UDAN flights from Jharsuguda from February 2018

The Odisha government will start regional flight operations from Jharsuguda airport under Centre’s UDAN scheme in the first week of February 2018, officials said today.

Chief Secretary A P Padhi informed the reporters after discussing the matter at a state-level coordination and monitoring committee meeting at Secretariat.

“The flight from Jharsuguda is scheduled to take off during first week of February, 2018,” a government release said, adding the flight will connect Jharsuguda with Raipur and Jagdalpur.

Four airstrips in Odisha and the Biju Patnaik International airport have been selected in phase-I for implementing the UDAN scheme.

The airstrips are Jharsuguda, Rourkela, Utkela in Kalahandi and Jeypore in Koraput districts. Jharsuguda has been upgraded to an airport from an airstrip.

Infrastructure of the airstrip at Rourkela is now ready for flights under UDAN scheme, the release added.

He also directed to make Utkela and Jeypore strips ready by March, 2018 so that the UDAN scheme could be implemented at the earliest, the release said.

The Director General of Police R P Sharma said around 135 police and 27 fire personnel have already been trained to provide security and fire services in the regional airports.

The Biju Patnaik International Airport will serve as the mentor airport for the scheme.

“The flight operator company (Air Odisha) appraised that regional connectivity from Kolkata to Rourkela has been scheduled to be started from January 23, 2018,” the release said.

The state government has decided to reduce VAT on aviation fuel from 5 per cent to 1 one percent and provide 20 per cent of under the Viability Gap Funding, said general administration special secretary A K Meena.

It will also provide subsidies and financial assistance for regional air connectivity, as a part of the ‘Make in Odisha’ initiative.

The average price of a ticket for these flights would be around Rs 2,500.

Routes like Bhubaneswar to Utkela, Utklela to Raipur, Bhubaneswar to Jeypore, Bhubaneswar to Jharsuguda, Jharsuguda to Ranchi, and Bhubaneswar to Rourkela have been suggested for regional connectivity.

Rehearsals going on for Dhanu Yatra

Dhanu Yatra New Kansa Bhubaneswar PradhanWith the 11-day Dhanu Yatra barely a week away, rehearsals are going on in full swing for the final show. It is considered to be the largest open-air theatre festival of the world, which will begin from December 23.

This year, 55-year-old Bhubaneswar Pradhan of village Sarla in the district will perform the role of Kansa, the main protagonist of the Yatra. Bhubaneswar, who is owner of an opera party, was selected after an audition conducted by four-member team of jury on November 28. The rehearsal for the Yatra began on December 6 at Kalyan Mandap here.

Ashok Behera, who is the director, said the rehearsal was at its peak. The rehearsals are likely to end on December 19. “All the artistes, including Bhubaneswar, are performing well and they have already completed two rounds of rehearsal,” Behera added.

Speaking about his efforts, Bhubaneswar said he was trying his best to do justice to his character. Around 40 artistes, including musicians, are participating in the rehearsals for five hours every day. The theme of the festival has been influenced by ‘Krishna Leela and Mathura Vijay’. The enactment of Day One begins with Kansa’s accession to throne and concludes with ‘Kansa Badha’ (death of Kansa) at the hands of his nephew Lord Krishna on the last day of the festival.

Sambalpur Police close eyes to trafficking by transgenders

A couple of years ago, a transgender was remanded in judicial custody after being arrested and produced in court by Bargarh police over some case. But it turned out to be a nightmarish experience for the jail authorities to find a suitable accommodation for the prisoner on the jail premises. Neither the accused could be accommodated with male prisoners nor with women prisoners. Finally, the jailer housed the transgender prisoner in his office chamber and later, the prisoner was let out on bail.

Perhaps this could be the reason why the Sambalpur police has turned a blind eye to a group of transgenders offering unnatural sex to commuters on the road linking Baraipali with Ainthapali. They descend on Ainthapali Chowk during night and move towards the IMFL outlet mingling with crowd.

Though an on-shop where one is not allowed to consume liquor, it acts like an off-shop and customers enjoy their drinks with push carts rolling out snacks. Here the transgenders make money and later move to desolate area near a closed office where they indulge in the illegal activity till late in the night.

With garish makeup and trendy and hugging scanty outfits, one can hardly make out whether they are girls or transgenders till they speak out with their gruffly voice. They have regular customers. The virtually abandoned premises of the office is used to carry out their trade.

The presence of the transgenders has forced the commuters to take the Highway route instead of driving on the service road. Although PCR vehicle is seen patrolling at the spot, the police seem to be more interested in collecting money from parked trucks than driving them out.

Social activist and transgender Mira Parida said irrespective of gender, every individual has biological urge but privacy needs to be maintained. The circumstances under which they are into the trade also needs to be reviewed, Mira said, adding that the State Government should take steps to provide livelihood to transgenders.

When contacted, Sambalpur SP Sanjeev Arora assured that action would be taken. He said a cell can be earmarked in Sambalpur Circle Jail to house transgenders and directed the Ainthapali police to round them up and book them under relevant sections of IPC.

Tribal Woman gives birth in drain after doctor refuse admission

Denied hospital admission Odisha woman gives birth in drainaThe Tribal woman was visiting her  ailing husband in the hospital when she went into labor pain. The doctors allegedly refused to check her due to lack of documents.

In a distressing case of hospital apathy, a woman delivered in a drain next to the hospital that denied her admission over lack of documents.

The doctors allegedly refused to admit the woman in labour after they discovered that she did not have the right documents with her needed for the same.

Reports say that the woman did go the hospital for delivery but only to visit her ailing husband, during which she went into labor.

Paddy procurement running smoothly in Sambalpur

AMID reports of dispute over FAQ standard in other districts, paddy procurement in Sambalpur district for the current Kharif Marketing Season (KMS) is going on in full swing. Commencing on November 15, the authorities have already procured 1,03,446.85 tonnes of paddy till December 11. Sources said farmers had received `106.60 crore so far.

Civil Supply Officer, Sambalpur, Pitambar Acharya said the Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Department has set a target of 2,61,764 tonnes, out of which the Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited (OSCSC) will procure 2,30,882 tonnes. MARKFED and Tribal Development Co-operative Corporation of Odisha Limited (TDCC) will procure 27,941 and 2,941 tonnes respectively.

While OSCSC had procured 98,437.70 tonnes so far, MARKFED and TDCC had bought 4704.38 and 304.77 tonnes respectively till December 11, Acharya added.

According to the official, 41,327 farmers had registered themselves for the procurement against 36,405 last year.

“The farmers are focusing on hassle-free paddy procurement in the district and payment of Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy through online within a period of three days,” he added.

Even after achieving the set target, authorities had not imposed any restriction on the procurement of the crop which would come to market yards from registered farmers, the official said.

Kharif procurement is being carried out at 77 market yards and paddy purchase centres across nine blocks of the district. The Primary Agricultural Cooperative Societies (PACS) are procuring paddy on behalf of OSCSC in the district. Altogether, 51 millers are participating in the process.

Sambalpur Zilla Krushak Surakhya Sangathan (SZKSS) vice-presidnt Umesh Mishra said the procurement is being carried out smoothly in the district. The farmers are also getting their payment within the stipulated period, he added.