Monday, May 26, 2014

BHUBANESWAR | Monday, July 5, 2010 | Balangir launches special campaign to boost maize productionSudhir Mishra | Balangir--and other stories

Dear all
I enclose few old/news stories  that I had covered in 2010 andwhich were published in The Pioneer for your perusal
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. 

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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. 
BHUBANESWAR | Monday, May 17, 2010 | Email | Print | 

Balangir poor make hay when the sun shines

Sudhir Mishra | Balangir

While the economically sound dare not to venture out in the summer and 
are able to beat the torrid heat in the air-conditioned and other 
cooling-system-furnished cosy cubicles, the poor and economically 
weaker section have to brave the sultry summer and the vagaries of the 
burning sun in a bid to quell the pangs of hunger and eke out a living 
every day here with the mercury hovering above 44 degree Celsius. 

One’s sensitive eyes can bump into such a pathetic scene outside the 
Collectorate here and find the hapless rural-folk struggling in the 
backdrop of the sunstroke-prone loo and selling scrumptious summer 
fruits Khajur (date palm) and Taal (palm) while the shade of a few 
tress serves them with some succour to sustain their struggle for 

“We used to get plenty of Taal earlier and made a seasonal fortune by 
selling its Taalsaj (delicious kernel), but now the quantity has 
declined and also our sales,” rued Makardhwaj Jued of Jiratramal 
village, adding that they risk their lives by climbing the tall trees 
just to manage the livelihood in the dry season.

“We start selling in the morning, but as the day advances and the 
mercury starts soaring, a few thirsty and hungry lot come and haggle 
and already it is noon and we would be awaiting customers till 
evening,” another seller said. 

The Khajur trees in the rural areas are vanishing fast as they have 
been felled for construction of roads, consumption of its tuber and 
other purposes and it has become extremely difficult to eke out a 
living by selling it, both the sellers complained. 

However, the middle-aged rural woman’s asking this scribe to purchase 
some Khajur was heart-penetrating and sounded most significant for the 
Fourth Estate when she made an appeal saying mere photographing of her 
selling is meaningless and the few media men capturing her photograph 
stood stunned. 

BHUBANESWAR | Monday, April 5, 2010 | Email | Print | 

Daily wage worker dies of AIDS in Balangir

Pioneer News Service | Balangir

Even as the Government and civil society organisations are making tall claims about sensitising people about causes and prevention of HIV and AIDS, yet reports of HIV positives losing their lives, after prolonged sufferings, because of late detection and ignorance, are coming in not from rural, but from urban areas, much to surprise of many.

According to reports, Kambod( name changed) was a daily wage labourer in Titiligarh town died of AIDS recently after suffering from continuous coughing. As he was continuously suffering from cough, his cough was examined and was found to be suffering from TB. As his health condition worsened, one of his neighbours advised on checking his HIV status and a test r

BHUBANESWAR | Thursday, March 25, 2010 | Email | Print | 

Distressed woman awaits Govt aid in Balangir

Pioneer News Service | Balangir

Even as the special rapporteur of NHRC completed his inquiry into the alleged hunger and starvation deaths of five members of Jhintu Bariha family of Chhbaripali village, reports of various old age persons in distressed condition awaiting Government assistance are pouring in.

According to reports, Dargen Bhoi (40) of Kadobeda village in Ghunesh panchyat in Tureikela block is in distress condition and desperately need help.

“We stumbled upon the extremely distressed condition of Dargen while we had gone there to conduct inquiry into the farm pond scam in Kadopada village in Ghunesh panchayat of Tureikela block,” said convener of Samuhik Marudi Pratikar Udyam Bharam Sahu.

Although she is around 40 years she is looking more than 50 years and has been deserted by her husband, lying in extremely neglected state in the village. “We appraised the situation to BDO Tureikela who assured to take necessary remedial measures,” added Sahu.

What could be more unfortunate for distressed people like Durgen Bhoi in rural areas who are struggling to manage their life with extreme difficulty and desperately waiting Government assistance on one side, yet officials are indulging in corrupt activities in digging of farm ponds for the development of the poor people.
BHUBANESWAR | Thursday, March 18, 2010 | Email |Print | 

NHRC Rapporteur probes Balangir hunger deaths

Pioneer News Service | Balangir

Special Rapporteur of National Human Rights Commission Damodar Sarangi on Tuesday visited Chhabripali in Buromal village of Bhanpur panchyat in Khaprakhol block, around 80 km from here, to inquire into the alleged starvation deaths of five members of Jhintu Bariha family between September to November 2009.

According to reports, three members of Jhintu Bariha family, ten-month old Gundru Bariha and three-year-old Siba Prasad Bariha died due to severe malnourishment. Two days later, on September 9, 2009, they were followed by their 35-year-old mother, Bimla Bariha. The father, Jhintu Bariha, and the elder son Ramprasad (7), received medical attention.

After the deaths of three person of his family, Jhintu Bariha was given an assistance of Rs 10,000 from the district administration. Although the district administration claimed these three died due to malaria nobody can conclusively say how they were died as no postmortem or any other medical examination was done.

He was also given Rs 10,000 assistance out of which majority was spent on perfuming g funeral rites and other socialsation process.

Jhintu Bariah’s family consists of five members and he was landless without having any BPL card and other facilities. Due to electric shock one of the hands was incapacitated and he was confined to his home.

According to reports, after returning from migration his family was virtually without food for several days. The ration supplied from Angawadi centre was too inadequate and as the entire family members were without food the dry ration, rather than cooked food supplied from Angawandi centre was finished early.

Ironically, during the crucial rainy season the Anganwadi centre did not supply any food stuff and the prolonged absence of food aggravated malnutrition to hunger deaths. The nutritional status of the children was grade B’ by June worsened further. Children started suffering from fever and on September 6 the first died and followed by another and few days later her mother died.


BHUBANESWAR | Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | Email | Print |  | Back 

Seed shortage to hit Kharif in Balangir, Subarnapur

Sudhir Mishra | Balangir

With the monsoon knocking on the doors, the Kharif season in Balangir and Sonepur districts is likely to be affected due to shortage of paddy seeds.

Out of the total cultivated 3,45,4785 hectares in Balangir district, 1,81,300 hectares have been earmarked this Kharif for paddy cultivation.

“We have placed an indent of 58,692 quintals of paddy seeds for both Balangir and Sonepur district,” informed an agriculture official, adding the popular variety is Swarna for which they have placed an indent of 25,000 quintals of Swarna variety paddy seeds for both Balangir and Sonepur districts while 13,038 quintals have arrived for both the districts yet.

Out of the total paddy cultivated land in Balangir district, the transplanting method is usually adopted in 90,000 hectares and broadcasting method is adopted in the rest agricultural lands.

After the scattered rains in patches, farmers have taken up land preparation and dry sowing, colloquially called Khardi preparation.

As per reports, there is a heavy demand for the seeds supplied by the State Government, as the barter system prevalent earlier among the farmers has collapsed and also the practice of storing of the seeds has gradually declined among the farmers.

Most of the farmers prefer to sell their harvested paddy and like to purchase from the Government agencies.

Moreover, the seed village programme is not generating the desired level of seeds and the Government agency is reportedly unable to meet all the requirements of the farmers here.

With the onset of Kharif season, it is a common demand from all quarters to open up adequate sale centers so that poor farmers are not exploited.

Even though the CM’s package has provisions for opening sale centres at the Panchyats, by the primary agricultural society and the SHGs, there is hardly any encouraging response from them, pointed out an agriculture official here.

The most sought-after paddy variety by farmers should be sent to the district so that in case of rainfall, there would be huge demand for paddy seed by farmers and there would be no shortage of seeds by then, it is opined.

Out of the total agricultural lands of Balangir district, the ATT land comprises around 56 per cent.

In the ATT land, the early variety of paddy is cultivated.

However, against the requirement of 3,867 quintals of early variety paddy for cultivation in the ATT land, only 540 quintals have arrived, sources confided.

Besides the shortage of paddy seed till date, there is no supply of Mung, Biri and Arhar seeds to the district, the agriculture official sources informed.

BHUBANESWAR | Tuesday, May 11, 2010 | Email | Print | 

Titilagarh villagers want PDS cards back

PNS | Balangir

It is quite common to come across reports of complaints of PDS items meant for poor people not reaching them due to pilferage, corruption and other weaknesses in the PDS delivery mechanism.

However, taking away the PDS cards of villagers and keeping for more than weeks and not returning them is something unusual.

According to reports, villagers of Ghantasahada, Adabahal and Salanda in Titilagarh block had not received their rice at Rs 2 per kg since the last four months. When they protested, they were given rice for one month in the third week of April.

After giving them rice, all the cards of the villagers, who are included in the APL and BPL and Antodoya categories, were allegedly taken away by the person who distributed PDS rice in the village.

The aggrieved villagers informed their plight to the local sarpanch, BDO and Civil Supplies Officer and demanded return of their cards. As nothing happened, members of the Anchalik Lok Sangathan, a people’s organisation promoted by the Samuhik Marudi Pratikar Udyam, a network of NGOs fighting drought in Balangir, submitted a petition to the Sub-Collector of Titilagarh on May 7.

“I am away from my headquarters, and after reaching, I will look into the matter,” said Sub-Collector Biswanath Sahu over phone to this correspondent on Sunday evening.

BHUBANESWAR | Monday, May 10, 2010 | Email | Print | 

Few takers for Madhu Babu Pension Yojana in Balangir

Sudhir Mishra | Balangir

Even as the Red Ribbon Express is scheduled to chug into Balangir railway station, on May 18, to create awareness on causes and prevention of HIV/AIDS among people, people living with HIV (PLHIV) in the district are not availing the benefits of Madhubabu Pension Yojana given to HIV positives/PLHIV, fearing disclosure of their identity and social stigma and discrimination in the society.

Launched by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on February 2008, as part of the effort to provide social security to persons living with HIV, once a person gives his consent to get the pension and enrolled, he is eligible to get a life long monthly pension of Rs 200.

There is no physical verification for PLHIV and consent for the inclusion of a person is taken at the ICTC during post counselling, after which the list of names and other details of person who agreed to receive the pension are sent to Odisha State AIDS Control Society (OSACS).

OSACS authorities store it in their data base and forward it to the respective District Collector, who in turn forwards the list to BDOs and who dispatch the account payee cheques of Rs 200 to the address of PLHIV/AIDS. This has been done to protect the confidentiality of a PLHIVs.

However, in the district, people are showing less keenness to receive this life long monthly pension. According to official sources, out of 300 HIV positives detected so far in the district, only 53 people are receiving the Madhubabu Pension Yojana although pension has been sanctioned for 152 people.

“Many a people have given their address deliberately wrong not to disclose their identity. Whenever the cheque is dispatched to the address given a lot of them return to our office, because of wrong address,” said an official.

Fearing disclosure of their PLHIV status in the society and the subsequent social stigma discrimination, which would increase their ordeal further, they are giving incorrect and in appropriate address, said CDMO DR PC Sahu.

“I suggested in a meeting that the Madhubabu Pension should be given to HIV people at ICTC centre. It would save them from the chance of disclosure of identity. Those undergoing ART should be given at the ART centre.

This step besides protecting their identity and providing financial benefits to them would also help to ensure their regular visit to ICTC or ART centre,” pointed out an official. 
BHUBANESWAR | Friday, May 7, 2010 | Email | Print |

Odisha MPs meet PM, seek approval of KBK action plan

Pioneer News Service | Bhubaneswar

Parliamentarians from Odisha on Thursday met the Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh in New Delhi and sought his intervention for an early approval of the special action plan for KBK for 2009-17.

In the memorandum, they cited that KBK region has very adverse human development indicators and is one for the most backward regions of the country. Rajiv Gandhi Foundation Study has listed these eight KBK districts at the bottom of 69 most backward districts of Indian. They further said that the KBK region witnessed acute regional, social and gender disparities.

Inviting the attention of the Prime Minister to the burning issue, they said both the Odisha Government and Centre have been paying special attention to this region since 1995-56. The State Government in consultation with Government of India have implemented a long term action plan (LTPA). Under the Revised Long Term Action plan (RLTPA) since 1998-99, out of Rs 833.95 crore, 99 per cent fund amounting to Rs 813.49 crore has been spend. Huge fund is required for to change the livelihood of the common people of KBK, they said.
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Water scarcity makes life miserable in Balangir village

Pioneer News Service | Balangir

Even as the rising temperature has made life miserable, the water shortage has further compounded the ordeal of 255 residents of Jalpali village in Tamian panchyat of Patnagarh block in the district.

According to reports there is single pond in the village which has dried up and out of the three tube wells, one is defunct and the other two tube wells are discharging water with high fluoride content and discoloured water.

The worst affected are the women and children. They have to walk about two kilometers away from village to bring water from Suktel River where water emerges after digging three feet, said RCDC’s Pramod Bagarti.

The villagers have petitioned to Rural Water Sanitation Supply and Sanitation Department about the water problem two years ago but nothing happened, alleged a villager.

Asked to comment on the situation executive engineer RWSS CR Mahanty said he is out of the district headquarter and would comment only after his return.

 Friday, March 12, 2010 | Email | Print | 

Distant exam centres worry Balangir students, parents

PNS | Balangir

The distant locations of the examination centres have caused grave concerns among the guardians and the students of the district appearing for the Matric examination conducted by the Board of Secondary Education in the State from Friday to the next two weeks.

Parents and students feel that the examination centres should be fixed within 5 km so that they do not face trouble in going to the examination centres. In case of non-availability of school, the nearest examination centres could be fixed within 10 km, as per the letter no 528(30) dt 22-01-2010 of the Board authorities issued to all Collectors.

However, in Balangir and other areas of western Odisha, the examination centres have been located at a distance of more than 25-35 km.

Villagers of Chantimunda and Bargaon of the district have recently complained before the Collector against the examination centres located at Balangir 35 km far from their village.

Students of Bhalumunda High School in Bongomunda block have been asked to appear at Tureikela, 35 km away from their village. Many students of Gudvella, Degaon and Tusura have been asked to appear at centres which are not less than 20 km from their schools.

“When Balangir records more than 40 degree Celsius in mid-March, it would tax both the parents and their wards at the far-flung places”, Balangir unit SP president Arun Mishra complained.

“While the Board’s letter issued mentions that centres should be fixed within 5 km in coastal areas, why it has not been followed uniformly all over the State” All Kosal Students’ Union convener Dolamani Pradhan questions quipping the double standard is really shocking.

BHUBANESWAR | Friday, May 28, 2010 | Email | Print | 

Two labourers rescued from AP brick kiln

Sudhir Mishra | Balangir

The two migrant labourers — Sameer and Liabani, both 16 years old, of Kharkara in Sarmuhan panchayat of Belpada block in Balangir district, who were held hostage by a brick-kiln owner of Andhra Pradesh — were rescued by a team of Action Aid officials from Hyderabad on Wednesday after the news was first published in The Pioneer on May 22.

It may be noted that seven members of Bharat Das’ family of Kharkara had migrated to work in brick kilns of Andhra Pradesh in October 2009. They are Bharat Das (32), his wife Rukamani Das (28), daughter Kajol, her mother-in-law Sabitri, brother Sameer and two relatives Malti and Laibani (16).

According to reports, they had taken an advance of Rs 38,000 from a sardar (labour contractor) of Karlimal village, who had taken them to the Gangapur area of Paidaplli station near Hyderabad. After working for a few days there, Malti developed stomach pain and she was checked up by a local doctor, who prescribed some medicines that did not provide much relief.

The brick kiln owner would insist on eating four to five tablets at a time which raised suspicions. However, as Malti’s pain continued, she was further checked in a nearby town. Her blood and other tests revealed that she had tumour in her stomach, for which the doctor prescribed her some medicines. The owner of brick-kiln sent all the family members except Sameer and Laibani to their village. More than a month passed, but the two were yet to return.

According to reports, Laibani telephoned her uncle Bharat Das to take her back as she feared threat to her life and dignity. “We informed the matter to local SP and District Labour Officer,” said a villager.

(After publication of the news in The Pioneer, Premananda Mishra and other representatives of Samuhik Marudi Pratikar Udyam, Balangir (SMPU-B), took Bharat to the SP of Balangir and requested for his intervention. SP Ajay Sarangi directed the Inspector-in-Charge of Belpada police station to locate the sardar, Karna Podha of Karlimal village, to expedite release of the migrants.

The Assistant Labour Officer also talked to the brick kiln owner Sammaiah and asked him to release the hostages immediately. He also called president of brick kiln owners’ association Prasad of Hyderabad to look into the matter. Prasad assured to inform and let him talk with the hostages. The Assistant Labour Officer promised Bharat to take action by Tuesday.

Regional Manager of Action Aid in Bhubaneswar Amar Jyoti Nayak immediately forwarded the news published in The Pioneer to its Hyderabad Action Aid office to take necessary action to rescue them. The Action Aid office in Hyderabad took up the issue and a team official, led by Rajshekhar, went out to trace the migrant labourers held hostage.

Finally, Laibani Das and Sameer Das were traced out at Gangapur near Manthini of Karimnagar district, 274 km away from Hyderabad, and rescued. According to the latest report, the rescued labourers have left AP and are expected to reach Balangir in a day or two by Aleppey-Bokaro Express accompanied by volunteer Jayakrishna Panda.

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