Posts filed under ‘Western Odisha development council’
Following report is from the Samaja:
This was a lively debate. Expect few leaders everyone spoke within the scope of the topic. Otherwise, now day TV debates are often turning brawl and theatrical stage. I observed that all most all leaders spoke in Kosli language. They should also use Kosli language in assembly; so that people of western Odisha will understand them. The discussion was about health, education and human resource development in western Odisha (Balangir and Kalahandi Medical college, AIIMs and other centrally funded institutes); industrialization; pollution in Sambalpur-Jharsuguda belt; KBK issues, Dadan sramik; malnutrition; starvation death; unemployment; Gadjats; feudal mentality of political leadership; and Kosal state demand.
People of western Odisha feel alienated because their voice is not heard by the mainstream Odia media. Thanks to the Kanak TV for providing a platform to people of western Odisha (although one speaker was accusing the organizers about the choice of the title and divide and rule policy).
BHUBANESWAR: Patient care going for a toss due to prolonged strike of junior doctors across all government medical colleges sums up the situation of healthcare in the state this year even as the government announced a number of new initiatives.
Around 800 house surgeons and PG students, the backbone of healthcare services for both indoor and outdoor patients in the three medical colleges, went for tool down, demanding “proper security to them during duty”. Several surgeries had to be postponed and emergency care was affected in the three apex institutions.
Junior doctors in Burla stopped work on September 5 following alleged attacks on them a day earlier on September 4. After the state announced a sine die closure of the college on September 7, the medics reassembled for an indefinite stir in the state capital on September 9. Their counterparts in Cuttack and Berhampur joined them on September 15 and 16 respectively, expressing solidarity with their demands of security, arrest of alleged main culprit Sisir Dandia and withdrawal of “false” charges against the demonstrators. Several rounds of talks with the government failed to bring back the medicos to their work and classes. Despite hectic parleys with the government, the strike went on till September 24. The Orissa high court had to intervene to end the stalemate ultimately. The HC asked the government to improve security on the campus and remove encroachments inside the Burla hospital campus.
Meanwhile, despite tall posturing by the government to have taken initiatives for several new medical college proposals, nothing concrete materialized during the year, either in private or in the government sector.
While the year saw no progress in the 2004 proposal of Western Orissa Development Council to set up a medical college in Balangir, Sahyog Healthcare and Research Foundation (SHRF) of India is yet to acquire land for its proposed college in Keonjhar. The SHRF a few days ago got some New York-based venture capitalists to invest $100 million in the project for a period of five years though.
Besides, the fate of Employees’ State Insurance Corporation’s proposed medical college at Bhubaneswar still hangs in balance with nothing more than a boundary coming up at the proposed site, government sources said. ESIC had proposed in 2008 to set up a medical college in Odisha. The state government had allotted 25 acres of land in the city for the Rs 800-crore project in 2009.
The planning and coordination department of the state government had sanctioned Rs 10 crore each for medical colleges in Rourkela, Jaring (Kalahandi district) and Balangir in public-private partnership. The government provided 25 acres of land each to these proposed colleges, being facilitated by WODC. Though the colleges in Rourkela and Jaring are in advanced stages of completion, uncertainty still prevails about their likely date of commissioning.
Similarly, the government also failed to initiate a kidney transplant facility at SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack, this year. It has now set a target of early 2012 to launch the programme.
The state government can, however, boast of at least four major initiatives such as launching the Centre-funded Janani O Sishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK), Mamata scheme for pregnant women and commissioning of the e-blood bank service this year. “It has been one of those happening years in health. Initiatives such as JSSK and Mamata were launched for pregnancy and neonatal care. We also started Dots Plus for TB patients,” said Dr Upendra Kumar Sahoo, director of health services.
Under the JSSK, the government promises to bear all expenditure related to delivery and newborn care. The free entitlements under the programme of the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) include free and cashless delivery, free Caesarean Section, free treatment of sick newborns up to 30 days, exemption from user charges, free drugs and consumables, free diagnostics, free diet during stay in the health institutions (three days in case of normal delivery and seven days in case of C-section), free provision of blood, free transport from home to health institutions, free transport between facilities in case of referral as also drop back from institutions to home after 48 hours stay. “It would go a long way to reduce neonatal and maternity deaths,” the DHS said.
The state launched Mamata scheme in July, under which the government promises to give Rs 5,000 to pregnant women in villages. An estimated seven lakh pregnant women and newborn babies in rural areas would benefit from the scheme every year. As per the scheme, aid would be given to each pregnant woman in four installments. First Rs 1,500 would be paid after six months of pregnancy with registration and vaccination in an anganwadi centre. The second Rs 1,500 would be given when the newborn is three months old. The third and fourth installments of Rs 1,000 each would be paid when the newborn is six and nine months old respectively.
Critics dismiss both Mamata and JSSK, however, as pre-poll sops ahead of panchayat elections in the state in February.
Among the most commendable initiatives in the year passing by was the e-blood bank initiative. Earlier this month, the government started bar-coding of blood bags to ensure blood collected first is used first in 100% cases. The web-enabled system facilitates electronic monitoring of blood collection, testing, storage and final use or disposal. Timings of all these steps can now be known from anywhere in the blood bank network.
The electronic screening can detect professional donors as all blood banks are interlinked to eliminate professional donation, which is still around three to four per cent. “It is for the first time in the country that such an initiative was launched in blood safety,” said Mangala Prasad Mohanty, honorary secretary of Odisha branch of the Indian Red Cross Society.
BHUBANESWAR: Questions are being raised over the relevance of the Western Orissa Development Council (WODC) which was formed to correct the regional imbalance existing in Orissa.
Rather than functioning to assist in the development of the backward Western Orissa districts, its core constituency, the council has now become a rehabilitation centre for defeated ruling party politicians and others whom the powers-that-be want to keep in good humour.
While funding and utilisation system of the Council have come under criticism, the lack of interest on the part of the State Government for further strengthening the organisation has also been disapproved by many. The Council was formed on July 3, 1999. But in 12 years of its existence, no noteworthy project has been implemented.
Three proposed medical colleges by the WODC at Bhawanipatna, Rourkela and Balangir have not progressed beyond the drawing board stage. “The WODC has failed to live up to its expectations during its 12 years of existence so far,” first chairman of the Council and senior Congress leader Narsingh Mishra said.
Funds are being spent on the recommendations of the ruling party MPs, MLAs and leaders, Mishra said and added there is no development agenda before the Council.
The Congress leader said as the Council was formed to bridge regional imbalance, a survey should be undertaken to identify very backward areas where projects should be taken up. But funds are being spent in relatively developed areas because of recommendations of some ruling party leader, MP or MLA, he lamented.
BJP Legislature Party Leader from Patnagarh KV Singhdeo alleged that the Council had been turned into a platform for also-rans of the ruling party. Attempts are also being made to create a parallel power centre through the Council, he said.
Strongly disapproving the practice of nominating ruling party leaders as expert members, Singhdeo said this had defeated the very purpose of the body. Technical experts should be from a particular field and not politicians, he said.
Defeated BJD candidate in the 2009 Lok Sabha election Hameed Hussein, who is also a member of the Council, also maintained that the funding pattern needs to be changed. The Council should spend in the fields of agriculture and education without wasting money on small projects, he said and added a decision should be taken in this regard soon.
But the importance given to the WODC, or the lack of it, by the powers-that-be can be gauged from the fact that for the last two months the post of chairperson is lying vacant. Sources said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is yet to decide whether to nominate a politician, a bureaucrat or an expert to the post.
Raising the issue in the Zero Hour, Congress MLA from Kantabanjhi, Santosh Singh Saluja on Tuesday said in the House tht the Naveen Patnaik government had been imposing BJD leaders who lost in both Assembly and Lok Sabha polls in the WODC.
“All those, who were defeated in the last elections, have been rehabilitated as expert members. These members are trying to project them as more powerful persons than the elected Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and Member of Parliaments (MPs) and behaving in authoritarian manner,” Mr Saluja lamented.
Criticizing the state government’s negligence in ensuring complete autonomy and delay in setting up of WODC headquarters, Congress legislator Naba Kishore Das said that the government’s stand on this sensitive issue was very “shocking” and “shameful.”
“WODC was formed with an objective to address the regional imbalances and bring socio-economic development to the people living in western Orissa districts. It seems that the objective has been defeated by one other the ruling BJD which always tried to make it a subservient body and a centre of rehabilitation of its rejected leaders,” Mr Das observed.
Another Congress legislator Nihar Ranjan Mohananda said the WODC which was formed to carry out smooth and sustainable development of local people by formulating and executing its own development policies and programmes, was in moribund state due to the lackadaisical approach of the state government.
The Congress members urged Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat to direct the government to immediately remove the political members from the WODC appointed as ‘so-called’ expert members and accept the recommendations of the local MLAs and MPs for execution of various development projects.
They also demanded to fill up the post of WODC chairman which is lying vacant since August 1 and shift the headquarters of the organization from Bhubaneswar to a unanimously agreed place in western Orissa.
Reviewing the progress of different projects undertaken by the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) and the Integrated Projects for the Tribal and Backward districts, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday discussed with the concerned District Collectors through video conferencing.
The Chief Minister has directed the Collectors to utilise the funds by June.
The Chief Minister also directed the Collectors to review the progress every week and to upload the information along with the images by 10 of every month.
Each year, the State Government provides `100 crore to the WODC while it has provided `683 crore to the latter so far.
Chief Secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik, Development Commissioner,Principal Secretary of Home and Secretary of Planning and Coordination were also present.
Since its inception, the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) has been sanctioned `683 crore. However, the WODC has released `545 crore to the executing agencies of various projects.
Utilisation of funds by the WODC was up to `383 crore while the Utilisation Certificate received by the Department of Planning & Coordination is in respect of `343 crore. So, the overall performance of the WODC is poor despite it being provided funds for development of the State’s western parts.
No wonder, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik lost his cool at a review meeting on the WODC’s functioning at the State Secretariat here on Friday. Development Commissioner RN Senapati, Special Secretary CTM Suguna and other officials of the Planning & Coordination Department were present. Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Aditya Prasad Padhi, took note of the presentation on the WODC.
On an average, the WODC is being given `100 crore for developmental programmes by the State Government whereas the spending rate is at the lowest ebb, pointed out Suguna.
The Chief Minister asked the WODC authorities to prepare an Advance Action Plan of `150-crore at the beginning of the year so that it could plan expenditure of `100 crore.
It also came out to fore that frequent changes in the projects by the MLAs and members of the WODC is another cause of low spending. Secondly, in the districts where Collectors are taking interest, the spending is on a higher side. Thirdly, due to lack of coordination between the executing agencies, the spending rate is affected.
It was decided to review the spending of the WODC on a monthly basis by the Development Commissioner. The concerned Revenue Divisional Commissioners (RDCs) would be taking up quarterly reviews of the progress of the projects, said sources.
Earlier it was reported that Orissa would establish govt. medical college at Balangir. Now, the health minister says the medical college at Balangir will be established in PPP mode. Looks like the CM is confused and he does not really understand the pathetic situation of health service in KBK. Just to remind you that the CM and health ministers were silent onlookers when cholera was spreading in KBK and many lives were lost. The CM should be held responsible for the miserable health and education services in the tribal dominated Kalahandi Balangir Koraput region.
See the following report from The Samaja:
Following report is from the Samaj: