Posts filed under ‘Sundergarh’

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

Rethinking Kosli Identity: Language, literature and culture of western Odisha

Down load a PDF copy here: Rethinking Kosli Identity- Language, Literature and Culture of Western Odisha

September 23, 2018 at 4:57 am Leave a comment

NIT Rourkela medical college in limbo

MC

August 5, 2018 at 1:43 pm 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

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

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