Tag Archives: rourkela news

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.

Companies look to tap demand in tier II & III cities

With the growth slowing down in tier I cities, consumer facing industries such as branded furniture, ceramic tiles, bath fittings and durables, which are directly impacted by prospects of the housing sector, are chalking out expansion plans in tier II towns which continue to grow at a steady pace.

At a time when sectors like automobiles are cutting down production due to fall in demand, H&R Johnson, Godrej Interio and Sony India are among those investing in enhancing their networks in tier II cities like Jalandhar, Hubli, Bharuch, Rourkela, Rajkot, Kolhapur, Bellary, Warangal, Sambalpur and suburbs of large metros, such as Virar and Dombivali near Mumbai and Faridabad near New Delhi, which are said to be bubbling with activity.

Godrej Interio, the home and office furniture retail business of Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Co, for instance, has lined up a capital expenditure of around Rs 80 crore on expansion plans this year. H&R Johnson, which is the largest tile maker, has invested around Rs 250 crore in adding capacities, while Sony India is increasing its network of sales channels, including brand shops, national chain stores and distributors from around 10,000 to 12,200 in the current fiscal year.

“There is a downturn, but it is more so in the tier I cities. It’s not so much in the tier II cities. We realized it is time we must not sit back on our expansion plans,” said Anil Mathur, COO, Godrej Interio, which recently opened a franchisee store in Virar, where it believes construction activity is on in full swing.

Godrej Interio has opened 23 suburban stores in the last 6 months and will add approximately 20 more in the coming six to eight months. “Earlier, growth in tier I cities was at 21% and in tier II, it was 17%. Now, the indicator is showing tier I growth coming down to 12%, whereas tier II remains at 17-18%,” said Mathur.

H&R Johnson, which admits that economic slowdown has hurt demand for home purchases in tier I, is having a re-look at its business and marketing strategy to capitalize on the potential growth in tier II cities. The company is set to start marketing operations in 16 new locations to increase penetration in tier II & tier III centres. “The spending power in the customers’ hands in tier II & tier III geographies has also increased over the last 5-6 years which offers a great potential to tap for a large size of their wallet,” said R Kurup, chief marketing officer, H&R Johnson.

Wherever consumers buy new homes, they would also be expected to consider purchase of new consumer durables. “Tier II/III markets can be the future growth drivers for consumer durables given the growing disposable incomes, rising aspirations of people to own quality products and improved infrastructure support that the government is providing with respect to the development of these cities,” said Sunil Nayyar, senior general manager, sales, Sony India. The company gets a higher contribution of 56.50% from tier II and tier III cities compared to 40.80% from tier I cities and the company expects to maintain it at the same level in the near future as well.

200 crore to topple the Naveen Pattnaik government

Pyarimohan MohapatraSambalpur vigilance team raided Hotel Radhika Regency here on Monday evening in the wake of allegations by Keonjhar MLA Subarna Naik that some BJD leaders and mineral traders had met there on May 26 to raise Rs 200 crore to topple the Naveen Pattnaik government.

The raid came hours after chief minister Naveen Patnaik dismissed Sarada Nayak from his ministry. The Keonjhar MLA had on Sunday told TOI that Sarada Nayak, who is the Rourkela MLA, had attended the May 26 meeting at Hotel Radhika Regency to raise funds from different business houses, mainly in Keonjhar and Sundargarh districts, for the alleged coup.

A senior vigilance officer confirmed that a raid started around 9 pm and will continue till late night. “We have just arrived and starting probing various allegations,” said deputy superintendent of police, vigilance, P K Das. Sources said, a team from Sambalpur vigilance led by SP (vigilance) M R Panda, was conducting the raid.

Vigilance sleuths said they were conducting the raid because of allegations that it had evaded sales tax dues and denied that the raid was related to Naik’s allegations and had a political undertone to it.

The hotel authorities, on the other hand, denied allegations of any such meeting on May 26. “No such meeting took place in our hotel,” said Arun Dua, the hotel owner. “We came to know about this allegation from the media and have no clue about this meeting,” he added. Vigilance sleuths are also raiding other business establishments of Dua.

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.

Centre nod to Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation’s concrete plans for Rangamatia slum

The dingy Rangamatia slum in Bhubaneswar will soon be replaced by impressive concrete houses, as part of a 44-crore project of the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC). The Centre has approved the plan and would release funds under its Rajiv Awas Yojna (RAY) scheme.

“The ministry of housing & urban poverty alleviation of the central government has approved our project report and would release funds soon,” BMC commissioner Vishal Dev said.

The Rajiv Awas Yojna envisages provision of concrete houses and other basic urban facilities to slum dwellers. The government would build concrete houses, roads, drinking water lines, toilets, community schools and bus stands.

Around 400 households would get the benefits of the scheme in five slum clusters of Rangamatia, sources said. However, more than 500 households exist in the area, sources added.

Rangamatia would be the first slum in Odisha to see development under RAY. A total of six cities have been identified to be covered under the echeme in the state. Those are Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Puri, Berhampur, Rourkela and Sambalpur, sources said.

Rangamatia corporator (ward no. 7) Madan Majhi said living standard of the poor would definitely improve. “But I doubt whether actual beneficiaries have been included in the list. The surveyors did not take me into confidence while identifying the beneficiaries,” he added.

All the slum clusters of the area were studied with the help of satellite data to discern the exact use of land and the type of houses, including the members of each family. After profiling the slum clusters, a baseline data was generated to find out about the probable requirement of the residents.

The BMC commissioner said around 143 volunteers have been selected to help BMC carry out community mobilization programmes in slum clusters of Rangamatia. “BMC was the first urban local body in the country that submitted a draft slum-free city plan of action to the Centre,” Dev added.

The city has 377 slums in all, including 99 authorised ones. The centre-sponsored scheme would be implemented in all the 377 slums. Sources said the Bhubaneswar Development Authority had recently sent detailed project reports for Mahisakhal and Patharbandha slums. Likewise, BMC is waiting for Centre’s approval for projects relating Panda Kudia slum, Jalimunda sahi and Mandap slum.