Archive for June, 2011
Balangir, June 27: The twelve-year-old dream project of a medical college in Balangir is yet to materialise. The ambitious project was taken up by the Western Orissa Development Council (WODC) way back in 1999.
The state government had entered into agreement and signed MoUs with at least three private parties for the medical college in the last seven years. While two of them backed out of the project, the government cancelled the MoU of the third as they didn’t show interest even after long time.
In 1999, the then chairman of WODC Narasingha Mishra had conceived the idea of a medical college and hospital in Balangir. For this, WODC had obtained a no-objection certificate from the state government and even started construction of the administrative building. Rs 27 lakh was spent from the WODC fund and 25 acres of land were provided for the proposed medical college near Gandhrel in the outskirts of the town.
The project was stopped when the Naveen Patnaik government came to power in 2000. “The medical college was primarily planned to provide 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.
WODC was reorganised and Ainthu Sahu took over as the new chairman of the council. Sahu soon announced that there would be three medical colleges in western Orissa — in Balangir, Rourkela and Bhawanipatna. He further announced that WODC would provide Rs 10 crore and 25 acres of land for each of the projects. However, nothing was done till 2004 when the Assembly election approached and government entered into an agreement with Hyderabad-based GSL Trust to set up the medical colleges in Balangir and Rourkela.
Accordingly, on February 7, 2004, Naveen laid the foundation stone of the medical college. The trust did nothing and backed out of the project after two years.
In 2007, the state government signed an MoU with Ghaziabad-based Jesser Foundation to set up the hospital and college. But the government had to cancel the MoU as the foundation did not do anything even after one year. In 2008, the government again signed an MoU with the Pondicherry-based Balaji Trust.
Despite providing 40 acres of land, the trust did nothing. In 2009, the state had again invited a tender for the project and one RVS Educational Trust of Coimbatore expressed its desire to take up the project. But in February 2010 it expressed its inability to execute the project.
Minister for planning and coordination Anang Uday Singhdeo said the state government was serious about the project. “The state government is serious about setting up of the medical college in Balangir. We are working on it and would soon give you the good news,” he said recently.
SAMBALPUR: The once popular song of ‘Rangabati’ may have faded over the years, but lyricist Mitrabhanu Gauntia’s musical feature ‘Pakhal Khurithi Mahara’ (Poison in the Rice Bowl) bagged the first prize at the Akashvani Annual Award-2010 in farm and home category which was declared on Friday in Delhi.
The musical feature, produced and directed by D Someya with music score by Prafulla Kumar Mitra, revolves around the need for a Second Green Revolution for quality foodgrains and promotion of bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides and bio-management practices. Indiscriminate use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides has adversely affected the land and living beings. There is residual poison in almost all the food materials and even in the rice bowl, the song conveys.
It aims at creating an awareness through the musical feature so as to reach across a large section of people and leave a lasting impression on them, said D Someya, who dedicated the award to his entire team.
Balangir, June 23: The ambitious project of solar fencing, taken up by Sonepur forest division in the Barpahad reserve forest to minimise human-animal conflict, has run into troubled waters as the project remains incomplete even after a year of its launch.
Taking advantage of the open space, herds of elephants are still venturing into villages that border the forest, often causing damage to life and property. Residents of these villages bordering the Barpahad forest allege elephants were often found straying into the villages in search of food and water through the open space where the solar fencing has not been done.
Sonepur forest range sources said that the solar fencing had been taken up along the 102km perimeter of the Barpahad reserve forest early last year and 49km of solar fencing work had been completed. However work on the remaining 53km could not be done because of a fund crunch leaving the area open for elephants to stray into nearby villages.
“The elephants are eying the water bodies of the village this summer and the local residents are not allowing old persons and women to go to the village pond to fetch water,” Ramjee Sa, a member of the Vana Surakshya Samiti (VSS), said.
Loisingha forest officer Sankirtan Nag said that a herd of 25 elephants, which were earlier in Barapahar forest, were now roaming in the villages of the Loisingha forest area causing widespread fear. “The elephants frequent the ponds during daytime and settle near the water bodies after sunset,” Nag said. Though they have been receiving complaints from the villagers, they can do little in the absence of technical knowledge to handle the elephants.
The villagers have been facing this problem for the past few weeks. This comes at a time when there is severe water crisis. The villagers are now depending on wells and bore-wells, which are drying up fast. Light showers in the last few days have failed to help much.
Divisional forest officer (DFO) of Balangir Raj Kishor Sahu admitted that elephants from Barpahad were straying into the adjoining villages through the areas where solar fencing have not been taken up. “I have sent a proposal to take up 27km of solar fencing of the Barpahad forest that fall in the Balangir division. There would not have been any problem had fencing been taken up in both the divisions simultaneously,’’ the DFO said.
Spread over 4658.70 hectares, Barpahad reserve forest in Sonepur district is home to 28 elephants, says the forest department.
Sambalpur, June 23: Netaji Subash Chandra Bose College here, which was granted the status of “government lead college” of Sambalpur district by the state government in 1990, is dogged by problems allegedly because of administrative apathy.
The college, which was being run by a private trust, came into government hands in 1982.
Until almost the next seven years, the college did not have its own building and was run from the town hall. In 1990, it shifted to its present 8.5 acre campus at Pilakandeipara in Maneswar block.
Infrastructure woes of the college did not end even after it moved to its permanent building. To start with, the college still does not have regular water supply. Lack of drinking water facility has remained a major concern for both staff and students. Although the college has more than 1,400 students, there is no hostel facility to accommodate those who come from outside the district. Plus Two science students alleged they were not getting proper guidance in the absence of a laboratory assistant and attendant.
“Though Netaji Subash Chandra Bose College has been endowed with the status of a ‘government lead college’, it is crippled with infrastructure problems. As per the norms, a ‘government lead college’ should have got a lot of facilities. The college has been named after Netaji Subash Chandra Bose but there is no statue of the freedom fighter on the campus,” said principal Dilip Parichha.
The principal alleged that despite drawing the attention of the higher authorities on several occasions, there had hardly been any initiative to improve the situation.
“The college building is lying in a dilapidated condition and classrooms need immediate repair.
“During monsoon, it becomes difficult for us to conduct classes as rainwater constantly seeps through the roof. We had also urged the block authorities to repair the road in front of the college. But all this seems to have gone in vain,” said Parichha.
Laxmidhar Jena, who studies in the college, said students hesitate to take admission here as it was located far away from the city.
“The road leading to the college is in a bad condition. One could conveniently reach the college only if the government constructed a bridge over the Haradjor river,” he said.
Pawan Kumar Ahir, a Plus Three final-year commerce student of the college, said the college playground was full of wild shrubs.
“We heard that a grant of Rs 10 lakh was received from the Western Orissa Development Council to develop the ground, but the amount was not sufficient,” he said.
SAMBALPUR: A three-member delegation from the Orissa High Court led by amicus curiae Prabhat Ranjan Dash expressed dissatisfaction at the facilities available in VSS Medical College and Hospital, Burla, during its visit on Saturday. Dr P K Pradhan and advocate Tarananda Pattnaik are the other members of the team.
The delegation said besides insufficient number of doctors and para-medical staff in the hospital, there was lack of medical equipment to treat critical and emergency patients. Despite bringing this to the notice of the State Government, no step has been taken so far. Dash said there was just one faculty in Neuro-Surgery Department and even the Cardiology Department is devoid of basic life-saving equipment. “These departments are not conducive for treatment of critical patients,” he said.
Even the Burn Unit does not have any facility and the mandatory Plastic Surgery Department which should be attached is not there, Dash added. Similarly, the five dialysis machines are insufficient and the required number of doctors are not available. As far as the 10-bed ICU is concerned, the four ventilators are not functioning. Informing that funds have been sanctioned for uninterrupted power supply, he said that the corridors of the hospital do not have lights and no fans in the wards.
Balangir MP Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo has demanded setting up the rail wagon manufacturing unit at Kantabanji in the district in view of availability of land and the economic backwardness of the area.
In a letter to Chairman, Railway Board, Vivek Sahai on June 16, Sing Deo has urged him to set up the unit at Kantabanji as land is available there which was donated by late RN Singhdeo during pre-Independence period.
“My grandfather late Maharaja RN Singh Deo had donated his personal land of approximate 400 acres for establishing the railway factory at Kantabanji. Since the land was donated for the purpose of the unit, it should be returned if the purpose is not met,” Singh Deo pointed out.
The land acquisition process is a highly sensitive and time taking exercise. It is also likely that the Railways could fall under criticism for acquisition of more land when it already has substantial land in its possession at Kantabanji for the wagon manufacturing unit, Singh Deo argued.
Moreover, a reply under an RTI application dated April 21, 2010 reveals that a total of 125 acres of vacant land at Kantabanji is currently in the possession of the Railways.