Tag Archives: Deogarh News

ULBs poll differed issue: Odisha Govt to appoint administrators in nine western Odisha districts

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.

Strike enters Day 3, Nuapada too joins

The third day of agitation by the lawyers of Sambalpur Bar Association saw students of GM College boycott classes and close down the college over the High Court bench demand.

They staged demonstration outside the college shouting slogans against the State Government. Offices and courts remained closed while relay hunger strike launched by the lawyers with support from different political parties continued. Similar reports were received from Deogarh, Jharsuguda and Bargarh.

At Nuapada, lawyers on Thursday decided to join the agitation of the HC bench. The decision was taken at a meeting held here. It was attended by Nuapada BJD MLA Rajendra Dholokia, BJD district president Prasanna Padhi, District Congress Committee president Saroj Sahu and district BJP president Ashok Mitra, besides members of the Bar Association. It was also decided that all State Government offices and courts will be closed from Friday.

It meeting decided to lock up offices of Khariar NAC and Khariar Road NAC to prevent filing of nomination for ULB polls. The political parties agreed to withdraw nominations if those were filed till date.

Maoists moving around the Sambalpur-Deogarh border

The Red ultras have become active in the district after a gap of about three years. This became evident after intensified combing operation by police and CRPF along Sambalpur-Deogarh border. Confirming presence of rebels, SP (Sambalpur) Nikhil Kanodia said around 15 to 20 Maoists have started moving in the bordering areas.

“We suspect movement of Left-wing extremists in the jungle bordering Deogarh and Sambalpur. Combing operation has been intensified to restrict their movement,” Kanodia said.

Maoists were active in the region till 2009 taking advantage of hilly terrains and forested areas along the border. The presence of Maoists in the district first came to light after the brutal killing of Meghpal sarpanch Kadar Singh in January, 2003. The ultras unleashed a reign of terror in Jujomora and Naktideul block of the district killing a dozen people in Burda, Banjaritikira and Tampersingha villages during subsequent years. Later, police launched a counter-offensive and arrested more than 39 Maoists, including a few leaders. The rebels lied low after security personnel busted several Maoist camps.

Meteorological observatories lying idle in 530 schools

Calamity-prone Odisha has missed out on a golden opportunity to tackle natural disasters by not generating real-time data in 500-plus schools where meteorological observatories are virtually lying idle.

Even though natural disasters have been taking a heavy toll on lives and property every year, the State Government is showing no interest to put the observatories to use.

Under the Participation of Youth in Real-Time Observation to Benefit Education (PROBE), a Department of Science and Technology (DST) project, the observatories were installed in 530 schools across the State barring Malkangiri, Deogarh and Sambalpur.

The main objective under PROBE was to train students at secondary school level to take up meteorological observations for understanding of the day-to-day environment, including weather. The project, which was initiated in Uttarakhand in 2003 before being extended to Odisha and other states, was carried out through 36 agencies, including NGOs as well as national institutes and universities.

Since 2011, when the project was completed in the State, the observatories are virtually rotting with the school authorities not taking any interest to train the students.

“The onus was on teachers to train the students in collection of the data on a daily basis. Once the project period was over, not many are taking interest, barring some schools where the headmasters and the science teachers have been enthusiastic enough to train the students entirely on their own,” said an official of the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

The DST had asked IMD to inspect certain schools to study the effectiveness of the project. In some pockets, such as in Sukinda block, science teachers were found to be zealous enough to keep using the observatories. In some parts, schools have established Met Clubs to keep the instruments running. But the same sense of zeal was missing in other schools.

“The teachers do not get even honorarium which could have been an incentive to use the observatories on a daily basis so that data generated can be collected and used for disaster-mitigation purposes. Even the DST would be interested to take the project forward but there has been no enthusiasm on the part of the State Government,” said official sources.

The observatories generate all kinds of weather parameters except atmospheric pressure data. Significantly, the schools are located in rural pockets whereas the weather stations of IMD and other disaster mitigation agencies are mostly in urban centres.

“If the State Government could use the observatories to collect the huge amount of data they are capable of producing, it could be of immense help in studying the climate as well as drawing up strategies,” said an official of the Orissa State Disaster Mitigation Authority.

Relief for Congress, BJP in Sambalpur

Although the BJD swept the recently concluded Zilla Parishad (ZP) polls, it is a mixed bag in the election to block chairman posts held on Sunday. Candidates of the three major parties shared honours across western Odisha bringing some relief for Congress and BJP.

In Sambalpur district, of the nine blocks,  chairman candidates were elected unopposed in five while BJD-supported candidates won in three and Congress candidate won in one block. Congress, BJP and BJD-backed candidates won in three blocks each.

In Naktideul and Dhankauda blocks, Congress candidates Annapurna Pradhan and Haripriya Suna were declared elected uncontested while in Kuchinda, Maneswar and Bamra Blocks, BJP candidates Kishore Naik, Pabitra Mahanand and Pushpanjali Dharua were elected unopposed respectively. In Jamankira block, it was a close fight between BJD-backed candidate Jemadei Mjahi, wife of former BJD Kuchinda MLA Brundaban Majhi, and Tulsa Gond of Congress. While Jemadei bagged 11 votes, Tulsa secured 10. In Rengali block Congress candidate Jyotirmayi Biswal garnered nine votes against five bagged by BJD rebel Padmini Behera.

However, in Rairakhol block, it was a fight between the BJD-supported candidate Pradip Pradhan and BJD rebel Pradip Agrawal. While Pradhan got nine votes, rebel Agrawal secured five votes.

Nuapada: The BJD-backed candidates won in three out of the five block chairman posts in the district while the Congress opened its account in Khariar and Sinapali blocks. The BJD-backed candidates were elected from Nuapada, Komna and Boden blocks.

Except for Bhagatram Majhi, the BJD-backed candidate who won from Nuapada block and was the sitting Sarpanch of Kendubahara gram panchayat, all other candidates are novices and will hold office for the first time.

Jharsuguda: After the huge setback in the ZP polls, the BJD which was in control of Laikera, Kirmira and Lakhanpur blocks surrendered to the Congress in the election to block chairman posts.

Congress had a sway over the blocks with two of its candidates, Binodini Patel and Nalini Kisan being declared elected unopposed from Kolabira and Kirmira respectively. In Laikera block, three members abstained from voting giving Congress’ Jogendra Naik? a clear majority with six votes against two bagged by BJD’s Tirtha Kisan. Congress nominees also trounced their opponents in Jharsuguda and Lakhanpur blocks.

Deogarh: After a clean sweep in the recently held ZP election, the BJD continued its feat in the election to the posts of block chairman.

Its candidates, Damayanti Sahu and Bilasini Naik were elected unopposed in Riamal and Tileibani blocks respectively. This apart, BJD-supported candidate Debendra Behera defeated BJP’s Arun Sahu by seven votes in Dharakote block.

Meanwhile, 10 panchayat samiti members of Tileibani block joined the BJD.

Sonepur: The BJD continued its winning streak here by clinching six block chairman posts. While the party nominees were elected unopposed from Binka, Dungripali and Tarbha blocks, they managed an easy win in Birmaharajpurm and Ulunda blocks. It was a close fight in Sonepur block with BJD’s Dinesh Agrawal winning by one vote.