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

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

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