Sunday, February 19, 2017

Forest Fire devours large forest patch in bolangir;I had written this article in 2010 highlighting the problem of forest fire and its consequences;Sudhir Mishra/Bolangir



MANIPULATION IN B’NGIR VOTE COUNTING ALLEGED Sunday, 19 February 2017 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar 1

MANIPULATION IN B’NGIR VOTE COUNTING ALLEGED
Sunday, 19 February 2017 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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Even though the results of Zilla Parisad candidates have not been announced officially, the Congress, going by unofficial announcement of results, alleged that its candidate lost the Zone 23 seat in Balangir district due to manipulation of the official machinery.
Congress ZP election coordinator for Balangir and Subarnapur districts Samarendra Mishra made this allegation at a Press conference here on Saturda.
“Election to Zone 23 was held yesterday. The Congress candidate was ahead of others and won the seat. But astonishingly, we heard that the BJD candidate has won,” informed Mishra.
He alleged that officials were pressurised to manipulate the results and demanded a recounting of votes there.
Mishra informed that he has submitted avpetition to the State Election Commission and district administration in this regard.
“We were leading by180 votes. It is not understood what magic made the BJD candidate win by 56 votes,” wanted to know Saroj Ratha, the Congress candidate. 



NGT ORDERS VERIFICATION OF B’NGIR POULTRY FARM Monday, 13 February 2017 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar 1

NGT ORDERS VERIFICATION OF B’NGIR POULTRY FARM
Monday, 13 February 2017 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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The Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal (NBT) New Delhi has ordered for a joint verification of the OVR poultry farm at Chhatamakhana on NH-26 by a joint team of the Government of Odisha and the Odisha
State Pollution Control Board (OPSCB).
The verification would be done to ascertain whether the farm has a valid licence and is following the guidelines issued by the OPSCB and the team would submit its report within two months, said lawyer Bijaya Kumar Babu at a Press conference here on Saturday.
“I had filed a case in the NGT on the pollution caused by OVR poultry farm. Acting on my petition, the tribunal has issued notice to the Balangir district Collector, the OPSCB Chairman and the Animal Resource Department Director, Babu said. 
“After receiving then NGT notice, all respondents filed their statements through their legal counsels. However, the report filed by Government officials was not in conformity with the information that I had acquired by RTI,” he said further.
“I submitted my report I got through RTI to the NGT and showed how Government officials filed an incorrect report.
After going through the report, the NGT ordered for a joint inspection of the poultry farm, said Babu.  




Tuesday, February 14, 2017

MAOISTS TORCH B’NGIR CONTRACTOR CAMP Tuesday, 14 February 2017 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar

MAOISTS TORCH B’NGIR CONTRACTOR CAMP

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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On the eve of the first-phase panchayat polls on Monday, a contractor’s camp was torched by Maoists who threatened people to abstain from voting in Balangir district on Sunday night.
The Maoists stormed into the contractor’s camp at Kulhiamunda village of Rengali panchayat under Khaprakhol block and set three tractors, a JCB machine and a roller on fire. The Red rebels destroyed the camp as the road construction work had been carried out without their permission in the area. 

Sunday, February 12, 2017

10.63L TO CAST VOTES IN B’NGIR Sunday, 12 February 2017 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar

10.63L TO CAST VOTES IN B’NGIR
Sunday, 12 February 2017 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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A total of 10,62,594 voters would exercise franchise in 3,803 booths to elect 34 Zilla Parishad Members, 3,803 Ward Members, 318 Sarpanches and equal number of Panchyat Samiti Members in the scheduled five-phase panchayat elections in Balangir district.
Out of 3,803 booths, 342 have been declared hypersensitive.
While Patnagarh block has the highest 60 hypersensitive booths, Balangir 51 and Gudvella block has the lowest nine.

Polling personnel have already been sent to respective boots for conducting first-phase voting on February 13.

RAMAN DARES PROTESTS, VISITS ODISHA TO ‘CLEAR’ M’NADI STAND Friday, 10 February 2017 | PNS | BHUBANESWAR/ BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar 1 2

RAMAN DARES PROTESTS, VISITS ODISHA TO ‘CLEAR’ M’NADI STAND
Friday, 10 February 2017 | PNS | BHUBANESWAR/ BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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Amid the protests from the ruling BJD and Opposition Congress and other non-BJP parties, Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh on Thursday visited Odisha and said he came here to “clear the air” on the ongoing Mahanadi dispute between the two neighbouring States.
Singh was in Odisha to campaign for BJP candidates contesting the upcoming panchayat elections.
Addressing a public meeting at Burda in Loisingha block in Balangir, Singh said, “My visit is aimed at clearing the misunderstanding on Mahanadi river water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh. I am here to tell the truth as a fellow neighbour, not as a Chief Minister. It’s the duty of a neighbour to resolve a misunderstanding.”
He said the dispute can be resolved in a minute if the Chief Ministers of both the States “sit together”. He termed Odisha as Chhattisgarh’s elder brother.
Contrary to the claims of the Odisha Government that the water flow to Odisha has been receding and constructions of dams on the upper catchment areas would pose further adverse impact on the State’s interest, Singh claimed that 82 per cent of the Mahanadi water drains into the sea.
“We (Chhattisgarh) get only four per cent water while Odisha utilises 13 per cent. A mere 18 per cent of Mahanadi water is being utilised. The rest 82 per cent goes to the sea. The Odisha Government can create dams and barrages to reserve the water for its benefit,” Singh said.
He further asserted that the Mahanadi dispute would be resolved easily if the BJP comes to power in Odisha.
During his one-day tour, Singh addressed three public meetings in Balangir, Jharsuguda and Sundergarh and campaigned for the BJP candidates.
“In this election development would be a major topic and implementation of pro-poor policies and programmes of the Narendra Modi Government would be our catch line to convince voters,” said Singh.
In Raman Singh’s presence in Balangir, former Minister Murali Guru, an associate of BJD leader AU Singh Deo, joined the BJP.
However, Singh’s visit evoked strong protest by Congress, Samajwadi Party and Mahanadi Banchao Samiti, Balangir.

Congress members led by senior leader Narasingha Mishra staged a demonstration in front of Loisingha block sporting black badges. Members of Samajwadi Party led by Arun Mishra also staged a dharna in front of the Balangir Collectorate.

1.5L MIGRANTS FROM WEST, SOUTH ODISHA TO MISS VOTING Friday, 10 February 2017 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar 1

1.5L MIGRANTS FROM WEST, SOUTH ODISHA TO MISS VOTING
Friday, 10 February 2017 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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A large section of poor migrants in KBK and western Odisha are all likely to be deprived of their right to vote in the coming panchayat election as they are away from home in search of job in States like Andhra Pradesh, Telengana, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka etc.
Every year, around one lakh people from Balangir district alone migrate to the brick kilns of Telengana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamilnadu and Karnataka to work there and earn bread.
The MGNREGA has virtually failed to arrest the trend of distress migration and bondage, thanks to untimely delay in wage payment to  labourers. Moreover as the labourers get some fat amount at a time from dalals/middlemen, they are unable to suppress the temptation and get ready to migrate.
Besides Bolangir district, migrant labourers from different parts of Nuapada, Kalahandi, Bargarh, Sonepur and Nabarangpur districts and from other areas are also found in large numbers moving to other States.
According to a NGO estimate, while around 80,000 people have migrated from Bolangir, it is 30,000 people from Nuapada district, 10,000 each from Bargarh district and Kalahandi and a few thousands from rest of the other districts totaling more than1.5lakh.

As per the estimates of a civil society organization, 2 lakh poor people from western and southern districts of Odisha migrate every year to different destination States over a period of six to eight months. 80 per cent of these migrant labourers are from tribal and Dalit communities whose journey start from October. They return after June of every year.
So, these people who are always being excluded from Government social security benefits like PDS, enrolment with AADHAR and NFA, they will again not be able to cast their votes during this election. Further, it will exclude them from larger benefits from the panchayat centric  development process, points out a civil society activist here.
In 2014 general elections, the Bolangir district administration set an example and brought back 2,492 migrant labourers from brick kilns of  other States thanks to combined initiative by this correspondent, then Collector M Muthukumar and SP R Prakash. Letters were issued to brick kiln owners of Andhra, Tamilnadu and Karnataka to relieve the workers during election. However, this time there has been no such effort.
According to reports some candidates in the migration prone districts are trying to call some migrant labourers to return home. But it is estimated that this could succeed to bring back only 5 per cent of migrant workforce or even less.

A petition has been filed in the Supreme Court in 2013 urging the court to look into the problem and make necessary arrangement by issuing instruction to the States to ensure voting rights of the migrants, says Umi Daniel of Migration Information Resource Centre (MIRC) Bhubaneswar.

ODISHA TO UPDATE CMP TO COMBAT FOREST FIRE Friday, 10 February 2017 | PNS | BHUBANESWAR | in Bhubaneswar

ODISHA TO UPDATE CMP TO COMBAT FOREST FIRE
Friday, 10 February 2017 | PNS | BHUBANESWAR | in Bhubaneswar
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With summer months approaching, the Odisha Government is updating its Crisis Management Plan (CMP) to combat forest fire in the State.
Though several State Governments have not prepared CMP, Odisha is one of the few States, which has a CMP in place. However, it needs updating, said sources.
In the State, CMP was prepared way back in 2012, which needs updating keeping in view the changing environment and present requirements, said officials.
Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF and CC) has also prepared detailed guidelines for preparation of CMP and accordingly updating will be done, said sources.
Several major fire incidents have been occurring in the State, causing huge damage to forest and wildlife resources.  Similipal and other forest areas face fire regularly during summer months.
There are several causes of forest fire including fire started by people while collecting mahua flower and honey and the poachers set fire to forest to catch wild animals
During 2016, in the months of April, May and June incidents of fire occur resulting huge damage to forest cover in several parts of Similipal, Kuldiha, Raibania, Daitary, Kerandimal and Rukhi forests.
Now the National Green Tribunal (NGT) is asking the State Governments to prepare a CMP, so that such a menace would be avoided.
NGT in its recent order has expressed strong concern over poor response from the State Governments, who have not prepared CMP and asked the authorities to immediately prepare the CMP to take care of the fire menace in the forests.
After receiving the orders, MoEF and CC has asked the State Governments and Union Territories to prepare CMP and come down for discussion with the MoEF.
Senior officials of Department of Forest and Environment of the State Government will be meeting MoEF and CC officials on February 10, sources said.
CMP includes steps for remedy and prevention of fire in forests, which includes drawing fire lines, engagement of Vana Surakshya Samiti volunteers and forest staff to douse fires and installation of fire blower machines, officials said.
Experts said that using modern technology in the form of satellite imagery and improved communication systems to alert the field staff immediately when fire starts.

“As the mobility in hilly terrain is a major challenge and we need to find ways to overcome that with provisions of additional vehicles, both four and two-wheelers should be made available for the fast movement of fire fighting squads,” they opined.

PEOPLE SHOULD COMBAT FOREST FIRES UNITED’ Wednesday, 08 February 2017 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar 1

PEOPLE SHOULD COMBAT FOREST FIRES UNITED’
Wednesday, 08 February 2017 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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Vanasurakshya Samiti (VSS) members of Bijalimunda and Asurmunda Kalijharan and villagers of Khujenpali participated in a sensitisation workshop here on Tuesday on the devastating consequences of forest fire and how to tackle it.
Honorary wildlife warden of Balangir and district correspondent of The Pioneer Sudhir Mishra explained in detail about the forest fire and its devastating consequences on soil and ecology. Mishra called upon people to fight in a united manner to save the existing forest resources and animals which are under stressed conditions. A total of 48 villages have been identified as forest fire prone prone to forest fire and at least 13 villages have records of forest fire incidents in the district, he informed further.
Range Officer of Balangir Forest Range BC Roul spoke on creation of fire line and explained the cause of forest fire.  Roul called upon the villagers to make their village free from forest fire incidents. The Forest Guards and villagers shared their previous experience and how they tackled forest fires. Among others, Forester Dhruba Bagarti also spoke.