Archive for the ‘Current Affairs’ Category
With an aim of providing quality education in Orissa, the state government has decided to provide opportunities to various companies who would adopt schools in different districts of the state. This gives the corporates huge opportunity to improve their own Corporate Social Responsibility.
In all 134 schools which are being run presently run by SC and ST welfare departmentwould be handed over to corpoartes in the ten different districts that include Keonjhar, Sundergarh, Koraput, Rayagada, Dhenkanal, Angul, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Jajpur and Kalahandi.
The SC and ST welfare department has directed the collectors off the aforementioned districts to fix meeting with the CSR heads of the concerned corporate houses and will request them to take up the schools under the School Adoption Program. A five year perspective plans will be drawn up along with commitment on part of both the schools as well as the adopting organization with clear cut responsibilities of either side, will be drawn in the meeting. While doing the five year plan a financial implication for different activities will also be worked out.
Corporate houses such as OMC, Essel Mining, Rungta Mining, Sirajuddin, Ahluwalia, RSP, SAIL, Vedanta, IMFA, Bhusan steels ltd., JSPL, MCL, NALCO, Hindalco, Aditya Alumina, VISA, NINL, OHPC, NTPC, Monnet, Rohit ferrotech and JK Paper Mills will be participating in this unique effort of adopting the schools.
Notable areas where the corporate can make their presence felt in the school adoption program are development of infrastructure, development of libraries and laboratories, introduction of computer aided programs etc. The plan will also include capacity building of teachers and healthy exchange of teachers among the schools.
Internationally acclaimed designer Pritam Panda from Orissa hosted his first solo showing in Paris this week.
The runway titled ‘Ma journey to Paris’ on his Autumn/Winter 2011-12 Haute Couture line was showcased at the luxe ballroom of the Royale De Louvre Hotel.
Panda is the first Oriya and second Indian to showcase a runway in Paris.
The runway extravaganza, which lasted for an hour, had a guest list of select French, Indian and Arabic high profile socialites and celebrities including Jade Jagger.
Panda explained that his collection was rich in textiles and half of the creations were based on ‘Paata’ from Orissa juxtaposed with rich and luxe fabric from all over the world.
Pritam had earlier bagged the World Chopard Young Entrepreneur Award 2010 in art and design in India.
In a startling revelation by the State Pollution Control Board, over 4 lakh tones of soil has become toxic due to massive industrial pollution in Orissa. Data shows that 21 industrial clusters in Sundragarh, Mayurbhanj,Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Angul and Balasore bear the brunt of soil pollution. According to SPCB sources harmful chemicals like chromium and Mercury were found to have factored in the hazards of such magnitude.
Experts say chromium in the soil apart from affecting the fertility is also carcinogenic. Hazardous chemicals are released into the soil due to lack of facilities for treatment of solid waste and liquid effluents emerging from the industries.
They are not degradable and remain intact for years. In a landmark direction, SPCB has ordered the polluter company ORICOM to shift 80,000 tones of affected soils from 10 acres of land in Talcher to a place where it should be treated.
According to Sidhant Das, member secretary of SPCB , effort would be made to purify soil in enclosures through the process of transfer, storage and disposal facilities for hazardous waste. Subsequently toxic soils of other industrial clusters would be attempted accordingly, he added.
Addressing a waste management conclave on behalf of Indian Chamber of Commerce, he said that Industry should undertake waste disposal measures as per the directions of SPCB as industrialization has become a reality, which has hard to be sacrificed by all means.
Further he said that Orissa ranks 26th in managing the Wastes in the country. It is learnt that for producing 7000 mw of electricity, Orissa produces 20 million tones of ashes from several thermal power stations.Again wuth the government targeting 45,000 Mw electricity by 2012, it would further deteriorate the situation by producing 100 million tones of ashes.
Viable solution to the problem includes utilizing ash for making bricks, using it as raw materials for road construction, filling the mineral pits and preparing cement. Further the garbage generated from the cities could be recycled to scientific bio medical waste process.
Textile traders across Orissa have downed shutters on seeking immediate withdrawal of VAT on textiles.The traders said Orissa is the first state to have imposed four per cent VAT on textile fabrics and sugar from May 3. Rajasthan and Jharkhand, which had imposed VAT on textile products but withdrew after the merchants protested.
The All Orissa Textile Merchants’ Association general secretary Mohanlal Jain said VAT had increased the cost of Orissa textiles compared to those in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. This is disadvantageous for wholesalers because many retailers would now buy from the neighboring states, Jain said.
The price of clothes in the state is up by six per cent as the state government is collecting entry tax of two per cent besides VAT, he said. The traders will keep their shops shut on Wednesday when they will take out a rally, he added.
The total worth of Orissa’s textile industry stands at Rs 20,000 crore. There are seven lakh textile merchants in the state, Jain said.
He said the traders had met chief minister Naveen Patnaik on May 19 and gave him a memorandum requesting withdrawal of the tax. The government had requested the traders not to go ahead with the agitation, which was initially planned for May 24 and 25. The traders again met chief secretary B K Patnaik on June 4, but to no avail. They were then forced to go on agitation, he said.
In Cuttack, around 3,000 traders closed their shops and staged protest by taking out a rally from Jubilee Tower near Cuttack Municipal Corporation office to Banijyakar Bhawan. Describing the state government’s decision as arbitrary’, they demanded an immediate rollback.
The Union Budget 2011 allowed states to impose tax on sugar and textiles, which were earlier exempted from VAT and were covered under the Additional Duties of Excise (goods of special importance) Act 1957. Over 550 items are covered under VAT.
Panic gripped Kaniha after the dyke of an ash pond in phase 1 of NTPC collapsed on Thursday.
Owing to the collapse, the surface level of soil went 200 meteres down on either side of the ash pond and a few cracks developed in the area leading to ash mixed water flowing out of the pond.
NTPC Authorities have prevented the flow temporarily. But locals are apprehensive of the ash pond as it has become weak and it might cave in anytime. They have temporarily managed to stem the flow of ash water to Tikira river and agriculture land adjacent to the pond.
NTPC Executive Director R Venkateshwaran and other officials rushed to the spot and BDO Ashok Mohanty, Tehsildar Harish Rout and Kaniha police reached the spot later to look into the matter.
It is alleged that low quality of construction material was used for building the dyke. Soil was used for one fourth and ash for the rest while constructing the pond, it is alleged. Higher authorities of NTPC expressed their concern over the construction of the ash pond.
According to reports, a few months ago another ash dyke collapsed near Derang and Masunihata villages causing immense damage and loss.
The Vedanta’s Aluminum project in Lanjigarh has been in the eyes of storm for some reasons or other. The project has grabbed headlines since its inception in this tribal dominion. And now it has caught the attention of media again for wrong reasons!
A recent report by the Amnesty International has warned that thousands of families in Lanjigarh are facing serious health risks during the imminent monsoon season following reports of leaks at the Vedanta Aluminum refinery’s main “red mud pond”, a vast reservoir of toxic residue.
The red mud pond is an estimated 92 billion liter cocktail of toxic residue that includes radioactive elements from the process of refining bauxite. Last year, spills from a red mud pond in Hungary which leaked into the Danube led to deaths, serious injuries and widespread environmental damage. The Vedanta refinery and the red mud pond are situated only a kilometer from the river Vamsadhara, the region’s main water source; four villages are very close to the refinery and eight others are downstream of the river.
Vedanta Aluminum denies that there were any spills from the red mud pond but has reportedly repaired the damaged areas. Amnesty International has however obtained video footage taken by people living in the Lanjigarh area showing two recent serious breaches of the pond following heavy rains, with gushing liquid flowing onto nearby roads, as proof of its claims!
In a first of its kind website in the country, the Orissa Steel and Mines Ministry launched a website to disseminate all information relating to steel and mining sector. The effort is commendable and will go a long way in creating transparency and shunting illegal mining in Orissa.
The new portal http://www.orissaminerals.gov.in was launched by , steel and mines minister, Raghunath Mohanty and is expected to ,apart from providing regular information in the mining sector of the state, facilitate payment of royalty, surface rent, dead rent, government charges for permit and pass through online payment to Directorate of Treasuries and Inspection.
The website is aimed at bringing in systematic reforms to reengineer the prevailing procedure and ensure strict adherence to all the Mining Statues and Rules. Till date Orissa has 597 lessees and 3,013 licensees who have been given unique codes. The website will contain all information relating to the lessees and licensees, the areas they are operating in, period of lease etc. The mineral that are being mined by licensee have been neatly subcategorized. Henceforth all licensees in the category of traders deport and mineral based industry will have to enter returns on the online system to have daily account of the mineral movement in the State. This will ensure better transparency.
It has been a long known truth that root causes of illegal mining had been lack of transparency. And the long drawn out procedures relating to issuance of transit pass, and other departments add to the corruption in the mining sector. The website will be a single window for getting all information relating to the status of lease and the statutes obeyed.
The minister while launching the website lauded the effort to use Information technology to clean up system. He further said that lessees and licensees can from now on access the single window at the website wherein they will have to update information pertaining to a mining plan, surface, right clearance, forest clearance, environment clearance, OSPCB clearance. All such information has been validated by the mining offices to lock the database and open it to the public, he added.
The effort is no doubt laudable and apart from helping to maintain online records of all the lessees whose mines are currently operational in the state, will go a long way in edging out corruption from the mining sector.
Hundreds of industries that have cropped up in Kanshabahal and Kalunga areas of Sundargarh district have turned the region into a toxic belt. Residents are now complaining of various skin and respiratory diseases which have been ascribed to industrial pollution.
There are about 100 sponge iron units besides other plants and 16 crushers running in Kalunga under Lahukata Block. In Kanshabahal under Rajgangpur Block, there are 21 varied plants including five sponge iron units, five crushers and 20 brick kilns.
Owners of sponge iron units and brick kilns are not adhering to pollution control norms. Though at various times, many of these units were sealed by the government, they come up again violating the environment norms.
Residents complain that since most of these units operate near human habitats, powders of coal, stone, dust and smokes emitting out of these plants affect people. They further complain that some owners in connivance with middlemen are dumping industrial effluents on the farmlands, rivers and rivulets resulting in infertility of farmlands. Output from agriculture is declining with each year. Even livestock are being affected with unknown diseases as they consume polluted water from these rivers. Presence of thick coal dust in the air makes movement in open air next to impossible.
In a bid to streamline the Mid-Day Meal Scheme in primary schools, the state government has decided to hand over the operational responsibilities to School and Mass Education Department. Till now the responsibility of the Mid-Day Meal Scheme was lying with the Women and Child Welfare department.
Emphasizing on better supervision and functioning, School and Mass Education Minister Mr. Pratap Jena accentuated on appointment of special officers to supervise the entire process right from buying groceries to serving the food to the students. The minister also said that with an aim of serving quality food and thereby improving the attendance of the students, menus would be changed frequently and the same would be hanged on the walls of the schools.
The minister also took the opportunity in announcing a scheme of Rs.2600 for deserving students to purchase a bicycle after the school reopens after this summer vacation. For proof of purchase, the students would be required to furnish the bill of purchase to the headmaster.
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