Archive for November, 2009

About 10 km of new lines will create a much shorter rail connection between Rourkela and Barbil

Keonjhar, SER, Sundergarh 3 Comments »

Please see below. I wonder why this is not being pursued?


Satus of application for Bauxite mining by the Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) through Vedanta in Kalahandi and Rayagada districts

Aluminium, Anil Agarwal, Bauxite, CENTER & ODISHA, Kalahandi, Rayagada, Vedanta Comments Off on Satus of application for Bauxite mining by the Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) through Vedanta in Kalahandi and Rayagada districts

Following is from PIB

Minister of State (Independent Charge) Shri Jairam Ramesh received a large number of representations in regard to the project for bauxite mining by the Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC). In a statement issued here today he said the projects are now being examined in the Ministry for approval or rejection so that there is no ambiguity and project proponents do not misuse the ‘in-principle’ approval. 

The following is the text of Shri Jairam Ramesh on the issue of bauxite mining in Orissa: 

“I have been receiving a large number of representations in regard to the project for bauxite mining by the Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) through Vedanta, a private mining company in Kalahandi and Rayagada districts of Orissa. The total amount of forest land proposed to be diverted is 660.749 ha., of which around 353.14 ha is in the Niyamgiri reserved forest. Concerns have also been raised on the impact that this project will, interalia, have on livelihoods of tribal communities. 

The project application was received in the Ministry of Environment & Forests (MoE&F) on February 26, 2005. The MoE&F gave ‘in-principle’ approval for this project on December 11,2008 under the Forest Conservation Act,1980. This ‘in-principle’ approval is to be converted to a final approval after the fulfillment of stipulations contained in the ‘in-principle’ approval. 

As the representations started coming in, on August 6, 2009 the MoE&F asked the Regional Chief Conservator of Forests, Bhubaneshwar to investigate complaints that project activities have started even without the final approval of the Central Government in violation of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980. The site was inspected and the site inspection report was submitted on August 16,2009. The site inspection report found that construction activity had begun in the non-forest revenue land. Technically this is not a violation of the law but it is a violation of the guidelines issued by the MoE&F which says that when a project involves non-forest and forest lands, construction in the non-forest land should not begin without clearance for activity in the forest land itself. A letter has been issued on November 25th,2009 to the Orissa Government asking for an explanation as to how the violation of this guideline has been permitted. 

On August 3, 2009, the MoE&F had issued a binding guideline to all State Governments that application for diversion under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 would be considered only after all due processes contained in the Scheduled Tribe and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act, 2006 have been fully and satisfactorily completed. A letter was subsequently issued by the MoE&F to the Orissa Government on November 3, 2009 directing the State to comply with the provisions of the Scheduled Tribe and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act, 2006 and provide evidence for the compliance before the Centre could examine conversion of the ‘in-principle’ approval to final approval. The reply of the state government is awaited. In addition, another site inspection team is being sent in the next one week to verify fresh allegations of violations of the terms of the ‘in-principle’ approval under Forest Conservation Act,1980. 

The new policy of the MoE&F does away with the concept of ‘in-principle’ approval. Projects are now being examined for approval or rejection so that there is no ambiguity and project proponents do not misuse the ‘in-principle’ approval.” 


Five interested for making port in Barunei Muhana, Kendrapada

Barunei, Kendrapada (many interested), Kendrapada 1 Comment »

Following is an excerpt from a report in Financial Express.

Besides ArcelorMittal, there are four others, Jamshedpur -based Adhunik Metaliks, Chennai-based SPI Ports Pvt Ltd and Sical Logistic Ltd besides Mundra Port and SEZ Limited, Mumbai has given proposals.

While Adhunik Metaliks proposed to set up a 10-30 million tonne (MT) capacity port at Barunai at an investment of Rs 1683.62 crore, SPI Ports expressed interest to build a 19.76- 41.79MT capacity port at an investment of Rs 1,550 crore.

Sical Logistic wanted to set up a 18-46MT capacity port at an estimated cost of Rs 2,500-3,600 crore and Mundra company proposed to invest Rs 5,000 crore, the minister said.

Trains to Parlakhemundi and Gunupur one step closer: Samaja

Gajapati, Naupada - Gunupur (Gauge conversion), Rayagada 1 Comment »

Assotech to bring Radisson hotel to Bhubaneswar; Maize processing complex proposed for Nabarangpur

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Food processing, Hotels and resorts, Khordha, Nabarangpur Comments Off on Assotech to bring Radisson hotel to Bhubaneswar; Maize processing complex proposed for Nabarangpur

Following are two excerpts from reports in Pioneer, one about Radisson and another about a maize processing complex.

Tourist activity mostly centred in Bhubaneswar, Puri and Konark, coupled with corporate houses and MNCs making a beeline to Odisha has made Assotech Group, a real estate developer, bring Radisson Hotels to Bhubaneswar, the leading upscale full service five-star hotel brand which will put Bhubaneswar on the global map of five star luxuries.

It is estimated that there is a current demand of around 1,000 rooms of five-star category hotel and 4,000 rooms of three-star category hotels in Bhubaneswar.


Kolkata-based Four Star Export House LMJ International Ltd and National Niryat Award winner in 2009 having Rs 2,000 crore of agri export during 2008 has proposed to set up a maize processing complex in Nabarangpur district.

… LMJ International is likely to start the unit as early as December this year, subject to approvals by the authorities.

… An exclusive port for export of processed fruits and vegetables has also been proposed by the company.

The Chief Executive Officer of the company made the proposal at a meeting in Bhubaneswar … which was convened as a follow-up to the meeting of Agri Business Summit Agro Protech 2009 held in Kolkata …


Bande Utkala Janani rendering by OTV

THINGS ODISHA N ODIA Comments Off on Bande Utkala Janani rendering by OTV

(Thanks to for the pointer. The lyric and the meaning in English are here.)

Pragyan Ojha is the third Odia to play test match for India and first Odia to play all three forms (test, one-day and 20-20): Samaja

Odisha personalities, Odisha sports 4 Comments »

Sangh parivar activists involved in Kandhamal riot:

Elections 2009 5 Comments »

Following is an excerpt from a report.

Members of the Sangh parivar were involved in the communal violence in Kandhamal which claimed at least 38 lives besides causing damage to 4640 houses, Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said on Monday.

"It is learnt from investigation into the riot cases that the members of RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal were involved in the violence that took place last year," Patnaik told the Assembly while replying to a question by a CPI member.

Sangh Parivar activists were arrested in this connection. Of them 85 were of the RSS and 321 members of VHP were rounded up on charge of riot. The number of Bajrang Dal workers arrested on charge of violence was 118, he said. …

Thank God the people of Orissa got rid of BJP from power. I hope they are completely wiped out in the next election. 

Oriya cuisine in Bangalore and Pune

Odia/Odisha cuisine 3 Comments »

Bangalore has a Oriya restaurant called Kalinga.

Pune has a restaurant that serves Oriya Cusine. Following is an excerpt from a review in

Hotel Sunrise
USP: The Oriya sea food

With hardly any places to eat out at Hinjewadi, the hub of Pune’s IT development, Hotel Sunrise that threw its doors open on January 17 this year, seems to have found just the niche it was looking for. Located in Phase II, the restaurant has yet another USP that should make food lovers seek it out-Oriya food. ‘‘There is no place in Pune that offers Oriya seafood the way we do-with complete authenticity,’’ says Manoj Patil, an FCI graduate, who put together the place that is already catering to a steady stream of IT professionals trooping into its ample premises.

So for those who’d like to have a taste of something different, try this out – Dalma served in an earthern pot, Mach Jhol, Potal Bhaja, Chinguro Bhaja, Tawa Roll, Muttom Kasa, Kebabs and Matka Dum Biryani.

Simple, uncluttered interiors, with 80 covers including a large garden area and a family room, make the place an ideal one for both a cosy meal or a large party. And despite the lip-smacking cuisine the prices are most reasonable too. So check it out.

J B (Janaki Bhallav) Patnaik appointed as Governor of Assam

Odisha personalities Comments Off on J B (Janaki Bhallav) Patnaik appointed as Governor of Assam

Following are some biographical pointers excerpted from this article in

JB born on 3 January, 1927 is one of the senior most leader of the Indian National Congress.

And as former Chief Minister of Odisha he served for the longest time on record. 

After the completion of his early education at Khurda High School, he passed his B.A. degree in Sanskrit from the Utkal University in 1947. 

He passed his M.A. degree in Political Science from the Banaras Hindu University in 1949. 

In 1950, he became the President of the Odisha State unit of the Youth Congress. 

He edited Prajatantra and Eastern Times for a long period.

In 1980, he became the Union Minister for Tourism, Civil Aviation and Labour. And later he took over as the Chief Minister of Odisha. 

He continued till 1989 and later in 1995 he became CM for the third time and handed over the reins to Giridhar Gamang in 1999. 

Later in 2004 he became the Leader of Opposition and continued till 2008. 

He is recognised as an eminent poet and writer, and has won awards from the Odisha Sahitya Akademi and Kendriya Sahitya Akademi.

HLCA approves 4-laning of Sambalpur-Rourkela via PPP: Dharitri

High Level Committee, Jharsugurha, PPP, Rourkela- Kansbahal, Sambalpur, Sambaplur- Burla- Bargarh- Chipilima, State highways, Sundergarh 3 Comments » has some interesting tidbits on this. Following is an excerpt.

Minister was speaking in the High Level Clearance Authority (HLCA) on 17 November.

HLCA Chaired by Naveen Patnaik cleared the proposal of 4-laning of Sambalpur-Rourkela Highway on PPP Mode with an investment of Rs.1270 crore.

He said by slapping tool tax on the commuters and funding the project is passé.

Now while roads are coming up in a big way, lands are identified at some vantage points by the side of the roads.

These places can be handed over to the developers so that they can develop shopping malls, housing projects and this should be included in the package.

And this initiative will lessen the burden of tax payers, who are forced to pay huge toll tax for years to come.

Secondly Minister said that while we are going for expansion of the Highways, encroachment of land is posing a big problem.

… It would be a better proposition to acquire land and lay the road in such a way that more space is left inwards.

So that later that space can be used for expansion of roads and no body will be able to encroach upon and inside the highway, said the Minister.

Orissa’s peeve with the center

CENTER & ODISHA, Demanding equitable treatment, Mine royalty and cess, Odisha Assembly, Odisha govt. action, Railway network in Odisha Comments Off on Orissa’s peeve with the center

Following is an excerpt from a report in Pioneer.

the BJD has decided to bring four resolutions against the Centre. “We will move resolution against the Centre for neglecting the cause of Odisha in the field of railway, for not increasing mine royalty in a regular manner and not giving its due share to the State, Centre’s negligence in providing help to the State to face the Maoist menace and Government’s failure to provide flood assistance to the State,” Mohanty added.

I agree with the above.


51-49 joint venture Hydro-power projects in Orissa by NHPC and OHPC

Hydro, Solar and other renewable Comments Off on 51-49 joint venture Hydro-power projects in Orissa by NHPC and OHPC

Following is an excerpt from a report in Business Standard.

The state owned power generator, Orissa Hydro Power Corporation (OHPC) will sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the National Hydro Power Corporation (NHPC) for developing some multi-purpose projects in the state with a generating capacity of above 25 Mw.

Together, these projects are expected to generate about 1500 Mw to 2000 Mw power. NHPC has in principle agreed to develop these projects though the number of projects is yet to be decided.

These multi-purpose projects are proposed to be implemented through joint venture (JV) with a shareholding of 51 percent by NHPC and 49 percent by OHPC. … A team of officials from NHPC has already visited the potential sites and completed the pre-feasibility studies.

The projects which have been identified to be implemented through JV are Sindol-I, Middle Kolab Hydro-Electric Project, Tel Integrated Project, Lower Vansadhara Project, Balijori Hydro-Electric Project, Salki Hydro-Electric Project, Uttei and Roul Integrated Project, Mahanadi-Brahmani river link and Baramul Hydro-Electric project.

Sources said, the state government is seeking 100 percent power from these projects and NHPC has sought permission from the Union power ministry to allow 100 percent power to Orissa. 

… It may be noted, the state government has signed MoU with private developers for developing 29 small hydro electric projects (SHEP) having capacity of less than 25 Mw.

Ikat Handloom Park to be established at Baragarh: Dharitri

Bargarh, Sambalpuri Sarees, Sambaplur- Burla- Bargarh- Chipilima Comments Off on Ikat Handloom Park to be established at Baragarh: Dharitri

Update: See also

Will Indian Railways listen to the planning commission?

Khurda Rd - Balangir (under constr.), Talcher - Bimlagarh (under constr.) Comments Off on Will Indian Railways listen to the planning commission?

Following is an excerpt from an article in Indian Express.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has, gently, turned the heat on absentee Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, asking her for a status report on the Railways in a fortnight.

 Forwarding a note by Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia on an assessment of the problems at Indian Railways and suggestions for a turnaround, Singh’s attempt seems to be two-fold: one, to prod Banerjee to give time to her Ministry and two, to get things moving in the Railways, so crucial to the country’s double-digit growth ambitions. …

Drawing a parallel with China, the Plan panel said that between 1990 and 2007, Indian Railways added only about 960 km while China added 20,000 km. China plans to add another 40,000 km in the next 10 years while India is currently doing around 250-300 km a year. “There can be no doubt that we should aim at adding 1,000 km a year for the next 10-12 years totaling 10,000 km of additional route length,” it said.

I hope Indian Railways figures out a way to add 10,000 kms of additional route length during the next 10 years. That would increase the chances of long languishing projects like the Khurda-Balangir line and the Talcher-Bimlagarh line being completed within that time.

Existing, Under Construction and planned ports of Orissa

Astaranga, Puri (Navayuga interested), Bahabalpur, Balasore (unlikely), Bahuda Muhana, Ganjam (many interested), Balasore, Baliharchandi, Puri (many interested), Barunei, Kendrapada (many interested), Bhadrakh, Chandbali, Chandipur, Balasore (Unlikely), Choumukha-Kirtania, Balasore (Creative ports, Chennai interested), Chudamani, Bhadrakh (Birlas interested), Dhamara port (under constr.), Ganjam, Gopalpur port (under constr.), Inchudi, Balasore (many interested), Jagatsinghpur, Jatadhari port (POSCO), Kendrapada, Overall Odisha, Palur, Ganjam (Future metals interested), Paradeep port, Puri, Talsari (Bichitrapur) - JSW interested 1 Comment »

Update:Tathya has a recent report on who is pursuing which port. Following is a table based on that info.

Port Company Interest in it
Talsari (Bichitrapur) JSW interested.
Kirtania (Subarnarekha mouth) Creative Ports signed MOU.
Bahabalpur DOD approval needed.  ???
Chandipur Defense Department objects.???
Inchudi IL&FS interested.
Chudamani Aditya Birla Group signed MOU.
Dhamara Tata Steel, L & T JV
Barunei Muhana Arcelor Mittal; Adhunik Metallics; SPI ports; Sical logistics; Mundra ports.
Paradeep Exists. PPL
Jatadhari Posco
Astaranga Navayuga group signed MOU. Shipyard proposed.
Baliharchandi Shyam group interested.
Palur Future metals; shipyard proposed.
Gopalpur OSL; shipyard proposed.
Bahuda Muhana (Sonapatipur) shipyard proposed. ???


Getting to the Gandhamardan Hills

Balangir, Bargarh, Gandhamardan Hill Range (needs to be made), Hills and hill stations, Nuapada, Railway maps, Road maps 2 Comments »

The two main access point to this hill is the Nrushinghanath Temple (Baragarh district) in the North side and the Harishankar temple and falls (Balangir district) in the south side. The road distance between the two is 40 kms and one can walk on the mountain top between these two places through a day long 16 km hike. The following three maps show these areas.


Chief Minister's actions, Land Distribution, Odisha govt. action Comments Off on CM’s speech on “IMPLEMENTATION STATUS OF SCHEDULED TRIBES AND OTHER TRADITIONAL FOREST DWELLERS (Recognition of Forest Rights) ACT 2006”

Following is from




New Delhi

November 4, 2009


Shri Naveen Patnaik, Hon’ble Chief Minister,  Orissa today attended the Conference of Chief Ministers, State Ministers (Tribal/Social Welfare and Forest departments) on "IMPLEMENTATION STATUS OF SCHEDULED TRIBES AND OTHER TRADITIONAL FOREST DWELLERS (Recognition of Forest Rights) ACT 2006" inaugurated by Dr. Manmohan Singh, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India at National Agriculture Science Centre, New Delhi. CM addressed the Conference and gave a vivid account of initiatives undertaken by the State Government for development of  Tribals  in  Orissa.


Chief Minister stated that Scheduled Tribes constitute almost a quarter  of the total population of the State and Orissa has the unique distinction of having 62 different types of Scheduled Tribe communities and 13 Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups (PTGs). He informed that the Government of Orissa has undertaken   several   steps to ensure all round development of the Scheduled Tribes (including the PTGs). The initiatives include setting up of 1004 ST Girl’s Hostels, enhancement of scholarship for ST Boys & Girls, establishment of 19 educational complexes in micro project areas for promotion of Girl’s education among the PTGs, establishment of one B.Ed Training College in Kandhamal, setting up of 11 Ekalavya Model Residential Schools etc. The State Government is also committed to establish another 5000 ST Girl’s Hostels over a period of five years to provide residential facilities for 5 lakh ST Girls, CM  stated.


Chief Minister further mentioned that after the promulgation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights Act), 2006, the Government of Orissa had taken pro-active measures to settle the land rights (both individual and community) in favour of the Tribals and other forest dwellers which they had been occupying/enjoying for ages without any legal record of rights. After vacation of the Stay Order of the Hon’ble High Court of Orissa on the distribution of Certificates of Title on 12th August, 2009, the State Government has been implementing the Act on a Mission mode, he informed.


CM stated  that substantial progress has been made on implementation of  the Forest Rights Act, 2006 and about 2.64 lakh cases have already been verified out of more than 3 lakh cases filed by the Tribals with the Forest Rights Committees (FRCs) as on 31st October 2009.  He further informed that the Gram Sabhas have approved about 2 lakh cases and out of which the Sub Divisional Level Committees have already  approved  72,000 cases. The District Level Committees have approved about 68,000 cases out of which Certificates of Title have been distributed to more than 55,000 cases. About 4,000 Certificates of Title have been distributed among the PTGs out of about 16,000 PTG families in the State.


Chief Minister stated that it might not be enough to only confer legal rights to the Tribals over the land and  suggested that steps should be initiated to provide irrigation facilities and improve  productivity of these lands by dovetailing various programmes  such as National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) etc. He also informed that the Government of Orissa had constituted a Watershed Mission to improve the productivity of rainfed lands and desired that  the Government of India  should support this programme so that it can be extended to  development of the  lands being settled with the Tribals. 



Nrusinghanatha and Harishankar Temples in Gandhamardana Hills

Balangir, Bargarh, Gandhamardan Hill Range (needs to be made), Hills and hill stations, Nature spots, Temples Comments Off on Nrusinghanatha and Harishankar Temples in Gandhamardana Hills

Following is from the site

Located in the sacred Gandhamardan Hills, which according to legends, Hanuman carried on his shoulders from the Himalayas as described in the ancient epic Ramayana, the temple at Nrusinghanath is an important pilgrimage site. It is also an exceedingly fascinating and beautifully  located temple and is worth the journey to this rather remote spot.

The present temple, located at the source of the Papaharini stream, is a 14th century structure built on a more ancient site. The four pillars within the Jagmohana suggest that the earlier temple was built in the 9th century. The beautiful doorframes have been dated to the 11th century.

The site of the temple is unique. Stone steps wind up the hillside behind the temple, leading past a  waterfall, and eventually curving under the falls to a spot where some beautiful, and very well- preserved relief sculptures are found. The climb to the carvings and return journey will take about an hour. Since shoes are not permitted on these sanctified pilgrimage steps, those with tender feet should take along a pair of heavy socks for the climb.

On the opposite slope of the hill on which the temple is located, is the Harishankar Temple. Between the two temples there is a 16 km. plateau, littered with Buddhist ruins that scholars feel may be the remains of the ancient university of Parimalagiri, referred to by the seventh-century Chinese traveler Hiuen T’sang as ‘Po-lo-mo-lo-ki-li’. The trek along this plateau is a long one, but for the serious student of history, it is an unforgettable experience.

Following is from

he Harishankar Falls is located in Balangir, on the Southern slope of the Gandhamardhan hills. The waters of the Harishankar Falls gushes down the slopes in a series of captivating waterfalls that creates an out of the world scene.

At a distance of about 81 Kilometers is located the pilgrimage site of Harishankar. This locations is encapsulated in the charm of nature and is the shrine of the dual Hindu deity, Hari and Shankar. A very holy place for both the Vaishnavs and the Shaivites, Harishankar is the popular pilgrimage spot. The Harishankar Falls is a part of this pious place and the water of the Harishankar Falls cascades down to the granite floor of the shrines. The Harishankar Falls also acts as a natural shower for the pilgrims.

The site has some beautiful pictures of the area.

The Gandhamardan Hill range (of Baragarh and Balangir districts) of Orissa is a treasure house of medicinal plants

Balangir, Bargarh, Gandhamardan Hill Range (needs to be made), Medicinal plants Comments Off on The Gandhamardan Hill range (of Baragarh and Balangir districts) of Orissa is a treasure house of medicinal plants

There seems to be at least two areas in Orissa named as Gandhamardan; the Gandhamardan hills of Baragarh and Balangir districts and the Gandhamardan peak of Keonjhar. Recently wrote about an appeal by Dr. Sanjib Karmee about the Gandhamardan hills of Bragarh-Balangir. The well researched appeal prompted me to do some more research and based on that I suggest that the Government of Orissa push the Government of India to declare the whole of Gandhamardan Hill as a national botanical heritage and reserve and create several research centers on ayurveda, medicine, pharmacy, forestry, just outside of that area.

Following are some excerpts from old news about Gandhamardan hill in Bragarh-Balangir.

1. Excerpts from a June 17, 2008 article in Business Standard:

When Balco tried to obtain a mining lease for Gandamardhan 22 years ago, veteran activists like Anil Agarwal of the Centre for Science and Environment, Sunderlal Bahuguna and the Gandhamardan Yuva Surakshya Sena fought the company tooth and nail. The state government had given in to the activists’ demands then.

… The destruction of local flora and fauna and the disruption of cultural life of the mostly tribal communities in the area are also cited as reasons for opposing these projects.

Another sensitive aspect of the opposition is the religious significance of the hill for both tribal communities in the area and Hindus.

The hill is mentioned in the epic Ramayana. According to legend, the mythological Hanuman plucked a portion of the hill to heal Lakshmana during the battles in Lanka.

The two sides of the slopes also have ancient temples that are significant to local faiths — the Nrusingha Nath temple on the Bargarh side of the hill and the Harshankar temple on the Balangir side.

The hill is rich in herbal wealth and ayurveda colleges are situated on both sides, said environment activist in Orissa, Ranjan Panda.

2. February 24, 2007 ANI article in

In a novel initiative, the Orissa Government has commenced a project to promote medicinal plantation at Gandhamardan Hills in Bolangir District.

Besides, the project also aims at uplifting the tribals’ life, residing in the hills’ vicinity, which are famous for their natural scenic panorama of rivulets and medicinal plants. ccording to the Divisional Forest Officer of the range, the tribes are now earning much more than before as the society purifies the minor forest produce and after proper packing, sell them in the market.

"This project was launched with the help of the Centre and the State Government. About 1.83 crores have been used for five years and this is the third year of the project. The main aim of the project is to preserve propagate and conserve the rich bio-diversity of the Gandhamardan Hills. Side by side this project has also improved the economic condition of the villagers who are dependent on the forest," said Sarat Mohanaty, Divisional Forest Officer (DFO), Gandhamardan Range iof Bolangir.

The greenery of Gandhamardan Hills overlaps Bolangir and Bargarh Districts, covering an area of nearly 18,629 hectares of reserved forest of land. Around 6512 hectares of this land falls under Bolangir District alone.

Earlier, ignorant about the actual worth of medicinal plants here, the tribals, living in Gandharmardan range, 80 kilometres from Bolangir District, used to be lured by middlemen, who purchased raw seeds, leaves and fruits of these medicinal herbs.

All these years, the species of these plants were exploited with no proper care and most of them had reached the stage of extinction.

Realising the danger posed by such disturbing trends, the Centre and State governments proposed a plan to protect these medicinal plants as well as raise the quality of tribals’ life. And later, the Vanaspati Vana project was set up by the Vanaspati Vana Society.

Under this project, ten villages have been identified and local committees in each village have been formed.

"With the help of the government, a Vanaspati Vana project has been set up in the Gandhamardan Hills range in Bolangir District. Ten villages near the Gandhamardan Hills have been earmarked in as the local chapters of Vanaspati Vana Society to look after the project," said Rajkumar Bhoi, President of the Vanaspati Vana Society.

According to villagers, since the formation of this Society, they have been earning enough to feed their family and are happy about the working of the society.

"After the formation of Vanaspati Vana project, the forest is being safe and also Gandhamardan. The medical plants, which were being neglected and wasted in the past, are being taken care of. Earlier, many fruits grown in the forest, were being bought by local businessmen from tribals at very cheap rates. After formation of Vanaspati Society the prices are set up and we sell accordingly. Seeing our success, Tribals from other villages are selling now their produce to get better prices," said Thabira Meher, a villager.

The tribals are protecting the forBesiest and are also collecting the minor forest produce and different roots of the medical plants, which are useful for medicine and can be sold at a good price. (ANI)

3. A headline in the Knowledge for development site (undated):

The Govt. of Orissa has banned mining along the Gandhamardan Hills through an ordinance in the state assembly today.

4. An article in Navratna News Jan-Feb 2008 by Netrabandhu Pradhan. Following are some excerpts:

the Gandhamardana has always attracted scientists interested in the study of plants. Even when the are was inaccessible, British Scientists and Botanists H.H. Haynes (1921-25) had identified several species of plants in this area. After 25 years i.e. in 1950 Herbert Muni visited this place and located 17 new species of plants. Later on renowned Oriya Botanist and Scientist of the Botanical Survery of India Dr. Gopinath Panigrahi (1963) published research paper on 125 species of precious medicinal plants available in the Gandhamardan. His paper was based on an extensive study made by him in this area. Realizing the rich potentiality of the area for containing more varieties of medicinal plants, Dr. Gopinath Panighrhi re-visited the place once again in 1964 along with a group of his associates who collected 300 varieties of species and herbs available in this area and prepared a catalogue on the basis of it. In 1990 M.Brahmam and Hari Om Saxena surveyed on the plants of Gandhamardan and identified 200 species of plants out of which the usefulness of 77 species of plants in the treatment of common ailments were highlighted. Again, in 1995 Saxena and Brahmam surveyed in the area of Gandhamardan and enlisted 781 plants species available there. R.C. Mishra (1990,1994,1996) worked in this mountain range and illustrated 920 species of plants. In the year 1994 P. Bilung, P.N. Pradhan and R.N. Pradhan Dept. of Botany, Panchayat College, Bargarh have surveyed the area and report the use of local Mahura plants from Aracei family. In 1999 N.B. Pradhan, R.N. Pradhan, P.Sahu and S.K. Sen made a detailed survey of the area and highlighted on many rare medicinal plants have shown concern about the decreasing population of these plants. The Vesaja Samity of Nrusinghnath, Padampur has been educating people on the plants and herbs available in Gandhamardan since 1994 and also organizing the Baidyas of the district of Bargarh and helping them in the proper identification of the medicinal plants. Sri Sri Nrusinghnath Ayurvedic Collegeand Research Institute in collaboration with the Department of Botany, Panchayat College, Bargarh have undertaken a Joint Venture in making a detailed survey of the area, identification and cataloguing of the plants and preparation of ‘herboriams’. In the recent past a Banaspati Bana Prakalpa ( 2003 ) has been launched by the Department of Forest and Environment, Govt. of Orissa, with assistance from the Govt. of India. The Project is making rapid strides under the supervisions of the Divisional Forest Officers of Bargarh and Bolangir Range. It is hoped that with the successful implementation of the project, it would contribute a lot in the protection, preservation and expansion of the plants.

Many survey works have been undertaken under the supervision of both the Department of Forest and the SSN Ayurvedic College, Nrusinghnath. One of the reports reveals that there is rapid deforestation in this area. These plants which were easily available in the post have become rare. Gandhamardan range of mountain that extended upto 1800 sq. k.m. was fully of dense forest and was replete with herbs and medicinal plants. But out of them several species have become rare. These include Barun, Kochila, Manjusha, Panki, Paldhua, Sunamukhi, Tamul, Bal Harida, Bhumi Kusmanda etc. Growing deforestation of Amla, Kuturi, Gudmari, Chhatiana, Meda, Bidanga is still underway. But all is not lost. There is still hope that as even now also one can find in the scrub forest living stumps of different species of plants. It is hoped that if the free entry of human intruders and the movement of stray cattles are prevented, green plants will again raise their heads covering the surface of the rock and the jungle will get back its lost luster and greenery.

… Gandhamardan range of Mountain is not only well known in the two districts of Orissa, but they are the objects of glory and pride for the entire state of Orissa and the neighboring Chhatisgarh. It has a rich tradition of its own. The rare Ayurvedic material Medical and valuable forest products once collected from these forests heave now become in obtainable. Deforestation in the area has assumed alarming proportion. If we still neglect its preservation, it will turn into a wasteland and will get extinct for ever and in such an event its dangerous consequences cannot be imagined. Yet it is never too late. Even today the Gandhamardan has not lost its glory. It is still possessing most of its materials within. If man undertakes fruitful ventures and stops behaving like a savage, it will again emerge as an impenetrable dense forest in its full glory.

5. A research paper in Bangladesh Journal of Plant Taxonomy titled "An assessment of floristic Diversity of Gandhamardan hill range, Orissa, India.

Abstract: The plant resources of Gandhamardan hill range were studied and analysed. A total of 912 vascular species belonging to 556 genera under 142 families were recorded. Herbs dominate the flora followed by trees, climbers and shrubs. Dominance of phanerophytes indicates the tropical moist and humid climate. Proper conservation and management plans are needed to save the natural resources, especially medicinal plants, of this sacred hill range.

Gandhamardan hill range is such a tropical moist deciduous system in Orissa, India. Due to diversified topography with twenty-two perennial streams, the hill range having most congenial environment for the luxuriant growth of plant resources. These resources are under severe threat due to over-exploitation by the local people for collection of firewood, fodder and medicinal plants and heavy incidence of grazing. Some sporadic works on floristic and ethnobotanical studies were carried out earlier (Raju, 1960; Panigrahi et al., 1964; Brahmam and Saxena, 1990a, b; Mishra et al., 1994, 2001; Misra and Behera, 1998; Mishra and Das, 2003; Misra, 2004). But, this floristically rich hill range with varied terrain conditions and environmental factors along with its phytogeographical position was not explored well in the past. The present study is, therefore, the first attempt to make an inventory and analysis of the entire flora of Gandhamardan hill range based on copious field observations, available literature and herbarium data, with a view to contribute to the overall knowledge of Gandhamardan flora and to the management of this sacred hill range.

Floristic composition: The floristic composition of the hill is remarkable in its diversity and luxuriance. Altogether, 912 vascular plant taxa pertaining to 142 families and 556 genera were collected. The dicotyledonous plants belonged to 106 families, 418 genera and 685 species, and the monocotyledonous plants to 21 families, 122 genera and 206 species. Pteridophytes were represented by 21 species belonging to 15 families and 16 genera. Analysis of flora shows a comparatively higher representation of herbaceous species (519) followed by 173 trees, 119 climbers and 101 shrubs. In comparison with the Orissa flora (total area 155,707 sq km) consisting of 2727 species (Saxena and Brahmam, 1996), 33.4% of species were recorded in the present study area. The recorded genera of the Gandhamardan flora were 52.4% of the Orissa flora, whereas the families covered 62.3%. A total number of 776 indigenous wild species, 64 introduced wild species and 72 cultivated species were found in the area. The species to genera ratio was 2.6 in Orissa flora, whereas it was 1.6 in the present study. The ratio of genera and family in the Gandhamardan flora was 3.9, whereas the value of the Orissa flora was 4.7. This indicates higher taxonomic diversity of the study area. Pielou (1975) and Magurran (1988) pointed out that, in intuitive terms, hierarchical (taxonomic) diversity will be higher in an area in which the species are divided amongst many genera as opposed to one in which most species belong to the same genus, and still higher as these genera are divided amongst many families as opposed to a few.

Exactly 50% of the recorded taxa belonged to only 13 species-rich families. The largest families in terms of number of species were Poaceae (90), Papilionaceae (68), Euphorbiaceae (45), Rubiaceae (41), Asteraceae (36), Cyperaceae (35), Acanthaceae (30), Caesalpiniaceae (20), Schrophulariaceae and Apocynaceae (each with 19 species). A total of 15 species of orchids belonging to 10 genera were also recorded. At genus level, Ficus showed the maximum diversity with 14 species. This was followed by Cyperus (11), Cassia (9), Blumea (8), Bauhinia, Grewia, Hedyotis, Indigofera (each with 7 species), Acacia and Alysicarpus (each with 6 species). Analysis of flora shows that most of the genera (388) are represented by single species and a very few genera are represented by more number of species. Asparagus gonoclados Baker, Corchorus trilocularis L., Enicostema axillare (Lam.) A. Raynal and Triumfetta rotundifolia Lam. were recorded new to the Flora of Orissa. Erythrina resupinata Roxb., Heterostemma tanjorense Wight & Arn. and Tylophora fasciculata Buch-Ham. ex Wight & Arn. are the unique species found in the study area, which are not sighted elsewhere in Orissa. There were 64 invasive exotic species also found, which will be serious threat to the forest ecosystem in the future. Important among them are Ageratum conyzoides L., Chromolaena odorata (L.) R. King & H. Robins., Crotalaria pallida Ait., Hyptis suaveolens (L.) Poit., Lantana camara L., Mimosa pudica L., Parthenium hysterophorus L. and Triumfetta rhomboidea Jacq.

The upper storey of the vegetation was covered by tall trees with epiphytic growth of lichens, bryophytes, ferns and orchids. It was interesting to note that Shorea robusta Gaertn. f., a common species in other parts of Orissa, showed sporadic distribution in the study area. Some of the shrubs e.g., Ardisia solanacea Roxb., Flemingia macrophylla (Willd.) Prain ex Merr., Indigofera cassioides Rottl. ex DC., Leea asiatica (L.) Ridsdale and Morinda citrifolia L., were found to grow in dense and interior forests. The bamboo species Dendrocalamus strictus (Roxb.) Nees. also occupied considerable part of the area. Herbs were mostly distributed all over the hill range, which includes open and dense forests, along the streams, top of the hills with grasses and forest road sides. A good number of lianas and woody climbers were present in the hill range, such as Bauhinia vahli Wight & Arn., Calycopteris floribunda Lam., Combtretum albidum G. Don., Cryptolepis buchanani Roem. & Schult., Entada pursaetha Spreng., Hemidesmus indicus (L.) R. Br., Smilax zeylanica L., Toddalia asiatica (L.) Lam., and Ventilago madraspatana Gaertn. Epiphytes were less in number. Vanda testacea (Lindl.) Reichb. f. and V. tessellata (Roxb.) Hook. ex G. Don. were two common epiphytic orchids found on branches of most tall trees. Four root parasites (Aeginetia indica L., Melasma thompsonii (Hook. f.) Wettst., Sopubia delphiniifolia (L.) G. Don. and Striga angustifolia (D. Don) Saldanha) and two stem parasites (Dendrophthoe falcata (L. f.) Etting and Viscum articulatum Burm. f.) were also recorded from the study area. The extensive flat plateau on the top of the hills running through the whole length of the Gandhamardan range presented a grassland formation with luxuriant growth of various grass species attaining 2-3 m in height. The grassland comprises of Arthraxon lancifolius (Trin.) Hochst., Capillipedium assimile (Steud.) A. Camus., Cymbopogon martini (Roxb.) Wats., Heteropogon contortus (L.) P. Beauv. ex Roem. & Schult. and interspersed with stunted growth of Lagerstroemia parviflora Roxb., Phyllanthus emblica L., Pimpinella heyneana (Wall. ex DC.) Kurz. and Woodfordia fruticosa L. Kurz.. Weeds such as Borreria stricta Roth ex Roem. & Schult., Cleome monophylla L. and Mollugo pentaphylla L. were common. Celosia argentea L. (introduced) is a weed of great nuisance in the abandoned fields near Borasambar, Paikmal and Harishankar.

Medicinal plant exploration: Gandhamardan hill range is also known as ‘Ayurvedic paradise’ and treasure house for potential medicinal plant species not only for Orissa but also for India. More than 300 plant species were found in the area with medicinal properties. These are depleting rapidly because of unsustainable harvesting, lack of awareness, and unrestricted grazing by domestic animals from nearby villages (Panigrahi, 1963; Pattanaik and Reddy, 2007). Nonetheless, many people from far and wide come to this area to collect medicinal plants and share their knowledge on medicinal uses of these plants. Major medicinal plant species, such as Asparagus racemosus Willd., Celastrus paniculata Willd., Chlorophytum arundinaceum Baker, Costus speciosus (Koenig) Sm., Curculigo orchioides Gaertn., Curcuma angustifolia Roxb., Gloriosa superba L., Gymnema sylvestre (Retz.) R. Br. ex Schult., Plumbago zeylanica L., Rubia cordifolia L. and Tinospora cordifolia (Willd.) Hook.f. & Thoms., were harvested in bulk for preparation of medicines by the local people. Unsustainable collection of above medicinal plants has placed them in threatened and vulnerable categories in Conservation Assessment and Management Plan (CAMP) of Orissa.

Conservation measures: In the prevailing situation, conservation of plant resources is very important, as many of these plants, for example Asparagus gonoclados and Enicostema littorale Blume, have been reduced to a greater extent. Therefore, sustainable utilization of medicinal plants is an urgent demand of the hour. Sustainable wild collection with fair trade would help to conserve the natural resources of the Gandhamardan hill range. Piloting of farmer-based cultivation trials for a selected number of threatened and indigenous medicinal plant species on the edges of forests and in home gardens should be encouraged. The state Forest Department should initiate in situ as well as ex situ conservation practices by promoting nurseries, home garden andplantation. The state government should promote Village Management Committee (VMC) and Conservation Area Management Committee (CAMC) to protect the forests from denudation. Community mobilization and creating awareness on sustainable harvesting of plant parts among the local people of the surrounding villages must be done at priority level. The local non-government organisations (NGOs) should promote participatory research in breeding and participatory knowledge management involving scientists, government officials and tribal families. The Forest and Environment Department should establish linkages with markets, so that the cultivation of medicinal plants becomes market-driven, with assured income security for tribal families. Unrestricted movement of pilgrims all around the adjoining forest areas near to the temple are causing loss of plant species. It is necessary to improve the socio-economic conditions of people living around the hills to minimize the anthropogenic activities in order to prevent depletion of natural resources of this sacred hill range.



Staus of Jharsuguda airport; Other airstrips in Orissa

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Following is from a news item in yahoo.

The Airport Authority of India (AAI) has decided to upgrade the airstrip at Jharsuguda in Orissa into a full-fledged airport. The AAI has asked the state government to provide 850 acres for the purpose. The AAI proposal was discussed on Tuesday at a high-level official meeting of the Orissa government. The state government has decided to provide the additional 450 acres for the up-gradation of the air strip. The airstrip was build over 400 acres during World War II, an official of the state directorate of aviation said.

Orissa has 17 airstrips besides the one model airport -Biju Patnaik Airport at Bhubaneswar. The air strips are at Armada Road (Mayurbhanj), Utkela (Kalahandi), Tusra (Balangir), Therubali (Rayagada), Rourkela (Sundergarh), Rangailunda (Ganjam), Rairangpur (Mayurbhanj), Gotma (Nuapada), Gudari (Khandhamal), Sativata-Padampur (Bargarh), Raisuan (Keonjhar), Jeypore (Koraput), Jamdapali-Hirakud (Sambalpur), Birsal (Dhenkanal), Rajbasa-Baripada (Mayurbhanj) and Barbil (Keonjhar), besides Jharsuguda. The state government has been proposing the Jharsuguda airstrip for up-gradation in view of a major industrial hub coming up around the airstrip. Three major aluminium complexes by Hindalco, NALCO and Vedanta Resources are coming up besides several steel and power plants in the Jharsuguda district.


ECOR contact details for complaints regarding misconduct or bribery demand

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Following is from an ad in Dharitri.

The Indian Railways Map from the new November 2009 TAG (Train at a Glance)

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The following is from