Posts filed under ‘Kalahandi’

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.

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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

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

Survey finds health care in trauma in Kalahandi and Balangir districts

Following is a report from the Telegraph

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 12: Another case of dengue death was today reported from the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack, while swine flu has already claimed nine lives in the state this year.

When the state is facing multiple health issues, a Bhubaneswar-based organisation, the Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD), has conducted a survey on the issue and challenges of primary heath care facilities in the two most backward districts – Kalahanadi and Balangir. The survey reveals how people are still not getting basic health services, including ambulance services.

The study was conducted in Balangir and Patnagarth constituencies of Balangir district and Narla and Junagarh constituencies of Kalahanadi district. The infamous Daana Majhi case that was reported last year, where Daana had to carry the body of his wife for nearly 12 kilometres after being unable to get the ambulance, was reported from Kalahandi district. In these four constituencies, a total of 37 primary health care centres have been selected by the organisation. The study covered primary health care centre, sub centres, villages and communities in these areas.

The expert team interviews 50 per cent of out patient department (OPD) patients visiting each PHC. The patients were selected on the basis of convenience and snowball sampling method. They were asked to share their satisfaction levels and experience at the primary health care centres. Total 370 patients (10 patients from each primary health care centres) were covered. Besides, the grassroots services providers – Accredited Social health Activists (Asha), auxiliary nurse midwives and anganwadi workers were interviewed on implementation of various government schemes.

They find unavailability of buildings as a major problem in imparting health care service to the patients. In absence of adequate and habitable staff quarters, it won’t be possible to put a check on doctor absenteeism and 24X7 primary health care centres won’t function smoothly. The primary health care centres need to be converted into 24X7 centres with in-patient department facilities.

Provision of safe drinking water and power back up (important in case of power failure during emergencies) are also major issues at the primary health care centres. The unavailability of diagnostic services and referral transport is causing a lot of difficulties for the people. While in some instances people are bound to pay higher prices in getting their medical condition resolved, in other cases, many are often showing lack of interest due to lack of money (thus, turning again to traditional healing methods or quacks).

The service providers also showed displeasure in many aspects. The doctors showed discontent regarding unavailability of staff quarters leading to daily commuting to the primary health care centres (few of them which are in remote areas).

Though medicines never run out of the stock and the quality of the medicine is good, the people don’t trust the quality of medicines as they think that government medicines are free and therefore, might be of poor quality. In many cases, doctors allegedly prescribe expensive medicines that patient parties have to buy from outside.

Asha and auxiliary nurse midwives are the health activists in the community who create awareness on health and its social determinants and mobilise the community towards local health planning and increase utilisaton and accountability of the existing health services. But these service providers face various issues at the ground level, such as communication problem, excessive field area and too much workload.

The survey report also alleges that the Asha workers are losing interest and motivation to carry out their regular duties as they are not getting incentives at the right time. Some of them also remained absent on the MAMATA Divas which is held on the second Friday of every month. Due to this continuous absenteeism, the beneficiaries have started losing trust on Asha workers.

Another major issue is lack of ambulance facilities and the people depend on their own bikes and bicycle, to reach to hospitals. Lack of ambulance facilities often turn out to be fatal for pregnant women. The status of 102 and 108 ambulance services is in highly deteriorated condition and people have been grossly disappointed.

CYSD co-founder Jagadananad said: “The study is an attempt to understand the nuances of the primary health care services provided at the grassroots and to gather the perceptions of the community regarding the services like access to health, infrastructure, human resources.”

Delivery in auto-rickshaw

A woman of Sunakhandi Tikarpada village in Kalyansighpur block of Rayagada district delivered a baby in an auto-rickshaw on her way to the hospital on Saturday. Her family members alleged that though they called the 102 ambulance service to rush her to Kalyansinghpur Community Health Centre after she complained of labour pain, the ambulance did not turn up.

August 16, 2017 at 7:20 pm Leave a comment

How a 75-year-old tribal man grew a forest in Kalahandi

Debabrata Mohanty
Hindustan Times, Bhubaneswar
Forest officials say the work by Majhi and local tribals in Kalahandi is an important step in guarding the forest resources.

The septuagenarian Kondh tribal from Kalahandi’s Boringpadar village may not have studied much, but has brought cheer and hope to a place where death is an annual feature.

In 1979, Majhi started planting sapling on the 97 acre barren land adjoining a hillock near his village with support from the Nehru Yuva Kendra. Villagers who used to grow millet on that land had no idea what Majhi was up to, but grudgingly came around to support him for next three years.

Some 35 years later, the 97 acres of once-barren land near his village is home to a luxuriant forest consisting of Sal, Teak, Acacia, Chakunda and several other timber and fruit-bearing trees. In the process, he showed the ability of free Indians to battle the most adverse of circumstances, and the transformation that takes place when society and state collaborate.

Epicentre of starvation

Kalahandi in the 60s was known as Ethiopia of India for its acute starvation triggered by long periods of drought. After a particularly protracted spell of drought in 70s and 80s that forced poor parents to sell their children, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi visited the region. While its forested landscape was being slowly eroded by timber smugglers who valued the rich Kalahandi teak, the shifting cultivation of tribals took its toll on the forest cover

“When I was young I came to realise that without rains we would not have any hope. My father told me that the only way we can have regular rains is through forests,” said Majhi. This was the time when a young Majhi got serious about ways to prevent drought.

An old picture showing Manjhi and others planting saplings (HT photo)

 

With some handholding by local forest officials and help from Nehru Yuva Kendra in Bhawanipatna, Majhi and his elder brother Bali through Boringpadar Yuvak Sangha started planting saplings on the barren land, that was recorded as forest in government files. Soon the rest of the villagers joined in. The remunerations were not great – all that the villagers got was a sack of potatoes and two sacks of rice.

“At times when people were not willing to go for planting, I used to mortgage my umbrella and utensils at home to pay people and a security guard to keep an eye on the saplings,” said Majhi, standing next to a sal tree which he planted. Tejiraj Pradhan, a young farmer, still remembers how he used to plant saplings with Kartik mausa.

The transformation

Ten years later as the saplings grew in length, the once-barren area sported a different look. “It was like seeing a desert bloom,” said Majhi’s friend Kirtan Majhi.

Impressed with his work in creating a forest out of a barren land, the forest department in late 90s entrusted Boringpadar Yuvak Sangh the task of looking after the 500 hectares of reserve forest near his village. The villagers also keep an eye on another 500 hectares of forest near the hills adjacent to the village.

Forest officials say the work by Majhi and local tribals in Kalahandi is an important step in guarding the forest resources.

“Creating a forest and guarding can never be done by the forest department if individuals like Majhi are not involved. A forest guard is supposed to guard an area of 20-25 km. Is it possible on his part to keep an eye on so large an area,” asked Suresh Pant, regional chief conservator of forests of Bhawanipatna.

Preserving the legacy

Despite efforts by Majhi, old-timers of the district are not so hopeful of seeing the luxuriant forest cover of mid-80s when 50% of its geographical area was under forest cover. The last Forest Survey of India published in 2015, put the forest cover at 30%. “The success of people like Majhi is important, but it’s very difficult to get back what we lost,” said former Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das.

Now 75, Majhi can’t walk properly and has problems in his sight. But his son Shankar seems to have inherited his father’s legacy as he goes to the forest with his friends to keep an eye on anyone cutting forests. This year a dozen villagers entered the reserve forest area and tried to cut the trees. They were promptly fined Rs 6,000 by the Yuvak Sangh volunteers.

Majhi says forests are intrinsic to the well-being of tribals. “We can’t always travel to the hospital in Narla block, which is 15 km away. If we suffer from malaria, we take crushed leaves of Nyctanthes, black pepper mixed with honey. The forests give us everything. Jungle is mangal for us,” said Majhi.

August 14, 2017 at 10:02 am Leave a comment

Kosli is an independent and full-fledged language: writer Sanjay Kumar Mishra

Shri Sanjay Kumar Mishra is a well-known writer and researcher. His research interests are folklore, and folk-traditions of western Odisha. He talks to Dr. Sanjib K Karmee about his research work and Kosli language.

SKM1

SKM2

 

June 30, 2017 at 6:20 pm 1 comment

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