Archive for August, 2010

Pathetic state of primary education in Boudh district of Orissa

Following is a report from Oriya daily the Samaj:

August 31, 2010 at 5:57 pm Leave a comment

Western Orissa Development Council (WODC) sponsored medical colleges still a distant dream

Following report is from the Samaj:

August 30, 2010 at 7:04 pm Leave a comment

Ispat College Sundergarh and DAV College Titlagarh are now autonomous Institute

Following report is from the Samaj:

August 29, 2010 at 3:39 pm 1 comment

Is this the solution to Kalahandi’s problems?

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

Environments are not just containers, but are processes that change the content totally, noted the savant who mused about communication mediums, messages and the global village. That was then, in the halcyon days of the sixties, and well before the phrase sustainable development had been coined.

Fast forward to the here and now, and the decision of the ministry of environment and forests to disallow bauxite mining in Niyamgiri hills in Kalahandi district, Orissa, is clearly spot on. Niyamgiri is considered most sacred by the local Kondh adivasi population, and intensive mining activity would have been wholly alienating.

And apart from being socially devastating by forcefully removing its sense of mystery and lingering myths, mining on Niyamgiri would have also caused huge environmental and ecological damage in what is a fragile ecosystem.

Besides, there are plenty of proven bauxite reserves available elsewhere in the state, in adjoining districts and perhaps further afield in Kalahandi, with requisite prospecting. At a broader level, the idea that income growth can be positively beneficial for the environment needs to be qualified and nuanced.

Back in the path-breaking 1990s, the policy pundits did begin to take note of the growing empirical evidence that willy-nilly suggested that rising income levels could be ‘good rather than bad’ for the benefit of the environment. The evidence seemed to rubbish the notion of opposing growth on environmental grounds.

However, the reasoning that income growth by itself will be good for the environment also appears to be questionable and cannot really be taken at face value. For instance, a causal relationship between income and environmental quality cannot often be shown as correlated. Further, cultural factors may actually hamper and negate the income effects.

Although, going forward, it is plausible to assume that with proactive policy and rising incomes, better governance, more effective regulation and the steady diffusion of technological change all do tend to generally boost environmental protection on the ground.

Around Niyamgiri, for example, it would make better sense to rev up incomes by way of eco-tourism , cultivation of medicinal plants and arranging for boutique, leisure holidays in the lap of nature, for sustainable development . The environmental Kuznets curve, which shows that degradation at first increasing and then decreasing with rising incomes need not to be taken as inevitable, or verily accepted as a foregone conclusion.

In select habitats and regions, it should be eminently possible to chalk out plans for long-term income generation via better social indices, scope for profit earning and the like, sans large-scale physical damage to the environment. It is true that two years ago, the Supreme Court did give its conditional goahead for mining on Niyamgiri, and called for sustainable development, which cannot be faulted as a matter of principle.

However, the assumption that sacred space can be leveraged for guaranteed income streams — note that apex court ruling mandated 5% profit share complete with a floor level of annual welfare spend — may not be acceptable in practice.

August 26, 2010 at 6:07 pm 2 comments

Shortage of text books in Orissa

Following report is from the Telegraph:

Bhubaneswar July 27: The non-availability of National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) textbooks under CBSE curriculum in major bookstores of the twin cities has posed a major problem for students and parents.

It’s almost a month since schools reopened after summer vacations and students still continue to hunt for their textbooks.

“We have been functioning without many text books for over a month now. Some of us have manage to get the books from our seniors and some others get it from those selling old books,” said Binay Routray, a student of ODM Public School.

Himanshu Pati, the owner of Sagar Book Stores, said: “We were informed in March that this year we would not be facing any problems but we are still waiting for the arrival of the books.”

“For the last one month, I have been hitting stores for a geography book for my son who studies in Class VI. I was assured that it would be available soon,” said Pratap Sahoo, a parent.

NCERT books are preferred for their simplified text and cheap price.

“There is a shortage of many books but our students manage either by taking notes from other books available in our library or from photocopies,” said Bijay Kumar Nayak, headmaster of Venketeswar School.

“The concerned authorities who are to ensure the availability of textbooks in the market have requested school teachers not to force the children to get them at their earliest,” added Sahoo.

Fortunately, online textbooks for different classes are easily available and many students prefer downloading them.

“The problem lies in the demand-supply gap and also in the delay in arrival of the books to the school. Many of our students download the books in case they are not available,” said A Mishra, headmaster of DM School.

August 23, 2010 at 5:46 pm Leave a comment

First phase work of Khurdha-Balangir rail line will be done by May 2011:Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee

Following article is from The Samaja:

August 23, 2010 at 5:33 pm Leave a comment

Industries, yet no airport: up date about Jharsuguda airport from The Statesman

Following report is from The Statesman:

SIR, ~ Jharsuguda in Orissa is emerging as one of the economic hubs of India. It has many industrial units like Ultratech Cement of the Aditya Birla Group at Dhutra, SMC Power Generation Ltd, Action Ispat Ltd, Eastern Steel and Power Ltd, SPS Steel and Power Ltd, Utkal Alumina International Ltd, etc. It has recently been reported that the town is set to register the maximum production of electricity.

Parallel with the industrial development, Jharsuguda has been witness to the migration of workers from all over India. To cater to this need, an airport is essential. The airstrip was built during World War II. The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has decided to upgrade the airstrip  to a full-fledged airport. The Orissa government has decided to opt for a public-private partnership (PPP). The Kolkata-based finance company, called  SREI, has been negotiating with the government, but nothing has materialised.Recently, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told the Assembly that AAI had asked for 815 acres of land free of cost. The state has requested AAI to scale down the requirement  as only 734 acres are available near the airport.

As the controversy rages, one wonders whether passenger planes will ever land or take off from Jharsuguda. The Orissa government should provide the land that AAI has sought. If the government can acquire land for building industries and dams, why can’t it do the same for an airport in an industrial town. Neighbouring Andhra Pradesh will soon have two international airports.
Yours, etc., Sanjib Kumar Karmee, Delft (the Netherlands), 20 August.

August 22, 2010 at 6:12 pm 1 comment

Vedanta commissions its 2,400 MW independent power plant in Jharsuguda of Orissa

Following is a report by IANS published in yahoo:

Bhubaneswar, Aug 21 (IANS) Sterlite Energy Limited, a subsidiary of London-listed Vedanta Resources Plc, Saturday commissioned the first unit of its 2,400 MW independent power plant in Orissa.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the unit of 600 MW at Jharsuguda, 374 km from state capital Bhubaneswar, a senior official of the company told IANS.

The Vedanta group has invested about Rs.10,500 crore for this project that will be among the largest private initiatives in power sector in India, he said.

‘The coal-fired independent thermal power plant is the first of its kind in private sector in the state with its state of the art technology,’ he said.

The plant has employed many environment friendly features, including high contracted slurry disposal (HCSD) with very low consumption of water as compared to wet slurry system, the official said.

The independent power plant would be a zero effluent discharge plant with provision for water circulation and rain water harvesting, he said.

Coal, the raw material for the plant, will be sourced from near by IB Valley coalfield. Power produced from the plant’s first unit will be given to Orissa at a cheap rate, he said.

August 21, 2010 at 7:59 pm 1 comment

Enhanced scholarship for Orissa’s students; Is this enough?

Following is a report from expressbuzz.com:

BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has decided to enhance scholarships for college students and those pursuing technical courses. 

A decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting presided by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here today. Plus Two, degree, post-graduate, engineering, medical, dental, agriculture and veterinary students will be eligible for the enhanced scholarships.  

It was also decided that more students will be given scholarships from the current academic year. The junior merit scholarship for the Plus Two students has been increased from ` 40 to ` 300 per month. Senior merit scholarship for degree students has been hiked from ` 50 to ` 500 per month.  

The PG merit scholarship will be ` 1000 per month. This has been enhanced from ` 60. The scholarship for students pursuing engineering, medical, dental and other technical studies will be ` 10,000 per year.  

The income limit of the parents for availing the scholarship for their wards has been enhanced to ` 4.5 lakh per year from ` 24,000. Interested students can apply for the scholarship to the Higher Education Department through their respective colleges. 

While 5000 students will be given the scholarship at the Plus Two level, this will benefit 1000 students at the degree level. 

At PG level, the scholarship will be given to 500 students. Besides, 10,000 students from different technical courses will be extended the scholarship.  

The Chief Minister underscored the need for creating awareness among the students about the new scholarship structure.  

He said the students should get the scholarship amount at the right time.  

Higher Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra, Bijay Kumar Patnaik, Principal Secretary to the Chief Minister, Additional Development Commissioner Rabinarayan Senapati, Principal Secretary in the Finance Department Jugal Kishore Mohapatra, Secretary, Higher Education Department, Madhusudan Padhi, and senior officials were present. 

August 21, 2010 at 4:27 pm 15 comments

Lack of rainfall : Drought fear in Balangir district

Following report is from The Pioneer:

Crucial operations for the Kharif paddy cultivation like transplanting and beushaning (blind cultivation) have come to a standstill in Balangir district due to the lack of rainfall since the first week of August. There is a threat of drought here.

Most agricultural lands in the district are upland where paddy is sown by the broadcasting method. Agriculture official sources said that broadcasting of paddy cultivation has been taken up in 1,01,100 hectare of land. However, shortage of rainfall has affected beushaning.

Similarly, in Bahal (low land), transplanting has to be taken up in 77,000 hectares of land, but the absence of rain has affected the operation. The transplanting process has been completed only in 60 per cent of the Bahal land.

A few days ago, Bongomunda and Titilagarh blocks received good rain. However, there has been no rainfall in Patnagarh and Balangir blocks, said an agriculture official. Unless there is rainfall within the next seven days, the crop situation, first of all, in uplands would be really precarious. As such, 30 per cent of upland has not been covered at all, he pointed out.

If the prolonged dry spell continues, it may result in drought, said the agriculture official. As farmers point out, in previous years they used to complete all operations, including transplanting and beushaning by Shravan Purnima as there was hardly any problem of rain. The number of continuous rainy days, locally known as Jhadi Barsha, is absent this year.

There seems to be a drought-like situation. The district administration should prepare contingency plans for this, said president of the Zilla Krushak Mahasnagh Sudhir Parischha.

With the monsoon playing hide-and-seek, farmers are worried to save their crops while a few of them expect formation of low pressure to end the dry spell.

August 20, 2010 at 7:28 pm Leave a comment

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