Distress Sale Still Rampant in Kalahandi

Despite emerging as one of major paddy producing districts of the State over the years, poor marketing infrastructure remains a major problem in Kalahandi district. Belying the claims of the Government, distress sale is still rampant with many farmers opting to sell their surplus paddy to private players.

The kharif paddy procurement report of Bhawanipatna Central Cooperative Bank based on the paddy purchase and delivery by Primary Agriculture Cooperative Societies (PACS), which procures paddy in the mandis on behalf of Odisha Supply Corporation, revealed that about half of the marketable paddy could not be procured in the Government-run mandis.

According to the assessment report of the Agriculture department, before beginning of the paddy procurement during kharif season of 2013, total coverage of crop area was 1,90,000 hectares and the expected production was 8,56,531 tonnes. The PACS had made an assessment of total marketable crop in the district at 7,11,836 tonnes.

On the basis of this report, the target of procurement for the district was fixed by the Government. Accordingly, 74 PACS were entrusted to procure paddy from 130 centres or mandis and 85 millers were tagged to the paddy purchasing centres.

However, the final audited report of purchase and delivery of paddy in 2013-14 kharif season by the PACS released by the Bhawanipatna Central Cooperative Bank recently revealed that the total 3.27 lakh tonnes were procured in the mandis. Thus, comparing 7.11 lakh tonnes of marketable paddy assessed by the PACS and the final procurement, there is a shortage of more than four lakh tonnes.

In the previous kharif season of 2012-13, the total paddy procurement was 3.45 lakh tonnes in the district. Due to abnormal delay in opening of the procuring centres and fixation of target by the Government, a large quantity of paddy, mostly of small farmers, was sold outside the Government managed purchasing centres. Many farmers on Chhattisgarh border sold their produce to private players of the neighbouring State, informed a Supply department official on condition of anonymity.

During 2012-13 kharif season, the procurement started on December 5, 2013 instead of November 15 due to delay by the Government in giving direction to the authorities concerned.

Farmer activist Anil Nanda said, “Due to late opening of mandis, many farmers prefer to sell their produce in Chhattisgarh.”

Besides, the special calamity allowance of `100 per quintal of paddy sold by farmers to the maximum limit of 100 quintal per farmer decided by State Government is yet to be implemented, he added.

Meanwhile, Bhawanipatna Central Cooperative Bank has already prepared the Kharif paddy procurement of PACS under Kalahandi district for 2013-14.

Nanda said the incentive should be paid early to the farmers and the district administration and State Government should start the procurement process well in advance so that the farmers would not sell their produce outside the State and thereby not face distress sale condition.

A beautiful Ruined Town – Brajrajnagar

This story is written by Nishima Avasthi after she visited to this beautiful city some years ago

Recently, to get a break from boring routine & moron monotonous life of metro, visited a small place named Brajrajnagar, District Jharsuguda, Odisha.

On hearing name, it seemed to me of some kind of village and didn’t get excited at all. Though, in just two days this town unfolded its own story that forced me to write this article.

From Bhuwaneshwar Airport, this district Jharsuguda was major Railway Junction with its unique Purple colour Building and for the first time I came to know that our 1st President  Dr. Rajendra Prasad had visited here in 1959.

Brajrajnagar is a small tranquil city in this district with a very small population of some thousands, located on the placid waters of Ib river. It has wealth of Natural Resources with set up of Steel Plants & Coal Mines but the most surprising and noticeable thing is that there used to be a paper Mill by Birla Group named “Orient Paper Mills”. As it became sick unit, and new generation moved on, emotional baggage was left out and family rifts increased resulting to the closure of these Mills which was the heart beat of this city.

It is amazing that this town witnessed a society which was established on par standards even when we didn’t achieve freedom. The whole city was set up with well planned architectures and far sighted imagination in 1940s which is currently visible in Metros and bigger Cities. There was school, Club, theatre, Playgrounds etc in the name of O P Mills, all in lush green surroundings. Perhaps, after closure of Mills, several lost their jobs and the whole set up ruined.

There are several old constructed Bungalows of the Employees of O P Mills with quite big and capacious land in the form of Garden in front and same space as a backyard, which you and I cannot imagine in our cities.  Imagine blooming flower beds and greenery in front and fruit yielding trees in back in your own house with main building in centre, in the middle of a small peaceful city and out of urban nonsense….Only serene nature and a dream vacation…..which we get rarely after spending huge money…… but alas; the town had tough breaks due to sheer Negligence by the Govt Authorities. As mills closed, and Employees lost the jobs, they moved on from the place and now several such bungalows are left unattended and vacant. What a hard luck!!!!So much of space to live in but no one lives…..

So there are fewer people, no administration or security or police control or jobs. When the grip of administration looses, miscreants take benefit of the situation.
There are several beautiful temples and which could attract tourism but city has been left like an Orphan. There is a Ram Chandi temple in outskirts, situated on a hill and Ib river in the back. Its quite adventurous to go to this temple where it is said that once all people and even ladies used to reach this temple with the help of the creepers of the banyan trees and there were no stairs. This has twisting 100 + stairs now with a breathtaking view, if you r afraid of heights and look down. There is a story that Lord Rama took shelter here during his exile of 14 years. This temple now closes at 5 pm.itself because thefts have occurred here in past and the road connecting this temple to the city is out of way and deserted.
There is a Laxmi Narayan temple by Birla with a picturesque view of the city but no electricity at all. All people go for darshans in day time only. We visited the temple in the twilight hours of dusk when the pandit was doing aarti all alone and was happy to see it being attended by atleast few bunch of people. He was quite sad and explained that how this temple was looted, the gold ornaments of God & goddess were stolen, gate demolished and power was cut and now temple operates in murky darkness during nights. On a funny note, even God has to bear the brunt from his own creation; Human. A kind of Frankenstein.

Seeing this heart filled with tears.

Now when you pass through the lanes, the smoke comes out from Brazier, small kids playing and everyone moving to their homes before its getting dark.

This city is the epitome of a bizarre mix of two extremities at a time. So peaceful yet so isolated, so rich in nature but so deserted in poverty, so small in size but big in facing the rough weather. Just hope that local authorities, government and so called Corporate may have some look at its condition and try to explore and discover some new opportunities pumping a new life and its sheer due respect to this city, to its simple and innocent people.

editor of ‘Aaj ki Jandharaa’ killed in road accident

Devendra kar & his familyA well known journalist and editor of daily Hindi newspaper ‘Aaj ki Jandharaa’ Devendra kar and his family members were killed and five others injured when their vehicle skidded off the road and hit a road site tree at Badrama ghati jujumura sambalpur in morning.

Kar was returning to Raipur with his family after a visit to Puri when their car dashed against a roadside tree , resulting in the tragedy.

Devendra’s wife Deepika and sister Vinodini also died in the crash.

Kar, an Odia from the area bordering Chhattisgarh was settled in Raipur.

Chhattisgarh chief minister Dr Raman Singh has condoled the sad demise of Devendra Kar while remembering his contributions to pro-people journalism in the state.

Four-laning of NH-6 Completed, Service Roads Still Incomplete

Piecemeal development of the four-laning work of National Highway 6 at Sambalpur-Bargarh-Luharachatti stretch along Odisha-Chhattisgarh border has turned the road into a death trap. Though service roads have been provided alongside the highway, the delay in completion of the construction work and illegal parking of vehicles on the lanes has put lives of many at risk.

Sources said as per agreement, a private construction firm is in-charge of laying service road on either side of the four lanes from Ainthapali Chowk to Remed Chowk in Sambalpur town. While the four-laning work has been completed, the construction work of the service roads has been left midway making it unusable.

What has compounded the problem is the use of the half-laid service roads to park trucks and heavy vehicles. Further, garages and automobile workshops alongside the highway use the under construction roads to repair vehicles plying on the Highway.

Garages and automobile workshops have mushroomed at Baraipali along the Highway which passes through Sambalpur town. As the highway is full of diversions, commuters prefer to take the service roads to reach their destination quickly. However, with trucks and other heavy vehicles parked on the service roads, it is a difficult task for the commuters to wade through the congested roads. With more and more vehicles using the under construction lanes by making way through the stationary trucks, the service roads have become dangerous.

As the situation stands today, unruly parking of heavy vehicles, private buses, auto-rickshaws besides encroachment by roadside vendors have made the service roads invisible to the commuters plying on the highway. Adding to the woes of commuters is the absence of lighting system alongside the highway. Though street lights have been installed on both sides, they are yet to be made operational which leads to accidents on the service roads during night.

Superintendent of Police Prateek Mohanty admitted to the problem and said the Private Bus Owners’ and Truck Owners’ Associations should ensure that heavy vehicles are not parked on the service roads and enough passage is left for commuters. Steps will be taken to free the service roads from parking, he added.

Traditional Water Bodies Dry up in Modern Growth Impact

A dry summer stares at Sambalpur with traditional water harvesting structures going dry. While these structures have in the past been a boon to Sambalpur, things have worsened in the absence of maintenance.

Known as Kata, Muda and Bandh in local parlance, these water tanks were maintained by members of Kulta community who are traditionally into farming.

Most of the 94 water tanks spread over 930.235 acres of land under Sambalpur municipal limits are filled up and encroached upon and the rest replete with filth, weeds and silt.

In the past, the town was dotted with agricultural fields and these traditional water harvesting structures along with the Hirakud dam reservoir provided water for irrigation. The increase in the population took a toll on the structures. The condition of water harvesting structures in other parts of the district is not better.

Take for instance the 170-year-old Bada Kata spread over 11.65 acres of land in Birjam village under Sohela block of Bargarh district. The water body that irrigated a large area of agricultural land nearby, today has shrunk due to heavy deposits of filth.

Rani Sagar Kata, dug up by the then zamindar of Bijepur in Bargarh district Damodar Gartia in 1821, is spread over more than 150 acres of land. There was a network of water tanks below the Kata and the water seeping into the smaller tanks was used for drinking purpose by villagers. It also provided irrigation to 239.19 acres of land and villagers carried out pisciculture.

Today, this water body is covered with wild growth and weeds. Its water holding capacity has reduced and it can now barely irrigate 30 to 40 acres of land.

At Sambalpur town, Chandan bandh of Somnath temple in Balibandha that hosted the Chandan Yatra till 1982, is a dumping ground today. Following floods in 1982, condition of the bandh started deteriorating and sans renovation and maintenance, the five-acre pond, constructed by Maharaj Balabhadra Sai, serves as a dumping yard now. Filled with weed and silt, it has turned into a passage for sewage of the town that flows into the Mahanadi.

Joba bandh in Mudipada, the largest water tank in the town, and three similar structures in the same area – Manikmunda, Deulbandh and Bhangumunda – have dried up completely.