NCDC expert team arrives in Sambalpur

A two-member expert team from the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC), New Delhi has arrived in Sambalpur and has visited the district headquarters hospital to review the situation arising out of the rising number of jaundice cases in the town and its adjoining areas.

The disease has claimed 15 lives in Sambalpur town and its adjoining area since May and infected nearly 1,140 others by December 16, according to district administration officials.

The NCDC team will visit various affected areas to take stock of the conditions there leading to the cause and spread of the disease and collect water samples for analysis. The team will suggest remedial measures for quick control over the spread of the disease as well as its prevention at the grassroots level.

“We have come here on getting reports that several cases of jaundice have been reported. We will help in diagnosing the cause of the disease and its spread and will help the state government authorities in its prevention and control”, said Dr Vikram Katush, NCDC team expert.

“They have come here to help us identify and pinpoint the cause and spread of the disease. They will help us in its prevention and will be giving suggestions for its effective control. During their period of stay here, the team will visit each affected ward and study in a pinpointed manner what was causing the disease of the disease in that particular ward and what was required to curb its spread. It will collect water samples from the affected areas and conduct water quality assurance test. Moreover, the team will be analyzing data trends in the area on the basis of age, gender etc.” said Dr Ashok Kumar Dash, ADMO Sambalpur.

The team will be of great help to us in ascertaining the cause and spread of the disease here, added Dash.

The administration has stopped supplying drinking water through pipelines over fear that sewage may have seeped into the drinking water as new patients continue to pour into the hospitals and private clinics in the area.

Sambalpur town has a population of nearly two lakh which is being supplied safe drinking water through tankers after the outbreak of water-borne disease.

The administration has stopped supplying drinking water through pipelines over fear that sewage may have seeped into the drinking water as new patients continue to pour into the hospitals and private clinics in the area.

Health officials are going door to door in the city as a part of the awareness campaign launched about preventing the spread of the disease. People are being urged to drink only boiled water.

Besides, local authorities have started an operation to overhaul the water supply pipes, most of which run along the drainage system.

Commenting on the cause and spread of jaundice in the town convenor of non-government organisation Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO) Ranjan Panda said the Mahanadi river which supplies water to the city has been heavily polluted as huge quantities of sewage water and solid waste is discharged into it.

“At least 40 per cent of the city residents defecate in open. More than 10,000 people defecate every day on the banks of the river,” Panda said.

Labourer’s Children, Wife Rescued from Telangana

Minister of State for Labour and Employment Prafulla Mallick on Tuesday said all efforts are being made to bring back the wife and children of migrant labourer, Bibek Chinda (42), who succumbed to burns on Monday.

Bibek along with his wife and two sons had gone to Telangana to work in a brick kiln in October. He belonged to Umagaon under Boudh district.

Contrary to Bibek’s dying declaration that his two sons were killed in a mishap at the kiln and wife kidnapped and gangraped by the kiln owner and his accomplices, Mallick claimed that the children are alive and the three family members of Bibek are being brought to Balangir.

The labourer was severely injured after coming in contact with a live wire at the kiln on Friday. In a bid to escape from the brick kiln, he boarded the Nagavalli Express from Hyderabad and got down at Balangir railway station on Sunday. Seeing him in a critical condition, the Government Railway Police admitted Bibek to Balangir Hospital, where he succumbed on Monday.

Receiving information, the district labour officials in Boudh contacted their Telangana counterparts who found out that the three are in the custody of the kiln owner.

Subsequently the authorities of the Home departments of the two States had a meeting in this regard and the local administration sent Bibek’s children and wife in a train to Balangir on Tuesday, Mallick said. They would reach Boudh on Wednesday.

PPTT was inagurated on sunday to free the service road

The people of Sambalpur can heave a sigh of relief from Monday when a private pay and park truck terminus (PPTT) will be opened. With the facility coming up, the trucks will no more be allowed to park on the service roads, said president of Sambalpur Truck Owners’ Association (STOA) Deben Pati while inaugurating the PPTT on Sunday.

The trucks from outside the State and the district will be moved out of the service road along NH-6 from Ainthapali to Remed Chowk which they have been occupying for overnight halt or repair causing a lot of inconvenience for local commuters.

With the NH-6 from Sambalpur to Luharachatti in Chhattisgarh being converted into four-lane, service road has been provided along it in the areas having human habitation.

The work on service road on both sides of the four-lane NH from Ainthapali Chowk to Remed Chowk in Sambalpur town has been completed. But, the purpose of the road has been marred as the trucks plying on the Highway use it for own convenience.

Almost all the garages and workshops located at Baraipali use the service road to repair the heavy vehicles. As the road is encroached, there have been numerous instances of local commuters meeting accidents.

After the issue led to public outcry, the Ainthapali police launched a drive to remove the parked trucks from the service road. But, the exercise proved futile as the trucks were back on the road after the police team left.

Finally, the District Collector Balwant Singh and Superintendent of Police Akhileswar Singh held a meeting with the STOA on the issue.

Although the vacant land of Gopalji Mutt was identified to develop truck terminus, differences on the rent delayed the project.

When contacted, IIC of Ainthapali police station Amitabh Panda said they would take legal action if any truck or heavy vehicle is found parked on the service road after Monday. They will impose fine and on non-payment of penalty, they may also seize the vehicle to ensure that the road is made free of heavy vehicles.

Flood Shelters in Sambalpur Town Soon

After the incessant rain inundated Sambalpur town almost paralysing normal life for several days in August, the administration has decided to take up preventive measures. It plans to complete the pumping stations and flood shelters to be funded by the State Government on a war-footing.

The Government has approved installation of three pumping stations to drain out flood water at Balibandha, Binakhandi and Chandan Nagar along river Mahanadi. The fund for construction of multi-purpose flood shelters has also been sanctioned to house people of low lying areas during flood.

While work on the pumping stations, to be executed by Odisha Construction Company (OCC), is yet to be initiated, construction of the two multi-purpose flood shelters is slated to begin soon.

The flood shelters will be constructed on the premises of Samaleswari College along Ring Road and near Binakhandi Upper Primary School. While Public Works Department (PWD) will execute the project, funds will be provided from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund.

PWD Executive Engineer, Sambalpur, Sanjay Sahu said the cost of flood shelter at Samaleswari College has been estimated at `77.6 lakh while that at Binakhandi will cost `77.2 lakh. These shelters will be two-storey buildings with a foyer, two toilets and other facilities.

Airtel launches 3G roaming services in Odisha

airtel-3g-serviceBharti Airtel Monday said that it will offer high-speed 3G roaming services to its 8.5 million customers in Odisha.

Airtel 3G will be available to customers in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Brahmapur, Keonjhar, Jajpur Road, Jajpur Town and Paradip.

Customers across these cities can now use 3G mobile broadband and enjoy buffer-free video streaming, high speed downloads, file sharing and transfers and online gaming among others, the company said in a statement.

Lukewarm Response to Open University in sambalpur

The State Government’s announcement to open an Open University in Sambalpur has evoked lukewarm response in the district.

Terming it as a small consolation for the people of Sambalpur in particular and Western Odisha in general, economist and academician Dilip Panda said the Government should first correct the prevailing weaknesses and lacunae in the educational system, which is in a shambles throughout Western Odisha. “The State Government should take up the responsibility of improving the quality of education in the existing institutions before going for Open University,” he said. The Government should utilise `35 crore budget for the Open University towards development of colleges and schools in the region.

Reacting sharply to the announcement, chief spokesperson of BJP Suresh Pujari said, “The announcement can hardly be appreciated as the schools and colleges in the region remain in poor condition. A large number of staff vacancies in schools and colleges is affecting the quality of education.”

Though former MP Sriballav Panigrahi welcomed the step, he said this will not serve the purpose of improving quality of education as the institutions lack adequate staff and infrastructure.

Kalam urges students to set their goal

apj-abdul-kalamNoting that education aims to produce good human beings with skill and expertise, former president APJ Abdul Kalam on Saturday asked students to set their goal and work hard with perseverance to achieve it.

“The purpose of education is to make good human beings with skill and expertise… Enlightened human beings can be created by teachers,” Kalam said at the 150th anniversary function of Chandrasekhar Behera Zila School here.

Asking the students to become good human beings, set their goals and work hard to achieve it, the former President stressed on fixed aim in life, continuous acquisition of knowledge, hard work and perseverance to achieve success. Kalam, who started his speech in Sambalpuri, said knowledge was the assimilation of creativity, righteousness courage.

“Where there is righteousness in the heart there is harmony in the house, when there is harmony in the house there is order in the nation, when there is order in the nation there is peace in the world,” Kalam said. Stating that problems should be handled boldly, he said the youths should have the qualities to successfully overcome hurdles and effectively deal with problems in life.

Answering queries, Kalam said the primary education in the country makes the Indian education system unique as it was different from the systems in other countries. Kalam also released a souvenir during the occasion. Odisha’s School and Mass Education Minister DP Mishra was among the dignitaries present.