Posts filed under ‘Natural and Man-Made Disasters’
The current Odisha government should try to resolve the Mahanadi issue by dialogue through proper channel. Unnecessary blocking of trains, and violent protests against Chatisgad will create problem for poor Koshali people living in Raipur and other cities.
CM Naveen Patnaik must resolve this matter with utmost care!
No effect of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS) on Balangir migration
Of the 72 students of Budhamunda Village Primary School in Belpada block, just half line up for morning prayers in their crumpled, unwashed uniform.
What about the rest?
“Many of my friends have migrated with their parents to work in brick kilns. I will also follow them in a few days,” said Dipakanta Pradhan (10), a student of class 3.
The scene was the same at an anganwadi (mother and child) centre in Tentulimunda village in the same block, more than 400 km southwest of Bhubaneswar, where just eight out of 25 children wait for their food to be served.
About 200 out of the 247 families in Tentulimunda migrated to work in brick kilns in Andhra Pradesh last year. This year, villagers said more would follow because of acute drought in the region and no sign of government-sponsored programmes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MNREGS).
Surveys by Western Orissa Migration Network (WOMN), a consortium of voluntary organisations, have revealed more than 150,000 people from Balangir migrate every year to work in brick kilns and construction sites of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka. At least 45,000 of them are in the age group 1-14, and a majority of them do jobs specially designed for them in the kilns.
Talking to HT, Orissa women and child development minister Anjali Behera said she would ask the collector and SP of the district to ensure that neither the parents nor the children migrated.
“I will look into the matter seriously,” Behera said.
Balangir collector SN Dey said he was not aware of anybody migrating from the district so far. “We have told the people to wait for the poverty line survey, which will start soon. Programmes like mid-day meal (MDM), the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) and MGNREGS are going on smoothly in the district,” he said.
Tentulimunda looks barren. Farmers have left many unharvested paddy fields for their cattle to graze because there is no point harvesting them.
According to the agriculture department figures, in most areas up 75% of the crop has been damaged due to severe drought.
“We have no option to migrate,” said Abhimanyu Bag (40).
What about the MGNREGS? They are few and far between, he said.
Last year, there were just two works. However, people prefer not to work in them. “Payment is very late. It takes five months to get your dues,” he said.
In Balangir, the CBI is probing irregularities in the MGNREGS in response to a Supreme Court order.
The migration of families, along with the children, defeats the purpose of central government-funded programmes like MDM and the ICDS in Balangir, ranked as one of the country’s most backward districts.
The allocation for MDM and the ICDS in 2010-11 in the district was more than R30 crore.
According to the 2001 census, Balangir has a population of more than 1.3 million, of whom more than 261,000 are covered under MDM and another 200,000 under the ICDS.
The 2011 census says Balangir has a provisional population of more than 1.6 million.
However, the figures of children covered under MDM and the ICDS stand unchanged.
Anganwadi workers maintain migration notebooks for listing the migrant families.
Teachers too usually mark migrant children absent. However, they complain most often their superiors put pressure on them not to do so because that would reflect the failure of MDM.
“So we strike a balance. If 50 students migrate, we list 20 just to save our jobs,” said a teacher on anonymity.
The current flood situation in Odisha is a man-made one. It seems there are a lot of mismanagement’s. There were continuous warnings by the Indian metrological departments (IMD) regarding heavy rain both in Orissa, Chhattisgarh and other parts of India. Looks like the authorities in charge of Hirakud dam are not listening or neglecting the IMD warnings. How can they wait till the water level in the reservoir is 630 ft? Looks like the authorities are simply watching while the reservoir is swelling. Another important point, lot of silt, mud, and rocks are coming from the mining areas to the Hirakud dam, which is reducing the water holding capacity of the dam. In this situation, if something (damage) happens to Hirakud dam, then Sambalpur and other cities will be completely washed out. Has the Odisha govt. reviewed life-expectancy of Hirakud dam and taken up some related action? I feel that Hirakud dam is too old and a complete review of this dam is required.
I am really surprised by this incident. How can they do this time and again? Is there any coordination between the Hirakud dam authorities with the Chhattisgarh govt./authorities? Do they know or trying to know how much water will enter Hirakud dam etc etc.
I must say the Hirakud dam authorities are not getting the facts and figure right. They are just waiting and watching till the situation worsens.
BARGARH: Protests marked Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s tour of drought-prone Paikmal block today. Over 100 persons were taken into preventive custody by police.
However, an unperturbed Naveen went ahead with his visit that saw tight security arrangements. He declared sops for the drought-prone Padampur sub-division of the district in a bid to smoothen ruffled feathers over possible bauxite mining in Gandhamardan hill range.
Addressing a public meeting at Paikmal High School ground, Naveen admitted that completion of the Ong river project was the only way to combat the recurring drought in the area. He said that while the project involves an expenditure to the tune of ` 1,000 crore, the government had sanctioned ` 10 crore but promised to expedite the project.
Informing that 21 per cent of the Padampur sub-division was irrigated, he said the Ong project once completed would irrigate 26,000 acres of land in 130 villages of five blocks. Disclosing that ` 50 crore have been sanctioned for minor irrigation projects, he said this would irrigate an additional 6,710 acres besides the ` 16-crore watershed project, which would benefit 1,500 farmers.
He also declared sinking 2,000 bore wells in the region which would help 4,000 farmers who have to deposit only 10 per cent of the cost. He also said that construction of as many as 200 check dams was on the anvil to mitigate drinking water problem in the sub-division besides facilitating irrigation. Reiterating the commitment of his government to mitigate sufferings of farmers, he said that his government was aware of problems of farmers and would leave no stone unturned to see that they prosper. However, the Chief Minister parried the issue of bauxite mining in Gandhamardan hill range.
Earlier in the morning, Paikmal police arrested 109 persons while they were taking out a rally to protest the CM’s visit.
The State Government on Tuesday declared 10,336 revenue villages belonging to 90 blocks in 15 districts as drought-hit. The affected farmers coming under 1,444 gram panchayats could now avail the drought package recently announced by the State Government.
A report issued from the Revenue Department informed that the drought-hit areas were taken into account by analysing the information gathered by Collectors of all the 30 districts. It said insufficient rainfall during this monsoon had led to crop loss in the districts.
“A total of 10,336 villages of 1,444 gram panchayats under 90 districts in 15 districts are reeling under severe crop loss due to erratic rainfall,” the report informed.
The report also informed that among 15 districts, Mayurbhanj district was worst hit. “While 2,460 villages in tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj were the worst hit, 1761 villages in Balasore district were at the bottom of the drought-hit areas list,” the report said. Other affected districts are Angul, Baragarh, Kendrapada, Keonjhar, Puri, Sonepur, Sambalpur, Boudh, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Jharsuguda and Sundergarh.
As per the drought package announced by the Government recently farmers with more than 50 per cent crop loss in irrigated land would be entitled to get financial compensation of `4,000 per hectare. Similarly, farmers who lost 50 per cent crops in non-irrigated lands would get `2,000 assistance per hectare.
The Government has also declared to give 50 per cent diesel subsidy for supplementary irrigation. It has also announced to half the water tax and land tax payable by the farmers. This apart, the Government has also announced to give power connection to the lift irrigation points of farmers who would make 50 per cent of their dues during rabi season.
It has also announced to waive the tuition fees and examination fees of the children of the affected farmers of the drought-hit areas.While 2,460 villages in tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj were the worst hit, 1,761 villages in Balasore district were at the bottom of the drought hit areas list, Revenue Minister Suryanarayan Patro said.
“The Centre had committed Rs 151.92 crore for the 2009 drought and Rs 402 crore towards flood in 2008 from National Calamity Contigency Fund (NCCF). But it did not release the fund,” Revenue and Disaster Management minister S N Patro told reporters here.
“In view of the drought, I request the Centre to release Rs 151.92 crore from the NCCF approved by a high-level committee chaired by the finance minister,” he said inviting a central team to access the magnitude of drought this time.
Though the state government had several times in the past asked for release of Rs 535.92 crore (Rs 151.92 plus Rs 402 crore), the Centre had ignored the demand, the minister said.
Patro said that though then union home minister Shivraj Patil during the 2008 floods announced central assistance of Rs 500 crore to Orissa, it received only Rs 98 crore.
Quoting reports submitted by district collectors, the minister said that a total of 10,336 villages and 104 wards in 15 districts had been identified as drought affected where crop loss of 50 per cent and above was recorded during the kharif-2010, he said.
Meanwhile, the state government announced compensation of Rs 4,000 per hectare of crop loss for irrigated land and Rs 2,000 for each hectare of non-irrigated land.