Archive for June, 2011

Balangir yet to get a medical college: The Telegraph

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.

June 29, 2011 at 11:39 am Leave a comment

“Pakhal Khurithi Mahara” bags Akashvani Award

Following report is from http://expressbuzz.com:

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.

June 26, 2011 at 9:28 am Leave a comment

Solar fencing of Barpahad reserve forest, Sonepur still incomplete

Following report is from The Telegraph:

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.

June 24, 2011 at 3:23 pm Leave a comment

Netaji Subash Chandra Bose College, Sambalpur lies neglected

Following report is from The Telegraph:

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.

June 24, 2011 at 3:15 pm Leave a comment

VSS Medical College and Hospital, Burla state-of-affairs irks High Court team

Following report is from the expressbuzz.com:

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.

June 20, 2011 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

Kete lukaba lukaba: A super hit Kosli song

June 19, 2011 at 2:16 pm Leave a comment

Balangir MP Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo bats for rail wagon unit at Kantabanji

Following report is from The Pioneer:

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.

June 18, 2011 at 12:21 pm Leave a comment

Panchayat College Bargarh faces staff crunch

Following report is from The Pioneer:

Like any other college of western Odisha, the only Government college of Bargarh district, Panchayat College, located at Bargarh district headquarters town, also suffers from staff shortage leading to fall in education standard. There are a few departments which run without teachers.

The college has got 60 and 26 sanctioned posts in various departments for +3 and +2 wings, respectively, having Arts, Science and Commerce streams. But only 25 lecturers in +3 and 17 lecturers in +2 classes are available now and the rest of the posts are lying vacant since long in spite of repeated request from the students, guardians and senior citizens to fill them up, sources said. This has also led to students’ agitations in the past. At the same time, the college doesn’t have a permanent principal of its own over a decade now.

Situation is more precarious in important departments like Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Zoology and English. The departments of Mathematics and Zoology have got one teacher each, college sources confirmed. Situation for the non-teaching staff is also in no way better. Out of total 82 non-teaching staff, 41 remain vacant — exactly 50 per cent of the strength.

“Not only have I requested the Higher Education Minister and the Secretary a number of times to fill up these posts with immediate effect, I have also raised the issue in the floor of the Assembly, but to no effect,” said MLA of Bargarh Sadhu Charan Nepak. This shows the attitude of the Government to the problems of the students and higher education as a whole in this backward region, Nepak alleged.

“I am also well aware of the problem in this only Government college of the district. But my hands are also tight. I can only ventilate the sentiment of the people to the Government,” said Bargarh District Collector BG Mishra.

June 17, 2011 at 1:09 pm 1 comment

Vegetation cover around Khandadhar waterfall is depleting fast

Following report is from expressbuzz.com:

ROURKELA: The vegetation cover around bio-rich Khandadhar waterfall and its surroundings is depleting fast and water yield of the perennial waterfall is visibly declining.Located 85 km from Rourkela in the tribal hinterland of Talbahali gram panchayat in the Bonai sub-division of Sundargarh district, mining is being attributed as the reason behind degradation of the waterfall.

The Khandadhar waterfall originates from one of the hills under the Malangtoli hill range. While a large stream from the hilltop forms the waterfall, the same hill works as a sink to generate nearly two dozen rivulets which flow as water channels in various directions.

CPM leader Banamali Dhupal, who has been working in the region for over 20 years, said the impact of the environmental imbalance is felt. He further said that mining activities by the Orissa Mining Corporation and a private operator in the area is affecting the bio-rich  reserve.  Sources said that the forest cover in 20 km radius of the waterfall has also depleted in the last 20 years. Old-timers said once Haldikudar, Talbahali and Mahulpada gram panchayats in the periphery used to have an awe-inspiring dense forest housing various kinds of wildlife.

Time and again, people have been urging the authorities concerned to take up remedial measures. Though delayed, the Bonai forest division has conducted a study to preserve and protect the waterfall. The study recommended massive soil conservation projects at the hilltop to redeem the loss.A proposal in this regard would be sent to the government for approval, said Bonai DFO AK Mishra. He said additionally, the Forest Department has plans to take up  afforestation programme in over 40 hectares  on the onset of monsoon as the seedlings planted last year did not survive due to the erratic rainfall.

June 16, 2011 at 4:36 pm 1 comment

Balangir Haat to come up in Bhubaneswar

Following report is from The Pioneer:

The first ever visit of State Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy to Balangir began with interaction with farmers and a promise to open a Balangir Haat (market) at Bhubaneswar to prevent the distress sale of vegetables, tomato, and mango within a month, besides directing the official to visit the field and attending the grievance of farmers.

Accompanied by Principal Secretary RL Jamuda, Director Agriculture RS Gopalan and Director of Horticulture and Watershed, Maharathi listened to the farmers’ complaints. The majority of complains of farmers were related to distress sale of paddy, tomato, vegetables, hike in subsidy for digging well, shortage of paddy seed and revival of cold storage.

“No new paddy seed is arriving here. Farmers have to wait for hours to get a bag of paddy in Puintala block. With a bag of paddy what will he do?,” asked ex- MLA Muralidhar Guru to the delegation.

Besides the official sale centre, the sale centre opened under the Chief Minister’s package is yet to function. Those who have opened sale centres are yet to get their commission of last year, alleged a few farmers.

Reacting to complaints of distress sale of tomato, onion and other vegetables, Maharathi announced that a Balangir Haat would be opened at Unit –1 in Bhubneshwar within a month where farmers would sell their produce directly and get benefit. He also assured that adequate amount of seed would be sent to the district by June 15.

Reacting a to a complaint that farmers in Puintal block have not received their compensation amount, Maharathy directed the District Collector to disburse it within three days so that farmer could procure seeds and other items.

A new dress code is also in the offing for the village agriculture workers and it would be implemented within a year, informed Maharathi and directed the VAWs and other officials to treat the farmers with dignity and listen to their grievances with patience. A direct communication line would be opened between the farmers and the Ministry, he informed further.

In 1996 during the severe drought, the district administration decided to construct a tank by the side of each tube well so that a person taking water from tube well would pour some water in it and the cattle and other animals would drink water from there. However, the scheme failed with structures either damaged or non-existent, Minister was told.

The farmers said that the Government has decided to provide 90 per cent subsidy if four farmers in a cluster dig deep bore well but a deep bore well is making a tube well dry. So they suggested to the Minister to rethink over it.

To provide solution to the problem of harassment by banks in opening of account, Director Agriculture RS Gopalan directed the District Collector to take necessary steps to open zero balance account in the bank and action against them not cooperating. Gopalan also assured that the defunct seed processing unit in the district would be made functional in a month. A total of 35 farmers were honoured with shawl and citation on the occasion.

June 16, 2011 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

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