Tag Archives: balangir news

Heat makes life tough in state

The heatwave continued to sweep the state for the third consecutive day on Friday with mercury touching 46 degree Celsius in Titlagarh and Sambalpur towns. The weatherman warned that there would be no respite from the scorching heat for at least two more days.

According to unconfirmed reports, at least 41 people have died of sunstroke during summer this year. The government has confirmed only two deaths, one each in Angul and Balangir districts. The heat is so terrible that roads and markets wear a deserted look during the day.

Titlagarh, considered one of the hottest pockets in the state, on Friday recorded the day’s highest of 46.5 degree Celsius in the state. This temperature in May is also the highest recorded in the town in the past three years. This town in May 13, 2010 recorded 45.5 degree Celsius, official sources said. Similarly, Sambalpur recorded 46 degree Celsius, which was highest in May in the past two years. Sambalpur in May 2011 recorded the highest of 44.7 degree Celsius.

Mercury level in at least seven other towns crossed 44 degree Celsius. While Hirakud and Sonepur recorded 45.8 degree Celsius and 45.4 degree, Angul (44.7), Bhawanipatna (44.5), Balangir and Jharsuguda (44.4) and Sundargarh (44) were among the other hottest pockets on Friday. Several other parts in interior and western parts sizzled with temperature invariably above 40 degree. Bhubaneswar touched 41.4 degree.

Weathermen said the heat wave would continue for two more days. “Heatwaves are likely to continue in western and interior pockets for the next two days,” said local meteorology director Sarat Chandra Sahu. Thundersquall accompanied by hail and gusty surface wind speed above 60 km per hour may occur at one or two places over coastal Odisha but there would be no respite from the heat in these parts as well, he said.

The state government issued a fresh alert to the district administration asking them to review the heat wave condition on a daily basis and take adequate steps to ensure drinking water, oral rehydration salts in hospitals and treatment facilities to those affected by the heat.

Life affected in Western Odisha bandh

Normal life was affected in Western Odisha today during a 12-hour bandh called by lawyers in the region demanding arrest and transfer of Sambalpur district Collector for her alleged highhandedness. Shops, markets, schools, colleges, offices and banks remained closed in major towns of Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Jharsuguda, Bolangir and other districts in the region during the bandh called by Western Odisha Bar Associations.

The associations also demanded judicial inquiry into the confrontation between Sambalpur collector Mrinalini Darswal and lawyers, which took place on April 23. The woman collector was allegedly manhandled by lawyers during the conflict and she lodged a complaint, the police said. The lawyers also lodged a complaint and alleged that the collector had used abusive language against the lawyers. Police had arrested 18 lawyers in this connection. The bandh passed off peacefully, the sources said.

In Sambalpur, normal life was paralysed as roads wore a deserted look and business activities came to a standstill as lawyers staged demonstration and picketing at several places, sources said. A report from Rourkela said shops and markets were closed at the district headquarters town of Sundargarh. Banks and offices were also closed following picketing by lawyers. However, in the steel city, offices, banks and Rourkela Steel plant functioned as usual.

IAP performance in State better with 70% expenditure

The State fared better than other Maoist-affected States as far as the implementation of the Centrally-sponsored Integrated Action Plan is concerned, which is now in operation in 18 of the 30 districts, according to sources.

The sources said the total expenditure in the implementation of the IAP has been in the order of 70 per cent of the released funds for various projects. This was revealed at a review meeting following the recent video conferencing by Union Home Minister P Chidambaram on the implementation of the scheme.

The sources said IAP was implemented in 15 backward and Maoist-affected districts and, since December last year, the Union Home Ministry had extended the project to three more districts- Nayagarh, Jajpur and Ganjam on demand by the State Government. The other districts in which the IAP is in operation are- Balangir, Deogarh, Gajapati, Keonjhar, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Koraput, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Sonepur and Sundargarh.

During the financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12, while the Union Government had provided Rs828 crore with Rs55 crore for each of the 15 districts, the newly added three districts received Rs90 crore at the rate of Rs 30 crore each. Out of the total Rs915 crore, the expenditure was to the tune of 70 per cent in 15 districts and around one per cent in case of the rest three districts, the sources said.

During the two years, various projects like road communication, building, drinking water supply, irrigation and other core sectors were taken up. The State Government had already allotted Rs 934.15 crore, more than the released funds, for the implementation of such projects in the 18 districts, the sources said, adding that 74 % of the projects are drinking water supply schemes, both piped water and tube-well projects.While 90 per cent of the projects were taken up for implementation, 65 per cent of the projects have already been completed, the sources said.

Odisha Govt urges railway ministry to sanction three projects in Maoist zone

The state government has urged the railway ministry to take steps to sanction three new railway lines as ‘national projects’ to help the state combat the Left wing extremism (LWE).

In a letter to chairman of Railway Board Vinay Mittal on March 30, chief secretary Bijay Kumar Patanik has urged him him to take steps to sanction the proposed railway projects such as Bhadrachalam-Malkangiri-Jeypore, Junagarh-Lanjigarh Road and Talcher-Bimalagarh on topmost priority basis.

He has has pointed out to the Railway Board chief that after repeated requests by the state government, large parts of the state covering backward and Maoist-prone Kalahandi-Balangir-Koraput (KBK) districts have remained untouched by railway projects.

He that said the railways has been requested continuously through Budget demands of the State to partner in the vision of the state government and make a concerted effort towards connecting these regions to the national network.

In the meantime, principal secretary, commerce and transport Gagan Kumar Dhal has initiated a move with railway ministry to expedite the process.

He is in touch with officials of Indian Railways as he is batting for the KBK zone, which is one of the most backward regions of the country.

The main objective is to foster development of the region, which would act as a bulwark to counter the existing Maoist menace, he said.

New railway line Bhadrachalam Road (Andhra Pradesh)-Malkangiri-Jeypor-Junagarh-Lanjigarh Road-Talcher-Bimalagarh would connect the main Maoist-hit areas and foster rapid growth, he said.

Though the survey for this line has been sanctioned in the 2011-12 budget, there is a need to complete the survey expeditiously, he said.

Similarly, the survey of Sambalpur-Berhampur new railway line, which was sanctioned in 2009-10, needs completion and the sanction of the project has to be done urgently, urged the chief secretary.

Immediate commencement of work on sections like Jeypore-Malkangiri and Bargarh-Balangir-Nuapada via Padmapur, where surveys have been completed, need to be sanctioned at the earliest, he urged.

This would create new and alternative corridors for movement of thermal coal and other minerals, he pointed out.

Lanjigrah-Junagarh rail line through Bhawanipatna also needs to be expeditiously taken up for completion, Patnaik added.

Meanwhile, a MoU has been signed with BGR Energy for setting up a 1,320-MW thermal power project at Bhapur in Nayagarh district and a 1,100-MW power plant between Boudh and Sonepur by Visaka Thermal Power along the alignment of Khurda Road-Bolangir new broad-gauge railway line.

Traffic for these power plants would move on this corridor, which needs to be completed expeditiously.

DLF Pramerica aims to tap rural areas in eastern states

In its endeavour to expand beyond northern India and tap rural customer base, the fledgling DLF Pramerica Life Insurance (DPLI), a 74:26 joint venture between DLF and Prudential International Insurance Holdings, a fully owned subsidiary of Prudential Financial, the US-based financial services leader, will now reach out to over 18 lakh households in 250 villages in eastern India, mostly across West Bengal, Orissa and Assam.

The company, which operates through 41 branch offices and 88 branch units across Delhi NCR, Haryana, Punjab, Uttarakhand and partly Gujarat, has recently marked its footprint in Kolkata and is now keen on moving into tier-II, tier-III cities and even deeper.

The company has drawn up elaborate plans to reach out to people in far-flung areas through a programme called ‘Bima Jagrukta Abhiyan,’ which is a month-long insurance awareness campaign that seeks to generate awareness about the need and benefits of life insurance among rural customers.

“Through our initiative of Bima Jagrukta Abhiyan, we aim to reach out to a large number of rural households to educate them about the importance of life insurance and simultaneously also to make our products easily accessible to them,” Pavan Dhamija, MD and CEO of DPLI, said.

“The protection that life insurance offers is extremely important for the financial security and well-being of the family. It is unfortunate that large population of people residing in rural India has little knowledge of or access to life insurance,” he said.

As per the plan, the company will cover 100 villages in 16 districts in Orissa including Cuttack, Jagatsinghapur, Puri, Khordha, Nayagarh, Kandhamal, Balangir, Kalahandi, Naupada, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Boudh, Sonepur, Koraput, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur.

In West Bengal, the company will touch upon 100 villages in the districts of Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Howrah, West Midnapore, East Midnapore, Burdwan, Bankura, Purulia, Hoogly, Nadia, Mushirdabad and Coochbehar. And in Assam, the programme will cover 50 villages in the 12 districts of Baksa, Nalbari, Barpeta, Chirrang, Bongaigaon, Dhubri, Goalpara, Sontipur, Golaghat, Jorhat, Sibsaga and Tinsukia, he said.

Branded mobile vans will travel through these villages with simple and direct messages. Besides, skits, street plays and interactive games will be used to draw attention of people and encourage them to find out more about life insurance and what it can do for the long-term financial security for themselves and their families. All communication will be kept simple so that the rural population finds it easy to understand and act upon.