Archive for March, 2011
Historical favoritism towards Ganjam by Orissa government
- Number of proejcts being inagurated in Ganjam district in past 10 years by the Chief Minister is one of the highest in Orissa
- IIIT (central Govt funded information technology institute) in Orissa was proposed in Berhampur by the state Govt.
- CM and Higher Education minister had announced that Khallikote College will be a University soon even without announching much needed state University in South Western part of the state (KBK).
- Confidentially one University personal infomed a senior NRO that the state Govt. provided 40 cores of AID to Berhampur University and merely 10 crore to Sambalpur University in the name of SU-IIIT.
- State Governemnt has recommended for a High Court Bench in Berhampur for South Orissa when the location is less convinient to the people in KBK.
- Proposed railway Wagon Factory in the budget 2010-11 was shifted from Bhubaneswar/Kalahandi to Berhampur (Ganjam), home dist of CM.
- Berhampur has one of the highest numbers of soley state Government funded higher/technical education instutions in Orissa after the state capital compared to any other district or city in Orissa.
- Khordha and Ganjam are neighbouring districts but every thing (administrative offices) are established in Ganjam in the name South Orissa and not in far off place from state capital. It is much convinient for the peopple of Ganjam to reach Bhubaneswar than people in KBK to reach Ganjam, what sort of logic is operational except to exploit marginalized people in the state? If it was the case why not administrartive office in Rourkela?
- Despite without having any iron ore, coal, chromium, Biju Patnaik had politically convienced TATA to establish second steel plant in Gopalpur in Ganjam, fortunately political favorotim did not suit the company later on and TATA moved to Kalinga Nagar (though there is serious problem in Kalinga Nagar TATA group still prefers Kalinga Nagar over Gopalpur for steel plant which expose the political favoritim towards Ganjam by Biju Patnaik)
- Among the district Ganjam has highest population but its size (5th in Orissa) is comparable to Kalahandi and less than Mayurbhanj, Sundergarh, Keonjhar and Koraput. It has the maximum number of SH plus NH per 1000 sqkm of area, one of the highest in Orissa. Road should be constructed based on area rather than population. For example UP is 1.55 times larger by area than Orissa and 5.3 times larger by population than Orissa, but the NH in UP is 1.8 times than that of Orissa. Is Orissa following a similar guide line among its districts? Are the SH and NH in Kalahandi and Ganjam comparable? Last year state Govt spent 180 cores for highways in Ganjam compared to 18-30 crore in Kalahandi. Similarly, should Sundergarh, Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Koraput not have more SH and NH compared to Ganjam?
- Railway is a concern for Ganajm, but its not by state Govt rather by the central Govt for which state Govt is not able to favor its favorite district. However, there are districts in Orissa without having any rail network like Nabarangpur, Kandhamal whose size would be more than the half of size of Ganjam.
- For conservation of ecologically sensitive stone mountains (LANDA PAHADA), Orissa Govt last year spent 100% of the budget in Ganjam, when Ganjam has ~ 30%, Balangir has ~ 20%, Kalahandi has ~ 20%, Koraput has another substantial percentage of LANDA PAHAD in the state, why the budget was not distributed based on percentage? There is serious speculation that if there could have a substantial share in any of the other coastal district budget distribution would have been different. If its in KBK or Western Orissa policy is different.
- If one village has population 250 and another having 2000, than both the villages may need one school, but one having 2000 population may need more class rooms, teachers, books, blackboard etc. In the mean time first one must have a school. Ganjam has two times population than that of Kalahandi but it has 3212 villages compared to 2236 villages in Kalahandi. Is there a fairness in alloting budget in health, education and infrastructure?
- Ganjam receives highest number of MGNREGA schemes, which is acceptable as per population but not the SH and NH.
- Similarly regional institutions should come based on convinience and geography. If neighbouring undivided Ganajm could be considered for regional offices based on population than why not other neighbouring undivided Cuttack district for the same, when each undivided Cuttack and undivided Puri districts (capital and central RDC) had more population than undivided Ganjam district?
- MLA, Sri Jayanarayan Mishra alleged in the assembly of Orissa in past years that 30 % of Chief Minister’s releif fund was spent only in Hinjilikatu contituency.
- Another one alleged that the money spent from state Govt. budget only in Hinjilikatu could be more than that of state Govt fund being spent in district like Malkangiri/Nuapada (exluding central Govt fund)
Of late, the people of Kalahandi district are an apprehensive lot after getting the information that the proposed rail wagon industry promised by Railway Minister Mamata Banarjee is likely to be shifted from the district to Ganjam.
According to sources, the Railway Minister has assured local MP Bhakta Charan Das to set up rail wagon industry in the district in Parliament but other sources said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, meanwhile, has written a letter to Mamata Banerjee proposing to set up rail wagon industry in Ganjam district.
Kalahandi is one of the country’s most poverty-stricken districts. Huge funds pumped in for development of poor have not yielded fruitful results.
The political leadership as the past is now suspected again to fail to bring the rail wagon factory like the Central University was shifted from Kalahandi to Koraput.
The Chief Minister during his visit to Kalahandi recently was presented with a memorandum by the aggrieved political parties, intellectual forums, different organisations, demanding to recommend the Central Government to set up the proposed rail wagon industry in the district.
However, sources said the Chief Minister has not yet taken any steps on the demand of the locals and this has triggered resentment and a feeling that the district again will be betrayed.
Failure to establish medical college in Bolangir is no accident, because the political structure of Orissa is such that real problems of Western Orissa never gets its share of concern . Our legitimate concern are regarded
neither by the ruling BJD , and what is even more disheartening, nor by the powerful nexus of “intellectuals” and the mandarins who mostly come from the coastal area. For them the priority is to establish most human resource institutions, especially well funded ones(central) in the sixty mile zone. Neither logic nor equity, not even pragmatics matter. Here are couple of new examples. Silently without much fan fair, Central Institute of Design is coming up in BBSR, even though Sambalpur-Bargarh-Sonepur corridor excel any part of Orissa in textile design. Against all logic and pragmatics, ESCI medical college is not starting in Rourkela. In this case even the blessing and approval of Insurance folks did not matter. Airport Jharsuguda airport can not take off even after most of the dots are connected. Ominous sign is even though next five year plan is not yet in place, the only announcement so far has been that Orissa will be getting one of the eleven world class university and that would be based in BBSR. This follows the same pattern as before. Even when not single kilowatt of energy is produced in BBSR, Central Institute of Power Management is coming up in BBSR. Consistent with the same pattern, Institute of Steel Research is established in Puri. All our protests and petitions based on sound logic have been put aside. If Orissa would have worked as Orissa, which needs overall growth in all areas, and the formal and informal decision makers would really thinks of Orissa as a whole, these folks would have been protesting against such arbitrary decision making.
I am especially disappointed with A.U.Singhdeo. Just see today’s Sambad in the section of debates in Orissa legislature. Apparently,a report on regional discrepancy was sponsored by the state government at a cost of 35 lakhs and it was submitted after 4 years and five months. Singhdeo,the minister responsible,appointed a subcommittee to examine the report and recommendations are supposed to have been submitted by March,2009, that is exactly two years ago. So nothing is happening. I would have thought that Singhdeo who represents KBK, the most wretched place in Orissa having most of its population under poverty line would have acted promptly in the interest of his constituency. How and why folks in Bolangir vote such a person to represent them is beyond me. Now with tongue in cheek, he says he would see the completion of the medical college in three years only after he is elected again ! Unbelievable. I still do not understand why Nain’s government is not fulfilling its pledge to takeover the medical college. As you know, after the last budget, he boldly announced that Orissa has a surplus, and development will not be hindered in the state because of lack of money. I do not understand why the handful of Males from Western Orissa are putting his feet on fire; in stead they have become sycophants for the government.
We are really running out of options. The traditional measures are not working. The current political structure is not responsive to our needs. The only option available to us is to have our own state so that we can shape our own destiny, just as Telengana is trying. Enough is enough.
BALANGIR: Twelve years down the line since its establishment, the foundation structure of Balangir Medical College looks like an abandoned cemetery overridden with bushes and weeds. It was erected, if officials are to be believed, at a cost of Rs 27 lakh. The medical college was proposed by the Western Orissa Development Council (WODC) and was mooted in 1999 by the then chairman of the council, Narasingh Mishra. With WODC investing the money to establish the college, it was supposed to be owned by the government.
But work on the structure came to a halt in the year 2000 when Naveen Pattnaik came to power. Balangir, which has the biggest hospital in the four backward western Orissa districts, the other three being Kalahandi, Nuapada and Sonepur, is the lifeline of the people of these areas.
Had the Balangir Medical College been constructed, it would have catered health services to people of all four districts. “During my tenure as WODC chairman I had proposed the construction of the medical college in Balangir and had started the construction work with an initial investment of Rs 27 lakh,” said Mishra. He said the Naveen Pattnaik government, which came to power in 2000, deliberately stalled the project.
He added the medical college was primarily set up to offer better and cheaper health services keeping in view the economic condition of the people of this region, but the state government is now mulling handing over the project to some private party. Mishra said if the state government was not competent enough to handle the project, it should request the central government to construct the college.
“If at all the Balangir medical college is set up, it should be a government-owned college and not a private college because the poor people in this region can’t afford the health services to be offered by a private party,” said Mishra. He further said he recently had a discussion with the Union minister of health, Vilasrao Deshmukh, who promised to take necessary steps to see that medical college is set up in Balangir soon.
The project gains further significance in light of the fact that the Balangir headquarters hospital, which has been a referral institute for all the hospitals within a 50-km radius for the last 50 years, is now languishing in neglect, and is incapable of handling even a slightly-serious case. Although an ICU was set up here considering the inflow of patients from several neighbouring districts, it remains unused. The space outside the ICU sometimes turns into a rest shed for patients’ attendants. Balangir Medical College was mooted keeping in view the lack of required facilities and infrastructure at the headquarters hospital and the large number of patients’ turning up here.
Interestingly, the WODC last year had signed an MoU with Pondicherry-based Balaji Trust to take up the project, but the work didn’t progress. This is the third time the state government has signed an MoU for Balangir Medical College. Earlier, it had entered into an agreement with Hyderabad-based GSL Trust and Gaziabad-based Jassore Dental, Medical Education Health Foundation. After delay in the start of work, the MoU was cancelled and RVS Educational Trust was selected as the private sponsor. The trust expressed its inability to execute the project on February 17, 2010.
The earlier two agencies were reluctant to start the project citing non-cooperation by the WODC. Later, the new chairman, however, promised that the college would have 50 per cent management seats and 50 per cent government seats, with a certain percentage reserved for local students. However, he couldn’t explain why the progress was so slow and why it was being entrusted to a private party.
“At present, there is no one expressing interest in constructing the medical college. Its status remains in a state of embargo and no further decision in this regard has been taken,” said Niranjan Panda, present WODC chairman. Strangely, responding to mediapersons earlier, Balangir MLA and planning minister A U Singhdeo had said the medical college would be constructed, but it would take another three years. “I am waiting for my next term in the government. In the present term it is not possible,” Singhdeo had said bluntly at a media meet at his residence in Balangir.
The planning and coordination department sanctioned Rs 10 crore each for medical colleges in Rourkela and Kalahandi, but the Balangir Medical College remained ill-fated without any aid from the government. Officials said the proposed medical college at Balangir has reached a dead end. After WODC advertised seeking private partnership for the proposed colleges, there were two responses. But both the parties failed to satisfy the technical expertise criteria.
The railway authorities after inspecting number of places in KBK districts and not finding them suitable have identified Santipalli at Berhampur in Ganjam district to set up the proposed rail wagon factory.
According to sources, a rail wagon factory is to be set up in KBK districts of Odisha as per the 2010-2011 Railway Budget. Accordingly, the railway authorities visited Kalahandi, Kesinga, Narla Road, Lanjigarh Road, and Bhawanipatna Railway Station area to find out 100 acres of land adjacent to the rail track and submit a feasible report to the Government of Odisha for acquisition of land. However, the railway administration could not find a suitable place for the purpose and moved to coastal districts for feasible locations for wagon factory.
The Ganjam district administration and rail officers made a joint inspection in the district and found a place at Santipalli near Jagannathpur Railway Station of Berhampur. The State Government has approved to provide the 100 acre of land at Santipalli and the proposal has been sent to Railway Ministry, for their final consent for further plan of action. The project would be taken up in public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
Following report is from Dharitri:
Following report is from the Samaja (online edition):