Archive for the 'ADMINISTRATION & REPs' Category

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

Angul, Anugul- Talcher - Saranga- Nalconagar, Balangir, Berhampur- Gopalpur- Chhatrapur, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Cuttack, Ganjam, HEALTHCARE and HOSPITALS, Keonjhar, Khordha, Koraput, Koraput- Jeypore- Sunabedha- Damanjodi, Medical, nursing and pharmacy colleges, Odisha govt. action, Rayagada- Therubali, Rourkela- Kansbahal, SAIL, State Bureaucrats (IAS, OAS, etc.), State Ministers, Sundergarh 6 Comments »

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

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

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


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

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

A good news and a bad news:

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

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

Odisha Assembly, Odisha in Elections, Odisha MLAs, Odisha MPs, State of the state 6 Comments »

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Odisha govt. action, Planning Commission and Odisha 2 Comments »

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

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

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

Some highlights from the Odisha government budget for 2012-13

Budget, State, Odisha govt. action No Comments »

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

  • Rs. 5.00 Cr has been provided for management and development of Elephant Corridor in the State during the year 2012-13.
  • Allocation for purchase of medicines for Government run hospitals has been increased from Rs.50.00 crore to Rs.104.56 crore.
  • … decided to enhance the intake capacity of all the three Medical Colleges from 150 to 250 within a period of four years. This project will require investment of Rs.400.00 crore for development of necessary infrastructure and other facilities. Rs.32.30 crore has been allocated for this project under State Plan.
  • Launching of “Emergency Medical Ambulance Services” in the State would be another major intervention for strengthening health security. In the first phase 15 districts will be covered under this new scheme. Rs.10.00 crore from Odisha Health System Project Fund has been allocated during current financial year for purchase of Ambulances. In the present allocation operational cost of Rs.6.22 crore has been provided.
  • Total allocation in School and Mass Education Department is enhanced from Rs.5307.44 crore to Rs.6525.40 crore this year.
  • Rs. 18.60 crore has been provided towards state share for opening of Govt. Colleges in the districts with low Gross Enrolment Ratio.
  • Rs.5.00 crore is allocated under ‘Aam Admi Bima Yojana’ to provide life insurance cover for the landless agricultural labourers.
  • Rs. 4.00 crore has been provided in the budget under State Plan towards establishment of Xavier’s Institute of Management (XIMB) at Sambalpur and Bolangir. This will go a long way in providing quality management education to the students of the State.
  • Rs. 14.00 crore has been provided for infrastructure development of constituent colleges of BPUT. Besides, Rs. 12.56 crore has also been provided for infrastructure and civil works of IGIT, Sarang, Government Engineering Colleges at Berhampur and Bhawanipatna etc.
  • For up-gradation of industrial infrastructure of Plastic, Polymer and Allied Cluster at Balasore under IIUS, a provision of Rs.1.13 crore has been provided.
  • a new Planetarium will be established at Sambalpur for which allocation of Rs.5.00 crore has been provided.
  • Rs.12.00 crore has been provided in the budget for infrastructure development of IIIT, Bhubaneswar, which includes creation of Training Centre, Guest House, Research Laboratories & Staff Qrs.
  • Rs.80.00 crore has been provided for Western Odisha Development Council.
  • Rs.120.00 crore has been provided in the budget for continuance of Biju KBK Yojana for the development of most backward regions like KBK.
  • Rs.28.50 crore has been made for implementation of Biju Kandhamala O Gajapati Yojana.
  • Rs.540.00 crore has been provided in the budget for implementation of Integrated Action Plan in Tribal & Backward Districts.
  • Rs.5.00 crore has been provided for setting of Driving Training Institute at Berhampur, Barbil, Bhubaneswar, Keonjhar & Angul, which will train un-employed youth to earn their livelihood.
  • Rs.6.00 crore out of State Plan has been earmarked for development of air-strips and construction of a new Air- Strip at Malkangiri during the financial year 2012-13.
  • Rs.4.99 crore has been provide in the budget for completion of Hockey complex at Kalinga Stadium.
  • To cater to the training needs of the inmates of Sports Hostel at Panposh, Rourkela a second Synthetic Hockey Turf will be laid. Accordingly, a sum of Rs.6.00 crore has been provided in the Budget for 2012-13
  • Rs.16.25 crore has been provided in the budget for Preservation of Monuments and Buddhist Heritage as per the recommendation of 13th Finance Commission.
  • Rs.1.00 crore has been made for construction of Odishi Dance Museum in Guru Kelu Charan Mohapatra Odishi Research Centre, Bhubaneswar
  • Rs.1.00 crore has been provided in the budget for construction of Modern Art Gallery in Bhubaneswar.
  • Rs.2.00 crore has been provided in the budget for construction of Boys & Girls Hostels for Utkal Sangeeta Mahavidyala and B.K. College of Art and Crafts, Bhubaneswar.
  • Rs.9.00 crore has been provided in the budget for acquisition of private land for development of tourist projects like Peace Park at Dhauli and Peripheral Development of Lingaraj Temple.
  • Rs.13.50 crore has been provided in the budget in order to provide adequate basic amenities and other infrastructure in indentified tourist destinations.
  • Rs. 17.00 crore has been provided in the budget for organisation of International Events & Road shows/organisation of State and National Level Fairs and for publicity campaigns.

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

Budget, State, Odisha govt. action No Comments »

Following is from Samaja:

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

CENTER & ODISHA, Chief Minister's actions, Defence establishments, Demanding equitable treatment, Mine royalty and cess, Railway network in Odisha 6 Comments »

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

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

Examples of this are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

The music, dance and craft festivals in and around Bhubaneswar during Nov 2011 – Feb 2012

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Ekamra Utsav, Bhubaneswar, Festivals, Gotipua Festival, Kalinga Mahotsav, Dhauli, Konark Festival, Odisha govt. action, Raja Rani music festival No Comments »

Following is a list with some links. Please let me know if I am missing something.

  1. Gotipua Dance Festival, (15th-17th November 2011).
  2. Puri Beach Festival (23rd – 29th November 2011).
  3. Konark Festival (1st – 5th December 2011).
  4. International Sand art Festival (1st-5th December 2011).
  5. Dhauli Kalinga Mahotsav (10th – 14th December 2011).
    1. Dhauli Mahotsav (10th-12th December 2011)
    2. Kalinga Mahotsav (13th-14th December 2011)
  6. Shreekhetra Utsav, Puri  (14th-25th December 2011) ???
  7. Toshali National Crafts Mela (15th – 27th December 2011).
  8. Odissi International (18th-22nd December 2011).
  9. Eastern Jatra Festival (24th – 30th December).
  10. International Odissi Dance Festival (23rd-30th December 2011).
  11. Odissi Music Festival (8th – 10th January 2012).
  12. Ekamra – the Temple City Festival (10th-20th January 2012)
    1. Mukteswar Dance Festival (14th – 16th January 2012).
    2. Rajarani Music Festival (18th – 20th January 2012).
  13. Adivasi Mela (26th January – 5th February 2012).
  14. Kharavela Mahotsava (30th January – 5th February 2012).
  15. Konark dance and music festival (19-23rd February 2012).
  16. BYOF (Bring Your Own Film) -21st -25th February 2012.
  17. Drama Season in Bhubaneswar: February – April.
  18. Samrachana: Choreography Festival (1st March to 5th March 2012).

This year some of the festivals are new. They are: Gotipua festival, Sand art festival and the Odissi music festival. All of them are great additions. 

In the future years perhaps additional festivals that would include Pala/Daskathia, Sambalpuri music, Sambalpuri dance, Chhau dance, Ghumura etc. can be included. Chhau and Ghumura may be part of the adivasi mela, but giving them a solo dance or music platform (not part of a mela) would be great.

Odisha’s bicycle scheme for girls and the upcoming bicycle factory near Khurda

Khordha, Odisha govt. action 1 Comment »

Odisha’s growth will be steady; albeit slower than what some desire

EXPOSING ANTI-ODISHA-GROWTH SCHEMES, Odisha govt. action, Odisha govt. Inaction, POSCO, Universities: existing and upcoming, Vedanta 9 Comments »

In the recently held by-elections in Umerkote in Nabarangpur district the BJD candidate won handily. The winning candidate from BJD had 54,713 votes while the candidate from BJP had 33,652 votes and from Congress had 32,877 votes.

In the 2009 elections the numbers were: BJD candidate – 44326, BJP candidate – 30,155, Congress candidate – 25,512.

Although this is just a single point data, but based on such data, my informal survey of people, my observations, and some other reasons I give below I predict the following:

  • BJD will win the next assembly and parliament elections handily in Odisha and it may even have more parliament seats than it got in 2009.

I now give some reasons for my prediction.

  • In the 2009 election BJD jettisoned BJP at the last moment; so it was not as prepared in some of the constituencies which had BJP representatives.
  • For the same reason, during the 2009 elections, in many people’s mind BJD and BJP were aligned together, while Congress was the opposition. So with the vote split between BJD and BJP, Congress was able to sneak through in some places.  Good examples of this situation are the Balasore and Sundergarh parliamentary constituents. In both places the BJP had strong candidates (in Kharabela Swain and Jual Oram, respectively) and thus the anti-Congress votes got split resulting in Congress wins in both places. The situation will be different in the next election. In the next election the anti-government votes will get split between Congress and BJP and both will do worse than they did in the 2009 elections.

Now let me list some of the attributes of the BJD party and its government and some points regarding the situation in Odisha.

  • BJD’s supremo is a gentleman and closely guards his party members at all levels to follow some basic principles. There are aberrations, but he sorts them out expeditiously. Following is what I mean.
    • The state ministers have very little authority or power. That way they don’t have much of an opportunity to engage in corruption; they can not do any corruption on behalf of the MLAs; the MLAs themselves or party workers at lower level  can not indulge in any big corruption. So in general, there is no (or very little) visible corruption among BJD MLAs and ministers, especially towards personal gain. (Note: All parties in India get their party funds from various sources. There is some corruption involved in that.)
    • The state functions via the bureaucrats and the important departments are headed by bureaucrats that have more or less spotless reputations. So the corruption by higher bureaucracy is not there.
    • With a long running government BJD has a lot of party workers, but they are not like cadres of other parties. They are restrained from indulging in violence or similar activities that would antagonize the people. The BJD party and the Odisha government’s way of dealing with Kalinganagar and POSCO situation and its comparison with Singur is illuminating. In both Kalinganagar and POSCO, although the opposition parties have indulged in unlawful and sometimes violent methods, the BJD party has not countered with its cadres. The government has followed the strategy of wearing people out with time and leaving matters to law and order authorities but with strict instructions to be soft. Thus, even though some newspapers published by opposition parties have used the term "BJD goondas", the public does not have such a view of BJD having a goonda cadre.
  • BJD has given SOPs to the poor people (2 Kg rice), have indulged in populist people pleasing policies (bicycle for girls), and has sincerely helped people during calamities. So its popularity among common people is growing.
  • In essence, the government and the BJD party is not heavy handed and not arrogant and is perceived as people friendly. Ofcourse pockets of people are unhappy in places (e.g. Dhinikia) where promotion of industry clashes with people wanting to be left alone or people agitated by others; but by the government and its party not being heavy handed, arrogant or violent, such unhappyness is localized and as in Kalinganagar, it decreases with time. 
  • The *local* media–especially the top news papers–in Odisha keep a sharp eye on the government. They scrutinize every action and inaction of the government and are mostly critical of the government. They rarely praise any government initiatives. If one is not careful, one solely reading the local media may start having a distorted image of Odisha. But, although, I often feel bad by the negative portrayal of  many things in the local media I realize that in the big picture view, this is good for Odisha. It keeps the government on its toes, keeps it in check, and prevents it from being arrogant. Once one takes the perspective that the job of the opposition and the local medial is to "oppose", "criticize" and "scrutinize" every government actions, and they are able to do that well and freely, then it is easier to get a better picture. Reading some comparative articles in the national media, such as this, also helps.

So how does BJD winning another term after this term reflect on Odisha’s future.

  • It means that the current policies will continue and some of the big projects will happen. In particular, POSCO will go the Kalinagnagar way with the resistance slowly decreasing and development creeping in. Already a good chunk of the land has been acquired and basic efforts for construction (such as access roads) have started. The opposition can stop some of the land being acquired but they can not lawfully stop construction to happen in land that has already been acquired. They are trying, but I don’t see such unlawful efforts being sustainable. Similarly, if the Supreme Court gives ok to the Vedanta University land acquisition so far, then that will happen too. For both these big projects one can look back at Kalinganagar and Dhamara as models. In both Kalinagnagar and Dhamara, it took much longer than originally projected, but they happened. My prediction is same with respect to POSCO and Vedanta University.
  • Although by various measures (of investment) Odisha is among the leading states in the country there is the perception that things move very slow here. The perception is true, but perhaps moving slow is necessary. Running roughshod over the people backfires in many ways. Again, Singur, West Bengal is a good example of that. Also, Chandrababu Naidu’s fast moving steps did not help him win the next election. So Odisha will move forward in a slow and steady manner slowly modifying some of the people’s anti-industry attitude and taking them along.

The above are broad stroke observations. There would be exceptions at individual levels. Similarly, the predictions are based on assuming that no abnormal events happen; the future is unpredictable and small events can change everything.

Now what can Odisha and BJD do better.

  • Rope in good technocrats and have more people with decision making authority: I think BJD and Odisha would do better if BJD ropes in some good technocrats who have spotless reputations. There is so much one CM and a few trusted officers can do. The party needs to find a few more people within its ranks and increase its ranks with people it can trust (to be effective and not corrupt) and have more people with real decision making  authority.
  • Find ways to listen to local and regional voices: Currently, most in BJD are winning elections because of the party supremo’s image. Plus the tight control from above results in that they do not have much of a voice in government decisions. As a result they are not able to forcefully state regional aspirations and demands. This results in regional aspirations and demands being sidelined. For example, in this site we have highlighted many demands of Rourkela people. Because the local representatives (MLAs and one of them happen to be a minister) do not have much of a voice, for little things (like a new train) they have to hit the streets. This is not healthy and could ultimately result in BJD’s downfall and/or more vocal demands to split the state. If the MLAs and ministers can not be fully trusted and the trusted officers rule the roost in the government, may be a few more senior officers (besides the RDCs) can be each entrusted with a cluster of districts to look after. In particular, their job would be to bring to the higher level of the government demands and aspirations of people of those districts.

Work starts on Paradeep-Choudwar-Rourkela Industrial Corridor

Angul, Anugul- Talcher - Saranga- Nalconagar, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Bhubaneswar-Dhenkanal- Anugul, CKP ... Bhalulata - Rourkela - Jharsuguda Jn - Daghora , Cuttack, Cuttack - Paradeep, Cuttack-Paradip, Dhenkanal, IDCO, Jajpur, Jharsuguda-Sambalpur- Bargarh, Jharsugurha, Jharsugurha- Brajarajnagar- Belpahar, Kendrapada, Khordha, Paradeep port, Paradip - Jatadhari - Kujanga, Rourkela- Kansbahal, Rourkela-Jharsuguda, Sambalpur, Sambalpur - Talcher, Sambalpur-Burla-Jharsuguda, Sambaplur- Burla- Bargarh- Chipilima, Sundergarh, Talcher - Barang, Talcher - Bimlagarh (under constr.) 1 Comment »

Following is an excerpt from a report in ibnlive.com.

The state government has started work on development of a railway corridor through Choudwar to Rourkela to allow ease of inward and outward transportation of goods from the industrial hubs and mining belts along the region.

Land acquisition for the project, the first of its kind initiative by a state government, has already been initiated by the Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco). The project would go on ground after the land acquisition and is targeted to be completed by 2015, said Idco CMD Priyabrata Patnaik on Friday.

The corridor involves development of extensive rail and road connectivity, along with provisioning of water supply and other infrastructural facilities. The corridor would encompass two track railway lines and six-lane road passing through the industrial hubs and the coal mining belts. New industrial areas and downstream units would be developed along the corridor.

Common infrastructure facilities under the corridor would solve the problems of inward and outward transportation of goods and minerals. The stretch would pass through the heart of coal mining operations in the state, which harbours about 65 billion tonne of reserves. The coal reserves in the Talcher belt only is around 43 billion tonne.

The corridor would cover 17 large and mega-industries, along with 57 other units, through the stretch from Choudwar to Rourkela. Traffic projection on the route is given out as 8.7 million tonne.

The route would have 163 km of railway track length and 465 km on road. As many as 308 minor bridges and 77 major bridges would have to be constructed on it, said Patnaik.

Note 1: The 163 km of railway track probably refers to the Talcher-Bimlagarh segment.

Note 2: Although the above report only mentions the Choudwar-Rourkela part, in earlier documents there is mention of Paradeep-Choudwar-Rourkela industrial corridor. See for example this 2009 Business Standard report. Following are some excerpts from that.

The Orissa government plans to develop an industrial corridor running from Paradeep to Rourkela through industrial hubs like Choudwar, Talcher and Sambalpur.

Though the initial proposal was to have an industrial corridor originating from Choudwar to Rourkela, the proposal was modified to extend the corridor till Paradeep to allow inward and outward transport of goods through the Paradeep port, sources said.

… The proposed industrial corridor will be in line with the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and is designed to pass through national highway no.42 and national highway no 5 (A).

Under the project, both road and rail corridor will be developed, which will be the backbone of the proposed project. The industrial estates and down stream units would be developed over 25 km area on both sides of the corridor.

IL&FS has been appointed as the consultant for the project and it has already submitted the pre-feasibility study report to the industry department on the project. However, the detail cost of the project is yet to be worked out yet, sources added.

The latest initiative of the state government follows a similar initiative to develop a common ‘rail-road-water pipeline and infrastructure corridor’ in Meramundali-Angul-Talcher-Chhendipada belt, to facilitate movement of coal in the Talcher coalfield area.

The project is estimated to cost about Rs 5000 crore including Rs 2000 crore for 2-line rail corridor and Rs 1100 crore for 4 lane road alongside it. The land width of the proposed corridor will be 300 metre which includes 60 metre for road and 20 metre for water pipeline.

The total length of the corridor is 137 kilometre which includes length of 43 number of major bridges to be constructed on this stretch. RITES Ltd has already submitted a pre-feasibility report to the state owned Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation of Orissa Ltd. (Idco) on the project.

The project is designed to have multi-point centralised loading stations conceived along the corridor rather than individual bulb connections with a view to avoid interference or wastage of coal bearing areas. Road and water pipe alignment will run parallel to rail alignment, sources said.

It will be connected to rail line at three locations- Jharpada, Angul and Budhapanka. The common corridor will have multiple entry and exit points and no surface crossing. Besides, flyovers are proposed to avoid cross movements at junction stations.

This ‘rail-road-water pipeline and infrastructure corridor’ in Meramundali-Angul-Talcher-Chhendipada belt is projected to handle 113 million tonne coal by 2014-15. It includes 55 million tonne coal movement required by the power companies, 40.76 million tonne by steel companies and 17.22 million tonne by other industries.

Odisha initiates plans for a Capital Area Development Region

Bhubaneswar, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Bhubaneswar-Berhampur, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack- Kalinganagar, Bhubaneswar-Dhenkanal- Anugul, Bhubaneswar-Nayagarh, Bhubaneswar-Paradip, Bhubaneswar-Pipli- Astaranga, Bhubaneswar-Pipli- Konark, Bhubaneswar-Puri, Choudwar-Kendrapara - Dhamara, Cuttack, Cuttack, Cuttack-Paradip, Dhenkanal, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Jajpur Rd- Vyasanagar- Duburi- Kalinganagar, Kalinganagar - Panikoili - Jajpur - Kendrapara, Kalinganagar- Chandikhol- Paradip, Kendrapada, Khordha, Odisha govt. action, Paradip - Jatadhari - Kujanga, Puri, Puri, Puri - Konark, URBAN DEV. & RENEWAL 1 Comment »

The above is a good idea.

 

  • A plan over a larger area will avoid congestion and slums that are typical of densly packed areas.
  • Another big benefit will be that the term "Capital Area" will make it easier for institutions, companies and other entities to come to the gretaer area rather than coming to "Bhubaneswar". For example, many institutions that are looking for land in Bhubaneswar are hesitant to locate in Kendrapada or Jagatsinghpur; even though the political leadership is very welcoming.  But once the term "Capital Area" encompasses Kendrapada and Jagatsinghpur, these institutions will be less hesitant to come there.

So while the current Bhubaneswar and Cuttack planned areas will sever as the core urban area, the larger Capital Area development region will morph to a sub-urban area which down the road will touch the metropolitan areas around Angul in the west and Berhampur in the south.

We wrote about this in http://www.orissalinks.com/orissagrowth/archives/3637.

A similar term needs to be coined for the greater Sambalpur-Jharsuguda-Rourkela area. See http://www.orissalinks.com/orissagrowth/archives/3660 , http://www.orissalinks.com/orissagrowth/archives/3672 and http://www.orissalinks.com/orissagrowth/archives/3668.

Perhaps it can be called the "Western Odisha Development Region".

Newspaper reports and pictures on the 2011 Gotipua festival

Gotipua, Gotipua Festival, Odisha govt. action No Comments »


 

Some tourism infrastructure involving Lingaraj temple and vicinity in Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Khordha, NURM, JNNURM, Odisha govt. action, Roads, highways and Bus stands, Telegraph, Temples No Comments »

Following is from a report by Bibhuti Barik in Telegraph.

The state government is planning to build a new road from Lingaraj Temple to Kotiteertheswar Temple at a cost of around Rs 2 crore, to ease traffic pressure in the area. The 410-metre two-lane road will come with a three-acre parking area.

The project, which is to be taken up jointly by the tourism department and the roads and building division of the public works department (PWD), will also help provide a clearer view of the 11th century Lingaraj temple as shops and roadside vendors in front of the shrine will be relocated along the new road.

… the dilapidated Lingaraj Market Complex … will be demolished to clear the area for the laying of the road which will run along the Devi Padahara pond, behind Ananta Vasudev Temple and the farm lands on the side of natural drainage channel No. 7 near Kotiteertheswar Lane. The private land near the temple, which is owned by businessmen and the Lingaraj Temple Trust, will also be acquired to speed up the road project.

… “The state tourism department has already given Rs 30 lakh to the PWD and the rest — Rs 1.69 crore — will be provided by them from their plan budget. All the displaced traders and vendors will be rehabilitated.”

… the two-lane road would have facilities such as footpath and accompanying drains. However, the parking lot would be built by the tourism department, as it is not included in the road project.

The road would later be extended up to Taleswar Mahadev to improve the communication between Kedar Gouri and Lingaraj Temple.

Tourism department sources added that Old Town would soon have a mega tourist circuit, for which the Centre has sanctioned Rs 8.14 crore. The proposed circuit envisages, among others things, renovation of two major roads, construction of a “parikrama” around Lingaraj Temple, soft lighting for eight protected monuments and two tourism interpretation centres.

While the tourism department is trying to revive Ekamreswar, the miniature temple of Lord Lingaraj near Lingaraj police station, a dedicated road corridor will be constructed to link Puri, Old Town and Khandagiri via Dhauli. An amphitheatre will also be built opposite Madhusudan Park at Pokhariput with a capacity to accommodate 3,000 people.

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 ibnlive.com.

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.

Multiple funding sources to help further develop various tourist attractions and infrastructure in the coastal areas

Berhampur- Gopalpur- Chhatrapur, Bhadrakh, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Bhubaneswar-Pipli- Konark, Bhubaneswar-Puri, Business Standard, Central govt. schemes, Chandaka, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, Dhamara- Chandbali- Bhitarakanika, Ganjam, Gopalpur-on-Sea, Heritage sites, Historical places, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Khordha, Konark, Lord Jagannath, Nandan Kanan, Odisha govt. action, Paradip - Jatadhari - Kujanga, Puri, Puri, Puri - Konark, Raghurajpur, Shamuka Beach project, Sites in and around Bhubaneswar, Telegraph, Temples, Tourist promotion No Comments »

Following is from a report in Telegraph.

The capital will soon have a mega-tourist circuit for which the Centre has sanctioned Rs 8.14 crore.

The proposed tourist circuit envisages, among others things, renovation of two major roads in Old Town area, construction of a ‘parikrama’ around Lingaraj temple, soft-lighting for eight protected monuments and two tourism interpretation centres.

While the tourism department is trying to revive Ekamreswar, the miniature temple of Lord Lingaraj near Lingaraj police station, a dedicated road corridor will be constructed to link Puri, the Old Town area and Khandagiri via Dhauli.

Moreover, a 3,000-seater amphitheatre will be constructed opposite Madhusudan Park at Pokhariput.

… Samal spoke to reporters after the heritage walk, which was held today as part of World Tourism Day function.

The circuit will aim at facilitating various cultures as the city is perhaps the only one place in the region where three major religions — Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism — have their presence and the Daya riverbed is linked to the transformation of Emperor Ashok from Chandashok to Dharmashok.

… While the mega circuit will be part of the development of the ambitious Bhubaneswar-Puri-Chilika tourism sector, the Old Town area of the city will have a 40-feet road near the temple connecting Kotitirtheswar Lane and a proposed three-acre parking site.

Later, the same road will be extended up to Kedar Gouri temple. These two roads, in turn, will provide a better corridor so that tourist vehicles can pass through the areas smoothly. Similarly, a ‘parikrama’ or circular road will be planned around the Lingaraj temple.

“Apart from providing better connectivity to the Old Town area, the side walls of various buildings and structures will be decorated with tiles of red laterite stones. The concept has already been adopted in various western cities and states such as Rajasthan. …

The mega circuit will also emphasise on infrastructure development to connect various sites of Buddhist and Jain religious interests. Other than central assistance, there is also a plan to develop a road connecting Gangua nullah (through its right embankment) to the historical Kapileswar village. Another road will link Ganesh Ghat near Dhauli Peace Pagoda with the Jatni Kapilaprasad Road.

According to the pre-feasibility report, the state government will spend more than Rs 30 crore on the two proposed roads.

“These two roads will connect Dhauli with Khandagiri and the travellers and tour operators need not take the longer Cuttack-Puri Road via Rasulgarh to reach the historical Jain sites. Even nature lovers visiting places such as Deras in Chandaka or Nandankanan Zoological Park can take this road in future,’’ said the MLA.

“The state government has also asked the Bhubaneswar Development Authority to construct an amphitheatre opposite Madhusudan Park in Pokhariput. This will resemble the amphitheatre at the Utkal Sangeet Mahavidyalaya near Rabindra Mandap,’’ he said.

Sources at the public works department said: “There is a plan to construct a flyover over the railway level crossing at Pokhariput for Rs 42 crore. While the state government will share Rs 22 crore, the rest will come from the railways. Once the flyover is commissioned, the road from Dhauli to Khandagiri will become a vital link to various religious centre.’’

Under the mega tourism circuit, temples such as Lingaraj, Rajarani, Mukteswar, Rameswar, Parsurameswar, Lakshmaneswar, Bharateswar and Satrughneswar will be illuminated with light emitting diode based ‘dynamic lighting system’ for which Rs 3.98 crore will be utilised. The project will be executed by the Orissa Tourism Development Corporation.

Hinting at the development of two interpretation centres near the Lingaraj temple, Samal said: “While one will be constructed on the premises of Sibatirtha Mutt, the other one will come up near the employees’ colony.’’

On the proposed tourist interpretation centre near Khandagiri-Udaygiri caves, he said the project would be completed within two or three months time.

Following is from a report in Business Standard.

The Orissa government has decided to promote heritage tourism at eight locations along the coast line with an investment of Rs 7.41 crore in the next five years.

Based on archeological, architectural, sculptural and historical importance, the selected structures, identified by the state archeology department, would be taken up under the World Bank funded Rs 227.64-crore Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project.

… The structures identified to get a face lift under the scheme included Potagarh (Buried Fort), located on the bank of river Rushikulya in Ganjam town which stands as a mute witness to the vicissitudes of history in Orissa.

Apart from historic Potagarh, the British Cemetery near Ganjam town, Bhaba Kundaleswar temple of Manikapatna, Baliharichandi temple near Puri, Hariharadeva temple, Nairi, Bateswara temple, Kantiagada (Ganjam), Jagannath temple, Pentha and Jamboo Colonial Building, Kendrapara will be refurbished under the scheme.

Preservation of ancient monuments under the project will include their protection, structural conservation, chemical conservation, landscaping and maintainance from time to time.

… The officials of the Gujarat and West Bengal projects along with a World Bank team visited various places including Ganjam and Kendrapada districts in the state recently to review the implementation of the project. Project Director of ICZM (Orissa) AK Pattnaik briefed the team about various steps taken under the project and their progress. The scheme, whose tenure spans from 2010 to 2015, is being implemented in two coastal stretches: Paradeep to Dhamara and Gopalpur to Chilika.

Plans for a port-based cluster of wood-based industries in Paradip

Clusters, IDCO, Jagatsinghpur, Odisha govt. action, Paradip - Jatadhari - Kujanga No Comments »

Following is an excerpt from a report in Telegraph.

The state government is planning to set up a port-based cluster of wood-based industries in Paradip on the Kandla model. The hub will manufacture wooden products with imported timber and market them within and outside the country.

“The entrepreneurs will set up their units with their own funds. We will facilitate the project by providing land and other infrastructure. The state run Industrial Development Corporation has earmarked 100 acres of land for the purpose,” said industries minister Raghunath Mohanty.

“The beauty of the project is that the wood-based units will use timber imported from South Africa, New Zealand and West Indies. The proposal is on the lines of Kandla project in Gujarat where several wood-based industries are operating. The entire raw material is imported from outside,” said forest and environment minister Debi Prasad Mishra.

Odisha single window committee (SWC) approves investment of Rs 1,286.61 crore

Bargarh, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Cement, Electronics, Food processing, Jagatsinghpur, Jharsugurha, Jharsugurha- Brajarajnagar- Belpahar, Khordha, Paradip - Jatadhari - Kujanga, Sambaplur- Burla- Bargarh- Chipilima, Single Window Clearance (SLSWCA), Thermal No Comments »

Following is an excerpt from a report in ibnlive.com.

The single window committee (SWC) on Friday approved proposals for four industrial units, two of them power plants, with an investment of Rs 1,286.61 crore.

… The proposal of M/S Beverages Private Limited to set up a soft drink beverages unit with capacity of one lakh crates per annum at Atabira in Bargarh district with an investment of Rs 59.61 crore was approved in the meeting.
Similarly, the proposal of M/S Essar Power Orissa Limited to set up 4×30 MW captive power plant in two phases at Paradip with an investment of ` 683 crore was also given the green signal.

It is expected that the project will provide employment opportunity to 200persons.

The proposal submitted by Investa Ventures Limited for setting up a LED manufacturing plant and incubation park at Chandaka near Bhubaneswar with an estimated investment of Rs 190 crore was also approved.

The plant will produce energy saving LED electric bulbs and tubes and is expected to open employment opportunities for 470 persons.

Besides, the proposal of M/S Ultra Tech Cement Ltd for expansion of the existing cement grinding capacity from 1MTPA to 3 MTPA at Jharsuguda Cement Works and bulk terminal in Cuttack district with an investment of ` 354 crore has also got the approval of the committee.

The Bhubaneswar-Cuttack-Puri city bus routes

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Bhubaneswar-Cuttack, BMC action 2 Comments »

As per recent news, the latest route to be added is KIIT-Niladri Vihar – Kalpana with stops at Infocity, Niladri Vihar, Sailashree Vihar, Damana, Chandrasekharpur-Omfed Square, Kalinga Hospital Square, Sainik School, Institute of Physics, National Institute of Science Education and Research, Utkal University, Regional Museum of Natural History, Planetarium, Acharya Vihar, Master Canteen, and Kalpana Square.

For an overall status following is an excerpt from a Telegraph report.

Dream Team Sahara will deploy five buses for the new route. Therefore, a total of 90 buses will ply in the city bus service network in 12 routes, including those to Cuttack and Puri.

“At present, we are running 15 buses in Cuttack. But as Orissa High Court has given a directive to introduce more buses for the historic city, we are planning to add five more buses for Cuttack. Similarly, five buses are running between Bhubaneswar and Puri. By the end of this month, the number is, however, expected to go up to 15. Therefore, we will ultimately run all the 125 buses as per the plan for the city bus service under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). With 90 buses pressed into service, bus companies will have to provide 35 more buses to make the fleet fully equipped,” said chief operating officer of Dream Team Sahara, Sudhanshu Jena.

The detailed stoppages and distances of the older routes are given in the following brochure obtained from a BMC site.

 

Team Odisha steps in the last months on airports and air services

Angul, Bhadrakh, Bhubaneswar, Bringing International Connectivity, Dhenkanal, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Jharsuguda, Jharsugurha, Keonjhar, Khordha, Others, Rangeilunda Berhampur, Rayagada, Rourkela, Sundergarh, Team Odisha 8 Comments »

Following is from the Team Orissa newsletter of AprilJune’2011.

In regards to the airport in Paradeep, there has been news that it will be an important aspect of the proposed PCPIR in Paradeep.

In the past, two other airport locations have been mentioned: Koraput/Jeypore/Sunabeda area and Balasore/Baripada/Rasgovindpur area. In fact, after Rourkela, Jharsuguda and Gopalpur, these two will be the important locations as they have the potential to be regional airports.

Comparing the three Lokpal bills (work in progress); Update: Hindustan Times’ take

ADMINISTRATION & REPs, CENTER & ODISHA 4 Comments »

The following comparison is based on the article http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Aruna-Roys-bill-seeks-to-fine-tune-clauses-in-Annas-Jan-Lokpal/articleshow/9700516.cms. I will add more to this as I read the bills in more detail and/or come across other comparisons of all three bills.

Government’s bill Jan Lokpal Bill (By Anna’s team) Lokpal – NCPRI proposal My Comments
Limits the bill to Lokpal at the Centre. The same law should also establish Lok Ayuktas in the states. The same law should also establish Lok Ayuktas in the states. Many states already have Lok ayuktas or equivalent. Odisha and Karnataka come to mind. Also, if it is extended to the states, the viewpoints of the  states need to be taken. That will take time.
  All the levels of bureaucracy should come under Lokpal CVC should be strengthened to deal with lower bureaucracy.  I prefer the NCPRI proposal as it will keep the Lokpal part focused and less bureaucratic.
Prime Minister is exempted from Lokpal’s ambit. Prime Minister should not be exempted from Lokpal’s ambit. Prime Minister should not be exempted from Lokpal’s ambit. But, there should be no investigation without the Supreme Court’s clearance and that the Cabinet’s collective responsibility should not expose him to vicarious liability.  I like the NCPRI proposal.
Chairperson has to be a judge. Need not be a judge. Need not be a judge. Judges have a record which one can scrutinize to find out if he/she has been fair, if he she has been following the constitution, if he/she has been ignoring the law to appease popular sentiments, etc.
Nine-member selection committee   Three member selection committee: Prime Minister, leader of opposition in the Lok Sabha and a SC judge. A 10-member search committee, which will short-list candidates, should consist equally of retired state functionaries and civil society representatives.  I think the US methods of confirming a Supreme Court Justice should be added. I.e., After the selection the Chairperson should be confirmed by a majority of the MPs (perhaps in a secret ballot) without any whips. The confirmation process should include questioning by the MPs, as is done in case of US supreme court judge confirmations. 
Allegations against the Lokpal should not be probed by the SC without a reference by the President. No such condition. No such condition.   
Lokpal to deal with complaints against its officials. Inquiry should instead be held by an ombudsman appointed by an independent committee. Inquiry should instead be held by an ombudsman appointed by an independent committee.   
Exempting MPs from Lokpal’s remit for their conduct in Parliament No such exemption. NCPRI’s view is that a constitutional amendment is required to remove the immunity enjoyed by MPs. It calls for an undertaking from the government that it would make such an amendment within a year.  
Extraordinary safeguard in the official bill requiring Lokpal to give a hearing to the accused public servant before registering an FIR against him. Does not agree. Does not agree. Here, I prefer the government’s version. There are a lot of honest government officers and lawmakers. If they are accused, they should be provided a hearing, Otherwise people will just stop making decisions or taking initiatives as that would be the best way to avoid hassles.
A complainant found to have filed a frivolous case be liable to imprisonment for at least two years.   A monetary penalty not exceeding Rs 1 lakh. Here I am more in the side of the government. Frivolous cases can put everything to a halt and needs to be strongly dissuaded. These days Rs. 1 lakh penalty is nothing. Unless people are sure they should not be making complaints to the Lokpal. There are other means (go to press, file PIL, etc.) where the penalty is much less.
       

In http://164.100.47.5/newcommittee/press_release/press/Committee%20on%20Personnel,%20PublicGrievances,%20Law%20and%20Justice/PR%20-%20LB,%202011.pdf the parliament standing committee on this bill asks for a feedback memorandum. Following is a quote from that:

Those desirous of submitting memoranda to the Committee may send two copies thereof, neatly typed in double space (either in English or Hindi) to Shri K.P. Singh, Director, Rajya Sabha Secretariat, 201, Second Floor, Parliament House Annexe, New Delhi-110001 (Tel: 23034201, Fax: 23016784, E-mail: [email protected] and [email protected]) within fifteen days of publication of this advertisement. Those who are willing to appear before the Committee for oral evidence besides submitting the memorandum may so indicate.

The Date of Publication of the above notice is 20th August, 2011 and the Last date for Submitting a Memorandum is 3rd September, 2011.


Following is a comparison of the Lokpal Bill and JanLokpal Bill by Hindustan Times. The part I agree with is annotated in red.


Videos on Aruna Roy’s and NCPRI’s viewpoints on the Lokpal Bill

ADMINISTRATION & REPs, CENTER & ODISHA No Comments »

Lokpal Bill: Can’t ignore Standing Committee, says Aruna Roy

Anna Hazare ill advised, says Aruna Roy Didn’t say Anna was ill advised: Aruna Roy

(Note: She did say it, as one can hear in the previous video; but may be it was selective editing. However, I am also of the view that Anna was ill advised and so far the ill advises continue.) NAC has its own version of Lokpal Bill

Following are Aruna Roy’s views as quoted in Economic Times. Her views resonate with me more than the views coming out of Anna’s camp.

Terming Anna Hazare’s Jan Lokpal Bill "impractical and complicated", noted social activist … Aruna Roy said that giving widespread powers to an unelected body is a "threat to democracy".

"Jan Lokpal is a bill impossible to implement. Also, it derails the checks and balances between the judiciary, executive and other organs of the democratic structure," Roy, 65, who pioneered the right to information (RTI) movement in the country, told IANS in an interview here.

"Not that we agree with the government Lokpal Bill. The Lokpal legislation should be thoroughly deliberated again by activists, lawmakers and all other stakeholders.

"We of course support the democratic right of Hazare to hold demonstrations and fast against the government. That is why we condemned the arrest of Hazare," she said. …

Asked about the huge public support Hazare has drawn, Roy said: "There have been huge gatherings in support of NGO-sponsored agitations, like the Narmada Bachao movement. It might not have got similar publicity, as live TV was not there then."…

Roy, a Magsaysay award winner, said the Jan Lokpal bill is a "giant, complicated exercise" as it tried to extend from the prime minister to a peon.

"It wants to bring the higher judiciary into its ambit, which otherwise should have been under the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010," she said.

She felt that the suggestion of dual duties — curbing corruption and redressing grievances — under the Jan Lokpal was not feasible.

"The Jan Lokpal is a threat to democracy as a powerful, non-elected agency can lead to abuse of power and abuse of authority. Power corrupts and absolutely power corrupts absolutely," she quipped.

"Grievance redressal should not be the role of the Lokpal; it should be the work of the executive.

"See, wages of lakhs of workers in the NREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) in Rajasthan have not been paid. But that is because the shortage of bank staff and other bureaucratic delays," she said.

The massive organisational setup suggested in the Jan Lokpal will lead to corruption and inefficiency, she cautioned.

"You may be able to find 11 Lokpal members of integrity, but it is difficult to create a clean set-up of thousands of staffers and hold them accountable," Roy said.

The government-drafted Lokpal is also deficient on several fronts, she added. Since it excludes cases under the state governments, there can be no probe against cases like the Adarsh housing society scandal, the Commonwealth Games scam and illegal mining in Karnataka.

She said excluding the prime minister and the higher judiciary was wrong. "This is a wrong practice. Nobody should be above the law," she said, adding that there should be certain safeguards. "Like both the Lokpal and the Supreme Court should agree on a probe against the prime minister."

Roy also suggested that the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill should be revised to facilitate effective action against the higher judiciary while the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) should be strengthened to probe junior officials.

The whistleblowers’ protection bill too should be revised to deal with the increasing attacks and threats against RTI activists, she suggested.

"The Lokpal bill should not become an issue of adamant stances, political rivalries and personality-driven agitations. What we need is a sincere, detailed debate for legislation of immense social significance and public concern," she said.

Roy, an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer from 1968 to 1974, resigned from the government as the clouds of Emergency were gathering. …

Roy’s campaign for right to information led to the enactment of the RTI Act – in Rajasthan in 2000 and five years later at the national level.

I completely agree with Aruna Roy that the parliamentary standing committee must be respected. The fact that at some other time bills were passed without much of a debate does not mean that the same should be done here. The Lokpal set up, at least as described in the Jan Lokpal bill is like another branch of democracy and proper discussions must happen at all levels before a bill on this is passed.

Now some quotes from a Business Standard article.

Harsh Mander, another NCPRI member said: “I am worried about people on the streets, who are dreaming of a better country. How can we reduce it to just one view and one issue? Let us deepen the debate and struggle for a better India.”

He said more views should be taken into account and the best possible solution should be provided to these people.

However, Justice A P Shah was harsh in his criticism of the insistence of the Anna team on having only their version of the Bill passed. “Anna is not civil society and civil society is not Anna,” he said. He said that ombudsmen in no country is given power over judiciary and this was very dangerous.

The differences between the NCPRI and its supporters and Anna supporters on the Lok Pal Bill are just a few. But, it is what is seen as the intolerant attitude of the Anna team which has annoyed NCPRI members and supporters like Anhad to organise the press conference.

Roy added that actions of the team were tantamount to hijacking the democratic system. Democracy is for the poor and it is our responsibility to make it work. We can remove rotten parts in a system, but, we cannot throw away the system itself.

“I can sit on the streets and demand that the collector delivers, but I cant go and sit in the collector’s chair. What the Anna team wants is almost that,” she said.

The two main differences in Anna’s Bill and Aruna Roy’s Bill are the non-inclusion of the judiciary in the latter’s version and the replacement of a single Lok Pal with a three-level structure to investigate corruption at different levels of the society.

But, it is not the differences in the Bill that is causing concern to those who differ from Anna Hazare.

Roy said, “If Anna has a right to dissent, he should also acknowledge and admit the right of other people in the country to have differences with him on the Lok Pal”.

She said it was solely because of Anna Hazare and his team that Lok Pal has today become such a big issue.

Arvind Kejriwal, member of the Anna Hazare team said it was a misunderstanding that they were holding the Parliament to ransom on the Bill. He also dismissed the differences with Aruna Roy on the Bill as very minor.

“Multiple agencies to deal with corruption would lead to confusion. When a complaint is filed, we don’t know if a higher official or a lower official is involved. So it cannot work,” said Prashant Bhushan, another memeber of Hazare’s team.

I partly agree and partly disagree with the last statement of Prashant Bhusan. In case of RTI also one may not know which office to file the RTI. But ultimately it can trickle down from a top office to a lower office. The same can happen with respect to corruption complaints. However, a proper procedure should be laid out when it is clear that "corruption" has happened but is not clear at what level.

Finally, check out the articles and comments in the following:

Getting educated on the Lokpal issue: Pointers to the Government’s Lokpal bill, the Jan Lokpal bill and the Lokpal – NCPRI approach

ADMINISTRATION & REPs, APPEAL to readers, CENTER & ODISHA No Comments »

The site http://www.prajnya.in/lokpaldebate.htm has a lot of pointers on all these. Following are links from that site.

Again, the site http://www.prajnya.in/lokpaldebate.htm has a lot of pointers.

My appeal to people is to read all three and think for themselves rather than blindly following someone.

NALCO and IDCO join hands and float an invitation for EOI for downstream aluminum park in Angul : Deadline is September 20, 2011

Aluminum ancilaries, Angul, Anugul- Talcher - Saranga- Nalconagar, Bauxite, IDCO, NALCO No Comments »

Following is from http://www.idco.in/2009/Aluminium_Park_IEOI_Document%2026.07.11.pdf.

EOI SUBMISSION – DATE AND TIME 7.1. The Interested Parties should submit their EOIs, in the form & manner mentioned under Clause 4 hereinabove and seal it in an outer envelope and mark the envelope as “ EOI for Participating in the proposed Aluminium Park at Angul” on or before 17: 00 hours (IST) on September 20, 2011.

SITE DETAILS

1. The site of around 450 (four hundred and fifty) acres is located adjacent to the NALCO smelter plant in Banarpal Block of Angul District south of NH 42 and for the purpose of clarity it is delineated with red boundary line in the map under clause 2 herein below (the ‘Site’).

2. The Site is undulating in nature with no apparent physical encroachments and utility lines.

INFRASTRUCTURE LINKAGES

1. Approach Road: There is an access to the site from NH 42 through a single lane carriageway through Kulad village having a length of around 2.50 km. In addition, the Site is also connected by a single lane road of length 6.4 km from NH 42 running along the periphery of the NALCO smelter unit. An alternate dedicated approach road to the site from NH 42 is being planned by IDCO. In addition, the proposed Aluminium Park shall be having a connecting link road from the proposed Angul Bypass Road.

2. Rail: There exists a single track rail siding of NALCO which runs along the edge of the site till Budhapanka Railway Station with a length of about 14 km.

3. Water: Major perennial source of water for the site is river Brahmani to the north of the site on the other side of NH 42 at a distance of about 15 KM. To the extent possible, technologies and processes to be implemented by the prospective unit holders within the proposed park should aim at maximizing recirculation and reuse of water as major demand of water for envisaged processes is expected to be for cooling requirements. This would ensure in optimizing water requirements for the park on a sustainable basis.

4. Power: One of the major substations of the State is located at Meramandali (400/220/132/33 KV) which shall be approximately 7 Km from the Site. National Grid located at Chainpal near Talcher Thermal Power Station is also a likely source. Power shall be a key parameter for the Project and steps would be taken to consider sustainability.

PROJECT CONCEPT

1. Primarily, the idea is to promote aluminium based downstream and ancillary units in Orissa and to capitalize upon the inherent location based advantage for the Site. The current practice for the NALCO smelter unit is to extract aluminium having purity of about 99.97% through an electrolytic process in potlines at a temperature of around 10000c in molten form and then to utilize the same in casting standard billets, ingots, plates, wire rods, sheets etc. Aluminium in solid form as mentioned above is procured by downstream industries and utilized for different end products. Due to proximity of the Site with respect to the smelter unit, the molten metal directly may be procured by interested downstream industrial units within the proposed park and then utilized to form different end products as desired. Even considering issues like chances of oxidation, dross formation or heat loss during the transfer process for molten aluminium, advantages for prospective unit holders within the park using aluminium in molten form rather than the conventionally used solid form include:
• Savings in terms of energy costs for the downstream industrial units
• Reduction in terms of adverse environmental impact due to reduction in energy
requirement for the process and transportation needs • Better quality of the metal in terms of lesser chemical impurities
• Efficient management of inventory with minimized requirement of stock for unit holders

2. Under the Project, the Aluminium Park is being proposed to be developed as a state-ofthe- art industrial park for entrepreneurs in related business who shall set up new units within the park and utilize the molten metal as mentioned above. The existing customers of NALCO who currently buy the metal in conventionally available solid form and utilize it for various end products at locations away from the smelter unit in Angul may also relocate their plants/set up new units in the proposed Aluminium Park.

3. In addition, ancillary units may also set up units within the proposed Aluminium Park. There would be a mutually benefitting relationship between such units and NALCO.

4. The Aluminium Park would be so developed so as to fulfill comprehensively the functional requirements in terms of common facilities, physical and social infrastructure amidst a green environment. The suggested components that may come up within the the Aluminium Park include:
• Industrial Sheds / Plots
• Warehouses/Storage Facilities
• Common Facility Centers
• Material recycling and handling facilities
• Skill development centers and ITIs
• Landscaped (green) areas, Buffer Zones
• Truck Terminal and Parking facilities

5. The envisaged support infrastructure facilities for the Project to include:
• Reserved green space
• A systematic network of internal roads
• Regular supply of quality water with adequate storage facilities
• Reliable power supply to ensure maximization of production levels on a sustainable basis including renewable energy sources
• Promoting the use of solar energy to the extent possible
• Underground utility lines
• Fire fighting system for the Park
• Adequate parking space for trucks/others
• Common effluent treatment and solid waste disposal and management facilities including for hazardous and non hazardous wastes
• Sturdy storm water and Sewerage networks, Sewage Treatment Plant
• Common Rail Siding
• Banks / ATMs / STD – PCOs
• Public and Semi public facilities including Emergency Health Services, Crèche, Public Health Centers etc.
• Efficient and professional service-oriented Operations & Maintenance system
• Dedicated access controlled road corridor from NALCO smelter unit for carriage of molten aluminium

6. For the downstream industrial units, molten aluminium may be arranged to be supplied through a dedicated road corridor from the NALCO smelter unit with appropriate safety measures. Units may make payments individually to NALCO for the molten metal being used and a suitable pricing mechanism for molten metal shall be established by NALCO for the park including provisions for revision.

7. The suggested indicative products for the proposed Aluminum Park would include:

Downstream Industries of Aluminium
• Conductors
• Extrusions
• Castings
• Foil
• Others including powder

Ancillary Industries
• Raw materials like caustic soda, coal tar pitch, alum etc.
• Dross recovery unit
• Mechanical Items: Chisel Poker, LDPE sheets, Ingot skimming tool, etc
• Instrumentation Electronic Items: Alarm card, Pressure Switch, T/C sockets, photocell etc
• Refractory Items- like LCC lid cover, flue wall bricks etc.
• Miscellaneous Items- Hand gloves, casting wheel nozzle, cotton dust mask etc.

8. Products to be considered for commercial production within the proposed Park shall be decided based on mutual consent of the prospective Entrepreneurs/Manufacturers and AAPPL –the project SPV taking into account current and planned production facilities and commercial plans of the existing NALCO Smelter Unit adjacent to the proposed project site.

9 The aspect of current pollution level at the Angul Talcher Area shall be critically considered while assessing investment proposals and arriving at the final Project contours