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Only two city buses are running out of 12 in Sambalpur

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had flagged off the 12 new city buses on September 22nd last year 2017

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had flagged off the 12 new city buses on September 22nd last year 2017 to strengthen the public transport in Sambalpur as well as the neighbouring Bargarh, Sonepur, Jharsuguda and Sundargarh districts. Only two city buses are running in Sambalpur. The remaining 10 city buses are lying unused.

The 12 city buses were to ply on new routes comprising Sambalpur-Kuchinda, Sambalpur-Sonepur, Sambalpur-Barpali (Bargarh), Sambalpur- Sundargarh, Sambalpur-Brajrajnagar (Jharsuguda) and Sambalpur-Belpahar (Jharsuguda).

However, only two buses are plying on Sambalpur-Kuchinda route while the remaining 10 are lying idle.
The city bus service was launched in Sambalpur on January 29, 2014 and made operational on Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode. A private operator, Paschim Odisha Paribahan Company (POPCO) has partnered with Western Odisha Urban Transport Services Limited (WOUTSL) to run and manage the city bus service in Sambalpur.

Currently, 34 buses are plying in 13 different routes. The buses are providing services to the peripheral areas of Sambalpur city besides neighbouring Bargarh and Jharsuguda towns.The plying of city buses on the new routes will be helpful for residents of five towns of Sonepur, Barpali, Sundargarh, Brajrajnagar and Belpahar. The residents will find better connectivity with Sambalpur after the buses run on the new routes. The city bus service has encouraged use of public transport with more people preferring to travel in the new buses. More than 7,000 commuters use the city buses on a daily basis.

Commissioner of Sambalpur Municipal Corporation Bimalendu Ray, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of WOUTSL, said they have already applied for route permits for plying of buses on the new routes. However, while the authorities have received permit for Sambalpur-Kuchinda route, they are waiting for permits for other routes following which the rest of the buses will be deployed, Ray added.

Agricultural lands submerged due to breaches in Sason Canal

Breaches in Sason Canal

Over hundred acres of agricultural lands submerged due to breaches in Sason Canal were submerged following a 50- ft breach in embankment of Sason canal near Talab village in Sambalpur.

The agricultural lands of around 10 villages under two gram panchayats have been inundated by water.

Locals alleged that today’s incident shows callous attitude of authorities as no timely action was taken for timely strengthening and repair of the weak embankment despite several complaints.

“We had raised the matter of weak embankment during Pani Panchayat meeting several times and demanded for repair of the canal bund at the earliest. But our complaint fell on to deaf ears,” Byomakesh Thakur, a local farmer said.

The breach has caused an artificial flooding in the area.

The administrative officials have swung into action and took stock of the situation.

“Efforts are on to mend the breach with sand packets. Executive engineer and other officials of Irrigation Department are monitoring the work. Later, losses will be assessed jointly by Agriculture and Revenue departments,” tehsildar Debendra Nanda said.

Farm Lands In Sambalpur Inundated After Breach In Canal Embankment

Standing rabi paddy crop over 700 acres of land has been damaged due to a 40-foot breach in the embankment of Sason Canal of Hirakud Dam Project at Khejurbandh under Kilasama gram panchayat of Dhankauda block in the district on Sunday. Paddy crop has been damaged in villages of Balbaspur under Kilasama gram panchayat and Talab under Talab gram panchayat due to the breach.
Reports said the embankment of Sason canal caved in early on Sunday. The villagers informed the officials of Water Resources (WR) department immediately after the incident.

The villagers alleged that the water submerged large tract of paddy land due to delay in closing the sluice gates of the Sason canal.Of the two sluice gates of the canal, one gate has not been functioning properly for the last two years. Though the villagers had informed the WR authorities about malfunctioning of the sluice gate, the authorities did not pay heed to their grievance.Had the authorities repaired the sluice gate, the water flow into the Sason canal from the Hirakud Dam Reservoir could have been stopped immediately and huge crop loss could have been averted, the villagers said.

Subsequently, the sluice gate was closed manually and water flow into the canal has been stopped.
Farmer leader Byomkesh Thakur, a native of village Talab, said the embankment of the canal was weak at Khejurbandh. They had apprised the officials of the WR department about the condition of the embankment at that place. However, the department failed to take any measures to strengthen the embankment and it caved in. The breach in the embankment has caused huge loss to the farmers, he said.

He also said since the time for paddy transplantation is already over, it is difficult to grow paddy in the land again. They demanded adequate compensation for the crop loss, he added.
Superintending Engineer, WR department, Hirakud Dam Circle, Saroj Panda said the toe wall of the embankment had become old, as a result the wall toppled. The wall failed to retain the earthen embankment and it caved in, he said.

They have closed both the sluice gates of Sason canal. The repairing work has already begun and the work will be completed within three days, he said.Meanwhile, Sambalpur Sadar Sub-Collector Pradip Sahu said they have already apprised the office of the Special Relief Commission (SRC) about the crop loss due to breach in the embankment. The crop loss will be estimated after the water recedes from the land, he added.

Pradhan flagged off Rajdhani Express via Sambalpur

Union Ministers Dharmendra Pradhan and Manoj Sinha flagged off Bhubaneswar-New Delhi Rajdhani Express via video conferencing. The ministers flagged off the inaugural run at 6.45 am from Railway Board at New Delhi. It will depart from Bhubaneswar at 7.10 am every Saturday and will reach New Delhi at 10.40 am the next day.

The train route includes the following stoppages: Angul, Sambalpur City, Jharsuguda, Rourkela, Chakradharpur, Anara, NSC Gomoh, Koderma, Gaya, Mughalsarai and Kanpur Central between Bhubaneswar and New Delhi from both the directions.

Speaking to media after the event, Pradhan said, ‘The new route will benefit the people of western Odisha and will bring ease of connectivity for them.’The train will run once a week via Sambalpur from Saturday.

High alert in sambalpur 30 injured with 10 cops

The alleged custodial death of a 22-year-old theft accused, Abinash Munda of Bhalupali, turned the Ainthapali police station in the city into a war zone on Friday morning. High alert has been sounded in Sambalpur city in the wake of the riot-like situation.

Though police claimed that Abinash hung himself in the custody, the people of Bhalupali area alleged that the youth was beaten to death by the police. The irate mob ransacked the Ainthapali police station before setting it on fire following the news of the death spread this morning. The mob also set the seized vehicles, which were there on the premises of the police station, on fire. Sources said important official documents and furniture of the police station got damaged in the incident.

The berserk mob pelted stone at the police station injuring five cops and blocked the Sambalpur-Rourkela State Highway-10. The road blockade is still on and hundreds of vehicles have been stranded on either side of busy highway.

Reports said that Abinash Munda was detained by the police in connection with a theft case from a Kalyan Mandap under the Ainthapali police station area in the city on Thursday. However, he was found hanging with bed sheet in the custody on the wee hour on Friday.

DGP RP Sharma suspended Ainthapali police station’s inspector-in-charge. Two other cops of the police station were also suspended.

Inspector general Sushant Nath said the human rights protection cell of Odisha Police will find out the cause of custodial death — whether theft suspect Abhinas Munda committed suicide in custody or was beaten to death.
Hours after the violence broke out, IG Sushant Nath has claimed that the situation was under control. Police said action would be taken against those who wrecked havoc and vandalised the police station.

Additional director general of police (human rights protection cell), Mahendra Pratap, said a team would rush to Ainthapali to probe the alleged custodial death.
A rights campaigner has filed a petition before the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) seeking stringent action against officials of the Ainthapali police station involved in the alleged custodial death and compensation for the kin of the deceased.Meanwhile, DGP RP Sharma has ordered a departmental inquiry against three suspended cops, whose alleged negligence led to the custodial death.

Chief minister Naveen Patnaik expressed deep grief at the death of a person at Aainthapali police station Sambalpur. The CM conveyed his deep sympathy to the bereaved family. He announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased.

Sambalpur on Boil: Locals ransack, torch police station over custodial death

Protesting the death of a man in police custody at Ainthapali police station in Sambalpur district late Thursday night, locals today wreaked havoc and ransacked the station premises. Property worth lakhs of rupees have been damaged during the incident, however fire personnel could not reach the spot due to road blockade by the local people.

The mob also torched almost all the vehicles kept on the police station premises.

Sambalpur on Boil Locals ransack, torch police station over custodial death

To bring situation under control, police resorted to lathicharge after some agitators pelted stones and scuffled with the cops. Senior police officials including Sambalpur SP Sanjeev Arora have been monitoring the situation at the spot. As many as 7 platoons of police force have been deployed at the spot to control the situation.

Several people have been injured during the scuffle with police and admitted to hospital.

As per information, the locals went berserk after one Abinash Munda of Bhalupali village, who was arrested in connection with a theft case on Wednesday, was found hanging in the lockup on Thursday.

Family members alleged that Abinash was also brutally beaten up by cops as the body had injury marks at several places.

Irate over the incident, locals staged a road blockade near Bhalupali affecting vehicular traffic on Sambalpur-Jharsuguda road today morning.

Police took the body to district headquarters hospital and conducted inquest in presence of magistrate and family members. Later, they sent the body to VSS Medical College and Hospital in Burla for post-mortem.

On the one hand, the family members of the deceased alleged that Munda was beaten to death in the custody while the police claimed that he had committed suicide.

Briefing mediapersons, DGP RP Sharma said the IIC of the Ainthapali police station Srimanta Barik and other staff including the Diary Charge Officer (DCO) and Sentry in charge have been placed under suspension and strong departmental action will be initiated against them.

“The task of investigation of the case pertaining to the death of the accused in the custody has been given to the HRPC. Apart from this, Northern Range IG has been asked to conduct an independent inquiry at his level and submit a report quickly. Sambalpur SP has also been asked to submit a joint report with the District Magistrate as per the mandatory requirement and all possible and strong action will be ensured by the police,” Sharma said.