Modi Meet in Sambalpur on March 12

BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate Narendra Modi will visit the State on March 12 to campaign for his party. Announcing this at the State level conference of BJP functionaries here on Thursday, party president KV Singhdeo said Modi will address a public meeting at Sambalpur.

This will be the second visit of the Gujarat Chief Minister to the State within a month. Modi addressed a massive gathering here on February 11. More than 3,000 office-bearers from gram panchayat to district level gathered here to deliberate on the party’s strategy for the forthcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha election.

Singhdeo exhorted the party functionaries to launch a door-to-door campaign carrying the development message of Modi. The party has decided to touch 30 lakh households in the State and seek financial contribution for the elections.  The party launched ‘Modi-for-PM fund’ on February 11 in the presence of national BJP president Rajnath Singh.

AAP to Harp on Anti-Corruption Plank

Even as other political parties are yet to announce their candidates for the 2014 polls, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate for Bargarh Lok Sabha constituency, Lingaraj, is gearing up to address his first workers convention at Bargarh on Thursday.

Talking to Express, Lingraj said that AAP has already enrolled about 12,000 members and they will launch the campaign after the meeting on Thursday. Gradually such meetings will be held at each of the Assembly segments, blocks and gram panchayats, he added.

Lingaraj said that AAP is likely to field candidates in all the seven Assembly segments without which giving a strong fight in the Lok Sabha polls is not possible.

Corruption at all levels, growing joblessness and unemployment and problems of the farmers will be his key campaign issues, he said.

He said that the resignation of AAP ministry in Delhi has sent out a positive signal and people are slowly aligning with the party as they are frustrated with the growing corruption.

The AAP candidate said that local issues including forcible acquisition of land for industries in Jharusguda, massive pollution by industries, paddy procurement, black marketing of fertilisers and supply of substandard seeds will be raised.

Lingaraj said that in the name of governance, both the State government and the Centre are undermining people’s strength and

AAP will show the political parties the consequences when people wake up and react.

Admitting that generating funds would pose a problem for him, he said he would depend on the contribution of the people.

Lawyers Call for Western Odisha Bandh Today

The Central Action Committee (CAC) of All Western Odisha Bar Association (AWOBA) has decided to go ahead with their Western Odisha bandh call on Wednesday with the State Government remaining silent over their demand.

They have been demanding a complete and comprehensive proposal to the Central Government over setting up of High Court Bench in the region by February 18.

CAC secretary Niranjan Tripathy said the State Government has not yet acted on the demand. “As we had given an ultimatum, we will go ahead with the bandh call,” he said.

Essential services will not be hampered though. Similarly, students will be allowed to reach their schools and colleges to appear for examinations and marriage ceremonies allowed to be solemnised.

The Sambalpur District Bar Association (SDBA) has also urged all political  parties to join the bandh call.

Proposed Handloom Park Yet to See Light of Day

The State Government’s ambitious Sambalpuri Ikat Handloom Park project in Bargarh district has remained confined to the pen and paper for over three years now.

In 2011, the Government had decided to set up the Park at Katapali village under Barpali block which would be the second handloom park in the country and in Asia, the first one being at Kochampalli near Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh.

second-handloom-park-bargarhIn the wake of decreasing number of skilled weavers, the handloom park was aimed at teaching weaving to people of non-weaver community. Besides training the weavers on tie and dye processing, production and finishing of the products, the captive looms in the project will help them produce textiles as per market demands.

Sources said as of now, the detailed project report has not been finalised. The park, coming up in public-private partnership (PPP) mode, has acquired over 10 acres of land against a requirement of 25 acres.

The park will have 500 to 1,000 looms and employ 3,000 workers. So far, it has been registered as a society with 100 members including 45 national awardees and 55 master weavers.

While the society is required to arrange land on its own, the Centre and State Government will share other components of the `70-crore project. An inter-governmental panel had been constituted to work on the details of the project.

Official sources in the Handloom, Textiles and Handicrafts Department said the society members had submitted the draft of the final detailed project report last year and the authorities concerned had asked for certain changes which are yet to be made. “Besides, some portion of 10 acres that had been acquired for the project are disputed. It belongs to the tribals and hence, cannot be transferred. But we are trying to put the project on the fast track and it would be commissioned soon,” said a higher official of the department.

According to the Handloom Census 2009 of the Government of India, Bargarh has the biggest handloom cluster in the State. There are 35,000 weavers and allied textile workers and 12,500 looms in the district. Bargarh handloom cluster sprawls across Bargarh, Barpali, Bheden, Bhatli, Attabira, Bijepur, Padampur and Sohela blocks.

Boat Owner, One More Boatman Held

One more boatman and owner of the boat which capsized in the Hirakud dam reservoir claiming 31 lives, were arrested by Sambalpur police on Saturday.

Police had been on the lookout for the two ever since the incident took place on February 9. The boat owner was identified as Satyanand Pandey of Jagannath Mandir Colony in Sambalpur town and the boatman Anjan Parua belongs to Sianpali village under Banharpali police limits in Jharsuguda district. They were forwarded to court.

Pandey said he had requisite permission from Inland Water Transport (IWT) under Directorate of Ports and Inland Water Transport, Chandbali, by virtue of which he was operating boat service.  However, he said the Dhankauda panchayat samiti had not auctioned the Sonutikra ghat where people boarded and landed and was sure to bag the auction as he has been operating the service since last 11 years.

He revealed that majority of the men who were on board the boat were drunk and did not pay heed to the request of the boatmen and crowded the boat.

He said while they were ferried in groups while going on onward journey, all boarded the boat at a single go on their return journey.

The capacity of the boat was to ferry 100 persons, but more than 140 boarded forcibly.

Moreover, they panicked and rushed to one side of the boat on seeing the rescue boat approach which resulted in the large number of casualty. Similarly, boatman Anjan Parua said they requested the picnickers not to board the boat together and assured that they would be ferried in groups. “But they intimidated and threatened us,” he added.

Earlier on Wednesday, boatman Akshya Rana of Sonutikra village under Sason police limits of the district was arrested near Sambalpur on the charges of rash navigation of the vessel.