Search This Blog

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Uproar in Orissa Assembly over appointment of Western Orissa development council members

Courtesy:-Orissadairy

Though normal businesses were conducted in the House on Thursday, it experienced noisy scenes for some time as the Opposition Congress Members created disruptions demanding ouster of expert members of Western Odisha Development Council. The uproar forced the Speaker to adjourn the House for 30 minutes from 11.30 am to 12 noon.

The issue of status of present expert members kept the House hot in the question hour as the both the Opposition Congress and the BJP members expressed their dissatisfaction over reply of Planning and Coordination Minister Ananga Udaya Singh Deo on a question of Santosh Singh Saluja. Sri Saluja had wanted to know whether the nominated expert members of WODC required qualifications or not. He had also asked whether works were being allotted on the recommendation of such member or not.

Other Opposition Members including Subal Sahu, Jayanarayan Mishra, Anup Sai and Kanak Vardhan Singh Deo alleged that the expert members who have been nominated to the WODC have no expertise. Rather, the State Government has nominated BJD’s failed members to the posts. They said as per the WODC guidelines the expert members should have expertise in prescribed fields and should belong to concerned districts for which WODC works.

Alleging that some of the expert members have been nominated from outside the WODC area, the Opposition members said the outsiders are taking huge amount as TA and DA causing economic burden to the WODC.

In his reply, as the Minister said that one of the Members is staying in Delhi and he might be given TA and DA, most of the Congress Members rushed to the well of the House and started slogans demanding ouster of the ‘illegally’ nominated members of the WODC.

Issue of Lawyers agitation was also raised in the House. Members cutting across party lines opined that the protest of the Bar Council and the Bar Associations was justified. “If evening courts work for two hour in the evening, it would pose problems for all including lawyers and witnesses. While lawyers would not get time to meet their clients, the witnesses would face security problems especially in Maoist dominated areas,” they said and demanded the State Government should find some alternative to dispose of the cases.

An adjournment motion on ‘spread of cholera causing human tolls and the State Government has failed to contain the situation’ was also debated in the House. Slamming that the Government had no concern for the people suffering and dying in the Cholera in almost all the districts of the State, the Opposition members raised issues like lack of road communication, scarcity of drinking water and vacancies of doctors’ posts are not being full filled by the Government.

On the other hand, the Health Minister informed that a total of 132 people had died in KBK districts and 60 in other districts. “Government had taken timely steps to contain the health situation of KBK district arose out of spreading of diarrhea,” the Minister said.

In the afternoon session Members participated in a discussion on Odisha Municipal Amendment bill placed three days ego.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Malaria cases rise in Balangir


By Sudeep Ku Guru, Courtesy :-The Telegraph

The number of malaria cases reported at the district headquarters hospital here has risen following last week’s sustained rainfall. Choked drains in several places of the town have become the breeding ground for mosquitoes. The biological vector control method has also come to a halt due to want of funds.

Sources said that there was waterlogging in several areas of the town, especially the low lying areas following last week’s rain. Small puddles of water and choked drains in front of houses provided ideal conditions for mosquitoes to breed. Hospital sources said there was an unusual rise in malaria cases during the last few days, but there were no reports of deaths due to the disease.

Swagat Sahu, a local resident, said that three members of his family got malaria soon after the rain stopped and one had to be admitted to the district headquarters hospital.

The use of gambusia fish as part of the biological vector control method has been stopped due to want of funds. A variety of fish called gambusia, also known as mosquitofish, had been pressed into the job in the malaria-prone areas of Balangir district to stop further breeding of mosquitoes back in 2004. It had worked well.

Chief district medical officer (CDMO) of Balangir Purna Chandra Sahu admitted that there was a rise in malaria cases in the hospitals over the last few days. “Yes, there is a rise in Malaria cases over the last few days. Unfortunately the biological vector control method to control the breeding of mosquitoes has stopped. We were initially very enthusiastic about the new method. But, gradually, we realised that there was no special fund provision from the government to maintain a gambusia hatchery. As a result, the tanks dried up and the fish died,” Sahu said.

There were 15 tanks for gambusia in the district. “If a handful of fish is released into ponds or breeding places of mosquitoes like drains, then the larva of mosquitoes will vanish within hours as the fishes eat them,’’ said Sahu.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Kalikesh urges PM to include KBK in development plans for Maoist-hit areas


Courtesy:- DailyPioneer

BJD MP from Balangir Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo has approached Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take a call on the KBK region. He said that unless the Prime Minister intervenes in the matter, these areas would continue to rot.

Singh Deo said the eight most backward districts of the world in Odisha’s KBK region need inclusion in Unified Action Plan for Naxal-Affected Regions (UAPNAR), which is a Central Government initiative to tackle the Maoist menace through development programmes.

Singh Deo said the PM is aware that people of KBK are exposed to extremely adverse human development indices and are one of the most deprived communities. He requested the PM to intervene for the inclusion of the KBK region in the UAPNAR so that they are delivered with a semblance of justice.

Where is the Bonus, Mr Minister?


Courtesy:-BizOdisha

An open letter to the Agriculture minister, Govt of Odisha

You have made a statement that the farmers are getting Rs 50 bonus on a quintal paddy. Sadly, that is a blatant falsehood and nothing else.

To

Shri Dr. Damodar Rout Ji
Hon’ble Agriculture, Cooperation, Fisheries and Animal Resource Development Minister
Government of Odisha

Dear Sir,

Pranam !

You are a seasoned politician; a senior member of the present cabinet holding agriculture and cooperation portfolio; and also you claim to be an active farmer. You are the most active member of the present cabinet on various media and public communication platforms. Having all these traits, the farming community expects from you a reflection of the true status of the agriculture sector.

But, I am constrained to allege that, on many occasions, you have belied the trust reposed on you by the farmers. Your statement made on Friday that a bonus of Rs 50 is being paid now, over and above the Minimum Support Price (MSP) of paddy, adds another leaf to that growing list falsehood.

You are grossly wrong in reporting that the farmers are being paid a bonus of Rs 50 on every sell of a quintal of paddy. The farmers are not getting any bonus this year at all and the net sell proceed from a quintal of paddy remains exactly the same as last year.

In addition to the MSP of Rs 950 per quintal, farmers were also getting a bonus of Rs 50 last year. The MSP for this year has been increased to Rs 1,000 per quintal. However, the government is providing no bonus this year. Thus, the effective price that a farmer gets by selling a quintal of paddy still remains Rs 1,000.

Your statement is like an insult to injuries to the farming community which is grappling with increasing adversities. If you have made the statement after ascertaining true facts, then your department and your government has failed to convey the decision - to pay Rs 50 per quintal bonus - to your procuring officers. That shows the incompetence of you and your government. But, if you are not aware of the true facts and still preferred to make an announcement that Rs 50 per quintal of bonus is being paid, then that is no less than brute treachery towards the public in general and farming community in particular.

You definitely owe us an explanation on this guff.

With regards

Bimal Prasad Pandia

The writer is a farmer and development researcher. Please send your comments and suggestions at media@bizodisha.com or bimalpandia@gmail.com

Friday, December 10, 2010

Tel valley civilization: Riverside kingdom traced in copper plates

By:-Riyan Ramanath V (Courtesy:-Indian Express)

BALANGIR: While Gumagad, the first century BC military strategic hub, speaks volumes of a flourishing kingdom in the Tel river valley, a copper plate recently found at Kapsila village in Balangir district hints at existence of several kingdoms on either side of the valley.

Historians, who recently evinced interest in exploring more facts about the valley civilisation, opined that further excavation can unravel the history buried under the earth. This copper plate was interestingly found near the archaeological site of Kharligad near Gumagad.

Utkal University Archaeology Prof Sadasiva Pradhan, who got the copper plate from a Brahmin, said it contains information regarding the civilisation. He, however, had sent it to eminent epigraphist Sadananda Agrawal for deciphering.

According to Agrawal, as per the information on the copper plate, the civilisation dates back to the 8th century AD.

“The Udayapur area, the capital of Rashtrakuta kings who ruled the valley, is still dotted with standing structure and ruins. These are mostly found at Amathgad. Ruins of a medieval fort too exist here,” said Agrawal.

Earlier, Prof Pradhan had excavated the Gumagad site, where he found a strategic military hub of the first century BC. It was set up by a contemporary of King Kharavela.

Studying further into the formation on copper plate, Agrawal said that a king called Khadgasingha had donated a village Remudaka (modern Remanda) in Saintala. This also throws light on the civilisation.

He feels that further excavation by expert archeologists with the government’s support would shed more light on the civilisation.

The other four copper plates found earlier at Terssingha village also spoke of the Tel valley civilisation.

Those plates had information regarding the two capitals – Udayapur and Parbatadwaraka – which were under the rule of Rashtrakutas and local chieftains belonging to different clans.


Sunday, November 28, 2010

Gandhamardan: A nature's paradise endangered by the White Gold Craze


By:-Basudev Mahapatra & Bibhuti Bhusan Pati
Courtesy:-HotnHitNews.com

"The
213MT bauxite reserved in Western Orissa's Gandhamardan hill range has still remained an allurement to the corporate players engaged in aluminium production and export. The hill range has again come in news after Vedanta pursued its proposal with Government of Orissa for mining in Gandgamardan after being denied of Niyamgiri. Knowing that the hill range turned into a battle ground between people and the corporate house BALCO over the issue of mining where people had the victory, companies are still in queue to get a lease to dig out bauxite from the core of the hill that hosts thousands of rare medicinal plants, herbs and shrubs, twenty two major water streams and four all weather waterfalls and a thick and diverse vegetation offering direct livelihood to more than 20000 families and an indirect livelihood to lakhs of families living around the hill range. The fresh queue of companies has again threatened Gandhamardan and the unique bio-diversity it hosts. When the companies are putting all their efforts to get a mining lease from the government of Orissa, people living around Gandhamardan are getting ready to make history repeat if the government of Orissa takes any decision against their wish."

The silver jubilee of the movement against mining of bauxite in Gandhmardan hill range didn’t come with a taste of success achieved by the people and the activists, but with another call for the local people to get up once again for the protection of the hill that provided livelihood to lakhs and played a major role in balancing the local ecology.

It’s already 19 years since the last movement could compel the state government to stop mining in the hill range. The Gandhamardan Surakshya Yuva Parisad People’s Movement has already celebrated its silver jubilee. Yet, even today Gandhamardan resounds with the slogans like “BALCO hatao, Gandhamardan bachao!” [Ban BALCO, save Gandhamardan]. Players of the last movement still chant - “Let land go, life go, but long live Gandhamardan.

After BALCO, NALCO had also eyed upon the 213 Million Ton bauxite reserved in Gandhamardan. But apprehending that a quick persuasion of the mining proposal would convert the whole affair into a misadventure, NALCO preferred maintaining silence even though its proposal is still in the queue.

Inspired by the huge reserve of bauxite, Officials from NALCO visited Gandhamardan hill range on March 23, 2007 being accompanied by the then Chief Secretary of Orissa and other higher officials to discuss mining in Gandhamardan. As a reaction Tankapani village saw a rather huge congregation of people on April 1, 2007 followed by another on May 3, 2007. Reminded of the agitation against BALCO, NALCO retraced its steps.

Now, the new owner of BALCO – Vedanta is again excited to venture into Gandhamardan for mining of bauxite from the belly of the hill range. The conspiracy is never-ending.

After being denied the Niyamgiri hills, Mukesh Kumar – the CEO of Vedanta – met the officials of Orissa Mining Corporation to give all OMC officials a big shock who advised Mukesh Kumar not to rather ask for Gandhamardan as it would put the company in a much bigger trouble than what it experienced at Niyamgiri. Immediately, on the 27th of September 2010, the Gandhamardan Surakshya Yuva Parishad, a conservationist outfit dedicated to protect Gandhamardan, arranged a public meeting to make the people aware of the developments.

In the present scenario, companies like Vedanta et al are only too anxious to mine and lift the 213 million tonnes of bauxite lodged inside Gandhamardan. And, as a counter the local populace is up in arms spreading awareness and organising the mass for a protest in the form of a huge agitation on the 1st of January 2011. According to Dhiren Mohanty, the Convener of Gandhamardan Surakshya Yuva Parishad, the forthcoming agitation is going to take the shape of a gigantic agitation that is going to put an all time end to the operations by the Gangs 213 MT. The Parishad has decided to submit a memorandum to the governments at the Centre and State demanding protection and security of Gandhamardan. They propose to place before the government a demand that any further requests for mining in Gandhamardan by any company be rejected summarily by OMC.

Gandhamardan is a 90 km long and 20 km wide hill range spread over Padmapur in Baragarh district and Patnagarh subdivision in Bolangir district. It is a part of the Eastern Ghat mountain range of Western Odisha and is popular in many other names like ‘Vindhya Giri’ and ‘Gandhagiri’. 800 meters above sea level, it is located between 82-54 East longitude and 20-54 north latitude. According to records, the annual rainfall here is approximately 1363 mm. The total hill range has 20 thousand hectares of tropical forests and land divided into two forest divisions – Bolangir Forest Division and Bargarh Forest Division. The northern portion is in Bolangir district while the western part lies in Bargarh district. The initial satellite map survey showed that Gandhamardan had 840 streams. Due to environmental catastrophe resulted by BALCO’s test mining in the eighties hundreds of natural springs faced an abrupt unnatural death. At present only 152 small springs making 22 major streams and four waterfalls do remain. These streams are not rain-fed but they are the main source of water for the two important rivers of Western Odisha— Anga and Suktel. If the water sources from the Gandhamardan hill range die out, then, inevitably, the process of desertification would be expedited in the already famine prone districts of Bolangir, Nuapada and Kalahandi.

BALCO had come in search of bauxite deposits in Gandhamardan after completely destroying the hydrological stability and sanctity of another important mountain ‘Amar Kantak’ in Madhya Pradesh – the source of the waters of the Narmada, the Sone and the Mahanadi rivers. The destruction of Amar Kantak to feed its one lakh tonne aluminium plant at Korba in Madhya Pradesh was a high cost to pay for the reserves.

In 1978-79, after BALCO abandoned Amar Kantak Hill range in Madhya Pradesh, the then Central Cabinet Minister for Mines, Biju Patnaik showed it the way to the holy hills of Gandhamardan in Odisha. In the eighties, the Congress Party and the then Chief Minister of Odisha J. B. Patnaik were only too eager to act on a deal with BLACO. In 1983, the then union minister for mines N.K.P. Salve along with CM J.B. Patnaik laid the foundation stone for BALCO’s mining project in Gandhamardan that was to mine bauxite worth 1500 crores of rupees. BALCO promised to give employment to hardly 2000 local people with the requisite qualification and experience. This was a mockery on the local people who were poor tribals and hardly had any education and experience of bauxite mining.

Political leaders and the representatives of BALCO could not find any solution to the problem that day. Questions from the local public rendered them answerless and compelled them to turn back. The J.B. Patnaik Government tried to use coercion to suppress the voice of the people. But they could not contain the seeds of dissatisfaction that started taking roots.

Two specific incidents inflamed people to join the movement to save their hill god from the brutalities by a company named BALCO. One, the test blast in the Gandhamardan hills that shook the ancient Nrusinghanath temple to such an extent that the Garuda Stambha collapsed and tremors were felt both in distant villages including the two major centres of religious belief Hari Shankar and Nrusinghanath. Cracks due to the tremors were so strong in many places that the utensil and other household materials fell down making people feel absolutely insecure. Secondly, the catch dam made by BALCO at Manabhanga in the name of supporting irrigation turned out to be a sham as instead of building anything beneficial for the public, it submerged about 30 acres of fertile land and the famous orchards of Madhuban – the primary source of livelihood for the people of 5 Gram Panchayats. These two incidents fuelled the movement against BALCO and made it more poignant. The local people were petrified by the tremors that shook their homes and created cracks in their walls. The mass dissatisfaction took a fierce shape in the Nrusinghanath temple congregation and the seed of an organised movement to save Gandhamardan was sown here in February 1985. The news of Paikamal agitation did spread like wildfire to the districts of Bolangir, Bargarh, Sambalpur, Kalahandi, Nuapada and even to the neighbouring state, Chhatisgarh.

In the summer vacation of 1985, a group of NSS volunteers of Sambalpur University had camped in the Gandhamardan hills. The campers observed the situation and could feel the impending danger to Gandhamardan and the complete ecosystem if mining was to continue in the region. Some of the campers formed a group for the protection of Gandhamardan. In an organised manner they spread awareness amongst the people of that area. On the 14th of August 1985, 19 young men joined hands to form the Gandhamardan Surakshya Yuva Parishad and shouted with the slogan that echoed in every household - “Amar dabi maan Sarkar, BALCO asura nai darkar”, which means - Government must concede to our demand; we do not need BALCO monster! The reverberation reached the government and BALCO was forced to move out and the people’s movement won the battle.

After several rounds of discussions with the people of the area to motivate them in support of BALCO, the then Chief Minister Janaki Ballhav Patnaik realised the significance of Gandhamardan and its links with the life and sentiment of the people. In meetings between the public, the representatives of BALCO and Chief Minister Janaki, the BALCO officials were at a loss to answer the public questions raised by the Chief Minister. In an endeavour at justice, J.B. Patnaik withdrew the permission given to BALCO on 15.09.1989 to mine Gandhamardan. Yet the people didn’t forgive the government led by JB and, as a consequence, Congress lost in the 1990 assembly elections.

Soon after he acquired the chair of Chief Minister, Biju Patnaik once again headed for Delhi to chart out the mining of Gandhamardan and also to establish an Alumina Plant there. This he did as per the advice of some political colleagues and bureaucrats. But after studying the files from the days of JB Patnaik, he realised the blunder he was about to make. Sticking to the promises he made to his electorate, he scratched the MOU signed with BALCO in the floor of the assembly. That day Biju Patnaik addressed a huge bicycle rally by the people of Western Odisha in Bhubaneswar and said; “I am the leader of the people. The wish of the people is what I wish. I killed Monster BALCO forever”, remembers Kuna Purohit, coordinator of Gandhamardan Surakshya Yuva Parishad.

A retired officer of Orissa Mining Corporation remembers the scintillating agitation of Gandhamardan and says, ‘Mining in Gandhamardan can become a nightmare for any company. Mining Projects should not be encouraged here. Rather, the protection of Gandhamardan is an absolute necessity. Gandhamardan is not merely an assembly of rocks, springs, plants and bauxite, but the representative of nature, age old legends, history, architecture, tradition, philosophy, science and tourism. It provides livelihood to over one lakh people directly. It exhibits an unprecedented amalgamation of the Aryan-Dravidian and the Vaishanavite – Shaiva traditions. Gandhamardan has its sacred place in the Puranas and the Ramayana. In 1413 AD, king Baijaldev of Bolangir and his queen had built the Nrusinghanath and Harishankar temples on either sides of the hill. The temples are unique because the idol of “Bidal Nrusingha” worshipped in the Nrusinghanath temple is not seen anywhere else in India, also the Vaishnav God Hari and the Shaiva God Shankar are worshipped in this sacred place. Scholars from across the country and abroad visit Gandhamardan to study Indian medicinal science, culture, tribal life etc. Mining in Gandhamardan will destroy all it is worshipped for and will also ruin the social and economical backbone of over one lakh people. The every day earnings of the people here is possible due to the commerce of medicinal plants, firewood, forest and agricultural produce from the Gandhamardan. Mining will certainly squeeze the life blood out of this place and force the rich identity and civilization to die out. Instead, it could be developed as a hot spot of eco-tourism.”

Manoranjan Ray, a scholar from Mumbai how doing a research on the legends and history of Gandhamardan says that ‘this mountain range nestles about 18 historical forts. It is said that the Buddhist philosopher Nagarjuna had established a school here. Certain stone edicts suggest that the Chinese traveller Hueng Sang had visited Gandhamardan. Even sant Kabir had spent a period of his life in this place. The hut where he lived stands a silent testimony to that. The religious sentiments of the people around and Chhatisgarh have also a close association with Gandhamardan, which is popularly known as the abode of Gupta Ganga. Apart from this, Gandhamardan is an ecological wonder. It is a host to many herbs and plants that are either extinct elsewhere or are on the verge of extinction’.

While explaining the specialties of Gandhamardan for the world of Ayurveda and nature therapy, Principal of Sri Sri Nrusinghanath Ayurvedic College and Hospital Dr Sushil Kumar Mahapatra says, ‘Gandhamardan hosts approximately three thousand or more species of medicinal herbs and plants. A survey conducted between 1990 and 1995 by noted botanists Dr. M. Brahma and Dr. Hari Om Saxena revealed that 784 species of plants thought extinct on the earth existed in Gandhamardan. British botanist H.H. Hines had conducted another research here between 1921 and 1925 and discovered varieties of plants and noted down their unique medicinal properties. In 1950, famous Ayurvedic doctor Herbert Moony reported the existence of 1247 variety of herbs and creepers that were almost extinct. In 1963-64, the Botanical Survey of India reported the presence of 2400 varieties of precious medicinal plants and 300 different varieties of rare herbs and creepers. In its report, the Regional Plant Research Centre has published that Gandhamardan is a boon for Ayurvedic Science and treatment as it is unique and there is no second to it exists elsewhere in India. The medicinal properties of Satabari, Panibel and Pancharistha herbs found in the Gandhamardan are just superb in terms of medicinal value and quality. Therefore, one should not even entertain the thought of mining in Gandhamardan.’

Department of Forests and Environment, Government of Odisha in its annual financial report 2009-10, (page 12) has published that “there are 225 different varieties of near-extinct plants in the Gandhamardan. Over and above this, 136 varieties of very rare species of Orchids are found here. 3000 hectares of forest land around the Gandhamardan have been reserved for preservation and medicinal plant culture. With aid from the Ministry of Health, Government of India, a conservation project worth lakhs of rupees is in operation here. Conservation of bio-diversity and medicinal plants has been undertaken in over 1000 hectares of forest land under the project. The project has involved the people of 25 neighbouring villages.’

A decade long struggle from 1982 to 1991 to save the land, water and forest of Gandhamardan ended with promises from the then leaders like JB Patnaik and Biju Patnaik. People were assured that mining would be completely fore banned in this area. But the craze for aluminium worldwide has again allured the governments and Indian leaders to build up nexus with corporate players and dig bauxite out of Gandhamardan by destroying an ecological heaven on the earth. In this regard, a memorandum was submitted to the President and the Prime Minister in September 2010 by a stalwart of the Gandhamardan Protection Movement (in the eighties), Prasanna Sahu alias Swami Somabesh.

‘Then the leaders were listening to the demands of people and realised the arguments behind the demands. Two of Odisha’s Chief Ministers JB Patnaik and Biju Patnaik went by people’s demands and cancelled the proposals of mining in Gandhamardan. Now the leaders have not remained the same. People’s desire and voice have become secondary in front of political aspirations of leaders’, says Swami Somabesh while stapling his two page appeal addressed to the president of India.

Through these years, the scenario has changed. Corporate invasion has been allowed in the name of economic liberalisation and development putting in place a feudalistic system of Governance under the mask of democracy. Loyalty of leaders has shifted its focus from people to their political masters. The craze for investment and industries has opened up opportunities for corporate players who have rushed in to loot the resources at the cost of common man’s livelihood. In spite of being elected by people, the government of Orissa has successfully alienated itself from people and has ordered its police to spray bullets on people and mercilessly combat all people’s movements raised to safeguard and execute their own rights given by the constitution of India.

Inspired by the changed situation, at least ten companies have applied to mine bauxite in the sacred hill of Gandhamardan. Crazy to sign MoU and show a bigger figure and investment mobilised, the government and its mining leasing and distribution agency OMC have put all the application in queue. On the other side, people living around Gandhamardan are again coming together to face any consequence to save their soul and god Gandhamardan. At one end, the allurement of investment and promises made to the corporate houses; and an ecological heaven and livelihood of lakhs of people at the other.

Interestingly, and ironically, the MLAs, MPs and Ministers who started their career in politics with such movements like the anti-BALCO movement of the eighties have sacrificed their voice against a ministerial berth or to prove their loyalty to the party chief. In such a situation, Gandhamardan sees no hope in its political products.

But the hope lies with lakhs of people living in and around gandhamardan for whom the thick forest cover on the hill is the primary source of livelihood. Hope lies with Iswar Birja and Jambabati Birja who lost everything – their land, the job of Iswar Birja and many more – just to save Gandhamardan from the corporate brutality. ‘We succeeded once in protecting Gandhamardan and will do anything to protect it if anybody ventures to destroy it for mining. The government can’t go against our wish because we are also a part of the government’, says Jambabati Birja.

Gandhamardan is not just a hill covered by thick vegetation or just a deposit of bauxite. It is central to a system that rules the local ecology. So mining in the hill will not only destroy the forest that bears thousand varieties of species but will ruin the water sources and economic backbone of local people. So, before taking any decision about mining in Gandhamardan the government should give a look at the earlier movements and take into consideration the emotional attachment of people with the hill and its bounty of nature. But the question is, whether the government led by Naveen Patnaik will behave as a people’s government or will stand by the corporate players and ignore people’s voice and their demands. It’s to be seen if 213MT bauxite and the promises of investment by a few profit monger corporate players allure the government or the people’s demand to protect their livelihood source compels the corporate loving Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to leave Gandhamardan to remain the nature’s paradise. However, when the government is already in trouble for violating the norms of Forest and environment Act to favour corporate houses at Niyamgiri and POSCO project area, any step for mining in Gandhamardan would make history repeat and prove to be another nightmare for the government and the corporate houses involved in it as it happened with the government led by Janaki Ballhav Patnaik and the BALCO.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Childhoods of hunger and want.....

Written by :- HARSH MANDER
Courtsey :- The Hindu


In much of rural India, hunger is still an everyday reality and often the only way out is debt-bondage…

Memories of a childhood lived with hunger are stark, and heartbreakingly different from those of all other children. Bansi Sabar from Bolangir in Orissa recalls that his father toiled hard from morning to evening as a bonded halia. He used to eat in his employers' home and would get 15 kg paddy for the whole month. “Whatever food I bring home is always insufficient for you,” his father would cry out in frustration. His mother, though sickly, used to gather different green leaves, flowers, kardi (smooth bamboo), tamarind and mangoes from the forest, which they ate with water-rice. “That was almost all water with a few grains of rice floating in it,” commented Bansi wryly. Many days they had to sleep hungry. Similarly, Drupathi Malik's mother used to collect all the rice they could manage to get in a day and put it in a container, mix it with salt and all the members except her would sit to eat from the same container. She explains that there was never much to justify use of different plates. Their father would allow the children to eat more and later any left over rice or water was eaten by her mother.

A heart-touching saga of the sufferings....

Even more harrowing for a parent than to send out a small child to work, is to send him into debt bondage, which is still not uncommon in many parts of rural, and especially tribal India. Indradeep earned his own food as soon as he was four years old, as a bonded kutia in the sahukar's home in Bolangir. He rose early to graze cows and bullocks and carry food to the fields, all seven days a week, every month of the year without any break. In return, his employers gave him tea and mudhi in the morning and a meal at noon and 12 kilograms paddy for a year as remuneration. As he entered his 21st year, not much had changed except that he graduated into an adult bonded worker or halia.

Indradeep in time married, and only one son, Sadhu, survived. Whenever they would walk past the village school, he noticed how his little son gazed at it with interest and longing. He resolved that whatever it cost him, he would not send his son out to work as a bonded child labourer — as generations in his family had done before him, as long back as they could remember. Instead, he and his wife would willingly shoulder his burden and send him to school. Life held together for them until Sadhu reached 14 years, and had passed Class 7.

Disaster again struck, when Indradeep was diagnosed with TB and nearly died. He was admitted in hospital for prolonged treatment. They sold the little gold which his wife wore in her ears, which had helped bail them out often in the past, when they had mortgaged it for loans at the doorstep of the moneylender. They also mortgaged her gold nose-ring. In the end, Indradeep could survive only with a blinded eye and a crippled body, with loss of normal functioning in one side of the body and heavy burdens of debt. He could no longer depend on his own hard labour, which had been his only wealth.

His young son realised that it was his turn now to assume his responsibilities, which he did readily. On his own, Sadhu took the decision of quietly dropping out of school when his father was admitted in the hospital, and went to work like his father in the fields of landlords, and he grazed their cows. He then got in touch with other people in the village who regularly migrated, and left for the brick-kilns in Hyderabad when he was 14, for an advance of Rs. 900. He has continued to migrate in bonded conditions after that every year. Slowly they were able to repay the loans and sustain themselves. We were witness to his tearful departure one year, when he migrated for an advance of Rs. 8,000. Before leaving, he gave Rs. 500 to his parents and released her mother's nose jewel from mortgage for Rs. 1,000.

It still weighs heavily on Indradeep's heart that the boy could not study. But he is proud that his son is responsible and caring, “He does not waste even a single rupee on himself, and saves it all for his family.”

In this way, each generation valiantly but hopelessly battles hunger, both for the generation that has passed, and the one that is to come.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another farmer commits suicide in Sambalpur


Farmer suicide is now becoming a common phenomenon in KOSAL (Western Orissa) region ... More than 100 farmers have reportedly killed themselves in this current year and as usual the Govt of Orissa is denial mode and is Sleeping...

________________________
Courtesy:- Pioneer

A small farmer of Mura village under Nua Tihura Gram Panchayat of Maneswar block Janardan Barik (42) committed suicide on Saturday night by hanging from a tree in a nearby forest.

Sources said, the villagers saw the body hanging from the tree and informed the police and local administration. The reason behind the suicide is said to be crop failure.

As per information, the farmer Janardan Barik who committed suicide on Saturday night has 3.12 acres of parental property and he cultivates two acres out of it. Rest 1.12 acre is cultivated by his brother. Besides, Janardan also cultivated another one acre taking on rent. This area comes under Maneswar block of the district and has been affected by drought as there was no sufficient rainfall this season. The villagers also met the Collector twice earlier to narrate their problems.

Janardan is survived by wife, one daughter, two sons, one brother and parents. His elder daughter is studying in +3 first year in a local college and two sons are in +2 first year and 9th class respectively.

The BDO of Maneswar block B Sai who conducted the preliminary enquiry said that the exact reason behind the suicide was yet to be ascertained. “It can be told only after the joint enquiry only,” the BDO said. However, he admitted that the family was a poor one and he took Rs 10, 000 from the cooperative bank as agriculture loan. He has also got some private loan for the same purpose, he added. But the family comes under BPL category and gets Rs. 2-a-kg rice every month, the BDO informed. “We have given Rs. 5, 000 from the Red Cross fund immediately to meet the funeral expenses,” he informed.

Looking at the growing numbers of suicide by the farmers, the people here have demanded before the State Government to come to the rescue of the farmers suffering from crop loss particularly in the drought-hit areas.

Coincidentally, the Krishak Sangathan is holding a two-day meeting here to discuss the problems of the farmers when the unfortunate incident took place.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Balangir Girl Prajna In Kaun Banega Crorepati -4


Prajna Paramita Guru from Balangir, Kosal belongs to a KBC family. Her uncle participated in Season 1 and wasn't able to cross the fastest finger first. He then came back in Season 2 and won Rs 6,40,000 from it. Prajna Paramita Guru's father also participated but wasn't able to made it to the hot seat. Prajna Paramita Guru is a lecturer in an Engineering College. She holds a B.Tech degree in Electronics and Telecommunication.

Prajna won 3,22000 only.

Video's of Prajna :-




Thursday, November 11, 2010

36 km in 16 yrs! Tardy progress in Khurda Rd-Balangir Railway line

With the Indian Railway Board sitting over the proposal of the East Coast Railway (ECoR) since three years the much needed Khurda-Road-Balangir railway line has made a tardy progress much to the chagrin of the people of the State.

“Its’ shocking to know that though the project was sanctioned in 1994-95, the Indian Railways have funded only 36 km till date,” reveals Minister of Planning and Coordination Ananga Udaya Singh Deo.

“While 0-36 km was sanctioned 16 years ago, 36-112 km connectivity proposal is yet to be sanctioned,” rued Singh Deo.

IRB is sitting over the proposal of ECoR since 2007 to sanction 36-112 km rail line with a cost of `316.67 crore, revealed sources. The ECoR submitted the proposal on January 25, 2007 and pursuing the same for last three years with the IRB. Singh Deo in a letter to the IRB Chairman has requested to sanction the proposal and earlier he has also talked to him on this count.

As Khurda Road-Balangir Railway line is the most important connectivity between coastal and western Odisha, the Minister was all along bating for the same, said sources in the ECoR. With the snail’s pace the project is moving, its’ project cost is bound to go up from the present level of `1,000 crore, said an official in the Department of Commerce and Transport.

According to the ECoR, earthwork and construction of bridges in 0-36 KM is in progress and it is expected that it will be commissioned in 2010-11.

However 36-112 KM stretch fate is unclear with the apathy of IRB, lamented the official. Indian Railway authorities have been approached by the Government of Odisha to sanction `300 crore in 2010-11 for the project, where as Rs 120 crore has been allotted by the Ministry of Railways (MOR).

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jayanti Mahanand of Balangir an inspirational young talent

Courtesy:- Indian Express

BALANGIR: With a pencil between two fingers of her right toe, she flawlessly drew on the theme of ‘sanitation and health education’ much to the surprise of people around her.

The 12-year-old Jayanti Mahanand was born with smaller arms. However, this did not quell her appetite for art. She says that she had always been spellbound by pictures. She has been drawing since the age of three. Her ability to draw with her legs was noticed at the Sishu Utsav, a Sarva Sikhsha Abhiyan (SSA)-sponsored programme, held here recently on the Town Girls High School premises. She was one of the participants in the painting contest in the junior category. She completed the painting in less than half-an-hour, well before other competitors.

Not just a good painter but Jayanti has also been a good student throughout. She writes her examinations with her right leg and even for drawing straight lines, Jayanti does not require a scale. “I can write and draw anything with my right foot,” she says. She aspires to be an artist in future.

District Project Coordinator of SSA Abhimanyu Behera said they were encouraging such talents and the SSA would provide all possible support to these children.

“Jayanti has a rare talent and we discovered her during the Sishu Utsav. We are planning to raise some funds for her so that she gets to hone her skills,” said Behera.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Peanut seller Haladhar Nag carves niche for himself as poet of Kosli language

Courtesy:- The Telegraph
Report by SUDEEP KUMAR GURU

From a peanut seller, 60-year old Haladhar Nag has managed to carve a niche for himself in the literary field of Orissa, as a Koshali poet. Even the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has made a documentary film on his life and works.

Known as Koshali Kuili, he is often compared with legendary poet Gangadhar Meher. Clad in a dhoti and vest, he leaves his audience spellbound wherever he goes — be that Shantiniketan or Hyderabad, Raipur or Pithoda.

His initial works were in Koshali folk literature.

“Till 1990, I wrote Lokgeet, Samparda and Krushnaguru which are the roots of the Koshali literature. It was after 1990 that I shifted to writing poetry in Koshali language. After 20 years, my writings in Koshali have been recognised worldwide. Famous publishing houses have come forward to publish most of my works,” Haladhar said.

The themes of Haladhar’s works vary from mythological to social, political and even scientific events. His mythological works include Mahasati Urmila andTara Mandodari while his works on social issues include masterpiece like Achhia (inspired by Mahatma Gandhi’s fight against untouchability). But the work that has left a lasting impression on everybody is Bacchhar, which has been admired most till date. Bacchhar is about how the year was divided into six parts and seasons came into being on earth. Interweaving scientific and social themes, he tells a story in exotic verses that is a real masterpiece. He is presently working on Sri Aurobindo’s supra-mental consciousness. Dr Laxminarayan Panigrahi, who teaches Oriya language and literature in the Ghess College, said that he had been working in the project with Haladhar for the last twelve years.

“We have read and discussed Sri Aurobindo’s Savitri several times to understand the philosophy of super-mind. Haladhar has only written a draft text of the manuscript, which is not in verse form,” he said.

Haladhar’s other major works include Siri Somalai, Veer Sundar Sai, Karamsani, Rasia Kavi (biography of Tulasidas) and Prem Paechan. Most of these works have made their places in the first volume of Haladhar Granthabali. The second volume of Haladhar Granthabali will soon be available in the market, he said.

The great Oriya poet Gangadhar Meher also lived in Barpali, which is only a few kilometres away from Haladhar’s village.

Haladhar, however, does not want people to compare him with great poet Gangadhar Meher. “More than a poet, Gangadhar Meher was like an institution in the field of Oriya literature,” he said. “People keep referring to me as the second Gangadhar Meher. But I do not like the idea of comparing myself with the great poet. I do not want to be known as the second Gangadhar Meher. I just want to live and die as Haladhar Nag. If people remember me even after my death, they should do so only by my name,” he said.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Print edition of Kosli language magazine the “Beni” is available at different book stalls of Orissa

For help and subscription please call: Saket Sahu @ +91 99378 22442 or E-mail at sampadakbeni@gmail.com

Thursday, October 21, 2010

VOTE FOR SNITI MISHRA - CONTESTANT SAREGAMAPA ON ZEE TV

TO VOTE sniti SMS : SNITI to 57575 OR Call : 1862424757506

or YOU CAN VOTE ONLINE ALSO


TO VOTE ONLINE CLICK ON THIS LINK

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Orissa Govt Blames Center For Negligence Whereas It Is Doing The Same With Western Orissa

Stop bashing Centre, start helping poor

By Sachi Satapathy
Courtesy:-Indian Express

Orissa has shown negative trends in most of the development parameters because of the poor execution track record of government schemes and mismanagement of funds over a period of time. One will be surprised to note the recent death toll, which has crossed more than 200 due to the spread of cholera in one of the poverty ridden districts of Orissa. Examining the implementation of development schemes in Orissa, one will invariably end up with serious doubts about the capability of the present government in reaching out to the poor in the true spirit. The recent report of the State Plan Advisers on implementation of flagship programmes and other centrally sponsored schemes in Orissa will provide a shocking picture of the execution of government schemes in the state.

According to the report, Orissa has failed to utilise almost half of the funds released by the end of 2009-10 financial year in the MEGRA. The government of Orissa could spend only Rs 312 crore as against Rs 655 crore released by the central government in the above period and almost 80,000 job cards have also not been issued because of inter-departmental conflict and complication. The state is also not able to move forward in the Indira Awaas Yojana scheme due to inordinate delay in finalising the IAY list by the state government. The non-awarding of road works in Naxalite prone districts adds a more complex problem to these tribal dominated areas, causing serious difficulties for the dwellers in obtaining medical and other benefits.

Although children’s nutrition is a major concern, the state government so far failed to evaluate the Mid-Day Meal scheme by any third party as there are large-scale allegations of poor execution of the scheme by SHGs.

It is further shocking to find that state machinery is very slow in implementing the JNNRUM in terms of finalisation of tenders for the Rs 811.98 crore approved grant for the same. It is only recently the government started city bus services in the capital city as a fulfilment of an objective of the project. Under the Rajiv Gandhi Grameen Vidyutikaran Yojana, works have been accomplished only in 6,266 villages out of 87,826 villages approved under the scheme.

The implementation of National Rural Health Mission in Orissa is in a mess though huge money has been pumped into the programme. The state has not been able to start mobile medical units in any of the districts and most of the Community Health Centres are not having round-the-clock services. The static nature of the Orissa’s rank in the composite development index over a period of time shows the poor execution of education programmes. The three undivided KBK (Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput) districts of Orissa have got special plan funding since 2002-03 without showing any visible impact in the life of the poor. With hundred per cent central funding, almost Rs 1,557.50 crore have been released so far by the central government. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has also raised serious allegations against the state government. There is a serious issue of diversion of funds from one programme to another. It is found that “in eight test checked units, Rs 2.16 crore was diverted from NREGS to MPLADS during February 2006 to March 2009”.

The per capita development expenditure and per capita social sector expenditure in Orissa is much lower than the national average. The financial management of the state government is also equally horrible without following an outcome budget mechanism as suggested by 12th finance commission to measure economic efficiency and effectiveness. This mechanism can very well indicate whether the same outcome can be achieved at lower cost and the same cost can produce better results. Further, due to the appeasement policy followed by the state government in the headship of statutory corporation, cooperatives and rural banks, the average return of income is decreasing in the state and there is no attempt by government to deploy good human resources for these ailing bodies. As a result, the high cost of borrowed funds will continue to burden investment with low financial return.

Recent economic surveys also say a volume about the trailing development trends of the state in many fronts. Just taking an example of agriculture status in the state, the survey found that share of power consumption for agriculture has declined from 3.1 per cent in 2000-01 to 1.3 per cent in 2008-09, annual agriculture growth is a meagre 1.33 per cent. This policy approach is clearly reflected in the increase of farmer suicides in the state in recent years and Orissa being in the top among all states in diverting forest land for mining activities as so far, the government of Orissa has been able to transform almost 15,386 hectares of forest land, causing a serious problem to the livelihood of the lakhs of tribals in the state.

Looking at the above facts, the state’s present vision of ‘Centre bashing’ can be only seen as a tool to divert people’s attention from large scale corruption and poor execution of development schemes in the state during last 11 years. However, the existing approach will be counter-productive if the state continues to move without doing its homework properly and is always blaming the Centre for its own failure as from the above points, it is found that the state has failed miserably in executing the pro-poor programmes, thanks to inefficient and corrupt, present and former bureaucrats who have been given a free hand by the chief minister in the design and execution of implementation plans.

(The writer works for an UN agency. The views expressed above are personal. E-mail: sachisatpathy@yahoo.com)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Today Is Bhai Juintia : Wishes To All Kosli Sisters


It is mostly known only in the region of Koshal. Bhaijiutia festival is celebrated on the Mahastami Day of Durga Puja. It is a total fasting undertaken by women for the whole day and night to seek Goddess Durga’s blessing for the long life of their bhais (brothers).

If Rakshya Bandhan is a day for sisters in north India, sisters in KOSAL (western Orissa) observe Bhai Juintia on the Astami day of the Durga Puja.

The sisters observe a total fast on this day wishing for long life and success of their brothers. In the evening, they visit the Juntia worship place and Durga deity. Their fast continues till next morning, on the Nabami.

Getting up early on the wee hours of Nabami, they take their bath and offer worship and while returning, collect Duba Chhuan, which they offer to their brothers.

In KOSAL (western Orissa), with the commencement of Durga Puja, every house is crowded with sisters and brothers, who arrive to observe the Bhai Juntia which is an annual occasion for a family get-together.

The main function, Juintia Puja is held in the evening, when sisters prepare Jugar, a typical item made from Lia, in the shape of a temple, with 108 duba grass, rice and many varieties of flowers, mostly locally grown.

This festival is observed with all its rituals, irrespective of caste and class.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Western Orissa's Chabripali worse than Somalia

Courtesy:- Indian Express
by Riyan Ramanath V

BALANGIR: It is a gaping hole too difficult to bridge. This is how the two member team of Asian Legal Resource Centre from Kowloon, Hong Kong, felt about the rich-poor divide in India after their Friday visit to Chabripali village that had captured headlines following the death of five members of a family due to starvation a year back.

Jin Ju, a researcher in the food security department of the centre and Bijo Francis, programme officer for South Asia Desk, observed that while one India is ostentatiously spending crores only to prove its organising skills like the nations exhibit military prowess, the other India is living under abject poverty.

"While one India is totally alienated from development, the other is relishing it," commented Francis. He said the condition he observed in Chabripali was worse than that of Somalia, Ethiopia and Cambodia. "It is a gross violation of human rights and Orissa and India government owe an explanation for this neglect," said Francis.

Describing the situation as very unfortunate, Jin said mere token gesture of people's representatives and perfunctory approach to serious human rights issues by conscious citizens including press compound the problems.

"The paradigm prevailing in India should be discussed at law enforcement level. There should be proper presentation of the human rights issues in media," said Jin. Further, she said the next thing that has to be ensured is that whatever promised is delivered.

The team will also visit Amlapali village in Nuapada district that had hit headlines in 1984 after Phanus Punji sold her sister-in-law Banita.

In Balangir, though five members of Champe Bariha family died of starvation, the State Government is yet to take cognizance of the deaths. Following media reports, special repertoire of Supreme Court Food Commission visited the village to submit a report.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nuakhai Bangalore 2010 Celebrated With Great Flavour





On 26th Sept 2010, “Nuakhaibhet Cultural and Welfare Association” organized the 10th anniversary of “Nuakhaibhet” celebration in National Games Village, Bengaluru. This function is organised in consonance with “Nuakhai”, the harvest festival widely celebrated in KOSAL (western parts of Odisha). Non resident Kosali's residing in Bengaluru, has been organizing this function since last ten years.

Renowned cartoonist Dr. Aswini Kumar Rath from Balangir graced this function as Chief Guest. On this occasion “Nuakhaibhet Cultural and Welfare Association” also felicitated Aswini-Abani, the only cartoonist brother duo of the world. Internationally prize winning cartoons of Aswini-Abani were also exhibited during this occasion.

To commemorate the 10th anniversary year of the celebration a souvenir “Surta” was released
containing articles on the festivals, food, culture and also progress at Bengaluru. Prime Minister
Dr.Manmohan Singh and Smt. Sonia Gandhi expressed their wishes to the community through this magazine.

Chief convenor Mr.Abhimanyu Gadtia gave an overall perspective of “Nuakhai” as a function and
its importance in maintaining the cultural harmony. Sri Gopal Mishra, Sri …. (san barsa agyan) also addressed the gathering.

“Chitrasen Musical Group” from Titlagarh, Odisha, spellbound the audience with their sambalpuri musical performances with instruments like “Nissan”, “Tasa” and “Dhol”. Many local artists also added colours to the function with their folk songs and dances.

Apart from the cultural activities the most popular program was the Western Orissa quiz competition, which generated a lot of curosity amongst the present audience.

Also ladies Musical chair,Children Drawing competition and Nuakhai Talent Hunt was enjoyed by all and one.

Many intellectuals from Bengaluru and outside were present in the function which was attended by more than 500 people.

People also enjoyed the local cuisines of Kosal like Kardi bhendi Khata, Alu putal etc

Saturday, September 25, 2010

SAREGAMAPA CONTESTENT SNITI MISHRA DECLARED HER ROOT'S WESTERN ORISSA

VERSATILE SINGER SNITI MISHRA FROM BALANGIR / BOLANGIR TODAY PROUDLY DECLARED ON NATIONAL TELEVISION THAT SHE BELONGS TO BALANGIR DISTRICT OF WESTERN ORISSA...IT MAY BE NOTED THAT THERE WAS A GENERAL PERCEPTION THAT SHE IS FROM BBSR...PUTTING AN END TO ALL THE SPECULATIONS SHE PROUDLY DECLARED HER ROOTS TO THE VIBRANT LAND OF KOSAL (WESTERN ORISSA)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Balangir Rickshawpuller’s son wins singles title in state-level badminton championship

http://www.telegraphindia.com/1100921/jsp/orissa/story_12959353.jsp

Balangir, Sept. 20: Fighting against all odds, two young boys made Balangir proud by winning titles in the state open badminton championship in Talcher on Sunday.

Abhimanyu Bagarty (12), son of a rickshawpuller in Balangir, won the singles title in the boys’ mini (under-13) category while Surendra Nepal (14), son of a daily labourer won the men’s singles title in the sub-junior category.

Surendra also won the men’s doubles title with Chandan Mishra in the sub-junior category, while Abhimanyu teamed with Swarup Ranjan Guru to emerge as runners up in the boy’s mini double category.

Two others — Bikrant Jani who emerged as the runner up in the boy’s mini singles category and Arabinda Sahu, who was adjudged the best emerging player of the tournament — also hailed from Balangir.

Abhimanyu said that he used to play badminton in the streets when Susanta Pradhan of the District Badminton Association (DBA) picked him up after noticing his talent.

“I was very young when I developed a passion for games. I used to play badminton with my friends in the streets of our locality. We used bundle of polythene carrybags as shuttle and a flat piece of wood as racket. Susanta dada used to watch me. One day he took me to the DBA office and formally admitted me there,” he said.

Abhimanyu’s father, a rickshawpuller in the town, said that he was exulted at his son’s achievements. “I knew that he was fond of sports. Since I am a poor ricksha puller, it was not possible for me to meet his requirements. But, I also never knew that my son possessed such talent. I hope that he will do even better in the years to come,” he said.

The success story of Surendra Nepal is similar. Son of a daily labourer in an aluminium factory, he never thought that he would play in any state-level tournament. He was picked up by Rajiv Sahu of the DBA who noticed him playing badminton in the streets of the town.

“I never thought that I would play in such a tournament and win title. It is like a dream come true for me,” he said.

“There are many kids in our association who are from very poor families. We try to help them by providing them with playing equipment, tracksuits and shoes. We are very happy that our efforts have paid well as two boys who came from such poor backgrounds have won titles. This is the beginning. We will ensure that they go on to win tournaments at higher levels,” said Suru Matari, secretary of the DBA.

Monday, September 20, 2010

1.5 Lakh People Migrated Out Of Balangir District Of Western Odisha As MGNREGA Fails To Deliver

Courtsey Countercurrents.org

As in earlier years, this time around about 1.5 lakh people migrated out from Balangir district of Odisha to work in brick kilns in and around Hyderabad and Chennai and other places. The data compiled by Migration Information and Resource Centre (MiRC), Aide et Action, a civil society organisation basing on the migration registers maintained in about 66 villages in three blocks (Muribahal, Tureikala and Belpada) in the district suggest that about 1.5 lakh people out of about 13 lakh population in the district migrated out of the state during November-December 2009 and January 2010 as they did not get enough of employment opportunities in the home place. Among the total migrating population, about 30 percent belong to scheduled caste (SCs) and 41 percent are scheduled tribe (STs) population.

People in Balangir district, mostly belonging to the landless category and the small and marginal families, have adopted the option of migrating out as a coping up mechanism to the high degree of food insecurity owing to lack of employment, bad show in agriculture due to continuous droughts, uneven land distribution, loss of forest so on and so forth. This form of migration is therefore mostly due to distressed condition in the villages. The form of migration takes place in a well established system of middlemen (called Sardars or Khatadars) who take advantage of the distress condition of the poor dalit and tribal people in the district and give them some advance money to the tune of 15-25 thousand rupees to work for about seven months in the brick kilns in other states. This advance money comes as a big allurement and also relief to the helpless families who tacitly agree to a semi-bondage condition under their employers. The people go there as brick makers, brick carriers and so on. The brick maker constitutes most part of labour in a brick kiln. The unit of labour as brick maker constitute generally two adult members and a child. Therefore the incidence of child labours in a brick kiln is by sheer design not by default. Both the adult and child labourers have to work about 14-16 hours in a day under very harsh conditions. They are provided with a small weekly allowance of 250-300 rupees which cover their food, clothe and health needs. They rice they eat are basically the chicken fodder. They are provided with the accommodations which are like chicken huts-worse than houses in the slums in a city. due to inadequate food intake, long hours of work, non availability of people medical attention, people and children often fall to various types of diseases. Targets of making 1.5 lakhs to 2 lakhs of brick moulding are set for them which they have to complete in seven months. Since the target is too high, the brick owners use all dirty means to extract maximum output from the labourers. More often than not the poor labourers are treated inhumanly and are harassed to any extent beyond imagination, which include both mental and physical torture. Toward the end of the season (season is from September/October to May/June in Hyderabad and from December/January to June/July in Chennai), if the labourers could not complete the task they are not allowed to go back home and are kept under forced captivity in the brick kilns under the vigilance of the hired goons. The unspoken misery of the people is witnessed in every season forcing some civil society organisations intervene to rescue them from the captivity of the brick owners.

MGNREGA which promises to provide 100 days of guaranteed employment to the rural households has pathetically failed in the district. Out of total of 2.4 lakh Job Card holders in the district only 60,000 households have been covered under MNREGA last financial year (2009-2010) (Data as on 14th April 2010 from www.nrega.nic.in ). This is only 25% coverage of the total. These numbers of families have got an average of 43 days of employment. In comparison to the total capacity of 100 days to 2.4 lakh families, it is only 11 percent utilisation of the full potential. This is as per the official figures. The real figure would be far less which may be exposed through social audits. This shows how abysmally MGNGREA has delivered in the district. Over and above this, the scheme has become meaningless owing to the delayed nature of payment. People in the district complained of receiving payment in two to three months time against the mandated 15 days period.

Apart from the failure of MGNREGA, other social security schemes have also faired very badly in the district as in other parts of the state. The uneven distribution of land has added to the misery of poor.

Rare show of success of MGNREGA:

On very rare occasions, due to the intervention of the civil society organisations, MGNREGA has brought some relief to a miniscule numbers of families. For example, in Tentulimunda village in Belpada block of Bolangir district, about 25 habitually migrant families stayed back as they availed work under the scheme. Similarly about 35 such families opted out to stay back in village and work under MGNREGA in Badbanki village under Tureikala block. Several children who used to migrate with their parents and lose their education also stayed back and continued their study in their respective villages. Some people have also made capital investment from income generated MGNREGA to make capital investment. For example, Ugrasen Gaud in Badbanki village who has completed 100 days of work under MGNREGA in 2009-10 financial year, has got about 15,000 rupees and purchased gold for his daughter’s marriage and got bullocks for his agriculture. Similarly, Ms Kumari Nag has got some gold for herself from the income got under MGNREGA. About 17 families in the Badbanki village have completed 100 days of work quota. It has helped reducing migration in this Panchayat. But these are very rare instances. Two civil society organisations namely Adhikar and Sramik Shakti Sangathan have helped the people getting their entitlements under MGNREGA.

Time is ripe for the state and district administration to put all their efforts to make MGNREGA a success for reducing distressed migration and prevent people from facing all out harassment in other states.


Follow by Email

India News - Times of India

Digital Clock and Date

IPO India Information (BSE / NSE)

Watch Sambalpuri Video Songs Online

Welcome to KOSAL

JAI KOSHAL

"Aamar Sanskruti Aamar Gaurav"

Welcome to the land of culture "Koshal" . Koshal is the land of great warriors. The land of Maharaja's.The land of Maa Samalei, World famous sambalpuri saree , great teracotta works, land of tantrik Vidya, world famous Sambalpuri music and dance.

Koshal consists of ten beautiful districts..
Sambalpur,Balangir,Kalahandi,Sundergarh,Bargarh,Jharsuguda,Subarnapur,Boudh,Nuapada
and Deogarh.

The motto of this community is to bring all the young warriors of koshal to a common platform from where they can initiate the process to preserve the great Koshali culture and swear to free our motherland koshal from atrocities..

So friends lets join hand and do something extraordinary to create a separate identity of us across the globe and create a separate koshal state,full of prosperity and impartiality.

We Consider Kosali language as the mother of Oriya language, the origin of kosali language was found by the historians from Subarnapur in Stambheswari inscription of 12th century A.D. The Kosali language is spoken by about 2 crores of people in the entire KBK belt and Western Orissa and part of A.P., M.P., Chhatisgarh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. It is a matter of regret that the Government of Orissa has not taken any interest to improve the standard of Kosali (Sambalpuri) language.


KOSAL COMMUNITY STRONGLY DEMANDS THAT THE KOSALI(SAMBALPURI) LANGUAGE SHOULD IMMEDIATELY BE ENLISTED IN THE 8TH SCHEDULE OF THE CONSTITUTION OF INDIA


So start sharing your views on Koshal.....