Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Orissa doubles salaries of doctors in Maoist areas

The New Indian Express (Bhuabaneswar), April 29, 2015
In an attempt to stop doctors from leaving government hospitals and community health centres in poverty zones of Kalahandi, Bolangir and Koraput (KBK) as well as Maoist-affected areas, the Orissa government has decided to double their salary.
The state Cabinet, which met Tuesday, decided the state would be divided into four zones depending on accessibility and vulnerability to Maoist violence, with V1 being the least vulnerable and highly accessible and V4 being most vulnerable and least accessible. As per the Cabinet decision, a non-specialist doctor in a V4 zone like Malkangiri and Koraput would get Rs 8,0000 a month, including Rs 4,0000 as incentive.
Even inaccessible areas in coastal districts would also be put under V4 zone. A specialist doctor in the same zone would get anything between Rs 1.5 lakh and Rs 1.8 lakh.
Those working in the remotest areas will get 100 per cent hike in their salary while the doctors working in the remote and far-off tribal areas will get additional Rs 40,000 apart from their salary.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Vedanta steps up nutritional supplement worth Rs. 2.95 crores in mid-day meals in Odisha

Orissadiary, April 27, 2015
Report by Odisha Diary bureau, Bhubaneswar: Vedanta, under its CSR programme, has come forward to enhance nutritional supplements in Mid-day meals (MDMs) of 66,500 children in Government and Government-aided schools under Berhampur Municipality, Chattrapur and Hinjlicut blocks of Ganjam district. A memorandum of understanding has been signed to this effect with Manna Trust, which is in charge of operations of the centralized MDM kitchen at Berhampur. The company will spend over Rs. 2.95 crores in the current fiscal to ensure distribution of 2 eggs per week, which provides 248 calories per week per student, in mid-day meals provided to 81,500 students it has targeted in Kalahandi and Ganjam districts in the current fiscal. As per the guidelines of Government of India’s Mid-day Meal Program, to meet the protein requirement, it is necessary to provide children 2 eggs a week as egg proteins have the highest nutritive quality as compared to any other dietary protein. Last year SSL, Lanjigarh had added 2 eggs per week to the MDM component on request by Government of Odisha. It provided boiled eggs twice a week along with MDM to 15,000 students of 187 schools of Lanjigarh block in Kalahandi district. In financial year 2015-16, SSL is expanding its outreach to 81,500 students with inclusion of the above mentioned areas of Ganjam district. According to a company spokesperson, “Vedanta is committed to contribute towards the Millennium Development Goals. MDM centralized kitchen programme is one of the steps to ensure right to food and right to education to children of disadvantaged section of society from Kalahandi and Ganjam districts studying in the class I to VIII by providing them 450 calories & 12 grams of protein in primary schools, 700 calories and 20 grams of protein in secondary schools with one wholesome meal on every school day.” - See more at:

State Govt. Proposed two Engineering College in Balangir and Nabarangpur under RUSA

Thanks to Prof. Chitta Baral for sharing this information

Monday, April 20, 2015

More Questions Than Answers From Rahul Gandhi's Sunday Noon Show

NDTV, April 19, 2015
(Ashok Malik is a columnist and writer living in Delhi.)

Rahul Gandhi's comeback event at the Congress' "farmers' rally" in Delhi this afternoon was not so much to prove to the Indian voter that he could lead the country. It was to tell the Congress worker that he has it in him to run the party.

With his mother, Sonia Gandhi, now close to 70, a generational change in the Congress is on the anvil. Rahul, as Congress vice-president, is likely to be the next Congress president. However, in recent weeks many senior Congress politicians, including Amarinder Singh and Shiela Dikshit, both former chief ministers, have suggested a succession be postponed indefinitely and Sonia stay put.

To be fair, there is no competition between mother and son. Sonia and Rahul are on the same page and are far from being factional rivals. However, the point is substantial sections of the party don't quite trust Rahul's instincts, judgement and ability to manage a complex political situation. If Rahul was attempting to change their minds today, after his 56-day holiday, he didn't quite pull it off.

A modern political meeting is a televised spectacle. It is as much about theatre as about substance. Rahul's limitations as an orator became apparent soon enough. What is more, so did his inability to stick to a coherent line and train of thought.

While his mother is no fiery orator either, her speech was much sharper and much more disciplined. It focused on the subject at hand - the plight of Indian farmers and how the Narendra Modi government's amendments to the Land Acquisition Act of 2013 would apparently hurt agriculturists. In contrast, Rahul's speech was all over the place. If a Congress worker had to choose his immediate leader solely on the basis of those two speeches, he would deliver a simple message to Rahul: Let's keep Mum.

In some senses, Rahul seems not to have recovered from the defeat of 2014. Listening to him, there was this inescapable feeling that he was in a time warp. It was not helped by the fact that he referred repeatedly to his experience of visiting drought-hit farmers some years ago. The crowd he was addressing was of north Indian farmers worried by a spell of unseasonal rain that has damaged a crop ripe for harvesting.

His mother, in her speech, took care to recall the unseasonal rain and the labour of harvesting, which the farmers had set aside to attend the political meeting. Did she have a better speech writer or simply better political judgement?

Rahul may as well have given this speech in April 2014, in the midst of the Lok Sabha election campaign. He has not moved on. He referred to the National Rural Employment Guarantee Programme, the write-off of farmers' loans, his excursions to Bhatta Parsaul (Uttar Pradesh) and Niyamgiri (site of a Vedanta bauxite mining project and aluminium plant that Rahul and the UPA government thwarted). He announced these as his - and the UPA's - exemplary deeds. This was all very well, but it was yesterday's story. It was voted upon, one way or the other, in 2009 and 2014.

Indeed, in Kalahandi (the parliamentary constituency of which Niyamgiri is a part), Bhakta Charan Das, the sitting Congress MP, finished a distant third in 2014. One interpretation of this was that while a few hundred people wanted the mining project blocked, many thousand more saw benefit in industrialisation. If there was a learning here for Rahul and the Congress, it was obviously lost on the Congress vice-president.

Clearly, popular positions in Niyamgiri and Kalahandi were not as cut and dry as Rahul claimed they were.

The wider issue is Rahul was and is still expected to shape a platform for the future, and for the period leading up to the 2019 election. This platform cannot simply be an iteration of the initiatives and achievements, such as they were, of the UPA government, especially in the 2009-14 period. The platform's elements have to be forward-looking and contemporary. Where does Rahul stand on this?

The Congress has little idea.

In the weeks to come, there are mundane challenges for Rahul to tackle. His engagement with mass politics cannot be limited to guest appearances at stage-managed (pun intended or otherwise) party jamborees. His associates say he will take to the roads in Bihar and then other states; he has to prove he has the stomach to sustain it.

That apart, who will coordinate with non-BJP parties in Parliament as the debate and possible vote on the Land Acquisition (Amendment) Bill comes up? Who will take a call on the Congress' choice of chief ministerial candidate in Punjab? Who will negotiate with Laloo Yadav and Nitish Kumar, as the Congress seeks a junior role in the emerging anti-BJP alliance in Bihar? Who will sort out the civil war in the Assam Congress?

Will it be the mother or the son? Does Rahul have it in him to do any of these? The Sunday noon show provided no answers, only further questions.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Monday, April 13, 2015

Centre Favors Coast Highway, April 13, 2015
Union Minister Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari has agreed to approve the Coastal Highway in Odisha connecting Gopalpur to Digha. This will be one of the longest Coastal Road of 460 Kilometers, connecting two neighboring states-Odisha and West Bengal.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik while meeting the Union Minister Mr.Gadkari today, proposed for the Coastal Highway, Union Minister said this project will be taken up under Bharat Mala Program.
Chief Minister Mr.Patnaik said the Coastal Highway will be connecting several existing and upcoming Ports including Gopalpur, Astarang, Paradeep, Kirtania, Chandipur, forming the economic lifeline will have better Rate Of Return.
Chief Minister said that the state is prone to frequent Super/ Very Severe Cyclonic Storms and it is necessary to have a good Coastal Highway for efficient rescue and relief operations in the cyclone-prone coastal areas. He stated that these areas are also thickly populated and a Coastal Highway will provide alternative economic opportunities to the local population.
Mr.Patnaik said that the existing Road Network in the tribal nominated districts of Odisha which suffer on account of Left Wing Extremism including Gajapati, Rajagada, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Bolangir and Bargarh requires urgent upgradation to  National Highway standard.
He  urged the Union Minister to declare Kuakhia-Jajpur-Aradi-Bhadrak and Cuttack-Kandarpur-Jagatsinghpur-Machhanga State Roads as new National Highways. Chief Minister also requested that Palasa-Paralakhemundi-Muniguda-Bhawanipatna-Rajkhariar-Padmapur
State Road Network may also be upgraded to National Highway. Chief Minister informed that the existing two lane carriage way inside the town limits of many towns are not adequate to cater to the present volume of traffic and these stretches face severe traffic congestion during the day time and are prone to accidents causing frequent road block agitations.
He stated that three new By-Passes including one near Bhawanipatna on NH-26, near Kotpad on NH-63 and near Manamunda on NH-57 are essentially required to address the problem.
Chief Minister brought to the notice of the Union Minister that the work on Gurupriya Bridge has already started under Engineering, Procurement and Construction Mode.
He stated that Government of India has, however, sanctioned only Rs.45 crore for the project under RRP-I of LWE Scheme against the project cost of Rs.187.25 crore.
The Chief Minister highlighted that the bridge is critical for connecting cut-off areas of Malkangiri district to the mainland, improving communication between Andhra Pradesh and Odisha and more importantly for preventing spread of Left Wing Extremism.
He impressed upon the Union Minister to approve and sanction the balance amount of Rs.142.25 crore under RRP-II for ensuring timely completion of the bridge.  
Chief Minister mentioned that the improvement work on a number of important National Highways in the State has not started because PPP mode tenders have not been successful.
He urged the Union Minister to take up the improvement work of these National Highways, viz. Cuttack-Angul (NH-55), Angul-Sambalpur (NH-55), Sambalpur-Deogarh (NH-53), Deogarh-Keonjhar-Jamsola (NH-49), Balasore-Baripada-Jharpokharia (NH-18) and Birmitrapur-Rourkela-Barkote (NH-143) under Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) Mode.
Highlighting the need to keep the National Highways in traffic-worthy condition, the Chief Minister urged upon the Union Minister to provide adequate funds of at least Rs.25 crore during the current year under Ordinary Repair. He stated that during the last year, the allocation of Rs.14.39 crore fell far short of the minimum requirement of Rs.30 crore.
Union Minister assured the Chief Minister that all the proposals will receive priority attention of the Union Government and that all efforts will be made to connect the remaining two districts of Jajpur and Jagatsinghpur with the National Highway Network and to construct new By-Passes wherever required and feasible.
He also assured that the proposal for construction of a Coastal Highway in Odisha will be taken up under Bharat Mala Scheme. He further assured that all By-Passes where regular tenders have failed will be approved for execution under EPC Mode

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Ruling Party Emerges Victorious in NACs

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), April 9, 2015
RAIRAKHOL: The BJD candidates won in 12 of the 13 Wards in Rairakhol NAC. One Ward went to the BJP kitty and Congress failed to open its account.
While Sunil Kumar Pradhan won from Ward 1, Nirupama Prusty won from Ward 2, Golapi Mukhi Ward 3, Nirmala Nayak Ward 4, Gopabandhu Bahuka Ward 5 and Sandhyarani Dehuri won from Ward 6.
While BJD candidate Aditya Narayan Pradhan won from Ward 7, it was Amrita Behera from Ward 8, Lakshmana Pradhan from Ward 9, Anita Panigrahi Ward 10, Pankajini Naik Ward 11 and Gyanaranjan Pradhan bagged Ward 12. The Chairperson seat is reserved for ST (Woman) and the party will choose between Sandhyarani and Pankajini who belong to the ST category.
The lone BJP candidate Mamata Sahu won in Ward 13 defeating BJD rival Banita Karna by a margin of 94 votes. The poll also saw defeat of former BJP chairperson from the NAC Sushma Munda by a thin margin of seven votes in Ward 6.
There was a close fight between the BJD and the BJP in Ward 3 where BJP candidate Subhasini Behera lost by six votes. BJD candidate from Ward 11 won by the highest margin of 346 votes.
Rairakhol MLA Rohit Pujari who led the party in the poll attributed the win to confidence of people on the leadership of party supremo, Naveen Patnaik.
On the other hand, the BJP cried foul and member of BJP State Executive Govind Agrawal said it was stage-managed election.
He charged the BJD workers of assaulting BJP workers and accused police of inaction.
13 Wards go to BJD
Bhawanipatna: The BJD won 13 Wards of the total 14 in Dharamgarh NAC and one seat went to Congress. Here, the chairperson post is reserved for SC (woman) candidate. Of the 14 Wards, Wards 11 and 3 are reserved for SC women.
While Congress won Ward 11, BJD’s Hira Bag bagged Ward 3.
Political observers said Bag is all set to become the first chairperson of the newly formed NAC as she has the support of 12 BJD Ward members and is the only SC woman winning candidate of the ruling party.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Land Hurdle Continues to Delay Khurda-Balangir Railway Line

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), April 4, 2015
BOUDH: The successful trial run of trains in a stretch of 32-km on Khurda Road-Balangir line on August 31 last year had raised hopes of completion of the project soon. But, the project continues to hang fire with land acquisition posing as a major hurdle.
The railway line which will pass through Khurda, Nayagarh, Boudh, Sonepur and Balangir districts would require construction of 11 tunnels measuring 6.3 km, around 435 bridges including a 660-metre bridge over river Tel besides culverts and other constructions.
Though the State Government had assured the Centre of providing the land free of cost, the acquisition process for the 289-km rail line has hit a road block.
As yet, only land for laying train tracks on 22 kms has been acquired in Balangir district while not a single inch of land has been acquired in Boudh district which has a lion’s share of 122 kms. However, in neighbouring Nayagarh district, land has been acquired from Raj Sunakhala to Nayagarh.
After connecting Khurda Road with Begunia in the first phase, work on the 46-km stretch to Raj Sunakhala was to be completed by March 31 this year and the 66-km stretch till Nayagarh has 2015-16 financial year deadline. But meeting the deadline now seems to be remote considering the slow pace of work.
As per official reports, the budget of the project which was estimated at `4.98 crore after the initial survey has shot up to a staggering `2,000 crore as it witnessed low budgetary provisions in Central Budgets and issues of land acquisition.
The rail link was first surveyed in 1945 by the then Bengal-Nagpur Railway (BNR) administration which found the route important as it connected most backward undivided districts of Balangir, Kalahandi, Koraput and Phulbani with Bhubaneswar. Smaller towns such as Daspalla, Banigochha, Manipur and Boudh were also part of the line.

Campaign in Top Gear in Dharamgarh

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), April 2, 2015
 BHAWANIPATNA:Campaigning for election to the newly-formed Dharamgarh NAC in Kalahandi district has reached a feverish pitch with Ministers and MLAs of BJD, BJP and Congress holding public meetings almost everyday.
The NAC, which has 14 Wards, is likely to witness a triangular contest. Housing and Urban Development Minister Puspendra Singhdeo is camping in the NAC along with some MLAs to ensure a smooth sailing for the BJD’s candidates. Incidentally, Dharamgarh NAC is part of Dharamgarh constituency from where Singhdeo was elected. Similarly, State president of BJP Kanak Vardhan Singhdeo is campaigning for the party candidates.
Meanwhile, AICC spokesperson Bhakta Charan Das alleged that the BJD is resorting to unethical practices to win the election.