Monday, September 12, 2016

KISS education cover for Dana Majhi's three daughters

The New Indian Express, Sept 11, 2016
BHUBANESWAR: Dana Majhi, the poor tribal who shot into fame for walking a 10 km stretch carrying the body of his wife, will no longer have to worry about the education of his daughters. City-based Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) has come forward to admit his three daughters - Chandini, Sonei and Pramila - to the institution that provides free education and boarding to tribal children from across the State.
The KISS administration took the decision after many tribal organisations of the backward Kalahandi district, including Biswabasu Sabar Samaj, District Tribal Society, All Odisha Banjara Samaj, Tribal Employees Sangram Samiti, and local MLA Dibyasankar Mishra requested the authorities concerned to take educational responsibility of the girls.
Representatives from these tribal organisations along with Dana Majhi reached Bhubaneswar on Saturday and met Achyuta Samanta, Founder, KIIT & KISS, to press the demand. Samanta agreed to admit Chandini, Sonei and Pramila to the institute. The tribal representatives from the district also requested KISS authorities to open a branch of the institute in Kalahandi. A branch of KISS will start functioning in Kalahandi from the coming academic year, the authorities hinted. Though land for the purpose was purchased in 2011, work has not progressed due to paucity of funds. The tribal organisations’ members also requested to admit 100 more children from Dana’s Melghar village and nearby areas to KISS, which also agreed to it in principle. Samanta informed the tribal representatives about financial assistance from Government of Bahrain to Dana Majhi. He has already discussed with the Ambassador of Bahrain in New Delhi in this regard, he informed.
An amount of ` nine lakh will be given to Dana whenever he visits the Embassy of Bahrain in New Delhi with a representative of KISS, Samanta added. As per advice of the Ambassador of Bahrain, the amount will be deposited in the accounts of daughters of Dana as fixed deposits, he informed.

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Letter to CM: Thank you for Vedanta group financed Govt. medical college in Kalahandi

Dear Honorable Chief Minister Mr. Patnaik,
I thank you very much and appreciate your initiative to establish a Govt. medical college and hospital in Kalahandi with the finnacial help from Vedanta group. I have been writing to you as well as Vedanta group since 2009 to establish a medical college and hospital with the help of Vedanta group in Kalahandi. I am personally happy that even though in late, the state Govt. has responded positively in this regard. 

If you recall my letter dated on Aug 1, 2011, I had emphasized that "people of Kalahandi were hopeless for the proposed WODC initiated medical college. I also learned that Vedanta's initiative to take WODC initiated medical college in Kalahandi could not be materialised due to other involved private parties. In this circumstance why the state Government is not pursuing to Vedanta to build a fresh medical college and hospital in Kalahandi, one of the demand critic of Vedanta's is also advocating?"

Indeed all the local concerns regarding Sardar Raja Medical college came out to be true and the Sardar Raja medical college did not succeed as expected. I am glad that state Govt. has taken a course correction over this years and reacted positively by bringing Vedanta group to establish a Govt. medical college. This will help in subsidizing local anger against failure of Sardar Raja medical college and fulfill the demand of local people of Kalahandi.

I have also been advocating to engage Vedanta group to establish Vedanta Kalahandi University in the region (a proposal earlier sent to both state Govt. and VAL in 2010) to bring higher education development in the region. Such an University will help in generating quality human resources in the local level and inspire local population towards higher education. Since higher education is directly related to improving living standard and quality of life of people, it will bring greater benefits in KBK region. In addition,  a national standard University by Vedanta group in Kalahandi might give a positive flux to silent critics and help in establishing world class Vedanta University at Puri. 

Establishing educational institutions will have a win-win impact for both Vedanta group, state Govt. and local population in the region.  

Once again my sincere thanks to you on behalf of people of Kalahandi and KBK region.  I hope state Govt. will facilitate more such proposal to bring positive change in the KBK region in quality education and health care facilities. 

With best regards

Friday, July 1, 2016

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Soil dumped near Asurgarh moat, historians resent damage to fort

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), June 12, 2016
Published: 12th June 2016 05:36 AM
Last Updated: 12th June 2016 05:36 AM

BHAWANIPATNA: ARCHAEOLOGISTS and historians  have resented the damage caused to historical Asurgarh fort near Narla block in Kalahandi district due to deposit  of earth in the moat surrounding the fort on three sides. As a part of a water body renovation project, earth was removed from Radhasagar  tank and dumped close to the moat.  While Narla block officials claimed that the moat is located outside the protected fort area, archaeologists said the moat is an integral part of the protected site and cannot be  destroyed.
Asurgarh fort dates back to 4th  century BC. An ancient metropolis, it is considered contemporaneous to Sisupalagarh, Ujjain, Ahichatra, Kosambi and other ancient Indian cities.   Different antiquities, structures, coins and beads were excavated from  the site. Though in 1973 the site wasdeclared protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archeological Sites and Monuments Act, 1958, proper excavation  and preservation of monuments are not being done. In fact, the  site was considered an emporium of bead-making and trading and its hydraulic system was considered  unique. The fort was planned in a rectangular pattern as per Kautalyan principles of ‘Durgabidhana’ and ancient Indian geometrical formula.
The main fortification spreads over   12 hectares and there was also an external fortification, which is now in ruins. At present, the height and width of the fortified wall measure 11  m x 7.5 m and the encircled moat measures 36 m in width. A stone barrage constructed over the Sandol river  in the north-west side of the fort to provide controlled water to the fortified area and the moat still exist. Sources said in the wake of water  scarcity in Punjipadar village under Mandel gram panchayat adjacent to Asurgarh fort, renovation work of the dried up  Radhasagar tank was being carried out using JCB machines.
The excavated earth was dumped in  the southern part of Asurgarh moat. This led to filling up of the moat by  nearly 40 per cent on the southern side. Contacted, BDO of Narla block, Kailash Chandra Siala said funds of `six lakh was sanctioned under the fourth  State Finance Commission to Mandel gram panchayat to renovate the water body. “The tank is located on the south-west side of Asurgarh  moat. Renovation work of the water tank is not being done anywhere inside the protected area of the fort hence, permission from the Archeological Survey of India for dumping  earth near the moat was not required,” he said. Archaeologist Dr Baba Mishra, who is also a faculty member with the  Government Autonomous College, however, said moat is an integral part of the fort. “Asurgarh is famous for  its excellent hydraulic technique and water management. Filling up the moat will affect the beauty of the fort and further excavation of the hydraulic  system will be affected,” he added.    

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Illegal Trade on Food and Nutrition Service for Children

Reported by Sri Debendra Bisi
Sambad, June 4, 2016

After BJP's Vikas rally, Cong's Dhikkar on June 10

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), June 4, 2016
BHAWANIPATNA: A DAY after BJP’s Vikas Utsav rally addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Balasore highlighted the achievements of the NDA Government, the Congress on Friday announced to observe June 10 as ‘Dhikkar Divas’ in the State to highlight the failure of both the Centre and the State governments. They announced that they would stage demonstrations in all district and block headquarters as part of the ‘divas.’
Addressing a massive rally in front of Treasury Office, the Congress bigwigs accused the BJP and the BJD governments of showing step-motherly attitude towards Western Odisha, including KBK districts, and warned of intensified agitation for ‘Swabhimaan, and rights of Maa, Mati’.
The Congress leaders, including general secretary in-charge B K Hariprasad, former Union Minister Bhakta Charan Das and OPCC president Prasad Harichandan attended the event.
They submitted a memorandum, addressed to the Governor, through the District Collector.
The leaders accused the Naveen Patnaik Government of hijacking Central schemes and misleading people of the State.
He has mastered the art of blaming the Centre for all his failures and both the State and the Centre are trying to suppress voices of protest taking advantage of their numbers in the Houses.
Similarly, Modi is renaming the schemes launched by the UPA government and marketing it as BJP programme, they added.
The leaders said Modi is on self-glorification trips to Odisha and is selling dreams and cautioned people not to be fooled.
There is governance paralysis and poverty continues to grow despite abundant natural resources, the Congress leaders said, adding that farmers are gradually distancing themselves from agriculture and migrating to earn livelihood. More than 300 farmers have committed suicide due to debt burden, the leaders added.
They also took on the State
Government for its fresh move to mine bauxite from Niyamgiri when the Supreme Court had negated it once during the rule of UPA government.
Pointing out that Kalahandi has been a victim of neglect by both the BJP and the BJD, the leaders alleged that Sardar Rajas Medical College at Jaring has been closed, the proposed Agriculture University in Kalahandi is still in papers, university status to Autonomous Government College, Bhawanipatna has not materialised and the proposed railway wagon maintenance and repair factory at Narla in Kalahandi was shifted due to negligence. Congress leader Pradeep Majhi and former minister Jagannath Patnaik also addressed the gathering.
Party power
Congress accuses two Govts of showing step-motherly attitude towards Western Odisha
Warns of intensifying agitation for ‘Swabhimaan, and rights of Maa, Mati’
More than 300 farmers have committed suicide due to debt burden
Kalahandi sidelined in several issues
Sardar Rajas Medical College closed, proposed Agriculture University still in papers, university status to Autonomous Government College, Bhawanipatna yet to materialise, proposed railway wagon maintenance and repair factory at Narla shifted

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Tiller past gets a new date - Excavations across state shed new light on farming

The Telegraph (Kolkata), May 31, 2016
Bhubaneswar, May 30: Archaeologists have unearthed artefacts from excavation sites across the state throwing light on the earliest possible farming culture in Odisha pushing the date back by 3,500 years.
The findings from the excavations at Radhangar in Jajpur, Suabarei near Pipili, Banga in Puri, Deltihuda in Cuttack and Budhigarh in Kalahandi over the past two years have led to the discovery of objects highlighting agricultural practices during the Chalcolithic age.
The Odisha Institute of Maritime and South East Asian Studies, Archaeological Survey of India, Pune's Deccan College, and a few state universities are taking part in the excavation.
Prior to the latest findings, prevalence of agricultural practices in the state was thought to have existed in the 3rd century BC when the ancient city of Sisupalgarh flourished.
The recent excavations at five places in Jajpur, Pipili, Puri, Cuttack and Kalahandi have led to the discovery of ceramic assemblage of black and red ware, ochre coloured painted wares, tools such as celts and beads, pottery samples, stone axe, polishers, bone points, bone needle, copper objects, and bone arrow heads.
"These findings throw light on the early start of agriculture in settlements in Odisha, the exploitation of natural resources, the housing pattern of the people and their livelihood options," said Sunil Patnaik, secretary of the Odisha Institute of Maritime and South East Asian Studies.
"A number of perforated pottery such as storage jars and crucibles are indicative of the Chalcolithic age. Pottery designs with back, red and ochre finish were found at the sites," said Patnaik.
Cord impressions and wavy and horizontal lines found on the earthenware are also evidence of the age.
"A large number of animal bones found show that they kept them both for domestication and hunting purposes. Dog seems to have been the favourite pet animal as is evident from a burial with animal bones and arranged miniature pots," Patnaik said.
The availability of copper fishing hook, fish bones and tortoise shells also indicate their fishing network, experts said.
"Their fishing network was not confined to rivers and ponds but also the sea. This is evident from the recovery of shark fish teeth of which one has a perforation for reuse as pendant," said expert from the ASI Jeevan Patnaik, who carried out excavation at the Suabarei site.
The early historical site of Budhigarh highlights urban growth, the beginning of city life and the trans-oceanic contact during ancient times.
"The antiquities found at these sites include beads of terracotta and semi-precious stones such banded agate, carnelian and crystal quartz. From the antiquities it is clear that they flourished as inland urban centres. The findings establish the link of the transition between rural economy and urbanisation or fortified settlement," Patnaik added.
Also, the excavated site of Radhanagar has brought to the fore square-shaped fortification. "This kind of arrangement is known as the ideal type as mentioned in the Arthashastra. This is the first time that this kind of fortification has been discovered. We are now working on discovering whether they originated from Odisha or from the Magadha kingdom," Patnaik said.
Experts also revealed that the findings at Suabarei provided a tentative picture of stratigraphy (study of rock layers) of Odisha from the prehistoric period to the early historic period in continuity.
"Earlier excavations painted a hazy picture where the Neolithic and Charcolithic culture were intrusive in nature thereby creating confusion. But, excavations here show a gap of around 500 years between the two phases thus eliminating the uncertainties," said Professor R.K. Mohanty, who teaches at Deccan College in Pune.
Other important findings include three human skeletons from the Banga site and skeletal remains of an adult and the pot burials of a child from Deltihuda.
"Excavation of human skeleton from near the houses proves that there could be a practice of burying the dead near the habitation," said K.K. Basa, professor of anthropology, Utkal University.
Researchers shared the findings during a two-day seminar conducted by the state culture department that began here today.
"The findings of the excavations will be published in a book for the public. The excavated sites will be turned into tourist spots as well," said culture minister Ashok Panda.

Non-functional cold storage since 11 years

Reported by Sri Debendra Bisi
Sambad, May 31, 2016

Thursday, May 26, 2016


The Pioneer (Bhubaneswar), May 25, 2016
Even as people in the entire Nuapada district and some parts of Kalahandi district are forced to continue to use fluoride water and suffer from various health hazards, the delay in execution of the proposed Rs 752.44-crore Mega PWS (Piped Water Supply) Projects, the tender process for which had been completed around six months ago, has only added to their woes.
The people had got heaved a sigh of relief after Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked the RD Department in April 2015 to initiate tender process for the RIDF project to be funded by the Nabard. The Government had decided to undertake this project after intervention of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).  
According to sources, following the Chief Minister’s approval a due procedure was adopted to select a final bidder and the same was completed in November 2015. The Technical Expert Committee selected Shapooji and Company Pvt Ltd, Mumbi as the final bidder finalizing the contract money at Rs 724.96 crore against the project estimate of Rs 752.44 crore.
The process had also witnessed intervention of the High Court as one of the three bidders, after failing to come in the qualified list, approached it. As per the direction of the HC, the Technical Committee too reexamined the representation of the petitioner firm, the IL and FS Transportation Network Ltd, Mumbai, and found the marks awarded to it was just and proper. And hence, the Shapooji and Company Pvt Ltd remained as the qualified final bidder to undertake the work.
As per the procedure, the Technical Committee sent the file mentioning name of the Shappji firm to Finance Department for obtaining approval of the Government in February. But the file now remains unmoved much to the worry of 9.56 lakh people of 1733 habitations in Nuapada district and 18 habitations in Kalahandi district.
Meanwhile, a revelation made by another source has stunned the social activists who have been fighting for long to get portable water for the fluoride affected people.
According to it, an Apex Committee led by Chief Secretary was formed to reexamine the tender process and take a final call on implementation of the much-awaited project.
When the tender process has been finalised and the same has been sent to Government for final approval, what was the need of forming the Apex Committee to examine. Whether it has been formed to expedite the process or halt it, many wanted to know.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Cabinet nod for rail infra projects worth Rs 10,736 cr

Businesstoday, May 25, 2016
Railway projects worth Rs 10,736 crore were cleared by the government on Wednesday for improving infrastructure in various states, including Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat that go to polls next year.
The projects, including three for doubling of existing rail lines and two for laying a third rail line on busy routes, were cleared by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) at its meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
"I am happy to say that the CCEA has approved projects worth Rs 10,736 crore for doubling and tripling (of railway lines). There are a total of five new projects, three doubling projects for 763 kms and two third line projects for 514 kms.
"The benefit of these projects obviously will go to several states but two important states will benefit immensely, one is Gujarat and the other is Uttar Pradesh," Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said at a press conference after the meeting.
Providing details of the projects, he said, in Gujarat the CCEA has given approval for doubling of Surendranagar-Rajkot project at an estimated cost of Rs 1,002.39 crore with expected completion cost of Rs 1,137.17 crore with 5 per cent escalation per annum.
The length of the railway line will be 116.17 kms. The completion period of the project will be four years.
"It is a major push to Gujarat's industrialisation ability," he said.
He said the doubling of this line will greatly ease the ever increasing freight traffic between Okha-Rajkot, Porbandar-Kanalus, Veraval-Rajkot and Maliya Maiyana - Navalakhi-Dahinsara-Wankaner sections.
In UP, he said the doubling of Roza-Sitapur Cantt-Burhwal broad gauge single line project has been approved at an estimated cost of Rs 1,295.42 crore with expected completion cost of Rs 1,486.46 crore with 5 per cent escalation per annum.
The length of the railway line will be 180.77 kms. The completion period of the project will be five years.
The doubling of this line between Burhwal junction and Roza junction will fulfill the demand of the increasing traffic leading to socio-economic development of the area.
Besides, there will be continuous double line track available from Gorakhpur to Delhi via Sitapur Cantonment and Moradabad.
Barabanki and Sitapur districts of UP would also be benefited through this project.
Prabhu said the CCEA also gave its nod for doubling of Pune-Miraj-Londa railway line in Maharashtra at an estimated cost of Rs 3,627.47 crore and expected completion cost of Rs 4,246.84 crore in five years keeping in view the 5 per cent escalation per annum.
The length of the railway line will be 467 kms.
Besides the travelling people, industries in and around Miraj-Londa section will have additional transport capacity to meet their requirements.
Doubling of this line will greatly ease the ever increasing freight traffic on the Pune-Miraj-Londa section thereby increasing the revenue of the Railways, a railway ministry statement said.
The Pune-Miraj section is non-electrified single line on diesel traction and it is oversaturated.
"The additional traffic running over and above 100 per cent of utilisation is proposed to be diverted on the proposed doubling. The doubling of the section would come as an advantage as it would strengthen the rail network necessary to operate more passenger trains with increased speed and better efficiency," it said.
Prabhu said the CCEA also granted approval for the Vizianagaram and Titlagarh third line project at an estimated cost of Rs 2,335.68 crore. The length of the railway line will be 264.6 kms. The completion period of the project will be five years.
The third line is an alternative route to the over-burdened existing line and this link will also open an alternative route to oversaturated Kharagpur Jharsuguda section Howrah-Mumbai Grand Trunk Route and Howrah-Chennai section main line of East Coast Railways.
Rayagada and Kalahandi districts of Odisha and Vizianagaram and Babbili districts of Andhra Pradesh will benefit from this project.
The section is oversaturated with present capacity utilisation of 106 per cent and there is a huge detention to rolling stock.
The Bina-Katni third line project under West Central Railway (WCR) was also approved at an estimated cost of Rs 2,478.23 crore and expected completion cost of Rs 2,917.06 crore in five years. The line will be 278.7 kms long.
Besides facilitating passenger travel, the thermal power plants in the area will get a third line for transportation.
It will also greatly ease the ever-increasing freight traffic between Bina-Katni section increasing the railways' earnings. Sagar, Damoh and Katni districts of Madhya Pradesh will benefit from this project, the ministry said.
The Bina-Katni is critical and busy section of WCR serving coal rakes for thermal power plants at Chhabra Gugur and Jhalawar in Rajasthan and paints, oils and lubricants (POL) traffic for Mahadevkhedi in Madhya Pradesh. At present, the capacity utilisation of the section is 136 per cent, the statement said.
Asked if the approved projects had been accounted for in the Rail Budget, Prabhu said, "Most of them are a mix, but some projects mentioned are with trans-budgetary support and some with extra-budgetary support."
The completion of these projects, he said, will be between three to five years but the time limits given are outer limits and the government will be able to complete the projects earlier.

2.2 million rupees cheating by giving fake employment

Reported by Sri Debendra Bisi
Sambad, May 22, 2016

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Curtains down on Greeshma Utsav

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), May 24, 2016
BHAWANIPATNA: The two-day-long Greeshma Utsav concluded in Junagarh under Kalahandi district on Sunday.
The festival was organised jointly by Odisha Sahitya Akademi, Lalit Kala Akademi and Odisha Sangeet Natak Akademi. While the Sahitya Akademi hosted a Kabi Sammelani, the Sangeet Natak Akademi organised cultural events on the two days. Besides Odissi, artistes showcase various folk dance forms including Kalahandi’s Sarerate dance, Singari, Madli and Ghumura also found a stage in the festival. The Lalit Kala Akademi hosted an art workshop for two days and the paintings and sculptures produced by 30 artists including 15 from Kalahandi were showcased on the concluding day. During inauguration, officials of the Tourism and Culture Departments informed that `two crore has been sanctioned to develop Tarini temple and Jaleswar temple complex in Bhawanipatna.

Friday, May 20, 2016

CM Naveen Patnaik requests setting up of locomotive overhauling workshop in Kalahandi

The New Indian Express (Bhubaneswar), May 20, 2016
BHUBANESWAR: The joint working group (JWG) comprising the Chief Secretary and General Manager, East Coast Railway (ECR) has recommended to set up an Electric Locomotive Periodic Overhaul (POH) workshop in Kalahandi district.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik informed this today to Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu in a letter.
The Chief Minister said the committee has deliberated on various possibilities and based on the actual demand and other economic considerations of Railways it has recommended for setting up of an
electric locomotive periodic overhaul workshop in Kalahandi district.
Stating that the workshop would require about 250 acres of land, Naveen assured the railway minister that the state government would provide the land free of cost for the greater benefit of the State.
The recommendation has been made mainly on account of the overall shortage of electric locomotive POH capacity in
Indian Railways, large electrification works being undertaken in the ECR, he said and added that there is no such workshop anywhere in ECR.
Naveen said the working group has also done a feasibility study based on current operations and concluded that there is an immediate need for a 60 locomotives per year capacity POH workshop. This would reduce the cost of having the current 344 electric locomotives of ECR being overhauled at far off places in Eastern, South Eastern and Central railways, he said.
The chief minister said, "With electrification of the entire Sambalpur Division, which incidentally serves the Kalahandi district, the demand for POH of electric locomotives can only go up".
Naveen requested the railway minister to consider the recommendation favourably and sanction this workshop for industrially backward KBK region at the earliest considering the expectations of the people of Odisha and sentiment of people of Kalahandi.
The joint working group was set up during the railway minister's visit to the state on April 16 in the backdrop of a series of agitation following the decision to shift the proposed railway wago  repair and maintenance factory from Narla in Kalahandi district.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Thirst of Kandhbori

Reported by Sri Debendra Bisi
Sambad, May 9, 2016

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Apex committee to recommend railways for alternative industry in Kalahandi

Times of India, May 9, 2016
BHUBANESWAR: A meeting of an apex committee took place at the state secretariat here on Monday to study the feasibility of a proposal for setting up of an alternative industry for Narla in Kalahandi district against the proposed railway wagon repair workshop which was allegedly shifted from the district to Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.

The apex committee comprised of chief secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi and East Coast Railway (ECoR) general manager Rajiv Vishnoi discussed thoroughly on the proposal. "After detailed study and consultation with different departments of the state government and district administration of Kalahandi, the committee will submit its report to Ministry of Railways on the proposal," official sources said.

Shifting of the proposed wagon repair workshop from Narla to Andhra Pradesh had created hue and cry in the state. Ruling party BJD and opposition congress had strongly opposed the move of the Railway Board by raising the issue in the assembly. Congress had staged Kalahandi bandh last month demanding set up of the project in the district.
Later railway minister Suresh Prabhu had met chief minister Naveen Patnaik here on April 16 and discussed with him about the controversy. He had told Naveen that the proposed factory was not in the pink book, an official register of railways with information on allocation of funds to different projects.

During the conversation, he had assured the chief minister that his ministry is planning a new project for Kalahandi. Then a high-level committee had been constituted to study the feasibility of the new industry in the district.

According to Prabhu's proposal, the committee was formed last month. The apex committee has already conducted two meetings to work on the issue.

Padhi said he and Vishnoi has discussed at length about the proposal. "We will send our report to the central government about the setting up of the alternative industry for Kalahandi," he added.

SC asks Kalahandi medical college management to deposit Rs 2 crore or face NBW

Times of India, May 9, 2016
 | TNN |