Orissa Round up 2008

The year 2008 will go down as one of most eventful years in Orissa for numerous events. Here are some of the major events.

A Cauldron called Kandhamal

The killing of senior VHP leader Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and four others at Jaleshpata Ashram on August 23 night by unknown assailants and the aftermath of which led to killing of thirty seven people, most of whom were Christians, burning of 3000 houses and damage of 115 churches was an unprecedented event in the history of independent India.

The Kandhamal violence has completely tarnished the secular credential of modern Orissa and raised several questions,

  • Who is responsible for the communalism?
  • Were government machineries properly used to control the situation?
  • Why do conversions take place in the tribal belts of Orissa?
  • Does Orissa need an anti-conversation law?
  • Is Orissa government pro-Hindu in nature?
  • Why are Naxals active in tribal-dominant districts like Kandhamal, Gajpati and KBK?

Naxal mayhem continues to haunt

Naxal menace continues to give sleepless nights to the government and people of Orissa. They have spread their tentacles nearly half of the state. They spared nobody. They killed security personnel, political leaders and civilians. Some of the major Maoists attacks of the year include:

1. Nayagarh Attack

Nearly 200 Maoists attacked the police stations in Nayagarh, Dashpalla and Nuagaon and killed nearly 13 policemen and one civilian.

In the combating operation in Gasma forest, another three security personnel lost their lives, while 20 Maoists were gunned down.

2. Attack on Greyhound Force

In yet another gruesome attack, the Maoists drowned the boat carrying Greyhound jawans from Andhra Pradesh and Orissa Police. The incident took place in Balimela reservoir in Malkangiri district, in which 38 security personnel died.

3. Malkanagiri Attack

Continuing to build up pressure on Orissa Police, the Maoists killed at least 24 cops including two inspectors by blowing up the anti-landmine van in which they were traveling MV-126 in Malkangiri.

4. Congress leader killed

50-year old Gayadala Prakash Rao, a Congress sarpanch was killed by Maoists in Parlakhemundi district.

Only Politics

  • In his ‘Discovery of India’ tour, the Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi made two visits to Orissa this year. He traveled Nuapada, Koraput, Bolangir, Kalahandi, Ganjam, Cuttack, Jaipur, Khurda, Angul and met the Aam Admis and met tribals. His second visit was more interesting. He preferred to meet lower caste people, that too in the high profile cities like Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. He did not allow other people, even Congress leaders to gather around him. It hurt local leaders. In any case, Rahul won the minds and hearts of the common people through his pleasant words and low tempers. Shall it revive the Congress, which is steadily losing its grip in Orissa?

  • With both assembly and general elections round the corner, Naveen babu is leaving no stone unturned in his efforts to woo the poor, who constitute nearly fifty percent of the state population. His government made rice kilo Rs. 2 to all the BPL families in the state and both BPL and APL families in the KBK districts. As per the scheme, they are entitled to get 25kg rice every month. What an idea!

  • Orissa is not free from Reservation politics. The state assembly passed the Orissa Reservation of Posts and Services Bill, 2008, which makes reservation of 27 percent jobs for the backward classes in all civil posts. If the Bill becomes law, then nearly 66 percent of government jobs will be reserved for backward class and the general category candidates will have only 34 percent posts to compete for.

Controversy

  • Orissa politics was mired by some serious controversies this year. To begin with the infamous Assembly sex racket in which the then speaker Maheswar Mohanty was at loggerhead with Gayatri Panda, the first and only assistant woman marshal in the state assembly. The gravity of the situation led resignations of speaker and Information and Public Relations minister Debasis Nayak. The assembly went for sine die. It was the first of its kind, but a derogatory one.

  • In another sex scandal, senior BJP leader and state revenue minister Manmohan Samal resigned from his post in the light of mounting pressure both from the opposition and his party colleagues.

  • BJP MP Harihar Swain’s expulsion from the party was yet another political debate in the state. Swain defied the party whip and supported the UPA government during the trust vote in the Lok Sabha.

  • The World Bank report, which figured the former Health Minister Bijayshree Routray for allegedly taking a bribe of Rs. 5 lakh during the implementation of Orissa Health System Development Project in 2005 is a matter of deep concern considering the transparency in the governance.

Agitation and Protest

  • The lawyers in several districts of Orissa went on long protest demanding permanent circuit benches of Orissa High Court in their cities. The lawyers from South and West Orissa boycotted courts to get their resolution passed by the State Assembly. The protests disrupted court proceedings for several months in different districts this year.

  • The Rs.52, 000 crore POSCO project has been under furious attack from human rights activists, environmentalists, tribals and opposition parties, the day it signed the MOU with Orissa government. No headway in POSCO project this year too! The protest is still on.

They made us proud

Guru Gangadhar Pradhan and Dr. Srinivas Udgata

Oriya dance Guru Gangadhar Pradhan and noted educationist Dr. Srinivas Udgata are among the 71 recipients of country’s most prestigious civilian award- the Padma Shri.

Sudarsan Patnaik

Sudarsan Patnaik hardly needs any introduction. The iconic sand artist brought international recognition to the state again after claming the first prize at the United States Sand Festivals (USF) World Double Championship in Berlin. He made a 25 feet height sand sculpture depicting impact of global warming.

Padmini Rout

The Standard-X student from DAV School, Bhubaneswar becomes the first Oriya to win the under-14 World Youth Championship held in Vietnam this year. She is now the Chess prodigy of India.

Kalpana Das

Nothing is impossible to a willing heart. Who can better prove it than Kalpana Das? The 38-year-old mountaineer, who failed twice to reach the world’s highest peak finally conquered when she scaled 8,848 peak of the Mount Everest.

Pragyan Ojha

After a long wait, we saw an Oriya face in the national cricket squad. The promising left-arm spinner, who hails from Khurda is now source of inspiration to thousands of young cricketers of the state.

Beyond Politics

Former Orissa Chief Minister Janaki Ballabh Patnaik has been appointed as the new Chancellor of the Rashtriya Sanskrit University, Tirupati. He was appointed by the Union HRD Ministry’s Department of Higher Education.

Apathy

The Economy Survey report for 2007-08, tabled in the Parliament this year says nearly 40 percent of the state’s population is in BPL list, which is highest in India. The per capita income of the state is Rs. 5,747 against the national average of Rs 11,013. The average monthly per capita consumer expenditure is Rs 399 in rural areas and Rs 757 in urban areas, compared with Rs 558 and Rs 1,052 at the national level, respectively.

Development

Here are some developmental stories of 2008.

Mission accomplished: Orissa finally gets IIT

The Central Government agreed to set up an IIT and Central University in Orissa. The demand for an IIT in Orissa was as dominant as in other parts of the country. It took almost a decade of constant efforts from all quarters in the state to move the Central Government for the prestigious institute. Finally done. Better late than never!

2500 year old City discovered in Orissa

Archaeologists unearthed a 2,500 year old city at Sisupalgarh in Orissa. According to ASI (Archeological Survey of India) sources, the city is older and bigger than Athens in Greece. They also believe that it had a population of more than 25,000. Although Sisupalgarh was discovered in 1948, the actual excavation began only three years ago.

Ban on recycled polythene

The Orissa High Court banned on manufacture, import, storage, sale and use of recycled polythene in the State.

Ban on Gutka, Alcohol in Secretariat

The Orissa government banned the consumption of Gutka and Alcohol inside the State Secretariat premises.

Ban on use of mobile phones in colleges

The Orissa government banned the use of mobile phones in colleges in the state. The ban is applicable for both government and private colleges.

Orissa gets country’s first Geo-Spatial Data System

To combat frequent floods, cyclones and other natural disasters like heatwave, the Orissa government launched a geo-spatial data system, which is the first of its kind in India.

Empowering people

The State Information Commission (SIC) has decided to translate the basic aspect of the Right to Information Act in eight major tribal languages such as Ho, Munda, Sanathali, Kui, Kubhi and Desia.

Pension scheme for HIV+ Persons

A pension scheme for the HIV + persons has been introduced in the state, under which a pension worth Rs. 200 will be given per month to the HIV+ persons for life. The pension scheme is covered under ‘Madhu Babu Pension Yojana’.

A lesson to learn

Ganjam district ranked second in India in implementation of the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS). This inspired officials and local representatives from Chhattisgarh to learn secret of perfect administration.

Boost to tourism

The Union ministry of tourism included Puri, Bhubaneswar, Konark and Chilika among the top 20 tourist destinations of the country.

Other important developments

  • Former finance minister and a founder member of the ruling Biju Janata Dal Panchanan Kanungo resigned from the party alleging that it had failed on all fronts and led the state to the ignominy of becoming the poorest state of the country.

  • Marathon wonder kid Budhia Singh’s former coach Biranchi Das was shot dead.

  • Orissa regularized nearly 52,000 Siksha Sahayaks and retain the EGS voluntary teachers as ‘”Gana Sikhyak” with enhanced pay scale. All Siksha Sahayaks who have completed six years of service, made primary school teachers. They are now working under the Zilla Parishad. Siksha Sahayaks, who have completed at least three years of service, are paid consolidated amount of Rs 3,500 per month. Others would get between Rs 2,000 and Rs 3,000 per month.

  • Justice Balbir Singh Chauhan sworn in as the new Chief Justice of Orissa High Court. He is the 22nd Chief Justice of Orissa High Court.

  • At least 6 people died and 12 injured in a stampede near Devi Subhadra’s chariot during the world famous Rath Yatra of Lord Jagnath in Puri.

  • Nearly 300 people died in flood this year.

  • Retd. High Court judge, Justice PK Patra has been appointed as the new Lok Pal of Orissa.

  • The Orissa Government approved 30 – 60% pay hike for the government employees in the state as per the recommendations of the Sixth Pay Commission. The pay hike range will be applicable to all employees according to their grades.

Troubled Neighbours

  • The Andhra Pradesh government has put aside the 1962 inter-state water pact and went ahead to construct the Mahendra Tanaya offshore reservoir at Regulapadu village in Palasa madal of Srikakulam district.

    Mahendra Tanaya is the lifeline of Gajapati district in the state of Orissa. It has its origin from the Mahendragiri range in Gajapati District. 80 percent of the river flows in Orissa before turning south towards Gosani and finally flowing into the Bay of Bengal near Baruva in Srikakulam district.The project is likely to cause serious water crisis in Gajpati district. Nearly 800 families living in around 30 villages under Raigarh and Gosani blocks of Gajapati district depend upon the river, while 1,100 acres of agricultural land would be submerged by the project.

    In a tit-for-tat approach Orissa government laid the foundation stone for Mahendratanaya river project, 30 km from Paralakhemundi. This has virtually triggered the already tensed water war between the two neighbouring states, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh.

    The Mahendra Tanaya dispute is a serious dispute considering the fact that the two governments are backed two strong political rivals at the Centre, NDA and Congress. As the two states will gear up for the assembly elections next year, the water dispute is very likely to reach its climax.

  • JMM’s demand for a Greater Jharkhand with the inclusion of 3 districts each from Orissa and West Bengal met with widespread protests across the state. The three districts are Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar and Sundargarh.

    Orissa continues to remain favored state for investment in 2008

Orissa is the most favored state for investment in India due to large mining resources, port facilities, developing infrastructures, diverse culture and stable political history. The state has attracted bigwigs for investment this year. Some of the major MOUs and proposals of 2008 are as follow:

  1. Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL) would invest $1.139 billion in Orissa to develop gas fields.

  2. The Orissa government signed three MoUs for setting up three new steel plants with Pradhan Steel and Power Private Limited, Atha Mines Private Limited and Tecton Ispat Private Limited with total investment of Rs 2,00,000 crore.. They would produce one million tonne of steel per annum.

  3. Isagro Asia Agro Chemical Private Limited, a fully owned subsidiary of Isagro SpA of Italy and market leader in pesticide and insecticide products has targeted a total business volume of Rs 4 crore in Orissa during the next year.

  4. The Kolkata-based Shyam Group is planning to set up an integrated minor port in Baliharchandi, which is south of Puri and north of Chilika Lake. In the first phase, the project will entail an investment of between Rs. 1,800 crore and Rs. 2,000 crore and a capacity of 12 million tonnes annually. The ultimate capacity will be between 30 million tonnes and 40 million tonnes and the implementation may have to be done in three phases.

  5. Sahara Group has given a Rs 5,000-crore proposal to the Orissa government for setting up a 1,200 MW thermal power plant in Dhenkanal district.

  6. Aditya Birla Group plans to invest about Rs 75,000 – 80,000 crore in Orissa focusing the sectors like aluminium,cement, telecom and retail.

  7. Jindal Stainless Ltd (JSL), the country’s largest stainless steel manufacturer, in the next three to four years will be investing around Rs 9,600 crore in its Orissa project.

  8. The state government signed an MoU with Ruchi Group for establishing a three MTPA steel plant and a soya processing facility. Investments will be to the tune of Rs 8,609 crore.

  9. The state government signed an MoU with the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation (Nafed) for establishing market linkages of several agricultural commodities.

  10. The Arcelor Mittal signed an MoU with the state government for establishing a 12 MT steel plant at Patna in Keonjhar district.

Other Business Developments

  • NALCO got ‘Navaratna’ status this year. The PSU has its production units in Anugul and Damanjodi in Orissa.

  • Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) has bagged the much coveted CII-EXIM Bank Award for Business Excellence instituted by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and Export Import (EXIM) Bank of India.

  • The World Bank approved a US$362 million assistance package to Orissa to improve the state’s road network and its agricultural tank systems.

  • Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) received the Think Odisha Leadership Award in private sector for its corporate social responsibility from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

  • Prof. Sudhakar Panda, head of Economics department of Utkal University has been appointed as the chairman of the 3rd State Finance Commission.

  • Airtel brought the much-hyped iPhone 3Gin in Orissa.

  • The state government cut the stamp duty on registration of land. Those purchasing land will now pay 5 per cent as stamp duty.Earlier, people were paying 8 per cent as stamp duty during registration of land in rural areas and 11 per cent in urban areas.

  • KIIT School of Technology is ranked 18th among top 100 private technical colleges in the country, according to a Survey conducted by Outlook magazine.

Sports

  • Young woman rower Mamata Jena received the coveted 15th Ekalabya Award for the year 2007.

  • Former national cricketer and spinner Venkatapathy Raju has been appointed as the chief coach of Orissa Ranji Team.

  • Orissa Cricket Association (OCA) hosted this year’s Challengers cup and India-England one-day match at Cuttack’s Barabati stadium

Art and Entertainment

  • Noted Oriya actor Hara Patnaik’s deteriorating health condition was a matter of deep concern all over the state. The veteran actor batted with blood cancer at the Christian Medical College and Hospital in Vellore for several months. The cancer was at once threatened the life of Hara Patnaik.

  • Christened Radio Orange 99.9, the first campus radio went on air this year. The campus radio has been developed by Bhubaneswar-based SAI International School.

  • The Oriya news service of All India Radio, Cuttack has completed 50 years of its news service in Oriya.

  • Akashvani Jeypore has bagged the second prize at the national-level Akashvani Annual Awards ceremony for 2007 in the category of innovative programmes.

Thanks to Bhagban Bhai for the info and article

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6 Responses to “Orissa Round up 2008”

  1. akhaypadhi Says:

    bjd my fabrait

  2. Ananta Kumar Jena Says:

    Hallo . . Publisher . .
    Very good designed . .

    Pls check the text allignment .. which is not visible clearly in left side . .

    Thanx….

    A K Jena.

  3. rajesh das Says:

    Good to see a well compiled news about ODISHA.Great going.

  4. fanibhusan Says:

    i want to read blog on eminent personalities of orissa.

  5. Balakrushna Patra Says:

    i wants to know about the famous personalities from the year 1800 to 1965

  6. Ruthanne Kier Says:

    Where can I find cool enough theme for WordPress? There are very cool themes, but sometimes complicated in settings. I tried last versions of MASUGID, Businezz, Red Steel, Traction, also I tried also ProSense – simple, but made for AdSense. Rarely I can see something normal but good in settings.

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