Daily Archives: October 24, 2012

Abhaya Hota is awarded by PM for his work

An Odia man was honoured by the Centre for devising an Aadhaar-based system for payments under different welfare schemes. The system is unique as it would do away with repetition of payments because fingerprint authentication of the beneficiary is mandatory.

Abhaya Hota of Sambalpur received the award from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at a function in Rajasthan recently. Hota after a career in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) became the managing director and chief executive officer of National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI). RBI had set up the NPCI, an umbrella institution, to clear and settle all inter-bank transactions in ATM transactions, mobile payments and card payments.

Under Hota’s leadership, NPCI devised the Aadhar-based system. “During the last two years Hota and his colleagues have been closely working with Nandan Nilekani and Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in use of Aadhar number for making payments under various government schemes like MGNREGA, old-age pension and scholarships.

He received the award on the eve of second anniversary of UIDAI,” his brother Giridhari Hota said.

The award was instituted by UIDAI to encourage persons responsible for making Aadhaar useful in public service delivery. Besides Hota, five other persons from across the country were also honoured.

“I am proud of bringing laurels to Odisha,” Abhaya said. “My company is acting as a gateway to all types of Aadhaar-based payments…” he added.

Kalibari provides taste of Bengali Durga Puja

The Bengalis in Sambalpur have stayed rooted to their tradition and rituals for almost a century. And the assault of 21st century has not deviated them from their way of celebrating Durga Puja that was started by their forefather with the building of the ‘Kalibari’ here in 1918.

The 94-year-old ‘Kalibari’ has become the epicentre for the Bengalis in the town and every member of the community gathers at the place to worship Maa Durga during the almost week-long festivities. “We are thankful to our forefather who purchased the land and established ‘Kalibari’ in 1918. Though we conform to our own tradition and culture in performing the puja, we welcome people of other communities to join in our celebrations every year,” the secretary of the Kalibari trust committee, Bimal Chandra Kar, said.

“We do not remember when Durga Puja began to be celebrated by Bengalis in Sambalpur, but the puja is being celebrated uninterruptedly since the building of ‘Kalibari’ in 1918,” Kar added.

Durga Puja has been quite a popular festival all over the town and people here celebrate the occasion in their own way. There are as many as 100 Durga Pujas being performed this year. A few of the puja committees have, in fact, built permanent structures to conduct puja throughout the year. Organizers in Golebazar, Badbazar and Pirbaba Chowk have constructed Durga temples for the purpose.

Committees in Govindtola, Dhanupali, Fatak, Ainthapali, Dukupara, Dhuturapara, Laxmi Talkies and Zilla School chowks, in their bid to attract more visitors this time, have hosted pujas with huge budgets this year.

‘Kalibari’, however, has a special attraction among the pandal-hoppers, as it provides a taste of Bengali tradition and rituals in the performing of the puja. People from other communities, including the Odia localites, come to take part in the Durga Puja at ‘Kalibari’.

“Even a few Bengali families from Kolkata come every year and join in our puja as they feel that we have been able to keep alive our age-old tradition in performing puja,” a senior member of the organizing committee, Shibasis Sarkar, said.

Bhai Juntia celebrated in Sambalpur

‘Bhai Juntia’, the celebration of the bond between brothers and sisters, was observed here on Tuesday. Women of all ages wished for their brothers’ long life and prosperity by touching their forehead with a bunch of ‘duba’ grass and a morsel of rice. The festival also presented married women with a happy opportunity to visit their father’s place.

The festival is observed every year on Durgastami. Women keep a fast through out the day. They offer special puja before Goddess Durga and prepare a bunch of grass (108 strands) and a morsel of rice on Monday. They break their fast only after the ritual.

“Brothers and sisters also exchange new clothes on the occasion. She also puts a Jiuntia (thread) on her hand, hence the name Bhai (brother) Jiuntia,” said Dilip Padhi, a local man.

“By preparing a bunch of 108 strands of duba grass, they pray for a 108-year-long life for their brothers,” said Sadananda Panda, a scholar from Sambalpur.

Sambalpur paddy scam: HC urged to lift stay on arrests

The Sambalpur police finally knocked at the door of the Odisha High Court to revoke a stay order for arresting three businessmen in a swindling case pertaining to paddy procurement.

Manoj Agrawal, Pawan Agrawal and Rakesh Agrawal had misappropriated over Rs 4.11 crore by procuring paddy from MARKFED under the pretext of running rice mills for custom milling. But the names of the rice mill they had cited did not exit. Some officials of the Food and Civil Supplies Department were hand-in-glove with the trio. A Civil Supply Officer (CSO) of Sambalpur had been suspended in the case. Three cases had been lodged against the trio by MARKFED. But the persons had availed a stay order from the Odisha High Court to avoid arrest in two cases.

Art workshop in Sambalpur

Sambalpur is celebrating a colourful Durga Puja with its artists gathering together to express their feelings on canvas this festive season. Over 30 painters assembled at Sakhipada Hanuman temple on Sunday to participate in a workshop titled ‘My Sambalpur’ where they depicted the beauty of the town with paint and brush.

The Sambalpur Working Artists’ Association (SWAA) organized the workshop. “This is our attempt to add colour to the festive mood,” said SWAA president Pramod Mishra. Sambalpur boasts of various art institutions but due to lack of patronage they are struggling to survive. “There are hundreds of M F Hussains in the country, but it is difficult to bring them to the limelight due to lack of support and sponsorship. So we have decided to promote young artists of the locality,” said SWAA secretary Nrusinghnath Nayak.