Tag Archives: Dhenkanal

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.

Lawyers boycott courts

Irrespective of the claims and counterclaims about the success of the State bandh on Monday, an unprecedented trend was observed on the day when the lawyers community across the State came out to support the Congress- sponsored bandh spontaneously.

Judicial activities throughout the State came to a grinding halt as lawyers of all bars, including that of the High Court Bar Association here stayed away from the court proceedings which forced the judges to call it a day soon without transacting any business. “Never in the past decade, had the lawyers showed such unanimity to throw their weight behind the cause of Congress party,” observed a senior advocate of the High Court here.

This was “unprecedented” and probably it could be a protest much against the State police for their highhandedness and prejudiced approach than against the Naveen Patnaik government, opined another lawyer.

Senior advocate of the High Court and Congress leader Narasimha Mishra pointed out that the lawyers and intelligentsia of the State have now understood that the State is no safer in the hands of the present BJD government headed by Naveen Patnaik. “This is the beginning of a countdown for BJD government,” Mishra told this correspondent adding that he had thanked the lawyers for their support to the bandh.  

The Pradesh Congress Committee had given the bandh call to protest against the “barbaric” attack of the policemen to party workers during the mammoth rally organised by the party in Bhubaneswar last week. According to reports reaching here, court activities across the State were paralysed on Monday as lawyers unexpectedly came out in support of the bandh.

In many places, it was seen that the lawyers were urging the judges not to attend the courts saying that they were protesting for a larger interest of the State.

Court activities hampered in Berhampur, Sambalpur, Rourkela, Balasore, Bhubaneswar, Dhenkanal, Kendrapara and many other important cities of the State including that of Cuttack city here where lawyers of all the 14 bars stayed away from courts.

Similarly, the bandh on the day was total in Cuttack city as business establishments, banks and insurance offices, schools, colleges and Universities were closed while the government offices witnessed thin attendance.

The Congress activists picketed at Buxi Bazar, Mangalabag, Badambadi, Khapuria and College Square and disrupted the train and national highway traffic passing through the city.

Hundreds of Congress activists including OPCC general secretary Suresh Mohapatra, City Congress president Mohammed Moqim, State Mahila Congress chief Bijaylaxmi Sahu and Cuttack district president Prakash Behera were taken under preventive custody by the police.

While no major untoward incident was reported from any part of the city during the bandh, police said a minor commotion took place at Vikash Bhawan, the administrative building of the city civic body.

Heatwave sweeps state, so does power crisis

The season’s first spell of heatwave has been ruthless aided and abetted by erratic power supply and an administration in slow-motion. The  mercury level soared with day temperature on Wednesday crossing the 40-degree Celsius mark in at least 15 districts. Titlagarh recorded 45.

The State Government woke up late to the power crisis and convened a meeting, chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, to take stock of the preparedness. The weather office, meanwhile, issued a heatwave warning for the next 48 hours across most parts of the State.

Western, central and northern Odisha districts reeled under the heatwave as mercury soared past 43 degree C in most places. Titlagarh recorded 45 degree C, Sambalpur sizzled at 44.5 and Sonepur at 44. Balangir, Kalahandi and Jharsuguda in the west, interior districts such as Angul, Dhenkanal and northern districts like Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar recorded 42 degree C on the day. Phulbani, considered Odisha’s Kashmir, recorded a maximum temperature of 40.6 degree.

Coastal Odisha was not spared of the misery either. Bhubaneswar registered 42.6 degree while Cuttack recorded six degrees above normal.

“There is conspicuous absence of easterly wind for the last couple of days whereas the north western wind has been consistent in raising the surface temperature. The see breeze, which cools down the City (capital), was weak, blowing at a speed of 1 knot to 2 knots,” Director, India Meteorological Department, Odisha, Sarat Chandra Sahu said.

Although a trough line existed over coastal Odisha, it was lying closer to the surface and unable to gather enough moisture from the atmosphere to trigger thunder squalls. Unbearable conditions apart, the shoddy power supply in the City has made life intolerable for the denizens. Low voltage and frequent breakdowns have been reported in most parts of the Capital for more than a fortnight. Even on Wednesday, people complained of frequent load shedding and power surge during most parts of the day and the evening hours.

At the meeting, the Chief Minister directed the Energy department to ensure transformers are repaired immediately. The Health and Family Welfare department was asked to stock ORS in hospitals and take preventive measures to check sunstroke.