Tuesday, April 19, 2016

HOT CLIMATE HITS MAHUA FLOWER COLLECTION IN B’NGIR Monday, 18 April 2016 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar

HOT CLIMATE HITS MAHUA FLOWER COLLECTION IN B’NGIR

Monday, 18 April 2016 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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Even as farmers of Balangir and western Odisha and KBK region are reeling under the impact of drought due to inadequate rainfall this year, their woes were further compounded due to decline in natural fall of Mahua flower, one of the major items of non timber forest produce (NTFP) which provides crucial livelihood support to millions rural poor.
Every year, Mahua flowers starts falling naturally by end of February and the process continues till April .The poor people go to the trees to collect the flower. 
Later, after drying, they sell it. The flower provides them great economic support for around four months.
This year, due to inadequate rainfall, the paddy crop was lost. Almost all farmers suffered. Some farmers even committed suicide. However, the decline in Mohua flower collection this year has added to their troubles.
The decline has squeezed their livelihood support and hit the poor farmers hard.
The same situation was marked four years ago in 2012. The phenomenon is widely attributed to climate change factors like early arrival of summer in February and erratic rainfall and absence of fog in February.
Mahua flower develops well when the climate is cool in the morning. The flower absorbs much of cold and develops well. But this year the early arrival of summer disturbed the process. ‘We don’t experience Mahuliia Sita (February chill) anymore. All we are experiencing is hot temperature,’ said a local here.
Mahua flower is a gift of nature which starts falling by the end of February. However, this year first it has not developed properly and also the production has declined at least by 40 per cent, said a villager.
Worse, the number of Mahua trees is declining rapidly for many development activities like road construction and others in the district.
 Moreover, there should also be a relook into provisions of panchayat issuing licence to the traders. As per the rules, a person by paying Rs100 can obtain licence to start trading of Mahua.  The price fixation of procedure of Mahua flower is also not systematic. As per the rules, it is the panchyat samiti which fixes its price by end of October. However, in practice, it is nothing but a mere formality.
When there is no indication of arrival of fruits, how one can assess the production and fix its price. The price fixation meeting should be done by the end of January so that real price can be fixed.
According to sources, the purchasing price of Mahua officially differs from block to block as the rate is fixed by the respective panchyat samiti every year. In Bolangir district, the price of Mahua per kg is hovering between Rs15 and Rs25.
‘We demand the price of one kg of Mahul should be fixed at Rs50. We believe that from one kg of Mahul, two liters of liquor can be produced which can be sold in 20 small pouches, each costing rupees Rs10. Thereby one can earn Rs200. Hence, we demand the price of per kg of Mahua should be fixed at Rs50 so that poor families can get some money for their day long work,’ opined Zilla Adivasi Kalyan Sangha secretary Niranjan Bisi.
We submitted a memorandum in this regard to the district administration, Bisi clarified.
The panchyat should undertake a survey of number of Mahua trees and their production capacity. A Mahua tree, besides flower, gives Tol, which is its fruit. The fruit has also rich commercial value.

Friday, April 15, 2016

WILD ANIMAL POPULATION FALLS FAST IN B’NGIR FORESTS Friday, 15 April 2016 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar

WILD ANIMAL POPULATION FALLS FAST IN B’NGIR FORESTS

Friday, 15 April 2016 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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Even as the Asian Ministerial Conference on Tiger began on April 13 in New Delhi and tiger population in India having risen to 2,226 from 1,411 in 2006, yet in Bolangir district, the Royal Bengal Tiger has virtually vanished from the forest, much to the dismay of the animal lovers.
According to sources, in 2014 wildlife census, two tiger pugmarks were detected in Jamjharan village near Jamut village in Gudvela block bordering Kalahandi district.
However, this year not a single pug mark of Royal  Bengal Tiger (RBT) was detected. Moreover in 2014 animal census, 11 leopards were detected. By contrast, this time only six were detected in Bolangir district, according to sources.
Most of the leopards are staying at Badmal reserve forest but occasionally they stray out.
Although officially there are 28 elephants in the district, most of the elephants stay in Barpahad reserve forest in Sonepur district and they move inside the  villages of Lousingha ,Agalpur and Gaikhai Minor irrigation project near Salebhata and cause damage to paddy field and other house and property.
In the  Harishankar area, elephants from Padampur area stray out as they get plenty of food near village of Gandhmardan. These elephants stay there for days and then return to Padampur area before causing large scale damages.
However, the moot point is that not a single  elephant stays in four blocks namely Bolangir, Puintala  Deogaon and Patnagarh forest by now, indicating loss of habitat.
There are 27 sloth bears and their number is also coming down. Worse, Indian Bison has totally vanished from forest of Bolangir.
Most of the animals are finding conducive atmosphere in the sanctuary of Sunabeda forest and in Kalahandi, rather than in Bolangit, and hence, it is supposed that they might have migrated there.
With not a single Royal Bengal Tiger in the forest of Bolangir and dwindling of the wildlife in general, Bolangir forests are no more suitable for the wild creatures. Unless concrete measures are taken immediately, days are not far when Bolangir will be totally devoid of wild animals.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

BALANGIR CONG WOMEN ACTIVISTS STAGE DEMO Tuesday, 12 April 2016 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar

BALANGIR CONG WOMEN ACTIVISTS STAGE DEMO
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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Members of the Congress women unit of Balangir district unit led by its president Renuka Patra staged a demonstration in front of the Collector’s office here on Monday demanding solution to the water crisis in the district.
The women activists broke earthen pitchers as a mark of protest. “Women are most vulnerable to the water crisis in the district. They have to fetch water for the entire family. They face a lot of difficulties for this,” said president Patra.
Later, they submitted a six-point charter of demands to Additional District Magistrate Ashok Naik. The demands include immediate repair of tube well in rural area, renovation of pond, digging of deep bore well, supply of drinking water to villages through tankers and water supply to Balangir and other towns for minimum four hours a day.
The activists later threatened to stage agitation in coming days unless the administration takes proper steps within a month to solve the water issues.



87K TREES NEED TO BE PLANTED ON B’NGIR ROADSIDES Tuesday, 12 April 2016 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar

87K TREES NEED TO BE PLANTED ON B’NGIR ROADSIDES
Tuesday, 12 April 2016 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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While widening of roads is welcomed by people as it accelerates process of faster communication and helps bring economic development of a region, yet the felling of a large number of trees, most of them over 30 years’ old, are not tolerated in Balangir district as they damage the ecology system.
According to official sources, widening work has been taken up on four roads, Balangir-Sonepur road, Balangir-Patnagarh-Kantabanji-Chandotora, Balangiri-Salebhata and Balangir-Belgaon road. 
However forest approval for felling of roadside trees on Bolangir-Belgaon road  has not been given.
As per the rules, one tree has to be planted in every four metre gap on both sides of the road. Likewise, about 10,000 trees on along the Balangir -Sonepur road up to Bairsar, 57,000 trees along the Balangir-Patnagarh-Kantabanji-Chandotatra road and 20, 000 trees along the Balangir-Salebhata road needs to be planted as a compensatory measure.
The executing agency has submitted a proposal to the Forest Department stating that it would carry out plantation of 10 times the number trees to be felled and look after their maintenance for the next 10 years.
For example, 417 trees were felled along the road from Balangir to Patharcheap and against these 4,170 trees needs to be planted. From this one could imagine the number of trees to be planted throughout the district as road expansion is going on almost all parts of it.
According to a forest official, felling of old trees are a great loss as nowadays survival of trees has become more difficult in view of high temperature, uncertain rainfall and many other factors. The short-term plantation plan only adds to the problem, he said.
According to sources, from along the Boudh-Sonepur road, huge numbers of old trees were cut. Though roadside plantation was taken up, they would be felled again in 10 years or so when the road is converted into four-lane for faster increase in vehicles.
For example, though roadside plantation was taken up along the Lathore-Komana road in 2013-14, they, numbering around 2000, were cut again as road expansion work was taken up after a year.
Similarly while doubling work of Titilagarh -Samblapur railway line was undertaken, around 2,000 trees were felled. The compensatory afforestation undertaken by railway authorities is not up to the desired level, said another forest official.
While it takes 50 minutes or even less to cut a 40-50-year-old tree, it requires herculean effort of minimum one and a half decades to grow a tree to a minimum height.
There is even no serious planning for compensatory afforestation.
 “After a road widening work was completed, we took up plantation on the roadside. However, we faced the problem of planting trees on private land. People opposed it. There should be adequate space for tree plantation where ever road widening or expansion is taken up. All roads should be designed for four-lane and adequate space should be earmarked for plantation of trees,” said another forest official here.
Already the forest cover in the district is declining rapidly. Only 14 per cent of the total area is under forest cover. With absence of 87,000 trees on roadsides, Balangir is heading for serious ecological disaster. Planning should be made in such a way that newly planted trees need not be cut again when further expansion is taken up, suggested an environmentalist. 


Saturday, April 9, 2016

WATER SHORTAGE LIKELY TO WORSEN IN BALANGIR TOWN17 March 2015 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar

WATER SHORTAGE LIKELY TO WORSEN IN BALANGIR TOWN Tuesday, 17 March 2015 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
NEWS IN THEENGLISHDAILY THE PIONEER/17THMARCH 2015

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WATER SHORTAGE LIKELY TO WORSEN IN BALANGIR TOWN
Tuesday, 17 March 2015 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
Even as the month of March is known for its moderate temperature and cool climate across the State, Balangir has started experiencing a scorching summer. Shortage of drinking water and power cut are again adding to the trouble. Drinking water to Balangir town is supplied from the Mahanadi river at Nandanmal village in Sonepur district. From Nandanmal raw water is pumped to a water treatment plant at Sibtala and from Sibtala it is supplied to Keiserkela and Madhiapali and then water comes to Balangir town.
Against a requirement of 12MLD water, the town is getting a supply of 8-9 MLD. As a result, there is deficit. A heavy motor pump at water lifting point at Nandanmal is not functioning to its full capacity due to low voltage electricity. According to sources, Balangir gets power supply of 40MW against the requirement of 56MW. Hence, there is shortfall of 16 MW forcing electrical authorities to go for a two- hour power cut in the town and around four hours in the rural areas. “The power situation would improve once the old transformer at Sadeipali grid is replaced with a new one and we expect this to be over by first week of March,” said an official here.
Due to low voltage, many areas of Rabi paddy cultivation in Gudvella block suffered damages as lift irrigation points did not function properly.
Balangir town has a population of 1, 07,683. Out of the 21wards, 12 wards are fully covered, eight wards are partially covered and there is no facility of pipe water supply system in one ward. At least 25 per cent water is wasted in the 56km-long supply line from Nandamal to Balangir due to leakages. Moreover, illegal connection and use of motor pumps in pilferage of water aggravate the water scarcity in the town further. To add insult to injury, the water supply system which was designed many years ago has not been upgraded.
To ease the water scarcity of the town, Leader of Opposition in Assembly and Balangir MLA NarsinghaMishra on January 15 last had suggested for arrangement of ten more number of tankers and installation of 30 water tanks in different padas of the town but that is yet to be worked out due to fund problem, said sources.
Asked about the progress of water supply from the Tel river near Panimura in Tarbha Block of Sonepur district to Balangir town, a PHD official sounded a note of optimism, saying, “We are hopeful to complete it by March, 2016 and so far 39 per cent of the project has been completed.”
Asked about the steps taken by the PHD to check contamination of water, the official said, “Our responsibility lies with main line water supply. We are not responsible for service connection point.”

BYPASS ROAD IN BALANGIR TOWN IN LIMBO Saturday, 19 March 2016 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar

STATE EDITIONS

BYPASS ROAD IN BALANGIR TOWN IN LIMBO

Saturday, 19 March 2016 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
    
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As the denizens of Balangir town are facing several traffic problems due to rising numbers of vehicles and increasing encroachments, people from various walks of life have demanded early completion of the bypass road in the town that has been left halfway.
The PWD, the NHAI and the IDCO have been entrusted with the task for construction of the road. While the IDCO has completed its portion of construction of the road and it has been stopped at the foothills of the Chandali Hill near Sadeipali, five km from Samblapur road.
“While many big projects are being executed, why this project is yet to be completed even though adequate fund has been sanctioned for the project,” questioned advocate Dolamani Pradhan.
The bypass road would connect the Sambalpur road to Titilagarh road via Sadeipali and Patnagarh road. Though the stretch from Sambalpur road to Sadeipali has been completed, several cracks have already been found on the road.
 “We have earlier staged stir protesting the non-completion of the road. We will again resort to agitation unless construction of the bypass road is resumed and completed early,” said Balangir Action Committee president Gopalji Panigrahi.
Samajwadi Party Balangir unit president Arun Mishra said the land acquisition process should be expedited and steps should be taken for early construction of the remaining of the bypass road.
When asked ADM Ashok Naik said, “We have received Rs 36.42 crore for construction of the road. A total of seven villages will be affected by the project. The land acquisition process in the villages is on; the work will resume once it is completed.”

DEBT-STRESSED B’NGIR FARMER COMMITS SUICIDE Wednesday, 23 March 2016 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar

DEBT-STRESSED B’NGIR FARMER COMMITS SUICIDE

Wednesday, 23 March 2016 | SUDHIR MISHRA | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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Nandighosh Barik (55), a farmer of Harbhanga village under Agalpur block, committed suicide on Monday night by hanging in a tree allegedly due to crop loss and loan burden.
According to sources, the deceased farmer had one acre of land. Apart from his land, he had raised crops in another three acres of land on share cropping basis.
He had cultivated paddy in two and a half acres, brinjal in half an acre and mung in one acre of land.
On March 18 last, the entire crops of his village and three nearby villages were damaged due to hailstorm. Revenue and Agriculture officials visited the fields to assess the crop damage.
According to agriculture office sources, in four villages namely Harbhanga, Mursundi, Semel Munda and Kutasingha under Agalpur block, crops in a total of 169 hectares of land were damaged due to hailstorm. Maximum damages were suffered by paddy, onion, watermelon and other crops in Titilagarh block where hailstorm occurred twice, on March 15 and 17. A total of 334 hectares in 12 gram panchyats were affected.
Several farmers came to the grievance cell of the district Collector in Balangir on Monday to register their complaints.
In the absence of the Collector, they submitted their memorandum of crop damage and other problems to the Sub Collector.
A joint inquiry team comprising Teshildar, Agriculture and other department officials has been sent to the village to inquire into the farmer’s suicide incident, said Balangir Sub Collector Bimal Prasad Mohany.
Aakash Mishra, of Congress said, “Nandighosh had incurred private loan from SHG groups, micro finance, and from individual sources to the tune Rs 75, 000. We demand immediate compensation to the family and total waiver of loan of the deceased farmer. Besides this, a job to one of the deceased family member should be given.”
 

REMOVE DASBURMA IMMEDIATELY: BJP Sunday, 10 April 2016 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar

REMOVE DASBURMA IMMEDIATELY: BJP

Sunday, 10 April 2016 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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BJP State president Basanta Panda on Saturday demanded that Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Minister Sanjaya Dasburma be removed immediately in view of his alleged involvement in the chit fund scam.  “The Minister should be removed as the CBI has issued a notice for his alleged involvement in chit fund scam,” Panda said during his party’s Jankalyan Yatra here.
He slammed the State Government for making a habit of raising neglect allegations against the Centre.
 “In this year’s State Budget, the Central share stands at Rs45,000 crore out of the total Rs94,000crore. The Centre has given enough money to the State. Due to inefficiency of the State Government, Rs36,000 core could not be spent and returned to Centre in the last 10 years. This being the backdrop, it is not understood how the Centre neglected Odisha,” wanted to know Panda.
Stating that while the Government claims to have given 526 types of medicines under the Niramaya Yojana free of cost, he said only 25 varieties of medicines were found available at the Chudapali CHC during an inquiry. “It shows the real face of the Naveen Patnaik Government,” he said.
He said BJP workers will reach out to people with the Narendra Modi Government’s welfare programmes like Pradhan Mantri Krishi Yojana, Jandhan Yojana, Mudra Yojana and PM’s plan to bring Green Revolution in eastern India.

INBRIEF Sunday, 10 April 2016 | PNS | in Bhubaneswar Low voltage adds to summer woes in B’ngir


NBRIEF

Sunday, 10 April 2016 | PNS | in Bhubaneswar
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Low voltage adds to summer woes in B’ngir
Balangir: Rise in mercury coupled with low electric voltage and water scarcity has thrown normal life out of gear in Balangir district. Amidst such unbearable heat, a sunstroke death was reported in the district on Friday. One Tashil Bag (52) of Lukapada died of sunstroke while he was returning home after taking bath in a pond. When asked, CDMO Dr R.N Tripathy said the cause of death can be ascertained after getting the postmortem report. This is the first sunstroke death in the district this year.
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Thursday, April 7, 2016

MEET ON FOREST RIGHTS HELD IN B’NGIR Friday, 08 April 2016 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswa

MEET ON FOREST RIGHTS HELD IN B’NGIR

Friday, 08 April 2016 | PNS | BALANGIR | in Bhubaneswar
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A workshop on Community Forest Rights under the Forest Right Act (FRA) was jointly organised by the Balangir district administration and the District Forestry Forum on Wednesday.
Addressing the event, Collector M Muthukumar said people should try to protect the forests given to them under the FRA. A total of 133 community forest claims have been received while 11 community forest right claims given and 75 claims pending for further examination.
As many as 113 community resource rights have been received and only one claim has been given while 99 pending, informed District Welfare Officer Babu Maharana. Resource person of the FRA BB Panda spoke on different aspects of the FRA.