Archive for October, 2011

Shekhar Gupta on the Jan Lokpal bill (April 23, 2011)

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I somehow missed this article where Shekhar Gupta has thoroughly analyzed and listed all that is wrong with the then Jan Lokpal Bill. (I think the Jan Lokpal Bill has since been modified. The version at is dated June 21, 2011. So some of the issues pointed out by Shekhar Gupta may no longer hold. Nevertheless, it gives an idea of the mindset of and (dis)ability of the Jan Lokpal bill drafters in drafting such an important bill.) Following are some excerpts:

… The Musharraf reference is also tempting because the standard answer from this group of civil society leaders to the question if their bill violates the basic spirit of the Constitution is, so what, the Constitution can be amended as it has been so many times. But the kind, and number of Constitutional amendments this draft will require, will need a Musharraf.

… Where will the rest come from? Your guess is as good as mine. All of these will have to be people of “unimpeachable integrity” and also “should have demonstrated their resolve to fight corruption in the past.” From where will you find these people, particularly as you are working on the presumption that a large number of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts do not pass that test of unimpeachable integrity. And who will choose them? A committee headed by the prime minister who, in turn, will be under the jurisdiction of the Lokpal he chooses. But, wait, it is more complicated than that. This committee shall include the two youngest judges of our high courts and Supreme Court respectively, the presumption being that the young are cleaner (Clause 6, 5 c and d). But, if a Lokpal has to be fired for misdemeanour, the case will be heard by a bench consisting of the five seniormost judges of the Supreme Court? Confused? Why are the youngest virtuous while hiring, and the seniormost equally so while firing?

… If this is not sounding impossible already, this search committee has to recommend at least “three times the names as there are vacancies” (Clause 6, 10 f). So if you thought it is hard enough to find so many perfect men and women, you now know that you have to find thrice as many. And, of course, when the selection committee’s choice is finally forwarded to the president, she “shall” sign it within a month.

… If the idea of this bill is to take away all discretion, and strike terror in the hearts of the bad guys, it does that very effectively.

Except, so many of the rest, generally innocent Indians, may live in that terror as well. The bill, for example, entitles the Lokpal to collect 10 per cent of all the fines collected, stolen wealth recovered, or even national wealth saved from being stolen, in its own corpus for its own use, thereby creating extortionist incentive: the more you value, the more you collect.

… If you report on another citizen and he is caught and convicted, you would similarly earn 10 per cent of the money recovered, and/ or the money saved from being swindled as your reward. We will, therefore, be incentivised by law to become a nation of cops and spies, sneaking on neighbours and family for pecuniary gain. Such things happen in North Korea and if it is your argument that its people are happier than us Indians, we will need some convincing.

… the Lokpal members will be deemed police officers, have the powers of seizure and search without going to a magistrate — precisely the question with Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act) — have protection of contempt of court law, will function as civil courts, be investigators and prosecutors, throwing out the very principle of separation of powers, checks and balances (Clauses 8-19, 21, 24, 25, 27, 32).

… This bill, in this form, is designed to match the dictum of “absolute power corrupts absolutely.” It also presumes all Indians are thieves, unless proven otherwise, and can only be governed in a police state. Further, that a society of a billion-plus thieves can be cleansed by barely a dozen individuals armed with the most undemocratic law drafted in a democracy outside its Parliament. That is why this needs greater, cooler discussion.

Four/two laning of Birmitrapur-Barkote section on NH 23 in Odisha under National Highways Development Project (NHDP) phase IV-A approved

CENTER & ODISHA, NH 23 (209 Kms: Jharkhand Border - Rourkela - Rajamundra - Pala Laharha - Talcher - NH-42) 3 Comments »

Following is from a PTI report in zeenews.

The Cabinet Committee of Infrastructure (CCI) on tuesday approved projects … four/two laning of Birmitrapur-Barkote section on NH 23 in Orissa under National Highways Development Project (NHDP) phase IV-A, an official release said.

"… The total estimated cost of the project (Orissa) is Rs 1,098.90 crore," the release said.

On land acquisition, resettlement, rehabilitation and pre-construction, … Rs 320.75 crore will be spent on  Orissa projects.

Both the projects will be built on design, build, finance, operate and transfer (DBFOT) basis in BOT (Toll) mode of delivery.

… On the Orissa project, which is based in Sundargah and Deogarh districts, it said the concession period is 23 years including construction period of 30 months for 125.61 km scheme.

"The project will reduce the time and cost of travel for traffic, particularly heavy traffic, plying between Birmitrapur-Barkote. It will also increase the employment potential for the local labourers for the project activities," it said.

Odisha districts under the IAP, SRE and KBK BRGF plans (Update: SADP plans)

Balangir, Bargarh, BRGF: Backward districts program, Central govt. schemes, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Extremist infested districts program, Gajapati, Ganjam, Jajpur, Kalahandi, Kandhamala, KBK Plus district cluster, Keonjhar, Koraput, Malkangiri, Mayurbhanj, Nabarangpur, Nayagarha, Nuapada, Programs for special districts, Rayagada, Sambalpur, Sonepur, Sundergarh Comments Off on Odisha districts under the IAP, SRE and KBK BRGF plans (Update: SADP plans)

Update on May6th 2012: 300 crores for Malkangiri and Sukma (Chhatisgarh) under the Special Area Development plan (SADP).

The initial list of 83 Left Wing Extremism (LWE) affected districts under Security Related Expenditure (SRE) scheme is at A jpg copy is given below.

In the 83 SRE districts all the expenses incurred on security in these districts are reimbursed by the MHA. These districts were identified after a survey where Maoist violence incidents are more than 20 percent of all the incidents in that district.

As per a recent news item in Pioneer, four more districts from Odisha have been included in this list. They are: Nuapada, Bargarh, Bolangir and Kalahandi.

Besides the LWE SRE scheme, there is an Integrated Action Plan for Backward and Tribal districts. Originally there were sixty such districts out of which:

(a) Five are in Odisha. They are: Deogarh, Gajapati, Malkangiri, Rayagada and Sambalpur. Each of these districts get a block grant of 30 crores.

(b) The eight KBK districts are also included in the IAP and they get the 30 crores each plus 130 crores for all 8 as part of the BRGF (Backward Regions Grant Fund). The eight KBK districts are:  Kalahandi, Nabarangpur, Nuapada, Koraput, Rayagada, Malkangiri, Balangir and Sonepur.

(c) As per a recent news item in Pioneer, three more districts from Odisha have been included in this list. They are: Ganjam, Nayagarh and Jajpur.

In total there are 14 districts from Odisha that are covered under the IAP. They are: Balangir, Deogarh, Gajapati, Ganjam, Jajpur, Kalahandi, Koraput, Malkangiri,  Nabarangpur, Nayagarh, Nuapada, Rayagada, Sambalpur and Sonepur.


In total, 20 of Odisha’s 30 districts are now covered under these schemes. Following is the list.


  • Balangir (IAP, KBK, LWE SRE)
  • Baragarh (LWE SRE)
  • Deogarh (IAP, LWE SRE)
  • Dhenkanal (LWE SRE)
  • Gajapati (IAP, LWE SRE)
  • Ganjam (IAP, LWE SRE)
  • Jajpur (IAP, LWE SRE)
  • Kalahandi (IAP, KBK, LWE SRE)
  • Kandhamal (LWE SRE)
  • Keonjhar (LWE SRE, LWE SRE)
  • Koraput (IAP, KBK, LWE SRE)
  • Malkangiri (IAP, KBK, LWE SRE) (Update: SADP)
  • Mayurbhanj (LWE SRE)
  • Nabarangpur (IAP, KBK, LWE SRE)
  • Nayagarh (IAP, LWE SRE)
  • Nuapada (IAP, KBK, LWE SRE)
  • Rayagada (IAP, KBK, LWE SRE)
  • Sambalpur (IAP, LWE SRE)
  • Sonepur (IAP, KBK)
  • Sundergarh (LWE SRE)

The ten districts that are not covered above are: Angul, Balasore, Bhadrak, Bauda, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Jharsuguda, Kendrapada, Khurda and Puri.

Special programs for naxal hit districts

Central govt. schemes, Extremist infested districts program, IAY, NRLM, PMGSY Comments Off on Special programs for naxal hit districts

Following is an excerpt from a PTI report in zeenews.

In a bid to tackle the Naxal menace in 60 most affected districts, the Centre has decided to start major initiatives there which includes IAY housing for people whose homes have been destroyed and construction of concrete roads.

The Rural Development Ministry has also planned to start a PPP initiative with private companies for value addition in non-timber forest produce in six districts of Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh as a pilot project.

… "We are actually going to them for four major decisions. First is Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana. We are going to allow concrete roads to be built in the highly affected blocks in the 60 districts. Normally, we build black top roads. But on security point of view, cement concrete roads will be done," Ramesh said.

He said 90 per cent of amount for the construction of the roads will be borne by the Centre and 10 per cent will be borne by the state. At present, the ratio stands at 50-50.

The government also decided to make all sections of people whose houses were destroyed in Naxal violence eligible for housing under the Indira Awas Yojana in these districts.

… "For disabled, widows and old age beneficiaries, the district administration will construct the IAY houses. Right now, what happens is, we give the money, yet these people are unable to construct houses," the Minister added.

All the 60 IAP districts would be covered under the National Rural Livelihood Mission by March 31, 2013, he said.

"We will start a programme for placement linked jobs for 3,00,000 unemployed youths in these 60 districts over the next five years. These youths will be trained and provided jobs," Ramesh said.

IMMT scientists are now planning to set up a demonstration plant at Orissa Sands Complex of IREL at Chhatrapur for processing ilmenite

Bhubaneswar-Berhampur, Ganjam, Research institutions, Titanium 1 Comment »

Following is from a report in Telegraph by Bibhuti Barik.

The Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology (IMMT) here has perfected the technology of processing ilmenite, a compound of iron and titanium, which is iron-black or steel-gray, found abundantly in the sands of Orissa’s beaches.

IMMT scientists are now planning to set up a demonstration plant at Orissa Sands Complex, a division of Indian Rare Earths Limited (IREL) at Chatrapur, for processing ilmenite as the ore is found in the beach sand of Chhatrapur and is being processed by IREL. The cost-effective technology will work wonders for extracting titanium dioxide and high-value iron from low-grade ilmenite.

Ilmenite is non-toxic and its use in biomedical substances does not create any physiological problem. On the other hand, titanium, in its pure metallic and alloy forms, finds applications in aerospace, defence applications, chemical and related metallurgical industries.

“The ilmenite processing technology developed by IMMT scientists will help the nation as the prime raw material for titanium production — rulite — is now in short supply. So, ilmenite is the best alternative raw material for fulfilling the demand of titanium,” said P.S. Mukherjee, chief scientist and head, advanced materials and technology department, IMMT.

“The new technology serves two benefits — it does not produce toxic by-products and it produces high value iron as a value-added by-product for the automobile industry,” said the chief scientist.

… “But this new process is an environment-friendly one. This is for the first time such a technology is being planned in the country. With proper industry support and more and more R&D support, it can be developed further,” the scientist said.

The world’s reserve of ilmenite ore is estimated at around 1.8 to 2 billion tonnes and India has the largest and richest reserve. The commercial deposits are found in the beach sands of Orissa, Tamil Nadu and Kerala. However, only 0.4 million tonnes are processed by IREL. Majority of the deposits are exported as pure ilmenite without any value addition.

IMMT director Baradakanta Mishra said: “Processing technologies of two metals — nickel and ilmenite — perhaps is the best contribution of IMMT to the country. However, more financial help should be extended to the laboratory by the industry and the government. Even with a limited reserve, China is supplying 70 per cent of the Earth’s rare materials whereas we are exporting valuable sand-rich ores to foreign countries without any value addition. The pilot plant should be scaled up and more fund flow to IMMT can result in innovative research in mineral processing.”

Naveen makes demand on new NH designations and more mine royalty; points out super-normal profit by miners and Australia’s steps to levy higher taxes on iron ore

Chief Minister's actions, Iron Ore, National Highways 8 Comments »

Following is an excerpt from a report in

Naveen demanded that five State Highways — Berhampur-Koraput, Madhapur-Rayagada, Phulnakhara-Konark, Kuakhia-Aradi-Bhadrak and Palasa-Khariar — be upgraded to NHs.

Following are excerpts from a report in Hindu.

The Orissa Chief Minister, Mr Naveen Patnaik, has sought 50 per cent share in “super normal profit” earned by private mine owners and said he would raise the issue of imposition of a mineral resource tax on iron ore during the National Development Council (NDC) meeting on Saturday.

“Mining companies are making super normal profits in Orissa. People of Orissa deserve 50 per cent of this…a quarter of our population is of tribals and we will put this profit to developing our areas,” Mr Patnaik said.

He said this was essential as most of the mining companies were operating on tribal land without doing justice to the people. Despite the State being the owner of the resources, the mine owners are benefiting beyond any measure of reasonable returns, he said.

“I have already written to the Prime Minister about it. I will be speaking about it in the NDC meeting. Rent-resource tax from the mining companies should be levied on Australia’s pattern,” he said.

In a July 30 letter to the Prime Minister, Mr Patnaik said, “The insatiable demand for iron ore in the export market has resulted in iron ore becoming highly profitable commodity, with returns from mining being far in excess of economically acceptable rates.”

The letter mentioned that the super-normal profits being made are evident from the audited operational profits of 80 per cent by miners, which is unheard of in other industries.

The Chief Minister had sought imposing a 50 per cent mineral resource tax, taking cue from Australia which has decided to levy higher taxes on iron ore from July 2012.

Odia movies in the Internet: work in progress.

Odia movies 1 Comment »

Following are some of the Odia movies that I found in the Internet (mostly in youtube).  As I see them, I will add some comments.

  1. Agnishikha.
  2. Allo mo kandhei.
  3. Bhukha.
  4. Chaka chaka bhaunri.
  5. Dhanre rakhibu sapatha mora.
  6. Dhire dhire prema hela. (Barsha and Sabyasachi. So so. First half is tolerable. Second half is atrocious.)
  7. Dil tote deichhi. (another link)
  8. I love you. (another link) (Remake of a 1999 Tamil movie) [Highest grossing Odia film in Box office]
  9. Jajabara
  10. Kandhei akhire luha.
  11. Kau duniyaru asila bandhu.
  12. Lakhye siba puji paichi pua.
  13. Laksmana Rekha
  14. Laxmi Pratima.
  15. Love Dot Com.
  16. Manini
  17. Mate anidela lakhya faguna.
  18. Megha sabarire asiba pheri.
  19. Mita re mita. (another link)
  20. Mu Sapanara soudagara.
  21. Nandini I love you.
  22. Neijare megha mote. (Barsha and Anubhav.)( Loved it.)
  23. Pagala karichhi paunji tora.
  24. Pagala Premi.
  25. Prem rogi. (another link)
  26. Priya mo priya.
  27. Sahara Jaluchi. (another link)
  28. Samaya hatare dori.
  29. Sanju aou Sanjana. (Babusan.) (Just saw a few minutes. Looks like a remake of the Telugu film Parugu.)
  30. Sasura ghara zindabad.
  31. Sathi re.
  32. Satru Sanghar.
  33. Subha bibaha. (Barsha, Akash, et al. Did not like it. Badly edited.)
  34. Suna chadhei mo rupa chadhei, 2009. (another link) (Watched this. It is a remake of a  2005 Telugu hit. The actress Barsha has done well, even when compared to Trisha in the Telugu original. Anubhav is not impressive, especially when one compares to Siddharth in the Telugu one. Siddhant has done ok, but Srihari in the Telugu one is better. Finally, Prakash Raj in the Telugu one is unmatchable.)
  35. Tate mo rana. (another link)
  36. To akhire mo akase ki ranga lagile.
  37. To bina bhala lagena. (another link)
  38. Topae sindura ditopa luha.
  39. To paeen.
  40. Tora mora jodi sundara.
  41. Tu eka ama saha bharasha.
  42. Tu mo akhira tara.
  43. Tu mo girlfriend.

New radar inaugurated at Jharsuguda airport; Airport expected to be functional in two years (in 2013)

Jharsuguda, Jharsugurha, Sambalpur-Burla-Jharsuguda 8 Comments »

Thanks to Saket Sahu @ Orissatoday google group for the pointer.

A park to be built in Bhubaneswar especially for differently-abled kids

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Following is from a report in Pioneer.

The Indian Academy of Paediatrics, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and sahidnagar Socio-Cultural Society have planned a unique park for the differently-abled children of the city to be built up approximately at a cost of Rs 3 crore on PPP mode.

As per national coordinator of IAP Disability Chapter Dr Arabinda Mohanty, the park is planned over an area of 17,000 sqf near the ESI Hospital and will provide an entertaining and amusing centre to over 700 spastic children in the city.

The proposed park will be far ahead of the parks in Mysore and Bilaspur (Chhatisgarh) in many aspects including it being 100 per cent disabled-friendly with merry-go-round provisions for children in wheel chairs and modern gadgets for amusement , besides physiotherapists, supporting staff and a standby ambulance.

Dr Mohanty said though the park will be meant for the wheelchair-bound children, normal children would also be allowed but only after they are sensitised to related issues. “Entry of normal children will help in mainstreaming of the spastics and in increasing the understanding of the normal children about spasticity,” he said.

Odisha to expand areas under coffee cultivation to 22,700 hectare by 2021-22 with an investment of Rs 400 crore

Aluminium, Bauxite, Birlas, Coffee development, Ganjam, Kalahandi, Kandhamala, Keonjhar, Koraput, NALCO, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express 4 Comments »

Following are excerpts from a report in

The coffee plantation would be taken up in the undivided Koraput district where currently about 1,300 hectares are under cultivation. …

It has been decided to invest the ` 400 crore over a period of 10 years from 2011-12. The ICB would fund ` 35 crore for a programme on organic coffee production in the State. Rest of the funds will be pooled from MGNREGS, Revised Long Term Action Plan (RLTAP) for KBK districts and other schemes.

As per the survey conducted by the Coffee Board, an area of 11,650 hectare in the Koraput, Kalahandi, Ganjam, Phulbani and Keonjhar districts has been found suitable for coffee cultivation.

Public sector industries like Nalco, Hindustan Aluminium Company and a host of private sector enterprises have evinced interest to take up coffee cultivation in about 1,000 acres which is mined for bauxite ore extraction.

 … For Orissa, the Board is implementing a Special Area Programme with the objective of checking ‘Podu’ cultivation, rejuvenating small coffee holdings and expanding coffee plantation in the tribal sector by providing a subsidy of ` l5,000 per hectare.

Besides, the Board is also providing financial assistance for installation of coffee processing units and imparting training to coffee growers on latest coffee husbandry practices and scientific methods of cultivation.

Six hulling units were also supplied under the scheme to the State during 1999- 2000 to process coffee at farm level.

At present, there are about 122 private coffee growers in the Koraput who have taken to commercial cultivation. …

Air India introduces Delhi-Portblair flight with stopover in Bhubaneswar;

Air India/Indian, Bhubaneswar, Bringing International Connectivity, Uncategorized 12 Comments »

Update on 10th October 2011: The Delhi – Bhubaneswar – Port Blair Air India (6 days a week) flight will allow boarding and deplaning of passengers at Bhubaneswar. This will not only provide Bhubaneswar – Port Blair connectivity; it will also incraese connectivity between Bhubaneswar and Delhi. Air India also plans to have another daily Bhubaneswar – Delhi flight taking the total number of daily AI flights between these cities to (almost) three   and taking the total number of daily Bhubaneswar – Delhi flights to almost eight – 7 dailies and one 6 days a week. Following is a screen copy from on the dates Nov 2 2011 and Nov 3 2011.

Following is an excerpt from a report in Deccan Herald.

Keeping in mind the high tourist potential, Air India subsidiary Alliance Air has introduced a direct flight to Port Blair from here via Bhubaneswar and would operate a new 70-seater jet plane.

Giving holiday makers another reason to cheer, Air India’s direct flight AI 9603/9604 would be operated with Bombardier’s CRJ-700 on all days of the week, except Saturday, a spokesperson said.

The above news item is confirmed from the Air India web site. See the screen capture below.

As the following map shows Bhubaneswar is very close to the straight line between Delhi and Port Blair. The stop-over in Bhubaneswar allows Air India to use a smaller aircraft that can be refueled in Bhubaneswar. I hope Air India will allow people to get on and off at Bhubaneswar.

As the map above shows Bhubaneswar is also very close to the straight line connecting Delhi to Jakarta, Delhi to Singapore and Delhi to Kwalalumpur. I hope  some of the airlines take note of that and introduce flights between those places with a stopover in Bhubaneswar.

Update: Mumbai to Hongkong and Mumbai to Taipei also passes very close to Bhubaneswar. Updated the map above to illustrate that.