Tag Archives: Bargarh News

Sand Mafia Cloud on Migrant Farmers

Till a few years back, landless peasants from neighbouring Chhattisgarh frequently travelled to Bargarh district during this part of the year to cultivate vegetables on dry river bed of Jeera.

Their number, though, has drastically come down due to rampant illegal sand mining from the river bed.

Barely a decade back, one could find watermelon, cucumber, bottle guard, pumpkins and cowpeas grown on vast stretches of the dry river bed of Jeera. These migrating peasants used to sell the vegetables in Bargarh market and return to their villages before monsoon arrived.

With sand mining taking toll on the river bed, the number of such peasants has decreased. Such is the situation that this year, only one peasant from Chhattisgarh has come to Bargarh to cultivate vegetables.

Dukha Patel (26) from Chhattisgarh has taken up cultivation of bottle guard near Sainyan village. He alleged that he is often threatened by sand mafia of dire consequences if he did not give up cultivation on the river bed.

Patel, who hails from Chicholi village of Baloda district in Chhattisgarh, said he had been coming to Bargarh since his childhood with his father and mother. While his father has to stay back now due to old age, his mother continues to join him. Apart from his mother Agri Bai, his uncles have this year joined him in cultivating the vegetable in 70 decimals of the river bed land.

Dukha said after meeting all their expenses including food and clothing, he earns about 50,000 during this period every year. He has built makeshift huts along the river bed.

Earlier, Dukha was growing vegetables on the river bed at Bardol in the outskirts of Bargarh town, along with 22 peasant families from across the border. But they were shooed away from the place by sand mafia.

While the other peasants decided not to return this year, Dukha managed to find a new location for growing his crops near Sainyan village.

Maoists Trying to Reorganise: SP

Maoists are trying to re-organise and regain their lost ground in the district, said Sambalpur SP Prateek Mohanty on Thursday.

Briefing mediapersons about the exchange of fire that took place on Wednesday, Mohanty said there were 30 to 35 Maoists in the group including eight to 10 female cadres.

The exchange of fire took place in Landakot reserve forest under Rairakhol police limits of the district and police had specific information about their movement.

The SP said the Maoists opened fire first and police retaliated in which 130 rounds of bullets were fired and grenades used. As the exchange of fire could have left some Maoists injured, a joint operation by police and CRPF was underway to trace the injured.  He added that all the cadres were armed with weapons like AK, INSAS and SLR.

The seizure included garments, utensils, medicines, uniforms, Maoist literature, groceries, ammunition bags besides other items.

seizure list

Sources said Maoists are trying to push hard their plan of developing a corridor which would unite the banned Left ultras from Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh.

The movement is believed to be a part of the plan. According to reports, Maoists have set aside Sundargarh district from their original Sundargarh-Deogarh-Sambalpur Divisional Committee and included Sonepur district. Hadrcore Maoist leader and secretary of Dakshin Chhotanagpur Zonal Committee Samarji alias Anmol Hembram is believed to be coordinating the activities.

Maoists from across the border on both sides are planning to make Gandhamardan hill range in Bargarh district a hopping point before converging in Sunabeda wildlife sanctuary in Nuapada district.

They are planning to replicate their model of guerilla warfare and training camp in Sunabeda with security forces out against them in Saranda forest in Jharkhand bordering Odisha.

Local congress members threaten to resign in Bargarh

Congress members of Bargarh have threatened to resign en masse following the reported decision of the Central Election Committee (CEC) of the party to re-nominate all the six sitting MPs including Sanjay Bhoi from Sambalpur.

Bargarh District Congress Committee president Ananta Sayan Padhi said there is resentment in the party against Sanjay Bhoi.

After the Pradesh Election Committee (PEC) chairman and president of the Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) Jayadev Jena hinted at renomination of all sitting Congress MPs, the party functionaries at district and block decided to protest it. At a meeting recently, they were critical of Bhoi for  staying away from the party and the voters during his entire tenure.

The functionaries were also peeved at the OPCC and AICC for ignoring their petition over the matter and requested to nominate some other candidate. They have decided to resign en masse if the Congress leadership does not consider their demand.

Earlier, a delegation of party legislators comprising Jharsuguda MLA Naba Kisore Das, Bargarh MLA Sadhu Charan Nepak, besides, functionaries of Bargarh and Jharsuguda

District Congress Committee met Screening Committee chairman Oscar Fernandes, AICC general secretary and Odisha-in-Charge B K Hariprasad and submitted a letter addressed to the Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi apprising him of the ground realities.

Explaining that since both the Assembly and Lok Sabha polls would be held simultaneously, they had expressed their apprehension of losing out if Bhoi is re-nominated as Congress candidate for Bargarh Lok Sabha seat. Pointing out that the defeat of Bhoi was imminent as he had alienated himself from the voters over the last five years, they alleged that he had failed to deliver as MP of Bargarh constituency.

AAP to Harp on Anti-Corruption Plank

Even as other political parties are yet to announce their candidates for the 2014 polls, Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate for Bargarh Lok Sabha constituency, Lingaraj, is gearing up to address his first workers convention at Bargarh on Thursday.

Talking to Express, Lingraj said that AAP has already enrolled about 12,000 members and they will launch the campaign after the meeting on Thursday. Gradually such meetings will be held at each of the Assembly segments, blocks and gram panchayats, he added.

Lingaraj said that AAP is likely to field candidates in all the seven Assembly segments without which giving a strong fight in the Lok Sabha polls is not possible.

Corruption at all levels, growing joblessness and unemployment and problems of the farmers will be his key campaign issues, he said.

He said that the resignation of AAP ministry in Delhi has sent out a positive signal and people are slowly aligning with the party as they are frustrated with the growing corruption.

The AAP candidate said that local issues including forcible acquisition of land for industries in Jharusguda, massive pollution by industries, paddy procurement, black marketing of fertilisers and supply of substandard seeds will be raised.

Lingaraj said that in the name of governance, both the State government and the Centre are undermining people’s strength and

AAP will show the political parties the consequences when people wake up and react.

Admitting that generating funds would pose a problem for him, he said he would depend on the contribution of the people.

Proposed Handloom Park Yet to See Light of Day

The State Government’s ambitious Sambalpuri Ikat Handloom Park project in Bargarh district has remained confined to the pen and paper for over three years now.

In 2011, the Government had decided to set up the Park at Katapali village under Barpali block which would be the second handloom park in the country and in Asia, the first one being at Kochampalli near Hyderabad in Andhra Pradesh.

second-handloom-park-bargarhIn the wake of decreasing number of skilled weavers, the handloom park was aimed at teaching weaving to people of non-weaver community. Besides training the weavers on tie and dye processing, production and finishing of the products, the captive looms in the project will help them produce textiles as per market demands.

Sources said as of now, the detailed project report has not been finalised. The park, coming up in public-private partnership (PPP) mode, has acquired over 10 acres of land against a requirement of 25 acres.

The park will have 500 to 1,000 looms and employ 3,000 workers. So far, it has been registered as a society with 100 members including 45 national awardees and 55 master weavers.

While the society is required to arrange land on its own, the Centre and State Government will share other components of the `70-crore project. An inter-governmental panel had been constituted to work on the details of the project.

Official sources in the Handloom, Textiles and Handicrafts Department said the society members had submitted the draft of the final detailed project report last year and the authorities concerned had asked for certain changes which are yet to be made. “Besides, some portion of 10 acres that had been acquired for the project are disputed. It belongs to the tribals and hence, cannot be transferred. But we are trying to put the project on the fast track and it would be commissioned soon,” said a higher official of the department.

According to the Handloom Census 2009 of the Government of India, Bargarh has the biggest handloom cluster in the State. There are 35,000 weavers and allied textile workers and 12,500 looms in the district. Bargarh handloom cluster sprawls across Bargarh, Barpali, Bheden, Bhatli, Attabira, Bijepur, Padampur and Sohela blocks.