Hirakud Dam releases season’s first flood water

The Hirakud Dam authorities released the season’s first flood water from the reservoir here at around 12 noon on Tuesday.

After performing a ceremonial puja at the dam’s site, the authorities opened one sluice gate to discharge the water and subsequently opened four more gates.

Around 3 lakh cusecs of water will be released into the Mahandi River from the reservoir, sources said.

The water level in the reservoir had reached to about 617.60 feet at 6 AM today while the dam has a capacity of holding water upto 630 feet, informed Hirakud Chief Engineer Jyotirmaya Rath.

“The inflow of water into the reservoir is 1.50 lakh cusecs while the outflow is 11, 846 cusecs. The water from Hirakud will take around 36 hours to reach Mundali in Cuttack,” Rath said.

Meanwhile, the dam authorities alerted Collectors of all districts located on the banks of Mahanadi. The villagers in low lying areas of the reservoir have been alerted about a possible flood like situation.

The authorities also warned the local residents for not to venture into Mahandi River today.

Mission Green Mahanadi kicks off in Odisha

In a bid to rejuvenate Mahanadi, Tel and Ib rivers and increase recharge capacity by massive plantation, the State Government kicked off ‘Green Mahanadi Mission’ here on the occasion of World Environment Day on Tuesday.The mission, which was launched on the banks of Mahanadi, will be implemented jointly by the departments of Forest, Horticulture and Watershed Development.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Sambalpur Sanjeet Kumar said under the mission, a green belt having a width of 1 km will be created on both sides of Mahanadi beginning from the place where the river enters Odisha till Paradip where it merges with the Bay of Bengal.

The plantation will be undertaken over 75,760 hectare (ha) of Government land besides 47,470 ha of private land. Two crore saplings, including fruit-bearing trees, will be planted on both sides of the river during 2018-19 fiscal, he informed.

Kumar said plantation will be carried out on the bunds of paddy and vegetable fields. Saplings of fruit-bearing trees, which do not have bad impact on crops, will also be grown on the bunds, he said. Growing of fruit-bearing trees, including mango, jamun, guava, and jackfruit in private land will be encouraged.
Moreover, two ‘Ban Doot’ will be identified in each village along Mahanadi river who will educate villagers about the mission. This apart, ‘Mahanadi Sevaks’ will also be identified who will encourage villagers to plant trees, Kumar revealed.

The DFO further said identification of land to undertake plantation activity is top on priority. The land will be identified with proper coordination with the district administration. Apart from Mahanadi, plantation will also be carried out along Tel and Ib rivers. Both are tributaries of Mahanadi.

A specially designed vehicle ‘Sabuja Mahanadi Sachetana Rath’ was also flagged off on the occasion. The vehicle will move in villages along the river till July 5 to create awareness among people. Saplings were also planted on the median of Ring Road along Mahanadi and the premises of Sambalpur Circle Jail and District Judge Court here.

Among others, Sambalpur MLA Raseswari Panigrahi, Agriculture Secretary Saurabh Garg, RCCF, Sambalpur OP Singh, Collector Samarth Verma and SP Sanjeev Arora were present.

Minor rape survivor ends life in Sambalpur

A minor girl, who was allegedly gang-raped by six persons in Sambalpur’s Sasan police jurisdiction, committed suicide by hanging herself on Wednesday.

The minor girl hanged herself in her room while other family members were away. She was gang-raped by six persons May 2. All the six accused in the case were arrested and languishing in jail.

She might have lost her mental balance after going through the ordeal and took the extreme step, sources said.

On the other hand, in view of the sensitivity of the case, the police concluded the investigation process and filed the charge-sheet against the accused in the court within 15 days. However, the suicide of the survivor has shocked one and all.

According to sources, the accused persons had forcibly taken the girl and gang-raped her on May 2. She was rescued in a critical condition.

After the arrest of the accused, their medical examinations were conducted which confirmed the rape. As the case was filed under the Protection of Children against Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, the charge-sheet was filed in 15 days for speedy trial of the case.

Iswar Meher, a perfectionist of Sambalpuri Handloom

It took him three months to design and weave a Sambalpuri saree which he named ‘Brukshya Debata’ utilising natural colours. The intricately designed saree speaks about the importance of trees in maintaining ecological balance.

Apart from the design of different varieties of trees, Lord Brahma, Lord Bishnu and Lord Shiva have been portrayed meditating under the trees of banyan, peepal and rudrakshya respectively on the saree. And the saree with natural colours of black and brown has fetched him `1.2 lakh. The saree has been weaved by 53-year-old master craftsman Iswar Meher of Katapali village, 8 km from Bargarh town. He is known for his craftsmanship of Sambalpuri saree and registered as a master weaver under Sambalpuri Bastralaya Handloom Cooperative Society Limited.

Iswar is a perfectionist in Bandha Kala (tie and dye), which is core to Sambalpuri handloom products. This has helped him carve a niche in designing and weaving sarees and dress materials. Having dropped out after Class-III, Iswar learnt the nuances of weaving at an early age from his paternal uncle Kunja Bihari Meher and started weaving independently at the age of 12. He has created a number of designs using both traditional and theme-based motifs and recreated them successfully on yarn.

“I have produced more than 2,500 saree designs in Sambalpuri Ikat besides many designs for dress materials. Of the 2,500 saree designs, around 300 are intricately designed,” he says.“I have designed many sarees based on different plants and trees. ‘Brukshya Debata’ based on trees is one of my best creations,” he says. The price of sarees woven by Iswar ranges from Rs 10,000 to Rs 1.2 lakh.

Iswar won the national award instituted by Ministry of Textiles in 2006 for his craftsmanship in making ‘Bahana Cotton Saree’. The design of the saree is based on different ‘Bahana’ (animal vehicle) of Hindu God and Goddesses.

Prior to this, he had received the ‘Best Weaver of the Year-2005’ by Sambalpuri Bastralaya.
Iswar has also provided guidance to 1,040 semi-skilled weavers and honed their weaving skills to help them economically. At present, he is busy creating another masterpiece saree ‘Subhra Bastra’, which is based on sloka pertaining to Goddess Saraswati, to enable him to apply for the prestigious Sant Kabir award.

Life imprisonment for killing DGM of Paomex Steels Ltd

District and Session Judge of Sambalpur gave life imprisonment to Kumar Bag in the charge of killing of DGM of a private company Paomex Steel at Titilagarh. 15 peoples are acquitted for lack of evidence.

According to the prosecution on March 3, 2011 the disgruntled labourers set fire to the vehicle of the Paomex Steels Ltd DGM Radheshyam Ray while he was on his way home for lunch.

The DGM managed to come out of the vehicle but he was first rushed to Balangir Hospital in a critical condition. He was then shifted to the then VSS Medical College and Hospital where he succumbed to the injuries.

The labourers were protesting against the reduction in wages and depriving other benefits to the workers under the Labour law.

The Titlagarh Police arrested a large number of workers for their alleged involvement in the case and framed charge sheet against 52 workers of the company.

On the request of the Paomex Steels, the Supreme Court directed for trial of the case in Sambalpur court instead of Balangir for safety point of view and directed to complete the trial of the case by June 2018.