Sunday, August 31, 2014

Celebration with A Difference

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Aug 31, 2014
BHAWANIPATNA: The agrarian festival of Nuakhai is celebrated in a different manner in Kalahandi. The festival here does not hold any similarity with other Western Odisha districts and is not celebrated as per ‘lagna’ of Goddess Samaleswari or that of Balangir.
The presiding deity here is Goddess Manikeswari and Nuakhai is celebrated according to the rituals related to her.
The Nuakhai of Goddess Manikeswari falls on ‘Bhadrab Shukla Dashami’ and people partake of the ‘Nabanna’ after offering it to the presiding deity. There was a change in the festival after 28th king of Kalahandi Udit Pratap Deo married Asha Kumari Devi, the only daughter of last king of Sambalpur Narayan Sai in 1867.
The queen brought along some agriculture expert families from Sambalpur and these came to be known as Gountias (big landlords).
They were permitted to celebrate Nuakhai on Rusi Panchami (as per the tradition of Sambalpur) after offering ‘Nabanna’ to local village and family deities. Therefore, in many pockets that were under Gountias, Nuakhai was celebrated on Saturday.
However, in Bhawanipatna, Jaipatna, Madanpur Rampur, Lanjigarh and Thuamul Rampur areas, it will be celebrated on ‘Bhadraba Shukla Dashami’ which falls on September 4.
There is another interesting tradition to the Nuakhai celebrations here.
The temple of Budharaja (Mahakala Bhairaba) on the campus of Manikeswari temple opens only on ‘Mahasaptami’ night after remaining closed for a year. It is again closed on ‘Bijaya Dasami’. So Nuakhai of Budharaja is observed on Maha Nabami after the completion of ‘Chhatar Yatra’ of Manikeswari.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Letter to CM: Give free land and share cost of Junagarh-Amaguda railway line and include Umarkote-Dharamgarh route in highway project

Dear Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Patnaik,
Thank you very much for envisioning two important issues that has been a long-standing demand for infrastructure development in KBK region.

First of all, I heartily congratulate you for announcing Biju Expressway to connect Jagdalpur with Rourkela. This is one of the important routes to connect Western bordering region of Odisha. I am very glad that you have positively considered our request to link NH 200 (Bhella) with NH 201 (Ampani) through this expressway, which has been one of the longstanding demands [1,2]. This route will particularly benefit to connect Koraput, Nabarangpur and Kalahandi regions with Nuapada and Bargarh regions.

However, Umarkote, another bordering town in KBK region of Odisha, is still out of this development. I request you to consider connecting Umakote-Jharigaon-Dharamgarh through a state highway to associate this part of Nabarangpur district with Nuapada, Kalahandi, Balangir, Bargarh and Kandhamal directly.

Secondly, I am also equally impressed with your initiative to share cost for Jeypore-Malkangiri and Nabarangpur-Jeypore railway lines. Kindly recall my letter dated on Jan 26, 2014 [3] appealing to share cost of Junagarh-Malkangiri railway lines in the line of proposed Khordha-Balangir rail lines.

I like to emphasize that Jeypore-Nabarangpur line gives less that 12% rate of return (ROR), but Junagarh-Amaguda has been estimated as 14.67 % ROR.  In 1962-63 parliament was informed that Mr. Parkers had done a survey from Kesinga to Nabarangpur to join Kothavalasa-Kirandul (KK) line because Koraput-Kothavalasa and Koraput-Rayagada are e-special category railway routes having many tunnels and high-level bridges, the speed is limited to less than 50 kmph and number of wagon can’t exceed 30 during mineral transportations in these two routes. Amabguda-Lanjigarh road railway line will make mineral transportation from Kirandul to Visakhapatnam faster and easier. Realizing this Laniigarh road-Junagarh line was approved in 1991 to connect with KK line at Ambaguda via Nabarangpur. 56 km of Lanjigarh road-Junagarh line of this route took 25 years to get completed and survey for Junagarh-Ambaguda portion of this route has been done with 14.67% ROR. If the state Government of Odisha makes this a point and negotiates with the railway ministry to expedite Junagath-Amaguda railway project in a cost-sharing basis, the project will be boosted and Nabarangpur can be in railway map quickly, and Koraput and Nabarangpur can have direct rail connectivity with Western Odisha and South Odisha to further advance socio-economic development in this region.

I urge you to kindly consider building Umarkote-Dharamgarh state highway and give free land as well as share the cost of Junagarh-Amaguda railway line for the benefit of KBK region

Thank you and best regards
Digambara Patra


[1] Grievance to CM (March 3, 2011)
[2] Letter to CM on Feb 19, 2011;
[3] Letter to CM on Jan 26, 2014;

Thanks to Chief Minister of Odisha for considering our appeal

Note: I am also happy because Dharamgarh, Golamunda and Sinapali regions are actual beneficiary in this project. Rourkela to Sambalpur is already express state highway. Sambalpur to Sohela is NH, Sohela to Nuapada is state highway, Nuapada to Bhela is NH, Jagdalpur to Boriguma and Boriguam to Ampani are also NH. Only new expressway without part of NH or SH is Ampani to Bhela which comes under our Kalahandi and Nuapada. This was also our long standing demand to have a NH or SH to link NH 201 (Korsara/Amapani) and 200 (Khariar/Bhela). Here is one of my grievance 3 yrs ago that was forwarded to chief engineer of road by Chief minister office.

The Telegraph. Aug 29, 2014

656-km road to link west & south

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 28: A 656-km road trip from Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh to Rourkela — which at present takes 13 hours — will be reduced to six, once the Biju expressway is completed by 2019 end.
Launching the corridor project, chief minister Naveen Patnaik today said: “Now, it takes 13 hours to go from Jagdalpur to Rourkela, but after completion of this project, it will take just six hours.”
Naveen said: “The expressway will connect many border towns of west and south Odisha and also pass through one of the most backward regions of our state. It will immensely help boost the economy of west Odisha and the KBK districts.”
The corridor envisages an investment of Rs 3,200 crore and will connect eight districts. It will be the link between the west Odisha districts of Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh with four KBK districts — Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada. The roads will be developed in two phases. While the first phase will be over by May 2017, the second phase is expected to be over by 2019 end.
Of the 656-km roads, 51km will pass through Koraput district, 48km through Nabarangpur, 100km through Kalahandi, 120km through Nuapada, 141km through Bargarh, 54km through Sambalpur, 26km through Jharsuguda and 116km through Sundargarh district. In the first phase of this project, 254km will be converted into four lanes and 402km will be made a two-lane stretch. Out of this 402-km stretch, 250km will be made four-lane and the rest 144km will remain as two-lane.
The BJD, which is yet to establish its supremacy in the west and south Odisha even after 14 years in power, aims to reap benefits from the corridor. The expressway was launched two days before the Nuakhai festival, a famous festival of west Odisha and KBK region.
The ruling party is, therefore, leaving no stone unturned to perpetuate the legacy of the leader after whom the expressway is named.
Naveen, who has won four back-to-back elections invoking the Biju magic, is trying to make the most of this famous name. Though Naveen has bettered his father’s record as chief minister, he realises that the larger-than-life image of Biju babu still fires the imagination of the Odias.
Biju Patnaik, Naveen’s father, is credited with the establishment of Paradip port and the construction of the famous expressway to the port. The spree of naming schemes after Biju babu started after Naveen became chief minister of the state in 2000.
Reacting to this, leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra said: “If we critically analyse various schemes announced by the state government in the past 14 years, we can easily conclude that it is much ado about nothing. Most of the projects, either fully funded by the state or centrally sponsored, have not taken off.”
Stating that using Biju Patnaik’s name in various schemes or projects amounts to disrespect to the legendary figure, Mishra said: “The present economic corridor will not be that helpful for socio-economic development of west Odisha, which has been neglected over the years. The area badly needs irrigation for development of agriculture, agriculture infrastructure such as cold storage, market and agro-based industries instead of such projects. Construction of roads may be necessary, but it should not be at the cost of agriculture and allied activities.”

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik inaugurates Rs. 3200 crore Biju Expressway Project

NOTE: I am very happy that part of our demand has been heard by Odisha Govt. and CM. As some of you might be realising that we have been writing to CM since past 6 years to have a highway for the route Bargarh-Padampur - Nuapada –Sinapali – Golamunda – Dharamgarh – Moter – Jaipatna – Mangalpur – Deopali – Muran – Kolab – Dooduma (Koraput). I am thankful that at least Bargarh to Dharamgarh and Ampani have been included in this proposal. We will continue to demand in next round to include Moter-Jaipatna-Mukhiguda-T. Rampur-Kashipur and Junagarh - Karalapat Kiapadar- Kalyansingpur as other highways. We should also make shortest possible road routes to Titilagarh, Rayagada and Lanjigarh from Bhawanipatna that will help Bhawanipatna as a commercial center

Orissadiary, Aug 28, 2014

Report by Sambit Samal, Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today inaugurates Biju Expressway Project at State Secretariat in Bhubaneswar. Biju Expressway will pass through 4 KBK districts, 4 districts of Western Odisha. This was informed by the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

The project cost will be Rs. 3200 crore. Biju Expressway project will help in economic development of people of Western Odisha, KBK districts said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. 

“ This project aims at connecting four districts of western Odisha — namely Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundergarh with four KBK districts — namely Koraput, Nawarangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada. This Expressway will connect many border towns of western and south Odisha and also passes through one of the most backward regions of our state. Development through infrastructure building has always been at the top of our agenda. Socio-economic growth always follows quality road connectivity. Biju Expressway will be immensely helpful in boosting the economy of western Odisha and KBK districts, “said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. 

CM Patnaik further added that, “This massive connectivity network will help boost agriculture, trade & commerce, and social sector development. It will also support our initiatives in mainstreaming socially and economically backward people. I believe it will usher in an era of development, progress, peace and harmony. In the first phase of this project, 254 kilometers will be convened into four-lanes and 402 kilometers will be made two-lanes. In the second phase, 258 kilometers will be made four-lane. The total project outlay is Rs.3200 crore. The first phase will be completed by May 2017 and the second phase is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. Now it is taking a long 13 hours for travelling from Jagdalpur to Rourkela. After completion of this project, it will take just six hours to travel this distance.” 

CM Patnaik said that we had made a promise in our election manifesto to connect northern and southern Odisha with an Express-way passing through KBK regions and Western Odisha. I am happpy, that today, we are taking a concrete step in this regard.

About Biju Expressway Project  
Socio-economic growth always follows quality road connectivity. Hence through  many schemes Govt. is making all out efforts to improve road connectivity in all regions of the State. In 2006-07, Vijaywada-Ranchi corridor was a step in this direction. Bifurcating the state of Odisha into two geographical parts, it has improved administrative efficiency in extremist affected hinterlands of the state and helped boost the economy of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Angul, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Koraput by providing connectivity to ports, industries, and developed markets in and outside the State} After V-R corridor the gap in connectivity sector lies in KBK districts like Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Nuapada and border towns of Western Odisha. 
In order to improve the socio-economic condition of these districts, Govt. of Odisha has already proposed to construct Lower Indra Irrigation Project which will irrigate an Ayacut area of 29900 Ha. in Blocks Khariar, Boden, Bangomunda, Muribahal & Titilagarh. To tap the growth in agriculture construction of an Expressway demands added priority. To meet the above need, an economic corridor from  JAGDALPUR to ROURKELA  to be named as BIJU EXPRESSWAY has been planned which will pass through four KBK districts, namely, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi & Nuapada and four districts of Western Odisha viz. Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh. The corridor will connect border towns such as Chandli, Boriguma, Nabarangpur, Papadahandi, Ambapani, Dharmagarh, Sinapali, Bhella, Nuapada, Paikamal, Padampur, Sohella, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh & Rourkela.
- See more at:

Patnaik launches Rs. 3,200 cr Biju Expressway project

The Hindu Business Lines, Aug 28, 2014
Odisha government today launched Rs. 3,200 crore economic corridor between Jagdalpur and Rourkela, as promised during the last elections.
“The project aims at connecting four districts of western Odisha like Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, and Sundergarh with four KBK (Kalahandi—Balangir—Koraput) districts namely Koraput, Nawrangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada,” Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said after launching the Biju Expressway project here.
The expressway will also connect many border towns of western and south Odisha like Chandli, Boriguma, Nabarangpur, Papadahandi, Ambapani, Dharmagarh, Sinapali, Behella, Nuapada, Paikmal, Padmapur, Sohela, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundergarh, and Rourkela.
As the expressway would pass through one of the most backward regions of the state, KBK region, it would help boost its economy, the chief minister said.
Besides boosting agriculture, trade and commerce, and social sector development, Patnaik said Biju Expressway would support the state’s initiatives in mainstreaming socially and economically backward people.
In the first phase of the project, 254 km road will be converted to four—lanes and 402 kilometers to be two—lanes. In the second phase, 258 km will be made four—lane. The total project outlay is Rs. 3200 crore, officials said.
On the funding of the project, a senior official at the road and building department said, “The state has already started 4—laning from Rourkela to Sambalpur (160 km) through PPP mode while 4—laning from Sambalpur to Sohella via Bargarh (74 km) to be funded by Ministry of Road Transport & Highways.”
Both the state and the Centre would bear the expense to be made in the project, he said.
While the first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed by May 2017, the second phase completion target has been fixed by end of 2019.
Currently it requires 13 hours to travel from Jagdalpur to Rourkela and, after completion of the project, the distance could be covered only in six hours, officials said.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Indravati boat tragedies haunt cut-off villagers

Times of India, Aug 24, 2014
,TNN | Aug 24, 2014, 01.33 PM IST
BHAWANIPATNA: The world has come crashing down for Phulmati Majhi, 28, of Padepadar village of Thuamul Rampur block in Kalahandi district. She lost her father, husband and son when the boat they were travelling in capsized in the Indravati reservoir on August 20. They were all going to work in a factory at Tikri near Kasipur in Rayagada district.

"My husband, Anta Majhi, 32, used to earn from fishing in the reservoir. On the fateful day, my son Ramesh, 15, had gone with him with his matriculation certificate to get a job in the factory. My father, Jayati Majhi, 55, had also accompanied them," said Phulmati. Their bodies, besides that of Bhuban Sahu, 48, were fished out from the river after 48 hours of rescue operation.

Phulmati has received Rs 15,000 as compensation from the Red Cross fund and Lanjigarh MLA Balabhadra Majhi has announced to arrange Rs 1.5 lakh for each victim from Chief Minister's Relief Fund. The assistance cannot take away Phulmati's sorrow. "My family is devastated. I have a 12-year-old son and nine-year-old daughter. How can I feed them? What do I do?" Phulmati asked.

The recent drowning is not an isolated case. According to official records, 78 people have drowned in the reservoir in boat mishaps since 1999. Unofficial reports put the toll at 202 in15 years.

Around 3,000 people live in 20 villages of three gram panchayats ? Malijubang, Talnagi and Adri ? in Thuamul Rampur block. These villages are situated on the hills surrounded by water and have to cross the river by 80 wooden boats from eight different ghats.

These villages are practically cut off throughout the year and there is no electricity connection though some have solar lights. People have to cross the Indravati for livelihood and health check-up. Locals said teachers hardly attend the school because it is dangerous to cross the river.

"These villages come under Indravati project affected area. The people have refused to move out of the reservoir area even after getting compensation," said collector (Kalahandi) Bijaya Ketan Upadhyay.

The government has opened schools and anganwadi centres in the area and had provided four motorboats, he added. Only one motorboat is now functioning. "Two new boats of Rs 8 lakh each will be provided in the area within 10 days," said Upadhyay.

The foundation stone for Indravati project was laid by the then Prime Minister Morarji Desai on April 4, 1978, at an estimated cost of Rs 208 crore. The total expenditure went upto Rs 1,427 crore when the project was completed near Mukhiguda.

The project with 600 MW power generation capacity and irrigation benefits is located in Kalahandi and Nabarangpur districts. The reservoir is 43 km long and nine km wide at its widest point. The maximum depth of water in the reservoir is 71 metres.

After construction of the dams and formation of a reservoir, 97 villages (44 from undivided Koraput district and 53 from Kalahandi) were affected and 32,530.87 acre of land acquired displacing 17,000 people.

Displacement was carried out in four phases ?1989, 1990,1991 and 1992. Those who did not opt to be displaced are still living in the villages. A 160-metre-long hanging bridge at an estimated cost of Rs 14.5 crore has been sanctioned by water resource development department to connect Kenduguda Ghat with Chepta Ghat in the area.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

MBBS Students in the Lurch

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Aug 21, 2014
BHAWANIPATNA : Uncertainty looms large over the fate of first batch of students who took admission to the MBBS course of Sardar Rajas Medical College and Hospital, set up by Tamil Nadu-based Selvam Education and Charitable Trust at Jaring in Kalahandi district. While the medical college has no adequate faculty and infrastructure, the hospital functions with skeletal staff.
The medical college has been virtually lying closed since May after re-examination was conducted for the first year students. Though three months have passed since the examination, the college is yet to reopen for classes.
The Medical Council of India (MCI) had approved 100 seats for the medical college for 2013-14 academic session with the condition that it would meet infrastructure and staff requirement. Accordingly, medical college went ahead with the admission to the seats.
However, this year, the MCI barred admission to the medical college as infrastructure was not upgraded and staff strength was not increased. Following this, a team from the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) recently visited Sardar Rajas Medical College and Hospital and reviewed the situation. They expressed concern over the sorry state-of-affairs.
On April 1, 2004, the MoU was signed between Selvam Educational and Charitable Trust and WODC to set up the medical college and hospital. After prolonged public agitation, the construction work of the medical college was started.
For the `100-crore project, it was agreed that WODC would contribute `10 crore in eight installments on the basis of progress of the work and the State Government would provide 25 acres of land on lease. The Selvam Trust constructed a building for the medical college and hospital, hostels for students and other structures. However, the project ran into problems.
Though the hospital has 300 beds, it lacks adequate medical staff in most of the departments and infrastructure facilities. The MCI representatives visited the site twice in 2011 and once in 2012. The medical college failed to get MCI approval as it lacked infrastructure and staff.
The trust had earlier declared that admission would begin for 2008 academic year. Even then, members of MCI had expressed their reservation over the number of doctors and other facilities in the hospital.
Protesting the sorry state of affairs in the college, the locals staged demonstration several times in the past. They demanded intervention of the Government to ensure functioning of the college as per schedule.
Chairman of WODC, Kishore Mohanty, said the committee during its visit found lack of basic infrastructure, teaching and medical staff. Even the hospital is non-functional. “The State Government will be apprised of the situation and requested to take over the institute for public good,” he added.

Uncertainty on functioning of KV at Dharamgarh

Reported by Sri Anshuman Patra
Dharitri, Aug 21, 2014

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday, August 11, 2014

Odisha Submits Its List of Smart Cities to Centre

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Aug 11, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: The State Government submitted a proposal to the Centre to cover 10 urban centres under the Rs 100 Smart Cities’ plan.
The proposal was submitted to the Centre by Minister of State for Housing and Urban Development Pushpendra Singhdeo at the recently concluded meeting of the State Urban Development Ministers convened by the Centre.
The urban centres are proposed in Bhubaneswar, Puri, Cuttack, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Bhadrak, Balangir, Jajpur, Jeypore and Bhawanipatna.  Official sources said though modalities for the scheme are yet to be prepared, the State Government has submitted its proposal. The State Government is yet to receive any guideline from the Centre for identification of the urban centres to be included in the scheme.
In its first budget, the NDA Government had announced the scheme of smart city. A provision of `7,060 crore has been made in the budget for the scheme with each urban centre to get `70.6 crore.
Official sources said since the funds provided in the budget will not be adequate to develop the urban centres under the scheme, financial assistance from financial institutions will be required for its implementation.
The concept of Smart City is a vision of an urban space that is livable and ecology-friendly, technologically-integrated and meticulously-planned with the use of information technology. India is rapidly urbanising and a study suggests that nearly 60 crore people will be living in cities by 2030 as against 29 crore reported in 2001 census.
Odisha is also not far behind though the rate of urbanisation is comparatively slower than many other States.
Meanwhile, in a bid to give a facelift to urban infrastructure facilities in and around Bhubaneswar, the Housing and Urban Development Department has proposed a corpus fund of `1,000 crore.

Highest Rainfall in Five Years

The New Indian Express, Aug 11, 2014
BHAWANIPATNA: Kalahandi district recorded highest rainfall of 618.67 mm in July in the last five years. It was the third highest in the last 15 years. But the flood situation was not critical compared to earlier years.
In July 2009, the district received 911 mm and in 2006, 816 mm. The heavy rainfall had induced severe flood situation in almost all rivers running through Kalahandi.
During the month this year, maximum 1577 mm of rainfall was recorded in Thuamul Rampur block which is the originating place of Indravati and Nagabali rivers and major catchment area of Indravati project.
Besides, 698 mm of rainfall was recorded in Jaipatna, 619 mm in M Rampur, 614 mm in Bhawanipatna, 611 mm in Kesinga, 723 mm in Kalampur and 638 mm in Lanjigarh.
As many as 725 houses were damaged due to the flood in rivers Hati, Tel and their tributaries.
While highest 225 houses were damaged in Thuamul Rampur block, in Junagarh, Kalampur, Jaipatna, Bhawanipatna and Golmanda, 154, 136, 31 and 44 houses were damaged respectively.

Friday, August 8, 2014

2 New Dairy Plants in Odisha on Anvil

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), Aug 8, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday announced that the Government will set up two dairy plants in a bid to encourage the farmers. The new plants, each with a capacity of processing 30,000 litres of milk per day, will be set up at Angul and Keonjhar.
Inaugurating a national symposium on ‘Women empowerment through dairying’, Naveen said the Government also proposes to establish two ice-cream plants, one at Bhawanipatna and another at Sambalpur, and a cattle feed plant on the outskirts of the Capital.
He said the State’s milk production has increased from 1.4 million tonnes per annum in 2006-07 to 1.78 million tonnes in 2013-14. About 80 per cent of the total milk is generated by small holders and the rest by dairy cooperatives. As many as 800 dairy cooperatives are being managed by women.
Odisha currently produces about 112 gms of milk per day per capita against the national average of 290 gms. Highlighting the growth possibilities in dairy farming in the State, NDDB Chairman T Nanda Kumar laid out some ground rules to boost milk production. They are genetic improvisation of cattle quality, balanced ration for cattle feed and strengthening the dairy cooperatives. NDDB’s priority was to include 50 per cent women in cooperatives as dairy farming was increasingly becoming a tool for socio-economic development, he added.
Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy said present cattle population in the State stands at 1.23 crore. The Government has increased milk prices in two phases to provide adequate margin to dairy farmers. Chief Secretary GC Pati said the Government is committed to the cause and would work towards enlisting more women dairy farmers in cooperatives.
The two-day conference was organised by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) where women dairy farmers from Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal, Bihar and Odisha participated.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Over one lakh stuck, hundreds rendered homeless in Odisha flood

Decan Chronicle, Aug 6, 2014
Bhubaneswar: Over one lakh people were marooned and hundreds of people were rendered homeless in Odisha as most of the rivers in the state, flowing over their danger marks, breached its banks at several places on Tuesday.
In Jajpur, several villages remained cut-off as water of the Baitarani river started overflowing on Monday evening.
More than 13 panchayats in Bhadrak district and five villages in Balasore district have been flooded.
Special relief commissioner Pradipta Mohapatra said that rescue forces have  been sent to the flooded districts with food medicines and drinking water to evacuate the stranded people.
“The state government has geared up its machinery to meet the flood challenges. So far, we have succeeded fully in reaching out to the affected people," Mr Mohapatra said.  
Road communicationns in Keonjhar district was disrupted due to floods.
Salagan, Chandanpur, Madhapur and Managobindpur villages under Badasahi block of Mayurbhanj district have been flooded by Gangahara river.
In Kalahandi, road communication has been disrupted due to  Hati river flowing at a height of three feet over Hati bridge at Junagarh.
In Bolangir  the Tel river was flowing at a height of five feet over Siletapada bridge.

RTI reveals NREGS irregularities

Times of India, Aug 5, 2014
,TNN | Aug 5, 2014, 09.17 AM IST
Bhawanipatna: Names of 40 workers in Kalahandi district have allegedly been forged in the muster roll for a pond-digging work under MGNREGS, an RTI query has revealed.

The application was filed by Madhaba Sunani of Khandi Dangriguda village, about 60 km from here, in Kalampur block.

The reply to the query said the 40 never applied for digging of the pond in the village at the cost of Rs 3 lakh in 2012-13.

The workers have submitted a written complaint to BDO, Kalampur, Padmanav Samantray, alleging that Rs 49,191 has been misappropriated by reflecting that they worked for seven days.

The workers also claimed records show a temporary shed was built near the construction site at a cost of Rs 3,297, but no such shed was constructed and the money was siphoned off by panchayat staffers concerned. They also alleged while Sriram Bhati had actually supplied drinking water on the site, a bill of Rs 7,722 has been generated, showing the work was done by Debraj Majhi and Luje Bhati.

Sriram is yet to get payment for water supply, the villagers alleged.

Samantray said he personally inquired into the work and found nothing was manipulated in the records. He said the project cost was Rs 5 lakh and Rs 2 lakh is still pending. The amount would be utilized in October, he added.

Collector (Kalahandi) Bijay Ketan Upadhyay said he has instructed the BDO to bring all the records and bills to district rural development agency office and further inquiry will be made.

Friday, August 1, 2014

10 Cities For Smart Tag

Note: Thanks to Pushpendra babu for including Bhawanipatna in 10 smart city tag proposal by the state Govt. We shall focus in this issue to take it further, July 31, 2014
Bhubaneswar : 31/July/2014 
Even as Narendra Modi-led Government at the Centre, in its maiden union budget, announced building 100 smart cities across the country, the modalities of which are yet to commence, the State Government has already proposed to cover 10 cities under the ‘100 smart cities’ plan.
Housing & Urban Development Minister Puspendra Singh Deo informed the Media men here that the State Government has already proposed names of 10 cities to the Central government for the purpose. At a recently concluded State Urban Ministers Conclave, he had officially given the proposal to the Centre.
The names of cities the State Government has proposed include Bhubaneswar and Puri, which are already covered under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JnNURM).  While Cutack has been declared a heritage city, two more cities have declared as new municipal corporations Rourkela and Sambalpur and other cities include Bhadrak, Bolangir, Jajpur, Jeypore, and Bhawanipatna.

However, Kendrapara municipality has not been enlisted in the proposal of the State given to the Centre. On the other hand, Kendrapara MP Baijayant Panda said recently that he has proposed inclusion of the city under ‘Smart City Plan’ and a proposal was given by him to the Central government. He expressed hope that his proposal would be considered.  
Elaborating further, Mr.Singh Deo said, “We have only given the proposal of 10 cities to the Centre. The modalities for the smart city plan are yet to be prepared. We have not yet received any plan from the Centre either about modalities or about identification of cities. When we will receive detailed information from the Centre, we will work out what best can be done”.
Notably, in his maiden budget speech, Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had made the grandiose promise of building 100 smart cities as part of Modi’s acche din vision. He has also allocated Rs 7,060 crore which is little over Rs 70 crore per city. Since the funds allocated for each city are not enough and it is unlikely that the government will have the resources to fund for building smart cities, it was hinted in the budget that the government would relax norms for foreign direct investment (FDI). In the meantime, France, Japan and Singapore countries have been contacted for collaborating in the projects.

The concept of smart city, sources reveal, is a vision of an urban space that is liveable and ecologically friendly, technologically integrated and meticulously planned with the use of information technology. Notably, the country is fast urbanising and a study suggests that nearly 600 million of people will be living in cities by 2030 as against 290 million reported in 2001 census.

Odisha is also not far behind although the rate of urbanisation in the State comparatively slower than many other states.