Tag Archives: odisha news

Second zoo in the state, near Sambalpur

The Odisha Government is planning to request the Central Zoo Authority (CZA) to expedite setting up of a second ZOO in the state at Sambalpur. “We are planning to move the CZA for the proposed second zoo only after we get a concrete proposal. It will be done after finalizing the proposed site and study the related impacts of the proposed project,” said BP Singh, special secretary of forest and environment department.

He said the proposal for a ZOO at Sambalpur was announced in the Assembly nearly nine years ago. He said Laxmi Dunguri, a place between Burla and Sambalpur on the bank of river Mahanadi, is one of the sites being considered for the project. But the site is yet to be finalized, he said, adding around 100 acres of land required for the zoo is available at the site. Availability of water and pollution would also be major criterion to develop the project in western Odisha, he said.

Another officer said the department would also assess the possible impact of Hindalco, a mega aluminium manufacturing unit with captive power plant at Hirakud, situated close to the proposed zoo site. “The proposal of a zoo is a welcome decision by the government. But the government should be serious in implementing the project, “said Prakash Meher of Sambalpur. Earlier, chief minister Naveen Patnaik had declared that the Laxmi Dungri would be converted into a zoo. But it is yet to take off, Meher said.

Officials said the department has set up a department-level committee to study present condition of Nandankanan zoo and 11 deer parks in the state and recommend their development.

Fly Ash to take 30 acres of Land everyday

“In Odisha, the fly ash management issue cannot be looked into in isolation of the power plants and aluminium smelters. As the land, water and forest resources of the state cannot sustain the amount of coal fired power plants, Odisha government must not go ahead with its envisaged 75000 MW power generation plan.”

HNF Correspondent

The recent disasters with fly ash ponds in Sambalpur and Jharsuguda have concerned each and every citizen of Odisha.  While fly ash from coal fired power plants is considered to be toxic and cancerous, it is badly impacting lakhs of acres of farm land, severely polluting our water resources, poisoning our food and creating menace in different forms for the people living around.

There is an urgent need to regulate ‘fly ash generation and pollution’ in the state, said Ranjan Panda, Convenor of water Initiative Odisha (WIO) in the consultation session titled “Round Table on Fly Ash Menace in Odisha: Impacts on Water, Health, Environment and Livelihoods”. The session was organised by WIO in association with Citizens Action Forum (CAF), Angul.

 “The meeting was organised to devise a strategy by the concerned people and organisations of Odisha to device and push for an urgent fly ash management policy in the state”.

Prof. Arttabandhu Mishra, an eminent environmentalist said, “it’s a big trouble as at least 22 heavy metals are there in the fly ash, and 18 of them are cancerous that would lead to lungs, bone and other cancers in both humans and animals”. Prof Mishra also added that “by declaring fly ash as a saleable commodity, the Govt. of India has cleared the door to spread cancer in all the places of coal fired plants.”

Members who participated the consultation session expressed their concern over the callousness of the government towards the issue. The government is not even bothered to check open violation of laws by different companies. “None of the power plants are confirming to the pollution control regulations of the country,” said Rabindra Prasad Pattnaik, President of CAF adding, “Each of them is supposed to submit a Plan of Action to the government with regard to fly ash management. However, none do it.”

“The fly ash management issue cannot be looked into in isolation of the power plants and aluminium smelters”, opined the participants and urged, “Odisha government must not go ahead with the envisaged 75000 MW power generation plan as the land, water and forest resources of the state cannot sustain the amount of coal fired power plants.”

It was calculated that 700 gram coal required to produce one unit (1 kw per hour) of electricity produces about 300 grams of ash per unit. So, 300 Kg ash being produced every hour for I MW (1000 kw) electricity, Odisha’s plan to generate 75000 MW electricity shall generate 22500 metric tonne of ash per hour which requires around 1.2 acre of land to be dumped in a height of 30 feet.

As per the calculation, the fly ash produced in a day would take at least 30 acres of land in Odisha every day if all the fly ash mounts are made of 30 feet height. This will orphan lakhs of farmers and fisher folks of their basic sources of livelihood. The participants therefore urged upon the government to immediately scrap the blind push for coal fired power plants.

The consultation came up with a charter of demands that the organisers have decided to submit to the Govt. of Odisha and to use the same to educate the people of the state. Some key demands in the list include:

1. Urging the government to stop production in all coal fired power plants who are not confirming to fly ash management and other pollution control norms;

2. Asking the government to release a White Paper on the existing power plants, their coal, land, water and other requirements with transparent information on the legality of these resources they are in possession of/and or using for production;

3. Urge the government to immediately work on a power vision for the state and limit power production to meet the need of the state.

It’s to be noted that fly ash has its bigger brunt in the state of Odisha as it has not only destroyed agriculture and polluted environment but also poisoned the water of some important rivers and pushed people into chronic ailments.

Odisha to have 21 new forensic units

The state government has decided to set up 21 new forensic units in different police districts and government railway police (GRP) stations to expedite investigation in various cases.

At present, the state has three regional forensic science laboratories at Sambalpur, Berhampur and Balasore beside 15 laboratories in each undivided police district headquarter.

“We will soon decide whether we will go for full-fledged district forensic science laboratories or mobile forensic units in 19 police districts and two GRP districts,” a senior police officer said. “We would open these units for speedy completion of investigation. Inadequate infrastructure and manpower are delaying chemical examination at the existing forensic laboratories in the state,” he added.

While the district and regional forensic units carry out chemical examinations of physical clues in trivial crimes, the State Forensic Science Laboratory (SFSL) in Bhubaneswar tackles major cases. SFSL undertakes examinations in seven specialized divisions – physics, ballistics, chemistry, toxicology, biology, serology and lie detection.

Sources said the SFSL and its three regional units examined a total of 5,354 cases out of the 43,515 exhibits received from across the state in 2011. The four units had examined 5,135 and 4,551 cases in 2009 and 2010, respectively.

The government imparts training to police personnel, judicial officers and medical students at Biju Patnaik State Police Academy in Bhubaneswar and Police Training College in Angul for better utilization of scientific evidences in crime investigation.

Integrated Action Plan

The Integrated Action Plan (IAP) for Selected Tribal and backward Districts was approved on 25.11.2010 for 60 districts with 15 districts in Odisha including Kendujhar/Keonjhar. Subsequently, IAP was expanded and now includes 18 districts of Odisha, namely, Balangir, Debagarh, Gajapati, Jaipur, Kalahandi, Kandhamal, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Sonapur and Sundargarh. An amount of Rs. 915 crore has been released to the Government of Odisha under IAP against which expenditure of Rs. 784.87 crore has been reported i.e. 85.78%. An amount of Rs. 55 crore has been released to Kendujhar/Keonjhar district against which an expenditure of Rs. 46.39 crore has been reported.

As per the information furnished by the State Government, a total of 299 works have been taken up under IAP in 2010-12 in Kendujhar/Keonjhar district of which 182 works have been completed. The works which have been taken up include 215 roads, 41 tubewells for drinking water, 22 anganwadi centers, 9 public health centres, 7 school buildings, etc.

The State Government has reported that the works are mostly being implemented in inaccessible tribal pockets affected by Left Wing Extremism and IAP has had a positive impact in terms of providing connectivity, health and drinking water. Five meetings of the District Level Committee have been held till date.

The Minister of State for Planning, Science & Technology and Earth Sciences Dr. Ashwani Kumar said this in a written reply in Lok Sabha Today.

Article Source: http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=86514

Downpour improves rainfall deficit in state

The last few days’ downpour has drastically improved the state’s rain deficit. As of now, the state has received 816.5 mm rainfall which is one per cent above the average normal rain of 809.4 mm. This is the first time that the state has received excess rainfall this season, meteorology department officials said on Tuesday.

Sources in the meteorological department said five of the total 30 districts in the state have received excess rainfall between 25 and 29 percent and 18 districts have received normal rain. Sambalpur has recorded 29 per cent above average rainfall, followed by Nayagarh and Cuttack (27 per cent each), Jharsuguda (26 per cent) and Bargarh (25 per cent).

There are seven districts in the state which are still suffering from rainfall deficit even though their condition has improved.

Balasore district, which suffered with rainfall deficit for over a month, has reduced its deficit to 32 per cent followed by Gajpati (27 per cent)), Bhadrak and Deogarh (24 per cent each), and Jajpur and Mayurbhanj (20 per cent each).

The last few days’ showers have brought smiles on the faces of farmers. Paddy, the major crop in the state has been covered in 29.43 lakh hectare area in kharif this year so far against 27.35 lakh hectare area covered during the corresponding period last year.