Archive for July, 2010

Insufficient rainfall and attack of swarming caterpillars:No cheer for Sambalpur farmers

Following report is from expressbuzz.com:

SAMBALPUR: Even as low pressure-induced rain has brought some respite from sultry weather, it has failed to cheer up the farmers in Sambalpur district, particularly those in rain-fed areas.

Farmers who have gone for transplantation, are awaiting more rains that would allow them to prepare the bed for transplantation. In Kuchinda sub-division, comprising blocks of Kuchinda, Jamankira and Bamra, germination drought seems imminent in rain-fed areas where farmers have sown seeds. Though there was intermittent rain today, it brought little cheer for the farmers. Normally the sub-division receives about 1,500 mm rain annually while it is 464.5 mm in July. Despite drought condition last year till July 20, Kuchinda had received 306.8 mm, Jamankira 333.5 mm while Bamra had 391.6 mm of rain. But this year till July 20, Kuchinda, Jamankira and Bamra received 68 mm, 96.1 mm and 79 mm of rain respectively.

This insufficient rainfall coupled with attack of swarming caterpillars has added to the woes of farmers. Although District Agriculture Officer Harmohan Patra said rains would help improve the situation, the ground realities present a grim scenario.

July 27, 2010 at 5:02 pm Leave a comment

Sahara India Power Corporation Ltd to invest Rs 8000 cr in its proposed 1320 mw power project at Titlagarh of Balangir district

Folloiwng is a report from http://economictimes.indiatimes.com:

BHUBANESWAR: Sahara India Power Corporation Limited (SIPCL) will invest Rs 8000 crore on its proposed 1320 mw power project at Titlagarh in Bolangir district.

Speaking to reporters here, SIPCL chief executive officer Ashok K. Bharagava said the first unit of the project will be completed by 2014 and the second unit will be made operational a month later.

The proposed plant will be based on environmentally efficient supercritical technology and operate with effluents of less than 50% of the limits fixed by the union ministry of environment and forests.

“This proposed plant will be based on advanced technology of world with participation of Korea East-West Power Co Ltd, a company owned by the Government of Korea. The facility will operate with high pressure and high temperature thereby reducing coal consumption,” Mr Bharagava said.

He added that the chimney height of 275 meter will keep the environment clean.

The proposed plant requires 950 acres of land. The state-owned Industrial Infrastructure Corporation Limited (IIDCO) has been entrusted the task of land acquisition.

“What is heartening to note is that there will be no displacement in the area. There are no forest lands within the area earmarked site. The Orissa water resources department has sanctioned 50 cusecs water to be drawn from the Tel River,” the CEO said.

Mr D L Sapra, chief project coordinator, said the project would create direct employment opportunities for nearly 2000 people.

As per memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed with the state government, 90% of unskilled people, 60% skilled people, 30% supervisory managerial people will be filled up by project affected people, the CEO Mr Bhargava said.

July 26, 2010 at 6:09 pm Leave a comment

Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik seeks Rs 4500 cr from centre for KBK region

So far this region has received many grants from the state and the central government. However, still KBK is the most backward region in the country. Once again Mr. Patnaik has asked for a huge grant from the centre. Let us hope Orissa will get the grant. We also wish Naveen Babu will bring some drastic changes in his policy; so that these projects are implemented successfully.

Following report is from http://economictimes.indiatimes.com:

Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday sought a grant of Rs 4,550 crore for the proposed 8-Year Perspective Plan to expedite development process in the backward KBK (Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahandi) districts.

Participating in the 55th Meeting of National Development Council (NDC) deliberations at New Delhi, Mr Patnaik raised the issue of backwardness of the KBK region and said early release of funds would help the state government carry forward the development and welfare measures launched for the districts.

The chief minister made it clear that Orissa had been striving hard to achieve sustainable and inclusive higher economic growth, accelerate overall development and a faster rate of poverty reduction. He claimed that the state government was quite hopeful to attain these objectives based on the impressive and steady growth in the economy.

“The state economy has grown at an average annual rate of 9.51% during the 10th Plan and at 8.73% per annum in the first three years of the 11th Plan, at a faster rate than the national average, despite challenges posed by the global economic slow-down. Such a positive trend has helped the state make higher plan outlays over the years and give emphasis on developing productive infrastructure including roads and irrigation,” Mr Patnaik said.

The chief minister said the union government should address expeditiously some other pressing issues such as funding for various initiatives under the Right to Education Act and sharing of funds between the Centre and states in ratio of 90:10 in view of low resource base and other development needs of states.

Mr Patnaik also focused on the need to roll out more centrally funded schemes to address the issues of urban poverty, livelihood, health, housing and infrastructure, immediate attention to address the issues of abnormal delays in allocation of coal blocks / coal linkage and environmental and forest clearances for new power projects.

July 26, 2010 at 4:11 pm 1 comment

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seeks central funding for agriculture and allied sectors

Following is a report by IANS (taken from Sify.com):

Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Saturday sought liberal funding from the central government for the development of the state’s agriculture and allied sectors.

In his deliberation during the 55th meeting of the National Development Council – the country’s top policy forum, he sought additional central funding to raise the state’s agricultural productivity and improve skill levels of the rural population.

The chief minister proposed broadening the scope of the centre’s Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) to include lift irrigation projects in areas where flow irrigation was not possible.

Patnaik also sought substantial augmentation of central funding under AIBP and for addressing water logging and drainage congestion problems and command area development.

AIBP was launched by the central government during 1996-1997 to give loan assistance to states to help them complete some of the incomplete major or medium irrigation projects and to create additional irrigation potential in the country.

‘The state economy has grown at an average annual rate of 9.51 percent during the 10th plan and at 8.73 percent per annum in the first three years of the 11th Plan, at a faster rate than the national average, despite challenges posed by the global economic slowdown,’ Patnaik said.

He also requested the central government to address other pressing issues in education, health, urban development, energy, coal and road infrastructure sectors.

July 25, 2010 at 2:18 pm Leave a comment

Will Vedanta University relocate to Tamil Nadu or Andhra Pradesh?

Following is a report from the http://www.businessworld.in:

https://i1.wp.com/www.businessworld.in/bw/image/Economy/Development/vedenta-university-lrg.jpg

Anil Agarwal’s projects in Orissa seem to be running into rough weather. His Niyamgiri Hills mining project has received a fresh blow with the Attorney General endorsing the environment ministry’s powers to not give clearance to the project. Agarwal’s other project in Orissa — Vedanta University — seems to be going nowhere. It appears it would take years before the first brick is laid on his most ambitious, and grandest, education project.

Agarwal, founder of London-based Vedanta Group, turned heads in 2006 when he said he would set up an 8,000-acre, $3-billion university under the aegis of Vedanta Foundation (which later changed its name to Anil Agarwal Foundation or AAF) in the state’s coastal town of Puri. He also offered $1 billion from his personal funds. Agarwal’s holding in his companies is worth more than $10 billion (as on 31 March 2010).

However, as with most projects requiring land acquisition, the university project, too, got mired in controversy. On 17 March, Orissa Lok Pal Justice P.K. Patra recommended a vigilance probe against AAF’s land deals. In May, the environment and forests ministry withheld clearance for the university, citing “irregularities, illegal, unethical and unlawful deeds”.

With the odds stacked against it, AAF is weighing other options. “Two states have extended an invitation; a decision is likely to be taken on a new site in two months,” says Ajit Kumar Samal, in-charge of the university project. He, however, refuses to divulge more details. Experts say the alternatives to Orissa could be Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh, which have good educational infrastructure. “Any place near Hyderabad or Chennai would be a good location,” says Narayanan Ramaswamy, head of education practice at consultancy firm KPMG.

The more important question, though, is: is a large university of this kind feasible in India?

Too Ambitious?
Vedanta’s justification for requiring so much land is simple — to build an institution on the lines of Stanford and Harvard. The 8,180-acre Stanford University was established in 1891. Harvard, set up in 1636, is the oldest institution of higher learning in the US, and has about 5,000 acres. But both were set up when land was not a precious commodity. Besides, the US is a far bigger country than India, and can afford to have universities of such scale.

For a densely-populated country like India, 8,000 acres of contiguous land — later scaled down to 6,000 acres — for a university is hugely ambitious. Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University, for instance, has only 1,000 acres. Large universities like Hyderabad Central University and Banaras Hindu University have 2,300 acres and 1,300 acres, respectively. Utkal University, Orissa’s largest, functions in 400 acres.

“In today’s age of high-speed broadband communication, there is no need to be hell-bent on geographical proximity,” says Ramaswamy. The entire knowledge city in Dubai, which houses 30 universities and 450 business partners catering to over 40,000 students, functions well within about 575 acres of land.

Samal doesn’t agree, though. “The architecture is prepared keeping in mind the topography of the place. In Puri, there are no high-rise buildings and hence a ‘horizontal’ plan.”

But now, with Vedanta talking about other states’ interest in the university project, what happens to the 4,000 acres already acquired for it by the Orissa government?

Cheap Land
AAF doesn’t seem to have given it much thought. Developing this as an off-campus could be an option. But locals say the land acquisition is just on paper and “the land will continue to belong to those who reside on it now”. Samal says that AAF has spent Rs 100 crore on land acquisition so far. For 4,000 acres, that works out to Rs 2.5 lakh per acre, among the cheapest rates in India. The area is strategically located between Puri and Konark on the sea coast.

Click here to view enlarged image
Click here to view enlarged image

Others, too, have got land at cheap rates in Orissa for educational institutes. Harivansh Chaturvedi, director of Greater Noida’s Birla Institute of Management Technology (Bimtech), says that Orissa had offered land at Rs 7 lakh per acre in 2001; Bimtech bought 30 acres for Rs 2.20 crore. Haryana had offered 7 acres for Rs 17 crore. In 1985, Xavier Institute of Management was given 20 acres with a building at Bhubaneswar for free. The institute, in turn, reserves 50 per cent seats for local students.

AAF’s other option is to monetise the real estate by coaxing technology giants such as IBM, Wipro, TCS and Infosys to set up research facilities in the campus. It also wants to invite venture capitalists to fund start-ups doing research projects and develop this as a hub of innovation, in much the same way as Stanford does.

However, this won’t be easy. According to Praveen Bhagdada, manager at Bangalore-based Zinnov Management Consulting, technology companies weigh the pros and cons of an institute before signing up with it. “It is early days yet,” says an executive with a top IT firm.

Companies such as Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Motorola, Mitsubishi and Lockheed Martin are located in the Stanford Industrial Park. Blue-chip companies such as Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems and Cisco had begun as ideas in the university’s computer science department.

Agarwal would be hoping for a similar miracle in India. Whether that will happen in Orissa or somewhere else, or whether it will happen at all, is a billion-dollar question.

shalini dot sharma at abp dot in (This story was published in Businessworld Issue Dated 02-08-2010)

July 25, 2010 at 2:07 pm Leave a comment

Eylex multiplex to build a multiplex in Sambalpur

Following is a report from http://www.indiaretailing.com:

With a prime objective to bring quality entertainment to all segments in tier I, II and III cities, Eylex Films Pvt Ltd, Ranchi-based multiplex, is primarily focusing on East India to expand its multiplex network.

Talking exclusively to IndiaRetailing, Anand Lohia, director, Eylex Films Pvt Ltd reveals, “We have pan-India expansion plan but currently, our prime focus will be to expand our mutiplex network in the East. We are about to open five multiplexes in the cities including Asansol, Jamshedpur, Bokaro, Sambalpur and Deoghar.”

The three-screen multiplexes will open in Asansol’s Galaxy mall in October 2010, Jamshedpur in July 2010, Bokaro in August 2010 and in Sambalpur in March 2011. “Our tentative investment in opening these multiplexes will be five crore rupees in Asansol, four crores in Jamshedpur, 3.5-4 crores in Bokaro, four crores in Sambalpur and three crores in Deoghar multiplex,” reveals Lohia.

Lohia comments on pricing strategy in these markets, “Pricing witl be in line with our strategy to reel-in more audiences with lucrative ticket rates from Rs.50 to 150 in our multiplex.”

Currently, its only existing multiplex is located in Ranchi with two screens and 324 seats, which has been in operation since September 2007. “We generated a turnover of Rs.4.5 crores from two screens in Ranchi in 2009-10 and spend two-to-three per cent of its revenue in marketing the brand,” reveals Lohia.

Eylex has further plan to open 25 screens by March 2011 and expects to double its screen by 2012. “Our target is be present pan India in the next 12 months,” concludes Lohia.

July 25, 2010 at 11:16 am 8 comments

South Orissa’s RDC should be at a more appropriate location: Merinews.com

Following report is from http://www.merinews.com:
ORISSA CHIEF Minister had written a letter on November 8, 2007, to then High Court Chief Justice suggesting that circuit or permanent benches were required in Sambalpur and Berhampur for Western and South Orissa respectively.

Based on Revenue Division (or RDC) Classification, South Orissa (SO) consists of 10 districts including Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal, Boudh, Rayagada, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada.

From Bouda in North to Motu in South, central place for South Orissa could be Thuamul Rampur. From Khallikote in East to Kundai (Nabarangpur) in West, central place for SO could be
Lanjigarh/Muniguda.
From Parlikhemunid in South East to Beltikri (Nuapada) in North West, central place for SO could be Lanjigarh.
Major town close to these central locations will be Bhawanipatna.
When Ganjam was carved out of South Orissa, Bhawanipatna also had an edge over Rayagada. On the other hand, if Kalahandi, Boudh and Nuapada are counted as part of Western Orissa based on University and WODC classification and not by administration (RDC) and Ganjam is counted as South Orissa then Rayagada will be suitable location in rest of South Orissa.
Even if one thinks for a branch or regional station in Rayagda, Bhawanipatna or Koraput for South Orissa, Ganjam district is still very well connected to Bhubaneswar or Cuttack in best possible way in the state by road (golden quadrangle NH) and railways (main line). Most of the locations in Ganajm are closer to Bhubaneswar or Cuttack and could be reached faster than let us say to Rayagada/Bhawanipatna, of course Koraput is very far from Ganjam.
When such thing occurs, perhaps people in Malkangir, Nuapada, Boudh or Nabarangpur may suffer more while visiting Rayagada or Bhawanipatna than those people from Ganajm while visiting Cuttack. Place like Khallikote, Bhanjanagar etc in Ganjam are even much closer to Cuttack. It does not justify cause of separate high court (HC) branch in Ganjam like the case of Keonjhar, Angul etc. Otherwise in every 170 to 200 km Orissa will need to have a HC branch and regional station. On the other side, Kalahandi, Rayagada, Koraput, Nuapada, Nabarangpur etc are not closer to either Cuttack or Bhubaneswar. Even Sambalpur is far away from these locations compared to the distance between Bhubaneswar/Cuttack and Berhampur.
Ganjam is very close to rest of costal district in the state with a tribal population of three per cent, whereas rest of South Orissa districts (including Gajapati) has 30 to 50 per cent tribal except Boudh which has 13 per cent. Literacy rate of Ganjam is much higher than rest of South Orissa districts and close to Balasore. Other districts in South Orissa are more prone to Maoists than Ganjam. Having a large border with Bay of Bengal and based on its geographical location, Ganjam can very well be classified as coastal Orissa (or Eastern Orissa) along with other districts like Balasore to Puri, instead of Ganjam being part of South Orissa.
Earlier Ganjam was classified as South Orissa due to strong political influence and innocence of rest of South Orissa was taken granted. Parala Maharaj, Biju babu and Naveen babu come from the region and have continuously favoured Berhampur time to time over other backward districts in South Orissa.
 
South Orissa will be more appropriate for Gajapati, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Koraput, Malkangir, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Nuapada and Boudh, all of them are socially backward compared to Ganjam.
 
There should not be a complaint if on the lines of Rourkela, Berhampur should see development but this should not happen in the name of South Orissa or as a regional station for whole South Orissa.
 
In the name of South Orissa, politically Behrampur has enjoyed lots of governmental attention such as RDC, educational institutions (it is the most favoured destination in the state after capital region in terms of state government institutions) etc while others are continuing to suffer. Now this exploitation must stop somewhere.
 
RDC for North in Orissa is located in Sambalpur for the districts of Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Balangir, Sonepur, Deogarh, Sundergarh, Keonjhar, Angul and Dhenkanal, the central location for all these districts more or less comes in the Sambalpur district.
 
Similarly RDC for Central (Eastern or Coastal) in Orissa is located in Bhubaneswar for the districts of Mayurbhanj, Balesore, Bhadrak, Jagatisingpur, Kendrapada, Jajpur, Cuttack, Puri, Khordha and Nyaagarh, the central location for all these districts could be Jajpur (part of undivided Cuttack), but if Ganjam becomes part of it, central place will be Bhubaneswar/ Cuttack and in that case area wise three revenue divisions will be similar.
 
The political depravity and favouritism should be stopped by Orissa government. The RDC located in Berhampur is unable to monitor work in Kalahandi, Nuapada, Boudh, Nabarangpur etc and lots of Central government grants are returning back. Kalahandi failed to spend MGNREGA money last year. The progress is much slower than expected.
 
The RDC for South Orissa should rather be relocated in central location of South Orissa and so should the probable location of high court branch in South Orissa be evaluated.

July 25, 2010 at 10:00 am 1 comment

Vedanta Aluminum Limited (VAL) to establish a science college at Lanjigarh

Following report is from The Pioneer:

The Lanjigarh block in Kalahandi district, which has been neglected in almost all aspects of development till now, is soon going to have its first science college. In a move aimed at fulfilling the long cherished goal of the residents of the block and its adjoining areas of Ambadola, Muniguda and Biswanathpur Vedanta Aluminum Limited (VAL) has partnered with the DAV College Trust and Management society to start a Science College here, which will begin its operation from the 2011-12 academic year.

The college will start with undergraduate courses in physics, chemistry, mathematics, zoology, botany and environment science. It will be funded by the Lanjigarh Project Area Development Foundation (LPADF) — the special purpose vehicle formed for as per the advice of the Supreme Court.

Notably, there is no such college within the radius of 50 km of Lanjigarh and the students from the poorer sections here had to discontinue their studies after Class XII.

VAL COO and LPADF Director Mukesh Kumar pointed out that the college would be of great help to the students of the area who drop out of the education system due to lack of facilities for higher studies. The quality of education in the college will be ensured by the DAV College Trust and Management Society, which will manage the college.

Noteworthy, the society is a premier education society in the country, which has already set up more than hundred such colleges across India and is currently running a school, which is considered the most modern school in the entire district.

July 23, 2010 at 8:13 pm Leave a comment

Displaced families under the Hirakud dam project seek rehabilitation

Following is a report from The http://www.merinews.com:

THE HIRAKUD Dam (HD) in Orissa has the unique distinction of being the longest dam on earth. Built across the river Mahanadi, about 15 km upstream of Sambalpur, HD is the first post independence multi-purpose river valley project in India. It is intended for flood control irrigation and power generation. The foundation stone of the dam was laid by Sir Howthrone Lewis on March 15, 1946 and on January 13, 1957, Jawaharlal Nehru inaugurated the dam calling it the temple of modern India.

The project provides water for 1,55,635 hectares of Kharif and 1,08,385 hectares of Rabi irrigation of undivided Sambalpur, Bolangir and parts of Kalahandi districts. The water released through the power house further irrigates 4,36,000 hectares of the Mahanadi delta. The dam’s installed capacity of power generation is 307.4 mw through its two power houses. The project provides flood protection to 9,500 sq km of delta area in the districts of Cuttack and Puri.

At the time of its construction, the project involved submergence of 240 villages with fertile agricultural land of about 42,000 hectares. The land-owing peasants were paid compensation in cash, which varied from Rs 50 to 200 per acre. Around 22,000 families were displaced by the project and their displacement and rehabilitation has been a major issue in Orissa politics since the 1950s.

About 1.5 lakh people were affected by the Hirakud project.

In the original estimate, an amount of Rs 12 crores was provided for payment of compensation to the affected people. After revision, the amount was reduced to Rs 9.5 crores and the total compensation paid to the people was, in reality, only Rs 3.32 crores. A large number of families were evacuated from their hearth and homes without compensation from 1956 onwards.

At the moment, more than 6,000 families are yet to receive their compensation and due to faulty and inefficient recording of personal details, they have lost all hopes and have exhausted all efforts in the last 50 years. More than 10,000 people, on March 30, 2007, in Bhubaneswar, organised a rally, under the banner of Hirakud Budi Anchal Sangram Samiti, rising slogans against the government for its continuous apathy and indifference to the ousters of Hirakud Dam.

“Since long, the government and administration have been making promises to look into the grievances of the displaced people but nothing has been done. Out of the 22,000 families, 12,700 families are scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST), and these were forcibly displaced,” said Laxmi Gudu. He further added, “so far 7000 families have been resettled in 17 rehabilitation camps and neighbouring villages. It is estimated that about 9,944 families have not yet been rehabilitated and not been paid their due compensation. Providing homestead land and resettlement including other facilities for the ousters is laying in the cold storage since long. ”

The Hirakhand Nagarik Parishad (HKNP), an elite organisation of Sambalpur town, made a representation to the President of India complaining against the supply of water to the industries. They also alleged that the dry part of the reservoir is being encroached upon by some industrialists, who have raised concrete cement structures.

On October 26, 2006, the locals and farmers formed a 20 km long human chain, from one end of the dam to the other, to voice their protest against the decision of the state government. The people’s discontent has found expression through numerous rallies, protest marches and public discussion and meetings. The voice of protest hardly reaches the government seated in Bhubaneswar. Supply of water was seriously criticised at the national level conference of the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, held at Delhi. It was pointed out that more than two lakh farmers, directly, and 50,000 farmers, indirectly, would lose their livelihood because of the government’s decision to supply water to industrial houses.

July 23, 2010 at 7:44 pm 1 comment

Hirakud Dam: Fifty Mournful Years- An article by Bikash pati and Manas biswal

 

Read the complete article here.

July 23, 2010 at 7:35 pm Leave a comment

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