Monthly Archives: July 2012

Five pilgrims die, six injured in road accident

Five people were killed and six injured, two of them critically, when the vehicle in which they were travelling in collided with a truck on NH-6 near Godabhanga under Atabira Police station in Sambalpur district today.

Police said all the injured were admitted to the VSS Medical College and hospital, Burla.

Police identified the deceased as Pradip Chindra (33), Gayatri Chindra (3), Sukanti Saraf (53), Gitanjali Saraf (59) and Supreet Saraf (19).

According to police the accident occurred while members of two families were returning to their homes in Sambalpur after having a darshan of Lord Harishankar, a renowned Shaiva pitha in Bolangir District.

All of them belong to one family of Barbazar in Sambalpur town. Five other persons of the same family who were also traveling in the same vehicle along with the driver were critically injured and admitted to the VSS medical college at Burla. Hospital sources said the condition of four was very critical, The family members had darshan of Harishankar in Balangir district on Sunday.They were returning home when the mishap took place.While four of them died on the spot and another succumbed to the injury in the hospital.

The incident has sent shock wave in the entire Barbazar due to the untimely deaths of five members of a family.

Indian Forest Officer released on bail

Senior Indian Forest Service officer Surendra Prasad MohapatraSenior Indian Forest Service officer Surendra Prasad Mohapatra, arrested by Pennsylvania police and charged with indecent assault after a woman hotel worker complained against him, has been released on bail.

Mohapatra will appear in court for a preliminary hearing on August 1 in a Pennsylvania court. Sources told PTI that Mohapatra was released on bail on Friday and came to the city where he visited officials at the Indian Consulate on Monday.

Officials at the Consulate have been in constant touch with Mohapatra ever since he was arrested by the police in Pennsylvania’s Matamoras town on July 24 after a woman staff worker at the hotel where he was staying accused him of “sexual assault.” Sources said Mohapatra denies any wrongdoing.

India’s ambassador to the US Nirupama Rao, who was in the city to attend an event, said the matter is being investigated and did not make any further comment on the case.

The Consulate officials have been working on getting legal assistance to Mohapatra as well as sorting out the bail modalities. They are also making arrangements for his stay in the US while he fights his case in court.

Mohapatra is unlikely to get any diplomatic immunity as he does not have a diplomatic passport but an official one, the sources added.

Mohapatra was arraigned in a Pennsylvania court on July 25 and faces charges of indecent assault and false imprisonment. He had been arrested at the Pike County correctional facility in Pennsylvania.

A bail amount of $ 35,000 had been set for Mohapatra. He is scheduled to appear again in court before Magisterial District Justice Deborah Fischer for his preliminary hearing on August 1.

Mohapatra, who is said to be a 1985-batch IFS officer, was part of a group of 30 Indian officers visiting the US for a mid-career training programme at the Syracuse University in New York.

The incident is reported to have happened on late Tuesday night last week when Mohapatra had a problem with the internet connection in his hotel room and had asked the reception for help.

A woman came to his room but was unable to fix it and left. The police turned up about two hours later and arrested Mohapatra after the woman filed a complaint.

Mohapatra is the regional chief conservator of forests at Sambalpur in Odisha.

Grid collapse affects Odisha

The collapse of the eastern grid disrupted normal life in Odisha, which witnessed power failure in most parts today. Grid Corporation of Odisha(GRIDCO) director (commercial), PK Pradhan said distribution of electricity was disrupted in the entire state except some parts of the western region.

“We are not aware of the reasons behind the grid collapse. But we are trying to restore power supply on a war footing. Our men are on the job,” he said.

Efforts are on to restore power supply in phases, he said, adding some arrangements have been made to provide electricity in some areas of the capital city immediately, Pradhan said.

The state secretariat, buildings housing important government offices and in nearby areas power supply was restored within an hour, said a senior official.

Train services in the state were hit barring western areas like Sambalpur, Rourkela, Jharsuguda, Bargarh and Bolangir, where there was no disruption in power supply, official sources said.

Priority is being given to restoring supply to important hospitals, airport, railways and other vital installations, they added.

Activists campaign for organic farming

In their bid to minimize the use of pesticide in farming, social activists in the region have begun a campaign – ‘India for save food’ – urging the farmers to change to ‘non-pesticide management farming’ – a model that has worked successfully for the farmers of Andhra Pradesh. In a workshop organized here on Sunday, the campaigners demonstrated how excessive use of pesticide was poisoning foodgrains and vegetables.

“A report by a government agency disclosed that people are consuming poison every day as chlordane, heptachlor and DDT are present in our foodgrains and vegetables from the excess use of pesticide. Unless we are made aware of this fact, the situation would worsen in the coming days. So we have started this campaign to create awareness among people about the negative effects of pesticide,” programme convener and farmer leader, Ashok Pradhan, said. He said they will continue organizing such programmes in various places to create awareness on the subject.

More than 20 mass and social organizations – including western Odisha farmers’ coordination committee, Sambalpur district farmers association, Utsarga, Patang, water initiative Odisha, Odisha Sanskrutik Samaj, and Hirakhanda Nagarik Parisad – are taking part in the campaign. Farmers of the region, who have successfully adopted the new method, were also felicitated during the event.

“I am quite successful after adopting ‘non-pesticide management farming’ in my village. I use organic pesticide that I prepare using locally available materials. It is not only non-expensive, but has also increased my yield several fold. Now others have also started adopting the method,” Siba Sahu of Bhutibhal village in Bargarh district said. He said he cultivated paddy on more than 400 acres of land without ever using chemical pesticide and fertilizers.

Padmashree Dr. Chaturbhuj Meher conferred Doctorate by Sambalpur University

Padmashree Dr. Chaturbhuj Meher conferred Doctorate by Sambalpur UniversityPadmashree Dr. Chaturbhuj Meher, famous for giving an unique identity to Odissi style, Ikat and Baandha styles of weaving in global arena, has today been conferred with honorary Doctorate in the field of literature from Sambalpur University, Odisha for his contribution in literature.

The honorary doctorate was presented by Honourable Governor of Odisha Shri Murlidhar Chandrakant Bhandare at Sambalpur University, today. Padmashree Dr. Chaturbhuj Meher has made Odisha proud through his master craftsmanship & excellence in this field and has brought laurels for the state by winning many awards & accolades across the world. He is also the founder of popular Mehers’ Odissi Saree brand which has earned immense popularity both at national & international level for its unique style of weaving.