Archive for May, 2011

The First Century of Orissa Premier League Scored by the Game’s Most Expensive Player Biplab Samantray

Biplab Samantray

Biplab Samantray

Biplab Samantray, the skipper of Katak Barabati Tigers and also the most expensive player of this year’s OPL broke a jinx as he became the first batsman in the ongoing OPL to score a century. Biplab smashed a blistering 109 of just 63 balls to edge out Kashvi Power Rangers Keojhar.The cameo innings was studded with eleven fours and four sixes. The heroic innings also ensured that Katak Barabati record their fourth straight win in the tournament.

The time Biplab arrived at the crease, the Tigers were struggling with two wickets gone with no runs scored. Biplab however produced a memorable innings to ensure that his team maintains the lead in the tournament. The captain while heaping praise on his bowlers stated that he would like to concentrate on one game at a time and that he would like to keep his pace going in their next match aginst the Baleswar Baghas.

River Kelo Turns a Bane for Orissa

River kelo being polluted by discharges from Coal industries

River kelo being polluted by discharges from Coal industries

A major tributary of Mahanadi, the river Kelo begins its course from the plateaus of Chattisgarh before running down its course in Jharsuguda and merging in the Mahanadi. The river has been the lifeline of numerous villages that lie on its bank in the states of Orissa and Chattisgarh. The river enters Orissa through Kanaktora in Jharsuguda and meets Mahanadi after flowing for almost 15km.The river is one of the major parts of the Hirakud water reservoir.

Kelo River not only provides the much needed water for irrigation to all these villagers but also the water to drink! In fact the river is often said to be the catalyst for flowering relationship between Orissa and Chattisgarh. However of late disaster ha struck this pristine river and the areas that it nourishes! The water that nourished the villages is slowly turning black, unfit for drinking, bathing or irrigation purposes. Not only this, once considered a perennial river, Kelo is going dry before summer sets in.

The reasons, the villagers say, are obvious! A slew of industrial activities upstream is slowly turning to be the undoing of this beautiful river and its ecosystem. Over the last decade, the river has been exploited by a large number of industries like Jindal Steel and Monnet Ispat and Energy Limited. Apart from using the water of the river these industries are releasing their wastes into the river!

Jindal Steel and Power Limited consume around 35,400 cubic meters of water from the river per day, which is a heavy drain on the river! As if this was not enough, there are more 40 sponge iron units that are scheduled to come up in the banks of the river. Once active, these industries would rob the people of the valuable water that Kelo River provides.

Apart from indiscriminate use of water, the industries are responsible for discharging their chemical wastes into the water of Kelo which is leading to its gradual detah! Monet Ispat has been the major culprit in this regard as it has been discharging the waste water from its underground plant into the river indiscriminately. The black discharge that has become a regular feature of the river downstreams is discharged by the Monet Ispat. And what’s alarming is the fact that the polluted water from the river flows into the adjoining forest affecting the wildlife there and then is diverted innocently to irrigate agricultural lands. The slick of coal waste has become so prominent now a days that it is impossible to locate fresh water in the river. The water has obviously got poisoned and the fact that recently 3 tones of dead fish were found floating on the river is a proof to this fact!

Dr.Patel, a practicing ayurvedic physician and acupuncture specialist, has noticed the failing health of the people of the area and heard repeated complaints of fellow villagers regarding the regular discharge from the Monnet underground mine. He is determined that things should not get worse; as they might if other mining companies also start their operations in the area (the Jindal group has shown some interest). He owns a large portion of the lands that interest the mines, and this has helped him ward off the threat so far.

Once a boon for people living on its bank, the Kelo river has become a curse for them. While it goes dry during the summers, in other seasons villages on its bank become submerged with polluted water. The river has become a threat to the Hirakud reservoir by bringing into it poisonous effluents from industries in Chatisgarh. Desperate villagers find no help from the various institutions of government that are supposedly established to safeguard the public interest – the environment, public health, pollution control and other wings.

On No Tobacco Day, Perils of Smokeless Tobacco Get Apparent on Orissa

Today is the World “No Tobacco Day” and what better time does it take to drum about the perils of tobacco use to a government that has done nothing exceptional to rescue its populace from the ill impacts of the silent killer!

Unlike most parts of India which are high on cigarettes and other forms of tobacco, the bane that Orissa suffers from

Tobacco Kills

Tobacco Kills

is that of Gutkha or “Smokeless Tobacco”. Orissa in fact figures among the top five smokeless tobacco user state in the country. Nearly half in the age group 20-34 years take any form of tobacco in Orissa. While two in every five male users consume the products daily, around one in five female users do so daily in the state. Statistics also reveal that “Kadaa Pan(betel quid with tobacco),Khaini and Naasa (snuff) together form 44% of the total smokeless tobacco products consumed in Orissa.

The consumption of Smokeless tobacco is harming the state in many ways. Tobacco related cancer accounts for two fifth of the total cancer incidents in the state and buccal cavity cancer is rising exponentially in Orissa. The bane of tobacco consumption in Orissa is that the habit of nicotine consumption starts among most of the male users at a young age. What starts as a fun factor in the teens for most people in Orissa turns into a perennial habit by 25th year of their life.

Though the government has enacted laws to stop the bane of tobacco in Orissa, not much has been achieved. The government of Orissa exercised complete ban of Gutkha in the state some two months back. Similarly smoking in public places has been banned. However when it comes to implementation of these rules, everything seems to be whirling up in smoke. People can be seen puffing away easily in public places like bus stands, hotels and educational institutes. Minors can be spotted easily selling tobacco products in public places.

The youths are the future of the state and losing their energy and vigor to tobacco bodes no good for the state. The government needs to take stern steps to implement the rules rather than simply framing them.

Buddhist Monastery of Solampur

 Buddhist Mound of solampur in orissa

Buddhist Mound of solampur in orissa

That Orissa is the land which gave birth to Buddhism is a fact that many historians in Orissa and elsewhere contend. Dispersed across the landscape of the state are many sites of Buddhist afflictions that lay claim to the corroborations of the historians.It is an accepted fact that the Jajpur district of Orissa was once the epicenter of Buddhism in Orissa. Places like Lalitgiri, Udaygiri and Ratnagiri from Jajpur are known worldwide as sites of Buddhist importance.

However there are other places in and around Jajpur which are important Buddhist sites. Solampur, once a part of the Jajpur district and now placed in the geographical map of Bhadrak district is one such place.Placed just on the banks of northern Branch of the Baitrani river ,the site occupies a remarkable position in the history of Buddhist religion of Orissa.

The place finds mention in the Neulpur copper plate of Subhakaradeva-I and Ratnagiri plates of Somavamsi Karna as Solampur Mahavihara. The inhabitants of Solampur claim that the place was once the site for the royal palace of Bhaumkara and the Baitrani river was used as a moat for it. Numerous sites in the place corroborate the Buddhist origins of the place. These are:

The Mound

Located in the northern side of Solampur, a mound of burnt bricks,potteries and terracotta are found in the mound.The bricks found on the site owe a striking resemblance to bricks that have been used in the monastery of Ratnagiri. Still awaiting excavation, this mound is thought to be the monastery of Solampur.

Santhesvari

A small shed in the eastern side of the mound is locally known as Santhesvari.A number of Buddhist Icons such as those of Boddhisatva,Buddha, Jambala,Tara, Lokeswara and votive stupas are placed in th verandah of the Shed.The front portion of the shed has good number of icons such as Avalokiteswara and Jambala which are half buried in earth. All these images belong to 9th 10th Century A.D.

Raghunath Jew Temple

Located close to the Mound is the Rghunath Jew Temple which is estimated to be more than 200 years of age. The temple although Vaishnavite in affliction, has man idols that are Buddhist in origin. The frontal, northern and western walls of the temple have Buddhist icons.

The Buddhist Monastery of Solampur is a place of historical importance that still awaits restoration and further study. Slowly the efforts of the government and local people are however bring fruitful results.

Orissa@2020 sans land for Homes

A “Real Estate” crisis is evolving in the state.Come 2020,people in eight districts of Orissa would neither have ground beneath their feet nor a roof!

The per capita landmass availability of the state has shrunk to a low of .00373 sq.km and the scenario is a matter of concern in the districts of Khurda,Jagatsinghpur,Jajpur,Cuttack,Bhadrak,Balasore,Ganjam and Puri districts. Khurda district records the lowest per capita land availability with just one third of the state’s average. Landmass per person in Jagatsinghpur and Jajpur are almost equivalent to that of Khurda.

In the wake of upcoming industrial projects in the districts, the rapid shrinking of landmass against the population runs arisk in the state..All the mentioned districts are regions that are set to see major overhaul with industrial projects coming in. More people,less land in the state is likely to fuel up the land prices artificially with flow of money from industries and mines. And like Bhubaneswar, affordable housing would become farfetched for middle class and poor mass.

The evolving situation would affect both rural and urban centers in the district. A recent NCAER report observed that unavailability of land for housing is dogging the poor in districts with high population density, however it is the urban dwellers that would bear most of the brunt as one in three of the Urban Population live on rent.

OSHB shifts into PPP Mode for latest Housing projects in Orissa

Orissa State Housing Board

Orissa State Housing Board

The Orissa State Housing Board (OSHB) is making a shift to the public-private partnership (PPP) mode and, at the same time, venturing into high-end housing. OSHB and private developer Vipul on Friday floated a premium project, Vipul Greens, with housing units in the range of Rs 80 lakh to Rs 1.3 crore. The housing board has also shortlisted a builder for another premium PPP project, besides proposing two more such projects. The empowered committee on infrastructure under the chief secretary will take a decision on the two proposed projects soon.

OSHB secretary B Bahinipati said Skyland Constructions has emerged as the preferred bidder for a nine-acre project at Suang village near the upcoming AIIMS; the group made an offer of Rs 81 crore. OSHB has made proposals for similar premium projects at Ranasinghpur and Patrapada, he said.

The OSHB-Vipul project materialized after a bailout package from the government when Vipul offered to pull out in the wake of the recession in 2008-09. Sources said Vipul bagged 18 acre for Rs 153 crore in a 2007 bid for the PPP project at Ranasinghpur in front of the upcoming AIIMS. But the company expressed its inability to go ahead with the project because of the recession that occurred soon after. Vipul had already deposited around Rs 39 crore with the government in 2007. The government offered a bailout package under which Vipul got one-fourth of the land (4.65 acre) for the money it had deposited. Vipul Greens is coming on that land.

http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/images/pixel.gifThe chief executive officer of Vipul, Guninder Singh, said the premium project will be completed within 36 months. The company has already got clearance for construction and will get environmental sanction soon. Besides 144 premium units, including nine penthouses, to be sold at a price of Rs 3,600 per square foot, the project will have 30 units in a separate block for the economically weaker section (EWS) and the lower-income group (LIG).

Vipul Gardens bhubaneswar

Vipul Gardens bhubaneswar

Vipul managing director Punit Beriwala said the developer is looking at building at least one more project in the city besides the projects in Jharsuguda and Rourkela.

Two weeks ago, the OSHB opened customer bookings for another premium project, Kharavela Enclave, at Dharamvihar, Jagamara, near Khandagiri square. The board has sold 150 applications so far. But many more would have downloaded the form, said Bahinipati. Housing units at the high-income group (HIG) 13-floor apartment building will come be sold at more than Rs 2,900 per square foot. OSHB officials said the project will be ready by 2014.

West Bengal government recognizes Oriya Along with other Six Languages

Oriya Language

Oriya Language

The West Bengal government decided to recognize six languages, other than Bengali, spoken by linguistic minorities in the state, on Thursday.

“We have taken a decision today to notify Urdu, Hindi, Nepali, Oriya, Santhali and Gurmukhi as the language of the linguistic minorities so that work can be done in these languages wherever there is scope,” chief minister Mamata Banerjee told reporters.

There are significant Oriya-speaking populations in Midnapore district of West Bengal. A significant number of oriya speaking people also form a part of the population of Kolkata.The migration of Oriya people to cities like Kolkota and other cities of Wet Bengal has lead to the spread of oriya Language in the state. The decision is welcome as Oriya still forms a language of communication among a lot of Diasporas in West Bengal.

Result of Orissa JEE Published: Students face Grueling 2 Hours For Results

 

Orissa JEE

Orissa JEE

The Odisha JEE 2011 exam results have been declared today. Of the 56,841 students who had appeared for the Engineering test, out of which 52,936 students got qualified. The medical examinations saw around 2,203 students qualify out of 24,411 appeared. In pharmacy 11,388 students got through of the 11,731 who appeared. The MBA exams which was appeared by 7527 students saw6868 students succeeding while of the 5238 students who appeared the MCA exams,4284 qualified.

Earlier in the noon,, there were minor hiccups in getting the results displayed in the website which led to frenetic wait of over 2.5 hours by the students. The results which were scheduled to be displayed on www.odishajee.com at 1 pm on the noon, were not available on time. Themessage that the website showedeven at 3 pm was “Results will be available soon”. Later the JEE officials added thatthe results which were due to be uploaded at 1pm sharp could not be done so because of huge surge of traffic that lead to the server slowing down.

The faux pas notwithstanding, the results were awaited by students with bated breath. By the evening the results were in the hands of the students .

Following are the list of Toppers from respective field.

Engineering Exam– Pratik Gaurav, Cuttack
Medical exam– Roshan Sahu, Sambalpur
MBA exam– Ansuhman Das, Bhubaneswar
MCA exam– Binod Agarwa, Boudh
Architecture exam– Soumya Patra, Balasore
Pharmacy exam– Abhiram Panda

 

Limca Book of Records Honors Oriya Lawyer

A lawyer from Bhadrak district of Orissa who is now practicing in Supreme the Court has entered into this year’s edition of the Limca Book of Records for filing the maximum number of cases on a single day.

Radhakanta Tripathy filed 703 petitions with two national commissions on November 17, 2009. This included 409 petitions with the National Human Rights Commission ( NHRC) and 294 petitions with the National Commission for Scheduled Caste (NCSC). The petitions pertained to the forceful eviction of over 20,000 families from the site of the Salandi-Nalia irrigation project.

Nalia is a tributary of Salandi river. The Rs 100-crore project was sanctioned for renovation of the irrigation project which included expansion of the river bed and canals. The renovation work was implemented in 2008 and but is still continuing. Scores of families were displaced and trees felled during the work.

Tripathy says both the commissions took cognizance of the petitions and initiated action for the greater relief of the aggrieved people. “I come from a village. I understand the pain of the people when their lands are acquired and they are displaced. Hence, I took the initiative hoping my effort would bring some relief to the people. The displacement of people and the felling of trees are human destruction in the name of development,” said Tripathy.

The Limca Book of Records honored him with a certificate for his commendable work.

It’s Man vs Elephants in Dhenkanal District of Orissa

India’s elephants are squeezed of living space, stressed by development, and are growing increasingly violent. So are its people.

Rengali Irrigation Project

Rengali Irrigation Project

Well what could better describe the behavior of the herds of elephants that have somehow become accustomed of feasting out the crops of villages, stomping their gardens and damaging their houses! For years people in forest regions of Orissa have existed peacefully with the elephants but things are changing slowly. As the habitats of the pachyderms get devoured by human population on the name of development, the elephants are gradually transgressing into the human dwellings.

The ongoing Rengali Left Bank Canal Irrigation project on the Brahmani river of Orissa is a pointer to the fact. The irrigation project might be aimed towards agricultural prosperity of the state,but  for the dwellers of 360 odd villagers in Dhenkanal and to the numerous animals who live in the forests nearby, it’s a battle of survival! The final stages of work on the canal have exposed the villagers to a bitter man-elephant conflict. Figures at hand are but an adjunct to the fact. Of the 65  human deaths in Orissa from elephant accidents in the last six-seven years ,30-35 cases have been reported from Dhenkanal only.

The Rengali left bank project has destroyed the traditional habitat of elephants passing through the reserve forests of Dhenkanal, Kapilash and Anantpur, in Dhenkanal forest division. Villagers complain that they had lived peacefully with the animals for ever and the animals never attacked their villages, filed or trampled through their courtyards. However this has all become a regular feature now with the corridor that provided a safe exit for the elephants to migrate, being destroyed. Elephants are migratory animals and require tremendous space. The development of the irrigation project has robbed them of this free space. Traditional paths are now totally cut off due to steep-walled canals on either side of the Brahmani River, creating insurmountable obstacles for elephant migration.

Save Elephants

Save Elephants

Experts point out that Kapilash was the terminal point of habitat for the entire elephant population stretching from Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, West and East Singhbhum district of Jharkhand up to the Dalma forests, covering a distance of 430 km. The rich and diverse forests of Dhenkanal offered an ideal transit path for passing elephants, providing them an abundance of food, shelter and water. However, lack of continuity and fragmentation of their habitat by the canal and its distributaries has put the elephant population under severe stress, experts say.

With the elephants transgressing regularly into human dwellings in search of food and damaging the crops, the villagers have slowly stopped cultivation altogether and many have become migrant laborers. The government is slowly getting up to the problem and has taken active steps for reducing the growing conflict , apart from announcing a compensation of Rs 2 Lakhs for the family of anyone who has been killed by the elephant. The government of Orissa has drawn up a Rs 64 crore multi-pronged strategy to check the growing conflict. An important measure is restoring corridors and fragmented elephant habitats. The forest department has engaged experts to study the land use plan in 14 corridors across the state, and local villagers are being trained and engaged as trackers in elephant squads. Solar-powered fences around cultivated fields are being tested in certain villages.

How far the forest department succeeds in bringing relief to the troubled villagers remains to be seen. But local non-profit organization like the Wildlife Society of Orissa, has begun spreading awareness amongst the villagers. Let’s hope all these efforts bear fruits soon and we successfully eliminate the stress that we are putting ourselves and the animals in.