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A regional airline has proposed to start flight service to small and industrial towns of Jharsuguda, Angul, Rourkela and Jeypore within Odisha.
“Air Odisha Aviation Pvt Ltd has expressed its interest to operate flights from Bhubaneswar to different parts of the state such as Jharsuguda, Angul, Rourkela and Jeypore from this month,” Sharad Kumar, director Bhubaneswar Airport said.
Stating that the work for the Jharsuguda airport will begin from December this year, Kumar said it is likely to be completed within two years. Jharsuguda would be the second commercial airport in the state of Odisha, he said.
Go Air will be operating four daily flights – two flights to New Delhi and one each to Mumbai and Kolkata from the Biju Patnaik domestic airport from the October 26, Kumar said.
He also informed that the preparations are on for starting flights from Bhubaneswar to Bengaluru by another airline operator ATC Airways by February next year.
Presently, 32 flights to eight different destinations are operating from the airport here.
The 25 urban local bodies (ULBs) in the nine western Odisha districts are all set to get Administrators for executing the day-to-day administration as the terms of office of the ULB councils would expire on September 19 next without any elected bodies.
“Since in the absence of any elected councils after the expiry of the five-year terms on September 19, the State Election Commission (SEC) will recommend to the State Government under the Article 243 ZA of the Constitution of India and Odisha Municipal Act, 1950 to post Administrators to manage the affairs in these ULBs where the election process was affected due to law and order situation,” said State Election Commissioner Ajit Kumar Tripathy on Friday.
The election process in the 25 ULBs was stopped due to a bandh called by the Central Action Committee of lawyers of nine western Odisha districts and supported by all political parties on the demand for establishment of a permanent High Court Bench in the region.
Meanwhile, the SEC has postponed the elections to the 25 ULBs in the nine districts Sambalpur, Subarnapur, Jharsuguda, Deograh, Baragrah, Balangir, Kalahandi, Nuapada and Sundargarah on the reports from concerned District Magistrates. The SEC on Friday also withdrew the operation of the Model Code of Conduct enforced in the 25 ULBs.
Congress spokesperson Narasingha Mishra said the Government has failed to act under the Constitution to hold the election to the 25 ULBs, for which there is a Constitutional breakdown. BJP leader Biswa Bhushan Harichandan alleged that such an incompetent Government was never seen in the State. Health Minister Damodar Rout questioned the lawyers’ movement to stop the ULB elections in western Odisha. “Is the movement Constitutional, he asked.
According to SEC sources, as many as 36 of the total 3,492 candidates in the fray for the rest 66 ULBs spread over 20 districts going to polls on September 19 elected uncontested with a majority of them being ruling BJD candidates.
At a time when controversy surrounding block allocations has caught different coal bearing states in a bind, the Ministry of Coal has urged the Odisha government to submit its action taken report at the earliest in connection with illegal coal mining activities.
In the light of observations made by the Parliamentary Standing Committee on coal & steel, Coal secretary S K Srivastava has asked Odisha chief secretary B K Patnaik to expedite the action taken reports so that they can be compiled and sent to the Lok Sabha secretariat.
Though the Coal ministry had written to the state chief secretary earlier on the matter in December 2011, the state government was yet to apprise the ministry on action taken in respect of illegal coal mining.
Waking up rather belatedly to the directive of the Coal ministry, the Odisha steel & mines department has now urged Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL) and collectors of four districts- Angul, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda and Sundergarh to comply with the recommendations of the Parliamentary panel. The department has also suggested that the recommendations be discussed in the meeting of the district level task force.
The Parliamentary Standing committee had observed that the natural resources of the country are being plundered at the cost of national economy and destruction of environment. The panel was of the opinion that officials responsible to curb illegal mining are either indifferent or too scared to stop the menace.
“Officers of personnel and legal departments of coal companies should make all endeavours to ensure that the criminal trials pending for legal and unauthorized coal mining are ended with conviction. Unfortunately, the coal companies could not produce any facts and data, establishing the appropriate steps taken in this regard. The committee deprecates such a lackadaisical attitude of coal companies. It is unfortunate that in cases of such huge illegal coal mining, there is not a single conviction made by appropriate court by reason of non-persuasion of such case either by the appropriate government or by the coal companies”, the committee stated in its report.
Moreover, there is utter lack of coordination between the Central and concerned state governments and among various coal companies. While the Centre has exclusive powers to make laws with respect to regulation of mines and major mineral development, the state governments are mainly responsible for implementing such laws. The committee recommended that the coal producing states should frame rules and set up an inter-state joint intelligence and action force to combat the problem of illegal mining.
It had called for better monitoring, policing and creating job opportunities for the poor in areas where the problem of illegal mining is prevalent. The panel also observed that except for Jharkhand, no major study has been undertaken by any coal producing state or coal companies to ascertain the extent of loss of money due
to illegal coal mining.
The Orissa high court on Friday directed the State Pollution Control Board to initiate criminal proceedings against seven district headquarter hospitals for continuous violation of Biomedical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules. “The division bench of Justice L Mohapatra and Justice I Mohanty has directed the board to file criminal cases against the in-charges of bio-medical waste management at the district hospitals of Angul, Dhenkanal, Bhadrak, Balasore, Boudh, Deogarh and Sambalpur under the Environment Protection Act, 1988,” said amicus curie P R Das.
The directive came in the wake of a petition filed by a social organization, Maitree Sansad. It has alleged that these hospitals have been long flouting biomedical waste handling rules. Even the high court-appointed advocate’s committee had visited these hospitals and found deficiencies in the biomedical waste disposal system. Warnings were also issued to these hospitals but nothing was done by them to improve the situation, stated the amicus curie.
He further said the hospitals dumped the biomedical waste in a haphazard and improper manner, which is extremely dangerous from health point of view. “We had submitted our report before the high court and taken strong note of the report that the court has directed the SPCB to file criminal cases against these hospitals,” added Das.
The board had filed criminal cases against the superintendents of three government medical colleges in 2010 for violating the biomedical waste management rules.
The season’s first spell of heatwave has been ruthless aided and abetted by erratic power supply and an administration in slow-motion. The mercury level soared with day temperature on Wednesday crossing the 40-degree Celsius mark in at least 15 districts. Titlagarh recorded 45.
The State Government woke up late to the power crisis and convened a meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, to take stock of the preparedness. The weather office, meanwhile, issued a heatwave warning for the next 48 hours across most parts of the State.
Western, central and northern Odisha districts reeled under the heatwave as mercury soared past 43 degree C in most places. Titlagarh recorded 45 degree C, Sambalpur sizzled at 44.5 and Sonepur at 44. Balangir, Kalahandi and Jharsuguda in the west, interior districts such as Angul, Dhenkanal and northern districts like Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar recorded 42 degree C on the day. Phulbani, considered Odisha’s Kashmir, recorded a maximum temperature of 40.6 degree.
Coastal Odisha was not spared of the misery either. Bhubaneswar registered 42.6 degree while Cuttack recorded six degrees above normal.
“There is conspicuous absence of easterly wind for the last couple of days whereas the north western wind has been consistent in raising the surface temperature. The see breeze, which cools down the City (capital), was weak, blowing at a speed of 1 knot to 2 knots,” Director, India Meteorological Department, Odisha, Sarat Chandra Sahu said.
Although a trough line existed over coastal Odisha, it was lying closer to the surface and unable to gather enough moisture from the atmosphere to trigger thunder squalls. Unbearable conditions apart, the shoddy power supply in the City has made life intolerable for the denizens. Low voltage and frequent breakdowns have been reported in most parts of the Capital for more than a fortnight. Even on Wednesday, people complained of frequent load shedding and power surge during most parts of the day and the evening hours.
At the meeting, the Chief Minister directed the Energy department to ensure transformers are repaired immediately. The Health and Family Welfare department was asked to stock ORS in hospitals and take preventive measures to check sunstroke.