Category Archives: News

Rahul Gandhi to lead a ‘Chasi Banchao Padayatra’ in Bargarh

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi will lead a ‘Save Farmer March’ in Bargarh district during his two-day visit to Odisha to highlight alleged failure of both the Centre and BJD regime in the state in mitigating the plight of peasants.
“Rahul Gandhi is scheduled to embark upon a two-day visit to Odisha on September 10 during which he will lead a Chasi Banchao Padyatra in Bargarh district which is witnessing suicide by farmers,” Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) President Prasad Harichandan told reporters on Tuesday.

In view of drought like situation, mainly in western Odisha where farmers are committing suicide due to crop loss and debt burden, the ‘Save Farmer March’ is being held to emphasise the urgent need to save the distressed peasants, Harichandan said.
The padyatra would also highlight the failure of the BJD government in the state and BJP-led NDA rule at the Centre in bringing relief to the farmers, PCC Chief said. Other programmes for the AICC Vice-President are being worked out, he said.
Hitting out at Naveen Patnaik government, Harichandan accused the BJD regime of failing to respond properly to the drought situation faced by the state and to mitigate the plight of the farmers who are hit hard by scanty rainfall.
No timely step was also taken to ensure that the farmers who are facing crop loss are covered by insurance, he said.

Sambalpur Sinking under Garbage

Even though the city is sinking under rising piles of garbage, the proposed Integrated Municipal Solid Waste Management (IMSWM) system for Greater Sambalpur is yet to take off.

The sanitation of the city devoid of IMSWM system can be gauged from the latest ranking of cities under Swachh Bharat Mission. Of 476 cites surveyed across the country on cleanliness parameters, Sambalpur stands at 467 position.

After struggling to find a suitable location to construct solid waste management plant, Sambalpur Municipal Corporation (SMC) had identified land measuring 30 acres at Basantpur here last year. The SMC had also sought Request for Qualification-cum-Request for Proposal (RFQ-cum-RFP) on January 9 this year for selection of the agency to run the system for Greater Sambalpur. The deadline of submission of the proposal was scheduled for February 23. But, there was no response from any bidder. Later, the SMC extended the deadline of submission twice but in vain.

The project was supposed to be developed on Design-Build-Finance-Operate-Transfer (DBFOT) basis on public private partnership (PPP) mode at an estimated cost of Rs 18.05 crore. The scope of the project includes collection of municipal solid waste (MSW) from households, commercial establishments and markets, transportation of waste to secondary collection points and then to the landfill site, development of processing plant and sanitary landfill at Basantpur. The Greater Sambalpur comprising Sambalpur, Burla and Hirakud generates about 100 tonnes of MSW per day.

At present, waste management has become a headache for the SMC which is disposing the garbage whimsically here and there due to lack of a dumping yard. The garbage of Burla is being dumped over five acres of land in Mahatabnagar while in Hirakud, it is disposed near Gandhinagar and Sadeipali.

The civic body was dumping garbage over 26 acres of land at Jamadarpali here from 2011. As the locals objected to it, the dumping was stopped in January last year. Since then, the municipality has been struggling to find a suitable land for disposal of garbage.

The SMC had decided to develop an IMSWM system at Jamadarpali. But, the project failed to take off due to protest by locals.

Deputy Commissioner of SMC Sudhansu Kumar Bhoi said efforts are underway to implement the solid waste management project. Fresh RFQ-cum-RFP will be issued after revision of the shortcomings, he added.

No End to Bumpy Ride on Sambalpur Main Road

The fate of busy Fatak-Ainthapali Main Road in the city remains unchanged. The failure of the Public Works Department (PWD) in maintaining the road has caused several problems for commuters who endure a torment-filled drive on a daily basis.

Though dust generated from stone crusher units is used to fill the holes on the road, it has added to commuters’ woes as a layer of thick dust hangs in the area due to constant movement of the vehicles. People residing along the road also face problem as the dust enters their houses. The road is considered as the gateway to the city and connects with the National Highway 6 and State Highway 10. As per the master plan, the road should be 90 feet in width. But the road was laid haphazardly without demarcating the land and evicting the encroachers thereby reducing the width.

The work on the 2.6-km road was started in 2003 and till date, about ` six crore has been spent on construction of the road and drains. Work on drains along the road is yet to be completed even after 12 years. The road along with the flyover from Church Chowk to the connecting road was blacktopped in May, 2013 at an estimated cost of ` 61 lakh. The black top was washed away during monsoon last year making it uneven and bouncy.

Though public outcry led the contractor to undertake some repair work last year, the situation has come back to square one during monsoon this year. Now the PWD has taken up the repair of the road by filling the potholes with stone dust and emulsion.

When contacted, Assistant Executive Engineer, PWD, Sambalpur, PK Nath said the repair work is being undertaken at an estimated cost of ` one lakh to provide temporary relief to the commuters. The road from Laxmi Talkies Chowk to Ainthapali Chowk including the flyover will be relaid after monsoon at an estimated cost of `1.3 crore, he added.

The fate of tribal people of Kalahandi is at stake

The fate of Indravati multipurpose project and economy of tribal people dependant on Buflamali hills of Kalahandi is at stake said state secretary of CPI-M Alli Kishor Patnaik after visiting the area on Thursday and taking note of the proposed bauxite mining proposal of Utkal Alumina.

Both the union government and the state government need to study the impact of the proposed mining on the Kalahandi side of Buflamali hills since the Indravati reservoir is located just below the hill. Indravati is the lifeline of Kalahandi district and the tribals are dependent on the hill, he noted.

People are apprehensive that the mining may lead to siltation of the reservoir as several streams from the hill and flow down to the Indravati. This may reduce the life of the reservoir and endanger the irrigation project, he said.

Besides this, 164 land less tribal families of Durmushi and Suryagarh areas who were issued with land patta in the hills by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik during his tour to Thuamul Rampur in 2011 are also facing eviction by the mining project, he alleged.

The CPI-M leader said the Ministry of Water Resources and Environment should intervene. Some modalities should evolved seriously so that the future of Indravati project and of tribal families can be safe guarded. Industry has its own economics importance but not at the cost of an important Irrigation and power generation project, he noted.

The Kalahandi portion of Buflamali and the origin places of the streams from the Mali discharging in to Indravati reservoir should be protected.

The CPI-M leader told reporters that resentment amongst local people is brewing and it is high time measures should be taken by government. Among others senior party leader Nabakishor Patnaik and the Kalahandi district wing secretary of CPI-M Satyajit Chatarjee were also present at the press meet.

Day After Odisha Girl Pushed Out of Train by TTE, Railway on Denial Mode

A day after a minor girl was pushed out of running train allegedly by a female TTE for travelling without ticket, the railway authorities continue to be on denial mode. Besides feigning ignorance about identity of the TTE, they have termed the incident as an accident.

Apparently, this is not the first time that a ticketless traveller has been subjected to unruly conduct of the TTEs or GRP personnel. Thirteen-year-old Shankar Singh, a resident of Vedvyas slum in Rourkela lost his right hand and a leg after he was pushed off the Mumbai-Howrah Geetanjali Express on July 2, 2008 by a TTE.

Three months later, a 20-year-old vegetable vendor died after he was allegedly pushed off a running train by GRP personnel and succumbed to his injuries as they failed to extort `150 from him.

According to sources, TTEs seem to go on an overdrive during Odia month of Shravan when hundreds of people take train journey from interior parts of the district to the city to visit Shiva temples.

If found without ticket, the passengers are pulled up and hefty amount of fine demanded. However, the matter is resolved if the passengers shell out money to the TTEs without a proper receipt being issued.

In Monday’s incident, a female TTE identified as B Naik pushed 17-year-old Rekha Naik from Howrah-Jagdalpur Samaleswari Express near Sambalpur Road railway station.

The Sambalpur Railway Division feigned ignorance about identity of the female TTE and termed the incident as an accident. On the other hand, the GRP has registered a case against “unknown” person under Sections 341, 325 and 323 IPC over the incident.

Meanwhile, the girl has been shifted to SCB Medical at Cuttack.