Civic Body Apathy Leaves Sen Park in A Shambles

One of the oldest recreational hubs of Sambalpur Town, Sen Park lies in a shambles, thanks to the lackadaisical attitude of the Municipality. Spreading over three acres of land, the park has turned into a hunting ground of anti-socials as lack of maintenance on the part of the civic body is keeping people away from it.

The park got its name from Jitendra Nath Sen, the chairman of Sambalpur Municipality from 1901 to 1920 and on whose land it is situated.

The Park got a major facelift after renovation work was taken up for the first time in 2002. The new look saw people flocking the park in hundreds.

The park also became a favourite place of children after new equipment like swings, seesaws, slides and other amusement facilities were augmented on its premises. While parents took a stroll in the park, the children enjoyed the outdoor games.

However, the park lost its sheen as the municipality failed in maintaining and upkeeping the recreational hub. The civic body neither bothered to looked after the facilities that were put in place nor tried to upgrade the infrastructure.

In 2011, lights were installed in the park as part of a beautification drive. But the drive turned into a farce as majority of the light posts became defunct due to lack of watch and guard system. Soon after, the newly constructed fountains in the park stopped functioning.

Vice-president of Sen Park Surakshya Samiti (SPSS) Gokul Meher said a music system was also put in place in the Park. But today, neither the music system works nor the swings are functioning. After repeated missives to the municipality yielded no result, the members of SPSS collected money from among themselves and repaired the swings a few years back, Meher said.

Similar sentiment was echoed by secretary of SPSS Mohammad Sanaullah. He said the municipality has failed miserably to maintain and develop the park. The park is out of bounds for the residents after the sun sets as the lightposts have stopped working, he rued. “It’s high time the municipal authorities took note of the sorry state of the park. Though the Sambalpur Municipality will be upgraded into a corporation soon, the town lacks a proper recreational hub to cater to the needs of the people,” Sanaullah added.

When contacted, Executive Officer of Sambalpur Municipality Aniruddha Pradhan said beautification works are underway in the park with `5 lakh provided by the Western Odisha Development Council. The municipality is in no position to develop the park on its own as there is dearth of fund, he added.

Forest Dept Wakes up to Evict Ramgarh

The Forest department has woken up again to the problem of encroachment of Budharaja Reserve Forest (RF), the only green patch inside the town located here at the heart of Sambalpur town. Once spread over 113 acres, the Reserve Forest has reduced to 75 acres now.

The visit of the then Forest Conservator Rajeev Kumar in 2013 also failed to evoke any response.

The encroachment of the RF began in late seventies when few huts came up on the slope of RF. Gradually the slum named as Ramgarh grew while 7.17 acres of land was delineated from the RF for establishment of graveyard for Odia Baptist Christian community and to house the reservoir of Greater Sambalpur Drinking Water Project. This apart, 1.25 acres of land has been delineated for the Lord Shiva temple and another 2.5 acres for a concrete road to the hill top. Moreover, report submitted earlier by field staff of the Forest Department point to the encroachment by District Institute of Education and Training, office of the District Education Officer, office of Ground Water Testing Authority besides the Ramgarh slum and encroachment by the Christian community for the graveyard. In June 2013 the Town Ranger, S C Khuntia had said the department had made up its mind to clear the slum and free the RF. He had said that WESCO and PHED authorities will be asked to disconnect services as they were illegal with the land belonging to the Forest department.

But after failing to take any action for a year, the Divisional Forest Officer of Sambalpur Santosh Joshi said that a survey would be launched to ascertain the encroachment status. Presently, the thatched houses have been converted into houses with asbestos and RCC roof while some have constructed overhead water tanks on the roof of their house besides choking the natural water channels of the hill which pose danger to the ecosystem.

6 died in road mishap in Sambalpur district

Six persons including four school children died and eight other sustained serious injury when a van carrying them collided head on with a truck in Odisha’s Sambalpur district, police said.

The incident took place at Tikilipara chhak under the Jamankira police station of Sambalpur district. The mishap occurred at around 11 am when the school children were going to take admission at a school. The deceased have been identified as Jeebardhan Patra (26), Jitendra Das (12), Jyoti Majhi (8), Mukesh Pradhan (13), Mamata Majhi (8) and Kundru Pradhan (23).

The injured persons have been admitted in the Veer Surendra Sai medical college hospital at Burla, where their condition is stated to be critical. The van carrying around 18 people, was going to Ardabahal Ashram school, which is a tribal Welfare Residential School, in Kuchinda sub-division of the Sambalpur district from Dudhianali of Deogarh district when it collided with a grapes laden truck, which was coming from opposite side, at Tikilipara.

The local people and the police rushed to the spot and rescued those trapped inside the van. The injured were first rushed to Jamankira Community Health Center, from where they were shifted to Veer Surendra Sai medical college hospital at Burla for specialised medical attention.

“Some parents and their children were also in the van. They were going to Ardabahal for admission of their children,” said police. The bodies have been sent for autopsy. The driver of the truck reportedly fled from the spot after the accident.

Fire exchange between maoist and security personnel in Gudguda forest, sambalpur

After a gap of three weeks, there are reports of another encounter between the Maoists and the security personnel inside the Gudguda forest under Meghapal panchayat of Jujumura block in Odisha’s Sambalpur district on Thursday.

According to reports, the Special Operation Group (SOG) and the CRPF personnel were on a combing operation on Thursday following information about the presence of some Maoists inside Gudguda forest area between Tamparsingha and Marangbahal villages.

During the operation, the Maoists suddenly opened fire at the security personnel who immediately retaliated.

After 30 minutes of exchange of fire, the Maoists fled the area. However, reports said, there was another round of exchange of fire around 5 PM that continued for over an hour.

Talking to media persons on Thursday evening, Sambalpur SP Pratik Mohanty said the combing operation in the area has been intensified further.

He, however, refused to give details of the encounter due to security reasons.

It may be mentioned that Junu Dehuri, a hardcore Maoist and a native of Tamparsingha village, is presently leading the Maoist outfit in the area in collaboration with some top cadres of the outlawed party from the neighbouring Jharkhand.

Special trains between Sambalpur and Yesvantpur

The East Coast Railway (ECOR) has advised to run a weekly express special trains between Sambalpur-Yesvantpur-Sambalpur for 13 more trips in each direction.

Accordingly, train no 08301 Sambalpur-Yesvantpur weekly express special will depart from Sambalpur at 8.50 am on Wednesdays, commencing from April 2 and arrive at Yesvantpur on Thursdays ar 4.30 pm.

In return, train No 08302 will depart from Yesvantpur on Fridays at 12.30 am and reach Sambalpur at 6.15 am on Saturdays.This service will commence from April 4 onwards.

These trains will halt at Krishnarajapur, Jolarpettai, Katpadi, Chittoor, Pakala, Tirupati, Renigunta, Gudur, Nellore, Ongole, Vijayawada Junction, Eluru Rajahmundry, Samalkot, Vishakapatnam, Vizianagaram, Bobbili, Parvatipuram, Rayagada, Muniguda, Kesinga, Titlagarh, Bargarh, Bolangir stations.

The weekly express special will have total 17 coaches, consisting one AC 2-tier coach, one AC 3-tier coach, ten second class sleeper coaches, three general second class coaches and two second class luggage-cum-brake vans.