Posts filed under ‘State Watch-Monitoring the Odisha State’

A damning Indictment of Odisha’s inefficiency

Following report is from the TNIE:

The Socio Economic and Caste Census (SECC) 2011 has in one stroke not only demolished Odisha’s growth story spun by the Naveen Patnaik government over the past one-and-a-half decade but also laid bare an embarrassing failure of its much-vaunted welfare and poverty alleviation schemes. It cannot be a more damning indictment of the inefficiency than the fact that more than 66 per cent of the population in rural Odisha still continues to languish in acute deprivation without access to basic needs such as food, housing or income generation means. The findings of the census has countered and exposed the hollowness of the government’s claims at every point.

While the State Finance Minister  painted a glowing picture of the socio-economic rise over the last decade, projecting a growth of eight per cent in 2015-16, the census report has presented a worrying scene. Over 46.6 lakh (54 per cent) of the total 86.22 lakh rural households are landless and 23 lakh households have only one room with kutcha roof to shelter whole families. A whopping 87 per cent households manage with a measly income of less than Rs 5,000 a month. In the face of the Government’s claims that poverty has been reduced by almost 25 per cent and socio-economic conditions for a vast chunk of the population have been improved, Odisha has been ranked among the top four states in the country in terms of beggary with over 54,000 households depending on it while as many as 22,353 households resort to rag-picking and rummaging garbage dumps for their livelihood. Further, almost 59 per cent of the total households are engaged in manual and casual labour.

The census practically serves as a report card on the schemes and measures implemented by the government, revealing their failings and fissures. Despite the flagship Rs 1-a-kilo rice scheme, claimed to cover over 58 lakh households, and programmes for housing, irrigation, farm assistance, skill development and employment generation, the poverty and deprivation situation has not improved as much. The government should re-examine the schemes to reach the beneficiaries at every level and draw up strategies for more focused implementation of poverty alleviation and development programmes.

July 30, 2015 at 3:25 pm Leave a comment

Odisha to set up open university at Sambalpur

Following is a report from the ET:

BHUBANESWAR: In an apparent bid to pacify the ongoing agitation demanding establishment of an IIM in western Odisha, the state government today announced setting up an open university at Sambalpur.

The announcement in this regard was made by Higher Education Minister Pradeep Panigrahi in the assembly today.

“The proposed open university at Sambalpur will be first of its kind in the state. Therefore, its impact and jurisdiction will be vast,” Panigrahi said.

Panigrahi said, “The state government has already made provision of Rs 35 crore for establishment and infrastructure of the proposed open university.”

Besides contributing to progress of higher education, the open university would facilitate distance education, continuous training and research for students and teachers.

The open university would also help a large number of students, drop-outs and provide need-based quality education in the backward and tribal-dominated districts of the state, Panigrahi said.

He said the varsity at Sambalpur also reflected the state government’s steps to eradicate regional imbalance in Odisha.

The people of western Odisha, particularly the residents of Sambalpur have been agitating since a long time demanding establishment of the proposed IIM for the state in their region. However, the state government decided to locate the proposed IIM in Bhubaneswar which led to intensification of agitation in Sambalpur.

December 2, 2014 at 8:13 am Leave a comment

Jharsuguda shortlisted for no-frills airport

Following is a report from the TOI:

NEW DELHI: No-frills airports are all set to become a reality in India. Aviation minister Ashok Gajapathi Raju on Tuesday said that five cities — Teju (Andhra Pradesh); Hubli and Belgaum (Karnataka); Kishangarh (Rajasthan near Ajmer) and Jharsuguda (Odisha) — have been identified as the places that will first get no-frills airports.

“It will not be correct to call them low-cost airports. They will have no frills. Airports Authority of India (AAI) has developed this model airport, without compromising safety and security. This will result in low cost of operation and make it viable for the airlines to run their services. AAI is committed to commencing work in this financial year at the five locations,” the minister said at his 100-day press conference.

These airports will, to begin with, have airstrips long enough to handle turboprops like ATR and Q-400. “They will have no carousels or conveyor belts. Only the security hold areas at these airports will be air-conditioned. They will have no aerobridges,” said a senior Airports Authority of India (AAI) official.

The terminal buildings will be single storey with simple structures unlike the fancy glass-and-steel structures in the metros. Also, these airports will have mobile air traffic control units instead of big ATC towers. “Each of these airports would cost Rs 55 crore to Rs 85 crore. They should be ready in two-to-three years,” said the official. The five cities were selected from a list of 50 places across the country. Finalization of low-cost airports was among the list of achievements which included the aviation ministry disposing off over 9,100 old files and removing over 15 truckloads of useless items from the Rajiv Gandhi Bhavan headquarters in Delhi.

“As many as 12,977 files have been reviewed, 3,839 files have been recorded and 9,146 files have been weeded out,” aviation ministry joint secretary G Asok Kumar told reporters.

Raju on Tuesday launched DGCA’s know-your-rights portal. DGCA chief Prabhat Kumar said the portal will provide information on the rights of passengers in cases of delays, cancellation and denied boarding, lost, delayed, misplaced and damaged baggage; and on matters related to booking, airfare components and refund of air tickets. The grievance redressal mechanism, names of nodal officers and their contact numbers would be shared with the public on the portal.

Kumar said the government has come out with new measures for physically challenged flyers. Two window seats will remain blocked for them till 24 hours before departure. “Delivery of check-in baggage will be given to them either at the ladder point or exit of escalator belt. Airlines will give special training for their staff for this purpose.”

September 16, 2014 at 6:33 am Leave a comment

Road to link western Odisha with south Odisha

Bhubaneswar, Aug. 28: A 656-km road trip from Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh to Rourkela — which at present takes 13 hours — will be reduced to six, once the Biju expressway is completed by 2019 end.

Launching the corridor project, chief minister Naveen Patnaik today said: “Now, it takes 13 hours to go from Jagdalpur to Rourkela, but after completion of this project, it will take just six hours.”

Naveen said: “The expressway will connect many border towns of west and south Odisha and also pass through one of the most backward regions of our state. It will immensely help boost the economy of west Odisha and the KBK districts.”

The corridor envisages an investment of Rs 3,200 crore and will connect eight districts. It will be the link between the west Odisha districts of Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh with four KBK districts — Koraput, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi and Nuapada. The roads will be developed in two phases. While the first phase will be over by May 2017, the second phase is expected to be over by 2019 end.

Of the 656-km roads, 51km will pass through Koraput district, 48km through Nabarangpur, 100km through Kalahandi, 120km through Nuapada, 141km through Bargarh, 54km through Sambalpur, 26km through Jharsuguda and 116km through Sundargarh district. In the first phase of this project, 254km will be converted into four lanes and 402km will be made a two-lane stretch. Out of this 402-km stretch, 250km will be made four-lane and the rest 144km will remain as two-lane.

The BJD, which is yet to establish its supremacy in the west and south Odisha even after 14 years in power, aims to reap benefits from the corridor. The expressway was launched two days before the Nuakhai festival, a famous festival of west Odisha and KBK region.

The ruling party is, therefore, leaving no stone unturned to perpetuate the legacy of the leader after whom the expressway is named.

Naveen,

who

has won four back-to-back elections invoking the Biju magic, is trying to make the most of this famous name. Though Naveen has bettered his father’s record as chief minister, he realises that the larger-than-life image of Biju babu still fires the imagination of the Odias.

Biju Patnaik, Naveen’s father, is credited with the establishment of Paradip port and the construction of the famous expressway to the port. The spree of naming schemes after Biju babu started after Naveen became chief minister of the state in 2000.

Reacting to this, leader of Opposition Narasingh Mishra said: “If we critically analyse various schemes announced by the state government in the past 14 years, we can easily conclude that it is much ado about

nothing

. Most of the projects, either fully funded by the state or centrally sponsored, have not taken off.”

Stating that using Biju Patnaik’s name in various schemes or projects amounts to disrespect to the legendary figure, Mishra said: “The present economic corridor will not be that helpful for socio-economic development of west Odisha, which has been neglected over the years. The area badly needs irrigation for development of agriculture, agriculture infrastructure such as cold storage, market and agro-based industries instead of such projects. Construction of roads may be necessary, but it should not be at the cost of agriculture and allied activities.”

September 5, 2014 at 10:59 am 1 comment

Odisha govt. to float tender for five medical colleges by June

Following is a report from BS:

With the Centre’s approval for upgradation of the Puri district headquarter hospital to a medical college besides four other such facilities at Balasore, Koraput, Balangir and Baripada, the Odisha government today said it is all set to float tenders for construction work in June this year.

“While the Union Ministry of Health had earlier sanctioned setting up of four medical colleges at Balasore, Baripada, Balangir and Koraput by upgrading the existing district headquarter hospitals there, approval has now come for Puri hospital,” said health and family welfare secretary P K Mohapatra.

All five proposed medical colleges would have student intake capacity of 100 each and around Rs 200 crore would be spent for upgradation of the hospitals to a full-fledged medical college and hospital in each case, Mohapatra said.

The project cost will come from Centrally-sponsored Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Surakhsa Yojana scheme, he said adding the Centre will provide 75 per cent while the state will shoulder the rest 25 per cent cost.

Under the scheme, DHHs having more than 200 beds were considered for such upgradation, he said. Mohapatra said the state government was planning to float tenders for the five medical colleges by June 15 and start construction from October onwards.

Meanwhile, sources said the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) has given its nod to set up two medical colleges in Gajapati and Rayagada districts on PPP mode.

Each medical college will have 100 seats and 500 beds. The projects would be executed at a cost of Rs 326 crore each, they said.

Odisha presently has three government run medical colleges at Cuttack, Berhampur and Burla.

May 6, 2014 at 1:36 am Leave a comment

Odisha to bear 50 percent cost of Khurda Balangir rail project

Following is a report from the post.jagran.com:

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik gave his approval to such a proposal, the sources said, adding Odisha was the first state in the country to provide free of cost land for any railway project and offer to bear 50 percent of cost of the construction of the railway line.

The state government’s action in this regard came due to tardy progress of the 289 km Khurda-Bolangir railway line.

Though the project was sanctioned way back in 1994-95, only 52 km rail line construction work was expected to be completed by end of 2013-14 fiscal, they said.

“As the Khurda-Bolangir railway project is considered significant for the socio-economic development of the people of at least four districts (Bolangir, Boudh, Nayagarh and Sonepur), the state government was ready to contribute to the project,” the sources said.

Though Khurda-Bolangir project is considered as the biggest railway project in the state, only Rs 40 crore was allotted for the project in the last railway budget.

The first survey work for the line was conducted in 1945 by the then Bengal-Nagpur Railway (BNR) as it was felt that there should be railway link for the tribal dominated districts of Bolangir, Kalahandi, Koraput and Phulbani.

However, after Independence the project remained in cold storage till the Planning Commission approved it in 1993 and it received the presidential nod in 1994. Its cost was then estimated at Rs 383 crore. The project was expected to be completed within five years but funds crunch became a hindrance.

A number of delegations had met subsequent Railway Ministers, without any progress. Therefore, the state government decided to take half of the responsibility for completion of the project.
(Agencies)

January 29, 2014 at 7:06 am 1 comment

Global, domestic carriers keen to fly from Bhubaneswar; current status of Jharsuguda airport

Following report is from the BS:

With the Biju Patnaik airport in the city getting the international tag, global carriers like Air Arabia and SilkAir have evinced interest to start commercial operations.

Air Arabia, a low cost airline based in Sharjah (UAE) is keen to run flights between Bhubaneswar and the UAE. Air Arabia is the only publicly listed airline in the UAE, serving 15 destinations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Egypt. It also operates 154 weekly flights within the Gulf.

SilkAir, a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Airlines, has proposed to run flights connecting Bhubaneswar with Singapore via Kolkata and Vishakapatnam. The operator runs scheduled passenger services from Singapore to 43 cities in Southeast Asia, South Asia, China and Australia. As the regional wing of Singapore Airlines, SilkAir serves the short haul destinations in the Singapore Airlines Group network.

“Earlier flydubai had presented a schedule to the Government of India and the Odisha government to start flights connecting Bhubaneswar with Dubai. Now, Air Arabia and SilkAir have also evinced interest. The route permit for these flight operations has to be given by the Ministry of Civil aviation,” said an official source.

On the domestic route, Spice Jet and Go Air are ready to run flights from the city international airport from April 1 after the state government slashed VAT (value added tax) on aviation turbine fuel (ATF) to five per cent from 20 per cent. Gurgaon-based low cost carrier Indigo has also offered to run 3-4 additional flights.

On October 30 last year, the Ministry of Civil aviation declared the Biju Patnaik airport in the city an international airport.

Apart from getting the tag of an international airport, the Biju Patnaik airport is also equipped with a new domestic terminal. The terminal is capable of handling 400 arriving and 400 departing passengers. The terminal building is spread over an area of 18,240 sq metre, has in-line compatible baggage handling system, escalators, elevators, flight information display system (FIDS) and CCTV for surveillance with the interiors depicting the state culture.

Meanwhile, the state government has committed to provide additional Rs 25 crore towards development of the Jharsuguda airport. Earlier, the state government had committed Rs 50 crore for the airport.

Airports Authority of India (AAI) had worked out the tentative cost of developing the Jharsuguda airport at Rs 150 crore. AAI had urged the state government to contribute 50 per cent of the cost after it felt that the Jharsuguda airport may not be commercially viable.

January 15, 2014 at 1:58 am Leave a comment

Odisha urges centre for four government medical colleges

Following is a report from the Pioneer:

Health and Family Welfare Minister Damodar Rout on Friday demanded 100 per cent support from the Central Government for setting up of four new medical colleges in the State.

Rout pressed the demands before the Centre while attending a two-day meeting of Health Ministers and Secretaries from all States convened by the Union Health Ministry in New Delhi.

Highlighting the development in the health sector of Odisha, Rout sought more Central aids for different programmes being implemented in the sector. Expressing grave concern over the health condition of primitive tribals and their low population growth rate, he advocated for greater focus on the tribal dominated districts, particularly the Kalahandi, Balangir and Koraput (KBK) region where both infant mortality rate (IMR) and maternal mortality rate (MMR) as well as mortality and morbidity rates are high because of incidences of various diseases, especially malaria and diarrhoea.

In the last 11 years, Rout stated the State has made significant strides in bringing down IMR and MMR. Still, the IMR in the State is 57 per 1,000 live births and MMR 258 per lakh live births. The figures are still higher than the national average and hence much need to be done to reduce them,” said Rout, adding, “For development and upgradation of health infrastructure in the State, we need Centre’s full support.”

Rout also drew the attention of the Union Health Minister for opening of Regional Geriatric and Cancer Centres in all the Government medical colleges and sanctioning more ANM and GNM training centers for the State. Further, Rout urged the Central Government to increase its share in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and reduce the State’s share from 25 per cent to 15 per cent.

Health and Family Welfare secretary Pradeepta Kumar Mohapatra and Mission Director of NRHM (Odisha) Dr Pramod Meherda attended the meeting.

Following is another report from TOI:

BHUBANESWAR: In good tidings for aspiring medical students, Odisha is all set to have four new government medical colleges, reducing the competition for admission into MBBS to some extent.

In a new experiment, the Union government is planning to open over 60 medical colleges across the country in partnership with the state governments during the 12th five year plan period (2012-2017). The Union government would fund 75% of the cost while the respective states will bear the rest 25%.

Sources said the Centre has responded favourably to a proposal of the Odisha government to open four colleges in the state. A senior state government functionary said the Centre has already given its on-principle nod to the proposal. The medical colleges would have 100MBBS seats each to begin with, he said.

Confirming the state’s move, health secretary Pradipta KumarMahapatra told TOI, “We have proposed to convert four district headquarters hospitals into medical colleges under the new plan. We are hopeful the plan will materialize.” Mahapatra said the government will select the four district hospitals in due course of time.

Government sources said availability of MBBS seats will substantially increase from next academic year irrespective of the fate of the proposed four new colleges. The government is planning to add 100 MBBS seats in SCB Medical College from 2013-14. The government has already sought the permission of the Medical Council of India for the hike.

At present, there are 500 MBBS seats in government sector in the state. These include 150 MBBS seats each in the three state-government run colleges: SCB, VSS Medical College and MKCG Medical College and 50 MBBS seats in the Union government-run All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

After increasing the seats in SCB to 250 from next academic year, the state is also planning similar increase in seats in the two other colleges in subsequent years. Similarly, the Union government has announced to increase the MBBS seats in AIIMS to 100.

In private sector, there are 400 MBBS seats at present, 100 each in the four private medical colleges including three in Bhubaneswar and one in Rourkela. The private sector seats are likely to go up by another 100 from next year when an upcoming private medical college at Jaring in Kalahandi district starts admission.

The Centre has responded favourably to a proposal of the Odisha government to open four colleges in the state. The medical colleges would have 100 MBBS seats each to begin with, officials said

November 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm 1 comment

Govt plans two ‘smart’ cities in each state

Following is a report from FE:

New Delhi: Government is planning to develop two ‘smart’ cities with a host of modern features like intelligent transport and carbon neutral status in each of the states in the second phase of the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal mission.

“We have an urban renewal mission which means that the central government funds the cities and one of our programmes is that we propose to have two smart cities in every state,” Urban Development minister Kamal Nath told reporters here today.

The minister said medium sized cities with half a million to one million population will be developed as smart cities and expertise of Austrian Institute of Technology had been sought for the purpose.

Nath was speaking after meeting a delegation led by Austrian minister of Transport, Innovation and Technology Doris Bures here.

“Now how do we define these smart cities, what will it cover….right from broadband, intelligent transport to carbon neutral (features), these are so many components…that is what we propose to collaborate with the Austrian Institute of Technology,” he said.

“We want to seek assistance from the Institute on what kind of model smart cities we should look at,” he added.

Nath also said that medium sized cities like Ujjain or Jabalpur would be considered for the proposal to create smart cities.

“We cannot take on very large cities for smart cities at this stage, we must recognise that. We have to take our medium sized ones, so we want to look at cities with half a million population to one million population instead of trying to take on cities with ten million population,” he said.

“We have discussed the possibility of collaboration between the Austrian Institute of Technology and the National Institute of Urban Affairs which comes under the ministry of Urban Development,” Nath said.

“We want to get technologies towards rapid urbanisation which we are going through, which includes smart cities, urban transportation facilities and their integration,” Nath said.

Austrian minister Doris Bures expressed hope for a greater cooperation between the two countries.

Nath was questioned by reporters about reports that a team of officials was being sent to Chile to understand the defects in the airport metro.

“It is not final yet, but there is an idea that it should be seen that if should study such a thing which had happened there. The report in this regard is not ready yet,” Nath said.

October 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm Leave a comment

Eighty-six percent of Odisha households do not have access to piped water supply

Following report is from the Sambad:

July 18, 2012 at 1:02 am Leave a comment

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