Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Odisha. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Odisha. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, October 13, 2013

After Shocks Of Cyclone: 20 Feared Dead, Cargo Ship Sunk

By M H Ahssan / INN Live

A cargo ship, MV Bingo, is believed to have sunk in the rough seas caused by cyclonic storm Phailin with its crew on a lifeboat last sighted east of Sagar in West Bengal, a top Kolkata Port Trust official told INN Live. “The Panama-registered cargo ship MV Bingo is feared sunk as the crew was sighted on a lifeboat yesterday east of Sagar, 25km from the coast,” KPT chairman RPS Kahlon told. 

Friday, October 11, 2013

Cyclone Phailin, Half Of The India, May Damage Odisha, AP

By Kajol Singh / INN Live

The very severe cyclonic storm Phailin, expected to make landfall at Gopalpur in Odisha, moved closer to the state and lay about 600 km southeast of Paradip, as the government sought the help of defence forces to boost its preparedness, official sources said.

"The system Phailin over east central Bay of Bengal moved northwestwards slightly, intensified further and lay centred at about 600 km southeast of Paradip and 700 km southeast of Gopalpur," the latest bulletin issued by the IMD said. (Latest Live Updates, check our 'Live News Ticker' to know more.)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Focus: Cyclone Phailin Hammers Coast Of Andhra, Odisha

By Nidhi Rupal / INN Live

Cyclone Phailin  today struck the Odisha coast, bringing in its wake torrential rains and wind speeds of over 200 kmph in the state and  neighbouring north coastal Andhra Pradesh. Darkness enveloped wide swathes of the coastal districts of Odisha, especially Ganjam, whose Gopalpur-on-sea was the entry point for the storm uprooting trees and electric poles. 

The pounding rains forced people to remain indoors and vehicular traffic came to a grinding halt. Heavy to very heavy rainfall was also widespread in the districts of Gajapati, Khurda, Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Nayagarh, Cuttack, Bhadrak and Kendrapara in coastal region besides state capital Bhubaneshwar.

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


By CJ Manas Sahu in Bhubaneshwar

Thirteen years after becoming the Chief Minister of Odisha and a year ahead of the next Assembly elections, Naveen Patnaik has suddenly woken up to the electoral prospects of the battle cry for ‘special category’ status to the state. On Sunday, Naveen launched a signature campaign which, we are told, would end up with the signatures of a crore of people—in other words roughly one out of every four Odias—before being sent to the president.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Mafia Controls 500 Cr. Bonded Labour Market In Odisha

By Pranav Deb | Bhubaneshwar

EXCLUSIVE A strong mafia controls bonded slavery in Odisha and almost 3 lakh people are trafficked out of the state every year. The mafia controls the illegal labour market worth over Rs 500 crore with an iron grip.

For people like Nilambar Majhi and Dialu Nial there is no option other than bonded labour. Both belong to families of landless labourers in Kalahandi, and are ideal victims for the middlemen for labour contractors.

One such middleman told INN Live how families are loaned Rs 10-15,000 for medical treatment or a marriage. Unable to repay, they fall into the bonded labour trap and then entire families are forced to work year after year in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Defeated In Odisha, Is Posco Conquering Maharashtra?

Maharashtra’s coastal district of Sawantwadi is set to see some change, come 2016. Almost 33 thousand acres in size, it has lately been gaining popularity as a tourist spot and for its wooden handicraft industry. But it is in the news these days as it’s set to host South Korean giant Posco, which has signed a MoU with Uttam Steel, promoted by the Miglani family, to set up a 3 million tonne per annum integrated steel plant.

POSCO stays undeterred by the unsuccessful attempt to set up a steel plant in Odisha. The 12 billion dollar project lays dormant as the Center and the company have come to an impasse.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bonded Labours: Born To Be Bonded?

Dearth of work is forcing lakhs of families to seasonally migrate to other states in search of their livelihood. Here their children are forced to work as bonded labourers in the brick kilns, depriving them of their childhood, while the administration turns a blind eye.

Poverty entails sacrifice. When resource availability is scarce, one has to sacrifice for others. Poor migrant labourers from the remote villages of Odisha face this predicament daily.

Kamalini Bangula, 18 dropped out of school just after she passed class 5. Marginal farmers Tapi and Tulusa Bangula, parents of Kamalini and two more children, could hardly provide two square meals to the whole family, forcing them to migrate out of the state to Hyderabad, Tirupati, Visakhapatnam and other places to work in brick kilns. Ten years back, when the family first migrated, Kamalini had no choice but to stay with her family to help with brick making. Her sacrifice however did not go in vain. Now she is paying for her younger sibling’s education, who study in class ten and three, out of her income. When the family moves out, these children would stay with their uncle (elder brother of Tapi) to continuing schooling. “Let my sister’s dream of becoming a teacher come true!” says Kamalini wishing all the success to her younger sister. This time they have taken 35,000 rupees from a middleman to work in a brick kiln in the Cuttack district of Odisha.

Hundreds of thousands of families from drought prone western part of the state seasonally migrate to other states in search of work, through a well entrenched and exploitative middlemen system, characterised by hefty advance payment and tacit bondage of labour. Dearth of work in villages forces them out. Child labour is implicit in brick kiln industries where most of these families work. This is how Urban India, that demands more bricks for its real estate boom, thrives at the cost of poor children from rural areas. Laws to ban child labour in hazardous industries and to ensure primary education to children between 6-14 years have hardly produced the desired impact. Child labour continues unabated. 

A study by International Labour Organisation (ILO) conducted with Aide Et Action India (AEAI) in 2011-12 in Balangir, Nuapada and Kalahandi districts of Odisha, finds that as many as 11 percent of the total migrants are children in the age group of 6-14, whose education has been guaranteed by the Right to Education Law, 2009. Estimates from various sources put the number of migrant workers at around 2.5 to 3 hundred thousand from the western Odisha districts alone, about 85 percent of whom migrate to other states (Source: ILO study, 2011-12). So the number of children in this age group could well be between 25,000 to 30,000. Has the state done enough to protect their right to education?

Initiatives have been taken jointly by the government and the civil societies to work out two models for the education of migrant children. One is to open seasonal hostels in the villages to house the children of migrating families when their parents are away and the other is to run work-site schools in the host states and teach children in their native language. The latter entails a strong inter-state arrangement where Odia teachers and text books are to be sent to Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the states with the maximum influx of migrant Odia labourers. Although last year was a disaster for the state in opening such hostels, for the year 2012-13 it has allocated funds for retaining 5389 students. 

During my recent tour of the villages in Belpada block of Balangir district, I found some of the hostels doing reasonably well. But in many cases the hostels have simply not come though and several children have migrated from their villages. While in some cases they were opened quite late after several families had already migrated. Babejori village of Gudhighat panchayat under Muribahal block is a case in point. November to January is the peak season of migration. Hostels should have opened by the first week of November to retain children of migrant workers.

On the other hand, Andhra Pradesh, which has taken a giant leap in providing education to the migrant children, claims that it taught 6453 Odia migrant children in the year 2011-12. However due to a lack of proper coordination between the education departments of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh, the children could not get adequate Odia text books, although Odia teachers were made available. Sridhar Mether of Aide Et Action India, the NGO that partnered with the AP government in teaching migrant children says “We need to have different type of curriculum, which is more activity based, to keep the children involved.” 

The training of the migrant teachers and the quality of education remain a grey area. A willing Commissioner-cum-Secretary of Mass Education Department of Government of Odisha Ms Usha Padhee says “I understand that current inter-state arrangement to provide education to the Odia migrant children in other states is adhoc. We have made arrangements this time for timely delivery of text books in Andhra, Tamil Nadu and other states. They are our children. We are seriously pondering on having long term plans to ensure basic education of migrant children.”

Performance of the much hyped Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee scheme (MGNREGA) in these districts, aimed to check distress migration, can well be an example of how a well designed law can get off-track when it is implemented, if the politicians and bureaucrats lack the will. During the current financial year (April 2012 to January 2013), in Balangir district an average of 28 days of work has been provided to 61,500 families, which is one fourth of the total families having Job Cards in the district. In Nuapada district, 30 days of work has been provided to 27,600 families, which is one fourth of the total Job card holders. In financial terms, the families have got about 3600 rupees as wages under MGNREGA. The government expects to check the migration of these families by providing them with such paltry wages and that too with exorbitant delay in payment. 

On the other hand middlemen offer a sum of 35,000 rupees at a time to a single family before migration. Recently the state government has decided to provide 150 days of work under MGNREGA against the minimum limit of 100 days in these two districts. One wonders what difference it would make to the schemes performance. “Till the basic issues of providing employment in time of need and timely payment remain unaddressed, only increasing the number of days will not curb distressed migration” opines Rajkishor Mishra, the Odisha Advisor to Right to Food Commission of Supreme Court.

Brick kilns in the country are one of the biggest employers of child labour apart from cotton geneing, carpet industries, jari work, diamond polishing etc. Even though they are being educated, the children continue to work in the kilns at night. The labour department officials in AP remain tight-lipped on the issue of child labour in brick kilns. Umi Daniel, who has done pioneering work on the education of migrant children, says “One way to prevent child labour is to check the children at the source area. Strict enforcement of the anti-child labour laws in the worksites is a must to stop the menace.”

Friday, January 03, 2014

Focus: 'Brutalised Bonded Migrants Of Western Odisha'

By P Ambasta (Guest Writer)

The chopping off of the palms of two migrant workers is a wake-up call. The gruesome incident of the chopping off of the palms of two migrant labourers of Kalahandi district of western Odisha by the labour contractor mafia in December 2013 should serve as a wake-up call. The incident highlights the ruthless extent to which the mafia can go to meet its ends and brings home the fact that more than 60 years after Independence, the poorest in our country still remain woefully unprotected.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Concern: MGNREGS Fails To Stem Odisha Migrant Tide

By Srimoy Kar (Guest Writer)

Odisha scripted yet another dark chapter last month in its continual saga of poverty and exploitation when middlemen  chopped off the hands of two migrant bonded labourers in Kalahandi district in reprisal to their companions’ escape with advance money. The sheer gruesomeness of the crime aside, the incident has laid bare the hollowness of the Naveen Patnaik government’s claims of successful implementation of poverty-alleviation schemes for the poor.

Despite MGNREGS, the `1 a kg rice scheme and the much-vaunted Kalahandi-Bolangir-Koraput (KBK) Action Plans, the age-old malaise of distress migration still exists in Odisha.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Why Cyclone Phailin Failed?: Political Planets 'Wrong Acts'

By M H Ahssan / INN Live

After a long, long time it seems as if we have got our disaster management act right with Odisha’s Phailin cyclone. Loss of life was in the low 20s, thanks to the proactiveness with which the Naveen Patnaik administration moved people out of harm’s way and thanks also to the support of the centre in terms of logistics and rescue operations. 

Sunday, October 13, 2013

'World’s Most Vulnerable Coast Is Still The Least Prepared'

By M H Ahssan / INN Live

The 1999 super-cyclone killed more than 10,000 people in Odisha. So far, cyclone Phailin’s death toll is yet to reach double digits. While the wind speed turned out to be less severe than feared, the state evacuated nearly nine lakh people, in three days. Remarkable feat, yes, but this does not tell the entire story.

After it was caught hopelessly unprepared in 1999, the state set up the Odisha State Disaster Mitigation Authority (OSDMA) in 2000.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Exclusive: Veiling The 1,800 Cr Mining Scam In Odisha Govt.

By Sandeep Sahu / Bhubaneshwar

Just when the Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha thought it had weathered the storm over the organised, systematic and sustained loot of mineral resources (primarily iron ore) over a period of nine years from 2000 (when it came to power) comes news of yet another case of massive illegal mining worth at least Rs 1,800 crore.

The illegal mining in the Uliburu iron ore mines under the Joda mining division in the iron ore rich Keonjhar district of the state is different from other cases in one respect.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Is BJD Citadel In Coastal Odisha Fraying At The Edges?

By Manas Sahu | INNLIVE

ODISHA ELECTIONS The signs are ominous for Naveen Patnaik. As if the 75% polling in the first phase of elections on 10 April was not enough, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is now staring at another bumper polling in the second phase on Thursday. If anything, the turnout in the second round appears to be even bigger than the first. 

While giving out the figure of 70% on Thursday evening, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Mona Sharma was at pains to emphasise that it was based on reports that had come in with an hour or so still to go for voting and thus was subject to upward revision. 

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Odisha's Night Terror: 'How The Forces Shoot At Defenceless Villagers?'


Five people, including a child, were allegedly killed in firing by security forces in July. An inquiry is underway but villagers have no hope for justice.

On the overcast morning of July 26, Rahula Nayak, a subsistence farmer in his 20s, joined a few hundred villagers, mostly Kond Adivasis, making their way to Gumudumaha, a village in mourning, nestled in the Eastern Ghats in south-central Odisha’s Kandhamal district.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Special Report: The Dark Side Of Naveen Patnaik's Regime

By Partho Ghosh | Bhubaneshwar

Anyone who dares to dissent against the Naveen Patnaik government in Odisha faces the risk of being branded a naxal or seditionist. The list of those jailed on trumped charges includes legions of protesting tribals, public-spirited lawyers and human rights activists. In a month long investigation Gulail lays bare a systematic subversion of civil liberties and extra-judicial killings by a government that has till now been by and large successful in avoiding media scrutiny.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Swachch Bharat's Mothers, Babies In Peril: 343 Hospitals In 6 States Struggle With Hygiene, Toilets


Swachch Bharat Abhiyaan is acheived by Modi's government but the reality is quite different,  as many as 19% of the facilities did not have wash basins near toilets and patient-care areas.

Half the post-natal wards of primary healthcare centres lacked toilets, as did 60% of larger community health centres in Madhya Pradesh, which has a higher maternal mortality rate than war-torn Syria.Open defecation was allowed within 38% and open urination in 60% of health facilities (PHCs, CHCs, area and district hospitals) in Odisha’s Ganjam district, which has the same maternal mortality rate as the impoverished African country of Gabon.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Why Posco Will Need A Miracle In Odisha?

The environmental clearance for the mega steel project is still missing and yes, there’s no MoU. It is being labelled the last battle in a war that is already in its eighth year. 

On Sunday, February 3, the Odisha government initiated a last ditch effort to acquire land for the mega steel plant proposed to be set up near the port town of Paradip in Odisha by Korean steel major Posco after a lapse of nearly a year-and-a-half. In a pre-dawn operation, twelve platoons of policemen swooped down on Gobindpur village, the last frontier in the long-drawn battle, and began demolishing betel vines after using lathis to disperse a crowd of a few hundred people, mostly women.

In a move designed to send out a message that the Naveen Patnaik government means business this time, two more platoons joined the force and machines were pressed into service to expedite demolition of betel vines by the third day of the ongoing land acquisition drive. “If required, we will send more forces to the area,” said a top official, who also let it be known that the government is determined to acquire ‘as much land as possible’ for the project in the next one month.

For the record, nearly 60 acres of land – out of the minimum of 700 acres of additional land that Posco says it needs to start work on the project – had been ‘freed from encroachment’ by the third day of the operation. [The government had already acquired about 2, 000 acres by the time that land acquisition had to be abandoned following stiff resistance by the local people in August 2011.]

The ‘unseemly’ hurry on the part of the state government has been attributed to two factors. First, state government officials would have to apprise the Indo-Korean Business Partnership meet scheduled for February 15 of the progress in land acquisition.  Second, land acquisition is going to become extremely difficult once the new Land Acquisition Act, with its stringent provisions, comes into effect – possibly during the forthcoming budget session of Parliament.

Opposition parties and activists have expressed surprise at the Odisha government’s determination to go ahead with the land acquisition process for the mega steel plant despite the fact that Posco does not have an environmental clearance for the project.

The environmental clearance given by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) on January 31, 2011 was suspended by the National Green Tribunal (NGT) on March 30 last year. “In its order on the petition filed by us, the NGT had asked the MoEF to review the clearance given to Posco which the latter is yet to do. Thus, the company does not have an environmental clearance as of now,” points out social activist Prafulla Samantray, who was one of the petitioners against the clearance given to Posco.

“Forget environmental clearance. Posco does not even have a memorandum of understanding with the state government now. The one it had signed on July 22, 2005 lapsed on July 21, 2010 and no fresh MoU has been signed so far. So what is the basis on which the state is acquiring land for the project?” asks Ashok Sahu, vice president of the state unit of BJP, who led a party delegation to the trouble-torn Posco site on Tuesday to take stock of the situation there.

The absence of the MoU is important on two counts. First, the state government is believed to have serious reservations about the draft MoU submitted by Posco more than a year ago, especially about the clause providing for swapping of iron ore. Secondly, the state government has recently taken a policy decision not to give any ‘fresh’ assurance on raw material linkage to any industry, which would obviously apply to Posco as well.

With the state government’s decision to allocate the Khandadhar iron ore mines in Sundargarh district to Posco having been struck down by the Odisha High Court on grounds of ‘arbitrariness’, the Korean company does not have an assured supply of raw material for its steel plant, the capacity of which has been downscaled from 12 million ton per annum (MTPA) to 8 MTPA now.

To make matters worse, the sustained agitation by the Mahanadi Banchao Andolan (MBA) has put into serious question the government move to supply water to the project from River Mahanadi, the lifeline of the state.

Posco’s SEZ clearance too has run into rough weather with the Falta SEZ, the agency that gives the clearance, asking the state government to give a ‘timeline’ for the completion of the land acquisition process before the Korean company’s application for extension of its SEZ clearance can be taken up – something that the state government is no position to do given the uncertain situation on the ground.

Against this background, it is really surprising that the state government has gone out of its way to acquire land for a company that does not have an environmental clearance, SEZ clearance or even a MoU.

But Posco-watchers believe the latest government drive is nothing but tokenism aimed at showing the Centre (and the Korean government) that it is doing its best to get the long-delayed project going.

The reported assurance given by the Jagatsinghpur district administration to the people of Gobindpur on Wednesday that police force would be withdrawn from the place lends credence to this prognosis.

With Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik having already sounded the poll bugle, it would be foolish on the part of the BJD government to use force beyond a point. Hence, it has adopted a policy of ‘thus far and no farther’.

“There is no way work on the Posco project can begin – if it begins at all – in right earnest before the next Assembly elections due in 2014,” says a political observer.

Tokenism is what the CPI has also been accused of in the latest round.

There is none of the virulence and even violence seen in the earlier rounds in the current ‘showdown’ between anti-Posco activists led by Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), a CPI-backed outfit, and the district administration. PPSS leader Abhay Sahu and CPI MP from Jagatsinghpur Bibhuprasad Tarai sat on a dharna in Gobindpur village for sometime on Sunday, the first day of the latest land acquisition drive, even as demolition of betel vines went unhindered in police presence outside the village.

The softening of the CPI’ position is being attributed to the party’s keenness to have an alliance with the ruling party ahead of the next elections. There is talk of a ‘deal’ having been signed between the two sides during the national executive meet of the party in December last year.

While the gradual fizzling out of the movement against the project certainly augurs well for Posco, the company cannot be unaware of the heavy odds stacked up against it. In the event, it would be nothing short of a miracle if the plant is set up in the foreseeable future.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

India Fully Geared Up To Meet 'Super Cyclonic' Disaster

By M H Ahssan / INN Live 

The severe cyclonic storm ‘Phailin‘ over the Bay of Bengal has gained strength and intensified further as it moved towards Odisha and Andhra Pradesh coast, officials said. The storm over east central Bay of Bengal lay centered about 590 km south-southeast of Paradip in Jagatsinghpur district and 600 km southeast of Gopalpur in Ganjam district, SC Sahu, director of Bhubaneswar meteorological centre told INN Live. 

It would move northwestwards and cross north Andhra Pradesh and Odisha coast between Kalingapatnam and Paradip, close to Gopalpur (Odisha) by Saturday evening as a very severe cyclonic storm with a maximum sustained wind speed of 205-215 kmph, he said. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Is PM "Competent Authority" Listed In Coal-Gate FIR?

By Kajol Singh / INN Live

The opposition has been arguing that the Prime Minister cannot dodge responsibility over alleged corruption in the allocation of coal fields to private firms;  the latest case registered by the CBI in "Coal-Gate" makes it harder for the government to argue that point.

The CBI says that the Prime Minister's Office has not been cleared yet in the probe of how underpriced coal licenses were given away without a transparent bidding process.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Exclusive: Race To Rashtrapathi Bhavan

2019 Calculations May Decide BJP’s Choices For President, Vice President. The unexpected is widely expected. The Modi government likes to surprise, keeping its cards close to its chest until it has to play them. We will know the name of the BJP's nominee for the post of President of India on 23 June and it may be none of the names in speculation until 22 June.