Daily Archives: March 6, 2012

BJD members kept in hiding

With just a week remaining for the election of Zilla Parishad president, the 10 elected BJD ZP members have been shifted to an undisclosed location. They have been shifted after reports of Congress trying to poach its members to form the ZP were received.

To ensure surety, the BJD ZP members will arrive in Sambalpur on March 13 morning and head straight to the ZP to exercise their franchise paving way for the BJD to rock the citadel of the Congress. The BJD which hardly had any presence in the district, except in Rairakhol Assembly segment, is all set to form the Sambalpur ZP with its candidates winning in 10 out of 19 seats. Congress has won in eight seats and BJP managed only one.

Considering the equations, the Congress might end up forming the ZP if it can rope in the BJP candidate and woo one from the BJD.

However, that looks a tough job with the lone BJP member likely to support BJD. The ruling party, on the other hand, would not like to take any chances.

In the last ZP election, the BJD managed to get only one seat while failing to have any representation in Sambalpur Municipal Council. Even as the BJD is basking in its success, the win in Sambalpur has come as a surprise to both the Opposition

parties.

Though the BJD tried to win over people by making Pramila Bohidar a Rajya Sabha member and Prasanna Acharya won as Sambalpur MP thrice in 1998, 1999 and 2004, it failed to make any impact on the fortunes of the party which was considered as a ‘Katakia Party’. Things changed after erstwhile State Youth Congress president Rohit Pujari deserted the Congress and took the reins of BJD in the district.

The recent poll results clearly indicate that the party has gradually strengthened its position in the district.

While Balangir, Sundargarh, Sonepur, Boudh had Ministers backing the party, things were not the same in Sambalpur. Though Prasanna Acharya could not from campaign due to ill-health, the BJD came out with flying colours.

The BJD has set out on a new beginning in Sambalpur district, once a stronghold of the Congress.

Dip in annual footfall at city planetarium

The state-run  Pathani Samanta Planetarium here has failed to catch the fancy of visitors, if the Odisha economic survey 2011-12 is any indication.

The annual footfall of visitors at the planetarium has been steadily declining since 2006, even as the state government recently announced to establish a second planetarium at an initial cost of Rs 5 crore at Sambalpur.

While 1,33,289 people, including 60,000 students, visited the planetarium in 2006-07, generating a revenue of Rs 1,219,350, the footfall went down drastically with only 47,934 visitors in 2010-11, but the revenue shot up to Rs 5,81,657, official sources said.

The tickets at the planetarium are priced at Rs 10 per child and Rs 15 for adults. Students often enjoy concessions of up to 50% if they visit in groups. “Price difference is the reason for uneven revenue collection,” a planetarium officer said.

Established in 1990, the planetarium aims at creating awareness on astronomy, astrophysics and space science among people, especially students.

Deputy director of the planetarium Subhendu Pattnaik attributed the low turnout to “obsolete” technology at the institute. “The old equipment, including manual planetarium projector has been affecting the turnout,” he said.

Pattnaik, however, expressed confidence that the situation will change by March-end. The planetarium is undergoing massive renovation at a cost of around Rs 7 crore to woo back visitors. It was closed in August for renovation.

“We have procured latest digitized mechanical projector at a cost of nearly Rs 5.5 crore from the US to replace the old one. The gadget is a first of its kind in eastern India. This will definitely improve the quality of the shows as opposed to the previous manual projector,” Pattnaik said. “Earlier we used to show only a handful of static pictures on screen. Soon we can screen any number of films with 3-dimensional effects. We can also screen live cosmological events with the help of the Internet. This facility was not available earlier,” he added.

The seating capacity of the planetarium is also slated to increase to 180 from the existing 140. A host of other amenities, including new ACs will be installed in the planetarium as well.

Students are eagerly waiting for completion of the renovation.

“I was a regular visitor to the planetarium to watch different activities to hone my skills in science. I hope, it resumes its service soon,” said  Prateek Nanda, a Class VI student of a city-based public school.

Octant gets clearance to set up 10MW bio mass power project

OctantOctant Industries has announced that the Orissa Pollution Control Board has given clearance for construction of the Biomass Power Project in Sambhalpur District, Orissa State.

The company has also received clearance from various government authorities such as Orissa Power Transmission Corporation for evacuation of power. The above mentioned government authorities have inspected the site at Sambalpur district and expressed their willingness by giving the approvals. The civil work with regard to the above are under progress and the plants and machinery orders has been placed with the parties as mentioned earlier. The power project will be commissioned within one year. This will add more value to the existing shareholders of Octant Industries. (Q,N,C,F)*

Shares of the company declined Rs 0.39, or 4.37%, to trade at Rs 8.54. The total volume of shares traded was 20,682 at the BSE (3.46 p.m., Monday).