Archive for March, 2011

Sambad’s 1st April take on Odisha’s formation

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Following is from

Odisha’s top three Odia papers (Dharitri, Samaja and Sambada) have free epaper editions

Dharitri (in Odia), Samaja (in Odia), Sambada (in Odia) No Comments »

Their websites are:

  • Dharitri (Usually updated around 3 PM California Time; 3:30 AM Indian Time)
  • Sambada (Seems to be updated in the PM California Time)
  • Samaja (Usually updated around 4 AM California Time; 4:30 PM Indian Time)

At present all three are free and one does not need to login to read them.  Dharitri and Samaja had epapers for some time now. Sambada is the latest one to join the club.

MOEF gives approval to Gopalpur port extension

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Following is from

The Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) has given a nod for the expansion of Gopalpur port project in Orissa.

"We received a communication from the Ministry in this regard," of the Gopalpur Port Limited (GPL) Executive Director PK Panigrahi said.

The port, about 170 km from here, is a seasonal port operational from November to March and handles cargo, including iron ore, coal and fertiliser ranging from half a million tonnes to 0.7 million tones, reports IANS.

"The Ministry has granted the permission to make it an all-weather port," Panigrahi said, adding that the construction for the expansion of the project will start within a month and complete within 24 months.

The company has planned to invest Rs 1,250 crore initially. The port will have an installed capacity of handling at least 12 million tonnes cargo by 2013 and aims to increase the capacity to handle 54-60 million tonnes per annum by 2022, the official said.

Initially, the port has planned to receive vessel size of one lakh DWT (Deadweight tonnage) and after enhancement of the capacity it will be able to receive vessel size of 130,000 DWT, he said.

Things that Bhubaneswar needs (TOI)

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri 6 Comments »

Following is from an article in Times of India.

From being a sleepy state capital housing government babus, Bhubaneswar has gone on to become one of the fastest growing tier two cities in the country. But it still lacks many key traits of a modern urban centre, including infrastructure and civic amenities. Here, TOI takes a look at the hurdles that stand in the way of the city of temples acquiring the tag of a cosmopolitan city.

Commuting CHAOS

The public transport system is in a deplorable state. Travelling by public transport is a nightmare most people try to avoid if they can afford their own vehicle. Overcrowded shared autorickshaws on some fixed routes are the mainstay of intra-city commuting. In October 2010, 60 buses started operating under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission in Bhubaneswar.

But given the huge rush of daily commuters, these are too less in number. "The city should have a good mass transport facility including a Bus Rapid Transit System (BRTS) and train services should be started within the city and on its outskirts," said N K Panda, former chief secretary and president of the Citizens’ Apex Association.

RITES, a central government enterprise and consultancy organisation, has been working on a detailed project report for a BRTS in Bhubaneshwar. Notably, Ahmedabad and Delhi already have such systems.

The Perspective Plan Vision 2030 of the Orissa government for a Bhubaneswar-Cuttack urban complex over an area of 720 square km suggests circular trains for cheaper mass transport within urban areas. "The transport facilities in the city have improved a lot in the last few years, though much more needs to be done," said mayor Anant Narayan Jena.

No multiplexes in sight

Multiplexes are proliferating by the dozen not only in metros but also in comparatively smaller cities like Jaipur and Chandigarh. But Bhubaneswar is yet to get its first multiplex cinema. Though around 20 shopping malls have come up here over the past 10 years, none of them have multiple cinema screens as yet.

"It is surprising that the city is yet to get a multiplex. Even cities like Hyderabad, Guwahati, Gurgaon and Noida have multiple-screen halls, and more than one," said Bibekananda Mohanty, an IT professional.

Real estate developers say it is a matter of less than a year before the city gets its first multiplex. "At least five multiplexes are in the offing. One in Saheed Nagar would be completed in a year’s time," said Real Estate Developers Association (REDA) president Anup Kumar Mohapatra.

international airport yet to take off

The state doesn’t have an international airport. The nearest international airport from Bhubaneswar is 500 km away, in Kolkata. Airports Authority of India (AAI) in July 2006 had announced it would build an integrated international airport complex in the city. It was supposed to upgrade the existing Biju Patnaik airport by investing Rs 250 crore. The project was to be finished by 2010. But sources said the government is yet to finalize land for the airport.

"Without an international airport, we can’t aspire to be even among the top 50 cities in the country," said professor P K Jena, chairman of Institute of Advance Technology and Environmental Studies (IATES).

Where does one unwind?

Unless you are the kind of person who enjoys your day out in cramped parks, the city would be an exceptionally dull place for you.

A sizable population of the work-force toils round the clock, working all kinds of long and late hours. But nightlife in the city leaves a lot to ask for. There are less than 10 discotheques and pubs, mostly in hotels. There are even fewer clubs and restaurants offering good quality wining and dining. The city doesn’t even have good food courts.

"There is just a handful of hangout places with good music and DJs. The option are very limited," said Upasana Roy, a management student.

Things are, however, changing fast, claim the administrative authorities. "There were no discos and nightclubs at all a few years ago and now we at least have some. The city is developing fast and entertainment options are increasing," said BDA planning member Prashant Patnaik.

No convention centres

There are no hotels or standalone establishments in the city offering convention centres with good facilities to host multiple national or international events. There are two conference halls where most of the events take place one is in a hotel near Jaydev Vihar and the other at KIIT University. But these venues have limitations and events inviting large crowds cannot be held in them.

Bhubaneswar, however, doesn’t seem to getting such a facility in a hurry. "Its true the city needs a large convention centre, but BDA currently has other priorities," said BDA vice-president Deoranjan Kumar Singh.

Healthcare not up to the mark

A large number of patients from Bhubaneswar are forced to go to cities such as Chennai, Vellore, Hyderabad and Mumbai for advanced treatment. This, despite the fact that the city boasts a good presence of corporate hospitals: Kalinga Hospital, LV Prasad Eye Institute, Apollo Hospital, Sparsh Hospital and Hemalata Hospital.

"Before 2000, the city had few tertiary care hospitals. The decade from 2000 to 2010 is when most of these hospitals were established. The number of patients going to other cities for treatment has been reducing gradually. By 2020, the city will have ample medical tourists from outside the state," said Dr G Biswas, a medical oncologist at Sparsh Hospital.

In the offing in Bhubaneswar are All India Institute of Medical Sciences; a 978-bed hospital under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana with 15 super-speciality and 18 speciality wards; a 300-bed hospital by AMRI group; and another heart-care hospital by Naryana Hrudayalaya.

When I get time I will give my perspective on the above issues as well as other needs for Bhubaneswar. Stay tuned.

Odisha single window clearance committee approves projects involving Rs 1,215 crores

Balangir, Cement, Cuttack, Jajpur, Khordha, Ore pelletisation, Single Window Clearance (SLSWCA), Steel ancilaries No Comments »

Following is from a report in

The committee headed by chief secretary B K Patnaik cleared two cement projects, an iron ore pelletisation unit and a high tension cable manufacturing unit, official sources said here. The pelletisation project, with 6 mtpa capacity, is proposed to be set up by Chadalavada Pvt Ltd at a cost of Rs 680 crore near Kalinganagar in Jajpur district, they said. The project, proposed to come up in 250 acre, is expected to generate 500 jobs, they said, adding that in the first phase its capacity would be 2.5 mtpa. The cable manufacturing unit is to be set up in 40 acre near Khurda by Gupta Power Infrastructure Pvt Ltd at an investment of Rs 192 crore. It has the potential to hire about 400 people. One of the cement units is proposed to be established in 25 acre, by Jajpur Cement Ltd near Kalignanagar, at a cost of Rs 63 crore. Its capacity would be 0.5 mtpa. Similarly, Nabadurga Industries Ltd seeks to set up two units at a cost of Rs 280 crore. It would have a clinker unit at Kantabanjhi in Balangir district and a crushing project at bainchhua in Cuttack district, sources said adding the entire project would have the potential to provide employment to 400 people.

No suitable land for Railway wagon factory in Kalahandi!! This is ridiculous.

Ganjam, Kalahandi, Railway Budget 2010, Railway Budget 2011, Wagon Factory 9 Comments »

Following is from a report in Pioneer.

The railway authorities after inspecting number of places in KBK districts and not finding them suitable have identified Santipalli at Berhampur in Ganjam district to set up the proposed rail wagon factory.

According to sources, a rail wagon factory is to be set up in KBK districts of Odisha as per the 2010-2011 Railway Budget. Accordingly, the railway authorities visited Kalahandi, Kesinga, Narla Road, Lanjigarh Road, and Bhawanipatna Railway Station area to find out 100 acres of land adjacent to the rail track and submit a feasible report to the Government of Odisha for acquisition of land. However, the railway administration could not find a suitable place for the purpose and moved to coastal districts for feasible locations for wagon factory.

The Ganjam district administration and rail officers made a joint inspection in the district and found a place at Santipalli near Jagannathpur Railway Station of Berhampur. The State Government has approved to provide the 100 acre of land at Santipalli and the proposal has been sent to Railway Ministry, for their final consent for further plan of action. The project would be taken up in public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

This is ridiculous. I can not believe that there is no suitable land near the railway track in Kalahandi.

Moreover the Railway minister has already said that he can give another wagon factory if a suitable land is found in Kalahandi. So even if some powerful person wants to have a wagon factory in Ganjam, that can still happen while a wagon factory is made in Kalahandi. So the Odisha government should take up on the Railway minister’s offer immediately. 

Taiwan interested in investing in Odisha in non-metal and job-rich sectors such as food processing, electronics, textiles, agri-business, IT hardware, tourism and education


Following is an excerpt from a report in Business Standard.

Taiwan … has identified food processing, electronics, textiles, agri-business and IT hardware as the potential areas of investment in Orissa.

… Besides, the nation also intends to build educational tie-ups with KIIT and other premier universities of the state, he added.

"Our objective is to examine the investment potential of Orissa which has been quite successful in attracting investments. We believe that the areas of investment for the Taiwanese companies in the state are food processing, electronics, IT hardware, agri-business and textiles. The companies from Taiwan can explore possibilities of setting up manufacturing facilities for cell phones, refrigerators and computers in the state. Our investments would be relatively smaller compared to the likes of Posco and IBM nonetheless important because of the focus on job creation”, said Ong.

"We are keen on having tie-ups with the universities of Orissa. There is a good potential for collaboration between the universities of Orissa and Taiwan. We are also looking at the possibility of sea food imports from Orissa. Last year, Taiwan had imported $400-500 million of sea food from US, Canada and Australia”, he added.

Ong is scheduled to call on the state Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Wednesday and hold discussions on opportunities for the Taiwanese investors in the state.

"We are looking at job generation capacity and the we’ll see how many jobs can be created by the Taiwanese companies in Orissa. However, we are not interested in investing in steel and aluminium sectors”, he stated.

Asked on the visit of the Taiwanese business delegation to Orissa, Ong said, “I’ll go to Taiwan and persuade some Taiwanese companies to visit Orissa. However, the timing of the visit of the delegation from Taiwan would depend on the conducive atmosphere created by the state. Its going to be competition for Orissa with other states where we have already invested”.

Following is an excerpt from a report in

If talks with the chief minister and senior officials yield positive results, a business delegation from Taiwan would soon visit Orissa with concrete investment proposals, he said. There was a lot of scope for cooperation in tourism sector.

Referring to the Buddhist circuit in Orissa, Ong said religious tourism could be tapped in a big way to increase the flow of Taiwanese tourists to the state.

Similarly, collaborations and ties in education, mainly vocational education, would also be explored, he said adding his country had already proposed scholarships for brilliant Orissa students.

Q to Ramesh: What actions are you taking against the officials who hoodwinked you? If not much then one should conclude that you were very much a part of it.

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Following is an excerpt from a report in Times of India.

The environment ministry may have hoodwinked its in-charge Jairam Ramesh to help a company escape action initiated by the minister. The ministry’s forest division issued a circular on January 6, 2011, inserting the proviso “it is advisable” in the original rule without the minister’s approval.

The ministry had issued a notice to Jindal Steel and Power Limited on December 14, 2010, on why its environment clearance should not be revoked for starting construction in non-forestland for its integrated steel plant in Kerjang in Orissa before the forest clearance was granted in October 2010.

A ministry panel found the allegation to be true in December. Jindal steel admitted that the construction has taken place but cited a clause in an agreement with the Orissa government to start work within three years of signing it.

In the meantime, the Forest Advisory Committee, which allowed diversion of forestland, met and recommended insertion of key words — “it is advisable” — in the guidelines of the Act. The revised rule said, “if a project involves forest as well as non-forestland, it is advisable that the work should not be started on non-forest land till the approval of the government for release of the forestland under the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 has been given”.

So, how can one trust such a Forest Advisory Committee. What action Ramesh is taking against this committee?

See also the report in which first reported on this harakiri by MOEF. Following is an excerpt from the latest one.

Three days after DNA showed how Jindal Steel & Power Limited (JSPL) used a January 6, 2011, circular to justify unauthorised construction in 2009 and 2010, minister for environment and forests Jairam Ramesh has directed the Orissa government to take action against the company.

Here is an excerpt of what dnaindia wrote while exposing the initial misdeeds of MOEF.

The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) seems all set to add to the scams and scandals surrounding the UPA government at the Centre thanks to a controversial clearance given to Congress MP Navin Jindal’s proposed steel and power plant in Orissa.

Documents with DNA show that the MoEF issued a circular to change a few words of the guidelines of the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 only to allow the withdrawal of a showcause notice issued to the Jindal project.

This notice, that made headlines when it was issued in November 2010, asked why the earlier issued environmental clearance may not be quashed because Jindal had started construction at the site before the forest clearance — the supplement to the mandatory environment clearance — was given.

Documents show that the provision of the Forest Act that was quoted by the MoEF to legitimise the transgressions of Jindal and withdraw the show cause notice was created only on January 6, 2011 — two months after the showcause notice was issued.

Documents also show that the provision (made through a circular) was scrapped on 17 February, 2011 — exactly a week after the notice to Jindal was withdrawn.

This makes it clear that the circular was issued purely for the benefit of Congress MP Navin Jindal’s project alone.

The above clearly shows the way Forest Advisory committee, MOEF and Ramesh operate. They were hoping to not get caught. But they have been caught red handed.

The sincerity and honesty of Ramesh will be judged by what action he takes against the MOEF official and Forest Rights Committee that did this harakiri; which as per Ramesh, without his knowledge. If Ramesh does not take any action on those officials then one can fairly conclude that he was very much a part of it.

Niyamgiri vs Chiria: Financial Express

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Following is from a Q & A type article in Financial Express by Amitabh Sinha. Please read the article at its source for the details.

Did the environment ministry apply different yardsticks in the two cases? We answer the questions in our usual Q&A format.

Earlier this month, Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC), a state government owned enterprise, approached the Supreme Court, challenging the order of the Environment Ministry cancelling forest clearance to a bauxite mining project in the Niyamgiri area of Lanjigarh district of Orissa. The project was to be executed by Sterlite Industries India, a subsidiary of Vedanta Alumina, which had entered into an MoU with OMC in 2004.

One of the main reasons that is said to have emboldened the OMC to approach the Supreme Court, six months after the Environment Ministry had passed its order, was the recent decision to allow SAIL to mine iron ore in the Chiria mining complex of West Singhbhum district in Jharkhand. The Orissa government feels double standards had been applied in the two cases and argues that the environmental impact of the Chiria mines is going to be greater than the bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri hills. The Financial Express examines the two projects to see whether their cases are comparable:

What was the issue with the Niyamgiri project?

And Chiria?

What happened to Vedanta’s application for Niyamgiri project?

Vedanta had obtained stage-I forest clearance for the Niyamgiri project before running into trouble. While assessing its application, the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) — the permanent expert panel in the Environment Ministry that is responsible for assessing whether a project deserves to be given forest clearance or not — recommended that the final approval should be granted only after assessing the implementation of the Forest Rights Act in the area, a law that had come into effect in 2008. Two different committees looked into the implementation of FRA at the Vedanta site. One was a three-member committee set up on the recommendations of the FAC. The other committee was set up jointly by the Environment Ministry and the Ministry of Tribal Affairs to assess the implementation of FRA all over the country. This committee, led by retired bureaucrat NC Saxena, had sent a sub-panel to the Vedanta site. Both had adverse remarks to make about the project.

What about Chiria?

In the case of Chiria, the FAC had actually recommended that SAIL’s proposal to mine iron ore in that area be rejected.

What led to the cancellation of the Niyamgiri project?

So why was Chiria cleared?

In clearing SAIL’s proposal to mine Chiria, Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh actually overturned the advice of his own ministry’s expert panel (FAC). Some of the reasons he gave justifying his decision were: …

Ramesh comes clean on Polavaram

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Following is an excerpt from a report in Deccan Chronicle.

Mr Ramesh has pointed out that the project will not be accepted unless resettlement and rehabilitation works are taken up simultaneously with the construction of the dam. He said that the project required resettlement and rehabilitation of about 1,70,000 people living in four villages of Orissa and many more near Chhattisgarh, adding that there would be a public hearing conducted by the respective governments and a consensus on the issue would be arrived at.

He also said that the environment assessment reports that were prepared by private consultants engaged by the Union government were a joke. “I admit it publicly,” he said, “The reports are prepared by a person who is pushing for the project. I am very much concerned about it.” Mr Ramesh said that the ministry had blacklisted three consultants for preparing fraudulent reports and added that he had accredited about 200 consultants who were authorised to prepare environmental assessment reports for the government.


Centre to take over the Subarnarekha Multi-purpose Project (SMP) under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP)

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Update: Following from the PIB release at

Centre has provided an assistance of Rs.216.817 crore for Subernrekha project to Orissa State for 2010-11. With this, the total Central assistance for this Project has gone to Rs.1,058.35 crore. Subernrekha project is an inter-state project between Orissa, Jharkhand and West Bengal. West Bengal component of the project is at present at initial stage and is not being posed for Central Assistance under the Accelerated Irrigation Benefits Programme (AIBP) after 2002-03. Jharkhand component of the project is not included in AIBP so far. Hence active component of the project under AIBP is in Orissa State only. Government of Orissa has earmarked March 2014 as the targeted completion date for Subernrekha Project. A total of 6,920 families in Orissa have been affected from this project. The Centre has been informed by the Government of Orissa that rehabilitation assistance has been paid to 2,840 families and payment is in progress for 1,699 families. The Government of Orissa has a budgetary provision of Rs.350 crore for the project for 2010-11.

Following is an excerpt from a report in Times of India.

The project, a joint venture of Jharkhand, Orissa and Bengal, aims to cover around 3.6 lakh hectares of land. Jharkhand will benefit the most as its 2.63 lakh hectares land will be irrigated. It will also generate around 500 MW hydel power. Orissa’s 90,000 hectares and West Bengal’s 5,000 hectares will also be benefited by the SMP.

… The technical advisory committee of the Central Water Commission (CWC) has approved the project under the AIBP with an estimated cost of Rs 6,613 crore in four years.

… Joint secretary of the information and public relation department Rajiv Baxi said, "The CWC has approved the proposal of the state government to take the SMP under the AIBP. According to the decision 90 per cent of the project cost will be shared by the Union government as it covers three states and the remaining cost will have to be shared by the three beneficiary states," said Baxi.

Officials in the state water resources department said the Centre’s decision would be a boon for people of the three states as it would provide irrigation facility round-the-year. "Farmers will not have to depend on the vagaries of monsoon and at the same time it will also help maintain underground water reserve," said an official.

What is MOEF up to?

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Following is from a report in

The ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) seems all set to add to the scams and scandals surrounding the UPA government at the Centre thanks to a controversial clearance given to Congress MP Navin Jindal’s proposed steel and power plant in Orissa.

Documents with DNA show that the MoEF issued a circular to change a few words of the guidelines of the Forest (Conservation) Act 1980 only to allow the withdrawal of a showcause notice issued to the Jindal project.

This notice, that made headlines when it was issued in November 2010, asked why the earlier issued environmental clearance may not be quashed because Jindal had started construction at the site before the forest clearance — the supplement to the mandatory environment clearance — was given.

Documents show that the provision of the Forest Act that was quoted by the MoEF to legitimise the transgressions of Jindal and withdraw the show cause notice was created only on January 6, 2011 — two months after the showcause notice was issued.

Documents also show that the provision (made through a circular) was scrapped on 17 February, 2011 — exactly a week after the notice to Jindal was withdrawn.

This makes it clear that the circular was issued purely for the benefit of Congress MP Navin Jindal’s project alone.

Jindal Steel & Power (JSPL) had filed for environmental clearance for a 6 million tonne steel plant and a medium-sized integrated power plant in Kerjang, in Anjul district of Orissa in 2006.

The firm got environmental clearance in 2007, with the condition that no development should start till the other half of that clearance, a ‘forest clearance’, was also granted.

But Jindal started construction before the forest clearance was obtained and this was pointed out by Biswajit Mohanty, wildlife activist and member of the National Board for Wildlife, to Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh last October.

A month later, the MoEF issued the showcause notice to Jindal.

However, on January 6, 2011, the MoEF issued a circular that changed certain words in the Forest Act that legalised the violations and weakened the case against Jindal.

Documents with DNA show that the original guidelines of the Forest Act, which were in force when the showcause notice was issued to Jindal for breaching the conditions of environmental clearance, said: “work should not be started” till the project gets the requisite forest clearance.

However, in its circular, the MoEF changed this phrase to: “it is advisable that work should not be started” till forest clearance is granted.

After the circular was issued, Jindal officials pointed out to the MoEF that its own circular indicated that the provision was not binding on them. Based on this argument, the MoEF withdrew the showcause notice to the Jindal project on Feb 10, 2011. Seven days later, the circular was scrapped.

To a question in Parliament as to how many projects were cleared during the time the circular was in existence (a little over a month), Ramesh pointed out that only one project had been cleared: Jindal’s Angul project.

“This is all very, very fishy,” says Mohanty, a noted conservationist known for his contribution to saving Orissa’s sea turtles. “This case needs to be probed. You can’t bring in a circular to help just one company and then withdraw it and not let any other company take advantage of it,” he says.

Mohanty, who maintains Ramesh is the best environment minister India has ever had, says the ministry’s actions are starting to smack of arbitrariness. “You can’t have one yardstick for Vedanta (Resources) and another where a ruling party MP is involved.”

This whole incident indicates that Ramesh, who has a clean reputation otherwise, has his limitations when faced with powerful groups within his party.

Jairam Ramesh did not respond to request for comments on the matter.

1300 crores to be spent in building the Baramunda bus-terminal in Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Khordha, Modern Bus Stands 2 Comments »

Following are excerpts from a report in Economic Times.

Sunil Agarwal , President & CEO, ARSS Infra in an interview with ET Now talks about the bus terminal development project bagged by the company.

This order its after a long time that I am seeing somebody bag an order of this nature bus terminals. What is the deal, how much is the annual expenditure for this development and what you will get in return?

Yes, this is a deal for developing of bus terminal in Bhubaneswar, Odisha which is a capital of Odisha. We will be developing bus terminal for Odisha Bus Bhubaneswar. This is located in Bermuda. We have paid 56 crore premium to the government of Odisha and we have signed the concession agreement yesterday.

The total project cost of the terminal will be around 1300 crore out of which we will be developing half of the terminal as bus terminal and the basic infrastructure for bus terminal will be also used for the commercial facility which also will be developed by Government of Odisha.

Any income will not come in this year, the income will generate from after 2 year when the bus terminal will be completed. We have to develop the bus terminal in 2 years and we have to operate and maintain it for 50 more years. As far as expenditure is concerned this year we will be spending around 200 to 250 crore and coming forward this total expenditure will be completed in another 5 years.

And when will revenues start to kick in from the same projects and what are the kind of margins that you are expecting?

See the overall margins for operating and lease rental and as well as from the commercial development we will be generating around 500 crore of margin in the period of 4 to 5 years and this margin will start generating from 2013 after development of the bus terminal in 2 years. And the basic facilities and infrastructure that we will be developing for the bus terminal the same will be used for commercial developments also.

If you start getting revenues after 2 years, what is the annuity that you expect from this project?

The annuity will be somewhere around 8200 crore a year.

For how many years would this be?

This one will continue for 15 years. …

If all these numbers are right this would be a wonderful facilty. Moreover, it will demonstrate the feasibility of other similar sized or bigger PPP projects, especially Railway Station (IR plans a world class station built on PPP mode), Airport, Metro/Light-rail.

To get a bit of background, we give the following from a slightly older report in Pioneer.

After long, the process has begun for developing three bus stands with modern facilities in the State. The bus stands to be developed in public-private partnership (PPP) mode include Baramunda Bus Stand of Bhubaneswar, Badambadi main Bus Stand of Cuttack and the Dhenkanal Bus Stand.

A decision to this effect was taken in a meeting held under chairmanship of Chief Secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik at the State Secretariat on Wednesday.

After the meeting, the Chief Secretary said to the reporters that while ARSS Infrastructure Project Limited has been given responsibility to develop two bus stands of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, another company PK Behera Construction Private Limited will develop Dhenkanal Bus Stand.

The Development works would be complete by December, 2012. “An MoU has already been signed with the two companies and concessional agreements would be signed soon,” Patnaik informed, adding that the construction work would begin in two months time and the projects would be complete in two years.

Regarding conditions of MoU with the companies, Patanik said the two companies have been asked to use 60 per cent of each of bus stands for bus terminal and 40 per cent as market complex. The lands would be given on lease basis and the company would hand over the terminal areas to the Government after completion of 15 years and market complex area after 90 years, he informed.

The companies would be given 14 acres of land for Baramunda Bus Stand, 4.6 acres of land for Badambadi Bus Stand and 5 acres of land for Dhenkanal Bus Stand. ARSS would give concessional fee of Rs 56 crore and 17.21 crore for Baramunda and Badambadi respectively and PK Behera Construction Private Limited would give 1.26 crore for Dhenkanal Bus Stand.

Dhamara port all set to start operations in April 2011; builds sister port relationship with Seattle port

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Following is an excerpt from a report in Economic Times.

The Rs 3,200-crore Dhamra Port in Orissa, a 50:50 joint venture between Tata Steel and Larsen & Toubro (L&T), is ready and will go operational next month, a top company official said.

Dhamra Port Company Limited (DPCL) has so far invested Rs 2,900-crore out of the total project cost of Rs 3,239-crore and almost 100 per cent work on the project has been completed.

… "We have completed 100 per cent work of the port including the construction work for the 62-kilometer rail link from Dhamra to Bhadrak on the main Howrah-Chennai line," he said.

… Situated between Haldia and Paradip, the port at Dhamra will be the deepest of India with a draught of 18 meters, which can accommodate super cape-size vessels up to 1,80,000 dead weight tonnes (DWT).

DPCL has recently entered into a sister port relationship agreement with the US-based Port of Seattle. The pact is aimed at exchange of information on port users, technology transfer and sharing of best practises between the two ports.

Following is a map from

Odisha ruling party BJD’s Railway related demands to the center

Khurda Rd - Balangir (under constr.), Odisha govt. action, Railways 2 Comments »

Following is an ad from Dharitri.

MOEF continues to harass Odisha; wants it to serve India but remain poor

Chief Minister's actions No Comments »

Following is from

The spat between the Union ministry of environment & forests (MoEF) and the Orissa government on the issue of coal blocks allocated to the state owned Orissa Power Generation Corporation (OPGC) has intensified further with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik seeking Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s intervention on the issue.

The MoEF in a recent move had proposed to change the category of the Meenakshi group of coal blocks allocated to the Ultra Mega Power Project (UMPP) proposed at Sundergarh from ‘no go’ to ‘go’ under the condition that the Ministry of Power (MoP) would give up opening up of Manoharpur and Dulinga coal blocks allocated to OPGC and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) respectively.

The move had left the state government officials, especially the OPGC authorities, sulking with the state energy secretary P K Jena and the state energy minister Atanu Sabsyasachi Nayak writing letters to the P Uma Shankar and Union power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde in this regard.

Patnaik has shot off a letter to the Prime Minister, stating that it would not be fair on the part of MoP to accept such a move at the cost of two other projects, particularly which is the only state owned project.

He has requested the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter and take a favourable stand in the upcoming meeting of the Group of Ministers to clear OPGC’s Manoharpur and dip side of Manoharpur coal blocks into the ‘go’ category.

"Given that the coal blocks allocated to OPGC fall within a cluster of blocks owned by Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd (MCL), Independent Power Plants (IPPs), UMPP and NTPC, any decision taken in favour of the UMPP block alone would be unfair, particularly considering the significant progress and investment made by OPGC vis-a-vis other two projects in consideration (UMPP and NTPC)”, Patnaik has stated in his letter.

Earlier, the state energy minister in his letter to the Union power minister dated February 26 had stated that Orissa is relying on OPGC’s project for meeting its future power security since the project is well placed to move into construction during the current financial year and any adverse decision in the case of coal blocks allocated to OPGC will be a serious blow to the state’s future power supply scenario.

Pointing out that there are only three projects being pursued in the same footing- UMPP, OPGC and NTPC, Nayak had stated that in case any favourable decision is taken for the UMPP project only, it will be difficult on the part of the state to facilitate and support the UMPP project at the cost of the other two projects, particularly OPGC.

OPGC is pursuing capacity addition of two 660 MW units in Jharsuguda district. It has been allocated Manoharpur and dip side of Manoharpur coal blocks by the Ministry of Coal for captive use. The Meenakshi group of coal blocks allocated for the UMPP project and Dulinga coal block alloted to NTPC lie adjacent to and on either side of Manoharpur and dip side blocks in a continuous stretch.

Kolkata Port squeezes Odisha: Yet another attempt by Congress and its partners to harass Odisha

Odisha govt. action No Comments »

Following is from

Calcutta, March 9: The Calcutta Port Trust (CPT) has offered to relinquish exclusive rights to its extended territory in the Bay of Bengal and turn it into a common zone that a competing port in Orissa’s Dhamra can also use for operations.

But Orissa chief secretary Bijay Patnaik has shot down the proposal, made by CPT chairperson M.L. Meena during a meeting convened by the Union shipping secretary in Delhi last Friday, ministry sources disclosed.

The Orissa government has protested strongly before the ministry, which cleared the expansion in the CPT’s maritime limit through a gazette notification, so the Calcutta port can build a giant floating storage (dock) in the extended area.

Orissa claims the plan encroaches on its maritime area and will hit seven upcoming ports, including the showpiece Dhamra project that has been built by Tata Steel and L&T.

The inter-state row has turned into a legal battle with a public interest litigation being filed in Orissa High Court on Monday against the Centre’s decision to extend the CPT’s limit.

But CPT chief Meena’s proposal that both Bengal and Orissa could use the expanded area isn’t without precedent. Many ports in Gujarat and two ports in Mumbai — JNPT and Navasheva — have common maritime zones.

All non-major ports, like Dhamra, are on Concurrent list of the Constitution, which allows states to pass executive orders like defining their territory. But such orders will be finally subservient to the central decision.

“Business can save nearly $8 million (Rs 36 crore) every year if the transloading (from the floating dock) is allowed to take place. Ships should be given a free choice where they want to go,” said a ministry official.

The CPT plans to use a vessel of 180,000-tonne capacity as the floating dock where smaller ships (Panamax variety) of 75,000 tonnes can unload their cargo. Barges (of 12,000-tonne capacity) can then ferry the cargo to final destinations like Calcutta or Haldia.

The CPT plans to pick a private operator chosen through competitive bidding to build the Rs 300-crore floating facility. It will be stationed in Sandheads, 60 miles south of Haldia for eight months a year. During monsoon, when the sea is turbulent, the floating dock will be taken to Kanika Sands, next to Dhamra port and 60 miles south of Sandheads.

But the choice of Kanika Sands has riled Orissa, which fears the floating dock will take away business from the Dhamra port that has been built at a cost of Rs 3,000 crore. The port is apparently awaiting a railway connectivity to start operations and needs clearance from Mamata Banerjee’s ministry to get going.

In the absence of a floating dock that offers transloading facilities, ships are now forced to offload cargo at Orissa’s Paradip and then come to Haldia because of the low draught — depth — in the silt-clogged channel does not allow heavy vessels. The cargo offloaded at Paradip is then carried by rail or road to their final destinations.

The CPT expects to handle 6 million tonnes of cargo a year through the floating dock and host around 80 Panamax vessels. Each ship can save up to $1 lakh (around Rs 45 lakh) per trip as it will be able to return from the floating dock three to four days earlier than it did if it had come to Haldia. The CPT has also proposed building an exclusive jetty to handle such cargo at Haldia at a cost of Rs 290 crore through public-private partnership.

CPT officials argue that the savings in transportation will help trade, which could pass on the benefits to consumers through lower prices.

The CPT has tried to come up with the floating dock plan at least five times over the past decade but has run into opposition from Orissa.

No private operators were showing interest all these years but the shipping ministry’s move to expand the CPT’s area has given them confidence of taking up the project. The CPT has found support for its plan in Delhi from Mukul Roy, the Trinamul leader who is the minister of state for shipping.

Inconsistent Ramesh – approves Chiria mines

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Following is from After the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) cancelled several projects and put roadblocks (read riders) on many other, it seems the companies or organisations at the receiving end are not ready to give up without a fight. The Orissa government’s mining entity Orissa Mining Corporation (OMC) on Tuesday knocked at the doors of Supreme Court challenging the ministry’s August 2010 decision to stop mining bauxite from the Niyamgiri Hills. The ministry and its boss Jairam Ramesh had in August 2010 accepted the recommendations of the four-member forest advisory committee headed by NC Saxena and pulled the curtains down on mining in Niyamgiri Hills citing severe flouting of environmental and forest conservation norms. The mining contractor for the Niyamgiri project was a joint venture company with 76% stake of Sterlite Industries, a the listed-subsidiary of Vedanta Resources and the remaining with OMC. The bauxite to be mined was to be fed to Vedanta’s Lanjigarh refinery. Sources say the Orissa government, after an endless wait and a fruitless representation to the MoEF, has finally decided to go the legal way and has prepared a complete war chest of arguments to take on the ministry. “While the Orissa government was planning to challenge MoEF’s decision in the Supreme Court for quite sometime, the what finally prompted it was Ramesh’s nod to a larger and environmentally more damaging project of Chiria mines in Jharkhand,” said a highly reliable source in OMC. On February 22, Ramesh, in a surprising change of stance by over-ruling negative reports from the ministry’s forest advisory committee (FAC), gave a go-ahead to Steel Authority of India (SAIL) to mine iron ore from the prolific Chiria mines in Jharkhand. In a statement on February 22, Ramesh said: “The FAC will continue to focus on bio-diversity-related issues and concerns, while as minister I will have to necessarily take a broader view but placing on record in a complete manner the reasons for taking that view.” However, Orissa is particularly miffed with this decision since it claims that on a comparative scale the Niyamgiri Hills too had a merit for approval and its impact on the environment would have been far less than the Chiria mines. “Much before the FAC was appointed, several other committees had done a study on the project and had given a decision in its favour,” the source said. Ironically, these bodies were appointed by the ministry to clear the mining project in 2007. The Central Mine Planning and Design Institute in its study on hydro-geological aspects had said that there are no water bodies, water table is available at a depth of 78m from top of the hill and mineral is available only up to 30-35m depth from top, therefore, no impact on groundwater. Similarly, Orissa Agriculture University of Technology (OAUT) established that due to khondalite rocks and very minimal soil cover available, soil erosion is negligible at Niyamgiri Hills and there is no possibility of choking any stream running at the bottom of the hill. Only, Wildlife Institute of India (WII) had said that in any case the Wildlife Sanctuary located nearby Niyamgiri should not be affected. The Supreme Court, on August 8, 2008, based on detailed studies conducted by WII, CMPDIL, OAUT and recommendation of MOEF had cleared the Forest Diversion proposal after a prolonged debate spanning three years. “In spite of these, OMC was stopped from mining, while a central PSU like SAIL was given a go ahead,” he said. The source said Chiria iron ore mining project covers an area of around 2,376 hectares, which is 3% of total Saranda Forest area in Jharkhand where it is located. On the other hand, the total Niyamgiri Hill range is around 250 square km out of which nearly 7 sq km is the proposed mining lease area which constitute nearly 1.5 % of the total area. “Hence the forest cover diverted will be much less than that in Chiria,” he said. In the MoEF note, Ramesh said SAIL being a public sector unit, has a good track record of delivering corporate social responsibility. “Going by this track record, our partner Vedanta has already been investing Rs10 crore as profit from notional profit from proposed mining every year and Rs12.20 crore towards tribal development,” the source said. The area in and around Chiria is predominantly inhabited by Ho tribal community, which constitutes nearly 10% population (approx. 70,00,000) of Jharkhand population. While the number of tribals living in and around Niyamgiri are inhabited by Dongria Kondh tribal race having a total population of nearly 8600. “So the number of people affected through the project are far less,” he said. The mining process in Chiria will involve blasting, there by impacting the wildlife near Chiria forests while OMC will be incorporating surface miner and ripper dozer techniques which are blast-free processes, he said.

Status of doubling based on the 2011-12 railway budget

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Based on the 2011-12 and 2010-11 budgets the status of doubling in Odisha is as follows:

  1. Second bridge over Mahanadi and Birupa: Done.
  2. Nergundi-Rajathgarh-Barang: Nergundi-Rajathgarh is basically done. For Rajathgarh-Barang, this year there is an allocation of 33.2 Crores. With this allocation, by March 2012, 265.2 crores is expected to be spent. This is out of a total estimated budget of 275 crores. In other words by 2012 March this part will be almost done.
  3. Nergundi-Cuttack-Raghunathpur-Rahama-Paradeep: Doubling of Nergundi-Cuttack-Raghunathpur is basically done. There is a budget of 0.1 crores for this in 2011-12 and so far 178.19 crores have been spent on this out of a total estimated budget of 180.24 crores. Doubling of Rahama-Paradeep is also basically done. There is a budget of 0.1 crores for this in 2011-12 and so far 78.72 crores have been spent on this out of a total estimated budget of 80.76 crores. There is no mention of the Raghunathpur-Rahama segment in the budget, but the maps show that this part is doubled. In other words doubling of this whole segment is done.
  4. Cuttack-Barang: This year there is an allocation of 39 crores for this. With this allocation, by March 2012, 180.2 crores is expected to be spent. This is out of a total estimated budget of 186 crores. In other words by 2012 March this will be almost done.
  5. Barang-Khurda Rd 3rd line: This year there is an allocation of 39 crores for this. With this allocation, by March 2012, 220 crores is expected to be spent. This is out of a total estimated budget of 221 crores. In other words by 2012 March this will be basically done.
  6. Khurda Rd – Delang: This year there is an allocation of 0.25 crores. It needs another 0.96 crores to complete the total estimated budget of 69.67 crores. So this is done.
  7. Delang-Puri (28.7 km): This doubling was approved in 2010-11 with a total budget of  133.71 crores and an annual allocation of 2 crores. This year it has been given a budget of 35 crores. It needs another 96.71 crores before it is completed. That would mean that it will be done around in 2-3 more years. Odisha government may use the upcoming Nabakalebar in 2015 to get this done and operational before that.
  8. Vizianagaram-Lanjigarh Rd-Titlagarh-Raipur: The maps show that Vizianagaram-Lanjigarh Rd is double line. For the Lanjigarh-Rd – Titlagarh segment, there is an allocation of 5 crores, and there is a need of another 0.8 crores tp take it to the total estimated budget of 171.4 crores. So basically the Lanjigarh-Rd – Titlagarh segment will be done by 2012 March. The 203 km Titlagarh -Raipur segment is just getting a start. The 2011-12 budget has a 60 crores allocation for this. But it needs another 629.16 crores for completion. The total estimated budget for this segment is 691.67 crores.
  9. Jharsuguda-Rengali-Sambalpur: There is an allocation of 33.5 crores in this year’s budget for the Jharsuguda-Rengali segment. After that there is only a need of 7.48 crores to take it to the total estimate of 119.54 crores. So this segment will be almost done by March 2012.  There is an allocation of 20 crores in this year’s budget for the Rengali-Sambalpur segment. After that there is only a need of 0.6 crores to take it to the total estimate of 113.55 crores. So this segment will be basically done by March 2012. Together they will be almost done by March 2012.
  10. Sambalpur-Titlagarh: This is in the initial phase. There is an allocation of 60 crores in the 2011-12 budget. By March 2011 only 39.73 crores would be spend on this. The total estimate of 950.84 crores.
  11. Rajathgarh-Talcher-Sambalpur: Maps show that the Rajathgarh-Talcher segment is double line. Doubling of Talcher-Sambalpur was approved in 2010-11 with an initial allocation of 2 crores. This year there is an allocation of 66 crores. The total budget is 613.27 crores.
  12. Bimlagarh-Champajharan-Dumetra (SER): There is a budget of 35 crores for Bimlagarh-Dumetra and another 35 crores for Champajharan-Bimlagarh. Based on the two entries in the budget, it seems the Champajharan-Dumetra part will be done by March 2012 and another 115.9 crores is need to complete the Bimlagarh-Champajharan part.
  13. Jakhapura-Daitari-Tomka-Jaruli-Bansapani (ECOR/SER): Bansapani-Jaruli is listed in the SER budget and has an allocation of 35 crores for this year. It needs another 8.18 crores to reach the estimated total of 90.89 crores. ECOR budget lists the segment Bansapani-Tomka-Daitari-Jakhapura. It was initiated in 2010-11 with a budget of 150 crores of which only 29.57 seems to have been spent. Its budget for 2011-12 is 70 crores. It needs another 843.38 crores to reach its estimated total of 942.95 crores.
  14. Bansapani-Padapahar Jn-Bara Jamda Jn-Barbil Raj kharswan-Padapahar Jn: Maps show that Rajkharswan-Padapahar Jn – Barajamda Jn is double line. The 2011-12 budget has 5 crores each for the two segments of Bansapani – Padapahar and Bara Jamda – Barbil. After that  Bansapani – Padapahar will reach its estimated total of 155.28 crores and Bara Jamda – Barbil would need 1.51 crores to reach its estimated total of 52.51 crores. So basically all these will be double lines by March 2012.

The total 2011-12 budget for doubling is 576.17 crores. See for how this budget compares to past budgets. See for an old projection to the future.

Mamta is ready for a second wagon factory in Kalahandi; Odisha must take immediate action

Ancilaries, Balangir, Berhampur- Gopalpur- Chhatrapur, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Railway Budget 2010, Railway Budget 2011, Samaja (in Odia), Wagon Factory 6 Comments »

Job creation by new Steel, Aluminum, Cement and Power Companies in Odisha

Aluminium, Anil Agarwal, Bauxite, Birlas, Business Standard, Cement, Coal, Iron Ore, MOUs, Steel, Thermal, Vedanta No Comments »

Following is excerpted from a report in Business Standard.

  • Overall: employment for 39104 people in the state by the end of December 2010.
  • Steel sector: 31164 jobs which includes employment for 22399 people from the state and 8765 people from outside the state.
  • Aluminium sector: 5474 people including 3657 from the state and the remaining 1817 outside the state. Investment worth Rs 11017 crore has been grounded in this sector.
  • In the aluminium sector, Vedanta Aluminium Ltd (VAL) has been the biggest job creator, generating over 5000 jobs through its one million tonne per annum (mtpa) refinery project and 75 MW captive power plant (CPP) at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district and aluminium smelter complex at Burkhamunda near Jharsuguda with a smelter capacity of 0.25 mtpa and a 675 MW CPP. At its refinery plant, VAL has employed 2523 people from Orissa and 1091 persons from outside the state. Similarly, 1026 people have been engaged from the state for VAL’s smelter plant while 686 others have been hired outside the state. VAL’s total investment on the refinery plant and smelter complex stands at Rs 9084 crore.
  • Aditya Aluminium Ltd has invested Rs 1875 crore on its one mtpa alumina refinery at Rayagada and a 0.26 mtpa smelter plant cum 650 MW CPP at Sambalpur. The company has created jobs for 63 people from the state and 34 others outside the state.
  • Cement sector: The total employment generated stands at 1502 by the end of December last year.
  • OCL Cement Ltd has generated employment for 1494 people and the company has invested Rs 697.46 crore out of a total project cost of Rs 850 crore for its 1.10 mtpa cement manufacturing unit at Rajgangpur. The other two investors in the cement sector- Ultratech Cement Ltd and ACC Cement Ltd have made negligible progress on their projects in the state.
  • In the power sector, the Independent Power Plants (IPPs) have generated employment for 964 people.
  • Sterlite Energy Ltd has commissioned the first unit (600 MW) of its 2400 MW IPP, four other IPPs- GMR Kamalanga Energy Ltd, Monnet Power Company Ltd, Jindal India Thermal Power Ltd and Ind-Barath Energy (Utkal) Ltd have started construction.