Archive for June, 2009

Bhubaneswar at number 3 (among 17 cities in India) in ease of doing Business: World Bank

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, INDUSTRY and INFRASTRUCTURE, INVESTMENTS and INVESTMENT PLANS, Khordha, World Bank 6 Comments »

Following is from a web site of world bank about doing business in various cities of India. This site has the main findings. The full report is at

Ease of…


Rank among 17 cities in India

Top city in India
Doing Business 3 Ludhiana
Starting a Business 5 New Delhi
Dealing with Construction Permits 8 Bengaluru
Registering Property 17 Gurgaon
Paying Taxes 9 Ludhiana
Trading Across Borders 1 Bhubaneshwar
Enforcing Contracts 5 Hyderabad
5 Hyderabad

The overall ranking of the 17 cities are:

  1. Ludhiana
  2. Hyderabad
  3. Bhubaneswar
  4. Gurgaon
  5. Ahmedabad
  6. New Delhi
  7. Jaipur
  8. Guwahati
  9. Ranchi
  10. Mumbai
  11. Indore
  12. Noida
  13. Bangalore
  14. Patna
  15. Chennai
  16. Kochi
  17. Kolkata

Why is Pune not in the list?

8 Bio mass power projects approved by Orissa government

Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Khordha, Nabarangpur, Nayagarha, Power Generation, Puri, Rayagada 2 Comments »

Following is an excerpt from a report in Steelguru.

… Orissa Government, in its bid to encourage power generation from waste has given its accord to 8 bio mass based power projects with a combined generation capacity of 90 MW by private developers.

The proposed projects are likely to be set up in Raygada, Nawarangpur, Ganjam, Nayagarh, Khurda, Dhenkanal and Puri districts. The cost per MW of power is expected to be between INR 4.5 crore to INR 5 crore depending on the location and evacuation facilities.

Moreover, the Sali Vahana Green Energy is planning to set up a 20 MW bio mass based power plant in Dhenkanal and Satya bio power Industry, a 10 MW plant in Ganjam. Prasad bio energy plans to set up a 10 MW unit in Raygada. While Jaylaxmi bio energy Limited to set up a 10 MW unit in Nayagarh another plant of similar capacity by Andhavarapu bio energy is likely to come up in Nawarangpur. Sampath Power Projects and Falcon Green Energy propose 10 MW capacity units each in Khurda and Puri respectively.

Army base to come up in Amarda, Mayurbhanj

Baripada- Bangiriposi- Similipal foothills, Defence establishments, Mayurbhanj, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express Comments Off on Army base to come up in Amarda, Mayurbhanj

Following is an excerpt from a report in

Land has been identified near Amarda in Mayurbhanj district for establishment of the Army base in the State.

General-officer-commanding (GOC), central command, J.K. Mohanty met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here at the Secretariat today to discuss the issue.

Mohanty told mediapersons that it is now for the State Government to acquire the land and hand it over for establishment of the base.

The Centre recently informed the State Government that it had decided in principle to establish an Army base in the State and requested it to provide the required land. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had assured the Centre that it will extend all cooperation including provision of land for this purpose.

Amarda is close  to NH 60 on State highway 61. Its about 15 kms west of from Jaleswar. It is 10 km from Rasgobindpur airport and is about 50 kms from Baripada. There is an Amarda Road station between Basta and Rajghat stations.

The sequence of Railways stations around Amarda Rd are: Balasore, Rupsa Jn (18), Basta (28), Amarda Rd (34), Jaleswar (48).

Vipul plans to invest 80-100 crores for a 4-star hotel in Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Hotels and resorts, Khordha, Vipul 1 Comment »

Following is an excerpt from a report in Business Standard.

Gurgaon-based real estate firm Vipul Limited, one of the leading real estate developers in the country, plans to invest Rs 80-100 crore in setting up a four-star business hotel in Bhubaneswar .

Vipul Limited had identified Bhubaneswar as one of the 5-6 strategic locations in the country where it intends to set up three-star and four-star business hotels.

Apart from Bhubaneswar, these business hotels are set to come up in the states of Punjab, West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh. Each of these business hotels would cost Rs 80-100 crore.

“We have identified two to three plots of land in Bhubaneswar, including one close to the airport for setting up a four-star business hotel. "

The proposed hotel would come up on an area of 2-3 acres”, Punit Beriwala, managing director, Vipul Limited told Business Standard.

He declined to comment on the time-frame of setting up of the business hotel as the details were yet to be worked out.

Will center institute Ad Valorem royalty soon?

Ad Valorem, MINES and MINERALS, Mining royalty Comments Off on Will center institute Ad Valorem royalty soon?

Following is an excerpt from a report in Economic Times.

… The new structure will result in a 10% royalty payout on iron ore of all grades instead of the Rs 13-27 per tonne that states have been getting, depending on the quality of the ore. Revenue for states from the vital input for steel is likely to increase from Rs 250 crore to over Rs 1,500 crore per year.

“Higher royalty payments will certainly impact our expansion projects as lower realisations and even lower margins now leave little with the companies,” said an official of a leading private sector steel company.

The mines ministry estimated the total value of mineral production during 2008-09 at Rs 1.14 lakh crore. Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh are India’s top mineral producing states and they have been pressing the Union government for about two years now to revise the royalty rates.

…Along with iron ore, the new system will lead to changed royalty rates for limestone, zinc, bauxite, manganese, diamond and uranium.

States’ royalty earnings on non-coal minerals are expected to double from level Rs 2,014 crore (at 2006-07 production levels) because of the new structure.

Royalty rates were last modified nearly five years ago and a change has been due since 2007.

Tata shortlists Singapore based Jurong for developing the masterplan for its SEZ in Gopalpur

Ancilaries, Berhampur- Gopalpur- Chhatrapur, Ganjam, Land acquisition, Metals and alloys, SEZs, Tatas 4 Comments »

Following is an excerpt from a report in

Tata Realty & Infrastr-ucture (TRIL), Tata Group’s real estate and infrastructure development arm, has hired Singapore-based Jurong International as the master planner for its special economic zone (SEZ) project in Gopalpur (Orissa).

“We have shortlisted Jurong for this important project,” said a Tata group official. Jurong offers design and build, consultancy, construction, and facilities management services and its India office is located in Hyderabad.
The multi-product SEZ, with all infrastructure facilities and required amenities, will cost the group nearly $ 1billion.
So far, Jurong has done master plans for 380,000 hectares, 10 million square meters of industrial land and 5.8 million square meters of residential space.

The SEZ in Gopalpur will focus on minerals, mining and associated industries. At present, Tata Steel possesses the land slotted for SEZ. In 1995, Tata Steel acquired the land for Rs 150 crore to set up a 2.5 million tonne per annum port-based steel plant in Orissa and spent. This plan had to be abandoned due to lack of amenities such as adequate water and iron ore linkages at the site. Now, Tata Steel is putting up a multi-million tonnes per annum steel plant at Kalinganagar in Orissa.

We plan to focus on industries that are downstream value-added in the metals and minerals space and allied industries such as gem and jewellery for the SEZ, which is planned to come up in 2,900 acres. The land is already in our possession and the necessary approvals are in place. So we expect that this development will not face any land acquisition related problems,” a TRIL official told Financial Chro-nicle.
“The positioning of the SEZ has been made keeping in mind the advantages of the local area and infrastructure such as a functioning port that’s capable of deep draught, an air strip and railway slidings that could be utilised by the industrial units in the zone,” added the official.

I hope this is for real and not because TATAs are due for some mining lease renewal. They have been accused of using such strategy with Orissa during mining lease renewal times.

Orissa has 98% of India’s chromite deposit; only 3.27% explored

Chromite, Dhenkanal, Jajpur, Jajpur Rd- Vyasanagar- Duburi- Kalinganagar 2 Comments »

Following is excerpted from a report in Business Standard.

Though Orissa has 183 million tonnes of chrome ore, constituting 98 per cent of the total chrome deposits in the country, only 3.27 per cent of this, which comes to about 6 million tonne, has been fully explored till date.

To expedite the exploration and exploitation of chrome reserves in the state, the government has granted mining leases to 15 companies including Ferro Alloys Corporation (Facor) and Balasore Alloys.

Of the total chrome reserves in Orissa, Sukinda area in Jajpur district has the lion’s share of 173 million tonne (mt). This includes low grade chrome.

The places in Sukinda where the chrome deposits are found are Kamarda (2 mt), Saruabili (9 mt), Sukrangi (7.5 mt), Kaliapani (25 mt), Bhimatanger (98 mt), Kalarangi (0.5 mt) and Chingudipal and Tailangi (13 mt).

Out of the total deposits found in Sukinda area, 18 million tonne are of inferior quality, says the state steel and mines minister, Raghunath Mohanty said.

The Kamakshyanagar in Dhenkanal district, which adjoins Sukinda valley, has about 4.42 million tonne reserve of chromite in locations like Sandhasar, Tulasiposhi, Haladigunda and Kathapal. The estimated reserves at Kathapal are 2 million tonne.

Mohanty said, the total chromite reserve of the state is estimated at 183 million tonne, out of which 177.42 million tonne occur in Sukinda and Kamakshyanagar area.

Srikant Jena: Overcoming obstacles at various stages (A Samaja portrait)

Central ministers from Odisha, Odisha personalities Comments Off on Srikant Jena: Overcoming obstacles at various stages (A Samaja portrait)

Cosmopolis in Bhubaneswar: Ad in samaja

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, National biggies 1 Comment »

India needs an inclusive national alternative to Congress; BJP can reinvent to be that, but it needs to drastically change its track

Elections 2009 Comments Off on India needs an inclusive national alternative to Congress; BJP can reinvent to be that, but it needs to drastically change its track

In some of my earlier postings, I mentioned this. See the following:

Now many others have similar thoughts, including some of the insiders and some people from the Sangh Parivaar. Here is a sample.

  • Vaidya of RSS : "the BJP has failed to convey the real meaning of ‘Hindutva’ to the people (in the recent elections). Probably, they thought they were not deemed to climb the pedestal of power with ‘Hindutva’ line. Hence, BJP should now disassociate itself with ‘Hindutva’." … He said BJP mentioned ‘Hindutva’ in its election manifesto in recent Lok Sabha elections but it "miserably failed to attract" the common voters and citizens in the country".
  • Vir Sanghvi – The middle class has rejected BJP’s definition of Indianness: "…A new middle class did emerge. It did reject the Nehruvian consensus. It did embrace conspicuous consumption. And yes, it clasped the BJP to its collective bosom.   The party, which had hovered around the fringes of national politics for decades in various guises, suddenly became the party of a certain kind of educated Indian. The new BJP pandered to middle class sentiment, to middle class prejudice and to middle class grievances.   By 2002 or so, things had got to the stage where history books were being re-written, where Jawaharlal Nehru was being routinely derided as the man responsible for India’s poverty, and where L.K. Advani could confidently proclaim that the BJP was now the natural party of governance.   And yet, just seven years later, the party seems to be over. …

    what happened to the new middle class and its affinity with the BJP? Over the last five years, prosperity has actually increased. And yet, the rejection of the Nehruvian consensus has tapered off. Nor do the issues that once defined the new middle class now seem to matter that much.

       We see this most clearly in the change in the middle class approach to the Hindu-Muslim issue. In the 1980s, the BJP built on Hindu anger. It said that Hindus had been humiliated by Sikhs in the Punjab. Now, they were faced with fanatical Muslims who refused to return the sacred birthplace of Ram, preferring to protect a mosque that was itself a symbol of Hindu humiliation. Worst of all, the secular Congress was backing Muslims against Hindus. … 

    Because that approach worked for so many years, the BJP tried a variation at this election. Hindus were being attacked by Muslim terrorists. These terrorists could easily be locked up but the Congress refused to re-impose POTA for fear of losing Muslim votes. But this time, the middle class paid no attention. And as for the whole Ayodhya issue, middle class voters seemed embarrassed that in the 21st century they should be asked to debate India’s future on the basis of a dispute over a medieval mosque.

       We see the change in the way the middle class has rejected the BJP’s definition of Indianness. In 2004, Sushma Swaraj was able to go on TV to declare that she would shave her head in protest if a foreigner became Prime Minister. Now, nobody cares about the foreign origin issue. When you watch TV footage of Sushma’s outburst today, she just seems silly and overwrought.  So it is with ‘Indian culture’. The last BJP government demanded that DD newsreaders increase the sleeve-lengths of their blouses and routinely denounced MTV. Throughout the BJP’s term in office, cinema halls were regularly attacked and film shootings disrupted on the grounds that Indian culture was being undermined.

       Now, when the Ram Sene attacks women for going to pubs or the lunatic fringe of the Parivar tries to disrupt Valentine’s Day, the protests come from the entire middle class. Nor are the attacks on cinema halland film crews that common. For instance, Deepa Mehta could easily shoot Water in today’s India. …

    Nowhere is the transformation clearer than in the attitude to Narendra Modi. I accept that most middle-class people do not necessarily regard him as a mass murderer in the way that I do. But equally, you cannot deny that his brand of hate-filled demagoguery makes the middle class nervous.

     People want stability even more than they want development. They do not want the politics of hate and communal tension. And at some level, they are embarrassed by the way the world looks at us after the Gujarat riots and by Modi’s pariah status in many Western countries.   What’s made the difference? Here’s my theory. I reckon that the middle class today is more homogenous and more mature than it was even five years ago. The new middle class has lost its sense of grievance; it has lost the outsider’s desire to overturn the ruling consensus; and it has gone past the issues on which the BJP’s appeal is based.

  • Sudheendra Kulkarni in Tehelka: "… Why did the BJP invite this weakness upon itself? The reason has to do with the widespread ideological confusion within the party over what the BJP’s advocacy of Hindutva actually means. The confusion has persisted for a long time, but it intensified after the defeat of the BJP/NDA in 2004. There was a strong view within a section of the party — and a much stronger and almost unanimous view within the larger Sangh Parivar — that the Vajpayee’s government was defeated because the BJP had “abandoned Hindutva”. The argument went like this: “In its bid to form the NDA government, the BJP kept aside its core ideological commitments on the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, the abrogation of Article 370 and the Uniform Civil Code. The Hindu voters, who had enabled the BJP to emerge as a strong force in Indian politics in the late 1980s and 1990s, felt let down by this. In 2004, the BJP again kept the Hindutva issues in cold storage and made development its main plank. This further disillusioned the Hindu voters. Their indifference led to the party’s defeat in 2004.” In the aftermath of the setback in 2009, many angry voices have again blamed the party leadership, Advani in particular, for the same reason — “You lost because you abandoned Hindutva.” t’s a deeply flawed view. It errs in believing that the BJP’s Hindu base is synonymous with the totality of Hindu voters. The fact is, Hindus never vote as a block for any particular party. There is only a small section of Hindus who have voted as Hindus for what they perceived as a pro-Hindu party — the Jana Sangh in the past and the BJP in later years. Their number increased dramatically in the late 1980s and early 1990s due to the Ayodhya movement, which, for about ten years, caught the imagination of a large section of the Hindu society. However, the BJP’s rising strength in the late 1990s was also on account of another important factor, which had nothing “Hindu” about it: the people’s desire to give the BJP also an opportunity to govern the country. This desire was further whetted by Vajpayee’s pan-Indian popularity, as was evident from the appeal of the slogan “Sabko dekha baari baari, Ab ki baari Atal Behari”.

    If the BJP’s electoral success in 1998 and 1999 was due to factors beyond what are narrowly seen as “Hindutva” issues, subsequent events have proved beyond a shadow of doubt that the party’s Hindu base is small even within Hindu society, not to speak of the electorate as a whole. This small Hindu base on its own can never bring the party to power at the Centre. … At a broader level, it is high time the BJP seriously debated and decided what it means by ‘Hindutva’, and also what formulations of ‘Hindutva’ are not acceptable to it. True, the BJP must remain an ideology-driven party. But without clarity on what the BJP’s ideology is, the party cannot win the support of more Hindus, let alone the support of Muslims and Christians. Understood as ‘Cultural Nationalism’ in an inclusive, integrative and noncommunal sense, Hindutva indeed defines the organizing and sustaining principle of the Indian Nation. However, just as the noble principle of secularism can be perverted and practiced for politically expedient reasons — the selfstyled ‘secular’ parties have indeed done it to isolate the BJP — Hindutva is also vulnerable to narrow interpretations and bigoted practice. …

  • Pratap Bhanu Mehta – Party of little men: "… This is a real shame, because India needs a good Opposition party. It also needs a sensible conversation about many of the issues the BJP raised before it completely lost track of what it stood for. But all the recipes being proposed: the BJP should ideologically reinvent itself, it should jettison the RSS, it should be forward looking, face one obstacle. Who will bell the cat? Is there any leader amongst this lot who has the minimal credibility to take the party in any direction?"
  • Sundeep Dougal’s roundup at
  • Kingshuk Nag in Times of India.

Talcher FCI revival; a good first step for Srikant Jena but he needs to get the Paradeep PCPIR approved and establish a NIPER in Orissa

Angul, Anugul- Talcher - Saranga- Nalconagar, Central ministers from Odisha, Chemicals, Daily Pioneer, Fertilizers, Jagatsinghpur, Odisha and Center, Paradip - Jatadhari - Kujanga, Samaja (in Odia) 5 Comments »

Following is from Samaja:

Following is from a report in Economic Times:

Union minister of state for chemicals and fertilizer, Srikant Jena on Sunday said the fertilizer plant at Talcher, 126 km from here would be revived with an investment

of Rs 12,000 crore. It provided direct and indirect employment to 30000 people in the area.

“The government will appoint consultants to suggest the modalities to raise finance, identify appropriate technology to revive the closed fertiliser unit at Talcher”, Mr Jena told ET.

The union government already had decided to revive Talcher plant. In fact, last October the Cabinet had set up an Empowered Committee of Secretaries under the chairmanship of Fertiliser Secretary Atul Chaturvedi to come up with possible financial models for the revival of the closed plants at Talcher, Barauni, Haldia, Ramagundam, Durgapur, Gorakhpur, Korba and Sindri.

The Talcher plant had liabilities of over Rs 4000 crore and assets worth of Rs 225 crore. “The liabilities comprise of mostly loans from the government of India and interest on loans. This can be waived once all the modalities of revival are worked out. We propose to expand its capacity to 12 million ton per annum [TPA].

Commercial production of Ammonia and Urea at the Talcher unit commenced in November 1980. Urea and Ammonia plants have been designed with a capacity to produce 4.95 lakh and 2.97 lakh tpa respectively.

However production of Urea and Ammonia was first suspended from April 1, 1999 due to its economic non-viability. In 2002, it came to grinding halt after the NDA government decided to close the unit following BIFR sanction.

Last year, the union government decided to renew Talcher unit and consulted with the companies like the Rashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers and National Fertilisers. It even decided to put in an investment of Rs 5,000 crore in the project in view of the ambitious target of production of 40 million tpa of urea by 2012.

… RCF is the only profit making public sector fertilizer company which has evinced interest to take over Talcher and Durgapur (West Bengal) Fertilizer plant for revival. In fact, the feasibility report on Talcher had already been submitted to RCF.

The revival plan included proposal to convert Talcher plant from a coal based urea plant to a gas-based urea unit with capacity to produce 2000 ton of ammonia per day. There is no problem of water in Talcher, non-availabilty of gas remains the biggest hurdle in the way of reviving the plant. There is no source of gas nearby.

The proposed gas pipe line to be laid by Reliance Industries carrying gas from Krishna-Godavari basin to West Bengal via Bhadrak in Orissa could be the solution, sources said. However, the ministry will take a final view after the consultants submit detailed report on the financial model and technological options available for the revival of the Talcher unit.

Following is from a report in Pioneer:

Union Minister of State for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikant Jena has to push a few major projects for Orissa, feel industry watchers. One of the largest projects waiting for clearance is the Petroleum, Chemical and Petrochemical Investment Region (PCPIR) project at Paradip.

The State Government has proposed a PCPIR expecting an investment of Rs 2.75 lakh crore.

While PCPIRs have been approved for Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, the fate of Orissa’s proposal for it is still hanging. The PCPIR policy, notified in April 2007, seeks to ensure adoption of a holistic approach to the development of global scale industrial clusters in the petroleum, chemical and petrochemical sectors in an integrated and environment-friendly manner.

The Government of Orissa has taken the Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) as the anchor investor. The IOCL is investing nearly Rs 30,000 crore for a greenfield refinery project at Paradip. The PCPIR proposal is, however, gathering dust in the files of the Ministry. So, it is high time Jena pushed the project to the Union Cabinet for approval by convincing the Cabinet-rank Minister MK Ajhagiri.

With this single clearance, Paradip will be in a position to attract huge investments in the petroleum, petrochemicals, fertilisers and other related areas. Similarly, Jena can push for the establishment of a NIPER (National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research) in Orissa.

Orissa’s debt burden is at 50,000 crores now: Samaja

Loans Comments Off on Orissa’s debt burden is at 50,000 crores now: Samaja

I think the fact that the debt has doubled in 10 years is not necessarily a concern. My guess is that the annual budget of Orissa has probably quadrapled during that time. (As a related data point, the planning commission outlay for Orissa was Rs 5105 crores in 2007-08 and is Rs 9500 crores in 2009-10.) That plus the recent debt swap they did to reduce the intetrest rates means the percentage of annual budget going towards debt servicing has reduced. Nevertheless, the government should be concerned about the size of the debt.

Budget details and its analysis in a Samaja Editorial

Budget, State, State Ministers Comments Off on Budget details and its analysis in a Samaja Editorial



Using National Waterways 1 and 5 one can go from Talcher to Allahabad

National Waterway 5 Comments Off on Using National Waterways 1 and 5 one can go from Talcher to Allahabad

Maps of National Waterway 1 and 5 are given below.

There is a definite action plan for the construction of National Waterway 1. See details at  It seems a major part of National Waterway 1 is scheduled to finish by 2010. National waterway 5 is a longer project and once it starts it is scheduled to take 8 years. Following is information on the current plans regarding National Waterway 5.


The stretches of the waterway (1095 kms) which has been declared as National Waterway (NW) are as follows

  • East Coast Canal ( Geonkhali- Charbatia) – 217 km
  • Matai river (Charbatia- Dhamra) – 40 km
  • River Brahmani (Talcher- Dhamra) – 265 km
  • Mahanadi delta rivers (Mangalgadi- Paradip) – 101 km Total 623 km

* The waterway is located in the States of West Bengal (91 km) and Orrissa (532 km)
* For Brahmani- Kharsua-Dhamra River, Matai river and Mahanadi delta portion(406 km), the waterway is proposed to be developed with 45 m wide and 2 m deep navigational channel while for East Coast Canal portion (217 km), with 32 m wide and 1.5 m deep navigational channel.
* Developmental works envisaged are as follows:

  • Widening of narrow canal
  •  Dredging, Excavation
  •  Bank protection
  • Construction of barrages in Brahmani river at 5 places
  • Repair of locks
  • Modification of bridges & roads
  • Navigational aids
  • Setting up of IWT terminals (all terminals are in Orissa)

* Estimated Cost of development works (Rs 1526 crore- At 2002 prices)

  • Fairway development – 1271(Cost of barrages Rs 900 cr)
  • Navigational Aids – 11
  • Terminals – 242
  • Setting up of office – 2

              Total 1526

*The cost given above is at 2002 rates as indicated by the Consultant earlier. They are revising the cost and the current cost is likely to be of the order of Rs 2950-3000 cr as tentatively informed by them
* Period of implementation- 8 years
* Identified cargo- Coal, fertilizer, cement, iron ore, paddy, rice, seeds, coconut, wheat, sugar, edible oils, bamboo, straw, jute, industrial products etc.

Governor’s address to OLA: Where Orissa stands and what was achieved during the last five years (Samaja)

State of the state Comments Off on Governor’s address to OLA: Where Orissa stands and what was achieved during the last five years (Samaja)

Updates on Vedanta operations in Orissa

Aluminium, Anil Agarwal, Bauxite, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Coal, HEALTHCARE and HOSPITALS, Jharsugurha, Kalahandi, Medical, nursing and pharmacy colleges, TOI, Economic Times, Vedanta Comments Off on Updates on Vedanta operations in Orissa

Following is an excerpt from a report in Economic Times.

As regards Orissa projects, where 80% of the employees are from the state, we have resolved not to go for any layoff. In fact, we are appointing more and more people in our projects here,” Vedanta Group chairman Anil Agarwal told reporters here on Saturday on the sidelines of his first meeting with Orissa chief minister Naveen Patnaik after the latter swept the just concluded polls.

Mr Agarwal claimed that Vedanta had already invested Rs 25,000 crore of its promised Rs 50,000 crore investment in the state. “The rest will be spent in the next two years”, he assured.

Meanwhile, the VAL had secured Stage I clearance for mining of bauxite in Niyamgiri hills to feed its Lanjigarh project. …

Mr Agarwal also stated that Vedanta had got coal block for its Jharsuguda smelter project and it will soon start coal mining. To a query on the University project, Mr Agarwal said: “We are going to start our university project very soon.”

Mr Agarwal hoped that the state government would soon pass the Vedanta University Bill in the Assembly. “We have already submitted all papers to the state government required for passing of the Vedanta University Bill. I hope it will be passed in the House shortly,” he added.

He informed that Anil Agarwal Foundation – which is setting up a world class university at Puri that includes a 1000-bed hospital – will have its extended centre in Bhubaneswar. “During the meeting, the CM was contemplating if we have can have an extended centre of our hospital project in Bhubaneswar to set up a trauma centre for burn and coma patients. We have in fact agreed for it,” he said.

Excerpts from the Presidents’ speech to the new parliament on 4th June 2009

Aaam Admi Bima Yojana, ADMINISTRATION & REPs, Agricultural insurance, Bharat Nirman Program, E-governance, Elections 2009, Fishermen insurance, Health insurance for BPL workers, Health insurance for weavers, Marquee Institutions: existing and upcoming, National Food ... (NFSM), National Old Age Pension (NOAP), NFBS, NMBS, NOAPS, NREGS, NSAP: NOAPS, NFBS, NMBS, NURM, JNNURM, PPP, RURAL & SPECIAL PROGRAMS, Universities: existing and upcoming Comments Off on Excerpts from the Presidents’ speech to the new parliament on 4th June 2009

The whole speech is at Following are excerpts. The underlining and other emphasis is mine.

18. The flagship programmes which my Government introduced have moved the country towards inclusive development. It would be our endeavour to consolidate these programmes in the next five years. The National Rural Employment Guarantee Act has proved to be what it promised-an effective social protection measure and the largest programme in the world for rural reconstruction. Its transformational potential is unfolding before our eyes. My Government would enlarge the scope of works permitted under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Act presently limited to unskilled manual work. The opportunity for improving land productivity through the NREGA will be maximized through better convergence of NREGA with other programmes. To ensure transparency and public accountability, independent monitoring and grievance redressal mechanisms will be set up at the district level.

19. The National Rural Health Mission has begun to strengthen rural public health infrastructure. The Mission would be consolidated to make perceptible reduction in infant mortality and maternal mortality in the next five years. Vaccine producing institutes in the public sector will be revived to support the immunization programme. My Government will expand the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana to cover all families below the poverty line in the next five years. Malnutrition has emerged as a major health challenge needing urgent response. Hence the nutrition delivery programme will be comprehensively revamped to bring it under the watch of panchayat institutions and move to provision of hot cooked meals in anganwadis.

20. Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has been able to provide access to children to elementary schools and retention has increased on account of the universal mid-day meal programme. The focus will be on making quality education a right through the enactment of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill now under consideration of Parliament. The Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan will universalize access to secondary education. The massive expansion in higher education through new institutions under implementation in the Eleventh Plan will enable the country to meet the challenge of education in full measure. In the last five years, a wide range of scholarships and educational loans was introduced for the needy and deserving students. This effort will be reviewed and further strengthened. Government’s strategy for higher education will be formulated around a three-fold objective of expansion, inclusion and excellence. The suggestions given by the National Knowledge Commission will guide the formulation and implementation of the strategy.

21. While male literacy went up to over 75 percent in the last census and is expected to be higher now, female literacy was only 54 percent in 2001. My Government will recast the National Literacy Mission as a National Mission for Female Literacy to make every woman literate in the next five years. Increased female literacy is expected to become a force multiplier for all our social development programmes.

22. My Government launched Bharat Nirman five years ago as a time-bound business plan for rural infrastructure. It has succeeded in reaching basic infrastructure of roads, electricity and telephone to a large number of villages. It has also achieved most of the targets of rural water supply, rural housing and has increased irrigation potential. The remaining tasks will be completed in the second phase of Bharat Nirman. It is also proposed to set enhanced targets for Bharat Nirman in the second phase.

The Indira Awas Yojana, which exceeded the original target of sixty lakh houses for the period 2004-2009, will now take up double the target of rural housing to one crore twenty lakh houses to be completed in the next five years.

Rural Water supply programme will be completed by 2011 and handed over to be managed by panchayats in the next Plan.

The rural telecommunication target will be set at reaching 40% rural teledensity in the next five years and expanding broadband coverage to connect every panchayat to a broadband network in three years. The scheme for Common Service Centres or e-kiosks will be suitably repositioned to be a network of panchayat-level Bharat Nirman Common Service Centres to provide government services to citizens in rural areas.

– New targets would be set for rural electrification, irrigation and road connectivity.

23. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) with approval of projects of nearly Rs. 50,000 crore in the last four years is reshaping our cities and has been widely welcomed. It will continue to focus on infrastructure, basic services and governance reform and increase support to cities to upgrade public transport. Over 15 lakh houses are under construction for the urban poor. There is a need to focus urban housing programmes on the poor living in slums. My Government proposes to introduce a Rajiv Awas Yojana for the slum dwellers and the urban poor on the lines of the Indira Awas Yojana for the rural poor. The schemes for affordable housing through partnership and the scheme for interest subsidy for urban housing would be dovetailed into the Rajiv Awas Yojana which would extend support under JNNURM to States that are willing to assign property rights to people living in slum areas. My Government’s effort would be to create a slum free India in five years through the Rajiv Awas Yojana.

24. My Government proposes to enact a new law — the National Food Security Act — that will provide a statutory basis for a framework which assures food security for all. Every family below the poverty line in rural as well as urban areas will be entitled, by law, to 25 kilograms of rice or wheat per month at Rs. 3 per kilogram. This legislation will also be used to bring about broader systemic reform in the public distribution system.

26. Over 50 percent of our population is below 25 years of age and their creative energy is our greatest strategic resource. The challenge is to invest in their education, employability and employment. India has the capacity to contribute to a fourth of the global work force if it invests in skill development of its youth. Education which provides employable skills holds the key for equal opportunities for Other Backward Classes, Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, and Minorities. My Government has in the last five years brought in legal changes and investment in this direction. These would be consolidated. Besides making massive investment in education, government will focus on the national skill development initiative that has commenced operation with the very ambitious goal of creation of 500 million skilled people by 2022 so that we realize the demographic dividend.

27. The implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act would be monitored to ensure that all title deeds are distributed by end of 2009.

29. The Amendment Bill to the Land Acquisition Act and the Rehabilitation and Resettlement Bill prepared to protect farmers and others dependent on farming from unfair displacement and which was placed before Parliament could not be carried through. It will be our endeavour to have these bills reintroduced and enacted in the budget session of Parliament.

30. My Government considerably enhanced provisions for social security through old age pension for all people below the poverty line and above 65 years of age, all handicapped people and all widows above the age of forty. It will examine extending social protection to other persons at special risk. Social security schemes for other occupations like landless labour, weavers, fisherfolk, toddy tappers, leather workers, plantation labour, construction labour, mine workers and beedi workers will be appropriately expanded.

32. My Government will initiate steps within the next hundred days on the following measures:

Restructuring the Backward Regions Grant Fund, which overlaps with other development investment, to focus on decentralized planning and capacity building of elected panchayat representatives. The next three years would be devoted to training panchayat raj functionaries in administering flagship programmes;

A public data policy to place all information covering non-strategic areas in the public domain. It would help citizens to challenge the data and engage directly in governance reform;

– Increasing transparency and public accountability of NREGA by enforcing social audit and ensuring grievance redressal by setting up district level ombudsman;

Strengthening Right to Information by suitably amending the law to provide for disclosure by government in all non-strategic areas;

– Strengthening public accountability of flagship programmes by the creation of an Independent Evaluation Office at an arm’s distance from the government catalysed by the Planning Commission. It would work on a network model by collaborating with leading social science research organizations and concurrently evaluate the impact of flagship programmes and place it in the public domain;

– Establishing mechanisms for performance monitoring and performance evaluation in government on a regular basis;

– Five Annual Reports to be presented by government as Reports to the People on Education, Health, Employment, Environment and Infrastructure to generate a national debate;

– Facilitating a Voluntary Technical Corps of professionals in all urban areas through JNNURM to support city development activities;

– Enabling non government organisations in the area of development action seeking government support through a web-based transaction on a government portal in which the status of the application will be transparently monitorable;

Provision of scholarships and social security schemes through accounts in post offices and banks and phased transition to smart cards;

– Revamping of banks and post offices to become outreach units for financial inclusion complemented by business correspondents aided by technology;

Electronic governance through Bharat Nirman common service centres in all panchayats in the next three years;

– A model Public Services Law, that covers functionaries providing important social services like education, health, rural development etc. and commits them to their duties, will be drawn up in consultation with states;

A National Council for Human Resources in Health as an overarching regulatory body for the health sector to reform the current regulatory framework and enhance supply of skilled personnel;

A National Council for Higher Education as recommended by the Yashpal Committee and the National Knowledge Commission to bring in reform of regulatory institutions;

Develop a "brain gain" policy to attract talent from all over the world into the 14 universities proposed in the 11th plan to position them as "Innovation Universities";

– A roadmap for judicial reform to be outlined in six months and implemented in a time-bound manner;

– Targeted identification cards would subsume and replace omnibus Below Poverty Line (BPL) list. NREGA has a job card and the proposed Food Security Act would also create a new card. Identification of beneficiaries for other programmes which currently use the omnibus BPL list would improve identification based on programme objectives with the common underlying principle that all identification of beneficiaries will be done through gram sabhas and urban local bodies and the list placed in the public domain to be open to challenge;

– A Delivery Monitoring Unit in the Prime Minister’s Office to monitor flagship programmes and iconic projects and report on their status publicly;

– Suitably institutionalized quarterly reporting on Flagship programmes as "Bharat Nirman Quarterly Reports" where Ministers would publicly report on progress through the media.

33. Infrastructure is a fundamental enabler for a modern economy and infrastructure development will be a key focus area for the next five years. Public investment in infrastructure is of paramount importance. Bottlenecks and delays in implementation of infrastructure projects because of policies and procedures, especially in railways, power, highways, ports, airports and rural telecom will be systematically removed. Public-private partnership (PPP) projects are a key element of the strategy. A large number of PPP projects in different areas currently awaiting government approval would be cleared expeditiously. The regulatory and legal framework for PPPs would be made more investment friendly. My Government will continue its special emphasis on infrastructure development in the North-East and Jammu and Kashmir and enhance connectivity to these regions.

34. Our fellow citizens have every right to own part of the shares of public sector companies while the government retains majority shareholding and control. My Government will develop a roadmap for listing and people-ownership of public sector undertakings while ensuring that government equity does not fall below 51 %.

35. My Government is firmly committed to maintaining high growth with low inflation, particularly in relation to prices of essential agricultural and industrial commodities. It will steadfastly observe fiscal responsibility so that the ability of the Centre to invest in essential social and economic infrastructure is continuously enhanced. This will require that all subsidies reach only the truly needy and poor sections of our society. A national consensus will be created on this issue and necessary policy changes implemented.

36. My Government has been able to significantly increase realization of direct taxes as a result of improved and simplified tax administration and this process will continue. The roadmap for moving towards a Goods and Services Tax will be vigorously pursued. My Government is fully seized of the issue of illegal money of Indian citizens outside the country in secret bank accounts. It will vigorously pursue all necessary steps in coordination with the countries concerned.

37. Coordinated action for energy would be guided by the integrated energy policy. The effort would be to see that at least 13,000 MW of generating capacity is added each year through a mix of sources -coal, hydel, nuclear and renewables. Village and rural household electrification and reduction in aggregate technical and commercial losses will continue to be given the highest priority. Competitiveness and efficiency in the power sector will be enhanced through time-bound measures, including operationalising the provision of open access.

38. The pace of oil and gas exploration will be intensified and India’s oil diplomacy aggressively pursued. Reforms in the coal sector, for which a detailed blueprint has been prepared, will be pursued with urgency. The international civil nuclear agreements will be operationalised with various countries even as domestic sources of uranium are exploited and work continues on the indigenously designed fast breeder and thorium reactors.

39. My Government will ensure that our space programme which has achieved wide recognition continues to bring rich dividends to society in agriculture, tele-medicine, tele-education and by providing information to rural knowledge centres, besides contributing to telecommunication, television broadcasting and weather forecasting. Several innovative initiatives commenced by government in the science and technology sector in the last five years and now under implementation will be further strengthened.

40. My Government is proactively addressing issues of climate change through eight national missions. Of these the National Solar Mission, the National Water Mission, the National Mission on Energy Efficiency, the National Mission on Sustainable Agriculture and the National Mission on Sustainable Habitat will be launched by the end of this year. The National Ganga River Basin Authority, set up recently will evolve a new action plan for cleaning and beautifying the river in partnership with the basin states.

Bhavna Pani is Bharati in “Bharati: the wonder that is India”

Odisha artists, Odisha personalities Comments Off on Bhavna Pani is Bharati in “Bharati: the wonder that is India”

Bharati: the wonder that is India is a musical extravaganza that is touring in various countries, mostly in Europe. Following is what their web page says about the show.

‘Bharati’ is a musical extravaganza, a delectable composite mix of the varied dances, music and folk traditions of India. Over the space of 90 minutes, the audience is guided through a brief but scintillating sampling of India’s rich and breath-taking diversity. Though just a glimpse, the selections hint at the hidden treasures of this vast and enchanting land; its regional, linguistic, historical and philosophical diversity; its myriad peoples, life-styles and traditions.

Due to continuous reinvention and renewal, these traditions appear to be in a state of constant flux. A taste of this infinite variety is offered in a show that is at once entertaining and intriguing. In making the selection, one of the guiding principles has been the search for elements with enduring appeal.

Music, dance and performance traditions have shaped the ‘collective consciousness’ of the Indian diaspora worldwide, and kept India alive in its collective imagination. Ingredients of popular culture have served as inspiration and link to Indian traditions and heritage. This show is at once a celebration of the vitality of these traditions and an invitation to sample and participate in their unique energy.

The namesake role of the show (Bharati) is done by Bhavna Pani from Orissa. Her introduction in their web page is as follows:

Bhavna was trained in the Odissi Classical dance school under Gurus Mahapatra and Attibudhi. Has won the All India Dance Competition and the Sringar Title (2001) by Sur Sringar Samsad. Danced at the Terrence Lewis Contemporary Dance Company and included performing in many stage productions Featured in films (Vettam, Yuvaraja, Tere Liye.) and TV Commercials.

Following are some youtube clips of the show.

BHEL second unit to open in Trichy

Demanding equitable treatment, INDUSTRY and INFRASTRUCTURE 1 Comment »

Following is an excerpt from a report in Business Standard.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is likely to inaugurate the second unit of state-run Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) in Tiruchirapalli by the end of this month, a top company official said here today.

"The Rs 750 crore plant is ready and we are waiting for dates from the Prime Minister’s Office to confirm his visit to Tiruchirapalli to inaugurate the plant," BHEL Tiruchirapalli complex Executive Director V Ananthakrishnan told reporters here.     

"Already we are recruiting 1,000 candidates per year and this year too we will recruit another 1000," he said, adding they would continue to recruit candidates at the same pace over the next three years.      

Orissa should make efforts to have similar non-metal processing and non-thermal power related public sector units in Orissa.

Road broadening plans for Bhubaneswar – Samaja

Bhubaneswar, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Khordha, Roads, highways and Bus stands Comments Off on Road broadening plans for Bhubaneswar – Samaja

Following are some of the items mentioned in the article below:

An afternoon-evening trip to Chandaka-Dampada Sanctuary

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Chandaka, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Khordha Comments Off on An afternoon-evening trip to Chandaka-Dampada Sanctuary

I finally decided to visit the Chandaka-Dampada Sanctuary which is adjacent to Bhubaneswar. We entered the sanctuary through the Godibari gate.

The above sign was visible from the road.

The above is the outer gate to the sanctuary.

The inner gate is beautifully made.

As soon as you enter the gate the above is the view of the forest with a dirt road bisecting it.

Looking back at the gate one can see the moat and the mechanism to prevent the elephants to get out. However, the elephants do get in and out of the sanctuary through other gaps in the boundary moat.

The dirt road has signs to a few destination points; the first one being the Kumar Khunti watch tower.

On the way we pass through an old structure that was part of the fort of the local king.

The above is the view from the top of a watch tower looking towards the dirt road that took us there.

In the other direction there is a lake.

About 100 yards from the watch tower there is a man made salt mound to attract the elephants.

The watch tower is a four story structure with two bed rooms in each of the second and third floors. Guests can stay there overnight. We peeked at the bath room. They looked clean. Near the watch tower there are huts where some staffs stay. The staff bring water to the watch tower rooms  and cook food for guests.

The above is a closer view of the salt mound.

Ambilo watchtower and Dampara gate are two other landmarks. Note the distance; 20 kms of forest road to the Ambilo watch tower. The whole sanctuary is 193 sq kms, almost as big as present day Bhubaneswar city limits.

With the dirt road giving us the view of only a very small part of the forest we did not see many animals. Above we saw  a few jungle fowls.

We also saw a few jungle peacocks.

This is the lake made due to the Deras dam.

Near the lake there were nicer guest houses. The elephants don’t come here. Hence they are not elephant proof.

The view of the Deras lake is beautiful. But it was getting dark. So I could not take very many pictures.

As it was getting dark and we did not have plans to make an overnight stay, we could not visit the Ambilo tower. We got out through the Kantabada gate which is near the Dearas dam.

Rourkela MLA and minister of state is in the right track; time for a CDP and a greater Rourkela

Central govt. schemes, Greater Rourkela, Masterplans & CDPs, Odisha MLAs, Rourkela- Kansbahal, State Ministers, Sundergarh 3 Comments »

Following is an excerpt from a report in

Minister of State (independent charge) for Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare Sarada Prasad Nayak today outlined his plans for all-round development of his home city Rourkela by including it in the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP).

Addressing mediapersons here, Nayak spoke about formation of greater Rourkela by including suburban pockets like Kalunga, Vedvyas and Fertiliser Township under the Central Government funded CDP. He said if everything goes as expected, in three years the Steel City would get a facelift with a fresh sewerage system, solid waste management project and rehabilitation of slum-dwellers on a 30-acre land. …