Monthly Archives: March 2013

Polluted Mahanadi raises health risk

Considered lifeline of Sambalpur town with at least 50,000 people depending on it, pollution is finally taking its toll on river Mahanadi.

With 86 per cent of the catchments and major tributaries of the river upstream located in industrial towns in the neighbouring States of Madhya Pradesh and Chhatisgarh, the water carries considerable pollution load to the reservoir. But the story does not end here.

With restricted inflow of water from the Hirakud reservoir, the river has become a big drain for Sambalpur town resulting in the Biochemical Oxygen Demand (BOD) in the river reaching an alarming stage.

As a result, it has been classified as category ‘D’ by the State Pollution Control Board (SPCB). Thus the water is unfit for even human use and threatens aquatic life due to the decline in BOD.

To make things worse, even the garbage of the town is dumped on the banks of the river and with waste water being released at 11 points, it is obvious for the water getting unfit for human use even for daily chores.

Sambalpur being an old town, the sewerage and drainage system is almost non-existent here. Unless treatment of waste water is done before being discharged into the river, there is little hope of the water quality being improved.

It was hoped that things would improve after implementation of the ` 300 crore project for treatment of sewerage and disposal of waste water which was supposed to be undertaken by Orissa Sewerage Board with finance from Japan Bank of International Cooperation. But, the project remains a distant dream.

The fact that SPCB has filed a criminal case in the Court of Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate, Sambalpur in October 2010 urging to take cognisance of negligence of Executive Officer of Sambalpur Municipality in handling solid waste speaks volumes about the future of the river. The SPCB had even withdrawn the solid waste management authorisation from the Sambalpur Municipality.

Sources in SPCB said consumption of Mahanadi water upto a stretch of five to six kilometres adjacent to Sambalpur town could lead to different skin diseases and stomach disorder.

Contacted, Convenor of Water Initiative, Odisha Ranjan Panda said about 100-150 million litres of untreated sewage is entering the river at many points. Until the sewarage treatment project is implemented, Sambalpur cannot hope for a clean Mahanadi.

Attabira, Nuapada get ready for its first NAC elections

Attabira is gearing up for its first NAC election scheduled to be held on April 3 with filing of nomination papers coming to an end on Friday. The counting of votes will be held on April 5. The new NAC has 11,700 voters.

The election will be an acid test for the sitting Attabira MLA Nihar Mahanad ahead of 2014 general elections. Pyarimohan Mohapatra led OJM, which is yet to officially declare its political wing, is extending tacit support to seven Independent candidates, sources said.

As many as 62 candidates have filed their nomination papers for the total 12 wards under the NAC. While the Congress, BJP and BJD have fielded candidates in all the wards, the BSP has put up candidates in seven wards and 19 Independent candidates have filed nominations.

Reports said ward Nos 8, 11 and 12 are open for general candidates while ward Nos 2 and 4 are reserved for OBC candidates, Ward No 7 is for woman candidate, Ward Nos 1 and 5 are for OBC (woman) candidate, Ward Nos 6, 9 and 10 are for Scheduled Caste (SC) and ward No 3 is reserved for SC (woman) candidate.

In Nuapada, which will also experience its first NAC polls to be held on the same date, 73 candidates have filed nominations for 14 councillor posts.

The Congress, BJP and BJD have fielded candidates in all the wards. Though the BJD has 18 candidates, four of them are likely to withdraw.

Apart from the major political parties, the BSP is staking claim on three wards, SP in one while 23 Independent candidates have filed their nominations.

Four wards are unreserved, three are for OBC and one each for woman, OBC (woman), SC, SC (woman), ST and ST (woman).

However, a clear picture will emerge only after the scrutiny of nomination papers slated for March 18 and withdrawal of nominations on March 21 are over.

IOB plans regional office in Sambalpur

The Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) is set for a massive expansion in the State with plans afoot to open a Regional Office in Sambalpur.

It would be made functional in the ensuing 2013-14 fiscal and would work towards establishment of pan-Odisha presence of IOB, Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) M Narendra told mediapersons here.

The bank has two regional offices in  Bhubaneswar and Berhampur. With the opening of the new office, the target of the branch network will increase from 114 to 200 within next two years. As many as 40 branches are planned to be opened in 2013-14 fiscal.

The CMD, however, admitted that the credit-deposit ratio of the bank in the State was below the RBI stipulated level. Priority sector lending, which was around ` 700 crore, is not satisfactory. Earnest efforts should be made to raise the priority sector lending by the bank in the State to the expected level by the end of next financial year, he said.

Maoists moving around the Sambalpur-Deogarh border

The Red ultras have become active in the district after a gap of about three years. This became evident after intensified combing operation by police and CRPF along Sambalpur-Deogarh border. Confirming presence of rebels, SP (Sambalpur) Nikhil Kanodia said around 15 to 20 Maoists have started moving in the bordering areas.

“We suspect movement of Left-wing extremists in the jungle bordering Deogarh and Sambalpur. Combing operation has been intensified to restrict their movement,” Kanodia said.

Maoists were active in the region till 2009 taking advantage of hilly terrains and forested areas along the border. The presence of Maoists in the district first came to light after the brutal killing of Meghpal sarpanch Kadar Singh in January, 2003. The ultras unleashed a reign of terror in Jujomora and Naktideul block of the district killing a dozen people in Burda, Banjaritikira and Tampersingha villages during subsequent years. Later, police launched a counter-offensive and arrested more than 39 Maoists, including a few leaders. The rebels lied low after security personnel busted several Maoist camps.

4 more colleges come under CB scanner

Four more Sambalpur-based colleges have come under scrutiny even as the Crime Branch on Tuesday arrested Subash Barik, a close aide of Chairman of Shandilya College of Science and Commerce Kartik Chandra Barik.

The four colleges are Newton college, AIMS plus two college, Ainthapali Vedic plus two science college and Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Science. Crime Branch officials raided the colleges and some  crucial documents were seized from Newton college. The officials and staff of the colleges were also questioned.