Tag Archives: Malkangiri

Congress and BJD fan pet issues

Stepping up its attack on the BJD, a poll-bound Congress today organised three rallies in the undivided Koraput district, an old party bastion with a sizeable chunk of tribal population.

Addressing big gatherings at Malkangiri and Jeypore, Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee president Jaydev Jena and All-India Congress Committee-appointed in-charge of state party affairs B.K. Hariprasad, lashed out at the Naveen Patnaik government for trying to usurp central schemes such as cheap rice while failing to develop the state, which was labelled as the poorest in the country by the Raghuram Rajan committee.

“He has been making allegations against the Centre accusing it of neglecting Odisha. The truth is that he has failed miserably to make use of central schemes while trying to take undue credit for some of them such as subsidised rice,” said Hariprasad, addressing the rally at Malkangiri where the party has taken up the cause of tribals being branded as Maoists by the police.

“Not only are the tribal people suffering under this regime, the farmers, too, are committing suicide. The Centre, on the other hand, has been extremely generous to the state giving it a central university at Koraput and setting up the state-of-the-art Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Bhubaneswar,” said Hariprasad.

The tone and tenor of the Congress leaders did not change at Rayagada where Jena tore into Naveen accusing him of depriving the poor tribal people of their full quota of the subsidised rice allotted by the Centre. The party MLA from Bisam Cuttack, Dambrudhar Ulaka, trotted out figures to substantiate the charge made by his party chief.

The meeting at Rayagada, however, was marred by the heckling of Hema Gamang, wife of former chief minister, Giridhar Gamang and an aspirant for the party ticket from Gunpur Assembly constituency, by the supporters of Ramanaguda block chairman Purushottam Gamang.

With the disturbance exposing the growing factionalism within the party, Jena warned the hecklers against breaking discipline. “We are not going to tolerate such behaviour,” he said.

The other embarrassment for the party, of late, has been the queer behaviour of veteran Bhupinder Singh, who has made himself incommunicado amidst speculation that he might quit and join the BJD. Both Jena and Hariprasad refused to comment on speculations with regard to Bhupinder’s future saying the leader of Opposition was unwell and unreachable at the moment.

In yet another development, Arya Gyanendra, an All-India Congress Committee member and a known opponent of Jena, lashed out at the state party leadership for ignoring sincere leaders while selecting candidates for Lok Sabha and the Assembly elections. He said he would stay away from party programmes for a year as a mark of protest.

The party, on the other hand, sought to extract the maximum political mileage out of its Malkangiri rally accusing the district police of preventing supporters from reaching the meeting venue. It has called a shutdown in the district tomorrow to protest alleged police atrocities against its supporters today.

The Congress is keen to retain its hold on undivided Koraput district where it has four sitting MLAs and a Lok Sabha MP, who is its trump card as far as mobilising tribal support is concerned. Sources said Nabarangpur MP Pradeep Majhi, a livewire, has been trying all the tricks in the bag to win over the tribals of the area who appear to be upset with the police for engaging in a witch-hunt against them.

The BJD hit back at the Congress with a sit-in before the Raj Bhavan here today to ramp up its protest against the Centre’s continued refusal to grant Odisha the special category state status while according the same to the yet-to-be-born, Seemandhra.

The ruling party, which is organising a state-wide agitation on the issue, has planned a major show of strength with three rallies at Bhubaneswar, Berhampur and Sambalpur on March 5, the birth anniversary of Biju Patnaik, which is celebrated as ‘panchayati raj divas’.

Regional Level Consultation in Koraput

A two days Regional level Consultation on “the Implementation of Forest Rights Act, 2006” was organized by Bhumiadhikar Sangathan, Koraput  affiliated to the Campaign for Survival and Dignity (CSD), Odisha on 24th  and 25th August 2012 at the Tribal Museum Koraput.

The consultation was inaugurated by  Mrs. Malati Nayak, the Sarpanch of the Ramgiri G.P and The State CSD, Odisha Convenor, Gopinath Majhi. The Member of the Bhuni Adhikar Sangatha, Gopal Nayak welcomed the participants and shared the objective of the programme.

The State CSD, Odisha Convenor, Gopinath Majhi presided over the meeting. Around 300 hundreds Tribals and Forest dwellers, Forest Rights Committee (FRC) Members, PRI members from 11 blocks of Koraput district and representatives from different western and southern  districts i.e Malkangiri, Nabarangapur, Rayagarda, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh, Baleswar, Cuttack, Jajpur and Bolangir participated in the consultation.

The participants coming from different blocks of the Koraput and other districts shared on the various FRA implementation issues in the grounds. Raising concern over the non recognition of community forest rights in the State, Gopinath Majhi said that “the State Government has failed to recognize the community rights over forest in the State even after the passing of four years”.

Attacking the role of Forest Department he said that, “the forest department has lost its “Jamindary” over forest after the enactment and implementation of Forest Rights Act. However it still continued to play a divisive role in the villages by promoting Vana Surakhya Samitis (VSS) which has lost its legality. Further he has warned the NGOs still involved in promoting, supporting and strengthening VSS after the enactment and implementation of FRA in the State”. 

Mrs. Malati Nayak raising the number of FRA implementation issues in the district said that, “in Koraput, FRC has not been formed in a number of forest and un-surveyed villages and FRC has been formed in a revenue village under which there are 20 big hamlets, Whatever 58 community forest rights titles said to have distributed in the district are not as per Section 3(1) over traditional boundary of forest but for 3(2) meant for developmental rights i.e school, Aganwadi centre etc.”

Ranjit Pangi, the convenor of the Adibasi Ekta Manch, Koraput said that “there are lot of gaps in the recognition of individual forest rights in the district, in most of the cases, less area has been recognized, individual forest rights of the Other Traditional Forest Dwellers(OTFD) has been rejected despite the approval and recommendation of the concern Gram sabha; the SDLC and DLC have arbitrarily decided over the claims disrespecting the decision of the Gram Sabha and in many cases, titles issued to the tribal has not been demarcated and verified etc.”

In the meeting, “VSS hatao Jungle Bachao”, “VSS ku Prosahan Douthiba NGO Hatao”, Jungle Aau Jamin Haharta-Amarta Amarta” etc slogans were loudly uttered.
 In the consultation , besides members of the Bhumin Adhikar Sangathan, representative of  CSD, Odisha, Odisha Jungle Manch(OJM) , Adibasi Ekta Manch, Koraput , Odisha Adivasi Adhikar Abhijan, Bhumi Adhikar Sangathan,Koraput, Dongar Adhikari Samiti,Lamataput, Mahila Mahasangh,Ramgiri, Machhkunda Basachyut Mahasangh,Koraput, Jami Jungle Adhikar Sangathan,Bargarh, Wadaka Anchal Vikash Parishad,Kalahandi, Hirakud Budi Anchal Sangram Samiti, Jharsuguda , Adivasi Adhikar Manch, Jajpur also participated.

From the government side participating the Consultation on the first day, the Koraput Sub- Collector, Ramakanta Nayak and in the second day Ramesh Patra, ZIlla parishad Member, Baipariguda joined the programme, heard the number of issued raised by the participants and assured them to address the issues raised as soon as possible.

In the second day of the programmes, the participants of the consultation have planned for filling more and more community forest rights claims in the coming days; to return the faulty individual forest rights titles issued them to the District Level Committee (DLC) and to strengthen the protest against the VSS and Forest Department who have been the main hurdles before proper implementation of FRA in the region.

All the members of various community organizations gathered in the consultation warned the State and District Administration, Koraput to go for a massive protest, if their demands are not full filled.

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.

IAP performance in State better with 70% expenditure

The State fared better than other Maoist-affected States as far as the implementation of the Centrally-sponsored Integrated Action Plan is concerned, which is now in operation in 18 of the 30 districts, according to sources.

The sources said the total expenditure in the implementation of the IAP has been in the order of 70 per cent of the released funds for various projects. This was revealed at a review meeting following the recent video conferencing by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on the implementation of the scheme.

The sources said IAP was implemented in 15 backward and Maoist-affected districts and, since December last year, the Union Home Ministry had extended the project to three more districts- Nayagarh, Jajpur and Ganjam on demand by the State Government. The other districts in which the IAP is in operation are- Balangir, Deogarh, Gajapati, Keonjhar, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Koraput, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Sonepur and Sundargarh.

During the financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12, while the Union Government had provided Rs828 crore with Rs55 crore for each of the 15 districts, the newly added three districts received Rs90 crore at the rate of Rs 30 crore each. Out of the total Rs915 crore, the expenditure was to the tune of 70 per cent in 15 districts and around one per cent in case of the rest three districts, the sources said.

During the two years, various projects like road communication, building, drinking water supply, irrigation and other core sectors were taken up. The State Government had already allotted Rs 934.15 crore, more than the released funds, for the implementation of such projects in the 18 districts, the sources said, adding that 74 % of the projects are drinking water supply schemes, both piped water and tube-well projects.While 90 per cent of the projects were taken up for implementation, 65 per cent of the projects have already been completed, the sources said.

DLF Pramerica aims to tap rural areas in eastern states

In its endeavour to expand beyond northern India and tap rural customer base, the fledgling DLF Pramerica Life Insurance (DPLI), a 74:26 joint venture between DLF and Prudential International Insurance Holdings, a fully owned subsidiary of Prudential Financial, the US-based financial services leader, will now reach out to over 18 lakh households in 250 villages in eastern India, mostly across West Bengal, Orissa and Assam.

The company, which operates through 41 branch offices and 88 branch units across Delhi NCR, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and partly Gujarat, has recently marked its footprint in Kolkata and is now keen on moving into tier-II, tier-III cities and even deeper.

The company has drawn up elaborate plans to reach out to people in far-flung areas through a programme called ‘Bima Jagrukta Abhiyan,’ which is a month-long insurance awareness campaign that seeks to generate awareness about the need and benefits of life insurance among rural customers.

“Through our initiative of Bima Jagrukta Abhiyan, we aim to reach out to a large number of rural households to educate them about the importance of life insurance and simultaneously also to make our products easily accessible to them,” Pavan Dhamija, MD and CEO of DPLI, said.

“The protection that life insurance offers is extremely important for the financial security and well-being of the family. It is unfortunate that large population of people residing in rural India has little knowledge of or access to life insurance,” he said.

As per the plan, the company will cover 100 villages in 16 districts in Orissa including Cuttack, Jagatsinghapur, Puri, Khordha, Nayagarh, Kandhamal, Balangir, Kalahandi, Naupada, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Boudh, Sonepur, Koraput, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur.

In West Bengal, the company will touch upon 100 villages in the districts of Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Howrah, West Midnapore, East Midnapore, Burdwan, Bankura, Purulia, Hoogly, Nadia, Mushirdabad and Coochbehar. And in Assam, the programme will cover 50 villages in the 12 districts of Baksa, Nalbari, Barpeta, Chirrang, Bongaigaon, Dhubri, Goalpara, Sontipur, Golaghat, Jorhat, Sibsaga and Tinsukia, he said.

Branded mobile vans will travel through these villages with simple and direct messages. Besides, skits, street plays and interactive games will be used to draw attention of people and encourage them to find out more about life insurance and what it can do for the long-term financial security for themselves and their families. All communication will be kept simple so that the rural population finds it easy to understand and act upon.