Bargarh looks forward to World Cup for blind hero’s homecoming

On Monday, when Pankaj Bhues will reach Bhubaneswar, the son of a tractor driver will have done something that very few in Bargarh thought he could do – win a World Cup. Pankaj, who is entirely blind in his left eye and has only partial vision in his right, spearheaded the Indian blind cricket team to victory against Bangladesh at UAE, helping India clinch the Cricket World Cup 2018 for Blind last week.

“It is a dream for a player to become the part of a World Cup winning team. Though I started my international cricket career in 2011, this was my first ODI cricket world cup,” said the 23-year-old fielder and bowler.

The tribal youth is the son of Shibulal Bhue of Phulapali village in Bargarh – the second among four children. With a small income, it was difficult for Shibulal to provide an education to all four of his children.

Pankaj started playing cricket when he was studying at the Physically Handicapped School, Bargarh. The cricketer credits Abhay Pradhan, now headmaster of the school, for shaping his talent. Pradhan would be his first coach, the man who would set him on the path to being selected for the 2006 state team.

Picked for the Indian team in 2011, Pankaj played his debut International match against Pakistan in Lahore. Soon after, he was selected for the T20 World Cup in 2012. He took three wickets in the final against Pakistan and helped India win the T20 world cup. “But after the match, I was diagnosed with knee injury and could not run for a year. I thought my career had come to an end,” he said.

Pankaj said his brother, now a policeman, had then asked him to choose athletics to win over his fears. “Though I was scared of running due to injury, I started practising running, long jump and high jump during the end of 2015. It surprisingly gave me physical strength and I took part in national meets held in Delhi, Haryana and Rajasthan. I got 11 medals, including five gold medals in sprint, long jump and high jump,” he said.

Pankaj, incredibly, holds a 6.2 metre record in long jump.

Poverty forced a mom to sell her newborn baby for Rs 12k

Poverty forced a mom to sell her newborn baby for Rs 12kAN 11-day-old baby boy was sold by her mother for Rs.12,000 due to poverty at Banjari village on the outskirts of Jharsuguda town, police said on Thursday.

The 20-year-old woman, identified as Sarita Ansari, had given birth to the baby at VIMSAR in Burla on January 13. However, unable to take care of the newborn due to acute poverty, she was forced to sell the baby to Ramakrushna Sahu and Pradeep Guru of Sambalpur district the very next day for `12,000.

Acting on the information of Childline, Badmal police rescued the baby and arrested Sahu and Guru of Balbaspur village within Sason police limits in Sambalpur district.

Childline coordinator Ashis Panda said in a bid to save the baby boy, poverty-stricken Sarita had to sell him. Reportedly, Guru was in touch with the woman to take the newborn on delivery and had even paid `8,000 in advance.

However, on a tip off about the incident, Childline officials contacted Badmal police and reached Balbaspur where the newborn was rescued from Sahu’s house.

Sources said the baby was born to Sarita and Raju Ansari who are staying in a rented accommodation at Banjari. The couple was driven out of their respective homes by their families for being in a live-in relationship. Though Raju worked as a mason, he was unable to make ends meet and the couple was in dire financial straits.

Sarita reportedly told police that as it was difficult for her to take care of the newborn due to financial constraints, she was forced to hand over the baby to Sahu with help of Guru.

Chairman of the Child Welfare Committee Janmajaya Das said they are verifying the claim of sale of the newborn. Further investigation into the matter is on, said police.

MP Nagendra Vents Anger On Scribes For Talking To Collector First

MP Nagendra Vents Anger On Scribes For Talking To Collector FirstBJD MP from Sambalpur Nagendra Pradhan today berated TV journalists as they sought the byte of the Collector first during Veer Surendra Sai’s birth anniversary celebration here in the city today.

“Tell me, who is more important? People’s representative or bureaucrat? Is Chief Secretary important or Chief Minister? Who are the TV journalists to decide whether a bureaucrat will speak first or representative?” asked Pradhan in a raised voice.

Asking the reporters to record his byte, the MP said the representatives formulate the legislation and the officers are appointed only to execute them. He refused to give any statement to the journalists until the media personnel sought an apology from him.

The parliamentarian accused the journalists of getting advertisements from the Collectors for their respective media houses. “You all preferred the byte of Collector first because you get advertisement from him. We know better than the bureaucrats as we are making schemes. Can’t we clarify on that?” Pradhan asked.

His reaction came after some reporters sought a byte from the Collector about implementation of government scheme in the district before talking to the parliamentarian.

Meanwhile, senior BJD leader and former minister Damodar Rout backed the MP for such reaction. “It is decency to interview the elected representative first when he is present on an occasion. Those who want to take the byte of an administrative officer first lack trust on the democracy,” Rout said.

Bus accident in sambalpur

4 Killed, 32 Injured As Bus Skids Off Bridge In Sambalpur

Four persons were killed and 32 others injured after a bus they were travelling in skidded off a bridge near Goudapalli village in Sambalpur district last night.

As per sources, the ‘Maa Vaishnodevi’ bus was on its way to Rairangpur from Sambalpur when the driver reportedly lost control of the bus and it fell off the bridge.

Locals, police personnel and fire brigade reached at the spot immediately and started rescue operations in presence of Sambalpur Collector, SP and Tehsildar.

The rescue operations went on for nearly four hours after which the injured were rushed to Sambalpur District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) and Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR), Burla.

The deceased were identified as Ranjan Meher from Bijepur, Gopalchandra Mahant from Keonjhar, Saroj Routray from Puri and Dilip Sahu from Keonjhar. The death toll is likely to increase as many of the injured were in critical conditions.

Sambalpur Collector, SP and Tehsildar also visited the hospitals to check health status of the injured passengers.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today announced Rs 2 lakh ex-gratia for kin of those killed in the accident. He also announced free medical checkup for the injured passengers.

Dawn-to-dusk shutdown in Odisha after Kunduli gang rape victim commits suicide

Dawn-to-dusk shutdown in Odisha after Kunduli gang rape victim commits suicideNormal life was hit across Odisha today due to a dawn-to-dusk shutdown called separately by the Congress and the BJP to seek justice for a 14-year-old tribal girl who committed suicide after alleging rape by four men in uniform three months ago.

Shops, business establishments, markets, offices, banks and financial institutions remained shut, while vehicular movement came to a grinding halt across the state during the shutdown, police said.

Many trains were stopped at different places including Bhubaneswar, Sambalpur, and Bhadrak as strike supporters staged rail roko leaving a large number of passengers stranded.

Roads wore a deserted look all over and buses also stayed off roads fearing violence.

Schools and colleges across the state remained closed for the safety of students, while examinations scheduled for the day would be shifted to a suitable date, officials said.

 

The impact of the bandh was also felt in Cuttack, Puri, Berhampur, Sambalpur, Balasore, Bhadrak, Rourkela, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Bargarh, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Kendrapara and Koraput.

After the tribal girl ended her life on Monday, Congress called for dawn-to-dusk state-wide bandh, while BJP is observing a 12-hour strike from 6 am demanding a CBI probe into the whole episode and action against culprits.

Congress also demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the moral ground following the suicide of the girl.

Senior BJP leaders including Surama Padhi and Pratap Sarangi also blamed the chief minister for the tragedy and said the stir over the issue would be intensified.