Daily Archives: August 4, 2013

Flood alert in North Odisha, major rivers in spate

The low pressure formed off the Odisha coast has triggered heavy rains over northern Odisha sending Budhabalanga river in spate.

Two blocks of Mayurbhanj were affected by the swelling river and over 1,500 villagers evacuated to safer places.

The low pressure over north-west Bay of Bengal and adjoining coastal West Bengal turned well marked and induced heavy showers on the catchments of Budhabalanga and Baitarani.

Thakurmunda received 25 cm rains followed by 16 cm at Jashipur and 11 cm at Karanjia. Similarly, Baripada received 11 cm rains in the last 24 hours.

The Control Room of Special Relief Commissioner said at least 1,200 villagers from Madhuban under Baripada block had to be shifted to a local school following  flash floods in Budhabalanga.

Similarly, in Bijatola block, the floods prompted the authorities to open five sluice gates of Barangpohala dam.

The bridge connecting Bijatola Chhaka with  Bijatola ward was overflowing with five feet flood water.

As many as 16 houses were damaged.

Road connection in the block was snapped. The district administration supplied dry food and relief materials to the affected families.

Heavy downpour was also recorded in Baitarani catchments where Champua received 19 cm rain followed by 10 cm in Ghatagaon.

The India Meteorological department said heavy to very heavy rainfall (ranging from 12 cm to 24 cm) is likely to occur at a few places over Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar, Balasore and Sundargarh with extremely heavy showers (more than 24 cm) at one or two places during the next 48 hours.

Heavy rain is also expected in some parts of Bhadrak, Jajpur, Dhenkanal, Angul, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Sonepur, Deogarh and Bargarh districts over the next two days.

The weather office warned of strong wind reaching a speed of 45 km to 55 km per hour  occasionally gusting to 65 km/hr along and off the Odisha coast.  Sea condition will be rough and fishermen have been advised not to venture into the sea.

Traders’ promissory notes gain currency

In an informal money exchange system, many traders in Bargarh district in western Odisha are issuing their own ‘promissory’ notes in the form of paper vouchers in lieu of Indian currency. Customers can show such coupons of a particular trader in any of its neighbouring shops for further transaction.

If someone buys articles at these shops, they would not return the coins or notes of smaller denomination such as Re 1, Rs 2, Rs 5. Instead, they issue pieces of paper bearing their seals and signature mentioning the amount. To unwilling customers, they convince that shops in the vicinity would honour these slips. “They never return the change. The vouchers would force customers to return to these shops again and again,” said Balakrushna Sahoo of Bargarh town.

Shopkeepers said they have to rely on such coupon system due to shortage of coins. “Re 1 and Rs 2 notes or coins are difficult to find. The coupon system is an arrangement with mutual understanding with the customers,” said a departmental store owner at Gandhi Chowk in Bargarh.

Apart from the district headquarters town of Bargarh, this trend is fast catching up in villages and smaller townships in the district. Most shops on Padampur road in Sohela block headquarters have been using their own vouchers instead of currency notes. “It is very difficult to find coins of Re 1 or Rs 2. It will be very difficult to run our business without such coupons,” said a shopkeeper in Sohela.

Economists described the practice as illegal. “The practice is unauthorized and violates customers’ rights. The coupons force customers to visit the same set of shops again,” said UC Pati, a economics teacher in Balangir.

Trader associations said there have been no complaints against this system. “We have not received any complaint from any customer regarding such a coupon system. But in any case, we advise shopkeepers to give toffees if they don’t have coins instead of coupons. The shortage of coins is a genuine problem,” said secretary of Bargarh District Merchant Association Pradip Debta.

Government authorities said they will look into the matter. “The matter had not come to my notice. Nobody can use a substitute to money. We will look into it,” said Collector (Bargarh) Bhabagrahi Mishra.

Teen killed in accident, dumper torched

Itishree Dhar's dead bodyA mob torched a dumper near Sindurpankchowk under Sadar police limits on Saturday after it ran over a girl killing her on the spot. The accident took place when the girl, Itishree Dhar, 13, a Class VIII student of Ganesh Girls’ High School, Dhanupalli, was returning home on a bicycle.

The driver and helper of the dumper fled. “Before we arrived, the mob had torched the vehicle. We tried to extinguish the flames with the help of fire brigade but it was delayed due to the mob,” said SDPO (Sambalpur) P K Mohapatra.

Traffic on Sindupank-Dhanupali road, which links Kolkata-Mumbai NH and Sambalpur-Cuttack NH, was disrupted for over five hours as the mob staged a road blockade demanding compensation to the family of the deceased and construction of a new road linking the highways outside the town.

burning-dumpher

They cleared the road following an assurance from the administration. “The administration has assured us to take immediate step to construct a new bypass linking the both highways outside of the town. The tehsildar also assured to provide compensation to the victim’s family,” said president of BJP, district unit, Nauri Nayak.