Wednesday, July 7, 2010

News published in the Daily PioneerBHUBANESWAR | Thursday, July 1, 2010 | Email | Print | | Back Fund allocation for Balangir continues to decline PNS | Balangir


BHUBANESWAR | Thursday, July 1, 2010 | Email | Print | | Back


Fund allocation for Balangir continues to decline

PNS | Balangir

The Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) given by the Government of India to spur development activities in backward districts after curtailing the allocation to the special KBK kitty has also been reduced year by year.

According to letters of the District Rural Development Agency (DRDA) of Balangir, this district, which is part of the KBK region, received only Rs 8.19.crore out of the entitled Rs 16.41crore in 2008-09.

The amount received for 2009-10 was Rs 9.49 crore.

And this year (2010-11), the district has received a mere Rs 6.96.crore against the entitled Rs 16.41 crore.

"The continuous decline of funds under this scheme has put us in a tight position,” said an official.

According to sources, the problem was discussed in a meeting that was held recently.

A number of projects were taken up for implementation this year. But, the reduction in the allocation has put the district administration in a tight spot. It might create a lot of tension or conflict in the rural areas as the projects had been approved earlier, said the official sources.

This shows the step-motherly attitude of the Centre towards this region, alleged a Biju Janata Dal (BJD) leader here.

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BHUBANESWAR | Wednesday, June 30, 2010 | Email | Print | | Back


13 migrant workers, 6 kids rescued from AP brick kiln

Sudhir Mishra | Balangir

Thirteen migrant workers and their six children, including a 10-day-old baby, of the district, kept in captivity in a brick kiln in Ranga Reddy district of neighbouring Andhra Pradesh, were rescued on Sunday by Hyderabad-based ‘Aide at Action’ activists Sreedhar Reddy and Santosh Rao.

Both visited the brick kiln based in Kandukur mandal of the district and persuaded the kiln owner to release the people.

The migrants being held hostage was first reported by The Pioneer on June 16.

In January this year, 27 adults and some children of Bahiaudar village under Muribahal
block in the district were taken by the labour agent Manoj Patra to work in Biram Patna area of Ranga Reddy district in Andhra Pradesh.

They were allegedly forced to work for 16 hours a day, ill-treated when unable to work, harassed both physically and mentally and scolded by the kiln owner Mastanajah and his supervisor Ranjeet.

Unable to bear the torture, the villagers found no option but to clandestinely flee the place in March 2010, the post-Holi day.

However, Nilakantha Bhattaguria (55) got caught while escaping and was allegedly beaten by the kiln owner’s goons following which his legs were broken. Two women were kept in captivity for two days and allegedly harassed in several ways.

Rabikanta Biswal and others, who managed to escape the place and reach home, lodged a complaint with the District Labour Officer (DLO) and the Tikarpada PS.

Local NGO Jana Mukti Anushtan (JMA)’s Bhajaram Sahu helped the people to approach
the authorities.

DLO Bhoi contacted the brick kiln owner and the middlemen Patra, but to no avail.

After the news was published in The Pioneer, it was immediately referred to Aide at Action Hyderabad office and they started locating the sites.

In the meantime, Umi Daniel of Migration Information and Resource Centre (MiRC), Aide at Action, Bhubaneswar, contacted the Hyderabad office and asked them to take suitable action for the release of the captive labourers.

Social activist Sanjay Mishra took up the issue before the Collector Sailendra Narayan Dey who assured him to take appropriate steps.

Apart from Muribahal, some people from Belpada block were also rescued.

All the rescued 19 migrant labourers boarded the Janmabhumi Express from Hyderabad and have arrived Balangir.
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BHUBANESWAR | Tuesday, June 29, 2010 | Email | Print | | Back


‘Only 25% card holders demanded jobs in Balangir’

Sudhir Mishra | Balangir

Launched with an avowed purpose of improving livelihood of the poor by providing jobs at their door steps and to check distressed migration, the flagship project Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) of the UPA Government seems to have floundered here going by the observation of Union Rural Development Ministry-constituted Eminent Citizen Committee member Kamal Kumar.

“Only 25 per cent demanded jobs under the MGNREGA in Balangir and the payment delay is common,” observed Kumar.

The Union Rural Development Ministry has constituted a 61-member Eminent Citizen Committee to study and assess the implementation of the MGNREGA in India.

The Eminent Citizen Committee is an effort by the Centre to bring improvements in the system by independent monitoring and taking various walks of people from the judiciary, bureaucracy, academics, scientific research, army and personnel from other sectors in the committee.

“Out of the 2,40,000 registered job card holders in the district here, only 60,000 have demanded jobs,” Kamal Kumar told the mediapersons here on Saturday after visiting several projects and interacting with several villagers in nine blocks of the district.

The rest 1,80,000 job card holders have not demanded jobs due to lack of awareness and not to be of their choice.

A large number of people are migrating and the people should be given vocational training, he said further. More awareness is to be developed, Kumar observed.

Even as the MNREGA clearly says that payment should be made within 15 days, actually payments are made invariably after 45-75days.

This is mainly due to shortage of administrative and engineering staff. A total of five Block Development Officer (BDO) posts and 13 junior engineer posts are also lying vacant following which the major delays in payment are being caused.

The claim of the MGNREGA that it has reduced distressed migration evoked sharp reaction from the mediapersons and they wanted to know what action has been taken on the gross irregularities in the work at Dabkani village in Patnagarh block, Jatropha plantation of Rs 2,50,000 inside the jungle, and many other scams involving the district level officials.

“I would like to draw the attention to the likely conflict between the Government of India and Government of Odisha,” Kumar viewed, elaborating the minimum wage has been fixed at Rs 90 while those doing earth work should be paid Rs 145.

It would create problem as the MIS does not support entry of Rs 90 and not more.

The rest amount would have to be carried out further. It might end consuming the allotted days.

The Government of Odisha should reconsider its decision of 30 per cent royalty for road works under the MGNREGA as this is affecting quality of assets, he pointed out.

“I would request the Government to increase the 100 days of household work to 200 days of individual work for the benefits of the rural populace,” Kumar said further.

There is an extreme need to improve documentation and better monitoring by the Line departments to get the desired benefits reaching the people, he added.

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BHUBANESWAR | Monday, June 28, 2010 | Email | Print | | Back


Late monsoon may spell doom to white gold in Balangir

Sudhir Mishra | Balangir

The delay in the onset of monsoon may spell doom on the cotton crop cultivation in the district here.

The cotton crop, dubbed as white gold and promoted as an alternative cash crop after paddy in a bid to improve the economic condition of the farmers in the district here, is always in the headlines for its distress sale, farmer’s suicide for crop failure and delay in cultivation.

The cotton cultivation in Balangir district is yet to take up due to the delay in the arrival of monsoon.

According to sources, against the normal rainfall of 202.8 mm in June, an abysmal 26.11 mm has been recorded so far.

The white gold is grown mostly in Patnagarh, Belpada, Khaprakhol, Muribahal, Bongomunda and some other areas of the district.

This year, the cotton crop has been targeted to take up in 24,000 hectares of the district, informed an agriculture official here.

We are promoting the cultivation of those cotton seeds whose staple length is more than 30 mm and mostly SriTulsi, Bhaskar, Bani, Super Bani and Gabar variety seeds are cultivated here, said the official.

Rather than going for the banned Bt cotton, we are advising the farmers to go for approved variety cotton seeds and adopt the integrated pest management to get more production besides saving the ecology, he further said.

In our eco system, besides the harmful insects, there are also beneficial insects.

Spraying of pesticides, insecticides kills the eco-friendly insects first and then the harmful ones.

The Bt cotton is a risky investment in the absence of assured irrigations. Cultivation of Bt cotton also requires heavy use of fertiliser, insecticides, besides the high cost of its seed.

By adopting integrated pest management, the farmers of the district could get good returns, the official pointed out.

Cotton, which is a 150-day duration crop, is supposed to be sown by June 15.

At the worst case, it should be over by the end of June or at best in the first week of July. Beyond the scheduled period, the cotton crop would give less yield and farmers are likely to switch over to other crops.

Due to the delayed monsoon, the cotton cultivation, targeted to be taken up in 22,000 hectares, could be taken up in 19,000 hectares instead in 2009.

“This year, we are still awaited for a good rain so that its cultivation would take up,” the agriculture official stated.

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BHUBANESWAR | Saturday, June 26, 2010 | Email | Print | | Back
Advocacy workshop on AIDS held in Balangir

Balangir: Puintala block chairman Suru Bag inaugurated a block-level advocacy workshop on HIV/AIDS at Puintala on Thursday. Organised by the Nehru Yuva Kendra and supported by the Odisha AIDS Control Society (OSACS), the workshop was attended by representatives of Panchyati Raj institutions, ICDS and ASHA workers and youth club members. Journalist Sudhir Mishra presented the HIV/AIDS scenario in Balangir district and stressed on educating the grassroots level workers about the modes of transmission of the disease and its prevention. ZP member Sibadatta Mishra and Puintala BDO KK Sahu stressed on prevention of HIV/AIDS in view of absence of its treatment. Counsellor Hemangiani Mishra and Ganesgwar Panda of DAPSU spoke on the causes of HIV/AIDS and Government measures to tackle it. Pankajani Panda coordinated the event.
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BHUBANESWAR | Thursday, June 24, 2010 | Email | Print | | Back
Cong must apologise to people on Bhopal tragedy: BJP

Balangir: The BJP district unit on Wednesday demanded that the Congress, which was in power in the State and at Centre when the Bhopal gas tragedy took place, allowed Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson to go to the United States, tender apology to people of India for the serious lapse. Moreover, Anderson should be declared as an offender. Activists of the Bharatiya Janata Party, led by the party’s district president Prabhas Panigrahi and Ajay Das, on Wednesday staged a dharna before the district Collectorate and submitted a memorandum to the President of India in this regard through the District Collector.
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BHUBANESWAR | Monday, June 21, 2010 | Email | Print | | Back


Balangir topper trio want to be medicos

PNS | Balangir

A passion for the medical profession is all there among the topper-troika of the Odisha Board of Secondary Education and groomed up by the Saraswati Sishu Mandir here.

The results announced on Sunday have the three Sishu Mandir girl students placed in the best-ten list.

While Sanhita, daughter of Santosh and Kanak Panigrahi, ranks second by securing 573 marks, Samapika Acharya secured 7th and Rutuparna Sahu the 10th rank.

Sanhita said, she used to study six-seven hours a day and gave all credit to her parents and teachers.

“I want to be a doctor in future,” said Sanhita.

The same was aspired by her other two rank-holder friends Samapika and Rutuparna.

“I was expecting a better rank,” said Samapika giving credit to her parents, school teachers and tuition teacher while Rutuparna attributed her success to her mother Diptimala Patra.
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BHUBANESWAR | Sunday, June 20, 2010 | Email | Print | | Back


Youth killed in elephant attack in Balangir

PNS | Balangir

The apprehensions that jumbo menace might turned into a tragedy with loss of lives in rural areas of Patnagarh came true.

The jumbo scare which hit the villagers of Dangbahal panchyats of Patnagarh, became a tragedy with the death of Surendra Bariha(23) of Suliamal village in Dangbahal Panchyat on Friday.

According to reports, Surendra had gone to collect tol( Tol is the fruit of Mahul or Mahua flower) from the forest around 4 pm.

As Surendra did not return, villagers searched frantically.

However the dead body of the youth was found in a nullah inside the Suliamal jungle.

The female elephant has trampled him the youth and dragged him a long way.

Local tehshildar Durga Prasad Sahu sanctioned Rs 5,000 as ex –gratia assistance from Red Cross fund and forest official gave Rs 2000 for performing funeral rites.

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BHUBANESWAR | Sunday, June 20, 2010 | Email | Print | | Back


Distress migration a cause of concern: National panel

PNS | Balangir

Distress migration is a cause of concern as a large number of people are migrating from this area. This was stated by National Advisor to Food Rights Commissioner of India Sajjat Hussain in an informal chat with mediapersons here on Thursday evening.

The Supreme Court-constituted Joint Commission of Inquiry (JCI) visited the State from Tuesday to look into the issue of the implementation of food-related schemes and see whether the social security provisions are actually accessible to the intended families.

“We visited the village Buromal in Khaprakhol block (in Balangir district) and inquired about the functioning of the public distribution system (PDS) and other public welfare programmes there. The villagers informed that they are receiving the PDS item regularly,” Hussain informed

The villagers are getting BPL rice, but they are still migrating outside the area, claimed Joint Secretary in Women and Child Development Department Bhaskar Sethy. Later, he interacted with local Government officials and took a review of the problems. Among others, district Collector SN Dey and PD DRDA Sanjay Habwada were present

The joint inquiry team visited Katapali village on Friday.

Balangir launches special campaign to boost maize productionBHUBANESWAR | Monday, July 5, 2010 | Email | Print | | Back Balangir launches special campaign to boost maize production


BHUBANESWAR | Monday, July 5, 2010 | Email | Print | | Back


Balangir launches special campaign to boost maize production

Sudhir Mishra | Balangir

With a special drive under the Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) assisted by Monsanto India under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, the maize production in the district is all set to get a boost.

The special drive has been taken up in 2,250 hectares of land in the district this year.

Maize is a 100-110-day duration crop grown in well-drained sandy soil and Attland. The crop, cultivated in the Kharif season, is sown in June and cultivated mostly in Degoan, Saintala, Muribahal, Titiligarh, Patnagarh, Khaprakhol and Belpada blocks.

Maize crop is being promoted as a cash crop in view of a large number of poultry farms located here in the district besides the local consumption and other purposes.

The Mosanto India Company will provide extension support like training to farmers, field demonstration and exposure visits.

The Government is providing a financial assistance of Rs 4,000 besides seeds.

To boost the maize production, two varieties Double and Prabal, developed by Monsanto, are being used which can give productivity of 40 quintals per hectare, informs an agriculture official.

The Deputy Director of Agriculture (DDA) in capacity of Project Director of Agriculture Technology and Management Agency (ATMA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on behalf of the State Government with the company.

The earlier production of maize in the district was less in the absence of ‘improved practices’, which includes better soil preparation, use of hybrid seed, better use of fertilisers.

The farmers were cultivating composite variety and production was around 13 quintals per hectare.

With better field monitoring, training, exposure, use of hybrid seed and applications of proper fertiliser dose, we are expecting the maize production to go up to 20 quintals per hectare this year, informed the agriculture official.

However, it has a potential of yielding 40 quintals per hectare, the official added.

Maize cultivation under the special drive has been taken up in three GPs Upperjhar, Mahalei and Mukundpur of Degaon block.

So far, in 60 hectares of the targeted 400 hectares has been taken, informed Assistant Agriculture Officer Jagabandhu Putel over phone.

The special drive is scheduled to be taken up in 600 hectares in Saintala block, the official sources said.

Balangir has a large market for maize besides local consumption in view of concentration of a large number of poultry firms.

As per a rough estimate, around 1,90,000 eggs are produced in Balangir district daily.

Moreover, the Monsanto Company has also assured to purchase the product and a nodal officer has been appointed to look in the cultivation of maize under this programme.