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.

Villagers come to rescue of ailing boy

Sixteen-year-old Chandrasekhar Pradhan of Kusanpuri village in Bargarh district awaits for a new life. And residents of his villagers are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that he gets one.

Chandrasekhar has been suffering from a serious disease which is yet to be diagnosed. Blood is oozing out of his mouth and anus. Though the boy has been admitted to the VSS Medical at Burla from June 5, doctors have not been able to find out what he is suffering from. In the meantime, he has been transfused 10 units of blood and referred to SCB Medical at Cuttack where he would undergo surgery.

Chandrasekhar PradhanComing from a poor background, Chandrasekhar lost his father Brushaba Pradhan four months back to diabetes. The financial condition at his home and the mental tension notwithstanding, the boy managed passed matriculation examination with first division, the results of which were declared recently. The family owned three acres of agricultural land which they had to sell off for treatment of Brushaba. When his mother and sister could not arrange money for Chandrasekhar’s treatment, the villagers decided to come to their rescue. Besides arranging funds to the tune of `7,500 to get him admitted to the VSS Medical, the villagers are also attending to him in the hospital on a rotation basis. They also donated blood that was transfused to the boy.

He would be taken to SCB Medical at Cuttack for further treatment on Monday and for that, his classmates and villagers have collected another `8,200 which will be handed over to his family.

Meanwhile, Sarpanch of Kusunpuri Surendra Bisi and Chandrasekhar’s mother Prem Shella have appealed to Good Samaritans to contribute financially towards his treatment. His sister Nirupama is studying in Class X and is also a bright student.

Odisha govt to upgrade 11 airstrips in different districts

Air connectivity across Odisha is set to get a boost with the state government proposing upgradation of the existing 11 airstrips in different districts. The plan includes installation of communication and surveillance apparatus, increasing the length of runways and construction of boundary walls, sources said.

The airstrips are located at Keonjhar, Dhenkanal, Sambalpur, Jeypore (Koraput district), Khariar (Nuapada district), Bargarh, Phulbani, Rairangpur (Jharsuguda district), Ganjam, Balangir, Bhawanipatna and Malkangiri.

Official sources said except the airstrip at Jeypore, which will be converted into a full-fledged airport over 310 acre, the rest will be revamped and modernized. The state government had earlier proposed the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to develop the Jharsuguda airstrip into a full-fledged airport.

The government has directed chief engineer (roads) and superintending engineers of Cuttack, Sambalpur, Jeypore and Berhampur circles to prepare plans accordingly. “Following the decision on May 24, we have written to the engineers concerned to prepare the plan, design and cost estimation for the upgradation work,” said joint secretary Premananda Khuntia.

“Many of the existing airstrips don’t have boundary walls making them vulnerable to animal menace. The length of the runways would be increased to facilitate landing of big aircrafts,” said an official. The runway in most districts is less than 5000 ft. “Big aircrafts require at least 900 ft runway for landing and take-off. Besides, the airstrips should have navigation aids and control towers,” said director of Biju Patnaik Airport Sharad Kumar.

Odisha has 17 airstrips and 16 helipads. In August, 2012, the government had announced to develop five greenfield airports at Rayagada, Paradip, Dhamra, Angul and Kalinganagar in an effort to boost intra-state and inter-state civil aviation.

“Upgradation of airstrip in Odisha will help deliver emergency services faster. It was a dire need for a state like Odisha, where many tribal areas are still not well connected,” former diplomat Abasar Beuria said.