Archive for December, 2010

Experience the rural touch: Daakuchhe I Maati – a Kosli song by Dr. Harekrishna Meher

December 11, 2010 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

The educated CM of Orissa and his apathy towards health services of tribal districts

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:

December 11, 2010 at 11:21 am Leave a comment

Saraswati Sishu Vidya Gyana Mandir showcase India’s cultural heritage

Following report The Telegraph:

Balangir, Dec. 10: Streets of Balangir wore a rare look as students, teachers and parents took out a procession that showcased India in totality by depicting the nation’s history, culture and tradition.

The spectacular roadshow kicked-off the silver jubilee function of Saraswati Sishu-Vidya-Gnyana Mandir here today.

Students, many of whom were dressed to resemble characters from Indian’s history and mythology, were present in the half-kilometre long procession. Mythological characters such as Lord Rama, Sita, Lord Shiva, Goddess Saraswati walked alongside Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and other legends of history. Some were also dressed like tribals to highlight the lifestyle of India’s indigenous community. Parents of the students, especially mothers, took part in ‘Kalas Yatra’.

Sarat Mahakud, a member of the school’s management committee, said the procession was organised to highlight the real India.

Managing committee vice- Sanatan Thakur said it was an ideal opportunity for the school to exhibit everything Indian.

“We have tried to present a brief history of India’s past and present through this procession,” Thakur said.

The participating students were also very excited. “It served me to know more about India’s history as I prepared myself to dress up as a freedom fighter. I learnt about the many facets of the freedom movement,” said a student who had dressed up to resemble Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose.

Saraswati Vidya Mandir of Balangir has emerged as a premier high school in the state and has been regularly scoring high in the Council of Higher Secondary Examination.

December 11, 2010 at 11:01 am Leave a comment

Maa Metakani temple of Ulunda, Subarnapur district

December 11, 2010 at 10:56 am 3 comments

Rourkela Development Forum (RDF) and Rourkela Rail Fanning Association (RRFA) demand for ECoR division HQ in Rourkela

Following report is from The Pioneer:

The members of Rourkela Development Forum (RDF) and Rourkela Rail Fanning Association (RRFA) have urged for creation of a new East Coast Railways (ECoR) division headquarters at Rourkela.

In a memorandum to the Union Railways Minister, the Prime Minister, the Chief Minister and other higher authorities of the Indian Railways, the members spelled that, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda and Kendujhargarh districts account for the heavy revenue generation under the Chakradharpur (CKP) Division of the South Eastern Railways (SER), but surprisingly, these areas are most uncared for in rail connectivity and amenities in comparison to other parts of the country.

Pertinent to note that, the mineral-rich Chhotanagpur Plateau region, popularly known as “Ruhr of India” due to its innumerable industries and mines, comprising the mineral rich Sundargarh, Kendujhargarh and Jharsuguda districts from where iron ore and other minerals are transported to all over the country.

Further, the region houses a number of heavy industries like Rourkela Steel Plant, OCL-Rajgangpur, Adhunik Metalliks, L&T-Kansbahal, Bhusan Steel and Power and Vedanta that pay huge revenue to the railways for transportation of raw materials as well as their finished products.

A lot of freight activities are noticed in this region and have made the CKP the highest revenue-generating division in the country a number of times.

Out of the total 741.705 km of route of CKP, 405.907 km is located in the State of Odisha covering about 50 stations out of the total 87 stations under CKP.

Only from Sundargarh district, it generates revenue to the tune of about `800 crore annually, which accounts for 40 per cent of the total revenue generated by CKP.

Similarly, Jharsuguda is an emerging industrial hub with a number of operating mega projects while a number of industries are in the offing. Kendujhargarh is also popular for its innumerous mines.

People here have high expectations from the Railway Budget every year, but it is alleged that most of the times they are dismayed.

The region, considered as one of the most backward pockets of the country with a gigantic tribal population, has been deprived of the basic railway infrastructure which is the biggest stumbling block in the development of the region.

Lack of proper communication facilities and infrastructure has also attributed to the increase in Naxalite activities in the region.

Less number of trains, poor maintenance of stations, uncared for on developmental activity, poor connectivity, zero railway projects and lack in proper healthcare are also bright examples about the apathetical attitude of the Railways for the region.

Even a number of times, many organisations from Rourkela have raised these vital issues with the SER authorities, but all in vain.

Every time due to natural calamity or any insurgent activity, Rourkela has to bear the brunt as trains are either cancelled or diverted as it has been happening for the last five months in case of the Utkal and Samaleswari Express with no alternative arrangements.

The Talcher-Bimalagarh railway route, which could have been a boon to the tribal districts of Sundargarh and Keonjhar and also provide connectivity to Coastal Odisha, is being disregarded since 1885 after the positive cost and benefit analysis.

Even, now the funding is much less for this project and the current rate will take more 20 years to be completed.

On the contrary, the ECoR has created a saga of success and development since its establishment in 2003. The rapid growth of the ECoR can be judged by its excellent maintenance of even its low class stations, they further added.

Currently Waltair (Visakhapatnam) Division of the ECoR is considered to be developed as a new railway zone, including the Andhra districts of Visakhapatnam, Srikakulam and Vizianagram.

Hence, in the same justified manner, the Rourkela Division should be constituted with the Odisha districts of Sundargarh, Keonjhar and Jharsuguda, which will benefit more than 50 lakh people.

December 9, 2010 at 9:56 am Leave a comment

Tel valley civilization: Riverside kingdom traced in copper plates

Following is a report from The Telegraph:

Balangir, Dec. 8: Eminent historian and epigraphist Sadananda Agrawal revealed that both sides of Tel river valley were dotted with principalities in the late 8th century AD.

Agrawal came to this conclusion after going through copper plates which were found in Kapsila village near Balangir.

Recently, a local Brahmin had handed over the copper plates to Sadashiva Pradhan, a professor of archaeology in Utkal University. He, in turn, sent it to epigraphist Sadananda Agrawal for deciphering.

Talking about his discovery to The Telegraph, Agrawal said that the copper plates talked about history of Tel river valley in Balangir in 8th century AD.

“The charter issued consisted of three copper plates tied together by a circular ring and issued by a king named Khadgasimha. Paleographically, the charter has been assigned to late 8th century AD and it informs us about new rulers in the Tel valley,” Agrawal said.

Agrawal said that small principalities in the valley were established by chieftains.

“The copper plates do not mention anything about any particular dynasty or place. So it is certain that both sides of the Tel river valley had small states ruled by local chieftains belonging to different clans. The Udayapur area, the capital of Rashtrakuta kings, who ruled in the valley, is still dotted with standing structures and ruins. These are mostly found at Amathgad. Ruins of a medieval fort is also found there,” Agrawal said.

“Proper archaeological exploration is needed to enrich the medieval history of the area,” he added.

Four copper plates, which were found earlier in Teresingha, also spoke of the Tel valley civilisation.

Sadashiva Pradhan, archaeologist at the Utkal University had earlier excavated the Gumagad site in the Tel valley, where he found that a strategic military hub existed in 1st century BC. It was set up by a king contemporary to king Kharavela.

“Last year, we had submitted a memorandum to the governor demanding preservation and further excavation of the area. The area needs extensive excavation”, he said.

Following is another report from expressbuzz.com:

BALANGIR: While Gumagad, the first century BC military strategic hub, speaks volumes of a flourishing kingdom in the Tel river valley, a copper plate recently found at Kapsila village in Balangir district hints at existence of several kingdoms on either side of the valley.

Historians, who recently evinced interest in exploring more facts about the valley civilisation, opined that further excavation can unravel the history buried under the earth. This copper plate was interestingly found near the archaeological site of Kharligad near Gumagad.

Utkal University Archaeology Prof Sadasiva Pradhan, who got the copper plate from a Brahmin, said it contains information regarding the civilisation. He, however, had sent it to eminent epigraphist Sadananda Agrawal for deciphering.

According to Agrawal, as per the information on the copper plate, the civilisation dates back to the 8th century AD.

“The Udayapur area, the capital of Rashtrakuta kings who ruled the valley, is still dotted with standing structure and ruins. These are mostly found at Amathgad. Ruins of a medieval fort too exist here,” said Agrawal.

Earlier, Prof Pradhan had excavated the Gumagad site, where he found a strategic military hub of the first century BC. It was set up by a contemporary of King Kharavela.

Studying further into the formation on copper plate, Agrawal said that a king called Khadgasingha had donated a village Remudaka (modern Remanda) in Saintala. This also throws light on the civilisation.

He feels that further excavation by expert archeologists with the government’s support would shed more light on the civilisation.

The other four copper plates found earlier at Terssingha village also spoke of the Tel valley civilisation.

Those plates had information regarding the two capitals – Udayapur and Parbatadwaraka – which were under the rule of Rashtrakutas and local chieftains belonging to different clans.

December 9, 2010 at 8:23 am Leave a comment

Spandan:Folk dances of Balangir

Following are some excerpts from http://spandan.anuragrath.com/balangir:

Just as the heart beats are essential for one living, the musical rhythms and beats of a folk dance are required for survival of a society. After a season of hard toil in the fields, the harvest time is celebration time. As in several old cultures, the native people of Balangir, a remote district, also celebrate the harvest season with several folk dances. Apart from this, a number of dances popular among the natives owe to the variety of festivals spread throughout the year.

Following is the layout of Spandan’s website:

December 9, 2010 at 8:10 am Leave a comment

Nitish Kumar vs Naveen Patnaik and Bihar vs Orissa

Following letter was sent by Prof. Arjun Purohit to different e-groups during a discussion on development in Orissa and Bihar:

Development means different things in Orissa and Bihar. In Orissa development means ushering in mega mining projects, no matter what net benefit is to the state, socially, economically, environmentally, and what not and the cost in the same measures. Costs have been enormous. Laws have been violated to suit the purpose of the mining barons. It has created an unsettling hostile ambiance between segments of citizenry.

Pollution has reached toxic levels in the air. Orissa produces six per cent of total toxicity in the air in India though it has only 4 per cent of the population. That too is concentrated in select places, not diluted over the entire state, making it even more lethal. The prevailing mantra, in the words of a promoter of last Investment Bhubaneswar symposium, is “top down” development. Thus the inter-regional disparity is increasing and will continue to increase, thus creating even more discontent and social unrest across the state. This mantra basically means that if you look after of big things, benefits will trickle down to lower rungs in the society eventually. It also means that the population in the lower rungs, especially those affected by these mega projects, are not knowledgeable as to what is good for them, and therefore need not be consulted or the projects need not be explained to them; only “experts in BBSR know and so projects can be implemented against their will. This of course leads to elitism, which leads to feudalism, which ultimately leads to authoritarianism.

In Orissa, development in education means trying to garner as many centrally funded institutions of higher learning, and even the private institutions, such as Vedanta and SRI Sri universities, and locate them in extreme concentration in a small strip. How IIT,IISER,AIMS,Sri Sri or Vedanta will have a dent on illiteracy, the hall mark of Orissa, is known only to the “experts”. Development in healthcare ? I can not understand how the current obsession of massing 10 or more medical colleges in the vicinity of BBSR will do any good to cholera stricken folks in Kashipur and Lanjigarh. To put it bluntly, there is a disconnect between mega concentrated “development” projects and real developmental needs of Orissa.

From my scant knowledge of what regime of Nitish Kumar for the last five years, development mantra is different: “Ground Up”, that is, take care of small problems and big problems will be resolved. It also means that trust must be earned by the government from population of all sectors, even the most vulnerable and not very educated. Thus small farms which employ a large section of the populace are strengthened and enabled. Nitish Kumar provided bicycles to school kids to go school.

The news report says that this has increased enrolment of kids in schools in rural areas by fivefold. Not many mega mining industries any more because with Jharkhand separated out, not much mineral deposits left. I had an opportunity to visit Patna about six years ago. The main roads were filthy with foul smell all over. Law and order situation was very bad. My host Dr.Sinha, retired director of A.N.Sinha Institute warned me not to be out in the city past 6 P.M.. He used to use five locks on the front door of his house even though he lived in a gated community. During my very brief stay, I found in the local newspaper that one of my old contemporaries,a  retired prof in English, was shot dead while reading his newspaper in front veranda of his house. I spent couple of hours in the Pali institute in Nalanda  on my way to Rajgir. There they told me that a few days ago, a Mongolian Buddhist monk was kidnapped for ransom ! I was told in Patna that when Lalu’s daughter got married, the new cars in the showroom of car dealers across the city were taken away at night breaking the glass windows so that they could be used by the groom’s marriage party in Barat ! The dealers were threatening that if such things persisted they would close the dealerships forever ! Recently I talked to my friend Dr.Sinha, who assured me that things have improved beyond imagination, and I was invited to come back and see. Before I vouch for the improvement in Patna, I really have to see and believe what I was told.

There seems to be a new optimism in the air. It seems Nitish Kumar has managed to earn trust from all segments of the population,intelligentsia and ordinary citizens. That by itself is a great accomplishment. It seems Sarvodaya movement of J.P.Narayan is rising again from the grave. I hope and pray that Bihar continues to be on the mend, and be an example for the neighbouring states.

Prof. Arjun Purohit, Canada, E-mail:apurohit1934@gmail.com

December 8, 2010 at 5:17 pm 3 comments

Kantabanjhi Railway Users’ Association demand halts trains

Following is from The Telegraph:

Balangir, Dec. 7: An agitation at Kantabanjhi railway station disrupted railway traffic on the Visakhapatnam-Raipur route for over nine hours today.

Kantabanjhi Railway Users’ Association blocked the tracks to press for their longstanding demand of extending the Howrah-Titilagarh superfast Ispat Express to Kantabanjhi.

Hundreds of agitated residents of Kantabanjhi stopped the Kesinga-Raipur passenger train at the railway station and squatted on the track. This led to several other trains getting stranded at various stations on the route.

The Puri-Durg Intercity Express was stranded at the Muribahal station while Visakhapatnam-Raipur Passenger was detained at Turekela station. The Bilaspur bound Raipur-Bilaspur passenger train was also stopped at Khariar Road station.

Normality returned to the route after police arrested nearly 50 demonstrators.

Secretary of Kantabanjhi Railway Users’ Association Anil Kumar Agrawal said: “We have been fighting for this (extension of Ispat Express upto Kantabanjhi) since 2005. However in 2008, the train was extended from Sambalpur to Titilagarh instead of Kantanbanjhi. The railway authorities cited unavailability of track in the station as the Bilaspur-Kantabanjhi passenger was making a night halt at Kantabanjhi. The problem no more exists as the passenger train has been extended upto Raipur.”

Agrawal further said they had been drawing the attention of the railway authorities about the demand in regular intervals. “Last Friday we had been invited to Titilagarh where the district collector and the divisional commercial manager (DCM) of Sambalpur Railway Division informed us that Kantabanjhi had been included in the time table of Ispat Express. In the past also there have been such assurances but nothing had happened. We are looking forward to the railway board meeting in Goa next month. If nothing comes about, we will intensify the agitation”, he said.

DCM, Samabalpur Railway Division, N.M. Patjoshi said: “We have done whatever is possible at our level. We have put Kantabanjhi in the timetable of Ispat Express and intimated it to the railway board. The board will take the final decision.”

“Though Kantabanjhi is an important business hub we have to go to Titilagarh or Balangir to catch trains,” said activist Surath Behera 

December 8, 2010 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

Lawyers staged dharna in front of the Orissa legislative assembly for the establishment of a bench of the Orissa high court in Western Orissa

Following is a report from the Telegraph:

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 7: Lawyers of the western part of the state today staged a dharna in front of the state legislative Assembly demanding set up of a permanent bench of the Orissa High Court in western Orissa.

“The people of western Orissa have been demanding establishment of a bench of the high court since 1959. But the government has not given any attention to our demand.

“The state should immediately send a proposal to this effect to the Central government,” said Ashok Das, convener of the central working committee of the Western Orissa Bar Association.

The state government had constituted the Western Orissa Development Council (WODC) in 1999 for the development of 10 districts of the western part of the state.

“As the government has given its nod for the WODC, it should now give its nod to the establishment of a permanent bench of the high court,” Das said.

The association has also rejected setting of the Justice C.R. Pal Commission which was constituted by the state government in 2008 to look into the demand for a special permanent bench.

“Though the commission was set up on February 28, 2008, it is yet to meet the representatives of the people. There is no need for the establishment of the commission,” said Das.

The agitation for setting up a special permanent bench picked up momentum after Union law minister Veerappa Moily’s visit to the state on July 14, 2010, where he had favoured the idea of establishment of a high court bench in western Orissa. 

December 8, 2010 at 3:56 pm Leave a comment

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