Friday, October 31, 2008

House panel to meet Lalu in Nov

The Pioneer, Oct 31, 2008

The House Committee of the State Legislative Assembly on Railway will call on Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav on the second week of November and submit a memorandum for development and possible expansion of railway network in the State. A decision to this effect was taken at a high-level meeting presided over by the Assembly Speaker Kishore Mohanty on Thursday.

Speaker Mohanty asked the MLAs to submit proposal within a week on the possible development of railway which can be taken up in their constituency. “Later, a final memorandum would be prepared and submitted to the Railway Minister,” said Transport and Commerce Minister Jaynarayan Mishra.

The MLAs criticised the Centre for decrease in allotment of funds for expansion of railway networks. Though the State Government urged the Centre to take up a number of projects, not a single project has been approved. Gopalpur- Raygada, Jajpur- Keonjhar Road- Jajpur town, Sambalpur- Berhampur, Bolangir- Nuapada, Bansapani- Bimalagarha, Lanjigarha- Boudh, Barbil- Bansapani have been neglected in the railway budget.

The doubling of railway lines like Daitari-Bansapani, Haridaspur, Paradeep, Talcher- Samablpur, Smabalpur-Jharsuguda have also been neglected.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

KBK situation is still miserable

BHUBANESWAR, Oct 26: Two decades of focused intervention, entailing pumping in crores of rupees, seems to have had little impact on the notoriously backward KBK region (erstwhile undivided Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahandi districts) according to the Food Security Atlas released by World Food Programme and Institute for Human Development.
"It is surprising that the efforts put into the development of the region have not yielded tangible results," states the report, while dealing with KBK region and noting that widespread malnutrition and mortality levels are a pointer to the dismal situation.
The region is characterised by wastelands, scrublands, low agriculture development, abysmally low literacy levels and high malnutrition levels.
The KBK region accounts for 31 per cent of the total area of the state, but only 20 per cent of the total population indicating low density of population. A huge part of the region is unfit for cultivation and is mostly degraded forests and scrublands. Koraput, for instances, has more than 1,000 sq kms of its area under wastelands.
Low levels of land development in the region have resulted in poor performance on the agricultural front. Despite all talk of wasteland development, the fact is that the region has not benefited from the programme as yet.
Consequent to this is the fact that very small area can be cultivated twice in an agricultural year and the cropping intensity is low. Only 19 per cent of the total area of Rayagada district is under cultivation while it is barely 20 per cent in Malkangiri district, 35 per cent in Koraput, 37 per cent in Bolangir and 41 percent in Kalahandi. The KBK average works out to 35.5 per cent in terms of area under cultivation.
The food grain yield per heactre in KBK region is 590 kg with the yield per hectare in some districts like Nuapada being as low as 221 kg, Bolangir 302 kg and Kalahandi 491 kg said the report.
Less than five per cent of the surveyed tribal population were found to be in a food secure situation in these districts. The proportion of extremely food insecure tribal households that can hardly manage one square meal a day is highest in Rayagada district at almost 12 per cent of the tribal population being unable to get one meal per day for major part of the year. Five of the eight districts in the region have a less than 10 per cent urbanisation level and these districts have a very high proportion of STs, almost twice the proportion of tribes in other parts of the state.
Other parameters too show that KBK is lagging behind the rest of the state. Koraput, Nawarangpur, Malkangiri and Rayagada have a rural female literacy rate of less than 20 per cent. The food insecurity status of the region manifests itself in high mortality and malnourishment. Most of the districts in the region record over 150 child deaths per 1000 live births and over 40 percent of the children are in the moderately underweight category.
Shockingly, the situation prevailing in KBK region is despite special interventions in the form of Area Development for Poverty Termination (ADAPT) in 1988 followed by the Long Term Action Plan ( LTAP) in 1993 and the Revised Long Term Action Plan ( RLTAP) in 1998. Each of these schemes involved expenditure of crores of rupees towards overall improvement of the region, feeding programmes, water harvesting etc.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

From Hindu: Maoist activity surpasses militancy in J&K, northeast - news analysis

This is exactly why the central govt. needs to pay special attention towards the development of theses interior frontier of Orissa, Chhatisgarh and Andhra Pradesh.

Following is the Hindu article:

Maoist activity surpasses militancy in J&K, northeast news analysis K. Srinivas Reddy

HYDERABAD: Union Home Minister Shivraj Patil might want the country to believe that Left-wing extremism is not a big challenge to the internal security of the country, but his Ministry has now ‘unwittingly’ declared statistics which reveal that the Maoist activity had actually surpassed militancy in the north-eastern States and in Jammu and Kashmir in terms of killings of civilians and security forces personnel.

Status paper

The latest status paper on the ‘Internal Security Situation’ discloses that as many as 2,281 civilians and 821 security forces personnel were killed between 2004 and 2008 (up to August 31) due to Maoist activity.

The comparative figures for the same period show that militancy in Jammu and Kashmir resulted in the killing of 1,883 civilians and 789 security forces personnel. The militancy-related fatalities in the north-east were 1,909 civilians and 361 security forces personnel.

It was none other than Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who cautioned the States — in December 2007 at a conclave on internal security — that Maoist insurgency was the single biggest challenge to security.

Just about two months later, Mr. Patil disagreed with Dr. Singh and said the Left-wing extremism did not pose such a danger to internal security.

Answering a question in the “Devil’s Advocate” programme on CNN-IBN, Mr. Patil argued that there was no need to create a fear psychosis among the people about the Maoist insurgency. Playing on words, the Home Minister pointed out: “If one said 10 States were affected, it would mean 30 per cent of the country. If one went by 130 districts affected, it would mean 25 per cent. But if one took into account the number of police stations, it would give a picture of only three per cent.”

And now the Ministry status paper points out that the Maoist violence has become extremely intense in Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Orissa.

“Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand accounted for 68.07 per cent of the total incidents and 58.56 per cent of total casualties.”

The Ministry puts it on record that the Maoist activity is present in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Orissa and West Bengal.

However, intelligence officials unofficially admit there is widespread consolidation of Maoists across the country.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Coverage in Prerana on visit of Railway Board Chairman to Balangir

Initiative by Lalit Babu for Lanjigarh road - Phulbani-Angul Railway Link

Yesterday in an Action Plan for Khandhamal, I proposed our Rail Line demand for growth of Khandhamal to be included. The rail line should connect Lanjigarah Station to Angul via Phulbani that will almost bisect Khandhamal District. The chairman Dr Bhagaban & Prof Radhamohan appreciated the proposal but there were very few in public who could fully visualise the would be impact of our demand in peace making process.

In the mean time many a reporter and public of Bolangir region have telephoned me and have highly appriciated our proposal about Khandhamal that came out in a local news paper after our meeting at Bolangir. ........................

Lalit Mohan Pattnaik

Monday, October 6, 2008

Set deadline for Khurda-Balangir rly line: Acharya

The Pioneer, Oct 7, 2008
Pioneer News Service | Balangir

The construction of proposed Khurda-Balangir railway line, which was approved in 1993 at an estimated cost of Rs 383 crore, is still in its infancy, said chairman of Standing Committee of Railway and MP Basudev Acharya while speaking to mediapersons on Sunday.

Once a target date is fixed for the project by the Railway Department, it would ensure regular flow of fund till completion, he said, adding that Rs 64 crore has been allocated for the project in 2007.

He also assured to take necessary steps so that the total allocation of funds for development of Railways in the State can be increased substantially.

Due to absence of repair unit in the State, wagons are being sent to Khargarpur for repair, he said, adding that a wagon repair unit needs to be established in the State.

Accompanied by Left leader Shivaji Patanaik, Acharya talked to the members of the Citizen Committees of Balangir and the Joint Action Committee for Khurdha-Balangir Railway line. Bhavani Shankar Satpathy and Ramesh Prasad Naik were also present.