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Friday, May 20, 2011

The marginalised from Western Odisha who migrate out of the state lead difficult lives

By: Pradeep Baisakh
Original Article :- http://www.downtoearth.org.in/content/movement-worse

Movement for worse
The marginalised from Western Odisha who migrate out of the state lead difficult lives

Bhubaneswar Bindhani has not heard of a UNDP Human Development Report Paper, ‘Migration and Human Development’. It is quite likely the authors of the 2009 report did not take note of the fortunes of this resident of Nuagaon village in Odisha’s Nuapada district when they wrote, “migration fosters development of the migrant people.” They also perhaps did not take note of many other people from Odisha’s western districts who migrate every year to work in sub-human conditions at brick kilns and construction sites in Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

In 2010, eight members of Bindhani’s family sought work in different parts of Andhra Pradesh to return a loan of Rs 27,000. Non-profit ActionAid’s statistics show 200,000 people migrated from the western districts of Odisha to work in the brick kilns of Andhra Pradesh. Data compiled by another non-profit, Migration Information and Resource Centre (MIRC), shows 150,000 people migrated from Balangir district in 2009-2010. According to this non-profit, most migrants are landless or small or marginal farmers, and belong to the Scheduled Tribe and Scheduled Caste communities.

The condition of the migrant workers of this area is well encapsulated by the Inter-state Migrant Workmen’s (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Services) Act, 1979. The Act’s preamble reads, “At the time of recruitment, sardars or khatadars promise that wages calculated in piece-rate basis would be settled every month, but usually this promise is never kept. Once the worker comes under the clutches of a contractor, he takes him to a far-off place on payment of railway fare. No working hours are fixed for these workers.”

Miriki Tandi of Balangir district, who worked at a brick kiln in Andhra Pradesh’s Nalgonda district, told this writer that brick kiln workers labour for 18 hours a day throughout the season (October/November to May/June) for a weekly allowance of Rs 300. A typical labour unit constitutes two adult members and a child. This unit is supposed to make 150,000 to 200,000 bricks in seven months. The families usually eat broken rice (chicken fodder) with dal and sometimes a little curry. “A good meal at a brick kiln is a dream for us,” lamented Tandi.

An MIRC study notes that more than 80 per cent of migrant children work with their parents. The study also notes that 10 per cent of the total migrants are in the age group of 6-14, who lose education for seven months in a year. It points out that 49 per cent of such children go to schools when they are not labouring in other states; the rest are either dropouts or never enrolled in the school due to uninterrupted migration. In the destination areas only a handful of children get education in schools run by NGOs.

Very often, the workers are tortured by employers. In April 2010, newspapers in Odisha reported the death of a migrant worker from Balangir, Rupadhar Bariha. Kept as a bonded labourer along with his family at a brick kiln in Nalgonda district, Bariha was beaten to death by kiln owner Jagan Seth. Last year, the Balangir administration had to rescue people from the district working as bonded labourers in brick kilns in Andhra Pradesh’s Ranga Reddy district. Most brick kilns in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh as well as in parts of Odisha are not registered under company laws and are rarely monitored by labour departments.

The Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme could have helped the migrants. But the scheme has not really worked well in Odisha. In Balangir, for example, 61,000 of the 245,000 job card holders were covered under the scheme in 2009-2010. These job card holders have got an average of 43 days of employment, as per official figures. In Nuapada district only 18 per cent of the job cards (108,000) got an average of 27 days of employment in 2009-2010.

The author is a freelance journalist based in Bhubaneswar. He can be contacted at 2006pradeep@gmail.com

Saturday, May 14, 2011

CBI forms special team to probe NREGS scam in KBK region

Courtesy:- Daily Pioneer

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has set up a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the NREGS bungling in Odisha.

CBI Director AP Singh, after receiving the notification of the Union Government’s Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT), has formed the SIT, which is to be headed by a senior Joint Director of the Central agency. Sources said Singh has directed the SIT to begin its job with immediate effect.

NREGS irregularities have taken place in Odisha’s six most backward districts of Balangir, Kalahandi, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Nuapada and Rayagada, which comprise the KBK belt known for its hunger deaths. Delhi-based Centre for Environment and Food Security (CEFS), which had conducted a survey in various districts, focused its attention on these districts.

The CEFS filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Supreme Court pointing out serious irregularities in the utilisation of NREGS funds allocated by the Centre for the State. The apex court directed the Union Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) to allow the CBI for a detailed probe into the matter.

After the MoRD sought consent of the Government of Odisha, the latter issued a notification consenting to a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities in the six districts pinpointed in a PIL filed in the Supreme Court. Once the MoRD received the consent, it wanted a detailed notification by the DoPT.

The DoPT on May 2 notified that the CBI would investigate the alleged large-scale irregularities, misappropriation and diversion of the Central Government funds allocated to the State during 2006-07 for 100 villages of the six KBK districts.

The SIT would find out any attempt, abatement and conspiracy in relation to or in connection with the alleged offences committed in the course of the same transaction or arising out of the same facts, said CBI sources. In the meantime, CBI Joint Director OP Galhotra is in touch with the State Chief Secretary BK Patnaik in the matter, said sources in the State Government.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Preparations for Sital Sasthi kick off at Sambalpur


Courtesy :- Daily Pioneer

Akshay Tritiya is not just confined to the farmer community only; it has got much religious significance in Odisha as well as all over the country.

The auspicious day marks the beginning of the preparations for the world famous car festival (Rath Yatra) of Lord Jagannath at Puri and the famous Sital Sasthi festival which solemnises the marriage ceremony of Lord Siva and goddess Parvati at Sambalpur.

Thala Utha, the first phase of the Sital Sasthi Yatra is held here on Akshay Tritiya, when the devotees donate for the divine marriage on earth that unites the Prakriti with Purusha.

The Thala Utha for the marriage of Bambarada Balunkeswar, Sri Lokanath, Jageswar Baba, Somanath Baba, Sri Sitaleswar was held on the night of Akshay Tritiya night in different parts of the town, including Nandapara, Jharuapara, Modipara, Bada Bazar, Thakur Pada etc in presence of the important personalities. Sambalpur apart, preparation for Sital Sasthi has also begun in other parts of western Odisha, including Barpali and Balangir.

After completion of the Thala Utha ceremony, the priests of the Lord Lokanath Baba temple of Jharuapara Ramanath Mahapatra and Mahendra Pujari went round the town in a pageant with the important persons of their area.

This year for the marriage of Lord Lokanath Baba, Motilal Das and Chandraprava Das of Kansaripada would be the Kanyapita (bride’s father) and Kanaymata (bride’s mother).

“We feel proud of becoming the in-laws of the Lord and the father and mother of the divine mother. It is a privilege,” said the Das couple.

Similarly, at Bada Bazar, Surendra Mohanty and Sangeeta Mohanty would be the in-laws for Sri Sitaleswar Baba. “We got this opportunity only for the kindness of the Lord,” the couple admitted, while narrating the undisrupted blessings of the Almighty on them.

At Nandapara, the priests Murari Prasad Mishra and Sarada Mishra accompanied by Golak Behari Mishra, Amulya Mishra, Pradip Babu, Harihara Guru went round the town with the Thala. The entire city is now bracing up for the divine marriage.

Monday, May 9, 2011

VEDANTA: DEVELOPER OR LAND GRABBER

Despite Vedanta's roaring hoardings of 'Mining Happiness', forceful grabbing of adivasi land by the company in Lanjigarh has always been a burning issue. Adivasis had been knocking all possible doors for justice: from the local administration to various courts. Recently, responding to complaints by four adivasis of the Jagannathpur Mauja in Lanjigarh Tehsil, the National Human Rights Commission investigated the issue and identified 3.66 acres of land within the company's premises that legally belong to adivasis. Following this, the administration has now imposed Section-144 on the land and has registered a criminal case of land-grab against the company. This is for the first time that Vedanta's illegal land-grabbing activities has been 'officially proved'

KBK SAMACHAR
Bhawanipatna, Kalahandi,

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Balangir Municipality Is Setting Examples


Riyan Ramanath V
Courtesy-TOI

Unsightly landscapes and fetid surroundings governed their lives for 50 years. Thatched houses, sometimes asbestos and torn polythene for a ceiling made life in slums a never-ending misery.

Especially so during the rains when the water would wash away the cow dung plaster from the wall. Dwellers would have sleepless nights when roofs were blown away by strong winds.

But luck smiled on them promising a better and healthy life. The dwellers came out of the doles of disgrace as the Balangir municipality, within less than two years, completed half of the slum development projects sanctioned by the central government.

Out of the 10 slums on the outskirts of Balangir, dwellers have been settled in six locations. In the next step, the municipality will construct concrete roads, drains, water systems, a jogging track and a community hall giving the slums the look of a modern township.

Sraddhakar Naik, who has lived more than half his life in slums, said, "When I saw people around us living in good houses, I cursed my luck. But god is merciful. Now I am happy that my posterity won't blame me as it is they who will have a descent life."

Under Integrated Housing and Slum Development Programme (IHSDP), around 100 houses have been built. Municipality executive officer P K Gardia said they have listed 324 beneficiaries. "We didn't go by BPL norms. We looked into the living condition, economic status and checked whether the beneficiary has any permanent home anywhere," said Gardia.

The total project cost is Rs 8 crore. The municipality is awaiting a grant of another Rs 4.5 crore. "We have provided RCC roof in 300 sq feet area. Each unit will have a bedroom, kitchen and a living room," Gardia informed.

Bijakhaman, Salepali, Larkipali, Bishnumunda, Khaliapali, Talpali Pada and Bibhuti Pada slums were identified for the project.

"These slums were in such a pitiable state that dwellers could not enter or come out of their homes. During the rainy season, life would really be miserable. Rain water would collect and mix with drain water and garbage. Apart from the stink, epidemics would spread, there would be skin and stomach ailments," said Adikanda Jani, a slum beneficiary at Larkipali, adding that they were deprived of basic facilities as none wanted to visit the stinking locality.

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It's good to see finally some govt organization that too a city municipality is actually Working !!! Keep Up the Good Work and hope politics and corruption will not become roadblock in the upliftment of the poor....

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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.....