Monday, July 30, 2012

Bhubaneswar Gandhamardan hill panel wants action against forest killers Gandhamardan hill panel wants action against forest killers TUESDAY, 31 JULY 2012 00:30 SUDHIR MISHRA N BALANGIR

Bhubaneswar Gandhamardan hill panel wants action against forest killers
TUESDAY, 31 JULY 2012 00:30
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The Gandhmardan Suraksha Action Committee has expressed concern over the fast depletion of forest cover in the Gandhmardan hill, thanks to large scale felling of trees by timber mafia, who seem to rule the roost in the region.
Protesting the indiscriminate cutting of trees in the forest and arbitrary formation of forest right protection committee in village level, the committee demanded action against all the culprits involved in the destruction of the forests of the hill.
Reports said a large number of valuable trees have been cut by timber mafia in Regnali, Bharuaamunda, Sunamadi, Ghunshar, Pingalmunda, Bhanpur and other villages in the Gandhmardarn region and the lands have been converted to agricultural land. Besides, many village forest rights protection committees in the village level have been formed by vested interest without the knowledge and involvement of people, which is against rules of Forest Rights Act, the committee said.
As there is lack of awareness among the villagers about the Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006 and the role, power and function of different committees, it is being misused by the unscrupulous people, the panel said.
According reports, some unscrupulous elements have minted money by promising Pattas to the poor people after provoking them to clear the trees of the forest.
“We have submitted our petition demanding action against the culprits to all district level officials and the Chief Minister too,” revealed committee president Tikendra Jal.

Pumped storage system on cards for more power from Hirakud SUNDAY, 29 JULY 2012 18:18 PNS N BHUBANESWAR HITS: 45

SUNDAY, 29 JULY 2012 18:18
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The State Government is seriously considering a proposal to adopt a pumped storage system to generate more power from the Hirakud hydropower station.
“We are considering a proposal to use the Hirakud water again and again to enhance the generation from the hydel plant,” said Minister of Energy Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak. This would solve the problem of generating power when there is a deficit of water in the Hirakud Dam reservoir, he said.
At a pumped storage hydropower plant, the flowing water is used to make electricity and then stored in a lower pool. Depending on how much electricity is required, the water may be pumped back to the reservoir.
Pumping water to the reservoir requires electricity; so, hydro plants usually use pumped storage system only when there is peak demand for power.  Many generating companies in the US use this method to generate power to meet the peak hour demands.
“The water would be pumped back to the reservoir to generate power to meet the peak hour demands,” said GRIDCO Director (Commercial) SK Pradhan. Explaining the economics of the system, he said the water would be pumped back during the non-peak hour when the power cost is Rs 3 per unit. But the generation during the peak hour would entail Rs 8 to 10 per unit.
This way the State can be saved from drawing high-cost power from the national grid during the peak hours, he said, adding that under a normal condition the State can also earn profit by exporting this power during the peak hours.
The Hirakud hydropower station, which has seven units, has an installed capacity of 275.5 MW. However, since the reservoir serves as a source for irrigation and industrial use besides drinking purposes, power generation gets the least priority. As such, the water carrying capacity of the dam has decreased over the years because of silting.
Now the erratic monsoon and the interception of water in the upper-end by the dams erected in Chhattisgarh have reduced the flow of water into the reservoir. This has led to a low power generation from the hydel station, particularly during the summer when the demand for power is too high. The pumped storage hydropower generation system would definitely ease the peak-hour power deficit problem during summer.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Irregularities in ESIC hospital in focus FRIDAY, 27 JULY 2012 12:44

Bhubaneswar Irregularities in ESIC hospital in focus
FRIDAY, 27 JULY 2012 12:44
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A number of labourers on Thursday protested against the sorry state of affairs at the ESIC (Employees’ State Insurance Corporation) hospital here.
They alleged that the doctor posted at the hospital is coming irregularly, even once in a week. In his absence, it is the junior clerk who is managing the dispensary and behaving rudely.
Although many labourers depend on the ESIC hospital, there is nobody in the hospital to attend any emergency case. “We have earlier intimated all this to the higher authorities, including the ESIC Director and the Chief Minister, but no remedial measures have yet been taken,” they alleged.

Budget watch panel holds consultations in Balangir FRIDAY, 27 JULY 2012 12:49 PNS | BALANGIR HITS: 59

 Bhubaneswar Budget watch panel holds consultations in Balangir
FRIDAY, 27 JULY 2012 12:49
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To ensure effective people’s participation in preparation of district action plan for discussion during pre-budget meeting for 2013-14, a one-day consultation meeting of Balangir District Budget Watch Group (BDBWG) was held here on Sunday last.
Four areas including health, education, women and child development and agriculture were selected and discussed.
The State finance department had organised the first pre-budget consultation meeting with different groups in January last, which was an excellent opportunity to place suggestions and recommendations before the Government. Last year, three districts, including Balangir, Sundergarh and Nuapada had their charter of demands and priorities in the pre –budget consultation at Bhubneshwar which had been addressed by State Finance Minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadei.
A cursory glance at the funds received by the School and Mass Education in Balangir district revealed that while it received  `149.68 crores in 2009, in 2010, it received `158 crore and in 2011, it received  `175.63 crore. However, the sums that remained unspent in 2009, 2010 and 2011 were  `44.89 crore,  `8.41 crores and  ` 14.47 crore respectively.
It was also found that the Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan (SSA) Balangir which got funds for its different programmes could not spent  `17.10 crore in 2010 and  `19.56 crore in 2011-12.
“Before making our demands, we should know the actual position of the funds and strive for its total utilisation for better development of the area,” said Prakash Barik of Odisha Budget and Accountability Centre (OBAC), Bhubneshwar.
Balangir District Child Welfare committee chairperson Damodor Mishra presided over the meeting, while Jabagandh Khamari Sharma spoke, among others.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fresh look of vegetables could be due to hazardous chemicals,

Dear all
I enclose anews published in the PioneerBeware: Fresh look of vegetables could be due to hazardous chemicals,for your perusal

THURSDAY, 26 JULY 2012 11:31
The soft, shiny red exterior of tomatoes or the lush, green texture of peas and leafy veggies might tempt one's taste buds and their "freshness" might appeal to the eyes, but there lies something sinister beneath - a toxic concoction of hazardous chemicals.

Says Utpal Raychaudhuri, a senior scientist at the Department of Food Technology, Jadavpur University: "The consumption of raw fruits and vegetables has become a paradox. The rampant use of chemicals contravenes their nutritional benefits."

Chemicals such as copper sulfate, rhodamine oxide, malachite green and the deadly carbide are the ones most commonly used to accentuate coloration and freshness.

"These are neurotoxic (affecting the brain) causing Alzheimer's and dementia and are also carcinogenic. In addition, they speed up the ageing process," Raychaudhuri said.

The vibrant green exterior of green peas and chilies are a result of the unscrupulous use of malachite green, a textile dye, a well-known carcinogen.

Other green vegetables such as lady's finger, bitter gourd and the other gourd varieties are given a facelift by being washed in copper sulfate, commonly known as blue vitriol.

Saraswati, a roadside vendor off South Kolkata's Bhowanipore, admitted: "All our green vegetables have been treated with 'neel' (copper sulfate) at the wholesalers market in Sealdah and Baruipur."

Copper sulfate is a major constituent of fungicides in agriculture and its ingestion affects the liver and kidneys and causes the formation of free radicals in the body which augment the ageing process.

At the other end of the spectrum, rhodamine B, which is a carcinogen, imparts the bright red hue to cherries. This dye is used in markers and also as an agricultural pesticide. It is a skin irritant.

Vendors also frequently use calcium carbide, commonly known as carbide, to artificially ripen fruits like bananas and mangoes.

"Raw mangoes are laced with carbide the moment they arrive at the wholesalers' markets," revealed Mohan, a small-time vendor at Salt Lake.

Used in the steel industry, carbide results in neural problems and is also a carcinogen.

To take it up a notch higher, vendors rub petroleum oil on the surfaces to provide a glazed look to vegetables like tomatoes and brinjals.

Petroleum oil's toxic effects include respiratory and gastrointestinal problems.

Pointing to the lusciously red tomatoes, Ratan Lal, a roadside vendor near Jadavpur, said: "The moment you cut them open, you can see they aren't ripe. They arrive from the wholesalers like this."

Although thorough washing of the surfaces of fruits and vegetables is advised to get rid of the chemicals, this does not guarantee safety.

Explaining why, Raychaudhuri said: "Washing does not eliminate the chemicals that have already penetrated into the interior. Besides, when it comes to non-water soluble additives such as petrol oil, it fails."

"Consumers should also keep in mind that these fruits and vegetables have already received pesticide treatment prior to their display in the markets and further colour and freshness enhancements only make them deadlier", said Raychaudhuri.

"Troubleshooting should include good agricultural practices and setting up standard limits to their use," he said.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

10L cash looted in broad daylight WEDNESDAY, 25 JULY 2012 23:56 SUDHIR MISHRA N BALANGIR HITS: 1

WEDNESDAY, 25 JULY 2012 23:56
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In an unexpected and daring broad daylight robbery, at least three dacoits looted `10 lakh on Tuesday after noon while the cash was in transition to the Utkal Gramya Bank branch at Dhandamunda from the State Bank of India, Patnagarh branch, 70 km away from here.
According to reports, cashier of the Utkal Gramya Bank Dhandamunda branch  Sudarshan Bhoi along with messenger Pradeep Pand had come to Patnagarh to carry cash from the SBI, Patnagarh.
While the cashier and the messenger were returning with the cash in a car to Dhandamunda in the afternoon, they found a person repairing his bicycle almost blocking the narrow road at Budhi Padar, about 5 km behind Dhandamunda town.
Seeing this, the car stopped and Pradeep, the messenger, got down and asked the man to move to a side and make way for the car. Suddenly two youths came out and injured Pradeep with a sharp weapon. Then they sprayed chilli powder on the face of Pradeep and the cashier who was inside the car and snatched the cash bag which contained `10 lakh in cash. The injured messenger is undergoing treatment at Patnagarh hospital.
This incident has exposed the vulnerability of those carrying cash remittance from one branch to another, which requires better security arrangement to avert such mishaps during transition
of cash.
“A case of robbery has been registered in the Khaprakhol police station and we are trying to nab the culprits,” said Balangir Superintendent of PoliceR Prakash.

Pro-Anna dharna held in JSpur, Balangir

 Bhubaneswar Pro-Anna dharna held in JSpur, Balangir
WEDNESDAY, 25 JULY 2012 23:54
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The District Civil Society Forum staged a dharna in front of the Collector’s office here on Wednesday coinciding with the Team Anna’s stir in New Delhi.
Hundreds of civilians converged at the parade ground and expressed their solidarity with the Team Anna. Forum convener Govinda Ojha said the dharna would continue as long as Anna Hazare’s stir in Delhi. Similar dharnas were held at Raghunathpur block headquarters and Paradip by forum activists, Ojha informed.
Meanwhile, responding to the call given by Anna Hazare to fight against corruption, members of the Citizens’ Committee, Balangir led by Laxmikant Mahapatra and advocate Bhavani Satpathy staged a dharna before the District Collectorate here on Wednesday.
Their demands included a strong Jan Lokpal Bill at the Centre, a strong Lokayuta in the State and a Special Investigation Team (SIT) for inquiry into corruption charges.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Scrap Block Grant for teachers: OSSTA

Scrap Block Grant for teachers: OSSTA
Balangir: Describing the Block Grant system of payments to teachers as undemocratic and arbitrary, the Odisha Secondary School Teachers’ Association (OSSTA) has demanded its abolition. “We demand abolition the unjust and undemocratic system of Block Grant scheme for secondary teachers. The OSSTA will stage demonstrations before all Circle Inspector of School offices on August 4 in the State protesting the sorry state of education and demanding abolition of the Block Grant system,” said OSSTA president Indubhushan Mohanty to the media here on Tuesday.

ABVP seeks CB probe into student’s death

 Bhubaneswar Inbrief
MONDAY, 23 JULY 2012 23:48
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ABVP seeks CB probe into student’s death
Balangir: Members of the Akhil Bharatiyas Vidyarthi Parishad led by general secretary Hitesh Sahu on Monday submitted a memorandum to the Chief Minister through the District Collector here demanding a Crime Branch inquiry into the death of Ipsit Kumar Nayak, who was studying at NIIS, Jatni, near Bhubaneswar. The family members of Ipsit alleged that he was killed after being subjected to ragging.