Daily Archives: May 12, 2012

Civic body chiefs fate hangs in balance

Uncertainty looms large over the fate of Sambalpur Municipal Council even after the High Court on Friday vacated the stay on the writ petition filed by chairperson Rina Trivedi. She had obtained a stay from the court to reserve the outcome of the no-confidence motion against her held on May 7. Although the case was supposed to be taken up by the court on Thursday, it was postponed to Friday.

While it was expected that the counting would be taken up on Friday and the fate of Trivedi would be decided, it could not be done as the district administration is yet to receive any communication from the High Court.

Earlier on May 7, as many as 20 disgruntled councillors had moved the no-confidence motion against Trivedi.

Of the 29 wards under Sambalpur municipal limits, BJP had maximum 15 councillors followed by Congress with 13 besides one Independent. Congress’ strength reduced by one with death of councillor Ladra Munda while seven BJP councillors had resigned from the party reducing it to a minority. Then the disgruntled councillors, including 12 from the Congress and BJP vice-chairman Siddharth Saha, had closed ranks against Trivedi.

Although an attempt was made to unseat Trivedi on February 9 last year, her mentor and Sambalpur BJP MLA Jayanarayan Mishra managed to bail her out by holding the BJP councillors together. He had then issued a stern warning to Trivedi to mend her ways and take all BJP councillors into confidence before taking any decision.

An UTP attempted self-immolation at the Sambalpur jail on friday

An UTP(Under Trial Prisoner) attempted self-immolation at the Sambalpur Circle Jail on Friday.  A native of Kesinga in Kalahandi, Amosh Nag (28) has sustained 90 per cent burn injuries. On Friday morning, he doused himself with kerosene and had set himself on fire.

He was rushed to the Jail Hospital by the staff and later shifted to VVS Medical College and Hospital at Burla where his condition is stated to be critical. He had used the kerosene issued to light lantern at night. Reports said Nag was arrested by Khetrajpur Police in the town on attempt to rape charges and remanded in judicial custody.

The state government plans houses at Rs 3 lakh for poor

The state government is planning to build houses in urban areas for the economically weaker sections (EWS). These flats will be available at Rs 3 lakh, if the project sees the light of day.

Sources said the government has mooted a proposal for affordable housing under which the EWS beneficiaries and BPL card holders will not have to pay more than 1,000 as equated monthly installment (EMI) while buying a house.

The low income groups (LIG) will get flats for 5 lakh with an EMI in the range of 2,400 to 2,600 per month. Currently, one BHK flats in cities such as Bhubaneswar are hardly available below 5 lakh.

The government also intends to earmark 40 per cent of the total land of affordable housing projects for the EWS. While 30 per cent of the total land of such projects would be for LIG, developers can use the rest 30 per cent for catering to middle income group (MIG), high income group (HIG) and commercial customers. The developers have to provide common bathroom and toilets in each block of EWS houses, sources said.

In the first phase, the government plans these affordable housing projects in Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Rourkela, Angul, Puri, Balasore and Paradip. Other urban local bodies will be free to undertake such housing projects if viable, sources added.

The affordable housing policy plan comes at a time when the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (planning and building standards) amendment regulations 2012 proposes that apartment buildings and group housing projects will earmark at least 10 per cent of their construction area for making housing units for EWS/LIG categories. BDA would decide the cost and method of allotment of such houses

End of the long 17 days battle between collector and lawyer

The conflict between the Sambalpur lawyers and collector Mrinalini Darswal finally reached a solution on Friday as the collector expressed her sorrow at the April 23 incident and the lawyers agreed to resume work.

The lawyers and the collector met at the RDC’s office on Friday after all court work remained suspended in the district for 17 days. IN the presence of IG R P Koche and SP Nikhil Kanodia, the collector told the lawyers she was sorry for the incident. The lawyers also repented assaulting the collector and ransacking her residence. Presiding the meeting, Sambalpur RDC Kishore Chandra Barik appealed to both the parties not to take the issue further in any form and assured to begin the process of withdrawing criminal cases filed by the collector and DSR and the bar association in connection to the scuffle.

“We feel sorry for the incident. It was unfortunate. We agreed to call-off the agitation with immediate effect as we wanted to settle the issue amicably. The collector also expressed her sorrow for the incident. She also said she deeply regretted the incident. We will continue to raise our voice in various public issues where we feel unfairness and injustice,” president of Sambalpur district bar association Pramod Rath said. However, he said, as the president of the bar, he felt sorry for whatever happened on that day.

Collector Mrinalini Darswal said vandalism and criminal act could not be accepted in any way. It was really a regrettable incident and no one can take law in one’s hands. We are public servants and we work for the betterment of the society. “I am sorry for the incident and appealed to the lawyers not to take law in their hands in future,” Darswal said.

The collector, however, reaffirmed that lawyers manhandled her and threw chappals and bottles at her. They also ransacked her office. She said she was working normally since the incident. It was the lawyers who started agitating.

On the other hand, eminent citizens of the town heaved a sigh of relief as the lawyers and the collector brought an end to the episode. They appealed to both the parties for working sincerely in future. “It is a good sign that both the parties have agreed to conclude the chapter. This will create an example in future,” Khirod Prasad Mishra, an eminent citizen of the town, said.

State commission for women chief moots meet to end lawyers’ agitation

The State Commission for Women chairperson, Jyoti Panigrahi, on Thursday recommended the state government to convene a meeting to resolve the deadlock in wake of the lawyers’ dispute with Sambalpur district collector Mrinalini Darswal.

In her five-page report to chief minister Naveen Patnaik on the collector-lawyers standoff, Panigrahi asked the government to convene a meeting of state Bar Council chairperson, IAS Officers’ Association president, Sambalpur Bar president and Sambalpur collector with director general of police for early solution to the impasse. “The issue needs to be resolved early because due to the stalemate, litigants including women were suffering and the state was facing huge revenue loss,” Panigrahi told TOI.

Panigrahi said she had made three principal recommendations in her report. Besides the suggestion for a high-level meeting, she also suggested to the district administrations to take sufficient precautionary measures to avoid such incidents while highlighting that the Sambalpur collector was not well prepared while going to the agitating lawyers. Thirdly, the SCW chief advised the district administrations to make sufficient police deployment when they apprehend law and order problem.

“I have not made any comment on who was at fault as the crime branch is probing into that matter,” she said.

Meanwhile, functioning of courts and judicial offices has been severely affected in Sambalpur for the last 15 days. No legal work can be done in the town at present, and common people are suffering immensely.

Even the signing of an affidavit for students opting for higher education is almost impossible as notary public and stamp venders are not available in the court area. “I need a residential certificate to apply for my higher studies, but as the lawyers have continued their cease-work, I am not able to get the certificate,” a student of Sambalpur said.

Lawyers, on the other hand, said they knew about people’s plight, but were helpless. They accused the government of giving rise to such a stalemate. “We understand the plight of the people, but we are undone. The government should take appropriate steps to solve the problem immediately. We have decided to continue our agitation till May 19,” general secretary of Sambalpur district bar association Bijitendriya Pradhan said on Thursday.