Saturday, January 31, 2015

Odisha cabinet approves land grant policy for Bhubaneswar

Note: I am glad that Odisha cabinet has approved one of the long standing demand for Upper Indravati Project (lift canal)

Bharat Press, Jan 31, 2015
Bhubaneswar: The Odisha cabinet Saturday permitted 12 proposals, together with the land grant policy 2015, for allotment of presidency land in Bhubaneswar to be able to guarantee complete improvement of the town.
The policy will facilitate creation of important infrastructure and facilities, promote the atmosphere of the town and stability the pursuits of various organisations and people in want of land within the metropolis, chief secretary G.C. Pati informed reporters right here.
The policy will look into the land required for housing by statutory authorities like Bhubaneswar Improvement Authority (BDA), Odisha State Housing Board (OSHB) and different our bodies. Land carved out into appropriate sizes within the capital metropolis for residential, business and institutional functions will probably be given by way of public sale, stated Pati.
The cabinet additionally agreed to have a Rs one hundred-crore corpus fund for pre-positioning of fertilisers within the state to offer it to farmers in the course of the Kharif and Rabi seasons.
“The main stumbling block in enhancing fertiliser consumption is the supply of fertilisers on the proper time and proper place. Odisha State Co-operative Advertising Federation (OSCMF) and Odisha Agro Industries Company (OAIC) might be concerned in procurement and provide of fertilisers to the farmers by way of the corpus fund,” stated Pati.
The corpus fund will probably be shared on a seventy five:25 foundation by OSCMF and OAIC respectively for pre-positioning of fertilisers inside the state.
The chief secretary additionally stated the cabinet gave its nod for making a corpus fund of Rs one hundred crore for pre-positioning high quality seed and planting supplies by the institutional businesses and supplying them to farmers on time.
State businesses Odisha State Seeds Company Ltd (OSSC), OAIC and Odisha State Cashew Improvement Company Ltd (OSCDC) will probably be concerned on this to make sure sufficient amount of seeds and planting materials for the farmers.
The cabinet additionally accepted the tender for two mega carry tasks cluster to be executed on Indravati reservoir within the state, stated Pati.
The tenders have been awarded to L&T ltd via a aggressive bidding course of. The primary raise irrigation undertaking costing Rs 757.eighty crore will probably be executed in PKoksara, Jayapatna and Dharmagada blocks of Kalahandi district. The second undertaking will value Rs 515 crore.  

Vedanta on BJD lips

The Telegraph (Kolkata), Jan 31, 2015
Bhubaneswar, Jan. 30: The BJD today blamed the Congress for becoming a stumbling block in the state's industrialisation process during the previous UPA regime for "its own petty politics".
The Congress, on the other hand, said former environment minister Jayanthi Natarajan's statement had exposed the nexus between the Narendra Modi government and the corporate sector.
A senior BJD leader said: "Her statement proves beyond doubt that she succumbed to pressures and against her will she withdrew the environment clearance to Vedanta's alumina project. The exercise was done on political considerations and in the process Odisha suffered."
Rahul Gandhi had visited the site at Niyamgiri and termed the decision of the ministry as "victory of the Dongria Kondhs". Assuring the local people, Rahul said: "I am your sipahi(soldier) in Delhi. My work is not finished, it's begun. Whenever you need me, I will be there for you."
BJD spokesperson Rabi Narayan Nanda said: "The plant would have played a catalytic role in removing the poverty of Kalahandi and Rayagada districts." He demanded apologies from AICC president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi for derailing the process of industrialisation.
Pradesh Congress Committee president Prasad Harichandan, however, described Natarajan's statement as a "political conspiracy hatched in the wake of Delhi Assembly polls.Her statement, he said, has vindicated the fact that the Rahul and the Congress party stood for the weaker sections of society, especially the poor tribal people.
Former Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das, who had led the anti-Vedanta movement, said: "Rahul had supported the struggle for safeguarding tribal and forest rights as well as environment protection."
State BJP spokesperson Suresh Pujari, however, described the development as an internal matter of the Congress party."When an extra constitutional authority tries to take over the government, such crisis arises. It was happening during the UPA regime all the time," he said.

CHSE Restricts Examiners' Number for +2 Evaluation

The New Indian Express, Jan 31, 2015
BHUBANESWAR:In the wake of large scale irregularities in evaluation of Plus Two answer sheets last year, the Council of Higher Secondary Education (CHSE) has decided to abolish the role of deputy chief examiners (DCE) from this year.
Earlier, for every 2400 answer sheets, CHSE appointed one chief examiner (CE), one deputy chief examiner, 12 assistant examiners (AE) and two scrutinisers. Now, the evaluation process will be taken care of by the chief examiner and assistant examiners only, informed CHSE Chairman Basudev Chattoi.
Sources said answer sheets of students scoring less than 25 per cent and over 90 per cent were re-evaluated by the DCE and CE. “This year, we want to restrict the number of examiners involved in the checking process for error-free evaluation,”  Chattoi said.
Last year, CHSE had come in for criticism for faulty evaluation of Plus Two answer sheets of around 3.25 lakh students.
The number of evaluation centres has also been increased from 47 last year to 50 this year. The three colleges that will be designated as evaluation centres are Sashi Bhusan Rath Government Women’s College at Berhampur, Nimapada College and Panchayat College at Dharamgarh, Kalahandi.
Plans are in the pipeline to make all the evaluation centres air-conditioned with provision of comfortable furniture, safe drinking water and snacks for the evaluators to create a conducive environment for them, Chattoi said. “Since the evaluation will take place during peak summer, we want to ensure that the evaluators are comfortable during the checking process,” he added.
The decisions were taken at the Examination Management Committee meeting of the Council, which was held on Friday to discuss smooth conduct of the Plus Two examinations. This year, the Plus Two examinations will begin on March 2 and conclude on March 24. At least 75,000 students will appear at the examination.
As many as 203 examination management hubs (EMHs) will be set up. Each centre will have an observer and they would be under CCTV surveillance.
Like last year, question papers will be dispatched from the Council to the EMHs two days before the examination and from EMHs, question papers will be sent to other examination centres amid heavy security on the day of examination between 7 am and 9 am.
Meanwhile, the Council has formed a special squad to verify infrastructure and manpower of private junior colleges. There are about 317 self-financing colleges in the State, mostly residential institutions that also accommodate day scholars.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Jayanthi Natarajan quits Congress, says Rahul Gandhi instructed her to deny environmental clearances to Vedanta, Adani

Zeenews, Jan 30, 2015
Zee Media Bureau
New Delhi: Jayanthi Natarajan quit the Congress on Friday, after a letter written by her to party president Sonia Gandhi on November 5, 2014 was published in the media. Jayanthi, in the letter, accused Rahul Gandhi of interference while she was environment minister in theManmohan Singh government.
Here are the live updates:
  • If Rahul ever wanted to interfere in the government's functioning, he could himself have become the minister or the prime minister - Digvijay
  • It is absolutely wrong to say that either Mr Rahul Gandhi or Mrs Sonia Gandhi ever interfered with the functioning of the government, says Congress leader Digvijay Singh in response to Jayanthi Natarajan's allegations.
  • Don't know how many times I asked for an appointment with the high command? I didn't get one ever. When I am feeling miserable, what do I do? asks Jayanthi
  • Why was I removed as minister 100 days before Lok Sabha elections? I still have no answer to it - Jayanthi
  • When my own party has cheated me so badly, why should I blame Mr Modi. In fact, I had attacked him strongly.
  • I am not accusing anybody of corruption; if PM Modi has spoken of 'Jayanthi tax' let them investigate. I welcome any probe - Jayanthi
  • I refute allegations that I am being blackmailed to say all this ahead of the Delhi Assembly elections. I have no connections with any corporate - Jayanthi
  • After (leaving) Congress, I plan to think about my life. I have absolutely no plans to join any party - Jayanthi
  • I only did what I was asked to do by the party; I did not do anything wrong - Jayanthi
  • Today I announce my resignation from the primary membership of the Congress as well as trustee of the Tamil Nadu Congress – Jayanthi
  • I have nowhere said that there was interference from the party leadership. What I have said is that there were specific instructions - Jayanthi
  • I have done no wrong; if anyone can prove this I am willing to be hanged, to go to jail - Jayanthi
  • I have no issues with the state Congress at all; I was sidelined by the national high command - Jayanthi
  • I have no idea why I was removed as Congress spokesperson - Jayanthi
  • I wrote a passionate email to Rahul Gandhi after his FICCI speech asking, “I want to know why you did this”. To which he replied, “I’m a little busy right now, I will call you later”, but he never called - Jayanthi
  • Rahul had stopped me from issuing environmental clearances to several projects. However, after I resigned he himself told a FICCI conference that environmental clearances would be made easy now – Jayanthi
  • At the time I resigned, the then PM had praised my work; no wrongdoing was ever pointed out - Jayanthi
  • I said I wasn't happy because he (Modi) should be attacked on policy matters but not on snoopgate. But still, I was deputed to attack him - Jayanti
  • Around November 17, 2013 when I was on a tour, I received a call from Ajay Maken asking me to come back to Delhi. I was later told to launch an attack on Narendra Modi, who was then BJP's PM candidate - Jayanthi
  • The second issue was of me being asked by the party to attack PM Narendra Modi on the so-called 'snoopgate'.
  • Among the projects which were denied permission included the Vedanta project, Nirma project, the Adani project and many others.
  • Because of all these reasons I had blocked environmental clearances to many projects.
  • Shri Rahul Gandhi was interested in the protection of tribal rights.
  • Madam Sonia Gandhi was also interested in forest rights.
  • I had to face the wrath of my Cabinet colleagues.
  • I also believe environment should be protected at all costs.
  • I had received instructions from Rahul Gandhi to ensure protection of tribal rights.
  • But, I have now had to rethink my association with the Congress. The Congress is no longer the Congress I had joined - Jayanthi
  • I am grateful to my party leadership for allowing me to serve the party and the nation.
  • I have served as Congress spokesperson for 10 long years.
  • I have served the party without blemish ever since I joined it.
  • Congress blood runs in my veins - Jayanthi
  • It's an extremely painful moment for me. My family has been associated with the Congress since its inception. I am a fourth generation Congress member.
  • I was not intending to hold the press conference but after my letter appeared in the media, I am meeting with you. I acknowledge the letter that I wrote to Sonia Gandhi.
  • Jayanthi Natarajan is speaking to the press at Savera Hotel in Chennai.
  • Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar says he will review the specific files mentioned in Jayanthi's letter. “The revelations made by Jayanthi Natarajan are a matter of grave concern,” he adds.
  • Jaitley slams UPA government, says the coalition was a practitioner of sadistic economy. “When whims overtake legal requirements this becomes a textbook case of crony capitalism. This sadistic economy which UPA tried to build up was vindictive in nature, wanting to teach lesson to some and favour some."
  • Growth rate had come down during UPA government. Primary reasons were that there was delay in approval of projects worth lakhs of crores, adds Jaitley.
  • Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley says, “Former environment minister's letter has emerged today. Issues which were believed to be rumours have been vindicated now.”
  • Congress leader PC Chacko reacts to reports on Jayanthi Natarajan. He says: “These are baseless allegations; if somebody wants to resign from the party for personal reasons they are free to do so.
Main story: In a big blow to the Congress, senior party leader and former Union minister Jayanthi Natarajan is expected to quit the party on Friday.
As per reports, the former union environment minister is expected to hold a press conference in the afternoon to formally announce her decision.
Jayanthi has reportedly written a letter to Congress president Sonia Gandhi in which she has alleged a motivated campaign against her in the party.
Jayanthi, environment minister in the the UPA cabinet, wrote in the letter dated November 5, 2014 that she was forced to reject big-ticket projects upon receiving specific requests from Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi on environmental clearances. The projects were denied clearances despite being favoured by then prime minister Manmohan Singh and other Cabinet colleagues.
As per the letter details of which have been revealed by a leading English daily, Jayanthi claimed that she became a victim of a “vicious, false and motivated” media campaign by certain individuals in the party after Rahul Gandhi changed his stance from being pro-environment to being corporate-friendly ahead of last year's Lok Sabha elections.
The Congress leader blamed Rahul's aides for planting stories in the media that sought to project her resignation as environment minister not aimed at “party work”.
She also accused Rahul of interference in day-to-day functioning of the UPA-2 government under Manmohan Singh.
“I received specific requests (which used to be directives for us) from Shri Rahul Gandhi and his office forwarding environmental concerns in some important areas and I took care to honour those requests,” she says in the letter, as per the daily.
Jayanthi says environmental clearance to Vedanta for bauxite mining in Niyamgiri hills in Odisha was denied at the request of Rahul Gandhi to protect “the interests of tribals”. This despite the fact that the minister was under pressure from Cabinet colleagues to grant the clearance.
She also alleged interference from the Congress vice-president in projects of the Adani group, and said, “In fact, you (Sonia Gandhi) have yourself conveyed your concern in this regard in letters written to me in several cases, including the stalled GVK power project regarding Dhari Devi temple in Himachal Pradesh, the Lavasa project in Maharashtra, Nirma cement plant in Gujarat and in several other cases I was given specific input to make my decision.”
Jayanthi had resigned in December 2013, months before the May 2014 General Elections. The Congress had then claimed that Jayanthi would instead focus on party work.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Caste, religion are deciding factors for development: report

Business Line, Jan 29, 2015
'Inequity at the district level is a serious issue’
The District Development and Diversity Index Report for India and Major States, prepared by the US-India Policy Institute and Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy, said that the financial allocation for development work is not adequate.
The report called ‘Mini Sachar’ released by Vice-President Hamid Ansari on Thursday states that though huge proportions of the development funds are earmarked for annual expenditures on essential programmes such as mass primary/elementary education, women and child development services, public healthcare and employment guarantee scheme are never appropriated.
It says the inequity at the level of the district is a serious issue and that there are many versions to it – based on occupations, education levels and also social identities expressed in terms of religious and caste affiliation. The report says that distribution of welfare benefits has become contentious at national-political level leading to promotion of discrimination at the grassroots.
The report, prepared by using 17 development and livelihood measuring variables such as education, health and material wellbeing, has compiled data of 599 districts. The indices are arranged as most developed, developed, less developed, under developed and least developed.
Economist and member secretary of the Sachar Committee, Abusaleh Shariff, told BusinessLine that the index tries to identify the level of development based on percentage of deprived communities and select critical districts for actionable programme.
“We have arranged all the 599 districts in order of percentage of deprived communities – the SCs, STs and Muslims,” Shariff said. He added that while in urban areas, Muslims seemed to have got the benefits of Government programmes, in rural districts the discrimination is apparent.
“The data can be used by the Centre to chart out a holistic approach of development without any bias towards socio-religious groups,” he said and hoped that the report will help district administrations to target their welfare measures.
In the economic Index, Mandla, Balaghat, Umaria, Betul, Dindori (Madhya Pradesh), Jamui, Munger, Sitamarhi, Sheohar (Bihar), Basti, Fatehpur (Uttar Pradesh), Mayurbhanj, Malkangiri, Kalahandi, Baudh (Odisha) Sirohi (Rajasthan), Senapati (Manipur), Sahibganj, Pakaur (Jharkhand) and Dohad (Gujarat) are the 20 least developed districts in the country.
Six districts in Delhi and Gautam Buddha Nagar and Gurgaon in the National Capital region, Daman, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Bhopal, Lakshadweep, Mohali, Andamans and Papum Pare of Arunachal Pradesh are the top 20 most developed districts in the country.

Annual Day Celebration of Govt. Autonomous College Bhawanipatna: Demand to make Unitary University

Sambad, Jan 29, 2015

Citizen Forum met chief minister for Agriculture University at Kalahandi

Sambad, Jan 28, 2015
Thanks to Sri Hrushikesh Mishra for sharing it

Wednesday, January 28, 2015


The Collector  and District magistrate                               Letter No        / 26.01.;15

                                 Sub: Meeting the Chief Minister to submit a memorandum


We, the following people of Kalahandi Sikshya Vikas Parishad desire to meet the Hon’able Chief Minister at Dharamgarh on 27.01.15 to submit a memorandum for the aforesaid subject
                            Sri Baidyanath Misra
                            Prof. Jatin Mund
                           Prof. R.K.Behera
                       Sri Jagannath Mund   and Sri K.V.Deo
There will be no problem anywhere. We hope to be permitted to try for this meeting

                                                                                           Yours faithfully



                       The Hon’able Chief Minister of Odisha
                        Bhubaneshwar                                                             27.01.15
 (Dharmagarh Camp)


          Honorable Sir,
                              We, the people of Kalahndi are grateful to your honor for sanctioning an Engineering and an aAgricuture college for Kalahandi. We had proposed that these colleges should be named  in honor of Prof. Bhubaneswar Behera, an illustrious son of Odisha and maharaja P.K.Deo, avisionary of Odisha. Till jow no decision has been made.

We also congratulate you and your elder brother for dedicating the birth place of our great leader Late Biju Pattnaik and also your birth place to the Nation. This place should be named as BHUMIPUTRA SMRUTI BHAWAN.

We are now submitting a memorandum for our rightful appeal for an AGRICULTURE UNIVERSITY AT KALAHANDI. We hope you will consider our appeal favorably and as usal shall not yield to any pressure group.

                                                                                                         Yours faithfully,

                                                                                                 On behalf of the people of Kalahandi 

                                                                27.01.15                            _________________________________________________________________________

1. In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Hon’ able Chief Minister had argued that Odisha has only one university for agriculture and the workload of this University has gone up substantially in recent years and the state needs one more University.
   2. We were glad that the Hon’ able Chief Minister had taken positive interest in this aspect to establish a Second Agriculture University for the state.
3.     The State government has asked Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) to submit a feasibility report to upgrade the Agriculture College at Kalahandi to Agriculture university in the state as per the suggestion of former union agriculture minister Sharad Pawar
   4. In the election manifesto 2014, BJD has promised to establish 2nd Agriculture University for the state in KBK region.
   5. Immediately after the election we congratulated the the Hon’ able Chief Minister for the large mandate and appealed him to establish the University in Kalahandi. The Agriculture Minister of the state announced the establishment of Agri university in Kalahandi and specifically at Bhawanipatna for which we congratulated him in November 2014 and expressed our gratefulness.
6.     It is an established fact that the existing Agriculture College at Bhawanipatna is an initiative of the Hon’ able Chief Minister Sri Naveen Patnaik. During our appeal for a Central University the Hon’ able Chief Minister clearly said that Kalahandi is in his heart.

a.     Kalahandi is the top most agriculture producer,( mainly paddy, pulses, cotton     etc.) district among the KBK districts
       b. It is among the 25th largest rice producer districts in India.
c.     The agriculture growth of the district is not yet saturated and it is predicted that it can be one of the forefront district in the nation in agriculture growth.
d.     Thuamul Rampur climate is excellent for coffee(in fact good quality coffee was produced but the reasons for mismanagement is not known), floriculture and horticulture. Lanjigarh orange was of excellent quality.
e.     Bhawanipatna is located centrally among all KBK districts and suits the interest for all the KBK districts can be served very nicely.
       f. The proximity of Bhawanipatna to all the existing Regional Research and Transfer Technology Stations and Regional Research and Transfer Technology Sub-Stations of OUAT in KBK and Western Odisha region even demands location of the proposed Agriculture University at Bhawanipatna.
g.     By now, Agriculture College at Bhawanipatna is relatively developed. OUAT has already faculty, staff and students to run an institution at Bhawanipatna, which will help in establishing the new Agriculture University and develop subsequent infrastructure.
      h. Water, electricity and road infrastructure is already available in the existing building. No need to build additional road or electricity and water connection to reach out the new University except that current facilities need to be expanded within in the campus. Agriculture College at Bhawanipatna is located in the township area and neighboring to Bhawanipatna railway station and on\ Khariar-Bhawanipatna , which is being expanded to a 4 lanes through World Bank assistance. It is connected to NH 6 (within 2 km).
    i.   Schooling, marketing and other urban facilities are available from this site. A Central School (KV), three Govt. high schools, two Government colleges and many private schools and colleges are available for the children of faculty and staff within the township
j.        The land available under OUAT campus in Bhawanipatna is in the same range of land area where OUAT main campus is located in Bhubaneswar. If land is the actual concern, there are plenty of lands available adjacent to Agriculture College at Bhawanipatna that Government could easily acquire for the purpose.
k.     There are alternative sites available close to Bhawanipatna town, such as 800 acres of land near by Karlapada, Jaring and other locations.

    a. Most of the Agriculture Universities or Faculties around the world keep their research centers that need substantial farming land in rural campus and undertake teaching and campus housing related activities in the urban campus.
    b.It could be a good idea to keep the teaching campus of the proposed 2nd Agriculture University in the urban location like Bhawanipatna having all the existing facilities for teachers, students and staff and distribute the research centers to various districts in KBK region, which could act as additional campus of the proposed University.
  c. It would be actually a unique idea to start an INTEGRATED UNIVERSITY where students can offer various courses. (Ex. University of California Davis Campus)
                                                      On behalf of the people of Kalahndi

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


The Pioneer, Jan 27, 2015
The eighth State-level theater festival concluded on Saturday here with presentation of play Kisha Ek Ajnabi Lash Ka..It was directed by Bijaya Pandya and written by Pius Kant of Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh. The play was based on rise of violence in every sphere of life in the present society. The festival was organised by Kalahandi Kalakar Sangha, a leading theatre organisation of southern Odisha.
The non-competitive popular theater festival held at the Town auditorium in Bhawanipatna proved that good plays can have packed houses. President of the organizing committee Probodh Rath said.“Success of this year’s festival has inspired us to invite more active popular troupes from all over Odisha to participate in the festival.”
Veteran theatre activist Prafula Ratha, who is also part of the organising committee, said it was quite a welcome sign that a large number of sponsors came out to promote the festival.Among others, the local plays included ‘Tini Mankada and “Ka, Kha, Go,” enacted by ‘Kalahandi Kalakar Sangha’, a troupe of veteran theatre activists of the city. They all held audience glued to the seat.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Tight security in Red zone

Times of India, Jan 25, 2015
BERHAMPUR/ BHAWANIPATNA : Security was tightened in southern districts after Maoists announced to observe Republic Day as black day against US president Barack Obama's visit. "We have alerted all security camps. Vehicle checking has started and patrolling intensified," said SP (Kandhamal) K V Singh.

In Phulbani, six platoons of forces would be deployed, he said. Women and child development minister Usha Devi is scheduled to unfurl the flag at Phulbani. Similar security measures were put in place in Gajapati. Higher education minister Pradeep Panigrahy will hoist the Tricolour at Parlakhemundi. Police said adequate security measures will be taken in Ganjam too. A report from Bhawanipatna said Red rebels have put up posters, asking Obama to go back in Lanjigarh block.

The extremists felled trees and blocked the road connecting Bijepur- Trilochanpur village to prevent movement of CRPF personnel to Niyamgiri forest. The CPI (Maoist) claimed responsibility for torching the midday meal vehicle in Lanjigarh's Ijurpa village on January 21. tnn

Train tracks blown up in mine blast

Times of India, Jan 25, 2015
KORAPUT: A railway trackman was injured and train services disrupted after suspected Maoists blew up a portion of the track between Muniguda and Munikhol in Rayagada district late on Friday.

The injured, Hari Mirda, was discharged from Muniguda hospital after treatment.

Police said around 20 to 25 Maoists arrived near the railway tracks t Munikhol, about 2 km from Muniguda station, around 1.30am and triggered a landmine blast. "The spot is 100 metre from a CRPF camp. A portion of the track was badly damaged, hampering movement of trains," an official source said.

The second blast was due to a pressure mine. It took place around 4.30am when a railway team was clearing the tracks. "The Maoists planted the pressure mine beneath a banner. It went off when the trackman was trying to uproot the banner. We defused two pressure mines," said SDPO (Muniguda) A P Mallick.

The Bhubaneswar-Bhawanipatna Link Express, Rourkela-Koraput Express, Raipur-Vishakapatnam Passenger, Dhanbad-Alappuzha and Jagdalpur-Howrah trains were stranded at various stations for few hours. Trains started plying on the track around 3pm.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Why not upgrade Agriculture college in Bhawanipatna to a central agriculture university?

Bihar's Rajendra Agriculture University set to become central varsity
Times of India, Jan 23, 2015

NEW DELHI: The Centre and Bihar government will on January 25 sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to convert the existing Rajendra Agriculture University (RAU) at Pusa in Samastipur district of the state, into a central university.

The conversion will make it possible for the agricultural university to get financial support of Rs 400 crore during the 12th plan period (till March, 2017).

Union agriculture minister Radha Mohan Singh on Thursday wrote to the Bihar chief minister Jitan Ram Manjhi, appreciating the decision of the state government to finally agree for the MoU after overcoming legal difficulties. The MoU will pave the way for an act of Parliament, necessary for converting it into a central university.

The pact will be signed by the agriculture education and research department of Bihar government and ICAR (Indian Council of Agricultural Research), department of agricultural research and education of the Union agriculture ministry, in the presence of Singh and Manjhi in Patna.

The proposal to convert the RAU into Rajendra Central Agriculture University (RCAU) had been pending since 2009 when the Planning Commission had given its formal consent to this effect. It could not proceed further due to a number of court cases from employees of the existing university. The legal issues will now be handled by the central government.

Besides, the central government will come up with two new agriculture universities in Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan and two new horticultural universities in Telangana and Haryana. The government has already allocated Rs 200 crore as initial assistance for setting up these four universities.

There is also a plan to set up new agriculture research institutes on the lines of Indian Agriculture Research Institutes (IARI) in Jharkhand and Assam. Financial provision of Rs 100 crore was earmarked for this purpose during the government's last budget in July, 2014.

In addition, the government is also coming up with an Indian Institute of Agricultural Biotechnology at Ranchi in Jharkhand. The institute is being set up to give thrust to biotechnology in agriculture.

Vehicle carrying MDM for school children torched in Odisha

Business Standard, Jan 22, 2015
A group of men, suspected to be Maoists, torched a vehicle carrying mid-day meal for school children and ate the food before taking away the containers in Odisha's Kalahandi district, a senior police officer said today. 

Over 35 men waylaid the pick-up van carrying cooked food at Ijurupa under Lanjigarh police station yesterday and asked its driver and three other occupants to leave the place, Superintendent of Police, Kalahandi, Brijesh Kumar Rai said. 

They ate the food, set ablaze the van and left carrying the containers, he said. 

The cooked food was being taken for distribution among school children at Trilochanpur, Kualguda, Khemundipadar, Amguda and Goud Thuaguda villages in the district. 

Though involvement of Maoists in the incident could not be ruled out, investigation into other possible angles was also on, the SP said. 

Rai, who visited the spot, said no leaflet or poster was left behind by the attackers. 

Armed personnel had been sent to the area, he said. 

As per an MOU between government, Nandi foundation and Sesa Sterlite, which has an alumina refinery at Lanjigarh had provided infrastructure for giving mid-day meal to 187 schools in 18 different routes in the district. Nandi foundation has been supplying cooked food. 

The red rebels are opposed to industrial and mining activities in the tribal-dominated area and had killed a Vedanta employee at Ijurupa in July, 2011.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

A year from now Braja Mohan High School, Kalahandi will be entering the list of Centurions

Polyclinic inaugurated

Business Standard, Jan 20, 2015
A polyclinic under Ex-Servicemen Health Scheme (ECHS), a central government financed programme to provide quality health service to ex-servicemen pensioners and their dependents, was inaugurated here today. 

The centre has sanctioned 426 such facilities to be set up across the country, including seven in Odisha, said Lt Gen J George, general officer commanding Madhya area, while inaugurating the polyclinic here. 

The polyclinic has been opened in a rented house andgovernment has been requested to provide land and other infrastructure for smooth running of the clinic, he said.

Stating that Army would do whatever was possible for uplift of the youths of Kalahandi, George said considering the interest of youths of the district, Army recruitment rallies with pre-recruitment training would be organised utilising the service of ex-servicemen to help more youths make career in military service from the area.


The Pioneer, Jan 20, 2015
Prof Digambara Patra of the American University of Beirut has urged the Chief Minister to take steps for solving the manpower problem in most Government autonomous colleges in the State. A non-resident Odia (NRO) who hails from Kalahandi district, Prof Patra expressed concern over a decision to strip Rama Devi Women’s College at Bhubaneswar, Gangadhar Meher College at Sambalpur, SCS College in Puri and Government Autonomous College at Bhawanipatna of College with Potential for Excellence (CPE) status for a period of five years.
These four institutions are top higher educational institutions in their respective regions. GM College Sambalpur and Government Autonomous College Bhawanipatna were identified as CPE in 2004-05 and extended up to end of 11th Plan period, whereas RD and SCS got the CPE status in 2009-10. The failure of these colleges in implementing UGC norms is not solely due to National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) grade rather than failure of the State Government to address serious concerns of all the Government autonomous colleges in the State.
Although the Higher Education Task Force has recommended filling up all the vacant lecture posts in Government colleges in priority basis, this has not yet been taken up by the State Government in past five years, except partly meeting the teaching need with contractual instructors. When contractual instructors do 60-90  per cent of the teaching jobs- for example Government Autonomous College Bhawanipatna has less than 20 % regular teaching faculties- in such a case, how could a college having CPE status improve research qualities and overall infrastructure development to emerge as a center of excellence in higher education nationally that was the key motivation for CPE status?
Most importantly none of the Government autonomous colleges in Odisha has any regular Principal to run an institution since more than a decade. Presently, temporary Principals in charge head all the Government autonomous colleges. This makes implementation of various schemes slow and daily administration poor. Perhaps, with a recent proposal by the State Government to upgrade RD, Khallikote College at Brahmapur and GM to universities would not affect financially much to these colleges after they lose the CPE tag. However, autonomous colleges like SCS and Government Autonomous College, Bhawanipatna, etc will suffer most due to lack of these CPE funding.  
The Government Autonomous College, Bhawanipatna was among the very few colleges, which received national recognition as CPE status in the first phase by the UGC despite being located in one of the most backward and poverty zones in India. Such UGC funding is crucial for overall growth of an institution in a backward pocket. Thus the State Government should give first priority to such institution. As a first step, the Government should appoint regular Principals, professors, readers and lecturers in the manpower deficient colleges soon, said Patra in a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Quota for NAC chief's post opposed in Dharamgarh

Reported by Sri Anshuman Patra
Orissa Post, Dec 17, 2014

Dharitri, Dec 17, 2014

Corruption using SHG in Junagarh

Reported by Sri Debendra Bisi
Sambad, Dec 31, 2014

Crack in Brahmaniguda Bridge, Junagarh

Reported by Sri Debendra Bisi
Sambad, Dec 31, 2014

Rs.1221-cr Kalahandi Budget for 2015-16

The New Indian Express, Jan 19, 2015
BHAWANIPATNA: Budget outlay of Rs.1221 crores for 2015-16 financial year was approved by Kalahandi District Planning Board at a meeting here on Saturday and sent to State Government for consideration.
There was a detailed discussion on implementation of Biju KBK Yojana while Focus Kalahandi- 2020 was presented in the meeting. Simultaneous thrust to agriculture including integrated canal management with agro-based industries, mineral and mechanical industries and development of tribal areas by harnessing non-timber forest and minor agriculture produce and introduction of a large number of cottage industries were proposed at the meeting.
Infrastructure development like communication, godown facilities and improvement in power sector was also stressed. It was suggested to create education and health service hubs in Kalahandi.
Panchayatiraj Minister and district in-charge Arun Sahu proposed capacity building of officers at grassroots level through intensive training.
He said Rs.2 crore has been sanctioned by Panchayatiraj Department for establishment of district resource centre.

Curtains Come Down on Ghumura Utsav-2015

The New Indian Express, Jan 19, 2015
BHAWANIPATNA: The Kalahandi Utsav Ghumura-2015, a platform to showcase cultural and developmental activities of the district, concluded at Lalbahdur Sastri Stadium here on Saturday. This year, the four-day festival received around one lakh footfall each day. Pallishree Mela and KBK Craft Mela made a daily business of `one crore.
Addressing the valedictory function at Rindo Majhi Manch, Minister for Panchayati Raj and Law Arun Kumar Sahu hailed the rich cultural heritage of Kalahandi and its contribution to enrich folk culture of Odisha.
Mahari dance troupe from Puri and Prince dance group from Kalahandi performed on the valedictory night. Several prominent persons of Kalahandi were felicitated for their contribution in the fields of literature, agriculture and social work. Last Maharaja of Kalahandi was awarded Kalahandi Ratna posthumously. A souvenir Kalajharan was also released on the occasion.
Kalahandi Utsav was also simultaneously organised at Lalbahadur stadium of Bhawanipatna and in the Panchayat field of Dharmagarh. Competitions in archery, boating, mini marathon, volleyball, badminton, kabaddi, kho kho and tennis were organised. An exhibition of folk art was main attraction of the Utsav.
Around 180 poets recited poems in the Kabi Sammilani organised on the occasion. A photo feature exhibition ‘Namaste Kalahandi’ was another attraction of the Utsav at Dharamgarh.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Letter to CM: No regular principal in any of the Government Autonomous Colleges in Odisha for more than a decade

Dear Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Patnaik,
It is very disappointing to learn that four important Govt. Autonomous Colleges in Odisha - Rama Devi Women’s College at Bhubaneswar, Gangadhar Meher College at Sambalpur, SCS College in Puri and Government Autonomous College at Bhawanipatna- will not enjoy the College with Potential for Excellence (CPE) status benefits for a period of five years now from UGC.

These four institutions are top higher educational institutions in their respective regions in Odisha. G M College Sambalpur and Government Autonomous College Bhawanipatna were identified as CPE in 2004-05 and extended upto end of 11th Plan period, whereas R D Women’s College Bhubaneswar and SCS College Puri got the CPE status in 2009-10.

The failure of these colleges in implementing UGC norms is not solely due to National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) grade rather than failure of Odisha state Government to address serious concerns of all the Government Autonomous Colleges in the state.

Although state Government’s Higher Education Task force has recommended filling up all the vacant lecture posts in Government colleges in priority basis, this has not yet been met by the state Government in past five years, except partly meeting the teaching need with contractual instructors. When contractual instructors do 60-90 % of the teaching jobs- for example Government Autonomous College Bhawanipatna has less than 20 % regular teaching faculties- in such case how could a college having CPE status improve research qualities and overall infrastructure development to provide center of excellence in higher education nationally that was the key motivation for CPE status? 

Most importantly none of the Government Autonomous Colleges in Odisha has any regular Principal to run an institution since more than a decade. Presently, temporary Principal in charge heads all the Government Autonomous Colleges in the state. This makes implementation of various schemes slow and daily administration poorer. Could we imagine a chief minister in charge to run the state for a decade? All these colleges deserve regular Principals to look after and take responsibility for the growth of such institutions.

Perhaps, with recent proposal by state Government to upgrade R. D. Women’s College at Bhubaneswar, Khallikote College at Berhampur and G. M. College at Sambalpur to Universities would not affect financially much to these colleges, however, Autonomous Colleges likeSCS College Puri, Government Autonomous College Bhawanipatna, etc. will suffer most due to lack of these CPE funding.

Government Autonomous College Bhawanipatna was among the very few college, which received national recognition as CPE status in the first phase by UGC despite being located in one of the most backward and poverty zone in India. Such UGC funding are crucial for overall growth of such an institution in a backward pocket where there is no state Universities (unlike Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Balasore and Barapada where there are alternative state Universities), thus, state Government should give first priority to such institution.

I urge the state Government to address key weakness of all the Government Autonomous Colleges by appointing regular Principals, professors, readers and lecturers urgently.

Thank you and best regards