Sudhir Mishra | Balangir
With a view to bring the unexplored places of tourism into the limelight and improve the living standards of people there by promoting culture and tourism in the district, a mission to explore the hitherto lesser known tourist places of Balangir district was undertaken by the Balangir Sub-divisional level Lok Utsav Committee on Tuesday ahead of the famous Balangir Lok Utsav scheduled to be held from December 5 to 8.
A team comprising officials, media persons, students and teachers of the History departments of Rajendra College and Women's College and intellectuals led by Sub-Collector Rajendra Patnaik visited Gumagarh and Tentelkhunti sites, which have vast tourism potential and can be transformed into flourishing tourist destinations as felt by experts.
Located 45 km from the town, these two historic places have got little attention and a thorough excavation and exploration of these sites should be undertaken, explained journalist Sapan Bohidar to the team.
As the name suggests, Gumagarh is a fort built on an elevated place on the banks of river Rahul and just 100 metres away from the confluence of Rahul and Tel rivers. The fort is said to have flourished along with the fort at Sisupalgarh near Bhubaneswar.
The Sub-Collector described the significance of the two places to the team. After covering Gumagarh, the team headed to Tentelkhunti village where images and idols of Jagannath, Bhalabhadra and Subhadra are worshipped along with Shakti.
I saw in a dream the vivid presence of Lord Jagannath in this sacred place, said Makhananda, a villager. I reached the exact spot as communicated in the dream and after searching for a while found the lord and since then the spot turned into a place of worship, he informed.
Besides the makeshift temple, there is a temple dedicated to a goddess which is now in a dilapidated state. It is also said that there was a cluster of temples in this area where Shakti cult was practised along with worship of Jagannath, Bhalabhadra and Subhadra which is a unique religious tradition. Locals have taken away many precious stones from the historic site, said another villager.
Professor S Pradhan of Utkal University had done some research on Gumagarh few years ago. Interestingly, the remains of the top portion of the temple suggest that it was built in the ninth century, according to a history lecturer.
It is believed that this region had a unique way of worshipping Jagannath, Bhalabhadra and Subhadra along with the prevalence of Shakti cult. It is further believed that the Jagannath cult originated from here and later spread to other areas of the State including Puri.
A detailed scientific excavation of Gumagarh and a thorough study of Tentelkhunti should be undertaken in order to know the significance and the rich cultural heritage of the two historic sites. This can also bring many unexplored and unknown facts about the region to the limelight, opined S Nanda, a lecturer in history.
PNS | Balangir
The performance of NREG in Balangir is not satisfactory and the central monitoring team is likely to visit the district soon to take stock of the situation. This was announced by Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers, Srikant Jena while speaking to mediapersons on Sunday evening after taking review of lower Suktel irrigation projects and performance of all centrally funded projects.
The lower Suktel irrigation projects although sanctioned way back in 1997 is yet to be completed. A revised estimate of more than Rs 1,100 crores have been sent to the Central Water Commission (CWC). Under PMGSY, as many as 65 roads are yet to be completed.
Similarly, the Khurda Road-Balangir railway line though sanctioned in 1993 is yet to be completed. The land acquisition process has been very slow. Even as a bypass road is badly required in the town, the consultancy firm which has been given the task is yet to submit its report, Jena said further.
Even though a large number of farmers have committed suicide, the State Government has not been able to submit its report on the situation, Jena said further. There is no shortage of fertilizers and the Central Government has supplied adequate fertilizers to the State. It is the craze for Gromor fertilizer which is creating such a situation even as other complex fertilizers of the same composition are also available. It is the duty of the State Government to check black marketing, he added further.
A five days seminar on the programmes run by the Central Government will be held in January and many Central Ministers will be joining it. It will be organised by the publicity wing of the Press Information Bureau (PIB), New Delhi, Jena informed further.
Even as the Government has given slogans of Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan and around 33 farmers have already committed suicide in the State, no condolence motion was adopted in the Assembly, said Congress leader in the Assembly, Bhupinder Singh. He demanded raising of relief amount for crop loss from Rs 4,000 to Rs 10,000 per acre. He also demanded the crop loss report of BJD team to be made public.
PNS | Balangir
Former Chief Minister of Odisha and Governor-designate of Assam JB Patnaik on Monday demanded that the Odisha Government order a CBI inquiry into the mining scam, which involves more than one department, including forest and mines. Moreover, as the scam is not confined to one State, it has assumed an inter-State significance, he observed while speaking to mediapersons here.
The Vigilance inquiry ordered by the State Government would not be effective in nailing the culprits involved in the scam, he said.
On the issue of farmers’ suicide, Patnaik said the State Government admits that there is crop loss and farmers have incurred loans, but it does not admit that the farmers are ending their lives due to the loan burden and crop loss.
“During our (Congress) regime we had issued instruction holding Collectors responsible for any such starvation death. Why no one is being held responsible for any such incident now,” he demanded to know. He also claimed that during the Congress rule various steps were taken to augment irrigation facilities in Balangir district and many projects, including Lower Suktel, were sanctioned. But the schemes have not been completed, he said
The vindictive attitude shown by the district administration against students by filing successive FIRs against them is unfortunate, he said.
Asked whether his appointment as Governor of Assam would create a void in the Congress in Odisha, he said no such thing would happen; rather, his new assignment is another opportunity for him to serve the nation.
Patnaik observed that the literature of Balangir would flourish only after the poverty of the region is removed