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Market worry for cotton growers in Sonepur and Boudh districts

Following is a report from the Sambad:Cotton

Following is a report from the TNIE:

SONEPUR/BOUDH:Cotton crop grown in Sonepur and Boudh districts would be ready for harvest in next two months. But the farmers are a worried lot. In absence of an organised market for sale of their produce, they are left at the mercy of a spinning mill owner in Sonepur and middlemen.

Since Kolkata-based mill owner procures cotton at less than market price, the farmers have to travel to a cotton market in the neighbouring Balangir.This year, cotton has been grown over 3,000 hectares (ha) of land in Birmaharajpur, Ulunda and Tarbha blocks and some pockets of Sonepur. But, the district administration has made no effort to rope in agencies for procurement or open mandis.

While a decision was taken to open mandis two years back, there has been no headway in this direction. This has exposed the growers to middlemen who are on the prowl to purchase cotton at low price.

Although in a meeting of the District Level Monitoring Committee for Cotton presided by Sonepur Collector Dasarathi Satpathy held in October last year, it was decided that a cotton mandi would function under Regulated Market Committee (RMC) at Birmaharajpur, work on the structure and its godown is far from complete. Only after its completion, RMC can invite the Cotton Corporation of India (CCI) to open procurement centre at the mandi.

Earlier, due to the intervention of former Sonepur Collector Bhawani Shankar Panda, the spinning mill was procuring cotton at market rate and the purchase amount was directly deposited in the account of farmers. The arrangement  was in place for three years till Panda retired in March this year. The farmers alleged that now the spinning mill owner is dictating terms as far as procurement is concerned and they are forced to travel all the way to Balangir to sell cotton at a mandi there. They said if the old system is put back in place, the procurement problem would be resolved.

The situation is no way different in Boudh where the farmers also sell their produce either at the Sonepur spinning mill or mandis in Balangir and Phulbani.The officials, however, said steps are being taken to streamline the procurement system. While Deputy Director of Agriculture, Sonepur, PK Samantray said RMC was working on developing a mandi at Birmaharajpur, secretary of the RMC Banamali Nayak said a godown is being constructed at Badkhamar village. Nayak said once the construction is complete, RMC would move the CCI for procurement of cotton.

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September 21, 2017 at 10:32 am Leave a comment

Odisha not bothered to know why its newborns are dying: CAG

Following is a report from the TOI:

BHUBANESWAR: Though Odisha tops the list of states with the highest rate of newborn deaths, it did not bother to find out the causes behind it, a latest report of the comptroller and auditor general of India (CAG) has pointed out. The CAG report for general and social sector for 2015-16, tabled in the state assembly on Saturday, pointed out that a committee of the government medical colleges and hospitals (GMCHs) were supposed to review the deaths once in a month. However, these did not conduct any review to identify the causes of death in past three years. “During 2013-16, the committee did not meet at all. The state government did not ensure sitting of the committee at regular intervals,” the CAG report said.

“Though the neonatal mortality rate (death of newborn within 28 days per 1000 livebirths) of the state was the highest in the country….the GMCHs had not conducted any death review to identify the causes of death,” the audit watchdog pointed out.

According to Sample Registration System (SRS) 2013, the neonatal mortality rate of Odisha stood at 37 compared to the country’s average of 28.

The health department had formed a committee in 1984 to review causes of deaths occurring in government medical colleges and hospitals. Ending the system in September 2013, the department directed the medical colleges to conduct review of the deaths by their clinical departments. However, the colleges did not conduct any review in the past three years, the CAG said

The report also pointed out that the hospitals did not conduct any prescription audit, which ensures rational use of medicines and discourages promotion of a particular brand. The health department issued an order in September 2012 that such audits would be done annually by a engaging professional agency. A senior officer of the health department said the review process will start soon.

September 18, 2017 at 9:50 am Leave a comment

Odisha fourth from bottom among low-growth States

Following is a report from the pioneer:

Here is a reality check for Odisha when the State Government is aggressively on the path of image makeover as the State was tugged up along with 15 other States as a low-growth one by the country’s planning watchdog Niti Aayog in its latest report ‘Ease of Doing Business: An Enterprise Survey of Indian States’ released last month.

Significantly, the new classification of high- and low-growth States in the country by the Niti Ayog is based on the computation of a median annual Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) from annual real GDP growth rates of the States for the period 2004-05 to 2013-14, whereby the States that experienced equal to or above the median rate are tagged as high-growth ones and those fell below as low-growth States.

Odisha in this Niti parameter could record an average year-on-year growth rate of only 6.59 per cent for the period 2004-05 to 2013-14 and, hence, fared poorer than States like Bihar, which with a year-on-year growth rate of 9.45 per cent prettily grouped among the high-growth States. The story doesn’t end there. Even among the 16 low-growth States, Odisha’s average year-on-year growth rate is only higher than three States, Assam, Jammu & Kashmir and Manipur.

More shockers the report delivered are: In Odisha, not even 32 per cent enterprises have availed the benefit of the State’s much-touted Single Window System owing to poor implementation on the ground. Also, only 22 per cent enterprises in the State have any knowledge about their environment category and, thereby, the State finished second from bottom. Moreover, in access to finance by enterprises in Odisha, the State’s entrepreneurs did speak of greater amount of obstacle in access to institutional finance.

In the important indicator of dealing with legal issues, enterprises in Odisha speak of facing legal disputes unlike States like Bihar, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Uttarakhand where none of the enterprises have reported of facing any legal disputes, reveals the Niti Ayaog report.

While the Odisha Government has pulled up its socks to come as the number one business-friendly State, the Niti Ayog report pricks the reality prevailing notwithstanding averments. Odisha didn’t figure in the top -3 in the vital indicator of time taken for getting approvals across all areas of doing business. An entrepreneur can start his business in just little over two months in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Odisha fared the poorest by taking 95 long days to provide electricity connection to an upcoming enterprise when Karnataka takes only 31 days.

Moreover, when Odisha claims itself as a power-surplus State, it didn’t figure in top -3 States led by West Bengal and Delhi where enterprises faced the least power shortages of 11-13 hours in a month.

Odisha rated as low-growth State. (From the Hindu)

More hurdles in setting up new businesses vis-a-vis other States: NITI Aayog

Despite the government claiming to have provided business-friendly environment to investors and attracting huge investments in past decade-and-a-half, Odisha has been categorised as a low-growth State in the country in the latest NITI Aayog survey.

High growth States

The NITI Aayog’s ‘Ease of Doing Business Report: An Enterprise Survey of Indian States’, released on Monday, points at more hurdles in setting up new businesses in Odisha compared to other States. The 15-high growth States include Bihar, Uttarakhand, Tripura, Sikkim and Meghalaya.

The NITI Aayog and IDFC Institute, its knowledge partner, have classified States on the basis of their average annual real growth rate using State Gross Domestic Product from 2004-05 to 2013-14.

Median average

“We calculated the median average annual growth rate, which turns out to be 8.14%. The States that experienced annual average growth rate equal to or above the median were classified as high-growth States and those with annual growth rate below the median were categorised as low-growth States,” the study stated. At a growth rate of 6.59%, Odisha falls in low-growth category.

According to the study, enterprises in high-growth States reported fewer regulatory hurdles. This establishes an empirical link between superior regulatory environment and better economic performances.

Power connection

“On average, enterprises reported taking 52 days, 61 days, and 76 days for getting electricity, water, and sewerage connections respectively. The World Bank 2017 Doing Business report ranks India at number 25 for getting electricity connection and it is estimated that getting the connection takes about 46 days. It takes an average of 31 days to get electricity connection in Karnataka, 32 days in Gujarat and around 95 days in Odisha,” says the report.

Odisha is listed among States with lowest proportion of enterprises having knowledge of their environment category. Only 22% of enterprises in Odisha are aware of their category.

Similarly, the age distribution of high-growth and low-growth enterprises shows that in general, the share of young enterprises is higher in the high-growth States than in the low-growth States.

Around 20% of enterprises in Odisha are young whereas percentage of young enterprises in Bihar is above 70%.

September 9, 2017 at 6:44 pm Leave a comment

Centre sanctions Rs 200 crore for upgrading IGH hospital Rourkela

Following is a report from TNIE:

ROURKELA: Work on the upgradation of the RSP-run Ispat General Hospital (IGH) of SAIL into Super Speciality Hospital & Medical College (SSHMC) has finally started with the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) monitoring the project.

An amount of Rs 200 crore has been recently allocated under PM’s Swasthya Suraksha Yojana for infrastructure development of the hospital.

IGH, a well-equipped 685 bedded multidisciplinary hospital, is accredited by National Board of Examinations (NBE), New Delhi, for imparting Post Graduate DNB training in several disciplines and also runs a Nurses Training Institute (NTI). However, it has now been reduced to a referral hospital due to deteriorating medical services.

Rourkela BJP legislator and former Union Minister Dilip Ray said a high-level team of experts and architects had visited the hospital and submitted their report to SAIL and the Ministry of Steel outlining the requirement of infrastructure and medical equipment.

AIIMS, Bhubaneswar has been assigned the responsibility of introducing super-specialty services and developing the curriculum for the post graduate courses, Ray added.

Earlier this month, a team of consultant firm HITES (HLL Infra Tech Services Ltd) had inspected existing infrastructure of few departments of IGH. The team examined possibility of introducing super special treatment facilities along with post-graduate learning at departments of neurology, pulmonary medicines and burn care. The visit of HITES team came in the backdrop of the visit of a team of senior medical experts of the Union Government in June following direction of the PMO.

Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram, who is instrumental in expediting the pending project, said Principal Secretary to the PMO is monitoring it and expressed satisfaction at the present pace of progress. He said after being developed into SSHMC, the IGH would ensure advanced healthcare to people of Rourkela, Sundargarh district and beyond. SAIL and the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) would run the medical college jointly.

The PM had announced the project in April 2015. Under fire for no progress, SAIL in August last year had opened a super speciality clinic in disciplines of cardiology, oncology, neurology and nephrology to run on monthly scheduled dates with assistance of Apollo Hospitals, Hyderabad.

HOSPITAL AID

● Super speciality treatment services would be introduced in four departments and later three more departments would be covered.
● SAIL and the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) would run the medical college jointly.

● Former Congress MLA Pravat Mohapatra welcomed the development, but added that there is no cheer for poor patients as treatment is free for RSP employees while the others are charged at par with private hospitals.

August 31, 2017 at 4:32 pm Leave a comment

Drought cloud over Nuakhai in western Odisha

Following is a report TNIE:

Drought scare looms over the celebration of mass agrarian festival Nuakhai slated to be observed on August 26. With drought stalking districts of Nuapada, Balangir, Kalahandi and rain-fed areas of Bargarh, the peasants and marginal farmers have been robbed of their purchasing power.

On the other hand, the situation has come in handy for labour sardars who are on the prowl offering advance to lure gullible landless and poor peasants to migrate to alien lands promising greener pasture.
With no money in hand and aware of the impending drought, the landless and poor have been caught between poverty and tradition. While the helpless peasants need money to celebrate Nuakhai, they also have to sustain their families.

Caught in this dilemma, they land in the trap of labour sardars who offer them advance money for Nuakhai celebration and traffic them mostly to brick kilns where they are forced to work in inhuman condition.

With rains failing farmers in the districts of Nuapada, Balangir, parts of Kalahandi besides Padampur sub-division in Bargarh, it is said that the sardars will have a flourishing trade this year. With successive crop loss and debt burden haunting the farmers, the labour sardars are looking forward to traffic more people trapped in poverty and debt.

While Nuapada Labour Officer Mukta Lal Naik could not be reached, the lone clerk in his office said no labour contractor has applied for licence as yet in the district.
Similarly, Assistant Labour Commissioner, Balangir Saroj Ranjit said fresh registration of labour contractors has not yet begun. Registration will start after Nuakhai, Ranjit added.

August 27, 2017 at 5:56 am Leave a comment

Land of temples in Kalahandi on path of recovery

BHAWANIPATNA: FOR the land grabbers, the immovable properties of deities are easy target. Fifteen temples of Kalahandi Group of Temples, managed by Odisha Hindu Religious Endowment, bear testimony to years of neglect and becoming victims of encroachment. Now there is an attempt by the group to recover the immovable properties of deities and renovate the temples, which need attention. This has raised new hope.

The group plans to renovate Ramswami temple, Balaji temple, Dakhina Kali, Bhawanishankar, Jagannath, Madanmohan, Tarini in Bhawanipatna, Lankeswari, Gopinath Jew, Kanak Durga, Someswar, Ramswami and Balaji temples in Junagarh and Manikeswari, Rameswar and Nilakantheswar temples in Thuamul Rampur.

Most of these temples were constructed during the 19th Century by the then kings of Kalahandi. Even after the merger of the princely states in Odisha, these temples were managed by the royal family. In the seventies, the former King handed over these temples to the Government along with 1,500 acres of land and valuables of the deities for the management and maintenance of the temples and also for performance of rituals. Despite having the potential of  adequate returns, the situation remained grim.

According to the record of the Group of Temples, a large  chunk of valuable agricultural land of the deities located in different villages under Bhawanipatna and Dharamgarh sub-divisions remained under the occupation of the encroachers. Besides, the encroachers are eyeing the land of the deities in prime locations of Bhawanipatna and Junagarh and these valuable lands are being systematically grabbed by people for construction of houses and for also business purposes.

In Bhawanipatna, out of 34 acres of Balaji temple land, more than 10 acres are under the illegal occupation of locals where both huts and buildings have been constructed. The rest of the areas are also under threat. Most of the lands of Kali temple, located in the heart of the town, are under also illegal occupation. The land of Ramswami temple is also not spared from land grabbers.

August 24, 2017 at 10:15 am Leave a comment

IIM Sambalpur to run from Jyoti Vihar, Burla

Following is a report from the TNIE:

SAMBALPUR: The temporary campus of Indian Institute of Management, Sambalpur (IIM-S) will be shifted to Sambalpur University after September this year. At present, the premier institution is being run from a private institution, Silicon Institute of Technology (SIT), at Sason here.Informing this, Director of IIM-S Mahadeo Jaiswal said the institute will run from the Sambalpur University till permanent campus of IIM-S at Basantpur here gets ready. The permanent campus is likely to be ready within next three years while the work on the boundary wall has already started.

Jaiswal said they will soon sign an MoU with the Sambalpur University in this regard. The State Government has already allotted some buildings on university campus to run the IIM-S.
The Director said an elite B-school runs for 24 hours but they face problems in taking class during evening hours as the SIT is located in an isolated place. The faculty members of IIM-S could take classes in evening hours after shifting of the temporary campus to Sambalpur University. Moreover, permanent faculty members are being recruited.

The B-school requires modern class rooms for the students. However, IIM-S cannot upgrade the class rooms on temporary campus as the Government does not allow upgrading infrastructure in a private building. However, they can upgrade class rooms at the university, Jaiswal said.

Vice-Chancellor of Sambalpur University CR Tripathy said the draft copy of the MoU has already been sent to the Central Government for approval. Apart from providing building to run the IIM-S, hostel facility will be provided to the students, he added.

August 22, 2017 at 5:37 pm Leave a comment

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