Tag Archives: Western Odisha

Congress hits out at government for delaying HC bench

The Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee (OPCC) has criticised the State Government for the delay in recommending to the Centre for setting up a permanent bench of the High Court in western Odisha districts.

Even though the people of western Odisha are resorting to different types of agitation during the last several years and courts are paralysed every month for three to four days on the issue, the State Government remains a mute spectator, former minister and media cell chairman of the OPCC Narsingh Mishra said. Mishra said the OPCC had submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during his visit to Congress Bhavan here in January, 2012 demanding a permanent bench of the High Court in western Odisha.

The Prime Minister had said let the State Government recommend it to the Centre. The then Union Law Minister V Moily had also assured that the Centre will take steps in this regard after the State Government made a recommendation. The Congress media cell chairman said the people of Sambalpur and Jharsuguda districts have decided to boycott the urban local body (ULB) polls after they found that boycott of courts and ceasework movements did not yield any result.

Mishra said the poll boycott decision taken in Sambalpur and Jharsuguda districts has the support of the local units of all the political parties. He warned that this may spread to other districts also. However, major political parties are yet to announce their stand on the poll boycott.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Kalpataru Das, a member of the committee constituted by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to manage the ULB polls, is camping at Jharsuguda for selection of candidates. OPCC president Jaydev Jena also criticised the Government for dilly-dallying the issue and said the Congress cannot go against the demand of the local people.

Boycotting the forthcoming ULB polls

demanding-hc-benchLeaders from all political parties decide to boycott forthcoming Urban Local Bodies elections in Sambalpur by demanding permanent bench of ??Odisha? High Court.

Leaders from several political parties including BJD, Congress and BJP on Saturday decided in a meeting to boycott forthcoming Urban Local Body (ULB) elections. The leaders also supported the ‘Western Odisha bandh’ call given by several bar associations in the district protesting against the delay in setting up of the HC bench.

The lawyers decided to observe the bandh from August 20 to August 28. This was informed by the president of Sambalpur District Bar Association Krushna Chandra Baboo.

NCC treated as an optional subject in colleges

To attract students to join NCC, the government has decided to make it an optional subject at the college-level. On an experimental basis, NCC will be made a subject for college students at Khariar College in Western Odisha this year.

Group commander of the NCC, Sambalpur Col. Vikas Goswami on Wednesday disclosed this information while briefing to the press about the forthcoming events of the NCC. He also informed that steps are on to reflect the performances of the cadets in their board examination mark-sheet where the student is supposed to get grace marks for admission and job purposes.

“NCC is a platform where a cadet gets a platform to boost his/her talent and build up confidence which definitely helps in their future. But unfortunately in Odisha, NCC has not been so popular due to various reasons. Hence, the government has decided to make it an optional subject in college level in order to attract college students to join NCC”, Col Goswami said.

Goswami has informed that work for setting up a new naval unit at Bhawanipatna and an Air force unit at Jharsuguda has almost reached its final stage and these units will become functional shortly.

“Students of western part of the state will be benefited once the two units start functioning”, Goswami said. According to him, a senior cadet of Sambalpur commandant Rabindra Singh has stood second in the Thal sainik camp presently going on in New Delhi and he is likely to receive the silver medal in the Obstacle race. “This is a great achievement for the state” , Goswami said.

He informed that in order to make cadets of the NCC ready for the National level competition, the group commandant is providing all round activities and training to the cadets. “We have hired experts to provide training for crafts, arts, dance and music of local culture and tradition to the cadets in order to make them fit for the competition at national level”, Goswami said.

Mahatma Gandhi Temple in Bhatra, Sambalpur

Mahatma Gandhi Temple in Bhatra,SambalpurThis is not your regular shrine. The deity who stands leaning on a walking stick with the tricolour beside him is not drawn from Hindu mythology. But the setting and rituals are no less different from any regular temple. How can it be when for scores of people at Salangapalayam about 25km from Erode, Bapu is no less than God?

On Gandhi Jayanti, there is a stream of people from neighbouring villages to the Mahatma Gandhi koil (temple) as it is locally known. They stand outside the sanctum sanctorum before a granite idol of Bapu, heads bowed and hands folded. The priest performs the aarti as part of the daily puja for Bapu. Across the Gandhi idol, stands a small bust of Kasturba.

“I prayed to Bapu to make me a good girl and also help me to come first in my class,” says M Sanghvi, a class 4 student of Appachimar Madam Government School.

Mahatma Gandhi Temple in Bhatra,SambalpurApart from numerous children from nearby schools, elders and senior citizens also visit the temple on special occasions like Gandhi Jayanti on Tuesday.

“Generally, we have two pujas for Bapu everyday. On special days like today and on Independence Day and Republic Day we have elaborate rituals like smearing sandal paste, milk and panchaamritham abhishekam,” says V Kannan Iyer, chief priest of the temple.

The temple was built in 1997. Vaiyyapuri Mudaliar, a local businessman and a Gandhian, was instrumental in constructing the temple which is now managed by a trust.

“I personally consider Mahatma a divine person who was instrumental in changing the lives of many others. His sense of sacrifice and humility cannot be followed by ordinary people,” says Mudaliar. M Kuppulakshmi, a teacher of nearby government high school, says she makes it a point to ask her students to pray at the temple.

In sharp contrast, and almost as an insult to the memory of Gandhi, entry to the Mariamman temple that stands across the Gandhi koil is restricted to upper castes. “Everybody is welcome inside Bapu’s temple. But there are some restrictions on the entry of dalits in the Mariamman temple,” says S P Annamalai, former panchayat president Salangapalayam.

Surely, Gandhi, who campaigned all his life would have protested at this discrimination.

The most famous Gandhi temple is in Bhatra, a village near Sambalpur in Orissa. This temple built in the 1970s has a dalit priest and reportedly attracts devotees from Orissa and the neighbouring state of Chattisgarh.

Interestingly, Mahatma Gandhi didn’t believe in idol worship though he has said he understood the spirit behind it.

Center map
Get Directions

Health awareness program during this Dussehra & Diwali

In an innovative endeavour to create awareness about a range of health issues, the Odisha State AIDS Control Society (OSACS) in association with National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) has involved folk troupes to disseminate educative messages in an entertaining manner, especially during the forthcoming Dussehra-Diwali festivities.

Targeting migrants who come home during the festive season, OSACS launched an ambitious campaign on Monday, under which nine IEC (information, education and communication) vans of trained cultural troupes will visit nine districts.

Health minister Damodar Rout flagged off the vans, which will cover the districts of Angul, Balasore, Bargarh, Balangir, Rayagada, Ganjam, Khurda, Koraput and Sambalpur between 3rd October and 3rd December.

Rout said the vans with folk troupes on board will display informative exhibitions on issues of HIV/AIDS, reproduction and child health (RCH), tuberculosis, malaria and so on. “The vans will create awareness on multiple health issues at the same time,” the minister said.

Each van will be accompanied by a mobile health unit (MHU). With one session per day, an MHU will provide services at 25 sites per month and IEC publicity van will cover 125 villages per month. Coinciding with the IEC van-MHU movement, social organizations will open condom promotion stalls at various places.

“A lot of migrants come to their native villages to observe Dussehra, Kumar Purnima and Diwali and stay for at least two months. We will reach out to these returnee migrants and their spouses during these days,” said an OSACS spokesperson.

The districts where the IEC vans will visit are considered high incidence areas for HIV/AIDS. According to OSACS figures, of the total 26,127 HIV positive cases in the state (as on August 31, 2012), the highest 9,893 are from Ganjam. Others include 1,447 from Koraput, 1,185 from Khurda, 1,135 from Sambalpur, 841 from Angul and 578 from Balangir.

Of the 1,569 AIDS patients in the state at present, 503 are from Ganjam alone. Of the 1,347 HIV/AIDS deaths so far, Ganjam has contributed the highest 433 followed by Koraput at 148. It is below 100 in each of the other districts.