Posts filed under ‘Subarnapur’

Drought threat looms large over western Odisha

Following is a report from OTV

Bhubaneswar: While Odisha may have registered a healthy 12.9 percent surplus rainfall this monsoon season, drought threat looms large over a significant portion of western Odisha.

Bargarh, which is also known as the ‘Rice bowl of Odisha,’ along with areas of Sambalpur, Nuapada and Sundergarh have been badly affected by deficit rainfall this monsoon season.

It is to be noted that this is the third consecutive year that western Odisha is facing a drought situation.

In the beginning of the monsoon this year, farmers were quite optimistic after good spells of rain, however as the paddy crops began to ripen, rain subsided.

The situation is quite severe in Sohela and Bijepur block of Bargarh, sources said.

Farmer outfits have urged the government to take necessary steps to provide water pumps and pipe connection to sustain cultivation.

In Nuapada district, after three consecutive seasons of drought-like condition, farmers had hoped that this year would be a silver lining. On the contrary rainfall was not as expected.

The condition is no less grim in Sambalpur district where hundreds of farmers and other locals led by BJP MLA Rabi Naik stormed to the streets demanding drought-hit status for Kuchinda sub-division.

Cultivators have warned that if the government does not take any proactive steps to mitigate the condition and provide adequate compensation, they would intensify their agitation.

“If the government does not ensure quick disbursement of crop insurance and compensation, we will launch protests,” farmer leader, Vimal Joshi said.

Meanwhile, the administration has assured to assist the farmers in tackling the situation.

“We have already begun arrangements to provide diesel pump sets at subsidised prices. This apart, we are also providing water connection from canals and other water sources to affected farmlands at subsidised rates,” said deputy director of Agriculture department in Bargarh, Dinabandhu Gandhi.

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October 28, 2018 at 1:44 pm Leave a comment

Ganda Baja – a musical tradition of western Odisha

 Following article is from EPW:

Ganda Baja is a prominent folk musical tradition of western Odisha. The players of this art form belong to the Ganda community (a Dalit community, largely from parts of western Odisha that border Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh). Generally, the Ganda are landless people mainly dependent on Ganda Baja and weaving for their livelihood. Since their traditional occupation of weaving has been failing with mill-made clothes flooding the market, they have been reduced to landless agricultural labourers. Some among them have also migrated to urban areas in search of livelihood.

“Baja” is a collective of musical instruments, including membranophones (the dhol, nisan, and tasa or timkidi), an aerophone (muhuri), and an idiophone (jhumka). This Baja is traditionally played during marriages, childbirth ceremonies, idol immersion processions, some administrative occasions, funeral processions, etc. Each occasion’s music has a distinct beat and tenor. For example, the “Jhi Bahar Par” (music for daughter’s departure to her in-laws’ place) is played when a bride is escorted out of the village by friends and relatives as she leaves for her marital home. The “Dargad Par” is played when a wife wails and mourns her husband’s death. Songs are specifically learnt for the occasion. The composition of “Dargad Par” evokes fear and awe in the listener.

The Ganda Baja is a way of living, a cultural manifestation of life in western Odisha. These days, the traditional genre has undergone tremendous change. A Ganda Baja troop consists of a minimum of five members in different capacities. They are Muhuria (the person who operates the muhuri), Dhulia (the person who operates the dhol), Taslia (the person who operates the tasa), Nisnia (the person who operates the nisan), and Jhumkia (the person who operates the jhumka). Five members is the minimum strength of the troop, but six members is considered a sound quorum for the group, with one dhol, one muhuri, one jhumka, one tasa and two nisan. The group has the flexibility of extending it to eight members, if there is a demand for dancers (a man in the outfit of a woman) from their clients. It is believed that a troop is stronger with a larger number of members in varying capacities. The members have learnt this art form from their forefathers, having travelled together and performed with them since childhood. Due to the stigma associated with the community and the practice of untouchability, they learn this art form from their family members as a livelihood skill.

The members of the community mainly earn during the marriage season. Earlier, they used to perform for three to five days. Now, it has reduced to a maximum of two days. Earlier, the agreements between the patron and the Ganda Baja troop were through the jajmani system in these areas and were usually oral contracts. The wage rates offered to them were very low and they had to accept whatever amount was offered. Once they entered into an agreement, sometimes their patrons had exclusive and absolute rights over their services for a particular period of time (usually three or five days). For this stipulated time they were like bonded labourers. In some instances, the party engaging them would pressurise the troop to beat drums all night so they could drink and dance. Sometimes they would even have to walk for hours and cover long distances carrying heavy instruments to reach their destination. And, at times, they would have to wait for long hours for food, once they reached there.

Things, however, are changing. Currently, a contract is completely based on mutual agreement. Slowly, the community is demanding market-negotiated wage rates. Income encompasses payments in both cash and kind. The minimum rate is ₹ 5,000 per performance, and the maximum is ₹ 15,000, shared by the members of the troop. They have around 30 performances for different occasions over seven to eight months in a year.

Ganda Baja is still a major source of livelihood for this community in a large part of western Odisha. Modern music has seriously affected the livelihood of the Baja troops, resulting in the gradual disappearance of this age-old traditional art form. In 2014, folk artists from western Odisha had staged a protest in front of the legislative assembly demanding the status of Adikala (primitive art) for Ganda Baja. On that occasion, they tried to foreground two issues: their strong attachment to their culture, and their earnings from their occupation. They vociferously argued that their culture was their occupation too, which is why there is an urgent need for the revival and promotion of Ganda Baja.

Sujit Kumar Mishra (sujitkumar72@gmail.com) teaches economics at the Council for Social Development, Hyderabad.

October 21, 2018 at 7:00 am Leave a comment

Jharsuguda airport expected to usher in economic development in western Odisha

Following is a report from the TNIE:

By Express News Service; JHARSUGUDA: The second major airport of Odisha at Jharsuguda is expected to open up new avenues for economic development in the mining belt of the State. Former Jharsuguda Chartered Accountant Association member Mukesh Shah said the airport will not only benefit the residents of the town but also those from the adjacent mining district of Sundargarh.  “As per history, the airport was initially set up by the Royal Airport during the British rule in 1942 and was used by war planes during World War II. Similarly, during the Indo-Pak war in 1971, the same facility was used by war planes”, he said.

If everything goes as per plan, then flight operations from the airport will start from the last week of July. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate it even as the process is underway to secure category 4C licence for the airport to make it eligible for landing and take-off of A-320 Airbus aircraft. Sources said the airport was accorded category-B licence in May qualifying it for flight operations. Subsequently, efforts have been made to equip it with category 4C licence for landing and take-off of bigger aircraft.

Recently, a team of Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), led by Mumbai-based Deputy Director S Saxena and a team of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) had conducted separate inspections of the ancillary facilities and security measures at the airport. Sources said the airport has been equipped with surface lighting and ancillary instruments making the runway capable of ensuring safe landing of planes even during inclement weather and night hours.

“After getting 4C licence from DGCA, A- 320 Airbus-type aircraft can land and take off from this airport”, said Jharsuguda Airport Director S K Chouhan, adding that the airport is equipped with an ATS tower, a runway with required length and electrification, emergency health and other associated facilities.

As per the MoU signed between the Central and the State governments, the security arrangements will be looked after by Airports Authority of India (AAI). Sources said spread over a sprawling 909 .22 acres, Jharsuguda airport is ready to become a reality after financial contribution of Rs 175 crore by the Centre and Rs 50 crore by the State Government. Besides, an additional 275.55-acre land has been acquired for the airport.

Jharsuguda MLA Naba Kishore Das said the economy of the coal-belt and industrial Jharsuguda district has been in doldrums for long and regular flight operation entails huge prospects to open up new economic vistas for the region.

Flight operations likely from July last week If everything goes as per plan, then flight operations from the airport will start from the last week of July
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate it. The security arrangements will be looked after by Airports Authority of India.

Following is a report from the Sambad:

JSG

July 25, 2018 at 4:25 am Leave a comment

Khurda-Balangir rail line in 2 years after Odisha allots land: Dharmendra Pradhan

KB

June 9, 2018 at 5:09 am Leave a comment

Centre nod for admission in a 100-seat Balangir Govt. Medical College

MCI

May 22, 2018 at 1:53 am Leave a comment

Khurda road-Balangir rail project likely to be delayed further

KB

KB2

March 11, 2018 at 2:46 pm Leave a comment

Expedite printing of Bhima Bhoi’s unpublished books

Following is a report from the Telegraph:

Sonepur: District collector Dasarathi Satpathy urged the Odisha Sahitya Akademi to take steps to bring out the unpublished manuscripts of saint poet Bhima Bhoi.

Speaking on a two-day seminar, organised by the akademi here on Wednesday, the collector said the district administration would extend all co-operation to the akademi in this regard. Satpathy said: “The poet has a special place in the field of spiritual literature. I request the Odisha Sahitya Akademi to do something to print the unpublished works of the saint poet. The district administration will co-operate with it in this regard.”

The poet’s many works have not come to light as it has not been published, and the original manuscripts are gathering dust at the Bhima Bhoi Samadhi Pitha Trust at Khaliapali village, about 20km from here.

Benudhar Pradhan, a poet of Sonepur, said it was very sad that the saint poet could not find a publisher. His works, especially the poems, have illuminated the world and yet many people do not know about his unpublished work till now. “It is high time some person or organisation must take the initiative to publish the unpublished works of the poet. And I strongly believe that the sahitya akademi is the right agency to take up it,” Pradhan said.

He said it was unfortunate that people were still in dark about the poet even more than 120 years after his death.

It was in the 1860s, when Bhima Bhoi came to Khaliapali, which was Sonepur state at that time. He wrote numerous poems, preached and propagated Alekhism or Mahima Dharma and professed the philosophy of Sunyabada (nothingness). The poet died in 1895 at Khaliapali where now stands his memorial temple called Sunya Mandir and a monastery where some followers of Mahima Dharma live. The monastery had a treasure of the original manuscripts and books of the saint poet. Some of the manuscripts were taken away by a few people and research scholars, but they were never returned.

The trust now has 14 manuscripts, including eight palm-leaf ones. Mahanadi Sahitya Sansad president Prabhudatta Rath said the district administration must take proactive actions for publication of the poet’s unpublished works.

“It is the duty of the administration to send proposals to the Odisha Sahitya Akademi for publication of the saint’s works. The initiative must begin from the district administration,” Rath said.

February 24, 2018 at 6:33 pm Leave a comment

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