Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Will Odisha CM heed the call of these differently-abled villagers?

Daily News and Analysis, June 30, 2015
21 differently-abled people reached Bhubaneswar hoping to avail benefits of govt schemes meant for them...
disha state government might be spending lakhs of rupees on the welfare schemes meant to uplift the differently people in the state, nonetheless the benefits of the schemes have failed to trickle down to the needy. To draw attention to their wretched condition, 21 differently-abled people from Kalahandi vilage reached CM Naveen Patnaik's office on Monday and sought help from the government authorities crying helplessness.

Grieving that the local heads – Sarpanchs, BDOs and Collector – have closed their doors for these people, the differently-abled villagers submitted individual pleas addressed to CM where they listed their complaints.

“I am here today to request the CM to help me avail the benefits of Rural Housing Indira Awas Yojna. I cannot walk without stick since childhood. After death of my parents, my brothers asked me to leave home as I could not earn money due to my disability. Since then, I am earning my means by begging. But I cannot beg forever,” laments 55-year-old Shasi Senapati, who resides in Shergargh village.

Senapati says that he has already run errands to the BDO and Collector Office in his district but to no avail. “I satisfy all the eligibility criteria to avail the schemes. Apart from Rs 300, I have been getting pension for the differently-abled on montly basis, yet that is not enough to survive,” he says. Senpati has appealed to the CM to provide him with a home under the welfare scheme.

Another visually impaired local from Shergarh village shared his story with iamin. "My vision was first affected when I was in school. By the time I reached college, I was blind in both the eyes. I come from a BPL (Below Poverty Line) family, and I am the only son of my parent. My parents have faced a lot of difficulty in raising me and educating me. Now that I am qualified, unemployment is hampering my growth,” confides Puna Nayak saying that he is in desperate need of a job.

The Government of India has reserved 3 percent vacancies against identified posts in Group ‘C’ and Group ‘D’ for the differently-abled. Nayak has registered his name at Special Employment Exchanges for the Physically Handicapped in Bhubaneswar. “I have also registered my name at Special Cells for the handicapped in Kalahandi through which circulation of vacancies for the handicapped in Group “C” and “D” posts of state/central government is made, but I am yet to receive any intimation or call for any job,” he adds.

Affected by polio and rejected by society, Anita jain from Utkela village wears desolate expressions on her face. “Nobody wants to marry me because of my disability. I don’t want to continue to burden my family,”shares Anita adding, “I am learning tailoring from a local vocational training center so that I can set up my own tailoring shop. I even applied for a loan last year but the request was not approved.

Anita says that she fulfils all the eligibility criteria to avail economic assistance by government. “My family comes under BPL category and our annual income does not exceed Rs 6,400 just like the government criteria highlights, but still I am running door to door to get my loan sanctioned. Apart from this, I have also sent an appeal to the CM to include me under Madhubabu Pension Yojna.”

Permanent Bench of High Court demanded in Kalahandi

Sambad, June 30, 2015

Monday, June 29, 2015

Save Sacred Groves Plan to Win Tribals' Confidence

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), June 29, 2015
BHUBANESWAR: In Odisha, where tribal communities fight industrialisation, mining and displacement, the Government is trying to win their confidence by protecting the sacred groves, which hold tremendous socio-ethnic value for the indigenous population.
There are about 2,100 sacred groves in the State, as per the latest estimate of Forest and Environment Department of Odisha Government. The Department has, now, decided to prepare management plans for these groves so that these small patches of forests can be developed and conserved.
It has decided to initiate conservation plans for 500 sacred groves during the current financial year. The plan will include plantation activities, access to water and even sheds for tribal communities to congregate. The Department will spend Rs 1 lakh on each of these sacred groves during the year.
“The plan is to cover all the 2100-odd sacred groves with the development and conservation plans by 2019,” sources said.
Since tribal communities share a natural bond with these groves given their socio-ethnic background, the Department believes that the protection and development will bolster conservation activities. The management plans will be prepared in consultation with these tribal groups so that they have a stake in conservation activities.
“A major objective is to strengthen the bond between local communities and nature since forest density is higher around these sacred groves compared to other areas because they guard these patches with pride. Since the tribal communities have an ownership feeling, conservation becomes easier,” the sources added.
The sacred groves in the State are located in hilly regions, mostly in Eastern Ghats where tribal communities and their sub-groups live. Not so long ago, the Dongoria Kondhs raised one of the most-talked about resistance when the Government tried to acquire Niyamgiri Hills for bauxite mining in Kalahandi and Rayagada districts. With the Supreme Court stepping in, the primitive group won the battle as a spree of palli sabhas gave thumbs down to the mining plan for Vedanta Group.
Odisha is home to over 60 tribal communities of which 12 are designated as particularly vulnerable. At least 23 per cent of the State’s population comprises tribal groups. Geographically, over 40 per cent of the State is schedule area.
The Forest Department sources said the sacred grove conservation and management plan will not be confined to just 2,100 groves. “We had conserved about 200 sacred groves last year and will carry out a mapping to locate more such sacred groves in next few years where these plantation and development plans will be continued,” said the sources.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Agri Versity Uncertain

Tathya.in, June 26, 2015
Bhubaneswar : 25/June/2015 
With Government not initiating any move even one year after Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathay made the lofty announcement during his Agriculture Budget Speech in 2014, chances of second University of Agriculture in the State seems uncertain.
Mr.Maharathy had stated that the State will set up second Agriculture University in the poverty stricken KBK (Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput) region of the State. 
Notably, the State Government has already made budgetary allocation for the purpose making it explicit that it is positive about this project.
The second Agriculture University was planned by the State taking into account the need of the students, admits a senior professor in OUAT, adding that this was planned as a State University to be funded entirely from the State Budget.
Meanwhile, OUAT has made some of the preliminary work for setting up of the second University of Agriculture and a detailed report has also been prepared with a cost of Rs.600 Core, the professor said.
Annual Recurring Expenditure was expected at Rs.200 Core. And recurring expenditure would have been required at least for the initial five years till the University could have availed support from UGC and other institutions, he said.
It was proposed to have four colleges of Agriculture, Horticulture, Agriculture Engineering and Veterinary Science.
Al these colleges were planned to be established in various places of KBK Zone where agriculture productivity is very low and use of technology is also dismally slow.
The new University would have served the purpose of research and development in a big way, he said.

OUAT established on August 24, 1962 is the second oldest Agriculture University in the country.
OUAT could accommodate only 1,808 students in an academic year, officials say and the second University could have taken at least 200 students in the first years, said the professor.
Though the proposed University was planned to be set up in KBK Zone, finalizing the location of its headquarters and finding places for the constituent colleges has turned out to be a herculean task, said sources familiar with the matter.
Years after its formation, the headquarters of Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) even as it was set up to sharpen focus on development of Western Odisha, its headquarters continues to be at Bhubaneswar.
As none is in a position to take a decision where to set up WODC headquarters either at Sambalpur, Balangir or Kalahandi, it continues to run from the capital city of the State, said a former Minister, who was instrumental in setting up of this important institution.
The State Government has to take a call on the issue to steer clear uncertainty over setting up of the second University of Agriculture in KBK Zone, said he.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

News coverage on mass movement by Swadeshi Jagaran Manch in Kalahandi

Images of initiative by Swadeshi Jagaran Manch Kalahandi for Central University, Govt. Medical College and Textile Park in Kalahandi


The Pioneer, June 23, 2015
NRO (non-resident Odia) Professor Digambar Patra batted for the newly proposed Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) for Odisha at Bhawanipatna region to boost higher education in the KBK region.In a letter to the Union Human Resurse Minister Smrti Irani and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, he has justified the reasons as to why the KBK region now needs more higher education institutions.
The initiative by the State Government to upgrade the Khallikote College to a Cluster University, the RD Women’s College to a Women University, the GM College to a Unitary University and establishment of the Indian Institute of Management and Open University are praise worthy. Similarly, proposal to establish a Health University and the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Odisha by Central Government is in the positive direction, he said.
However, in all the initiatives, the KBK region is not getting its equal share despite having 20 per cent of the population and 30 per cent of geographical area of the State. More ever, the region is well known for its tribal population, backwardness and low literacy rate.Without any Government initiated high quality educational establishment, all round development of the region cannot be achieved, he said further.
The State Government’s proposal to have a second Agriculture University in KBK has not yet been realised. This is the only region in the State which has often suffered political marginalisation in higher education sector, he lamented. The KBK region needs an education corridor, in the same way Cuttack, Puri, Bhubaneswar, Khordha, Brahmapur, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Rourkela are being established. The National Institute of Technology (NIT) at Rourkela and the IIM in Sambalpur will boost a number of national institutions in Sambalpur-Rourkela region.
The region has three State Government Universities in Sambalpur and one State University in Rourkela. Cuttack-Bhubaneswar-Khordha region has already multiple numbers of national and State institutions, including IIT, NISER, IIIT, AIIMS, five State universities, three private universities etc. whereas Brahmapur has multiple numbers of Government institutions and two State Government universities. North Odisha has also two State universities.
In comparison, the KBK region has only one university, the Central University of Odisha (CUO) at Koraput. This region needs more national institutions and State Government universities, especially Bhawanipatna-Koraput has a greater potential to develop as an education corridor. Besides the CUO at Koraput, another national institution is needed at Bhawanipatna for the Koraput-Bhawanipatna educational corridor.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Consider establishing IISER in KBK region of Odisha

Honorable Chief Minister of Odisha Mr. Patnaik

Honorable union HRD Minister, Mrs. Irani

Dear Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Patnaik,
The initiative by state Govt. to upgrade Khallikote College to a Cluster University, R D Women's college to a Women University, G M College to a Unitary University and establishment of Indian Institute of Management and Open University are praise worthy. Similarly, proposal to establish a Health University by state Govt. and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research in Odisha by central Govt. is in the positive direction. 

However, in all these initiatives KBK region is not getting its equal share despite having 20 % of the population and 30 % of geographical area of the state. Moreever, this region is well known for its tribal population, backwardness and low literacy rate. Without any Govt. initiated high quality educational establishment all round development of this region can not be achieved.  

The state Govt.'s proposal to have a second agriculture University in KBK has not yet been realised. This is the only region in the state which has often suffered political marginalisation in higher education sector. 

Unfortunately, policy makers in the state had been always dividing the states in three different regions, namely Western Odisha, Southern Odisha and central Odisha and distributing the educational institutions accordingly. Doing so, preference was always given to few selective cities in Odisha.

Thankfully for the first time your Govt. in the recent past has  taken some initiative for KBK region while establishing higher educational institutions. However, these initiatives are far less than what KBK region deserves and decades of marginalization based on its geographical area and total population

KBK region needs an education corridor, in the same way Cuttack-Puri-Bhubaneswar-Khordha-Berhampur and Sambalpur-Jharsuguda-Rourkela are being established. 

National Institute of Technology (NIT) at Rourkela and IIM in Sambalpur will boost number of national institutions in Sambalpur-Rourkela region. This region has 3 state Govt. Universities in Sambalpur and one state University in Rourkela. Cuttack-Bhubaneswar-Khordha region has already multiple number of national and state institutions including IIT, NISER, IIIT, AIIMS, five state Govt. universities, three private universities etc. whereas Berhampur has multiple numbers of state Govt. institutions and 2 state Govt. Universities. North Odisha has also two state Universities. 

In comparison, KBK region has only one University, Central University of Orissa (CUO) at Koraput. This region needs more national institution and state Govt. universities, especially Bhawanipatna-Koraput has a greater potential to develop as education corridor. Beside CUO at Koraput, another national institution is needed at Bhawanipatna for the Koraput-Bhawanipatna educational corridor. 

Location of Bhawanipatna is also suited for whole KBK-Kandhamal because Bhawanipatna is central town for all locations between Koraput and Balangir, Nuapada and Rayagada, Umarkote and Phulbani, Sonepur and Malkangiri, etc.

I request you to consider establishing newly proposed IISER for Odisha in Bhawanipatna region to further develop higher education in KBK region.

Thank you and best regards

Friday, June 19, 2015

Early History Artifacts Unearthed at Budhigarh

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), June 19, 2015
BHAWANIPATNA:The excavation conducted on the left bank of river Rahul in Tel River Valley in Budhigarh of Kalahandi district between February and May has unearthed antiquities belonging to early history.
Approved by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and funded by the Department of Culture and Tourism, Government of Odisha, a team of archaeologists and scholars led by Head of Department of History of Government Autonomous College, Bhawanipatna Dr Baba Mishra excavated the site.
The preliminary excavation found several artifacts like pottery and teracotta items, semi-precious stone beads, pendants, iron objects, charcoal, remains of fauna and a brick wall having 28 courses and the floor made of the same kind of bricks.
“The bricks of 45x30x6 cm dimension and having cross mark found from the site belong to Saka-Murunda period of second century AD which has been identified at different early historic sites of India including Kharligarh of Tel Valley,” Dr Mishra said.
The excavation has traced the cultural relics at least from the Gupta to the pre-Gupta period. Further excavation will expose the whole brick complex and shed ample light on ancient Indian architecture, he said.
“Budhigarh is a rich archaeological site and was an early historic urban centre in Tel River Valley as established by earlier findings which revealed terracotta works of human beings and animals, ornaments, potteries like knobbed ware, roulette ware and black polish ware besides black and red ware; red, black and grey slipped ware, punch marked silver coin and a gold coin at the surface of the site,” Mishra said.
Earlier, four Jasper seals-cum-pendants having bilingual script Kharosti-Brahmi were also found by epigraphists. During the pre-excavation survey, many semi-precious stone beads, bead moulds, clay beads, copper objects, stone bowl, saddle quern, celt and ring stones have been retrieved from the site. It is believed to be a thriving industrial and commercial hub located on the salt route leading from Madhyabharat to Kalinga via Atavi-Kantara (Mahakantara), he said.
Meanwhile, Head of Department of History of Sambalpur University Dr PK Behera visited the excavation site. He applauded the works of excavation team comprising Ranvir Singh of Khariar Autonomous College, Sakir Hussain of Sambalpur University, Nalini Rana of Pondicherry University, Raj Kumar Rate, Rajesh Mohanty of Government Autonomous College, Bhawanipatna and Mihirendra Pratap Singhdeo of M Rampur College.
Retired joint secretary of PR Department, Sasanka Sekhar Panda, who is also a noted historian, appreciated the excavation work and expressed hope that the findings of the excavation will bring new dimension to the history and culture of Odisha.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

‘No impact of cleanliness drives in dist’

The Statesman, June 16, 2015
It was the Total Sanitation Campaign in 2002-03 followed by Nirmal Bharat and now Swacha Bharat Abhiyan since 2 October 2014. The nomenclature has changed. But nothing has changed at the ground level in Kalahandi district. The objectives of sanitation, cleanliness etc continue to remain a distant dream as poor sanitation in rural and urban areas of the district stare at the face of the population.
The district human development report of Kalahandi prepared by Planning and Coordination department,government of Odisha in collaboration with the planning commission and the UNDP in the year 2012, stated that that around 95.24 per cent of people in rural Kalahandi were resorting to open defecation due to various factors including lack of house hold or community toilet facilities and low priority accorded by house hold to hygiene and sanitation. The situation has not improved ever since.
According to base line survey conducted by rural water supply and sanitation department in the year 2013-14 out of the 377456 households of the district (as per census report of 2011) 355202 households do not have a toilet.
As per the official data of the district water and sanitation mission during 2014- 15 under Swachha Bharat Mission only 2072 households were covered with toilet facilities and payment made to the households.
Similarly till mid week of May 2015 in the financial year of 2015-16 only 1776 households were covered. This is against a target given to each of the 13 blocks to build at least 1200 toilets. Under the Swachha Bharat scheme, NGOs are supposed to play major role as partner in motivating the villagers and to construct the toilets as per norm on behalf of the villagers.They are to act as contractual agency of the project. To take up the work 34 NGOs of the district have been enlished by district administration.
However the District Water and Sanitation Mission seems to be hesitant to release advance to the NGOs or the individual households to construct the toilets despite provision for the purpose.
Moreover due to delay on the part of the Mission to verify and to make payments, the NGOs are in fix. In this scenario they are forced to invest from their own sources and wait for months to get payment. Thus most of the NGO partners are backing out.
Apart from this there are many blocks like Koksara, Kalampur, Golamunda, Thuamul Rampur, Lanjigarh and M.Rampur which are slow in responding where as blocks like Karlamunda, Bhawanipatna, Narla, Kesinga , Jaipatana blocks are responding to the scheme.
NGO representatives expressing concern opine that unless there will be awareness movement in campaign mode, NGOs paid in advance to construct the toilets as per need of the hour and target and timely supervision and payment to the beneficiaries and NGO partners, there will not be tangible result.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Swadeshi Jagaran Manch demands Govt. medical college, Indira Gandhi Manav Sangrahalaya, Agriculture Research Center and Mega Textile Park in Kalahandi

Note: I think the media slightly got confused, the demand included a Govt. medical college and a central university (not medical university)
Sambad, June 14, 2015

Sahitya Akademi opens new centre for oral literature

Times of India, June 14, 2015
If proof of the pudding is in the sampling, so too are pleasures of an oral language manifest in the listening. Keenly aware that an orality possesses more in its audible parts than the sum of its literation in a borrowed script, Sahitya Akademi has set out to document and archive in audio and visual form, samples of oral and tribal literatures of India.This means you can soon animate your reading of Toda folklore in Tamil with audio clips of the real thing. 

What started as a 'project' in the mid 90s to preserve oral languages, has gained solidity and singular purpose with the institution of an independent department called the Centre For Oral and Tribal Literature. Formalized in January, the Centre is headed by noted linguist and former JNU academic, Dr Anvita Abbi. She was awarded the Padma Shri for her work on endangered languages in India and the Kenneth Hale Award by the Linguistic Society of America, and is presently president of the Linguistic Society of India. 

While she's still outlining her broad agenda, Dr Abbi has decided that she will start at the very beginning - with creation myths. "I've already been sent recordings from Kalahandi, the Nilgiris, and I have my own recordings of the creation myths of the Andaman Islands," says Dr Abbi. "Every tribe has its own myths about the origins of their community and the world. These myths tell you about human migration, evolution, innovation and so on. In Great Andamanese for example, the first human is said to be born of bamboo. And he sculpts woman from the five elements and bakes her at a high temperature," she says, acknowledging that although many oral narratives have already been recorded and transcribed by enthnographers, some stories have slipped between the gaps. 

It will be a mammoth task to document the 1000 or so spoken mother tongues in India, but the Centre has already reached out to a national network of linguists, anthropologists and ethnographers for their collaboration. Dr K Sreenivasarao, secretary, Sahitya Akademi, who declined to put a figure to the budget allocated for the purpose, said the Todas of Nilgiris will be the first to be documented, and will later be the subject of a linguistic conference. 

Last week, Sahitya Akademi opened a North-East Centre for Oral and Tribal Literature (NECOL) at Manipur University, Imphal. The centre was formerly at Agartala. The centre in Delhi will oversee the documentation and promotion of oral and tribal literature from the rest of the country.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Bibhab Behera selected as a judge for his photographic talent for upcoming Jurassic Park promotion event

Note: Another proud Kalahandia Bibhab Behera is chosen as judge for his photographic talent for the upcoming Hollywood movie Jurassic Park. Bibhab Behera is son of Mr. Biony Behera (Police DG Odisha) and grandson of Prof. Bhubaneswar Behera (another great son of Kalahandi)
Sambad June 13, 2015, 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Food processing in Odisha lagging behin

The Hindu, June 9, 2015
 Inadequate post-harvest handling, processing and storage infrastructure and non-availability of processable varieties of raw materials over a long longer period are factors which are preventing Odisha from achieving double-digit growth in the food processing sector.
An analysis, conducted by the State government following the discontinuance of National Mission on Food Processing (NMFP) from April 1 this year, says that given the potential of the State, augmenting the growth of food processing from 0.7 per cent to 10 per cent by 2017 and 25 per cent by 2025 is possible.
The total agricultural crop production in Odisha has nearly doubled from 46.32 lakh metric tonne in 2002-03 to 87.47 lakh MT in 2009-10. Food production has witnessed an upward trend in production since 2002-03 at 35.55 lakh MT to reach 75.51 lakh MT in 2009-10.
Although Odisha is the country’s leading producer of rice, pulses, vegetables, oilseeds, cotton, groundnut, coconut, jute, spices, potato and fruits, the agro and food processing industry in Odisha is at a nascent stage under the unorganised private sector, it states.
Besides, the food processing sector still remains largely untapped because of high packing costs, cultural preference for fresh food, seasonality of raw materials, lack of adequate infrastructural facilities and quality control mechanism.
“As a result, there is a need to diversify the sector by fully harnessing its potentialities, providing greater incentives as well as creating conducive environment for more investments and exports,” according to the analysis.
According to a government estimate, as of 2013-14, Odisha had approximately 27,284 enterprises engaged in the food and allied sectors generating over 1.47 lakh employment opportunities with an investment of more than Rs. 1,557.86 crore.
Under NMFP from 2012-13 to 2014-15, the food processing industries were assisted with Rs. 11.97 crore and one infrastructure project for conducting a diploma course in food processing technology and seven food processing training centres were supported.
The Capital City has attracted highest investment in the sector by receiving investment to the tune of Rs. 163 crore followed by Bargarh with Rs. 128.02 districts. Cuttack, Ganjam and Kalahandi districts received an investment of Rs. 100 crore each in the sector by end of 2013-14.
The study recommends setting up of an autonomous organisation on promotion of food processing industries and dedicated food processing cell in Directorate of Industries and District Industrial Centres.
Besides, research and development facilities at Orissa University of Agriculture Technology, Bhubaneswar and Centre Rice Research Institute, Cuttack should also be strengthened.

Solar Irrigation System Brings Cheer to Kalahandi Farmers

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), June 9, 2015
BHAWANIPATNA: Budu Sabar, Labanya Sabar and Hiranya Sethi of Santpur village of Narla block in Kalahandi district are reaping benefits of irrigation through solar powered water pumping system.
They are among a group of select farmers of five clusters in Santpur (two clusters), Sanchiching of  Narla block, Dangriguda of Bhawanipatna block and Nuagaon village of Golamunda block in Kalahandi district, where a pilot project to irrigate farm land through solar power was launched on a pilot basis for the first time in Odisha about two months ago.
In the initial stage, three deep bore wells were installed with solar panels in each cluster.
One deep bore well irrigates five acres with solar panels fitted to it operating a motor pump of two horse power.
The project, funded by Bring Green Revolution to Eastern India (BGREI), is cost effective and the experiment is proving to be a success, said Agriculture Engineer, Kalahandi, Lalit Mohan Jena.
He said for the project, 15 marginal farmers having ceiling surplus land from Government were identified.
As the farmers needed a reliable, low-cost water pumping system to grow crops, the solar powered system of irrigation was considered cost-effective. It is much cheaper than electricity based irrigation, Jena added.
While each bore well costs Rs 80,000 to Rs 90,000, the cost of installing solar panels with pump is around Rs 2.9 lakh without much maintenance related expenses, he added. The solar panels come with a five year warranty and have a life span of 20 years. On the other hand, an electricity-based irrigation system would cost around Rs seven lakh for each cluster besides regular maintenance and involves risk factors, said the Agriculture Engineer.
One of the beneficiaries, Budu Sabar said, “After growing vegetables on small patches of our own land, we are now gearing up to cover more area.”
Last year, they had grown high land paddy and cotton through the normal irrigation system but the yield was not adequate. This time, they plan to grow vegetables and cash crops which have market demand.
Once it turns out to be a success in the five pilot areas, the project is proposed to be replicated in 10 more clusters of the district.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Odisha, Centre cross swords on river inter-linking issue

Odisha Times, June 8, 2015
 With the Centre rigid with its proposal for interlinking of river Mahanadi with river Godavari despite Odisha government’s objections, the Centre and the Odisha government are heading for a face-off.
Even more disturbing is the Centre’s decision to form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to expedite the project. What has surprised the Odisha government is the Centre’s haste for the project. The state government apart from voicing strong objections to the move has put forth several questions on it, sources close to the development revealed.
The Centre has simply made a presentation of the proposal for interlinking of rivers before the Chief Minister said Pradip Kumar Jena principal secretary Water Resources department adding neither has the Central government made any formal proposal for the project nor has the state government given its consent for the same. Rather the state government has opposed it and has sought clarifications from the Central government on it, he said.
Sources in the Water Resources department said the Centre has put forth two alternative proposals before the state government.
According to the first proposal two barrages will be constructed over the river Mahanadi at Manibhadra and Barmul and water will be stored in two areas Raula and Bag. With this project will submerge 23, 349 hectares of land. While at least 828 km length of canals will be dug up as part of the project 2, 31, 093 hectares of land will be irrigated and 849.3 MW of electricity will be generated.
The second alternative proposal proposes for construction of a barrage at Barmul and water will be stored at five places Bag, Salki, Raula, Khadago and Udanti. With this project will submerge 15,528 hectares of land. While at least 842 km of canals will be dug up as part of the project, 2, 31,093 hectares of land will be irrigated and 1039 MW of electricity generated.
However, both the proposals do not contain any facts on the quantum of forest land to be submerged due to the projects.
For flood control and containing of water scarcity the Central government has proposed for interlinking of Barmul-Rushikulya, Ib –Brahmani, construction of barrage on Nagavali-Rushikulya-Vamsadhara and construction of dam Anga, Ib and Upper Lanth.
Nonetheless, the state government has opposed the move and  has argued that river Mahanadi as such doesn’t have excess water.
The state government has said that in case of the project coming up at Barmul in Nayagarh district 12 villages will be submerged, 1000 hectares will be submerged in Raula area in Kalahandi district and on barrage or dam being constructed at Udanti in Nuapada district eight villages will be submerged. At least 1541 hectares of land will be submerged.
Similarly, 11 villages will be also submerged in Salko area in Boudh district.
Besides, for the Khadago project in Kandhamal district 19 villages, 32 villages for the Anga project in Bargarh  district , 26 villages for Ib project in Sundargarh district and 2 villages for the Upper Lanth project in Balangir district will be submerged.
It will be next to impossible to go for interlinking of rivers without resolving these issues.
The state government has said that the project should be gainful to those who will be displaced for the project. The interlinking canals should not affect any human habitation. The state government has told the Central government that it is prepared to consider the proposal provided cent percent financial assistance is provided for all the projects and are accorded national project status.
Though the Centre is yet to react on the stand of the state government, sources close to the development revealed that it is giving  top most priority to the interlinking of Mahanadi with Godavari in its list of things.

Road Map Laid for IT Sector Growth

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), June 8, 2015
BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has prepared a road map for massive information technology (IT) programme to be implemented during the next four years with an investment of `2,355 crore.
The road map was discussed at a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at the State Secretariat here. According to official sources, Odisha ranked 8th in IT exports with software export of `2,400 crore in 2013-14 which was a 20 per cent increase over 2012-13.
Establishment of an Electronic Manufacturing Cluster over 215 acres of land at Infovalley, signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) with m2i International and setting up of a Semi-conductor Characterisation Laboratory at IIIT in Bhubaneswar are on the cards to give the State’s IT sector further boost.
After Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, Odisha will be the third State to develop an IT Investment Region (ITIR) over an area of 10,210 acres, 15 km from Bhubaneswar. The ITIR will have processing area of 4,300 acres to house all the IT, IT-Enabled Services (ITES), Electronic Home Monitoring (EHM), R and D centres which will create an employment opportunity of 2.37 lakh in the next five years.
There are also proposals to set up two more IT/ Electronic System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM) parks, incubation centres and to create built-up space of 20 lakh sq ft, promoting skill development, innovation and training with finishing schools and implementation of Digital India Programme to improve service delivery.
One ESDM incubation centre with 50:50 partnership between State Government and Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) has been proposed to be set up at Bhubaneswar for promotion of ESDM start ups.
New IT companies like Cognizant, Capgemini, HCL, Accenture, IBM, Zensar and Mastek are being approached to make Bhubaneswar their next destination.  
While STPIs are functioning at Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, Berhampur and Balasore, a proposal to set up six more STPIs at Angul, Sambalpur, Jajpur, Koraput, Bhawanipatna and Rayagada has been submitted to the Centre. The IT Department will soon submit a report to the Government on setting up a vision group for development of the sector in Odisha.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Kaushal Centres in Degree Colleges from This Session

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), June 6, 2015
BHUBANESWAR: The Higher Education Department has asked principals of Government degree colleges to open Knowledge Acquisition and Upgradation of Skilled Human Abilities and Livelihood (Kaushal) centres in the new academic session.
The Kaushal scheme, started by the University Grants Commission (UGC), is aimed at meeting the increasing demand of skilled hands.
Sources in the Department said the centres would work for coordination between higher education system and industry to become centres of excellence for skill development in specialised areas. The centres will undertake research and development in the areas related to skill education and development, entrepreneurship, employability and labour market trends.
Courses like applied arts, healthcare, media, technical and soft skills will be offered in the centres. The UGC would provide an assistance of `5 crore during 12th Plan Period for each centre. A one-time start-up assistance of upto `2 crore for developing infrastructure, procuring equipment and renovation of building will also be provided.
Under the scheme, one professor, two associate professors, four assistant professors, one technical assistant and one multi-tasking staff will be considered for each centre.
Department Secretary Gagan Dhal has asked the principals to send their proposals regarding opening of Kaushal centres and subjects in which training will be offered to degree students at the earliest.
He has also asked the Regional Directors of Education of Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and Sambalpur to identify degree colleges where such centres can be opened.
Apart from these Kaushal centres, the Department will open seven community colleges offering vocational courses to students from 2015-16 academic session. These 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.

Nor’wester damages banana crops, ruins farmers in Odisha’s Kalahandi

Odisha Times, June 5, 2015
Nor’wester has ruined banana crops in hundreds of acres in Dharamgarh sub division of Odisha’s Kalahandi district leaving planters high and dry.
While farmers who had taken loans for the crops are crestfallen with no means to repay their loans, Horticulture department officials said field inquiry of the damage was on and a report in this regard will be sent to the government on completion of the inquiry.
Farmers had undertaken banana plantation in two hundred acres in Dharamgarh sub division under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY), National Horticulture Mission (NHM), State Plan etc..
In around 70 percent of the area where plantation was undertaken, plants are lying on the ground before the crop could mature and be harvested leaving farmers worried on how to repay their loans with their earning lost to the storm.
“I had cultivated banana crop on five acres of land. Everything has been ruined. Last year the crop was damaged due to Hudhud. We had thought of recovering that loss from this year’s crop. But we have lost everything. What more can I say? I had spent around Rs 60,000 to Rs 70,000 on each acre. I don’t have the strength to repay the loans I had taken to grow the crop,” said Dinabandhu Sahu, a banana cultivator.
“Everything has been damaged by the winds and rains. With earnings from the crop, we would have paid for the studies of our children. We had taken loans for the crop. Now we are thinking how to repay loans, leave apart our labour and earnings,” said Kumud Sahu, another farmer.
While admitting that the crop has been damaged, the assistant director of Horticulture department Kishore Kumar Mahalik said that the department would send a report to the government in this regard.
“Our field staffs are conducting a survey of the damage. Most of them had availed loans for the crop. After reports are available and losses calculated, we will send a report to the district collector. Last year too, it had happened the same way during Hudhud last year. We had sent a report to the government,” said Mahalik.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

800 bridges planned in next 4 years

The Statesman, June 3, 2015
hief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Tuesday directed officers of the rural development department to construct 800 bridges under the Biju Setu Jojana programme over the next four years to improve the rural road connectivity in the state.
Reviewing the performance of the department, the CM fixed a target of 200 bridges over rivers and nallahs per year.  He also wanted the rural development department to take up at least  three road construction works in each assembly constituency under the ‘'Mukhya  Mantri  Sadak  Yojana'’ to connect villages with 100 or more population to meet the ambitious target of the state government to lay 20,000 km of road to connect 7535 habitats.
With regard to road sunder the PMGSY scheme, the CM noted that the flow of funds from the central government has been declining since last year. This has adversely affected the road laying work under the scheme, he observed. The chief minister said mega pipe water projects will be implemented in Nuapada, Kalahandi, Puri, Brahmagiri, Krishnaprasad and Ganjam.
At least one pipe water project in each panchayat should be completed during the current year, he stated. A master plan to complete rural road connectivity and provide drinking water in seven mineral rich districts – Keonjhar, Sundergarh, Angul, Jharsuguda, Koraput, Jaipur and Rayagada of the state will be formulated in two months time, said official sources who attended the review meeting.  Rural Development Minister Badrinaryan Patra said the completion of some projects were being delayed as the central government was not providing funds.
He informed that during 2014-15, the state government had already spent Rs 1678 crore against which the centre had provided only Rs 1052 crore. We are yet to receive  Rs 520 crore from the central government as 100 crore is the state share, he noted.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Local mangoes make inroads into North India

Times of India, June 1, 2015
,TNN | Jun 1, 2015, 11.26 AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: The state government has started sending mangoes to Delhi, Bokaro, Lucknow, Allahabad, Varanasi and other North Indian cities with Odisha harvesting a bumper crop.

The state-run Dhenkanal Fruit and Vegetables Marketing Company Limited (DFVMCL), which collects and markets mango, is exporting about 5 to 10 tonne outside the state every day, official sources said.

"The company is collecting mangoes from farmers of 10 districts," said horticulture director Susant Nanda. The minimum support price (MSP) for mango has been fixed at Rs 20, he said, adding, "But since the mangoes are being sold at a higher price outside, we are giving the profit to the farmers."

The state produces around 8 to 10 lakh metric tonne (MT) of mango of over 200 varieties in major mango-growing districts of Dhenkanal, Angul, Deogarh, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Sonepur, Jajpur and Cuttack. Besides, Kandhamal, Kalahandi and Rayagada districts also pitch in with late harvest.

Farmers in some districts have alleged that due to lack of proper storage facilities they are forced to sell mangoes at a lower price.

"There is no proper channel for collection and marketing of mangoes. The horticulture department has been collecting mangoes from big orchards but small farmers are facing problems," said Antaryami Sahu, a farmer of Jajpur district.

The horticulture officers said mangoes cannot be kept in cold storages for more than 15 days, so cold storage would not have helped much. "At the DFVMS, the mangoes are kept in four ripening chambers, each having capacity of 15 metric tonne, for four days for uniform colour and better taste," said a senior officer of the department.

Some popular varieties of Odisha like Dussehri, Baldev and Himsagar ripe about 90 days earlier than other mango-growing states like Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh. So our homegrown mangoes are capturing these markets, the officer added.

The state also exported to Bangladesh, Japan and Finland while a major chunk of it was consumed Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal. The demand for mangoes is also huge in Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Rourkela and Sambalpur.