Posts filed under ‘Poverty politics’

Orissa govt. vs. western Orissa, KBK and tribal belt

The following cartoon resemble to the apathy of Orissa govt. towards western Orissa, KBK and tribal belt. This cartoon is drawn by AswiniAbani and taken from a facebook posting. 

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August 10, 2011 at 5:36 am 2 comments

Dr. Arjun Purohit’s respond to failure of the Balangir medical college project

Following mail was sent to KDDF group by Dr. Arjun Purohit:

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.

lovingly

Arjun Purohit

Canada

apurohit1934@gmail.com

March 28, 2011 at 3:14 pm 1 comment

Health services in Balangir, Orissa paralyzed; Why Balangir needs a govt. medical college?

October 27, 2010 at 6:20 pm Leave a comment

Drought fear in Subarnapur district

Following is a report from Oriya daily the Samaj:

September 3, 2010 at 6:10 pm Leave a comment

Sam Pitroda’s new mission to make India hunger-proof and food-reliant

Following is a report by IANS published in http://www.deccanherald.com:

Knowledge and telecommunication evangelist Sam Pitroda, currently advisor to the Prime Minister on Public Information Infrastructure and Innovations, is on a new mission – to make India hunger-proof and food-reliant.

He is working on a draft to set a countrywide network of private food banks – resource pools he calls them – that will work as a parallel distribution system to disburse food and allied infrastructure to people living on the edge of the poverty line and below in the vast Indian heartland. Pitroda will put his project, India Food Bank, in place by the yearend with the help of a Chicago-based international organisation, Global Foodbanking Network, a Stanford University think-tank that provides food aid to 30 nations.

Statistics narrate a grim tale of hunger in India, a country of 1.2 billion that is home to 27 per cent of the world’s hungry populace with one of the largest populations of malnourished children. Rough estimates by the Action Aid, a global anti-poverty organisation, cite that nearly 212 million people suffer from chronic hunger and undernourishment in India.

The United Nations World Food Programme paints a more alarming picture saying nearly 350 million of India’s population – roughly 35 per cent – is considered food insecure, consuming less than 80 per cent of the total energy requirements. “I identify with the problem because I was born in a large family in Kalahandi in the Bolangir district of Orissa that is ravaged by hunger and is prone to drought,” he said at an interface on his new project in the capital hosted by Aspen Institute-India.

“Three years ago, I took up the issue with a group of food activists at the Global Foodbanking Network in Chicago, the global capital of commodity trading. I told them why can’t we go to India and explore the dimension of hunger and malnutrition that can affect the future of India. More than 212 million people face paucity of food (hunger) in India.”

“We have a friend in Chicago, John Kapoor, who has made a lot of money. He sponsored a fact-finding team to India that conducted a feasibility study of the project in four underdeveloped states to find out whether it was possible to engage local communities, ensure community participation and create a network of stake-holders who could source essential food and related infrastructure for voluntary donation and distribution under an alternative food chain like the sub-Saharan models.”

Pitroda, who left for the US on Saturday, said he would return in July to “socialise the idea in the country with necessary modification for implementation by the end of the year”. “The government has several food programmes but can we really organise these programmes effectively,” he argued in justification of his “food bank project”.

Commenting on the necessity of food banks to ensure “sustained food security in India”, he said “while populations grow, food resources are continuously shrinking”. “Coupled with natural phenomenon like climate change and global warming, the security of food and other resources is a worrying question. One answer is the concept of food bank,” he said.

The Global Foodbanking Network, founded by Red Argentina de Bancos de Alimentos (Argentina), Food Banks Canada, Asociación Mexicana de Bancos de Alimentos (Mexico) and Feeding America (United States), shares food banking concepts and helps partners evaluate the feasibility and most effective business model for implementation in their country.

The organisation was founded in 2006 by four of the world’s leading national food bank networks. Its objective “is to fulfil the vision of John Van Hengel, who founded the world’s first food bank in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1967 and worked to promote and establish food banking around the world”. The latest World Food Programme report warns that more than 1.5 million children in India may suffer from malnourishment because of spiralling global food prices and 43 per cent of children under five years of age are underweight.

The report says the proportion of anaemic children has increased by six percent in the last six years with 11 states reporting 80 percent child anaemia. Figures say one in five people – about 45 per cent of Indian children – in developing countries are chronically “undernourished”. Food prices have increased by 83 percent in the last two years and 22 countries have enshrined the right to food in their Constitutions.

May 31, 2010 at 4:06 pm 1 comment

Readers’ reaction on an article published in Times of India about “Hunger deaths in Balangir district of Orissa”

Here is the link to the article and comments on it:

Readers’ opinions (3)

Post a Comment
shankar balangir 30/04/2010 at 11:00 pm
The politicians are solely responsible for this damn thing. these hell scoundrels hv done nothing except corrupting themslves. they dont fear God. and the hell political parties always work for own profit. people are lazy. go do some work instead eating the sand of the river.
Satyajit Balangir 30/04/2010 at 06:26 pm
Bloody Orissa govt. busy in developing only 60 miles corridor of cuttack to puri and criminally neglecting western orissa for last 7 decades..particularly Balangir..God will definitely punish these asshole politicians for deliberately killing these innocent people..Request NGO’s 2 plz help my people
Vighnesh Bhubaneswar 30/04/2010 at 06:23 pm
When will the administration do something….ironically the ruling party was busy organising a Bandh…??

May 3, 2010 at 6:24 pm 1 comment

How hunger kills hundreds in Balangir

Following is a TOI report:
BALANGIR: Enter any village under Belpada block of Balangir district and see how people battle for their existence. And how hunger can kill hundreds. Starving and emaciated, villagers often succumb to their circumstances.

The scenes in these villages will leave anyone speechless. Barring a few who own land, most villagers depend on nature. They collect forest produce for their sustenance.

TOI visited Bileimara village, 17 km from the block headquarters and met Bhaktaram Bariha, who is 65. For the past 10 years he has been bed-ridden. His spouse had died of some mysterious disease years ago. What is most pitiable is that he was forced to marry off his two daughters to the same man.

His son-in-law had promised to look after him and so Bariha gave away his second daughter, too, in marriage to this man. Today, all four stay together, the daughters look after the father and husband. Bariha does not get old age pension. Neither does he hold any entitlement card which can buy him subsidized rice at Rs two a kg.

Early morning all of them, barring Bariha, go to the forest to collect char, seeds and mahua flowers. They return home by evening. During their absence, Bariha’s granddaughter Srimati, who is five, looks after him. “I can’t remember any government official visiting this village. I was just a kid when someone came here and talked to some villagers and then vanished. We are fed up requesting the sarpanch to give us a BPL card or an IAY house. Every time he tells us that some procedure has to be followed and then the matter is forgotten,” said his daughter.

Sometime back, he developed a swelling on his neck. He sent his son to the nearby PHC to call a doctor, but he did not come. Finally, his son-in-law called a quack, whose medicines worsened his condition.

The life of Khatra Bariha, 65, of Rengtasil village, mirrors the despondency of his village. He lost his wife after two months of their marriage. A few years later, he lost his two sisters. He had lost his parents when he was young. A stark example of peripatetic life, Khatra constructed a thatched house on the outskirts of the village.

The house is closed from all sides. Every time he goes to the village to fetch water and other essential items, he breaks the thatched wall and then reshapes it. His only possessions are perhaps two bowls and some clothes. Khatra said he asked the sarpanch to get him a BPL card, but the sarpanch asked to him to prove his identity. He collects forest produce and exchanges them in village shops for rice and other items!

Bariha and Khatra are just metaphors of a larger canvas. For these 800-odd poverty-stricken villagers, the forest is a source of sustenance. Adhikar, a voluntary organization, has submitted a list to the government giving names of villagers who are living in this pathetic condition. But there has been no action yet. Jatin Patra, who surveyed the areas and prepared the list, said there’s been no development in the villages in the past 20 years. “Except improving the condition of some roads, there’s been no visible development,” he said.

Five of a family recently died of hunger in Chabripali village under Khaprakhol block. But even this painful incident failed to move the administration.

May 1, 2010 at 4:52 pm Leave a comment

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