Odisha in the 2013-14 Indian Railways Budget.

[For Pinkbook extracts see here.]

The budget speech is at http://www.indianrailways.gov.in/railwayboard/uploads/directorate/finance_budget/Budget_2013-14/English_Speech_2013-14.pdf .

 Following are Odisha specific excerpts from the budget speech.

 Rail-Based Industries

42. To meet the increasing demand, reduce dependence on imports and to generate employment opportunities, following new manufacturing/maintenance facilities are proposed to be set up:-

 vii. a new wagon maintenance workshop in Kalahandi district, Odisha; 

 43. As regards setting up of new coach factories at Palakkad and Kolar, and a wagon factory in Ganjam district of Odisha, we are in consultation with respective state governments. I am hopeful of early commencement of work. 

 Skill Development

50. With a view to contributing to the national skill development programme of the Government, Ministry of Railways would impart skills to the youth in railway related trades in 25 locations spread across the length and breadth of the country. These locations are: Agartala, Alwar, Ankleshwar, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Dimapur, Imphal, Jagdalpur, Jais, Katihar, Kazipet, Kollam, Koraput, Lumding, Mangalore, Murshidabad, Nagpur, Naharlagun, Pathankot, Ranchi, Ratlam, Shimla, Sirsa, Srinagar and Tiruchchirappalli. 

 Infrastructure Expansion

79. In 2010-11 and 2011-12, Railways completed 709 km and 727 km respectively of new lines. However, during 2012-13, emphasis was laid on capacity enhancement works like doubling, traffic facilities etc. The target of 700 km of new lines in the current year had to be scaled down to 470 km due to inadequate resources. The sections which have either been completed or are planned to be completed during 2012-13 are listed at Annexure 1.

 New Lines to be completed in 2012-13    

 23  Khurda Road-Khurda Town

 24  Lanjigarh Rd.-Junagarh (balance portion) 

81. I am happy to report that that the target of 700 km of doubling will be marginally exceeded during 2012-13. Sections which have either been completed or are scheduled for completion during 2012-13 are listed at Annexure 3.

Doubling projects to be completed in 2012-13    

21  Garhmadopur-Jenapur    

28  Jenapur-Jakhapura

29  Jharsuguda-Rengali (part) 

 Targets for 2013-14

 85. A target to complete 500 km of new lines has been set for 2013-14.

A list of sections proposed to be completed during the year is given in Annexure 5.

 New Line projects to be completed in 2013-14    

 20. Khurda Town-Sunakhela    

87. The target for Doubling has been increased to 750 km for 2013-14. The sections proposed to be completed in 2013-14 are given in Annexure 7. 

 Sections proposed to be doubled in 2013-14    

 3    Angul-Kerjang

11  Bhubneshwar-Barang

12  Bimalgarh-Patasahi 

14 Brindamal-Lapang 

21 Chilkidra-Harichandanpur

23  Cuttak-Barang

24  Delang-Sakhigopal 

27  Goaldhi-Keonjhar  

44  Naraj-Barang     

 New Projects

 90. I propose to take up following new projects in 2013-14: 

 Electrification   

 5. Singapur Road-Damanjodi    

91. I have been receiving representations from Hon’ble Members, State Governments and other public representatives in large numbers for construction of new lines, gauge conversion, doubling, and electrification and also for surveys. I have been pondering over them for the last one month. They are all genuine and reflect the growing need and demand of the most preferred mode of transport of the people in the country. I would sincerely wish to take up all those projects but am severely constrained for the reasons submitted earlier. Given this conspectus, despite the resource crunch, I propose to take up 22 projects of new lines and one gauge conversion project on socio-economic consideration and one doubling project after obtaining necessary approvals/clearances. These are:

 New Lines 

 19. Raipur-Jharsuguda    

 Surveys

93. I propose to undertake following surveys during 2013-14: 

 New Lines    

11. Bangriposi-Gorumahishani (Updating)  

23. Jashipur – Jajpur Road    

36. Nirakarpur and Tapanga new bye-pass line  

49. Sikarapai-Jagsalpatri-Junagarh    

56. Titlagarh- Junagarh      

New Train Services

95. A detailed exercise has been carried out to assess availability of
track capacity, terminal facilities and maintenance infrastructure. Within
the available resources, it has been possible to provide the following
new train services:

Express trains 

10. Bhubaneswar – Hazrat Nizamuddin Express (Weekly) Via Sambalpur

26. Howrah – Chennai AC Express (Bi-weekly) Via Bhadrak, Duvvada, Gudur

38. Kamakhya (Guwahati) – Bangalore AC Express (Weekly )

58. Puri – Sai Nagar Shirdi Express (Weekly) Via Sambalpur, Titlagarh, Raipur, Nagpur, Bhusawal 

59. Puri –Ajmer Express (Weekly) Via Abu-Road

63. Tirupati – Bhubaneswar Express (Weekly) Via Visakhapatnam 

65. Visakhapatnam – Jodhpur Express (Weekly) Via Titlagarh, Raipur

 Extension of Trains 

 5. 18437/18438 Bhubaneswar – Bhawanipatna Express to Junagarh 

16. 12507/12508 Guwahati-Ernakulam Express to Thiruvananthapuram 

17. 17005/17006 Hyderabad-Darbhanga Express to Raxaul after gauge conversion

25. 12145/12146 Lokmanya Tilak (T)-Bhubaneswar Express to Puri 

33. 18419/18420 Puri-Darbhanga Express to Jaynagar

 Increase in frequency

18. 18309/18310 Sambalpur-Hazoor Saheb Nanded Express 2 to 3 day

Update: New announcements in the Loka Sabha during budget discussion

Some mentions relevant to Odisha are:

New Trains:

2. Hatia (Ranchi) – Yesvantpur Express (Weekly)

7. Tata-Visakhapatnam Express (Weekly)

Frequency increases:

5. Puri –Ajmer Express (Weekly) Via Abu-Road announced in Railway Budget 2013-14 will now be a bi-weekly train.

February 26th, 2013 | Chitta Baral | 2 Comments »

With one of its best officers at the helm several hospital and medical college projects are making progress

Update: SAIL RSP has now agreed to consider upgrading IGH (Ispat general Hospital) to a medical college. All that was needed was the CM asking for it. The Odia papers suggest that he already agreed. If this works out then the 4 public sectors MCL, NTPC, NALCO and SAIL will each be making medical colleges at Talcher, Sundergarh, Koraput and Rourkela respectively.

If the IGH upgradation happens it will be the second medical college in Rourkela. (Note that HiTech medical college is now operational in Rourkela and has taken the first batch of MBBS students.) When the NTPC medical college is made in Sundergarh, the medical college count in that district will then go to 3.

Next Odisha government must push the other companies that heavily use Odisha minerals to contribute at the similar level. The TATAs who have mining in Odisha for more than 100 years should be told to establish medical colleges in Joda-Barbil and Sukinda-Kalinganagar and do much more.


Following are some of the projects that are in progress as collected from various media reports.

  • NALCO has agreed to build a medical college at Koraput. A few days back (I think sometime in June 2012) the state government decided to ask NALCO for this and this was in the media around July 3rd. The NALCO officials met the concerned government officials on July 5th and NALCO immediately agreed to this proposal. In the past the public sectors MCL and NTPC had agreed to establish medical colleges in Talcher and Sundergarh respectively. Odisha now must push SAIL for a medical college in Rourkela.
  • As per this Times of India report: "New Delhi-based OSL Group’s Centre for Joint Disorders will established a 150-seat medical college, 750-bed super-speciality hospital, a dental college and a nursing college in Bhubaneswar. The group has promised to start work within two months…"
  • As per this Times of India report: "The upcoming Sardar Rajas medical college and hospital at Jaring in Kalahandi district, being established by Selvam Education and Charitable Trust of Tamil Nadu, will start admitting students from the next academic year …"
  • As per this Times of India report: "The sDFID of UK has been preparing a report to facilitate a medical college in Balangir. "
  • As per this Times of India report: "land transfer work for the proposed medical college by Sahyog Foundation in Keonjhar will be fast-tracked"
  • As per this Times of India report: "the government would soon examine the proposals of Basantidevi Charitable Trust and Bidyabharti Charitable Trust as well to open a medical college in Rayagada."
  • As per this Times of India report: "The government has also agreed in principle to a proposal from Shankar Netralaya of Chennai to start a 200-bed eye hospital in Berhampur."
  • As per this Times of India report: "The government on Tuesday asked Bangalore-based Narayana Hrudayalaya, which has taken land from the state government to establish a super-speciality hospital in Bhubaneswar, or start work or return the land. The group assured to start work by September.
  • As per this article in Business Standard: " Odisha government today asked the Centre to set up a National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro-Science (NIMHANS) besides expediting establishment of a para-medical training institute in the state."
  • As per this article in Telegraph: "The Acharya Harihar Cancer Institute at Cuttack will be upgraded and seats along with number of employees will be enhanced, said Union Health Secretary Prasanna Kumar Pradhan while attending a review meeting here on Sunday. It will be an apex institute in the country, Pradhan added. In the review meeting, Pradhan said Rs 200 crore would be sanctioned during the 12th Five-Year Plan to upgrade this premier cancer treatment institute of the State. Now the institute has 320 beds which will be increased to 600, he added."
  • As per this article in Times of India: "the minister also asked the Union health secretary to expedite process for establishment of the proposed Regional Institute of Paramedical Sciences (RIPS). The state government has already given around 25 acre land for the paramedical institute near the AIIMS."
  • As per this article in Times of India: "The state government sought financial assistance for infrastructure development of the three medical colleges to increase the MBBS seat strength from the current 150 to 250 each."
  • As per this article in Times of India: "The government also submitted a proposal to create super-speciality disciplines in VSS Medical College and Hospital, Burla and MKCG Medical College and Hospital, Berhampur. The government has sought central assistance of Rs 150 crore each for superspeciality faculty in the two hospitals."
  • As per this article in Times of India: "Acharya requested the Union health secretary to upgrade the geriatric ward of SCB Medical College and Hospital into a Regional Geriatric centre. Designating a regional centre will attract better central funding, Acharya said. "

A good news and a bad news:

  • Good News: Hi-Tech medical college in Rourkela has got approval to admit 100 students fro this academic year. This will be the 4th private medical college (and the first outside of Bhubaneswar) in operation in Odisha.
  • Bad News: KIMS Bhubaneswar has been debarred to admit students for two year.
July 11th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 6 Comments »

Jairam Ramesh began the process of taking down the Indian economy and turned Ministry of Environment into a secret instrument for a new licence raj: Tavleen Singh

Following is an excerpt from an article by Tavleen Singh in Indian Express.

So a junior minister, Jairam Ramesh, was allowed to begin the process of taking the Indian economy down by stopping huge infrastructure projects after investments worth thousands of crore rupees had already been made. Why did the Prime Minister not stop the Ministry of Environment from being turned into a secret instrument for a new licence raj?

Unfortunately, Odisha bore the biggest burnt of Jairam Ramesh’s folly when he stopped Vedanta University.

June 3rd, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 4 Comments »

With Congress and BJP down and out in Odisha splitting of BJD to two strong regional parties could be good for Odisha

The Congress party in India is a party where the Gandhi family (especially, Sonia and Rahul) have too much power without much responsibility and that has been the major reason the UPA 2 government has floundered in many ways. Commenting on one such aspect, the indecisiveness of UPA2, Shekhar Gupta wrote: "The inherently indecisive style of this establishment is compounded by the fact that its administrative and political authority is so scattered — so scattered, in fact, that the buck has to make a dozen halts en route, like a DTC bus, before it finally stops with somebody." 

Alternatively, the BJP refuses to atone and clean up its tainted image and is yet to apologize for the Gujarat events in 2002 (unlike Congress which has apologized for the 1984 Sikh massacre in Delhi) and continues to stand behind Narendra Modi.

Fortunately, people in Odisha don’t like either and both Congress and BJP are down and out in Odisha.

As a result BJD and Naveen Patnaik have been governing Odisha for the last 12 years and in some sense going stronger. However, there have been many major shortcomings.

  • BJD has been in the opposition in the central government for the last 8 years and Odisha has had very little  representation in the central government.
  • Without a strong and credible opposition the Odisha government has been complacent in many spheres. They have done better than the previous governments but there has been a lot of missed opportunities.
  • The current government really has only one minister with influence, which is the CM.  The other ministers seem to be only for show and have no real decision making power.

The first two shortcomings can be addressed if BJD splits to two "strong" regional parties that can relegate the national parties of Congress and BJP to 3rd and 4th position in the state.

That way at any time one of the regional parties can team up with the coalition that runs the government at the center and make the case for Odisha from within the central govt. This would be better than what happened in the last 8 years where there has been zero (initial days of UPA 1) or only one minister in the central government from Odisha, and ZERO representation from Odisha in the central cabinet.

Tamil Nadu with DMK and AIDMK as the leading regional parties is a good example of regional parties having strong influence in the center. One or the other has been an ally of the center for a long time.

UP with SP and BSP as number 1 and 2 is somewhat similar though neither are part of the central government. But they extend support to the central government. Because of that SP now has strong influence on the government. Moreover, Ajit Singh from another small party is in the cabinet as the minister for Civil Aviation.

If one considers the CPI(M) in West Bengal to be a regional party (which it almost is) then West Bengal with TMC and CPI(M) relegate Congress and BJP out of the top 2. They have benefited by this approach as CPIM from West Bengal had a huge say in UPA1 (until the end) and TMC has 5-6 ministers in the current central government.

In Maharashtra the regional parties of NCP and Shiv Sena partner with Congress and BJP and thus lookout for Maharashtra’s interest.

The third shortcoming can also be addressed by the split in that the parties resulting from the split will provide opportunity for new emerging leaders and intellectuals to be part of these parties and force the BJD-Naveen to decentralize power.

In conclusion, it may be good for Odisha if BJD splits to two "strong" regional parties that can relegate the national parties of Congress and BJP to 3rd and 4th position in the state.

May 30th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 6 Comments »

Several sites in the Bhubaneswar-Puri heritage corridor to be developed; I did not know some of them

Following are excerpts from an excellent article by Bibhuti Barik in Telegraph.

The proposed corridor will include nine places linked to Jagannath Dham and the rich tradition of Odia art, craft, architecture and rural lifestyle.

… “We want to touch a part of Odisha’s essence through this heritage corridor. It will start from places in the neighbourhood of the capital, such as Sisupalgarh, Gangotri Nagar, Dhauli, Pipili, Danda Mukundapur, Dasia Bauri Peetha, Sakhigopal, Danda Sahi and Raghurajpur. While the first two places can be tagged together as they are near the outskirts of Bhubaneswar, Danda Mukundapur, Dasia Bauri Peetha, Sakhigopal and Danda Sahi need special emphasis so that the travellers can get to know about them and their historical links,” said a senior official of the state tourism and culture department.

The department’s principal secretary Ashok Tripathy said: “… we are going to put an extra emphasis on the rural sector. The heritage corridor will be the first effort towards the initiative. We are going to give the travellers a feel of not only the rural Odisha, but also the essence of our cultural traditions attached to it, in the form of crafts, dance forms, saga of Lord Jagannath and the folklores linked to the holy city and its temples.”

While Sisupalgarh is one of the unique fort settlements in the world and dates back to the Mauryan-era, Gangotri Nagar is fast becoming a small but beautiful settlement of national award winning artists in patta chitra and stone carving.

But after visiting the two places, one can move up to Dhauli where apart from the famous peace pagoda a sculpture garden is already in the pipeline.

While Pipili represents a nice cooperation between Muslims and Hindus with its appliqué work, the state culture and tourism department is also planning a project to attract tourists near the diversion of NH-203 which is under renovation.

… Danda Mukundapur is famous for poet Bhakta Salbeg, a Muslim follower in love with Lord Jagannath. There is a place where Bhakta Dasia, a devotee of Lord Jagannath from the weaver community was born and proved that through love and devotion one can conquer the Lord. It is said that the image of the Trinity once appeared in a sacred pond near Dasia’s house when some priests came calling to realise Dasia’s tale. The lush green surroundings, including the paddy fields, coconut and banana plantations recreate another Kerala inside Odisha.

Sakhigopal also has the sacred Sakhigopinath temple which, according to legend, is a shrine describing the Lord’s love for his follower. Sakhigopal is the major work place of the famous five friends or Panchasakha — Gopabandhu, Acharya Harihara, Nilakantha, Krupasindhu and Godabarish.

The last two places — Danda Sahi and Raghurajpur — are famous for patta chitra. However, while the latter became famous with proper patronage and promotion, Danda Sahi is yet to get prominence that it deserves. Raghurajpur has already become a model village with traditional studios of the artists, Gotipua dance recitals, cultural exchanges between the foreign tourists or artists and local talents.

April 29th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | No Comments

Vote for Rajasmita to win the Dance India Danace 3 competition; voting open until April 21st 2012 (saturday) 7 PM. [Update: She wins it.]

She has been consistently good taking on tougher and tougher challenges every week. Pointers to all her performances are at http://www.orissalinks.com/orissagrowth/archives/5646. Please watch and judge for yourselves.

Update: Her performance in the finale starts from 5 minutes http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xqa82w_dance-india-dance-3-21st-april-2012-part-5_shortfilms.

April 15th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 3 Comments »

Rajasmita Kar of Rourkela on the verge of making to the finals of Dance India Dance 3; update: She makes it to the finals with number 1 ranking. [Update 2: She wins it.]

  • Dec 25th Kolkata auditions: From 5:40 minutes at http://www.indianpad.in/video/3793/DID-Season-3-25th-Dec-part4 . Also at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hS5i7uY-p2I . She gets selected to top 36.
  • Jan 7th auditions: Around 15 minutes at http://www.indianpad.in/video/3803/DID-Season-3-7th-Jan-part2 she gets selected to top 18. See also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l5ebC99xlAI .
  • Jan 14th (with Shafeer) : From 11:40 minutes at http://www.indianpad.in/video/3811/DID-Season-3-14th-Jan-part2 . See also http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tRkDijF5yZ4 . (Contemporary style on the song "Halka Halka Sa")
  • Jan 21st (with Paul)  : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xlkqYztH76Q (performed Lyrical Hip Hop on the song "Teri Meri Prem Kahani")
  • Jan 22nd: From 18:20 minute onwards http://www.indianpad.in/video/3823/DID-Season-3-22nd-Jan-part2( Contemporary style on the song  "Roundhe Hai Mujhko Tera Pyaar" )
  • Jan 28th  (with Shafeer and Riddhika Singhhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usVKA4MYfSo (performed on the song "Maula Mere" using India Flag colors.)
  • Feb 4th (with Abhik): From 1:40 minutes at http://www.indianpad.in/video/3836/DID-Season-3-4th-Feb-part3  (Aerial act on a ring on the song "Bol na halke halke")
  • Feb 18thhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f6t2ZEgz_Gs (Semi classical on the song "More piyaa")
  • Feb 19th (with Abhik):  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4RwiWLNXpw (She plays the role of Radha, Rukmani, Satyabhama and Meera dancing with Krishna)
  • Feb 25thhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wy3-WFz3wAI (Dances with gas cylinder like props on the song "Gun gun guna re".)
  • Feb 26th (with Abhik)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wByEPDsCW2M (Lindy Hop and quickstep; acts like a school kind with a candy on the song "Tumse mili najar to asar")
  • March 3rdhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5aBOGU4uinY (Freestyle on the song "sajna ve soniya ve")
  • March 4th (with Abhik)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-eGVN8FFU38 (Freestyle using a bench as a prop on the song "Tu jahan main wonhan")
  • March 4th (with Paul): Judged the best of that day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeervS2j2co (On ice on the song "Jaaane do naa, paaas aaao naa")
  • March 10th (Ranked 3): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=725jGtNk_gY (freestyle on the song "Main lagti hoon Sridevi lagti hoon")
  • March 11th (with Paul): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wblW1U_into (Bachata dance on the song "Jaanam I love you" done on a pool table.)
  • March 11th (with Abhik): Performance was ranked the best of that day. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NWh7Ru_btvc (Free style and acrobatics on a camera trolley track on the song "Ye hasin wadiyaan" from Roja.)
  • March 17th (Ranked 1)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygaNdndqwUs   (Freestyle on the song "Kal ho na ho" on a circus prop looking like rings on a stand on the floor.) See also 5:55 onwards at http://www.indianpad.in/video/3888/DID-Season-3-17th-March-part1
  • March 18th (with Pradeep):  http://www.indianpad.in/video/3892/DID-Season-3-18th-March-part1 starting at 3:30 minutes. (Breaking and Hip-hop)
  • March 24th (Ranked 2): From 8:30 minutes at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpnsr2_dance-india-dance-3-24th-march-2012-part-2_videogames (Freestyle with the dancing doll prop on the song "Na me smjha .. Senorita" )
  • March 25th (With Siddhesh and Dharmesh Sir): From 12:50 minutes at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpofvp_dance-india-dance-3-25th-march-2012-part-4_shortfilms  (Bollywood style dance on the song "Aankh maare o ladka")
  • March 31st (Ranked 1): From 5:45 minutes at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xptdw2_dance-india-dance-3-31st-march-2012-part-3_videogames  (Contemporary style challenge by Terrance Lewis on the song "Oore peeya" with candles on teh stage)
  • April 1st (Dance ki takkar with Mohena)http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpu0jo_dance-india-dance-season-3-episode-21-1st-april-2012-pt8_shortfilms (Breaking style on the song "Karzy kia re" wearing army fatigues)
  • April 1st (with Abhik): From 12 minute onwards at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xptypj_dance-india-dance-3-1st-april-2012-part-1_shortfilms.  (Karakattam, an ancient folk dance of Tamil Nadu, style.) 
  • April 7th (Ranked 2)http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpz3ek_dance-india-dance-7th-april-2012-part-6_school ( Freestyle dance dressed like a Arab but acting like a ninja on the song "Marhabba O Marhabba") 
  • April 8th (emotional duet with Abhik): From 9:45 minute onwards at  http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpznut_dance-india-dance-3-8th-april-2012-part-1_school#rel-page-under-2  (Contemporary on the song "Jag soona soona laage" dressed up as an old lady) 
  • April 8th (with Abhik): From 5 minute onwards at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xpzowk_dance-india-dance-3-8th-april-2012-part-4_videogames (Freestyle with a bit of magic showing the feminine side of her in a saree  on the Mr. India song "I love you" with light effects.)
  • April 14th (Ranked 1): http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xq4o98_dance-india-dance-season-3-14th-april-2012-pt7_shortfilms. (Danced on the song "Jiya Jale").
  • April 15th: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xq5ap0_dance-india-dance-season-3-15th-april-2012-part-3_shortfilms. (A very difficult and challenging performance on the song "Aaaja Naachle" performed on top of matkaas making the shape DID.)
  • April 15th: From 1:30 minutes at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xq5b8t_dance-india-dance-season-3-15th-april-2012-video-watch-pt10_shortfilms. (Her dance ki takkar short performance that shows off her strong points. No one, even the boys, in the whole competition could make some of the moves she showed here.)
  • April 21st – Finale (Winner – ranked 1): From 5 minutes at http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xqa82w_dance-india-dance-3-21st-april-2012-part-5_shortfilms.

    April 11th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | No Comments
  • The second UMPP in Odisha is finalized to be in Bhadrak

    Following is from a report in Economic Times.

    The government has identified site for setting up Rs 18,000-crore imported coal-based ultra mega power project in Orissa, power secretary Uma Shankar said.

    The 4,000-mw plant, one of the three such proposed projects in the state, will be located at Bhadrak. A team of Central Electricity Authority will on April 21 visit the state for finalising location of the third ultra mega power project that would be run on imported coal, he said.

    Orissa’s first ultra mega power project at Bedabahal is under bidding.

    An important reason behind Bhadrak being the location must be the Dhamara port and its competitive pricing. This is a glimpse of the impact of having new ports. Odisha must push the other new ports that are in various stages of planning. As we have discussed before, the ports will serve the traffic from/to the countries in the east.

     

    April 10th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | No Comments

    Eighteen Odisha districts will get two Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellows (PMRDFs) each to help the district administration

    A brief description of the program is given here and here. Following are some excerpts.

    About PMRDF The Ministry of Home Affairs has identified 60 districts of the country as Left Wing Extremism (LWE) districts. The Government of India has launched a special programme in these districts called Integrated Action Plan (IAP). On 13th of September, Union Minister of Rural Development Mr. Jairam Ramesh announced a scheme of PM’s Rural Development Fellows for deploying young professionals in each of the IAP districts to assist the District Collector. Mission PMRDFs will basically function as development facilitators, they will assist the Collector and his/her colleagues in each of the IAP districts and provide them with the necessary analysis of situations and how they should be handled. The fellows would actively pursue a district programming approach following three key strategies given below:

    • Strengthen the district resource base for programming by finding ways of resourcing all the planned activities and rational budgeting.

    • Establish or strengthen systems by exploring alternative ways of delivering services to reach the most deprived communities.

    • Trigger processes which would support the changes that have been envisioned in this approach (e.g. village planning).

    This would be complemented by a set of supportive actions such as building the capacity of district and block officials; triggering district-wide social mobilization processes particularly among the youth; achieve a ground swell of support and build strong relationships with the Panchayats.

    The number of districts is now 78 instead of 60. Each of these districts will have two fellows. 18 of those districts are in Odisha. They are listed below. We welcome the 36 fellows that will be working in those districts in Odisha and will be happy to help them in any way possible.

    April 7th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 2 Comments »

    Odisha reduces the perecentage of people below poverty lines from 57.2% (in 2004-05) to 37% (in 2009-10)

    This is a big reduction. The data is from http://planningcommission.nic.in/news/press_pov1903.pdf. (Thanks to Umashankar Das for the pointer.)

    Some of the interesting aspects of the above data are as follows:

    • In 2009-10 the total number of persons below poverty line in Odisha is 153.2 lakhs. The number for Andhra Pradesh is 176.6 lakhs, Bihar is 543.5 lakhs, Chhatisgarh is 121.9 lakhs, Gujarat is 136.2 lakhs, Jharkhand is 126.2 lakhs, Karnataka is 142.3 lakhs, MP is 261.8 lakhs, Maharashtra is 270.8 lakhs, Rajasthan is 167 lakhs, Tamil Nadu is 121.8 lakhs, UP is 737.9 lakhs and West Bengal is 240.3 lakhs. So the number of persons below poverty limit in Odisha is close to that of Gujarat, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, states considered to be more industrialized and richer.
    • In 2009-10 the number of persons below poverty line in the urban areas are: 17.7 lakhs in Odisha, 11.2 lakhs in Assam, 48.7 lakhs in Andhra Pradesh, 44.8 lakhs in Bihar, 13.6 lakhs in Chhatisgarh, 22.9 lakhs in Delhi, 44.6 lakhs in Gujarat, 19.6 lakhs in Haryana, 24 lakhs in Jharkhand, 44.9 lakhs in Karnataka, 18 lakhs in Kerala, 44.9 lakhs in MP, 90.9 lakhs in Maharashtra, 18.4 lakhs in Punjab, 33.2 lakhs in Rajasthan, 43.5 lakhs in Tamil Nadu, 137.3 lakhs in UP, 7.5 lakhs in Uttarakhand and 62.5 lakhs in West Bengal. So the urban poverty numbers in Odisha is less than that of Haryana, Punjab and Delhi and much less than the most of the other states mentioned above. But this is partly because Odisha has a much smaller overall urban population
    • The above numbers are based on cut-offs calculated by the "Tendulkar Methodology" and these cut-offs vary from state to state and are different for rural and urban areas. As shown in the first table, Odisha has the lowest cut-off numbers for both rural and urban areas. For rural areas of Odiha the cutoff is Rs 567.1 per month and for urban areas it is Rs 736. (See the recent Hindu and Business Standard articles for criticisms about the methodology that has been used above.)
    April 6th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 2 Comments »

    How to register to vote in Odisha (For people living in Odisha)

    I did a bit of research to figure out how to get a voter id in Odisha for someone who is from a rural area but now living in my parents place. This is what I found.

    After elections are announced traveling voting registration camps are organized in various places and one can go there to do a new voter registration or update their voter registration data.

    However, the voter registration ID (or some acceptable ID) may be needed for many other things (such as to open a bank account) and one may not have the luxury to wait till the next election. In that case, one may follow the procedure given below.

    1. Fill the form at http://eci.gov.in/eci_main/forms/form6.pdf and submit it to the ERO (Electoral registration Officer) of the Assembly Constituency where one is currently living. (This information is from http://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/Elecroll.aspx.)
    2. The list of EROs in Odisha is given at http://ceoorissa.nic.in/ERO.htm. For example, the ERO of Bhubanewar is Sri Saroj Ku. Samal, Sub-Collector,Bhubaneswar, Pin-751014, Phone: 0674 2432301 / 2397728 / 2432301 / 9437226644.
    3. Some of the documents that may be needed are:
      • Matric/school certificate with DOB (See 5-iii in the from) [for Proof of Name; age; DOB]
      • Postal department’s posts received / delivered in the applicant’s name at the given address. (See 8-iv in the form) [for Proof of Address]

    The above pointers have more details.

    March 29th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 2 Comments »

    2012-13 Railway budget: new lines, doubling, etc. (initial cut-n-paste)

    The following is extracted from the budget speech and the Pinkbook. This is an initial cut-n-paste. Will do a more extensive posting on this in the weekend.

    From the budget speech:

    List of 41 new lines proposed to be completed in 2011-12:-

    12. Lanjigarh Road-Junagarh (Part)

    13. Khurda Road – Begunia (Part)

    List of new line projects targeted for completion in 2012-13

    16. Begunia-Nayagarh
    17. Talcher-Sunakhani

    List of 55 Doubling Works for completion during 2011-12:-

    26. Dumetra-Champajharan

    27. Banspani-Jaroli

    List of 67 Doubling Works for completion during 2012-13:-

    16. Delang-Sakhigopal

    18. Angul-Kerejang

     

    56. Jenapur-Jakhapura

    66. Cuttack-Barang
    67. Rajatgarh-Barang

    List of 23 new Doubling Projects sanctioned in 2012-13:-

    19. Manoharpur – Bandamuda 3rd Line

    22. Bhadrak – Nergundi 3rd Line

    List of 21 new Surveys for Doubling Projects sanctioned in 2012-13:-

    12. 3rd line between Kharagpur and Bhadrak

    List of 10 new Railway Electrification Projects sanctioned in 2012-13:

    2. Titlagarh–Sambhalpur-Jharsuguda and Angul-Sambalpur

    From the pink book:

    • New lines: Angul – Sukinda – 2 crores
    • New lines: Daitari – Bansapani – 10 crores
    • New lines: Haridaspur-Paradeep – 2 crores
    • New lines: Khurda Rd – Balangir – 40 crores
    • New lines: Lanjigarh Rd – Junagarh – 12 crores
    • New lines: Talcher – Bimlagarh – 30 crores
    • Doubling: Jharsuguda – Rengali – 25 crores
    • Doubling: Sambalpur – Rengali – 5 crores
    • Third line: Khurda Rd – Barang – 10.5 crores
    • Doubling: Cuttack – Barang – 25 crores
    • Doubling: Sambalpur – Talcher – 40 crores
    • Doubling: Delang – Puri – 40 crores
    • Doubling : Sambalpur – Titlagarh – 130 crores
    • Doubling: Raipur – Titlagarh – 100 crores
    • Doubling: Bansapani – Jakhapura – 100 crores
    • Doubling: Rajathagarh – Barang – 10.5 crores
    • Third line: Bhadrak – Nergundi – 1 crores
    • New line: Digha – Jaleswar – 10 crores
    • Doubling: Padapahar – Bansapani – 1 crore
    • Doubling: Bansapani – Jaroli – 8 crores
    • Doubling: Barbil – Barjamda – 1.5 crores
    • Doubling: Bimlagarh – Dumetra – 9 crores
    • Doubling: Champajharan – Bimlagarh – 25 crores
    • Third line: Manoharpur – Bondamunda – 1 crores

     

    March 14th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 13 Comments »

    2012-13 Railway budget: trains related to Odisha

    Following are some of the trains mentioned in this budget that will connect Odisha. The ones in red are of special interest. My comments are in blue.

    New Trains:

    2. Secunderabad-Shalimar AC Express (Weekly) via Vijayawada [** Introduced May 28 2013 **]
    18. Barbil-Chakradharpur Intercity Express (Daily) via Dongoaposi, Jhinkpani [I expect this to be extended to Rourkela or even Sambalpur.] [** Introduced July 15 2012 **]
    29. Bikaner-Puri Express (Weekly) via Jaipur,Kota,Katni Murwara, Jharsuguda, Sambalpur [This will be the first connection between Bhubaneswar/Puri and Bikaner and second between Bhubanswar/Puri and Jaipur.][** Introduced April 18 2013 **]
    30. Secunderabad-Darbhanga Express (Bi-weekly) via Ballarshah, Jharsuguda, Rourkela, Ranchi, Jhajha [This will increase the connectivity between JSG/ROU and Hyderabad to 3 days a week.] [** Introduced July 11 2012 **]

    31. Bilaspur-Patna Express (Weekly) via Asansol, Jhajha [** Introduced July 6 2012 **]
    33. Bhubaneswar-Bhawanipatna Link Express (Daily) via Vizianagaram [First train to/from Bhawanipatna.] [** Introduced August 11 2012 **]
    34. Puri-Yesvantpur Garib Rath Express (Weekly) via Visakhapatnam, Guntur [** Introduced July 20 2012 **]
    36. Bhubaneswar-Tirupati Express (Weekly) via Visakhapatnam,Gudur. [** Introduced July 14 2012 **]
    37. Visakhapatnam-Lokmanya Tilak(T) Express (Weekly) via Titlagarh,Raipur [First connectivity between Rayagada/Kesinga and Mumbai. ] [** Introduced July 15 2012 **]
    45. Shalimar-Chennai Express (Weekly)
    [More connectivity between Chennai and Puri/Bhubaneswar] [** Introduced June 23 2012 **]
    53. Durg-Jagdalpur Express (Tri-Weekly) via Titlagarh [First connectivity between Koraput/Jeypore and Raipur.] [** Introduced October 10 2012 **]
    68. Chennai-Puri Express (Weekly) [More connectivity between Chennai and Puri/Bhubaneswar] [** Introduced July 22 2012 **]
    70. Asansol-Chennai Express (Weekly) via Purulia, Sambalpur,Vizianagaram [** Introduced July 28 2012 **]
    71. Shalimar-Bhuj Express (Weekly) via Bilaspur, Katni, Bhopal
    [** Introduced April 20, 2013 **]

    74. Malda Town-Surat Express ( Weekly) via Rampur Hat, Asansol, Nagpur [** Introduced July 9 2012 **]

    Passenger trains:

    5. Gunupur-Palasa (Via Parlakhemundi) Passenger (Daily) [** Introduced July 21 2012 **]

    DEMU:
    1. Baripada-Bangriposi (Daily) [** Introduced July 13 2012 **]

    Extension of Trains:

    4. 18417/18418 Bhubaneswar-Jharsuguda Rajya Rani Express to Rourkela [** Introduced July 17 2012 **]
    13. 18005/18006 Howrah-Koraput Express to Jagdalpur [Connects Jeypore to Howrah.][** Introduced July 30 2012 **]
    23. 58207/58208 Raipur-Kesinga Passenger to Bhawanipatna [Second connectivity to Bhawanipatna.][** Introduced August 12 2012 **]

    Increase in Frequency:

    13. 22603/22604 Kharagpur-Villupuram Express from 1 to 2 days. [More connectivity between Chennai and Puri/Bhubaneswar][** From April 10 2013 **]

    March 14th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 4 Comments »

    Union Civil Aviation Minister to seek cabinet approval for making Bhubaneswar an international airport

    Following is from the PIB report at http://pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=80759.

    Odisha Chief Minister calls on Civil Aviation Minister

    Civil Aviation Ministry to process the proposal for upgradation of Bhubaneswar Airport to International Airport

    New Domestic Terminal Building to be ready by August

    The Union Civil Aviation Minister Ch. Ajit Singh has said that the proposal of Odisha Government for the upgradation of Biju Patnayak Domestic Airport Bhubaneswar to International Airport will be processed by his Ministry for seeking the Cabinet approval.Ch. Ajit Singh said this today in a meeting with Odisha Chief Minister, Shri Navin Patnayak in New Delhi.

    Ch. Ajit Singh has agreed to consider the proposal of upgradation of Bhubaneswar Airport and seek the Cabinet approval for the same in keeping with the State’s Tourism potential including famous Buddhist sites and monuments. Odisha is also rich in biodiversity, natural resources and mines which strengthens the claim of Bhubaneswar Airport to be upgraded as International Airport.

    The new Domestic Terminal Building at Biju Patnayak Airport Bhubaneswar which is likely to be completed by August 2012, will cater to 800 passengers against the capacity of 500 of the present terminal building. The new terminal building will be completed at the cost of Rs 145.54 Crores and will include extension of Apron for additional one ‘D’ type and two ‘C’ type bay.

    The Civil Aviation Minister, among other things, also discussed the issues relating to construction of main approach road from Sachivalaya Main Road to Airport, land acquisition of 22 acres for extension of basic strip upto 300 mtrs., land acquisition of 141 acres for extension of runway from 9000 ft to 10,500 ft., and the proposal for development and operationalisation of Jharsuguda Airport in phased manner, initially for ATR 72-500 type of aircraft operations and subsequently for AB0321.

    The above PIB report is probably based on the Civil Aviation ministry’s release. The Odisha government’s release is in the news report http://orissadiary.com/CurrentNews.asp?id=32449. Following is from that report.

    Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today met the  Union Minister for Civil Aviation, Ajit Singh, in New Delhi. Hon’ble Chief Minister, Odisha informed the  Union Minister for Civil Aviation that Odisha does not have adequate air connectivity which acts as a major impediment to the industrialisation process and the growth of tourist traffic in the State.

    He mentioned that the State does not have even a single International Airport and is managing with only one operational Domestic Airport at Bhubaneswar. The Chief Minister highlighted that the State has witnessed a significant spurt in investment in various industrial sectors and offers incredible tourist destinations including the World Heritage Monument, the Sun Temple Konark, the world famous Shri Jagannath Temple at Puri, many beautiful beaches and the largest Brackish water Lake, Chilka. He, accordingly, stressed upon the urgent need to scale up infrastructural support to the Aviation Sector in the State, both from the equity standpoint and the development perspective.

    The Chief Minister requested the Union Minister to declare Biju Patnaik Airport as an International Airport at the earliest and provide the required facilities including an International Terminal with 24X7 ATC operations, customs and immigration facilities and security, etc. He asserted that the Ministry of Civil Aviation may accord early clearance to those Airlines which are interested to operate International flights to and from Bhubaneswar.

    He also requested the Union Minister for providing necessary infrastructural support to the Jharsuguda Airport for enabling Domestic Airlines to operate from there. Chief Minister stated that the Airport Authority of India may also have a closer look at the other existing Airports in Odisha and provide the required infrastructural support to make the feasible Airports operational for Domestic Airlines. This, he stated, would improve the air connectivity within the State.

    The Chief Minister assured that the State will provide all necessary support to the Ministry of Civil Aviation/ Airport Authority of India in their task of upgrading Bhubaneswar Airport to an International Airport and in making other Domestic Airports in the State operational.  Union Minister appreciated the concerns of Odisha and assured that his Ministry will immediately prepare a Note for seeking the approval of the Cabinet for upgrading Biju Patnaik Airport to an International Airport.

    For Jharsuguda Airport, the Union Minister stated that the length of the Airstrip will be increased to the desired minimum to make it operational for domestic airlines, at the earliest. He also assured the Hon’ble Chief Minister that his Ministry will actively explore the possibility of connecting Bhubaneswar to the Middle East and South East Asian countries. The Union Minister added that the Union Civil Aviation Ministry and Union Tourism Ministry will work closely with the State Government to host an Aviation/ Tourism Conference in Bhubaneswar for promoting tourist traffic to the State and assured that every possible support will be made to project Odisha as a world class tourist destination.

    Note that in December during the Invest Bhubaneswar symposium flydubai had categorically said that if they get a slot from India to fly to/from Bhubaneswar then they will fly Bhubaneswar – Dubai.

    March 9th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 3 Comments »

    BMC has a draft budget of 452 crores

    Following is from Dharitri.

    March 3rd, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 3 Comments »

    Current and planned eco-toursim centers in Odisha

    Following is an excerpt from an article in Pioneer.

    In the biodiversity management, three eco-tourism destination sites were developed in Satkosia, Bhitarakaniaka and Similipal. Community reserves and heritage sites were developed in five places. Bichitrapur mangrove area near Jaleswar, Rissia wildlife sanctuary in Baleswar wildlife division, Mandasaur in Phulbani forest division, Khasada waterfall, Black Pepper plantations, Gandahati waterfall and Red Sanders plantations in Paralakhemindi Forest Division were taken up for development as  new eco-tourism destinations.

     

    March 3rd, 2012 | Chitta Baral | No Comments

    Charampa to have an inland container depot; one of the many upcoming economic impact of Dhamara port

    Ports have economic and infrastructural impact on the nearby areas.  The recently operational Dhamara Port already has given a highway and railway line between Bhadrak and Dhamara. The proposed container depot (discussed in the Dharitri article below) will be another of its initial contribution.

    February 27th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 6 Comments »

    Excellent plans to expand the visitor center of the Chandaka national forest at the Godibari gate; once done one can bike two kms inside the forest

    Following is from Dharitri.

    February 26th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | No Comments

    Some highlights from the Odisha government budget for 2012-13

    The following highlights are from http://www.orissa.gov.in/finance/Budgets/2012-13/BUDGET%20SPEECH%20ENGLISH.pdf. (This year’s and several previous year’s budgets since 2004-05 are linked from http://www.orissa.gov.in/finance/Budgets/default.html.)

    • Rs. 5.00 Cr has been provided for management and development of Elephant Corridor in the State during the year 2012-13.
    • Allocation for purchase of medicines for Government run hospitals has been increased from Rs.50.00 crore to Rs.104.56 crore.
    • … decided to enhance the intake capacity of all the three Medical Colleges from 150 to 250 within a period of four years. This project will require investment of Rs.400.00 crore for development of necessary infrastructure and other facilities. Rs.32.30 crore has been allocated for this project under State Plan.
    • Launching of “Emergency Medical Ambulance Services” in the State would be another major intervention for strengthening health security. In the first phase 15 districts will be covered under this new scheme. Rs.10.00 crore from Odisha Health System Project Fund has been allocated during current financial year for purchase of Ambulances. In the present allocation operational cost of Rs.6.22 crore has been provided.
    • Total allocation in School and Mass Education Department is enhanced from Rs.5307.44 crore to Rs.6525.40 crore this year.
    • Rs. 18.60 crore has been provided towards state share for opening of Govt. Colleges in the districts with low Gross Enrolment Ratio.
    • Rs.5.00 crore is allocated under ‘Aam Admi Bima Yojana’ to provide life insurance cover for the landless agricultural labourers.
    • Rs. 4.00 crore has been provided in the budget under State Plan towards establishment of Xavier’s Institute of Management (XIMB) at Sambalpur and Bolangir. This will go a long way in providing quality management education to the students of the State.
    • Rs. 14.00 crore has been provided for infrastructure development of constituent colleges of BPUT. Besides, Rs. 12.56 crore has also been provided for infrastructure and civil works of IGIT, Sarang, Government Engineering Colleges at Berhampur and Bhawanipatna etc.
    • For up-gradation of industrial infrastructure of Plastic, Polymer and Allied Cluster at Balasore under IIUS, a provision of Rs.1.13 crore has been provided.
    • a new Planetarium will be established at Sambalpur for which allocation of Rs.5.00 crore has been provided.
    • Rs.12.00 crore has been provided in the budget for infrastructure development of IIIT, Bhubaneswar, which includes creation of Training Centre, Guest House, Research Laboratories & Staff Qrs.
    • Rs.80.00 crore has been provided for Western Odisha Development Council.
    • Rs.120.00 crore has been provided in the budget for continuance of Biju KBK Yojana for the development of most backward regions like KBK.
    • Rs.28.50 crore has been made for implementation of Biju Kandhamala O Gajapati Yojana.
    • Rs.540.00 crore has been provided in the budget for implementation of Integrated Action Plan in Tribal & Backward Districts.
    • Rs.5.00 crore has been provided for setting of Driving Training Institute at Berhampur, Barbil, Bhubaneswar, Keonjhar & Angul, which will train un-employed youth to earn their livelihood.
    • Rs.6.00 crore out of State Plan has been earmarked for development of air-strips and construction of a new Air- Strip at Malkangiri during the financial year 2012-13.
    • Rs.4.99 crore has been provide in the budget for completion of Hockey complex at Kalinga Stadium.
    • To cater to the training needs of the inmates of Sports Hostel at Panposh, Rourkela a second Synthetic Hockey Turf will be laid. Accordingly, a sum of Rs.6.00 crore has been provided in the Budget for 2012-13
    • Rs.16.25 crore has been provided in the budget for Preservation of Monuments and Buddhist Heritage as per the recommendation of 13th Finance Commission.
    • Rs.1.00 crore has been made for construction of Odishi Dance Museum in Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra Odishi Research Centre, Bhubaneswar
    • Rs.1.00 crore has been provided in the budget for construction of Modern Art Gallery in Bhubaneswar.
    • Rs.2.00 crore has been provided in the budget for construction of Boys & Girls Hostels for Utkal Sangeeta Mahavidyala and B.K. College of Art and Crafts, Bhubaneswar.
    • Rs.9.00 crore has been provided in the budget for acquisition of private land for development of tourist projects like Peace Park at Dhauli and Peripheral Development of Lingaraj Temple.
    • Rs.13.50 crore has been provided in the budget in order to provide adequate basic amenities and other infrastructure in indentified tourist destinations.
    • Rs. 17.00 crore has been provided in the budget for organisation of International Events & Road shows/organisation of State and National Level Fairs and for publicity campaigns.
    February 25th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | No Comments

    Odisha Expenditure budget for 2012-2013 at 37302.3 crores; 17.5% of it to go to mass education

    Following is from Samaja:

    February 25th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | No Comments

    Feasibility study begins for coastal highway connecting upcoming ports: Business Standard

    Following is from a Business Standard article by Jayajit Das.

    “We had submitted a Rs 1,200-crore connectivity plan for minor ports to the Government of India. In response, they have roped in a Gurgaon-based consultant- Louis Burger Consulting Pvt Ltd and they have already started the feasibility study. In 3-4 months, the consultant will be submitting its report to the Central government after which we can expect flow of funds”, a top official source told Business Standard.

    It may be noted that there would be a major focus on road connectivity to major ports and airports in the country in the 12th Plan.

    A Planning Commission Working Group on Central Roads Sector has demanded special package for this so that it is implemented on priority basis, separating it from overall National Highway planning.

    While two-lane connectivity for 50 minor ports have been envisaged at a cost of Rs 5,000 crore, the cost of constructing roads to connect 24 airports has been estimated at Rs 1,800 crore. The proposal has been approved by the Steering Committee on Transport Sector for the 12th Plan held under the Chairmanship of Plan Panel Member BK Chaturvedi.

    Earlier, the Orissa government which has identified 14 potential sites for the development of minor ports had requested the Government of India to formulate a policy to provide rail and road connectivity to these ports from the national network on the lines of major ports.

    The Union ministry of shipping and highways is understood to offer 50 per cent funding for road and rail connectivity for these upcoming ports.

    The state has witnessed grounding of investment of Rs 4,262.44 crore from non-major ports in the past 10 years.

    The investments have come from four minor port developers- Dhamara Port Company Ltd (DPCL), Gopalpur Port Ltd (GPL), Creative Port Development Ltd and Navayug Engineering Ltd from 2002-03 up to the end of September last year.

    February 24th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | No Comments

    Odisha benefits from several trains that connect Howrah to the west or the south

    Odisha benefits a lot from trains that connect Howrah with the south and with the west. In the last few days announcements for the initial operation of five such trains have been made. These trains are:

    1. Howrah – Mysore (via BBS)
    2. Santragachi – Mangalore express (via BBS)
    3. Santragachi – Nanded Exprees (via ROU and JSG)
    4. Shalimar – Udaipur (via ROU and JSG) Express
    5. Shalimar – Secunderabad (via BBS) Express.

    Of these five, the first four bring new connectivity.

    Interestingly the recent articles in the Odisha media (both English and Oriya papers; see for example, here and here.) about these new trains do not mention 3 and 4. I suspect they did not realize that most (not all) trains from Howrah to the west take the Rourkela – Jharsuguda segment. In other words most trains from Howrah to Mumbai, Pune and Maharashtra in general, to Gujarat and some of the trains to Rajasthan take the Rourkela – Jharsuguda segment. However, there are a few trains from Howrah to West that do not take this segment.

    The Darbhanga – Hyderbad Express and the Patna – Durg express also go through the Rourkela – Jharsuguda segment.

    Similarly several trains from Jharkhand to the south go through Odisha taking the Rourkela – Jharsuguda – Sambalpur – Titlagarh – Rayagada – Vijianagaram route. Main among them are the daily Dhanbad – Allepey express and the Ranchi/Tata – Yesvantpur express.

    The Samata express from Vizag to Delhi and the Bilaspur – Tirupaty Express go through the Rayagada -  Titlagarh – Raipur segment. The Vizag to Amritsar Express takes the Palasa – Berhampur – Bhubaneswar and Bhubaneswar – Angul – Sambalpur – Jharsuguda segments.

    February 22nd, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 3 Comments »

    Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik vents against UPA and NDA; Beginning of a sustainable third front?

    This is interesting. Naveen Patnaik has a strong election winning record in Odisha and based on the current ZP and Panchayat elections, it seems he will also win big in the next elections in Odisha. He is suave, gentle, has a good natinoal image, not prone to histironics (like Mamata Banerjee), not an ayaaram-gayaram (i.e., does not change alliances often like AIADMK and hence reliable), speaks good English, and Odisha being a smaller state other state leaders will not think he is too powerful. So he may be an acceptable PM candidate for a third front consisting mainly of various regional parties. He is right about the problems with the two national alliances in India. The big problem with UPA is its multiple power centers, especially with the all power no responsibility position of the Yuvraj. He and his cronies have single handedly stopped major development in Odisha; especially the Vedanta University. The other problem with national parties is that their leadership in Delhi control the states where they rule. As a result, while those states do get some extra benefits, they are manipulated by the center to agree to their wishes, even if it may be detrimental to the state’s interest. In the context of Odisha a UPA govt in Delhi can push a Congress govt. in Odisha to give mining leases to companies of its choice.

    At present the Odisha government is able to defy them to some extent. Even in case of coal blocks where the center unilaterally allocates the blocks, the state is able to put its terms, sometimes vocally, as the companies need the help of the state in getting the land and various clearances. That is the reason MCL and NTPC have agreed to establish medical colleges in Odisha. If there was a Congress government they would not be as vocal and may have just signed on the dotted lines as dictated by the central leadership. Of course one has to also think of the country as a whole. But in the past what has happened is that in the name of "national interest" Odisha has suffered greatly, some of it partly overcome by the non-Congress leadership in Odisha.

    Examples of this are:

    • The freight equalization policy that harmed the industrialization of Odisha.
    • The low royalty rates of minerals.
    • Lack of port development. (There is folklore about how Biju Patnaik unilaterally went ahead to establish Paradeep port)
      • Also related is the disregard of the military about accommodating port development near their sites.
    • The opposition of Rahul Gandhi and his cohorts to industrial development in Kalahandi and Vedanta University.
    • Lack of development of Railways in Odisha.

    Some of the above were overcome when there was a third front type government at the center. The ECOR zone was one of them. Since the ECOR zone was established things have looked up in the Railways sector in Odisha, but there is lot more to be done.

    In the mining and metal based industry sector, since the BJD government in Odisha has become very discriminative in giving leases and installed the value added policy there has been a beeline of investment (some of it yet to come to fruition). The government has seen through the past games of Tatas and now have forced them establish a plant in Odisha (hence their upcoming Kalinganagar plant) and yet have not given them any new leases. SAIL and NALCO are not having an easier time either. 

    So the point is that in our current set up where leadership in Delhi (true for both UPA and NDA) often dictates the state leaders of the same party to do what it wants, the state may lose out in the name of national interest. On the other hand *honest* regional parties can guard the state’s interests as has happened in Odisha. More and more states are going that way.

    However, its not clear what kind of central government a coalition of regional parties will be able to form and how well will that work at the national level.

    More ramblings later. … (See http://www.orissalinks.com/orissagrowth/archives/5458 for related thoughts.)

     

    February 15th, 2012 | Chitta Baral | 6 Comments »