Archive for January, 2016

Odisha approves a parboiled rice mill and co-generation biomass power plant at Kalahandi

Following report is from: http://www.moneycontrol.com/news/economy/odisha-approves-two-projects-worth-rs-470-crore_4996221.html#discontent_div

Odisha’s State Level Single Window Clearance Authority (SLSWCA) accorded in-principle approval to two investment proposals worth Rs 470 crore. The SLSWCA meeting chaired by Chief Secretary A P Padhi approved a proposal of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) to set up a common user facility (CUF) for storage of petroleum products at Meramunduli in Dhenkanal district at an investment of Rs 270 crore, said Kalyan Mohanty, General Manager of Industrial Promotion and Investment Corporation of Odisha (IPICOL).

It also approved a proposal of Starlight Energy Limited to set up an integrated grain based distillery unit along with a parboiled rice mill and co-generation biomass power plant at Goud Sariguda in Kalahandi district with a total investment of Rs 137 crore. The CUF project is a common arrangement of IOC L, BPCL and HPCL and will cater to receipt and storage of petroleum products like petrol, diesel, kerosene, fuel oil, light diesel and high performance petrol, he said.

Mohanty added that the project will require 90 acres of land, 3 KL/day water and 450 KW of power and provide direct and contractual employment to around 344 people. Starlight Energy’s project requires 195 acres and 1 MW power as stand by for start-up of the biomass power plant. It will use broken rice from rice mills, besides maize and other grains produced in Odisha for the distillery unit, while husk from the rice mills will be used as principal raw material for production of biomass power. It will produce neutral alcohol for medicine, ethanol for blending in petrol and anhydrous alcohol for industrial use and provide direct and contractual employment to 108 people, Mohanty added.

January 30, 2016 at 5:12 am Leave a comment

What can be done for Odisha’s abject poverty?

We have received the following e-book from Dr Saheb Sahu, USA

What can be done for Odisha’s abject poverty? Please click here to download the E-book.

January 27, 2016 at 8:30 am 1 comment

Poverty and politics by a royal family in Balangir

January 24, 2016 at 6:55 am 1 comment

Sordid saga: How an Odisha medical college row tied 124 students in a knot

Following report is from http://www.dailyo.in/politics/odisha-mci-mbbs-sardar-rajas-medical-college-supreme-court-ppp-iim-sambalpur/story/1/8447.html

The fate of 124 MBBS students of Sardar Rajas Medical College in western Odisha was decided this week with the Supreme Court directing the students to be admitted to three private medical colleges in the state. The college built on a public private partnership (PPP) model had failed to receive approval from the Medical Council of India (MCI) which resulted in uncertainty over the future of the students. The whole saga involving the state government, MCI, high court, other government medical colleges and the Supreme Court has been murky.

The story begins from 2004 when the government of Odisha, through the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) inked a deal with Selvam Educational and Charitable Trust of Tamil Nadu to establish a medical college in one of the country’s most backward districts, Kalahandi. The government then allotted 25 acres of land for free and gave a sum of Rs 20 crore for the college to start.

Promising to build a 300-bed hospital with all necessary facilities, the trust after much delay in setting up the infrastructure, admitted 100 students for the year 2013-’14. Next year another 24 students were admitted. In the wake of the college not having adequate infrastructure and staff, the MCI withdrew permission for admission this year.

The Odisha High Court then stepped in and ruled that the majority of the students would be allocated to two government medical colleges and a small number to three private medical colleges. All hell broke loose when students of the two government medical colleges in Berhampur and Burla staged protests against addition of the aggrieved students citing lack of facilities and a moral quandary where lower ranked students of the shut college would now become equal with higher ranked students.

The high court, in the meantime, ruled in favour of an increase in seats in the three private medical colleges so that the displaced students could be admitted. The ruling was supported by the state cabinet. This prompted the MCI, which is against adding seats to colleges that lack adequate facilities, to move the Supreme Court against the high court order. A special leave petition brought the Supreme Court in the picture which after staying the high court’s order finally ordered that all 124 students of the beleaguered institution be admitted to the three private medical colleges while paying fees at par with government colleges.

In the meantime, the Odisha government has scrapped its MoU with Selvam Trust and is looking for fresh bidders to take up the work for the 300-bed hospital. It has also promised to initiate criminal proceedings against the trust. While the uncertainty of many months has ended for the students, including the ones protesting against the state government and the high court’s orders, there are more questions than answers in this sordid saga.

The first question is regarding the policy. The intent of setting up a medical school and hospital in a remote and backward district needs questioning. Populism might warrant it but when it comes to setting up the elaborate infrastructure and having adequate faculty members as the MCI demands, running a medical school in a remote region becomes fraught with difficulties. Invariably, the admission rate at such institutions gets hit. Only few candidates make a beeline for colleges that lack facilities and are situated in a poorly connected places. A case in point was the dismal admission rate at IIM Sambalpur seen recently.

The second question is about the merit of the MoU partner. A cursory look at Selvam Trust’s website will tell you that it does not possess expertise in running a medical college. It runs an engineering and science college. What attracted the state government to choose such a partner? Was it because no other group showed interest?

The third question is about the handling of the case by honourable Odisha High Court and to some extent by the Supreme Court. If lack of infrastructure and faculty members can be a valid reason for not permitting admission in government medical colleges, does not the same apply to the private colleges as well? The high court stepping into the role of the MCI also was an intrusion that could have been best avoided. The case is set to be heard soon and one can only hope that the apex court takes cognisance of the digression from rules provides direction.

Lastly, the state government’s handling of the whole issue should come under the scanner. Students of government colleges protesting for weeks against sharing classes with displaced students of Sardar Rajas Medical College also presented an ugly picture and could have been addressed better by a concerned state government. Delay in project implementation, not meeting the desired requirements despite warnings from the MCI, sorry state of both government and private medical colleges are some issues that need to be answered by the government.

Odisha woefully lacks adequate and quality medical colleges. Plans under the PPP model are afoot to implement a few projects to meet this glaring gap. The Sardar Rajas Medical College row should, amid other things, serve as a rude wake up call for all concerned.

January 22, 2016 at 4:26 pm Leave a comment

Politics over student’s suicide; Hamam mein sab nange hain

Sorry to hear about the suicide of a student at Central University Hyderabad. What is shameful is that all political parties using it for their political gains. These folks are just like vultures waiting for dead bodies. The media is also playing it well for their respective political masters.

Sometime back a student committed suicide at IIT Madras. All of us demanded for proper psychological counseling. It is strange that no one is even talking about appointing few psychiatrists at schools, colleges and universities. This is utterly shameful.

Another point, many farmers are committed suicide in western Odisha. Why no politicians visiting them? Why no award-wapsi for them? Activists, politicians and media folks-all are hypocrites. Hamam mein sab nange hain!!!

Dr. Sanjib Kumar Karmee

January 19, 2016 at 7:23 pm Leave a comment

CM Naveen Patnaik flags off intra-state flight service

Odisha Sun Times Bureau Bhubaneswar, Jan 19:

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today flagged off the intra-state flight service offered by chartered carrier Air Odisha connecting three destinations in the state.

air odisha Cessna 208 Caravan

On its inaugural journey, the carrier took off to Sambalpur from Biju Patnaik International Airport (BPIA) here and would return to Bhubaneswar via Jharsuguda. The inauguration ceremony was held at the hangar of the old terminal of the airport at 11.15 am.

Air Odisha Aviation Pvt Ltd will begin flight service to Jeypore, Rourkela and Jharsuguda from Thursday, sources said.

It may be mentioned that the nine-seater plane has the capacity fly 11 passengers, including a pilot and co-pilot.

Earlier, the airlines had conducted trial runs to four cities – Sambalpur, Jeypore, Jharsuguda and Rourkela.

The service will be available six days a week except on Sundays. The Bhubaneswar-based private carrier is offering tickets as low as Rs 2,499 as inaurugal offer.

It may be mentioned that the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), in December last year, had given a go-ahead to the air operator to fly intra-state commercial flights after clearing the on-board airworthiness tests.

January 19, 2016 at 9:43 am Leave a comment

Set up ‘two new bottling plants’ in western Odisha: Petroleum Minister

Following is a report from Prameya News7:

Bhubaneswar: Union Petroleum & Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan while reviewing LPG availability and coverage in Odisha on Tuesday has reportedly directed to set up two new bottling plants in western part of Odisha to meet LPG requirement of consumers.

It was reported that in the current financial year nearly 7.5 lakh new connections of LPG were given by the oil marketing companies (OMCs).

Pradhan has directed to make efforts to add 40 lakh new consumers by 2019.

He also reviewed current status of various infrastructure projects related to other petroleum products being undertaken by the OMCs in Odisha.

The meeting was attended by the senior officials of the Ministry and all the three oil marketing companies.

– See more at: http://prameyanews7.com/en/dec2015/odisha/10071/Set-up-‘2-new-bottling-plants’-in-western-Odisha-Petroleum-Minister-Petroleum-Minister-Odisha.htm#sthash.vuZpNioE.dpuf

January 19, 2016 at 9:38 am Leave a comment


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