one or two places over north interior districts during next 48 hours.
Since strong and gusty surface wind speed reaching 45 km to 55 km per hour may prevail along and off Odisha coast, fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Imports to revive Vedanta's Lanjigarh refinery

Business Standard, June 19, 2013
Jayajit Dash

After exhausting its options to source bauxite from the domestic market,  Ltd (VAL) is mulling importing the raw material to resume operations at its .

The one-million alumina refinery has remained shut since December 5, 2012, on bauxite crunch and VAL has been making frantic efforts to restart the plant. The company recently announced it would resume operations of the refinery by the end of this month.

"We are looking at the possibility of importing bauxite as it will enable us to restart operations of the refinery quickly. VAL is exploring the possibility of  from countries like Indonesia, Tanzania, and Australia. We hope to work out a deal in the next four-five days," said a senior company official.

Although imported bauxite will be costlier for VAL, the firm is considering the option for the time being amid a hostile regulatory environment that has led to the suspension of many bauxite mines and also a lack of firm commitment from private miners on supplies.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Niyamgiri mining not to affect tribals, claims SGAT

Business Standard, June 20, 2013
The  (SGAT), a body of pro-mining lobbyists, today said that the bauxite mining project at Niyamgiri Hill in Kalahandi district will not affect the lifestyle and cultural rights of  living in the area.

"There is no habitation or cultivation on top of the Niyamgiri hill. The Dongria Kondhs live on the hilly slope far away from the proposed mining area. The apprehension that the proposed mining will adversely affect the lifestyle, culture, cultivation, tradition of the primitive tribe is totally unfounded," a presentation prepared by SGAT claimed.

The Supreme Court, on April 18, this year had ruled that the mining project in the Niyamgiri Hills will have to get clearance from the gram sabha or village councils, which will also consider the cultural and religious rights of the tribals and forest dwellers living in Niyamgiri hill range saddling across two districts of Rayagada and Kalahandi.

"Gram sabha can also examine whether the proposed mining area, Niyama Danger, 10 kms from the peak, would in any way affect the abode of Niyam Raja (tribals' deity). Needless to say, if the bauxite mining project, in any way, affects their religious rights, especially the right to worship their deity, that right has to be preserved and protected," said the apex court order in April.

The SGAT said, the proposed mining project at Niyamgiri Hills will not impact the religious rights of the tribals. "The proposed mining area is located 10 km away from the abode of Niyam Raja. There is no possibility of mining operations affecting the religious rights of the tribal people and neither the abode of the deity will be affected in anyway," it said.

The state government has decided to hold gram sabhas in 12 villages of Rayagada and Kalahandi districts. This has been objected by the Union Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) and a host of non-government organisations (NGOs) including human rights watchdog Amnesty International, who want gram sabhas to be held in more number of villages. The state government has sought legal opinion on expanding the scope of gram sabha to more villages as desired by the MoTA.

The recent opposition from the central ministry is likely to delay the process. The SGAT made a scathing attack against the Centre for deliberately creating hurdles in the voting process.

IMR, MMR alarming in Maoist-hit Odisha districts

The Statesman, June 20, 2013
press trust of India
KORAPUT (Odisha), 20 JUNE: The infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR) in 11 Maoist-hit districts including the Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) region were alarming, Union Health Secretary Keshav Desiraju said. Bolangir tops IMR, among the 11 districts, with 98 per 1,000 live births followed by Kandhamal at 86 against the state average of 59.
Barring Bolangir, the average MMR in the other 10 districts is 297 per one lakh deliveries against the state average of 237. Bolangir alone records MMR of 212 against one lakh deliveries, official sources said. Mr Desiraju reviewed functioning of the Centrally sponsored National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) here.
District Collectors and chief district medical officers of Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Sonepur, Boudh and Bolangir attended the review meeting, the sources said. In the meeting, shortage of doctors, lack of maternity waiting homes and health centres, absence of proper road communication to shift serious pregnant women to nearest health centres and typical health behaviour of tribals wherein they rely more on traditional healers than doctors were discussed. Out of 4,359 doctor posts, 1,206 are lying vacant in the state. There are as many as 460 vacancies in the 11 districts. “We hope the situation will improve once the recruitment process is over,” said state health secretary PK Mohapatra, who accompanied Mr Desiraju.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Succour for crop loss in 15 days

Times of India, June 19, 2013
BHAWANIPATRA: The state government is planning to provide compensation of at least Rs6,000 per acre to farmers for crop loss they sustained during the rain fury and flash floods in certain parts of the state, panchayatiraj ministerKalpataru Das said here on Tuesday.

"We have decided to pay the amount on the basis of preliminary survey report. After assessing the total damagethe actual amount of compensation will be decided as per the relief code. The amount may go up when we get the final report," Das told reporters here.

Das and food supplies and consumer welfare minister Pratap Keshari Deb visited four villages in Kalampur block of Kalahandi district on Tuesday to assess the crop loss due to recent floods. The ministers interacted with farmers of worst-affected Matikhaal, Biripur, Gumakhal and Kalampur panchayats.

Das said the government has sought the final report of crop loss within seven days from the district administrations, which would be submitted to chief minister Naveen Patnaik. The compensation would be announced within 15 days, he said. The government may announce a special package to farmers whose harvested paddy was damaged, lying in open mandis.

Deb said the government had targeted to procure 50 MT of paddy during rabi season in Kalahandi. The government has already crossed the target and procured 55 MT. Since there is a bumper harvest, officials have been instructed to further increase the target by another 35,000 quintal as early as possible.

When asked about insufficient sheds in mandis, which caused heavy damage, Deb said, "It is impossible to build sheds in all mandis. We are planning to construct 50 sq metre of concrete floor with sheds in most of the mandis to prevent damage during rainfall."

Two days of torrential rain had flooded five blocks in Kalahandi district damaging 21,039.45 acre of farmland affecting 10,000 farmers.

ARSS withdrew from constructing bridge over Hati river near Junagarh

Reported by Sri Debendra Bisi
Sambad, June 18, 2013

Monday, June 17, 2013

Orissa govt plans Bailey bridges in tribal districts

Times of India, June 17, 2013
Orissa government is planning to construct Bailey bridges to connect inaccessible hamlets in hilly terrains of tribal-dominated Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) districts which remain cut-off during the rainy season. The Bailey bridge, a portable, pre-fabricated steel bridge, was developed during World War II for military use.
Last month, state SC/ST development department wrote to the collectors of Kalahandi, Nabrangpur, Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Kandhamal and Gajapati seeking the number of Bailey bridges required in each district. State SC/ST development secretary Santosh Sarangi said the government preferred such bridges as construction of conventional bridge is not feasible in several parts of these districts.
"During the rainy season these habitations remain cut-off and provision of health facilities, movement of mobile health unit, availability of PDS material get adversely affected. For example, in Kalahandi district, blocks like Lanjigarh and Thuamul Rampur remain inaccessible during Monsoon. Once we get the details of the total requirement from the district collectors we would move the planning and coordination department about the necessary budget," Sarangi said.
The span of each such bridge would be between 40 to 300-feet with load-carrying capacity of 30-70 tonne. The bridges can take between 45 days to 2 months to install and can cost between Rs 15 lakh to Rs 2 crore. Kolkata-based Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers , a central government undertaking under the Ministry of Defence, will construct the bridges.
The state government has already constructed handful of such bridges. In Maoist-affected Kandhamal district, two Bailey bridges have come up.

Benefits elude construction workers in Kalahandi

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), June 17, 2013
17th June 2013 11:34 AM
Most of the construction workers in Kalahandi are not getting benefits of various welfare schemes of the Government because of slow registration process by the labour office here.
The labour office neither has adequate staff nor a regular District Labour Officer. As per the record of the labour office, since 2009-10, only 10,770 workers have been registered which is around five per cent of the total workers engaged in construction works in the district.
Moreover, the district does not have a regular Labour Officer. The Assistant Labour Officer of Dharamgarh is working as in-charge Labour Officer of Bhawanipatna and there is only one clerk to assist him.
Official sources said as the Assistant Labour Officer has to manage two offices, he is not always available at the Bhawanipatna office. Workers returning without getting their names registered at the labour office is a regular affair. Besides new registrations, disbursement of benefits to the registered workers is also poor. So far, only 200 workers have been provided cycles and tools, they added.
The registered workers are entitled to accidental death benefits and normal death benefit to the legal heir of the worker, Rs1000 worth of items like glove, helmet and shoe after one year of registration, financial assistance to purchase cycle after three years, working tools worth Rs 4000 after two years, Rs 80,000 assistance for house building after five years, health assistance in case of major diseases and education stipend to their children.
In this context, executive committee member of Akhil Bharatiya Construction Majdoor Mahasangh Biranchi Panda said, “Due to absence of a regular District Labour Officer, the benefits meant for construction workers are not reaching them.”  He said as per the norms, the worker should get registration certificate within 45 days of registration but this is not the case here. In many cases, it takes six months to get the certificate, he added.
Besides, due to lack of awareness among workers about the benefits, most of them are not coming forward to register their names and even registered workers are unable to apply for the benefits, Panda said.
He demanded appointment of a regular District Labour Officer at the earliest to expedite the scheme and render quick relief to workers. He further demanded the Labour Department to launch awareness campaign about registration of the construction workers and benefits meant for them.

Rain damages stored paddy, CM asks for report

Times of India, June 17, 2013
BHUBANESWAR/ BHAWANIPATNA/KORAPUT: Hundreds of bags of paddy lying in the open as well as thousands of hectare of standing crop were damaged by heavy rain inKalahandiRayagadaKoraput andNabarangpur districts, forcing chief ministerNaveenPatnaik on Sunday to ask the collectors concerned to give a report within a week.

Naveen, during a video conference with collectors of the affected four districts to take stock of the situation, instructed officers to ensure farmers did not face problems in storing paddy at market yards. He also asked the officers to complete repair of roads within three days and submit report on disbursement of house building assistance within seven days. At least 650 houses in 22 blocks of Koraput, Kalahandi and Nabarangpur have been damaged, official sources said.

The CM further asked panchayati raj minister Kalpataru Dasfood supplies minister Pratab Deb and revenue secretary Taradatt to visit the affected the districts to review the situation.

In Kalahandi, flash flood, caused by incessant rain, in Hati river damaged paddy crop over 21,000 acre of farmland and around 770 quintals of harvested crop, said collector (Kalahandi) Govinda Chandra Sethi quoting preliminary reports. "Without getting permission the farmers had stored their produce at most of the open mandis, leading to germination following incessant rain," he said, adding, "The farmers would get their price after final assessment of the damage."

Official sources said in Kalahandi's Junagarh block around 2,500 acre of standing crop was hit by rain, followed by Dharmagarh (4,011 acre). "The officials are estimating that average 15 quintals per acre could be compensated to the flood-hit farmers. The administration is estimating the loss after visiting the standing crop on farm land, ripe crop kept in thresholds and open mandis," said tehsildar (Junagarh) Jayanta Kumar Prusty.

Villages like Biripur, Balichhada and Matikhal under Kalampur block in Kalahandi remain cut off due to heavy downpour though the situation is said to be under control. In Koraput, farmers blocked NH-26 near Kumuliput under Jeypore block in Koraput district for hours demanding adequate compensation for their crop loss.

Former Koraput MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati held the state government responsible for massive loss of both harvested and standing crops in Koraput and threatened mass agitation demanding complete waiver of agricultural loan to farmers.

Crop in 1500 acre damaged in Odisha

Times of India, June 16, 2013
BHUBANESWAR/BHAWANIPATNA: At least 1,500 acre standing paddy crop and thousands of bags of paddy lying in mandis were damaged in incessant rain in Kalahandi and Koraputdistricts even as flood water started receding on Saturday, government authorities said here on Saturday.
"Preliminary assessment suggests standing paddy crop was severely hit in the two districts. Harvested paddy is lying in the open in mandis, mainly in Kalahandi, and 500 houses in different districts were also damaged," revenue and disaster management minister S N Patro told TOI.

Sources said the paddy stock waiting procurement had germinated in various mandis of Kalampur, Junagarh and Dharmagarh areas of Kalahandi. Above 4,000 quintals paddy had sprouted in over 15 mandis in the district. Farmers alleged that lack of sheds and delay in procurement had ruined their entire crop. Similarly, standing crop was washed away in several localities. "While my standing crop in 4.5 acre of paddy was swept away, produce in the rest 3 acre was spoiled in the mandis," said Mahendra Meher, a farmer of Matigaon village under Junagarh block.
Kalahandi collector Govinda Chandra Sethi said the extent of loss is being assessed. "After stopping procurement for two days due to heavy rain, millers have started lifting paddy from the mandis again," he said. Around 2.76 tonnes of Rabi paddy was produced in the Indravati irrigated area. According to official sources, only 93,996 quintals of paddy from 1,622 farmers were bought before heavy rainfall while the rest lie in the mandis.
The minister said due to heavy rain on June 13 and June 14, normal life was affected in Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Gajapati and Rayagada districts. The situation improved on Saturday with no fresh rainfall.
Water level in Hati and Vansadhara rivers, which flowed above the danger mark on Friday, receded on Saturday. Vansadhara had swelled to at 54.91 metre, up from the danger mark of 54.6 m, at Kashinagar in Gajapati district on Friday. The level has come down to 53.58 metre, the minister said. Besides Nabarangpur and Borigumma highway, which was disconnected due to rain has been restored, the minister said. Nagabali bridge in Rayagada district, which was affected, has also been repaired, he added. "We have asked the district collectors to remain alert. There is no report of any loss of life or injury to anyone due to the flood. The exact property damage is being assessed as per the relief code," the minister said.
Special relief commissioner Pradipta Kumar Mohapatra said the situation has become normal. "Rain water has receded. We are keeping a close watch ," Mohapatra said.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Rivers in spate in west, south Odisha

Times of India, June 15, 2013
BHAWANIPATNA/ KORAPUT/ BHUBANESWAR: Incessant rain has swelled Hati and Vansadhara rivers, cutting off at least three gram panchayats in Junagarh block and damaging hundreds of acres of farm land in certain parts of the state, especially Kalahandi. 

Official sources said on Friday said both rivers were flowing below the danger mark. "There is no flood situation anywhere in the state," special relief commissioner P K Mohapatra told TOI. 

In Kalahandi, heavy rain since Wednesday resulted in Hati river flowing about four feet water above a bridge, disrupting National Highway-201 and leaving commuters and vehicular traffic stranded. Roads connecting Junagarh to Dharmagarh and further to Nabarangpur, Koraput, Nuapada and neighbouring Chhattishgarh were disconnected. Due to stone sliding at some places, the Singharighat road from Kalamur to Thuamul-Rampur was affected. Thuamul-Rampur block recorded 310 mm rain, followed by Kalamur (240 mm), Junagarh (215 mm) and Jayapatna (204 mm). 

The water level over Hati bridge started receding as heavy rain stopped on Friday morning at Junagarh, officials said, adding, it will take a day to before commuters could cross the bridge. The administration has blocked both sides of the bridge to avert any untoward incident. 

Collector (Kalahandi) Govinda Chandra Sethi said the roads will be cleared on Saturday morning as the gates of Indravati reservoir have been closed. The gates were opened day on Wednesday following heavy rainfall. 

Fears of flash floods, however, receded in Koraput district with rain lessening its intensity. On Friday, the southern Odisha district registered an average of 109.9 mm rainfall as against the district's average rainfall of 157 mm on Thursday and Wednesday. Kotpad recorded the highest of 219 mm rain. "The situation would have gone beyond control if the intensity of rain would not have decreased. With the decrease in rainfall there is no flood situation in the district," said district emergency officer (Koraput) Ramesh Pradhan. 

Train services, which was disrupted between Koraput and Rayagada on Thursday following a landslide and had blocked tracks at Lilligumma, about 70 km from Koraput, resumed after railway authorities cleared the blockades. The Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express and Koraput-Rourkela Inter-city Express were cancelled on Thursday due to the landslide which was triggered by incessant rain that has been lashing the southern districts for the past few days. 

In Rayagada, the situation improved with the district experiencing less rain. Officials said, water level in Bansadhara, Nagabalia and Jhangabati rivers have receded. Water at Bansadhara at Gunupur had touched 83 metres against its danger level of 84 metres on Thursday. "There is no fear of a flood in Rayagada as a decrease in rainfall has been recorded. There is no report of any loss of property or causality. Road communication has not been hit," said collector (Rayagada) Sashi Bhusan Padhi.