GM College now Wi-Fi enabled campus

The Gangadhar Meher (GM) Autonomous College here on Sunday made Wi-Fi-enabled. While inaugurating the system, vice-chancellor of Sambalpur University Prof B C Barik said with the modern gadget, students of the institution would remain updated round-the-clock.

“GM College is the first government college in the state to have Wi-Fi facility on campus. We have already installed the system but today we formally launched it on the 70th foundation day of the institution. We are proud that our students can remain online 24X7,” said by principal of the institution.

The principal said a computer hub has also been set up in the college, so that students can visit any educational sites to get latest information. “We have also have printing facilities through outsourcing where students can get printouts with a nominal cost of Rs 3 per  page,” Mishra said. The college awarded gold medals to 45 toppers of various departments.

Tale of two brothers: One Maoist, another Sarpanch

Mana bhanjan Badaik, The Sarpanch of Meghpal gram panchayat

One brother still believes power would flow from the barrel of the gun, another has taken the ballot route. One has turned a hardcore radical swearing by Mao’s ideals, the other has vowed peace offensive and development thorough democratic process. This is a tale of two brothers who have treaded two different paths.

Meghpal gram panchayat is home to hardcore Maoist Gobardhan Badaik. One of his brothers Mana Bhanjan Badaik is the sarpanch of the GP. Meghpal is considered the ‘Naxalbari’ of Sambalpur district. It is the place where Maoists killed former Sarpanch of Tampargarh, Kader Singh in broad daylight in 2003 announcing their arrival. Since then, the place has been the hotbed of Maoist activities.

But there is a wind of change. Despite the threat of Maoists looming large, Mana Bhanjan has started a silent revolution for development of the panchayat.

Once considered a backward panchayat which helped Maoists make the area their stronghold, Mana Bhanjan has become a catalyst of change and villagers are gradually feeling it would isolate the Maoists someday.

Setting his priority right, Mana Bhanjan said all that people require are basic amenities __ drinking water, health, education, communication and electricity. Admitting that Maoists took advantage of the backwardness of the area to spread their tentacles, Mana Bhanjan, a Matriculate himself, lays thrust on education.

And his effort is slowly paying off. Today, new school buildings and anganwadi centres have come up in several villages under the Integrated Action Plan (IAP). In a bid to boost irrigation, he managed to get sanction for 40 farm ponds spread over the panchayat and work is on verge of completion. This, he hopes, will help the villagers remain engaged in cultivation all the time.

It will complemented by digging up a new ‘kata’ (tank) under National Horticulture Mission (NHM) at Khadiberna at an estimated cost of Rs 15 lakh.

The monsoon is likely to help store water in the ‘kata’ and ease water scarcity in the area. Similarly, Mana Bhanjan’s efforts have helped several hamlets get power supply. His relentless fight for legitimate rights of the people has helped him achieve success even in implementation of Forest Rights Act and Indira Awas Yojana.

Underdevelopment, he says, is key to growth of Maoists. His exposure to the Maoist problem in the area has helped him understand the nuance of Maoism and he exuded confidence that the Maoists will not be able to recruit youths from the panchayat any more.

However, he said a lot remains to be done and hoped that his effort will be supported by the district administration.

Sambalpur takes first step on slum-free drive

In a bid to make Sambalpur town slum-free, Sambalpur Municipality has taken first step by seeking Request For Proposal (RFP) from NGOs for participating in implementation of Rajiv Awas Yojana (RAY) in the town.

The municipal authority published notification in this regard on Thursday following which the interested NGOs can apply for the same on or before August 1, 2013.

The Municipality has also sought RPF for socio-economic survey of households in slum areas of the town besides setting up a technical cell for urban housing for Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and Lower Income Group under RAY.

The State Government had earlier directed the Collectors to initiate action to free at least six cities including Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Berhampur and Puri of slums.

Under Centre-funded RAY, slum dwellers will be provided affordable housing colonies having all basic civic amenities.

There are a total of 168 slums in the district including 103 under Sambalpur Municipal limits, 32 and 33 in Burla and Hirakud NAC respectively.

A survey undertaken by Gujarat Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation for preparing a Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) for Greater Sambalpur has revealed that 66 per cent of the slums in Sambalpur are located along the main road while 24 per cent are situated near nullahs, seven per cent along the railway tracks while three per cent of the slums exist on the hill slopes.

In the absence of any residential plan, migrants have settled in several unauthorised slums without regular water supply, sewerage connections and basic amenities. The municipal authorities claimed that slums would be developed in a planned manner under the RAY.

Municipal Engineer Basanta Kumar Padhy said after NGOs for the work are shortlisted, Detailed Project Report (DPR) will be prepared and cost of housing calculated.

If a particular slum is found suitable, houses under RAY will be constructed there itself or else it will be relocated, he added.

Under the Yojana, 80 per cent of the fund will be provided by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development, 10 per cent by the State Government while the beneficiaries have to contribute 10 per cent, said Padhy.

Three persons killed by a goods train in Sambalpur

Three persons killed by a goods train in Sambalpur

Three persons including two railway employees were run over by a goods train ahead of the railway bridge over river Mahanadi under Sambalpur Government Railway Police (GRP) limits on Tuesday.

The accident took place at about 3.30 pm between Sambalpur junction and Hirakud railway station under Sambalpur railway division. The deceased are key man Alekh Tanti, railway guard Shyam Mukhi besides, a daily labourer Jiten Lama who had been engaged to work with them.

The incident came to light after driver of the Balangir-Bhubaneswar Intercity stopped the train at Hirakud railway station and sent a memo about the accident. Sources, however, said that it is unclear whether the men at work had taken preventive measures like displaying red flag on the track to inform the driver which could have averted the incident.

Receiving information, Additional Divisional Railway Manager J Diggi and railway officials rushed to the spot. Divisional Railway Manager AK Gupta ordered a probe into the incident and the bodies have been sent to VSS Medical for postmortem.

Rains lash Sambalpur

Even as rain since Saturday have thrown normal life out of gear in Sambalpur, it has brought cheer on the faces of  farmers. They are now confident of taking up agricultural works for rabi season.

However, there has not been much change in the water level of Hirakud reservoir which continues to be at 594.54 feet with 13.44 mm rain being recorded in the upstream. In the downstream, it was 64.55 mm. Around 2,200 cusecs of water was released in Bargarh main canal, 400 cusec in Sason canal, 30 cusec in Sambalpur distributary. There has been a dip in power generation from power houses under Hirakud project. Power generation of Power House I was 16.750 MW, while it was nil in Power House II on Monday.