Monthly Archives: December 2013

Farmers ends life in debt frustration

A debt-ridden farmer allegedly committed suicide by consuming pesticide on Saturday evening. His son, who also attempted to kill self, was admitted to VSS Medical College and Hospital, Burla, in a critical condition.

The deceased was identified as Bijay Thapa, 50, of Deogarhtikira village, on the outskirts of Bargarh town. He had taken a loan of around Rs one lakh from a cooperative society and other sources to cultivate his 3-acre land. But his crop was damaged in Phailin and heavy rain in October.

The family was under mental stress due to the loan. There was a verbal duel between the father and the son and both consumed pesticide out of frustration.

“We have registered a case and handed over the body to his relatives after postmortem,” said SDPO (Bargarh) Amarendra Rana.

Seven Families Rendered Homeless in Jumbo Attack

Dalpatpali VillageA herd of around 30 elephants damaged houses rendering seven families homeless in Rengali block of Sambalpur district and Kolabira block of neighbouring Jharsuguda district.

With their corridor shut by boundary wall of industries in the two districts, the elephants are intruding into human habitations in search of food.

According to reports, the herd strayed into Pipalpada and Dalpatpali in Rengali block on Friday night and damaged the houses of Hrushikesh Sunani, Bighneswar Sunani, Sushama Bhanja, Santosh Bhanja and Kunduru Deep. They devoured the paddy stalks stacked in the yard near the houses besides damaging utensils, bicycles, motorcycles and domestic articles.

The villagers’ efforts to chase away the herd proved futile. The homeless villagers have taken shelter in Dalpatpali Primary School.

Similar reports have also been received from Mangrapali village under Kolabira block of Jharsuguda district where the same herd damaged two houses owned by Nityanand Bag and Danara Sandha on Saturday night rendering the two families homeless.

Sources said the village shares border with Jharsuguda forest range from where the herd had trooped in. The movement of the herd has been restricted to Rengali and Kolabira and the Forest Department has pressed a special squad to prevent the elephants from entering villages. Rengali Tehsildar Lambodar Dharua admitted that houses of five families have been completely demolished and 14 members of the families have taken shelter in the primary school. “Free kitchen has been opened to provide food to the affected families who have been given other relief materials,” he said and added that they have moved the Collector requesting him to sanction houses under ‘Mo Kudia Yojana’ to the affected families.

Range Officer of Rengali Forest Range SC Khuntia, who visited the village for spot assessment on Sunday, said a report on the damage would be submitted to the District Forest Officer and the Collector basing on which the affected families will be compensated.

He also admitted that the corridor of the elephants has been blocked by boundary walls of several industries and because of degradation of the corridor, the elephants are intruding into the villages.

Road Widening Projects Fail to Serve Purpose in Sambalpur

Road widening projects in the Sambalpur town do not serve the purpose as the officials of Roads and Building (R&B) Department do not clear the road of obstacles before taking up the projects. Water kiosks of Sambalpur Municipality that never ooze water and the electric poles that have gone too weak and may collapse any time are some of the obstacles or unwanted structure that lead to traffic congestion.

Even though a number of projects have been taken up in the town, all focus only on increasing the width of the roads. The main road from Ainthapali to Fatak is almost complete with construction of drain and soldering work at an estimated cost of Rs.1 crore. Besides, Rs.15 lakh was allocated for another stretch of about 100 meters at Budharaja area in the town.

However, both these projects do not include removal of the  obstacles therefore even after completion, the increased width of the roads are used as parking spaces and not relaxing the traffic congestion. Besides rendering the widened roads unused these obstacle even lead to clogging of the drains as they are not constructed as per any plans. Earlier, locals had drawn the attention of the district administration towards the problem but to no avail.

Drain construction without eviction made it serpentine preventing free flow of water. Admitting that the obstacles make road widening meaningless, Assistant Executive Engineer of R&B, Sambalpur PK Nath said they cannot demolish water kiosk as it was property of the Municipality.

Regarding shifting of electricity poles he said it entails huge expenditure as WESCO charges about ` 70,000 per pole, he added. Nath further informed that although they have written to WESCO to submit an estimate for relocating poles to the fringes of the road, no response has been received yet.

Pumping Stations to Prevent Urban Flooding

The district administration has decided to set up three water pumping stations in Sambalpur town to pump out flood water from low lying areas. Every year during monsoon, the town is flooded by overflowing Dhobijoar nullah which runs through Sambalpur town. The Housing and Urban Development Department has sanctioned `2.95 crore for the purpose and the proposed water pumping stations will be located at Binakhandi, Balibandha and Chandan Nagar, all along river Mahanadi to ensure that the flood water flows down the river.

The pumping stations will ease off water-logging problem in the low lying areas of the town, said Municipal Engineer of Sambalpur Municipality Basanta Padhi. He said the Odisha Construction Corporation (OCC) will execute the pumping stations which will be installed with high power motors and pumps. Public Health and Engineering wing and Irrigation Department had been assigned to take up construction of the pumping stations. But, with both of them expressing their inability, OCC was moved and it has agreed to execute the work. A team of OCC officials will visit Sambalpur soon to undertake preliminary survey.

During monsoon, water level in river Mahanadi flows at a height above the sluice gates constructed at three points to discharge effluents from the town into river Mahanadi. To ensure that the water from the river does not enter the town, the sluice gates are closed and it leads to water-logging and deluge in low lying areas of the town. Although the Municipality has deployed water pumps in the past to release water into the river, installation of three pumps is expected to provide permanent solution to the problem.

This will bring relief to the residents of Charbati, Mandlia, Chandan Nagar, Binakhandi, Balibandha, Govindtola, Bahalpada in Sakhipara, Hirakud Colony, Housing Board Colony, Mudipada, Kumbharpara besides other low lying areas.

Cleaning Drive in Sambalpur DHH

Around 1,800 people of Sambalpur town participated in a mass cleaning drive launched by District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) here on Sunday. The drive started at 8 am and continued till 12 noon. People from all sections of society including academicians, intellectuals, senior citizens and members of social organisations armed with broom and cleaning equipments cleaned several wards, departments, drains, pathways and avenues of the hospital.

The area in and around the DHH premises wore a clean look after people toiled for four hours in the exercise which was aimed at spreading awareness about cleanliness in the hospital, said coordinator of the sanitation drive Sudhir Pujari. Not only was the wild growth removed along with polythene bags and green coconut shells which were clogging the drains but also the entire campus was cleaned with water and disinfectant. Staff of Sambalpur Municipality, Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED) and General Electricity Department (GED) also joined the drive and provided logistic support.

While GED staff checked the electrical fittings and undertook the repair work, the PHED officials checked sanitary fittings. The Public Works Department (PWD) undertook minor repair work. About 20 vehicles were engaged to transport the garbage collected during the drive and dump it at Jamadarpali dumping yard here.

Sambalpur Collector Balwant Singh, who was present during the drive, lauded the efforts of the people. Stating that DHH has drainage problem due to lack of master plan, he said the PWD has been asked to prepare a plan for the purpose. A similar drive at DHH was undertaken on November 25 last year apart from the one at VSS Medical. Recently, the people of the town had united and cleaned the Ring Road.