Archive for January, 2011

Eleven new farmer suicides haunt western Orissa

Following is a NDTV report:

Bhubaneswar In a small village in Orissa’s Sambalpur district, in a small house, a family looks to its neighbours for support. 61-year-old Shukla Chand killed himself by drinking pesticide. In this part of Western Orissa, this has become a frighteningly familiar story. Since November, 11 farmers from here have killed themselves.

Farmers have been catapulted from one crisis to another in Orissa since 2009. Floods, drought, and then exceptionally heavy rainfall last year before the harvest. The deaths of 100 farmers have officially been registered as suicides. The state government says it wasn’t their failed crops that drove them to their death.

For farmers whose crops were wiped out by pre-harvest rains, the Centre has sanctioned Rs. 400 crore for Andhra Pradesh and another Rs. 600 crore for Maharashtra. No compensation for Orissa has been announced so far.

The state government, led by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of the Biju Janata Dal, has offered to pay farmers Rs. 400 per acre for rain-fed areas and Rs. 800 per acre for irrigated land – only if the farmers can prove he has lost his entire crop. But farmers point out they invest at least Rs. 9,000 per acre for their paddy crop.  So the compensation being offered is worthless.

For farmers like Shukla Chand, it seems like there’s no one on their side. His suicide note says after his last crop of paddy failed just before the harvest, the loans he owed seemed insurmountable.  He had cultivated eight acres of paddy with an initial investment of Rs. 80,000.  He then took a bank loan of five lakh to buy a tractor, and another three lakh from private money lenders. When heavy rains destroyed his standing crop in November last year, he could no longer cope.

“The Centre and state are playing a cruel joke on our farmers. The policy to compensate for losses due to calamities has not kicked in. There are thousands of farmers like Shukla Chand who are not dead as yet, but on the verge of death,” says Saroj, the leader of a local cooperative of farmers.

January 18, 2011 at 8:38 am 1 comment

An example of Orissa govt.’s apathy towards western Orissa;Where are the WODC sponsored medical colleges?

Following is from the TOI:

BHUBANESWAR: Few of the proposed seven medical colleges in the state have come up till date. Three medical colleges were proposed in 2004 for western Orissa, facilitated by Western Orissa Development Council (WODC), but they are yet to see the light of day. Other subsequent proposals are still in very early stages.

The planning and coordination department sanctioned Rs 10 crore each for medical colleges in Rourkela, Jaring (Kalahandi district) and Balangir and the state government had provided 25-acre land each to these proposed colleges.

Officials said the proposed medical college at Balangir has faced a dead-end. After WODC advertised seeking private partnership for the proposed colleges, there were two responses. But both the parties failed to qualify in the technical expertise criteria.

Before this, three private parties, selected for Balangir college, quit at various stages. First, GSL Trust of Andhra Pradesh was selected for medical colleges at Balangir and Rourkela and a MoU was signed on January 31, 2004. But the MoU was cancelled since the trust did not commence work. The government signed another MoU with Sri Balaji Educational and Charitable Public Trust on October 6, 2006 for Balangir. After its delay in the start of work, the MoU was cancelled and RVS Educational Trust was selected as a private sponsor. The trust expressed its inability on February 17, 2010 to execute the project.

Work for the medical college at Jaring in Kalahandi, being undertaken by Selvam Educational and Charitable Trust, Tamil Nadu, is under way, after a MoU was signed on January 30, 2004. A 500-bed hospital was supposed to function by January 30, 2008, (five years from the date of MoU). But as of now the hospital is ready in part. While a building for the 300-bed hospital, three operation theatres and a seven-bed ICU is ready, the hostel buildings are yet to be ready.

“The outcome of the inspection by the Medical Council of India in May 2008 was not satisfactory. The trust filed a fresh application before the MCI on November 30, 2010, and the team visited the site once again in April-May,” a senior health department official said. Construction of the Rourkela college is being undertaken by Vigyan Bharati Charitable Trust after the government signed a MoU on July 4, 2008. Construction work is on. WODC officials are, however, optimistic. “Barring the Balangir college, the other two projects at Rourkela and Jaring are doing reasonably well. They should be commissioned as early as 2012,” said WODC chief executive officer Aswini Mishra.

The government is helping the Sahyog Healthcare and Research Foundation of India to open a 50-seat medical college and 150-bed hospital in Keonjhar. A MoU was signed on November 27, 2010. “We are waiting for the government to hand over possession of the land. Within six weeks after that we will commence work,” said Sahyog trustee Debasi Sahoo.

Similarly, there is proposal for MCL to start a medical college in Talcher. Besides, Mata Amritamayi Charitable Trust has shown interest in opening a medical college in the state while ESI is planning another medical college near Chandaka on the outskirts of the state capital. The state government has also decided to approach Nalco and SAIL to open medical colleges here.

January 16, 2011 at 7:50 pm Leave a comment

All about Gandhamardan’s healing touch

Following items are from The Telegraph:

Bhubaneswar, Nov. 28: A trekker’s delight and a treasure trove for rare medicinal plants, Gandhamardan Hill Range is famous for its two shrines of Hari-Shankar and Nrusimhanath.

Affordable and reachable both by rail and road, the region could be a perfect getaway for you this winter.

While Nrusimhanath is situated at the Bargarh end of the 6,000 hectare range, Hari-Shankar is at the Balangir side. Hari-Shankar is 40km away from Kantabanji on the Titlagarh-Raipur railway stretch and 90km from Balangir town.

The most interesting part of your trip should be the trek from Hari-Shankar to Nrusimhanath through the forest. It could take as much as six hours to cover the 15km stretch.

Hari-Shankar on the southern slope of the Gandhamardan Hill Range is unique because of its shrine of both Vishnu and Shiva. The entire hill range has more than 20 perennial streams.

While there are forest rest houses (FRHs) at Hari-Shankar and Nrusimhanath with four and two rooms respectively available in the range of Rs 100-Rs 250 a night, a budget hotel built by Indian Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) at Hari-Shankar has air conditioned rooms for Rs 1,100-Rs 1,200 a night.

Budget hotels at Balangir town are available in the range of Rs 400-Rs 800 a night.

Balangir divisional forest officer (DFO) Rajkishore Sahu said: “People Chhattisgarh come to Hari-Shankar by trekking the entire way. The deer park between the temple and forest rest house (FRH) now has 200 deer. At Hari-Shankar, there is also a very beautiful herbal garden with 300 varieties of plants.”

Sahu said there are 300 separate plots dedicated to 300 different varieties of plants at the garden. Some of these plants are very rare in these parts.

“The herbal garden near Nrusimhanath contains 150 varieties of plants, but they are not planted in the way in which the Hari-Shankar thing has been done,” he added.

If you have a problem with the 15-km trek from Hari-Shankar to Nrusimhanath, you could opt for the road via Paikmal, taking which you could reach Nrusimhanath in two hours.

Though there are no big animals like elephants and tigers in the forest, you could encounter leopards, hyena, peacock, flying squirrel, monkeys, snakes, bear and wild boar.

“The facilities extended by the temple administration and the forest and ITDC people are good and one can enjoy the stay with the entire family,” said Mrutyunjay Tripathy, a state government employee who visited Gandhamardan Hill Range last year.

According to the Ramayana, while bringing the entire Gandhamardan range from the Himalayas to treat Lakshman with Sanjivanee, Hanuman, the valorous monkey god, broke some parts of the mountain and the pieces fell at the place where today’s Gandhamardan stands with its treasure of fragrant medicinal plants.

The hill range is composed of a cluster of hills with altitudes varying between 600 and 1,005 metres above the sea level. Bender, Butel, Chalidilli, Chhatradandi Gandhamardan, Potpani and Thuta are the prominent hills in this range. The range stands as a natural barrier on the border of Balangir and Bargarh districts.

“The forest in the hill range comes under the tropical moist deciduous type. Due to its diversified topography with 22 perennial streams, the region provides an ideal environment for the growth of both plants and animals. However, these resources are under severe threat due to over-exploitation including collection of firewood, fodder, medicinal plants and heavy incidence of grazing. Out of the 1,076 species of plants found in Bargarh district, a total of 850 species of vascular plants belonging to 540 genera under 138 families are available here,” said ecologist Prasad Dash.

“Of the 28 endemic medicinal plants found in the Eastern Ghats, seven are found in Gandhamardan alone. Dominance of phanerophytes indicates a tropical moist and humid climate. The top flat plateau of the hills running through the length of Gandhamardan is covered lush grasslands,” he said.

A variety of rare and endemic hill stream fish are also available here. Due to the rich floral diversity, a large number of honey bees and birds are found here. Because of the presence of a variety of plants, a large variety of butterflies are also found here,” Dash added.

But the hill range is most famous for its medicinal plants and is also known as an “ayurvedic garden”.

More than 400 plant species were found in the area with medicinal properties. Among them, Asparagus racemosus, Celastrus paniculata, Chlorophytum arundinaceum, Costus speciosus, Curculigo orchioides, Curcuma angustifolia, Gloriosa superb, Gymnema sylvestre, Plumbago zeylanica, Rubia cordifolia and Tinospora cordifolia were harvested in bulk for preparation of medicines by local people.

Unsustainable collection of the above medicinal plants has placed them in threatened and vulnerable categories in Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (CAMP) of the state. Some medicinal plants such as Asparagus gonoclados, Enicostema littorale, Pimpinella heyneana, Garcinia xanthochymus, Radenmanchera xylocarpa, Embelia basal, Symphorema polyandrum, Vernonia anthelmintica, Xanthoxylum rhetsa, Cordia macleodii, Litsea glutinosa, Pterocarpus marsupium and Schrebera swietenioides, which were abundant at one point, are now rarely seen and come under the threatened category of medicinal plants in Orissa.

January 15, 2011 at 8:05 am Leave a comment

Eleven-day Dhanu Jatra begins in Bargarh

Following is from

BARGARH: Curtains went up for the 11-day ‘Dhanu Yatra’, considered the biggest open air theatre of Asia, in Bargarh today.

 With the central theme of this festival borrowed from the ‘Krishna Leela and Mathura Vijay’, the enactment on day one begins with wedding of his sister Devaki with Basudev besides Kansa’s accession to the throne and concludes with ‘Kansa Badha’ at the hands of nephew Lord Krishna.

After the marriage, a confident Kansa moves towards the Durbar of King Ugrasen, his father and dethrones him to capture the kingdom marking the beginning of his tyrannical rule. But the joy of marriage and the pride of his accession to the throne for the demon King is short-lived.

While he moves around atop a caparisoned elephant in a procession along with the newly-wed couple, a divine voice warns Kansa of his impending death at the hands of the eighth child born to Devi and Basudev. The warning is enough for Kansa to put his sister Devaki and her husband Basudev in jail.

 Interestingly, the day one saw the scene shifting from Ramji Mandir in Talipada where celestial wedding of Devaki and Basudev is solemnised, dethroning and accession to the throne besides warning by divine voice at Hatpada and imprisonment of Devaki and Basudev at the makeshift prison at Radha Krushna Temple at Hatpada.

 The entire Bargarh municipal limits, spread over 5 square km, turns into a stage and every citizen plays a role.

The geographical setting of Bargarh municipal limits also conforms to Mathura, where King Kansa ruled. The river Jeera represents the  Yamuna. Ambapali village across the Jeera turns into Gopapur where Krishna is brought up. The festival which is a synthesis of stage, theatre and cinema is held for seven to 11 days preceding the Pousa Purnima.

Thanks to Mr.Surendra Kumar Hota for the following pictures:

January 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm Leave a comment

Bahi Haat begins in Balangir : The Telegraph

Following report is taken from The Telegraph:

Balangir, Jan. 9: The opening day of Balangir book fair ‘Bahi Hata’ marked the release of four books. Writer Srinivas Udgata released two collections of short stories namely Srikshetra Badnaam Na Heu and Anuraag by Elora Mishra, an anthology of English poems Her Sorrowful Expressions by Krishna Chandra Panda and another book on Balangir tourism Tirtha Bhumi Harisankar by Padmanava Mishra.

Talking about his English poem collection, author Krushna Chandra Panda said that the book was an anthology of 34 poems and Her Sorrowful Expression is the title poem of the book.

“In the title poem, I have tried to raise the issue of female foeticide, a burning problem in our society. As the foetus grows in the womb of the mother, there is debate on whether it is a boy or a girl and if it is a girl, should she allowed to take birth. It is the pain of the female foetus that I have tried to express through the poem,” Panda said.

Tirtha Bhumi Harisankar by Padmanava Mishra is more like a memory because the author had earlier lived on the foothills of Gandhamardan hills where Harisankar, a holy shrine, is situated. “It is my memory of Harisankar which I used to frequent when I was working in the area. Many things must have changed by now. It is the imagery of the past landscapes, people and the scenic beauty of Harisankar that I have described in the book,” Mishra said.

Inaugurating the sixth edition of Balangir book fair, Udgata said that books never lie.

“A book should be a person’s best friend as they can guide a person through his life,” Udgata said.

Udgata denied the common notion that there has been a decline in the popularity of books.

“I completely disagree with this. People have always loved books and they will continue to do so,” he said.

Zilla Lekhak Parishad president Sashi Bhusan Purohit urged district collector Sailendra Narayan Dey to direct the authorities of the schools and colleges to buy books for their libraries. At least forty publishers from across the country have participated in the book fair here. Kendriya Sahiyta Academy has participated in the book fair for the first time.

January 10, 2011 at 4:40 pm Leave a comment

Invitation for the Balangir Bahi Haat 2011; Venue: Kosal Kalamandap, Balangir

Following is an invitation and some pictures of  Balangir Bahi Haat 2011. Thanks to Manas Ranjan Pradhan for the following items.

January 10, 2011 at 4:23 pm Leave a comment

Orissa has urged NALCO and SAIL to set up medical colleges

Following is from the Telegraph:

Bhubaneswar, Jan. 7: The Orissa government has urged the central public sector undertakings (PSUs) operating in the state to help it set up medical colleges in the state.

Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik today reviewed the progress of various proposed medical colleges in the state.

At present, the state has six medical colleges. The National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Mahanadi Coal Field Limited (MCL) have agreed to set up two medical colleges.

MCL has agreed to set up a medical college at Talcher. NTPC too has agreed in principle to the proposal. It is yet to decide the location of the new college.

The state government has also approached Nalco and SAIL to help develop the state in this regard.

Investment to the tune of Rs 150 crore is needed for a medical college with a capacity to enrol 100 students per annum.

The state currently has three government medical colleges— MKCG Medical College, Berhampur, SCB Medical College, Cuttack and VSS Medical College, Burla. Besides the government colleges, there are three private medical colleges.

The All India Institute of Medical Science (AIMS) is setting up its unit in the capital city. At the meeting today, it was decided that a regional paramedical training centre would be set up at Bhubaneswar at an estimated cost of Rs 75 crore to impart training to para-medical staff.

Health department sources said many organisations have submitted their proposals to set up medical colleges in backward districts like Kalahandi, Keonjhar and Balangir.

Of these, the Sahyog Health Care and Research Foundation (SHRF) has already inked an MoU with the state government to set up a multi-specialty medical college and hospital. The hospital-cum-college, at an estimated cost of Rs 210 crore, would be ready by 2012.

Orissa health minister Prasanna Acharya said: “The state government would encourage establishment of more and more medical colleges and hospital in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode. A proposal has been sent to Centre for establishment of one medical college and hospital in PPP mode at Koraput.” The state government has granted a no objection certificate to Hi-Tech Hospital authority to establish one medical college in Rourkela.

Decks have been cleared for the setting up of another medical college in Balangir.

Western Orissa Development Council (WODC) will fund the project.

January 9, 2011 at 9:26 am Leave a comment

24,000 sikshya sahayaks to be recruited by 2011:Orissa State Government

Following is a report from

BHUBANESWAR: The State Government has decided to launch a massive recruitment drive of teachers to ensure all children exercise their right to education.

Sources said that chief minister Naveen Patnaik has already given a go ahead to the proposal from the school and mass education department. Under the programme, 24,000 sikshya sahayaks will be appointed during the next three months. Advertisements for the largescale recruitment will be given next week.

There are 25493 vacancies of sikshya sahayaks in the state, out of which 24,000 is now proposed to be filled up. Out of these, the requirement for trained graduate teacher (TGT) in Science is 10,534 and TGT in Arts is 2499. Similarly, need for Plus Two CT trained in Science is 5113 and Plus Two Arts CT Trained is 5454.

Finance department sources maintained that the trained teachers will get Rs.4000 per month, while untrained will receive Rs.3500 per month. The state government is reported to be contemplating to engage teachers with lesser qualifications because of non-availability of trained teachers as required.

Accordingly, the Ministry of HRD has been moved to relax the training qualification. Chief minister Naveen Patnaik had taken up the issue of relaxation of training qualification with union HRD minister Kapil Sibal in November, 2010 during one of his Delhi visits.

All the district collectors have been asked to complete the process of recruitment of sikshya sahayaks by March, 2011.

January 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm 44 comments

Can India produce a home grown Nobel winner in science & technology?

January 7, 2011 at 8:34 am 2 comments

Maa Samleshwari of Balangir

Thanks to Raj Kumar Bhoi for the pictures:

January 6, 2011 at 10:19 am 1 comment

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