Sambalpur Muthoot Finance robbery: 6 dacoits nabbed from Bihar

In a major breakthrough, Sambalpur police on Sunday arrested six dacoits from Bihar involved in the broad daylight loot from Budharaja Muthoot Finance company in Sambalpur last month.

The dacoits were arrested from Patna after a joint operation by Odisha police and Bihar Special Task Force (STF) with seizure of 15 kg gold from their possession, informed Sambalpur SP Sanjeev Arora.

According to police, after getting information about the presence of some members of the dacoit gang in Patna, Bihar STF and Sambalpur police team had conducted a raid on the hideout.

During the raid, the dacoits opened fire at police following which police triggered gun in retaliation.

Notably, the accused had looted cash and valuables from office of Muthoot Finance at Budharaja under Ainthapali police limits on December 28 in Sambalpur town and decamped with Rs 6 lakh and gold ornaments.

While nearly 15 kg of gold ornaments, pistols and other weapons have been seized from the dacoity gang, police are conducting further investigation in connection with the incident.

Bridge, only solace for Hirakud displaced after 60 years

Too little, too late __ this sums up the bridge constructed over Ib river, a tributary of Mahanadi, which flows directly into the Hirakud Dam Reservoir. The bridge connects Rengali block in Sambalpur district with Lakhanpur in Jharsuguda and was mooted more than six decades back along with Hirakud Dam project. Sources said it was conceived as part of Hirakud Dam to connect people displaced by the multi-purpose project and settled in both the districts on the periphery of either side of the reservoir. The bridge is all set to help the industries more than the displaced who have virtually lost contact in the last 60 years. Although the bridge work has been completed and is being used unofficially, it is awaiting inauguration by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who is yet to find time to realise the long-pending dream of people of both the districts.

The Hirakud Dam was dedicated to the nation by Jawaharlal Nehru on January 13, 1957, and he termed it as the ‘temple of modern India’ and had lauded the sacrifice of the people for the dam. The dam saw 26,501 families being shifted from the 249 revenue villages which got submerged in the reservoir. While none is sure how many among them got compensation, there is no denying that it was one of the biggest human displacements and the State Government forgot about their resettlement and rehabilitation after displacement. The fact that paltry compensation of many families remain unclaimed till date and speaks volumes about the apathy of the Government towards the displaced.

Despite their sacrifice, the displaced dreamt of a bridge over the river to stay connected with their fellow kith and kin residing on either side of the reservoir. Since it was a long distance from Lakhanpur to Sambalpur, approximately 110 km, the bridge was the only way to reduce the distance. This had led Rampella Gountia, Late Loknath Panda, the then Chairman of Lakhanpur block Girdhari Panda and Communist leader Prasanna Kumar Panda to raise the issue in all forums, including the State Assembly. Finally, the State Government, in the 80’s, sanctioned Rs 22 crore for the bridge.

It was only after the boat tragedy which claimed 31 lives in 2014 that the Government finally took serious note of the demand and Naveen laid the foundation stone of the 2.5 km bridge at an estimated cost of Rs 117.5 crore. But the objective clearly envisages that the bridge will provide a new link between the coalfields of MCL in Jharsuguda and State Highway-10 near Rengali.

The ragged case of Sri Chaitanya college take new turn

Sri Chaitanya college ragged case take new turn. The investigation into the mysterious death of Shreyas Kesharwani, an Intermediate student of a corporate college in Visakhapatnam, took a turn, as the post-mortem report revealed some critical elements that increase the suspicion that he suffered injuries that might have eventually led to his death. Death due to severe pressure on chest.

Shreyas KesharwaniShreyas (16) reportedly sustained injuries in the hostel in the college after allegedly being beaten up by three or four other inmates, had died while undergoing treatment in Rourkela, on January 6.

After public outrage in Sambalpur, a case was registered at the Govindpur police station and the ragged case was later handed over to the PM Palem police in Visakahpatnam for investigation.

A team from PM Palem Police led by Inspector M. Lakshmana had left for Bhubaneswar on Thursday to investigate the case and as per sources the team was told about the initial findings in the autopsy.

It is learnt that the post-mortem report has revealed that the main cause of death was ‘severe pressure’ on the chest. As per the police, the report suggested that there was contusion (bruises) in the heart, pulmonary effusion and blood clot inside lungs.

Going by the report and from years of experience that we have, it suggests that the boy was injured. But how he sustained the injuries is what we have to investigate. It is too early to speculate anything, said a senior police officer in Visakhapatnam.

Shreyas, son of Shailesh Kesharwani of Garposh under Bamara block in Sambalpur district, died while undergoing treatment. He was taken away by his parents, after they received a call that he was sick.

It is learnt that in the dying statement to his parents, he had mentioned that he was ragged and beaten up by three to four students.

After receiving the FIR copy from the Govindpur Police station in Odisha, the PM Palem police had taken up the investigation.

The police had questioned the students who were named by Shreyas, but they pleaded innocence and said Shreyas had slipped in the bathroom and sustained injuries.

Forestry project launched in Sambalpur

Banayana, the second phase of Odisha Forestry Sector Development Project (OFSDP), was launched in Sambalpur Forest Division on Wednesday.

The objective of the project is to enhance the forest ecosystem along with supporting sustainable livelihood improvement of people residing in forest fringes with the help of Vana Surakshya Samitis (VSS).
The project will be implemented in about 100 revenue villages located on fringes of forests under Sadar, Padiabahal, Dhama and Rengali forest ranges under the division.

Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Sambalpur Sanjeet Kumar said a total of 100 VSS will be involved for implementation of the project. This apart, 300 women SHGs will also be engaged in enhancing their income through different activities.

He informed that experts of livelihood and Geographical Information System (GIS) have already been appointed at the forest division office for proper planning. Similarly, livelihood experts have also been posted at forest range offices under the division.

Besides, a partner NGO has been engaged for door-to-door socio-economic survey in the project area. After completion of the survey, micro plan for each VSS will be prepared to address forestry and livelihood issues at village level, Kumar said.

The duration of the project is 10 years with the current fiscal being the preparatory year. Banayana will be implemented in 12 forest divisions including Sambalpur. The project is being implemented in the State with loan assistance from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA).

Earlier, the phase 1 of OFSDP was implemented between 2006 and 2015 with the twin objectives of restoration of degraded forests and livelihood improvement of forest dependent community.
The project was launched here in presence of Regional Chief Conservator of Forests, Sambalpur Circle OP Singh, Chief Conservator of Forests, Sambalpur (Kendu Leaf) Circle Ramesh Sethy and Sambalpur Collector Samarth Verma.

Police lathicharge 108 ambulance workers in Sambalpur

Police resorted to lathicharge against 108 ambulance workers agitating in front of the Revenue Divisional Commissioner (RDC) office in Sambalpur demanding unconditional release of the 358 staff arrested under Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA).

The agitating ambulance staff also reiterated their demand for removal of private agencies engaged in the operation of ambulance services.

All the 108 ambulance staff from 27 districts had gathered here to protest against the arrest of their colleagues. They are threatening to continue their agitation till their demands are met, informed sources.

Sambalpur ASP Amarendra Rana informed that the police had tried to reason with the agitating ambulance staff but as the latter started pelting stones, police had to take immediate action against them. Two police personnel and one agitator were injured during the clash.

Nearly eight to nine agitators have been detained by the police, Earlier on January 5, police had booked 358 ambulance staff, who were staging a dharna in front of the RDC office since December 20.