Friday, October 31, 2014

Centre to Lend A Helping Hand in Road Projects

The New Indian Express, Oct 31, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: Of the 559 km Biju Expressway, launched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in August, the State Government will construct only 258 km, while the rest will be laid by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
Besides, most of the funds provided for construction of the Expressway have been drawn from the Central Government schemes and will be funded by the Ministry.
The State Government had launched Rs 3,200 crore economic corridor between Jagdalpur and Rourkela in August, as promised during the last elections. Out of the 656 km corridor, 559 km will be in Odisha and the rest in Chhattisgarh.
The State Government has admitted to a query through the RTI that the four-laning of 160 km road from Rourkela to Sambalpur has already been started under public-private partnership (PPP) mode. Besides, the four-laning of the Expressway from Sambalpur to Sohela via Bargarh of 74 km will be implemented by the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways.
According to the reply furnished by State Government, the two-lane road between Sohela and Nuapada via Padampur of 119 km will be executed by the State Government under the State Highway Development Programme (SHDP). The four-laning of this part of the project will be implemented in the second phase after land acquisition.
Construction of two-lane road from Nuapada to Bhella will be taken up by the Ministry. The 139 km road from Bhella to Ambapani via Godabhanj, Dharamgarh and Sinapalli will be laid under SHDP. However, two-laning of 42 km long Expressway from Ambapani to Chandli via Borrigumma will be executed by the Ministry.
The project aims at connecting Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh with the four KBK districts of Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada. The Expressway will also connect many border towns of western and south Odisha like Chandli, Borrigumma, Nabarangpur, Papadahandi, Ambapani, Dharmagarh, Sinapalli, Behella, Nuapada, Paikmal, Padmapur, Sohela, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh and Rourkela.
In the first phase, 254 km road will be converted to four-lane and 402 km to two-lane. In the second phase, 258 km will be made four-lane. The total project outlay is Rs 3,200 crore, out of which Odisha will contribute a minimum amount.
While the first phase of the project is scheduled to be completed by May 2017, the second phase will be over by 2019-end.

Swachh Bharat Mission Kicks off in Kalahandi

The New Indian Express, Oct 31, 2014
BHAWANIPATNA: The District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM) launched the Swachh Bharat Mission in Kalahandi district on Thursday. Collector Bijayaketan Upadhaya flagged off the awareness campaign which aims at promoting the importance of hygienic environment in rural areas.
Inaugurating a workshop organised on the occasion, Upadhaya stressed on awareness among the people on cleanliness. He suggested the officials of DWSM to involve folk artistes and use folk media to change the mindset of people at the grassroot level.
According to official figure, only 51 per cent of BPL families and 60 per cent of APL families have toilet facilities in their houses in the district. But, most of the toilets constructed for BPL families are lying defunct or unused. Similarly, more than 374 schools and 376 Anganwadi centres do not have toilets.
Speaking at the workshop, MLAs Balabhadra Majhi and Anama Naik insisted on making the district open defecation-free through a mass movement involving political representatives, social workers, Government officials and citizens. They expressed concern over the lack of toilet facilities in most of the educational institutions.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Vedanta hopes to get over bauxite impasse in 3-4 months

Business Standard, Oct 28, 2014
London-listed Resources, the diversified metals and mining major, hopes to get over the impasse on supplies to its Lanjigarh refinery in three to four months.

The one million tonne refinery is running at below its rated capacity by sourcing bauxite from states like Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand and also imports from Guinea and other countries.

“The state government has assured us that they are working on 2-3 alternative bauxite mines for our Lanjigarh refinery. They will take up the matter with the central government and have assured that bauxite from these sources will be made available in 3-4 months”, Vedanta Resources chairmantold media persons after meeting chief minister Naveen Patnaik. Agarwal also called on the state chief secretary G C Pati and Aditya Padhee, additional chief secretary.

It may be noted that the gram sabha had recently given its consent to Vedanta’s bid to expand refinery capacity six fold to six million tonne per annum. The capacity expansion would mean Rs 10,000 crore expenditure to the already invested Rs 52,000 crore over 10 years to build alumina, aluminium and facilities at Lanjigarh and Jharsuguda, respectively.  The metal major expects to achieve the planned capacity upgrade within a year of getting all approvals.

To feed its Lanjigarh refinery, Vedanta was eyeing Sijimali and Kutrumali deposits across Kalahandi and Rayagada districts over which engineering giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T) had got prospecting license (PL) more than two decades ago.

But L&T did not get a mining lease (ML) for these bauxite mines since it had no end-use project. However, Vedanta had entered into a pact with L&T to source bauxite from the twin mines with combined reserves close to 300 million tonne.

After being denied access to the Niyamgiri bauxite deposits of Mining Corporation (OMC) following tribal protests, the state government recently allotted three laterite bauxite mines in Koraput district with a combined deposit of three to five million tonne of bauxite in favour of Vedanta, as short-term relief.Today, the Vedanta Group chief also got an assurance from the state government to use power generated from its 2400 Mw coal-fired plant near Jharsuguda to run its smelting facility nearby. The company was unable to use this power for the aluminium smelter as it was not a captive facility and was built as an independent power project.Sesa Sterlite, a Group firm, also has 1200 Mw captive power plant (CPP) at Jharsuguda.

“To run a two million tonne smelter, 3600 Mw power is needed. The government has assured us that we can use full power for smelter operations and all clearances would be given in 15-20 days”, said Agarwal.

Sources said, Vedanta may enter into a tri-partite agreement with the state government and power distribution company, Wesco before being able to use its IPP power for the aluminium smelter. If necessary, the status of the IPP could be changed from IPP to captive power unit, sources said.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Language Labs for Eight More Colleges

The New Indian Express, Oct 26, 2014
BHUBANESWAR: English language labs will come up in 12 Government colleges and six non-Government colleges of the State.
Last year on March 1, the Higher Education Department had signed an MoU with IIT-Kharagpur for setting up the labs in five Government and as many private colleges. However, it was decided to extend the project to a few more colleges in wake of the demand.
Some of the Government colleges where the labs will be set up are Khallikote College at Ganjam, Government colleges at Angul, Bhawanipatna, Sambalpur and Government Women’s College at Keonjhar and MPC College at Baripada. While the labs at Government colleges are coming up at a cost of `two crore, cost of those in private colleges is being worked out.
The private colleges identified under the project are Gopalpur College and City College, Ganjam; SR College, Balasore; UN College of Science and Technology, Cuttack; Baba Saheb Ambedkar College at Gajapati and DAV College, Balangir.
Since spoken and soft skills (computer knowledge) are a pre-requisite for getting jobs, the need for starting these labs was felt by the State Government.
Sources in the Department said IIT-Kharagpur has been asked to visit the identified private colleges to study infrastructure requirements and submit the feasibility report.
Sandeep Pal of 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 that will be used in the proposed labs.
“Each lab will be equipped with one computer per student, projector screen and other demonstration equipment,” he said. IIT-Kharagpur has been asked to prepare project estimate for 24-seater and 32-seater labs. Work will be started in the current academic session.
Laboratories apart, the Department is contemplating to take the help of Cambridge University to train college teachers in English teaching.
As per the proposal, English language teaching training modules developed by Cambridge University will be used to train English teachers of junior colleges during the summer vacation.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Friday, October 17, 2014

Congratulation to Santosh Kumar Kar for receiving Paryavaran Mitra Puraskar from Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate change and Center for Environmental Education

A Paryavaran Mitra teacher is one who demonstrates his/her commitment by adopting a sustainable lifestyle, attitudes and behaviour. Reflecting this with the children, he or she is becoming a role model true to the values promoted by the programme.

Teachers are the key facilitators of the programme. They support and guide students in developing the qualities that will make them Paryavaran Mitra. In engaging students in enquiry and action, and promoting development of knowledge, skills and values, they are achieving their ambition through curricular and co-curricular activities.
Projects impart deeper meaning and relevance to the teaching and learning by expanding far beyond the usual models and charts. An action project consists of a series of planned activities designed to achieve a specific objective in a given time. Though activities may not be formally part of the curriculum, they help to show the linkages between different subjects and aspects of a single topic.

Santosh Kumar Kar , Jaya Durga High School, Narla Road , Kalahandi, Odisha got this award from Ministry of Environment , Forest and Climate change and Center for Environmental Education. This program was supported by UNESCO, ACELOR MITTAL, UNEP and Thunja.

Appreciating and acknowledging good work not only motivates the doer but also provides an opportunity to learn. With this belief, Centre for Environment Education (CEE) organized Paryavaran Mitra Puraskar (National Event) on October 14, 2014, to acknowledge the exemplar efforts in Paryavaran Mitra.

A total of about 2500 schools responded and submitted their entries in school, teacher and student categories. Through a long process of scrutiny at state level by experts in the field of education and environment that included government officials, 96 schools, 65 teachers and 57 students were nominated for the national level Puraskar.
A National Committee comprising of eminent experts in the field of education, environmental education, and environmental solutions short listed 15 schools, 14 teachers and 15 students for the Paryavaran Mitra Puraskar at national level.
The National Jury evaluated the short listed entries and identified 4 best amongst these based on contextual connection in terms educational-linkages to curriculum and classroom activities, local environmental issues, role of students, teacher and other stakeholders, outreach/dissemination of results, outcomes, effort in documenting and providing evidences, sustainability and replicability of action, mobilization of resources, information etc.

The dignitaries at the felicitation event were:-
1.    Dr. Ashok Khosla, Chairman, Development Alternatives; Former Director, UNEP and Former President IUCN
2.    Dr. G V Subrahmanyam, Advisor, Ministry of Environment, Forests, and Climate Change
3.    Shri Devinder Arora, CSR Head, ArcelorMittal India
4.    Shri Prasad R. Menon, Chairman, Tata Singapore Airlines
5.    Shri S.K. Mukherjee, Ex Director, Wildlife Institute of India
6.    Dr. (Ms.) Shobita Punja, Chief Executive Officer, National Culture Fund
7.    Ms. Kalpana Sharma, Independent Journalist/Columnist
8.    Dr. Mahfuza Rahman, Faculty, Gauhati University, Geography Department.
9.    Shri Kartikeya V. Sarabhai , Director, Centre for Environment Education
10.    Ms. Mamata Pandya, Senior Programme Director, CEE 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


The Pioneer, Oct 14, 2014

Associate Professor of Department of Chemistry, American University of Beirut, Digambara Patra on Saturday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to include Bhawanipatna, Balangir and Jeypore in the Smart City scheme.
In a letter to the PM, Patra apprised that the State Government also proposed to include the three cities in the scheme. “We are hopeful that the Centre will be kind to consider the State’s proposal to include the three towns even though the population of each of these towns is less than 200,000,” he said.
He noted that population of towns/cities in hilly regions of the country, including those of Himachal Pradesh and north-eastern States, is always low. The KBK region is considered like a hilly region.
Creation of new smart cities across Odisha would help it achieve all-round development, he stated.
He mentioned that while development in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri and Khurdha has been phenomenal, Rourkela, Sambalpur and Angul are emerging as industrial cities.
However, the KBK region located far away from the State capital and the Sambalpur-Rourkela region are lagging behind although they have a great potential for development based on bauxites mining, tourism and agriculture. Kalahandi has emerged among the top 25 rice-producing districts in the country, he apprised the Prime Minister.
If Bhawanipatna, the district headquarters town of Kalahandi and located centrally in the KBK region, is developed as a smart city, it would impact a large part of socially backward and mineral rich portion of the State. It would also bring economic growth and social development to the neighbouring Chhattisgarh State, he asserted.
He further brought it to the notice of the Prime Minister that a local train and inter-city link among Balangir, Bhawanipatna and Jeypore would certainly trigger development in the KBK region.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Letter to PM: Make Bhawanipatna, Balangir and Jeypore as smart cities and immediately establish a direct rail link between these cities

The Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Modi

Honorable Chief Minister of Odisha, Mr. Patnaik
Honorable Urban Development Minister Mr Naidu
Honorable Railway Railway Minister Mr. Sadananda Dowda

Dear Honorable Prime Minister Mr. Modi,
I am happy to learn that your Government is taking few good steps towards overall sanitation and development across the states within India. The development to minimize the difference between coastal and hilly region is appreciable, for instance proposal to include some coastal and some hilly region in smart cities proposal is praise worthy. However, there are still few challenges regarding geographical inequality within the states.

Earlier most of the time development was confined to within 200 km radius of a particular region. Specifically, in Odisha it was limited to Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri and Berhampur and in few instances Rourkela and Sambalpur. However, recently state Govt. is slowly changing this orthodox mind set and considering to bring locations in KBK region which are not only located far from coastal cities of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Puri, Balasore etc., but also far from north western cities like Rourkela and Sambalpur. I must welcome inclusion of 3 towns of KBK region for the new six STPI in Odisha by both the state and central Government.

The state Government has also proposed to include Bhawanipatna, Jeypore and Balangir in the smart cities. We are hopeful the center will kindly look into the matter sympathetically and consider to include these three towns despite the population of these towns are less than 200,000.  It should be noted that population of towns/cities in hilly regions of India including those of Himachal Pradesh, North Eastern states, etc. are always low. KBK region in Odisha is considered like North Eastern states and Himachal Pradesh.

Recently Odisha is emerging as a fast developing states in India. All around development of the state is quite important for inclusive growth of the country. It is in the interest of the Odisha state to develop new smart cities across the state by distributing in different geographical area.

Primarily, development around state capital Bhubaneswar, which includes other nearby cities like Cutatck, Puri, Khordha, etc has been phenomenal, similarly Rourkela-Sambalpur-Angul is emerging for mining based industries. However, KBK region of the state is located far away from the state capital and Sambalpur-Rourkela region and is lagging behind in industrial development, although this region has a great potential in development based on bauxites mining, tourism and agriculture. Kalahandi has emerged as a top 25 rice-producing district in the nation.

The district headquarter of Kalahandi, Bhawanipatna, is centrally located among all the KBK districts and also among the tribal dominated South Western Odisha which is far from state capital. However, instead of developing a urban city with all modern facilities, higher education, service, and industries, the state Govt. was earlier concentrating Sambalpur and Berhampur with the respective regional tag as Western Odisha and Southern Odisha, which hindered overall urban development of KBK region.

Development of this urban area like Bhawanipatna into a smart modern city will impact a large part of socially backward and mineral rich portion of Odisha. It will also bring economic growth and social development to the neighboring Chhattisgarh state. Considering all aspects, union Govt. of India had already identified Bhawanipatna along with Bhubaneswar in Odisha under the program to improve socioeconomic condition of urban poor.

The twin cities Bhubaneswar-Cuttack lack metro facility. Similarly, a local train and inter-city link could be made between Balangir, Bhawanipatna and Jeypore to trigger development within KBK region, which will be in the line of Rourkela-Jharsuguda-Sambalpur and Sambalpur-Angul-Cuttack/Bhubaneswar railway lines.

Therefore, I urge to consider sympathetically Bhawanipatna, Balangir and Jeypore for smart cities and immediately establish a direct rail link between these cities along with a metro train for Cuttack-Bhubaneswar-Khordha.

Thank you

With best regards

UGC Nod for Seven Community Colleges

The New Indian Express, Oct 13, 2014
BHUBANESWAR : The University Grants Commission (UGC) has allowed seven colleges of the State to implement the community college scheme this year. The Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) had earlier withdrawn the scheme from the State in the wake of several discrepancies and lack of preparedness in implementation of the scheme by the colleges concerned.
The colleges are Bhawanipatna’s Government Autonomous College, Maharaja Purna Chandra College at Baripada, Keonjhar’s Dharanidhar Autonomous College, Fakir Mohan Autonomous College at Balasore, Khallikote Autonomous College in Ganjam, Government Autonomous College at Rourkela and Jeypore’s Vikram Dev College.
The UGC has, however, laid down a set of conditions that needs to be met by the colleges prior to implementation of the scheme. Two of the most important conditions are enrolment of at least 50 students to start the community college and industry-college tie-up in the region concerned. The colleges have been asked to advertise for admission of students to the community colleges.
The seven community colleges will offer courses such as Diploma in Tourism and Hospitality Management (THM) and Diploma in Retail Management.
While the colleges to be opened in Government Autonomous College, Bhawanipatna; Maharaja Purna Chandra College, Baripada; Dharanidhar Autonomous College, Keonjhar and Fakir Mohan Autonomous College, Balasore will impart THM course, those in Khallikote Autonomous College, Ganjam; Government Autonomous College, Rourkela and Vikram Dev College, Jeypore will offer courses in Retail Management.
Last month, while reviewing the progress made by these colleges in implementation of the scheme, the expert committee of UGC found that the institutions failed to meet the criteria as they had neither constituted the Board of Studies and Board of Management nor selected a project implementing agency for the scheme. The State Government had subsequently clarified that Phailin and the Model Code of Conduct for General Elections had delayed the preparatory work for implementation of the scheme and also urged the Ministry to reconsider the State’s case.
Higher Education Secretary Gagan Dhal had held discussion with UGC Joint Secretary KP Singh over the matter and consequently, principals of the seven colleges submitted fresh proposals to the MHRD.
The scheme will help Odisha Government provide skill development training to one million youths in next four years to drive its economic growth.