Daily Archives: September 16, 2012

State to set up six more anti-human trafficking units

Centre has asked the State government to convert primary schools having low enrolments in urban and semi urban areas into integrated hub of services for children especially vulnerable ones.

In a recent communication addressed to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Krishna Tirath, Union Minister of State for Women and Child Development, expressed concerns over inadequacy of services for deprived children like shelters, creches and residential schools especially in urban and semi-urban areas.

“A number of primary schools are having low enrolment and thus, are under consideration of closure. There may be unutilised government buildings and similar infrastructure in cities as well,” Ms. Tirath pointed out.

She suggested that such schools and buildings could be better utilised for establishment of an integrated hub of services for children.

“Services available in such hubs could include open shelter under Integrated Child Protection Scheme, creche facilities under Rajiv Gandhi National Creches Scheme for Children of Working Mothers (RGNCS), anganwadis under Integrated Child Development Schemes and residential schools under Sarva Sikshan Abhiyan,” the Union Minister noted seeking Chief Minister’s intervention for expeditious establishment of such centres. Sources in State Women and Child Development Department that steps had already been initiated to action plan on the proposal.

Meanwhile, the State government has decided to set up six more anti human trafficking units (IAHTUs) to track human trafficking in the State. These units would be located at office of the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Crime Branch, Cuttack, DIG (North Central Range), Talcher, DIG (South Western Range), Koraput, Inspector General of Police (Railway), Cuttack, Sundargarh and Kandhamal districts.

At present there are six IAHTUs operating in the State. The locations are office of IG (Crime Branch), Cuttack, Commissionerate of Police, Bhubaneswar and offices of IG of Police, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Balasore and Berhampur.

Uncertainty over installation of radar at Paradip

Uncertainty continued to prevail over installation of Doppler radar at Paradip after Chinese-made system was reportedly rejected for security concerns.

“We have not received any communique from our headquarters about installation of radar at Paradip. No official instruction about replacement to Chinese-made radar, which is now with us, has reached,” said Sarat Ch. Sahu, Director of Bhubaneswar Meteorological Centre, here on Friday.

IMD sources said 55 Doppler radars were to be installed across the country in order to predict atmospheric systems. Four Doppler radars would be installed in the State at Paradip, Gopalpur and Balasore – all coastal locations and Sambalpur – an interior site.

“Building infrastructure is ready at Paradip while work has been initiated at three other locations in the State. We have received only Chinese-made system for Paradip. The system would be moved to Sambalpur since there had been no green signal on its installation at any coastal site,” Mr. Sahu said.

He said the analogue radar installed at the Paradip weather station for the weather forecast had gone defunct forcing the Bhubaneswar met centre to rely on Vishakhapatnam and Kolkata radar. Sources informed that Chinese-made Doppler radars had been installed in interior locations such as Delhi, Bhopal, Patna and Agartala.

Upon installation of Doppler radar, real time data about atmospheric systems such as cyclone, wind, rain and thunder storm could be generated.

Freedom after 22 years, Dharua’s family

Freedom after 22 years, Dharua's familyIt took Chandra Dharua, a free man like anyone else in Independent India, 22 years to have a taste of real freedom.

Forty-five-year-old Dharua, a migrant labourer from Odisha, and his wife, who were in confinement in an Andhra Pradesh brick kiln, arrived at the Bolangir railway station, about 350 km from Bhubaneswar, on 29th august, Wednesday evening.

After being forced to work as bonded labourers, Dharua and his family members were rescued from the kiln in Medak district on Tuesday.

Dharua was just 23 in 1990 when he, along with his wife, had set out to Andhra Pradesh to earn a living by working in a brick manufacturing unit. The couple had hoped to return home within months. But the owner did not let them go. Whenever they attempted to flee, they were subjected to all kinds of torture. When Dharua boarded a train from Hyderabad along with his wife, three daughters and one son on Tuesday evening, he cried inconsolably as he had never imagined that he would return home one day, said Dayasagar Pradhan, an official of Aide-et-Action, an NGO that played a key role in their release.

“I had taken a debt of Rs. 2000 for working in the brick kiln 22 years ago. Initially I used to be paid Rs. 200 a week for food. After 22 years, the amount was raised to Rs. 500 a week. One can easily gauge the traumatic life we had all these years,” Dharua told this correspondent over phone on his arrival at Bolangir.

The migrant labourer had only faint memories of his village, relatives and friends. “I don’t know how my brothers look like now,” an emotional Dharua said. He wondered whether his fellow villagers would recognise him or not. But Dharua said he would start life afresh in his native village.

“We had never come across such a painful story of migrants. Usually, a migrating labour family returns home after working for four to five months. Dharua’s story is a severe form of bonded labour,” said Umi Daniel, head of Aide-et-Action, who has been working on migration issues for years.

Mr. Daniel said about one lakh people from western Odisha districts migrate to work in the brick kilns of Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka every year. In a drought year, the number increases by 50 per cent, he said.

Along with Dharua, seven other families who had been working continuously for three years in that kiln, were also rescued. Andhra Pradesh has handed over bonded labour certificates to these migrant families.

People move govt over Vedanta plant closure

Around 700 people, including employees and families displaced by Vedanta Alumina Limited at Kalahandi’s Lanjigarh, met the district collector at Bhawanipatna on Tuesday and requested him to ensure supply of bauxite to the factory so that it does not shut down. They said closure of VAL would affect the livelihood of 20,000 locals, who are either directly or indirectly benefitting from the factory set up in 2004.

Earlier, the chief operating officer (COO) of VAL Mukesh Kumar had written to the state government intimating it about the factory’s closure from December 5. The displaced families and around 160 VAL employees belonging to Kalahandi and Rayagada districts have been living under apprehension.

“Since 2004, there has been considerable improvement in the lives of tribals. The displaced families, who gave away their land, have also been rehabilitated by the company. Local youths were also employed by VAL. Therefore, we appeal to the state government to facilitate supply of bauxite so that lives of local tribals can be saved”, said Srikanta Bohidar, who is working as an associate officer in corporate social responsibility wing of VAL.

He said though the state government had promised to provide 150 MT of bauxite it later reneged on its promise.

Kalahandi collector Dukhishyam Satpathy said the displaced families and some VAL employees came to him to submit the memorandum. “The displaced families, who have been staying in rehabilitation colonies appealed to me to send the message to the state government not to close down the factory. The employees, who are being benefitted directly or indirectly by VAL also made a request,” the collector said.