Tag Archives: Puri

Anthropology Students Travel to India for Field Research

charleststonIs childhood really that different in another culture? College of Charleston students and professor Christine Finnan will spend the month of July in India to explore this topic as part of an upper-level anthropology course. As both a teacher education and anthropology professor, Finnan brings students a unique perspective in this course.The group will travel to four destinations in India: Kolkata, Sambalpur, Bhubaneswar, and Puri. In each city, they will visit schools, children’s museums, other places where families go to have fun, and to agencies that deal with children’s issues. While in Sambalpur, they will work on research projects with students at Sambalpur University. And in Bhubaneswar, they will spend time in a residential school that serves 15,000 tribal children.

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“I really want the students to come away from the trip with a better understanding of how childhood is affected by culture and context, both anthropologically and from an educational standpoint,” Finnan says. “I hope they will be able to put into perspective some of the criticisms of the U.S. education system and draw their own conclusions.”
Eight students are part of the course, entitled Comparative Childhoods: India and U.S.

For more information, contact Christine Finnan at [email protected].

Odisha forests burning bright

Forests in Odisha are burning in the scorching summer heat, literally. Around 2,700 cases of jungle fires were reported in the state in the past two months.

Satellite generated data available with the Forest Survey of India (FSI) said Kandhamal district in the southern part of the state reported the highest 757 incidents of forest blaze between March 1 and April 28.

Koraput district reported 500 forest fires while Ganjam reported 286 in the past two months. Other districts with over 100 instances of forest in flames include Sambalpur (171), Dhenkanal (137) and Sundargarh (108).

In total, there have been 2,934 forest fire incidents reported in the state this year. While a majority of 2,400 incidents were reported in March, there were 296 fires in April. The latest three incidents of fire were reported in three different places in Puri district on April 26, the FSI data said.

There were just 780 incidents of forest fire reported in 2011, while 2,523 fires were reported in 2010 and 2,080 in 2009.

Authorities attribute the drastic increase in number of forest fires to better tracking. “The mechanism to track and report fire incidents have improved due to satellite imagery. That is why the number seems to increase sharply. Earlier, many incidents were going unnoticed,” said principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) (wildlife) J D Sharma.

Sharma said another reason behind marginal rise in the number may be exceptionally dry weather during December and January. “There was no winter rain this time. Such rains help control dryness in forest. That may be one reason behind some more fires this time,” he said.

The PCCF (wildlife) said the forest department had created several fire lines (patches clean of foliage so that accidental fires don’t cross those lines) and had undertaken controlled fires to destroy combustible leaves to avert mishaps.

Environmentalists said all incidents of forest fires are due to human error, sometimes deliberate. Gopal Panda, a professor of geography at Utkal University, said March and April are the months when such incidents go up every year because thick carpets of leaves shed by tress are found lying in forest during this time. “People dependent on firewood, torch the forests so that they may gain an easy entry inside the thick foliage,” he said. Notably, 65% families in the state depend on firewood for kitchen fuel, as per Census 2011 household data.

Panda said those collecting mahua flowers tend to burn the fallen leaves to have a clean ground to collect the flowers on. Such fires sometimes spread uncontrollably. During the dryness of spring and summer, people casually dropping their half-lit biri may also lead to fire. Awareness should be created to address such problems, he added.

Environmentalist Biswajit Mohanty said the rising incidences were due to the failure of the forest department to take remedial steps. “The department is supposed to involve people in protecting the forests as per the provisions of Forest Rights Act. But no such initiatives are being taken. Incentives meant for protecting forests are not reaching people,” Mohanty said.

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.