Rath Yatra: A Unique Journey of the Lord Beyond Places And Cultures

The annual car festival is more than just a festival for the odias. It is an occasion that is consonant with the history, culture and everything that represents odisha. It is thus a grand occasion   when Lord Jagannath comes out of his abode every year to meet His devotees. A tide of human population throngs the abode of the Lord every year on this occasion to get a glimpse of the Lord and worship him with all fervor.

The occasion that has been practiced since yore in the town of Puri has now reached other parts of the globe and  is now being celebrated with equal bash and  gaiety elsewhere in different parts of the world. Though the traditions associated with the original temple remain the same for the Lord in the town of Puri, elsewhere it is the fervor and devotion that  makes  the Lord of  Universe the most adored God for His devotees.

Today the car festival of the Lord is celebrated in different parts of the world including India and outside. And quite a number of places have built a reputation for themselves in conducting the annual car festival with the same zing and enthusiasm that is associated with the festival in Puri.

Dhamrai Rath Yatra ( Bangladesh)

Dhamarai Rath YatraThe Rath yatra at Dhamrai in Bangladesh is important not only for the long history that it carries with itself but also for the number of Hindu devotees it draws in the predominantly Muslim dominated country.

The festival with a history that date backs to 1672 is a major attraction for the Hindu community in Bangladesh and people throng from far and wide to glimpse the Lord in the chariot and pull it’s rope.  What used to be the focal point of the Dhamrai chariot festival was the massive  chariot that used to be 60 ft  in height . It was three tired in structure and it’s colossal size was something that used to inspire awe in the people.

The 3-storied chariot needed 27 maunds of rope to drag it. However the chariot was burnt down by the Pakistani army during the Bangladesh war of Liberation. A makeshift chariot was built with bamboos in the consequent year to continue with the tradition. In 2010, a new 27 ft long chariot with 15 wheels was built . This chariot is being used for the festival ever since.

The Dhamarai chariot festival is a month long event  and in addition to the journey of the Lord, stalls are  set up for sale of varieties of products. Circus and puppet shows also come to provide entertainment to people that come from all walks of life and across religious faiths.

Rath Yatra of Mahesh ( West Bengal)

Mahesh Rath YatraThe second oldest chariot in the country  after the Puri Rath Yatra, the Rathyatra of Mahesh in West Bengal is a week  long affair that is celebrated by the people in the small town of Srerampore of Hoogly district. The famed car festival of Mahesh is enjoyed by over 2-3 lakh devotees every year.

There is an interesting story behind  the  Rathyatra of Mahesh. It is said that Dhrubananda Brahmachari, a great Bengali sage visited Puri  on the 14th Century. He was however prevented by the temple authorities of Puri from getting inside the temple and having a proper darshan. The broken hearted sage then decided to lay in front of the temple and fast until his death.  On the third day of his fasting, he had a vision of the Lord Jagannath directing him to get back to his native place and wait for a  Daru-Brahma( neem trunk) on the banks of Hoogly in a place called Mahesh. He was instructed by the Lord to make the idols of the trinity out of the trunk thus received and worship it ceremoniously.

The devotee then left for Mahesh  and continued with his austerities there. On one rainy night , he had the  dream of the arrival of the Neem Trunk. He jumped into the Hoogly river to bring the trunk home  and then got the deities carved and established the temple.

The temple was visited by Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu a couple of years later and he appointed Kamlakar Piplai as the mahant of the temple. It was Piplai who was responsible for starting the car festival at Mahesh. And more than  700 years on, the tradition is still followed in Mahesh.

The chariot at the Mahesh temple is made of iron. The Ratha is made in traditional Bengali Nabaratna style, e.g. it has nine churas/pinnacles.  The iron rath, with it’s nine pinnacles, towers to a height of 50 feet and weighs 125 tons. Running on 12 wheels of diameter 4 feet the rath was made at a cost of Rs 20,000 and have been in operation since 1885. The four storied Rath is fitted with two wooden horses and a chariot driver.  Apart from that the first stage contains wooden figures of Chaitanyalila, second and third stage contains Krishnalila and Ramlila respectively. The top stage houses the gigantic wooden idol of Jagannath

Not only this festival is the oldest but also the biggest Rathayatra in Bengal. Nearly 2-3 lakh people come to see the month-long fair. Lord Jagannath is pilled in His chariot to  goes to Serampur Gundicha Temple and then remains there till Punarjatra, or Ultorath, as it is popularly known in Bengal.

Ahmedabad Rathyatra

Ahmedabad RathyatraThe Rath Yatra of Ahmedabad is  celebrated on the same date as that of the Puri Rathyatra and it stands next to Puri Rathyatra in terms of grandeur and popularity. The annual chariot festival of  Ahmedabad is attended by 6-8 lakh devotees every year.

The city of Ahmedabad in Gujrat is known as the hub of cultural activities and the Jagannath temple at Jamalpur in the city is one of the oldest Jagannath temple in the country that dates back to the 14 the century. The tradition of the Rath Yatra though a recent one in comparison, still is over a century old!   The history of the temple from where the yatra starts goes back 450 years, when Hanumandasji, a sadhu, cleared the foliage around Jamalpur Darwaja on the banks of Sabarmati river and established a Hanuman temple. The statue of Hanuman is still in the basement of the temple. His successor Sarangdasji visited the famed Jagannath temple in Puri, Orissa, where he had a vision of the Lord asking him to install idols of the trinity – Lord Jagannath, Balram and Subhadra.

Narsinhdasji in 1877 started the Rath Yatra on the Puri model but on a smaller scale to mark Ashadhi Bij. Saraspur, with a temple managed by his gurubhai became the maternal home of the Lords corresponding to the Gundicha temple of Puri.

The  Rath Yatra at Ahmedabad has been observed ever since with much pomp and splendor. It is also a symbol of religious sanctity and unity and has been braced by dignitaries like Khan Abdul Gafar Khan repeatedly.

The glistening highlight of the Ahmedabad Rath Yatra is the procession of caparisoned elephants. Decorated elephants participate in almost all the important rituals associated with the festival. Another important feature is the participation of Akhada Sadhus and Mahants and the numerous floats with different themes. The day-long procession ends with the chariots returning to the Jamalpur Jagannath Temple, covering a 22km distance.

Rath Yatra of Manipur

Manipur Rath Yatra

Manipur Rath Yatra

Also known as kangchingba among the natives, the raty yatra of Manipur has slowly gained reputation as being a cultural festival that is celebrated in the region with unmatched passion.  The significance of the festival to the Manipuris can be gauged from the fact that it is the greatest festival of the Hindus in Manipur.

The First Ratha Yatra Festival in Manipur begun during the reign of Maharaja Gambhir Singh in 1832 A.D. Ever since, it has been celebrated with  ever increasing doses of enthusiasm by the local populace with each pasing year. Popularly, known as Jagobandhu in this hilly state, Lord Jagannath goes out in his annual stroll accompanied by his siblings in His chariot that  is 20 ft in  height and has six iron wheels attached to it.

The Rath is decorated beautifully with nice paintings and flowers of the three sides. The fashion and the procession are almost the same with that of Rath Yatra of Puri though in a miniature form. Flowers and fruits are offered to the Lord at every gate of the house from where the chariot of the Lord passes. In the night, a sankirtana is performed by both group of men and women separately, the men first, and then women follow. Such sankirtana is performed by standing in a circle with a pungyeiba (drumer) in the middle. The song is sung with the rhythm of the Pung (a kind of mirdanga used by Manipuri).

After the sankirtana , some group of young women and girls perform dances at the rhythm of the Pung. This is  followed with the distribution of prasadam the “Kshechiri” (cooked rice with dal, turmeric, chilly and salt and ghee), Uthi (peas, pieces of bamboo shoot with salt and soda), “Ironba ” of “Laphu” (plaintain trunk) and some other items can be added.

 

Rising Incidence of rapes in Odisha – It’s Time For Action Now

Stop Rape

A helper of moving bus climbs to the sleeper section and frightens and then gags the woman on the compartment to rape her ! A minor blind girl was raped brutally on the outskirts of her house and then killed. While another woman gang raped in front of her husband who was tied and beaten inside the hospital premise!

Seem like plots airlifted from some daily soaps! No, these are incidents of violence on women those have hit Odisha in the past couple of months. And as investigations continue and arrests made allegations and counter allegations continue to fly high on the media rendering one to think whether the statistics being thrown on your face about the rising rape cases in the state, are merely numbers or it is just the play of media that seeks to enthuse the audience with potpourri of  facts spiced up with right doses of emotions or is there something that is slipping out of our hands and  disturbing the cultural fabric of our society.( As if rape is a term and action completely alien to the god fearing people of Odisha)

While on the wake of the infamous Delhi rape case, culture was taken as pretext and observations made by the RSS chief duly endorsed later on by the Puri Sankracharya that “rapes happen in India and not in Bharat”  shook the entire nation and drew acidic remarks from many quarters  in the society, it is also a just pretext to do a proper evaluation of the rising number of rapes with context to the geographical /cultural background!

In a report released by Dr. Mrinal Satish  of the Delhi’s National Law University, it has been demonstrated that  rape is a crime that does not identify contours or cultures. It is predominantly an instinct that is devoid of any such reasoning.  Based on his conclusion from data collected  from  high courts and supreme court on the  number of rape cases, covering a period of 25 years from 1983 to 2009, one can safely assume that to say “rapes do not happen in Bharat” is completely nonsensical.

The distinction between “Bharat” and “India” being that of culture ( as accentuated by the revered Sankracharya) and nothing better epitomizes the culture of the country than that of the rural population. So it comes to a cropper as one scuttles through the pages of the report. It cites that over 80% of rape cases in the High Courts and close to 75% of rape cases in the Supreme Court came from rural areas. Close to 75% of gang rape cases in HCs and 63% of gang rape cases in the SC came from rural areas. Over 65% of cases involving the rape of a child (less than 12 years old) came from rural areas. On average, 75% of all rape cases in higher courts that had led to at least one conviction came from rural areas”.

Well, the study is clearly an eye opener to the fact that nothing called culture or dominion comes to fore while a girl is being raped. It is simply a clear case of physical violation by a person of sick mentality. It exists because of a patriarchal, misogynistic mentality that condones it, whether tacitly or explicitly, and because of widespread lawlessness that encourages it.

In order to completely stop the rising incidence of  violation on woman,  a two pronged strategy needs to be adopted. First a gradual social change through education and a rapid reform in law.

Students need to be educated  starting at the school level, about respect for women, for personal spaces and for the rule of law. Showing children early on that people of other gender are equal, needs to become the  central point  to our education system. Girl child should be taught that they are equal, and they are more likely to be treated that way. Self defence classes should be introduced in the school level itself . Similarly the boy child should be conditioned to respect his female counterparts. They should be taught  that girls are equal. Boys should also be given empathy training to show them what it’s like to be a girl. Courses on anger management may be introduced.

We need to introspect, all of us, on how we contribute to the objectification of women, from the popular culture we consume to the way we bring up our children — from where it’s a slippery slope to a twisted and unjust understanding of sexual assault in legal terms.

In terms of the law, we urgently need a more comprehensive and inclusive definition of sexual violence, critical amendments to the Code of Criminal Procedure that will reduce the time taken for trials, fast track courts for sexual assault cases, harsher punishments and a serious programme of police reform and sensitization.  More importantly, we need a police that is more sympathetic to the female victims of violence. All of these are doable, and all are equally crucial — not just for better implementation but also to signal the seriousness with which such crimes will be viewed.

 

Dwindling Sex Ratio in Odisha – A Disturbing Trend That Needs Immediate Attention

Sex Ratio in Odisha

Dwindling Sex Ratio in Odisha

Steep fall in child sex ratio and population in the age group of 0-6 age group has become the major cause of concern of government of odisha. The current sex ratio which by any figure is simply anti girl-child stands at 950 girls for every 1000 boys. The data itself is a pointer to a steep decline from 1991 when the sex ratio stood at 967 girls for every 1000 boys.

Though compared to other states, Odisha has better sex ratio, it is a trend that is disturbing and points to a number of facts.  First, It indicates that an increasing number of people in the state are resorting to female foeticide, thus preventing the birth of girl-children.  This point is substantiated by figures from Nayagarh district which recorded the lowest sex ratio in Odisha i.e. 857 girls for 1000 boys. The district in fact was in storm eye in 2006 when several dead foetus were found here in 2006.

Second the trends indicate that there has been no substantial change in the attitude of the people even after government’s efforts to educate the people on the importance of the girl child. Economic support extended by sons to parents in their old age, the prevalence of the dowry system and increasing instances of violence against women are some  of the common  reasons  that lead to reluctance of people to bear daughters.

On the back drop of such attitude among the people , the availability of the advanced technology  for sex determination has only led to rising vulnerability of new born female child. Interior areas of the state which are bereft of such facilities have shown healthier sex ratio. Nabarangpur, for example that is considered among one of the not so advanced  districts of the state and is primarily dominated by the tribal , has shown the healthiest sex ratio of 999 in rural areas and 971 in urban areas.

The above argument is further justified if one considers the dwindling sex ratio in city areas which have better access to medical facilities. The fall in child sex ratio in fact was higher in urban areas and it rose from 933 to 913, when compared to rural areas where it fell by nine points from 955 to 946.

The 2011 Census results for Orissa, released by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday, shows that the child population in the 0-6 age-group has declined by 85,616 and now stands at over 52.73 lakh. While the child population increased in urban areas by 84,872, it fell in rural areas by 1, 70,488. Child sex ratio has decreased in 26 out of 30 districts in the state since 2001. In 19 districts of the state, the ratio is less than 950. The state average has declined from 953 in 2001 to 934 in 2011.

The statistics are a sort of warning bell for the government. The government should now take concrete steps to improve the sex ratio of the state.

 

In this region of Odisha, there comes an unusual Visitor every month: Sea

Mud Embankments being Constructed To Stop Tide Water

Mud Embankments being Constructed By Villages in Gadkujang Panchayat of Jagatsinghpur District To Stop Tide Water

If the topic of the article didn’t enthuse you and you are still thinking what’s so weird about this, well then be ready for the weirdest answer! Well the sea comes invited!

In the Gadkujang Panchayat of  Jagatsinghpur district, people are slowly getting  used  to the Sea water invading far into their hinterlands destroying crops and gobbling up villages after villages. But it was not like this forever!

It started happening ever since the Odisha state government decided to allocate lands from this panchayat for the proposed Posco Steel plant. What happened next was unmindful and indiscriminate felling of trees by the IDCO (Infrastructure Development Corporation) .  As a repercussion, it is now for the villagers to bear the brunt of nature’s fury.  It has become a regular phenomenon now for sea water to enter to the villages each month on the occasion of new moon and full moon day.

An estimate says that nearly 80,000 trees were felled last year only in this region , thus stripping the entire coastline with valuable forest resources.  The  trees  were instrumental in  acting a s a natural barriers for the marauding tidal waves earlier. Tidal waves from the mouth of river Jatadhara have now started entering into the areas where once the forest used to act as a natural barrier.

The marauding tidal waves have been  destroying farmlands and inundating the villages for some time now. It is estimated that more than 400 acres   of  paddy and vegetable crops get damaged every time the sea water gets into the Panchayat. The life of more than 1500 villages who inhabit the region have turned topsy-turvy.

The villagers who now insist that IDCO which now holds the land before finally handing it over to the POSCO steel company in due course of time, should take to the task of afforesting the entire region. To make up for the lost of forest cover, thousand of acres of plantation is needed now and the company should be made responsible to undertake the afforest ration activities.

In a way, the example of the  Gadkujang Panchayat is an eye opener for the state government.  If its is the role of the government to step up investments and industrial activities, it has got a responsibility towards the environment too.

Deity Left Unattended As Baba Bhusandeswar Temple That Houses Asia’s Largest Shiva Lingam Crumbles

Baba Bhusandeswar

Baba Bhusandeswar : The Largest Shiva Lingam of ASia

No travel or tourism website features it. No popular history book mentions. Little wonder than that hardly any media reported the crumbling of the sanctum Santorum that houses it!

Well, Baba Bhusandeswar, which is largest Shiva Lingam in Asia and is being worshiped in a remote village in Bhogarai block of Balasore district for years  amidst thickets of dense jungle is a popular deity in Balasore and bordering areas of Jharakhand and West Bengal. Ensconced on the banks of Subaranarekha river in Kumbhirgadi Village, the 12 ft long Shiva Lingam has been associated with miraculous healing powers as well as mythological anecdotes that date back to the Ramayana.

Carved out of black granite, only half of the 12-foot lingam is visible. The rest of it has remained buried for years.  It has a diameter of  12 feet  and has three parts. It has a square base of four feet. The middle portion is octagonal and is about 12 feet in diameter and about four feet in height.

Another uniqueness of the Lingam is that it is slightly tilted towards it’s right. Attempts to correct this deviation in the structure by the devotees have not paid any results. Latest record suggests that a businessman from Jaleswar, Mr. Sukhal Jayram had tried to use a crane to pull the Lingam out of the earth in order to install it properly. He too failed in his endeavors. Ever since the tilted Lingam does not bother its devotee anymore. People flock to this temple during Shivaratri, Bisuva Sankranti and Chadak Jatra and it is heavily crowded in these auspicious days

Despite all its specialty and uniqueness, Baba Bhusaneswar has been neglected by the administrators till long. It was not until 1984 that a temple structure was built around the Lingam. Till then it was a thatched house that sheltered the Lord!  And in a mockery of sorts, a portion of the temple roof collapsed just a couple of days back. Though no damage has been done to the Lingam, devotees are now afraid of approaching the Lingam and offer prayers. Even the priest s, afraid of entering the temple have started offering Puja in a nearby Rest shed.

And though officials of the government have already paid visits to the temple and taken stock of the situation, the crumbling temple has become topic of hot debate among political parties. It’s a real shame that a monument of such importance has been neglected so far and so long and instead of taking corrective measures, all that we are up to is bickering and mudslinging! Somebody rightly said – it can happen only in Odisha!

Man Animal Conflicts: Tragedy of Human Blunder

Man Animal Conflict

An elephant poisoned to Death near Human Dwellings in Assam

It is habitual for a resident of odisha to pick up any daily and put fleeting glances on reports of elephant’s electrocution or pachyderms dying on unmanned crossings hit by speeding trains. These stories have hit headlines with such intermittent regularity that they hardly attract any attention of layman anymore! So what happened last week in Kotpad was something brazen and tragic and invited lots of wrath of people as well as wildlife experts.

Wild bears killed eight villagers within a week causing panic among local people in the small town of Kotpad.  The residents finally beat the ravaging animal to death. The incident widely reported in media engaged lots of wildlife experts as well as wildlife enthusiasts in heated discussion.

The news was instrumental in attracting attention to one of the most neglected subject on the face of rampant industrialization of odisha – The growing Man and Animal Conflicts. Of late the incidence of such conflicts has increased and includes animals such as elephants, leopards, bears and even Olive-Ridley Turtles! The very fact that such conflicts have increased in the recent years, calls for understanding the human-wild animal conflict with all its complexities and take a very sensible scientific and compassionate approach to resolve the issue.

To begin with let’s focus on some statistics! Reports from the  Orissa Wildlife Organization  suggest that during the 6 years period from (2004-05 to 2009-10) there was a total of 352 cases of human death, 132 cases of human injury, 3863 cases of house damage and 21768 acres of crop damage due to elephant depredation, and 75 human death cases and 671 human injury cases due to other animals like bear, crocodile, wild pig, wolf and gaur. On the contrary, 331 elephant death cases have been reported during the same period, which include 55 deaths due to poaching for ivory, 96 cases due to accidents (mostly electrocution), 49 natural deaths, 82 due to diseases and 49 for unknown reasons. The same statistics go on to establish the total number of elephant population in the state to be  merely 1886. Similarly the  population of other wild animals have touched alarmingly  low proportions.

The statistics obviously tell the story they are meant to! The cases of man animal conflicts have been on rise and clearly the animals are on the receiving end. Competing with human beings for the same set of resources that once provided them with their sustenance is taking a toll on the animal population.

Human beings have started encroaching upon the area that once fed and bred these wild animals.  Large chunks of forest land have been diverted for mining, establishment of industries, roads, railways, hydroelectric projects, irrigation projects and their canal systems. Linear projects like roads, canals and railways also act as mechanical barriers in the movement of wild animals from one place to another. The habitat of the animals is clearly stressed and as their “zones” get encroached upon by human beings they have two options – either learn to co-exist or resent. And in either cases, the brunt is borne by the animals.

Odisha can take cues from countries like Thailand and Myanmar if it is serious about reducing the ongoing strife between the animal and man kingdom. These countries endowed richly with forest and animal resources have built a viable social-economic model around them. These countries promote their tourism industry around elephants. And what is interesting is that the elephant population far from being threatened keeps on growing at a healthy pace there. The same is true for countries like Australia that boasts of Kangaroo and Malaysia that promotes orangutans!

In Odisha, we need to pro-actively find a solution to habitat related problems of the animal along with ways to save them. Forest officials need to stop deforestation and poaching on one hand while stop human intrusion into sanctuaries in order to address this problem. No doubt forest laws are in place in Odisha. But implementing them with strict supervision is what is needed at this hour!

 

Chit Funds :The Simple Business of Cheating Poor People – Rule Roost In Odisha

Chi Funds - Swindling Millions from people

Chi Funds - Swindling Millions From People of Odisha

Ever since Sudipta Sen, the beleaguered head of the tainted Shradha Group hit the headlines for his  audacity and brazenness in making crores by swindling innocent people through his chit fund company, there have been “crackdowns “  on such money circulation companies in Odisha. Till late evening, police arrested as many as 110 functionaries of different companies, detained more than 80 people and registered more than 97 cheating cases against several illegal NBFCs in the state. While  raids were conducted on 50 dubious “chit fund companies” across 185 different locations in odisha, the police action is expected to grow stronger in the coming days.

While the state government has currently no data of the number of NBFCs, chit fund companies and money circulation firms existing in Odisha and the volume of money invested, police expect that they would be able to find out those details after the end of the ongoing raids. Interestingly though, whistle on the obnoxious ways of chit fund companies was blown in Odisha much earlier. It was in the year 2009 that the Bollywod actor producer Naseer Khan was first charged and later arrested for swindling innocent people from Odisha through his chit fund company “ Fine India Sales”.

While questions are being raised now why noose were not tightened on the chit fund companies even after the “Fine India “ scandal, what actually should invite attention of the sleuth is “ what actually makes Odisha a teeming ground for the burgeoning  chit fund companies?”

Though the general notion is that people of odisha aand other eastern states of the country are gullible, what actually matters is the fact that the Chit Fund Companies take advantage of the weak legal framework. While the RBI and SEBI have specific guidelines for operations of NBFC’s in India , there are no guidelines that control the  Chit fund companies. This apart, the legal provision of imprisonment of only two years for the culprits found cheating people through chit funds, is actually not a deterrent for unscrupulous people in this business.

In Odisha, the State Legislative Assembly passed the Odisha Protection of Interests of Depositors (Financial Establishment) Bill, 2011, making provision of punishment against unscrupulous chit fund companies. The Bill still awaits the President of India’s assent. The provisions of the bill specifies that if a person is found guilty of cheating people of their money, he could serve jail term for 10 years and his/her properties could be confiscated . The proposed Act has the provision of returning money to investors by selling properties of the culprits.

The Bill once it gets presidential nod will no doubt provide respite to victims of fraud and also serve as a deterrent to the dubious “cheat fund” companies. But what matters now is what will happen to people who have been defrauded by these companies now? An estimate proves that  chit fund companies have looted to the tune of Rs 1,500 Crore from investors in odisha alone.  Companies like Seashore securities that cheated to the extent of Rs 600 crore , Ashore, Safex, Sai Pragati, Star Consultancy and Florish India are yet to return the money to their investors.

Nothing describes the angst among the people better than the fact that  on a single day on may 2  at least 127 hapless depositors made a queue to lodge their complaints with the State Crime Branch against the Saradha Group at Baleswar. The company, it is estimated has swindled to the tune of  Rs 50 crore from Baleswar only.

In a way, the unsuspecting investors now don’t have any other option but to blame it on their fate for putting their hard earned money with these swindlers!

 

Engineering Students from OEC design two solar powered Cars

Solar Cars developed by students of Orissa Engineering College

Solar Cars developed by students of Orissa Engineering College

Two compact size solar  powered cars have been designed by the students of  the Orissa Engineering College for use in airports, railways, malls and zoo for in-house activities. Coming just on the heels of  the “water run  bike “ developed by the young Shakti Mishra, the innovations by young students go on to suggest   the growing might of Odisha in  research and Development activities.

The solar powered cars have been designed, fabricated and assembled by the Mechanical Engineering Department of Orissa Engineering College, Bhubaneswar and were inaugurated by  principal of the college Prof. (Dr.) T. C. Panda

The Solar cars developed by the 3rd and 4th semester students under the guidance of senior faculties of the college cost around Rs 70,000.. The solar cars were constructed using in-house facilities of the Department Workshop of the college. The manufacturing costs of these cars were borne completely by the college authorities.

The cars score highly when compared to other cars that run on petrol or diesel. The cars are eco-friendly, compact and offer smart solution for in-house facilities. The students and the college authorities claim that the extensive use of the cars will go a long way in checking environmental pollution !

Encouraged by the success, Prof. Pankaj Charan Jena, the man behind the project says that the college would take a  step further and  develop solar vehicles for its versatile use of the technology in water locomotives and other fields.

 

Finally OPL – Season 2 Sees the Day

Odisha Premier League - OPL

OPL- Season 2 Sees Light

Stung by charges of corruption and financial irregularities, the Orissa Premier League that started off brilliantly with much fanfare in the year 2011  and was  forced to be abandon ed by the Orissa Cricket Academy (OCA), has finally seen the day with the beginning of the start of OPL – Season 2 yesterday from 1st May.

After repeated postponements, the organizers took the event to a colorful start this year with much changes in the format and composition of the team. The opening ceremony of the gala event was held in Barabati Stadium in Cuttack yesterday amidst much fanfare.

Having done away with the  bidding system for purchase of players and the direct involvement of any corporate in the process, the  Orissa Cricket Association (OCA)  has devised its own plan and strategy to hold the OPL and has made a list of some 176 players putting them in five grades and fixing their match allowances according to the gradation of players. A total of eight teams have been short listed  that has been rechristened as  Barabati, Mahanadi, Dhauli, Rushikulya, Baitarani, Konark, Subarnarekha and Chilika.

The playing eleven of each team consists of three players each from Grade A and B, two players from Grade C and D and one player from Grade E. The players will be paid according to their grades. Each team will have three players from Ranji team, four each from B and C grade player pool and three or four players from local area. They will be paid Rs 50,000, Rs 40,000, Rs 30,000 and Rs 20,000 respectively for each match.

This year all the matches of the Orissa Premier League (OPL) will be played in Barabati stadium (cuttack) and VSS stadium (Sambalpur). While all the Group A matches will be held in Cuttack the Group B matches will be palyed in Sambalpur. At both the venues, the first match will be played from 4.00 pm to 7.00 pm and second from 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm. Arrangements have also been made to get the matches telecasted on local TV channels.

The champions of OPL-II will get cash a cash prize of Rs 3 lakhs, while the runners-up will take home Rs 2 lakhs.The third-placed team will be richer by Rs 1 Lakh, while the Man of the Tournament will pocket Rs 25,000.

The Twenty 20 tournament could not be held last year after it came under the scanner of the vigilance department following allegations of black money having been invested by corporate who sponsored the event. The event this year , though sans any major sponsor still has everything in it to enthuse it’s fan and have their eyeballs glued to the TV screen!

Sudarshan Das Has Another Laurel, Wins Moscow Choice Prize

Sand Sculpture by Sudarshan Patnaik

Sand Sculpture by Sudarshan Patnaik That Won The Moscow Choice Award

Noted sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik who hails from Puri and has won many laurels for the country in sand sculpting  has been adjudged  the winner of  “Moscow choice prize” in Russia, for sand sculpting. The  12 feet creation of Hindu elephant god Ganesha, that the master sculptor sculpted on sand was intended top deliver the message of world peace.

The world sand art championship 2013 was held at Moscow’s Kolomenskoe Museum Reserve from April 22-28. The prize distribution ceremony was held Sunday evening. While the “Moscow choice prize” went to Pattnaik, a Ukrainian artist bagged the “sculptor choice prize” and the “people’s choice prize” went to a Russian.

The lone participant from India,the 36 year old competed with artists from 10 different countries. A popular figure in odisha, Sudarshan Patnaik has been into sand sculpting since the tender age of seven! He has won many national and international awards for his creative designs and has recorded his name in the World records for sculpting the tallest Santa Claus and most Santa Claus image built on sand.

Pattnaik, whose name is synonymous with sand sculpting in the country has so far participated in more than 50 international sand sculpture championships across the world and won many awards for the country. In June 2012, he has won first prize in International Sand Sculpture Championship . His  His sand sculpture on Black Taj Mahal earned him accolades all over the world. He runs the Sand Sculpting Institute in Puri, now a days to impart practical teaching on sand sculpting to people and hopes to get some government aid to popularize this form of art in the country!

“The government of India is not lending adequate support to sand art. Now that I have won the prize I do hope that government will do something for this art”, he said after winning the prize. Hope the government is listening!