Archive for the 'CENTER & ODISHA' Category

History of Parlakhemundi light railway: Indian Express

Gajapati, Naupada - Gunupur (Gauge conversion), Odisha history, Railway network in Odisha, Rayagada No Comments »

Indian Express has a nice article on the history of Parlakhemundi light railway. Following are some excerpts.

Paralakhemedi Light Railway (PLR) was two feet six inches gauge railway. It was the brainchild of the erstwhile Raja of Paralakhemedi. The Kimedi country, consisting of Paralakhemedi, Paddakimedi and Chinna Kimedi, was under a single ruler till 1607. Paralakhemedi came under the British influence in 1768.

East Coast Railway came into existence in the year 1893 with the construction of the Cuttack-Khurda Road-Puri line, covering a distance of 96 kms and its subsequent link along the East Coast up to Vijayawada — junction point of Southern Maratha Railway and Nizam’s Guaranteed State Railway. As a result, a stretch of 1280 kms of East Coast Railway, covering the entire coastal stretch of Cuttack, Khurda Road, Puri, Palasa, Vizianagaram, Visakhapatnam, Kakinada, Rajahmundry, Vijayawada, was opened for traffic between 1893 to 1896. East Coast Railway brought rail line to Naupada in 1894. The Raja of Paralakhemedi decided to connect his capital with Naupada, which was only 40 kms away. With the government giving sanction in 1898, work began in full earnest. The line was opened to traffic in 1900. This railway line was built at a cost of Rs 7 lakh.

Due to a change in the policy of the British Government, the Bengal Nagpur Railway, popularly known as the B.N.R, took over the northern section of East Coast Railway from Vizianagaram to Cuttack, including the Branch Line of Puri, by 23-01-1902. Accordingly, the working of the PLR was taken over by the Bengal-Nagpur Railway in 1902. In the first few years, the PLR had incurred losses but after 1910, it started making marginal profits and after 1924-25, the profits increased. This motivated the Raja to extend the line to Gunupur in two phases in 1929 and 1931. There were now a total of ten stations between Naupada and Gunupur. Tekkali, Paddasan, Temburu, Ganguvada, Patapatnam, Paralakhemedi, Kashinagar, Lihuri, Bansidhara and Palasingi.

The management of BNR was taken over by the Government of India in October 1944. On 14-04-1952, at the time of the re-grouping of the Indian Railways it became part of the Eastern Railway. The merger of B.N.R. into Eastern Railway, however, did not last long and on 01-08-1955 it was merged with newly constituted South Eastern Railway. During the SER centenary celebrations in 1987, set of four postage stamps were released. One of the stamps featured the PL 691 locomotive.

The standard type of locomotive on PLR was the 20 ton 0-6-4 tank locomotive with small (27 inch diameter) coupled wheels and an axle load of only 4.75 tons. …

The foundation-stone was finally laid for the Naupada-Gunupur gauge conversion work at Naupada on September 27, 2002. With effect from April 1, 2003, PLR became a part of the newly formed East Coast Railway. The line was finally closed for gauge conversion on June 9, 2004.

— VIKAS SINGH, RAIL ENTHUSIAST
Courtesy National Rail Museum

Center agrees in principle to set up an army base in Orissa and is considering an Air Force squadron or unit in Charbatia: Dharitri

Defence establishments, Odisha govt. action No Comments »

Following up on an earlier posting http://www.orissalinks.com/orissagrowth/archives/1842 Dharitri reports that the center has agreed in principle to set up an army base in Orissa.

New poultry operation in South Orissa; Three Sub-ordinating offices of the Department of Animal Husbandry and Diarying are in Orissa

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Central govt. schemes, Khordha, Koraput, Koraput- Jeypore- Sunabedha- Damanjodi, Poultry farming, Sambalpur, Sambaplur- Burla- Bargarh- Chipilima No Comments »

Following is from a report in farminguk.com.

The large poultry farm meant for research and promotion of poultry farming in south Orissa had been closed down due to management problems. It was revived and modernised with Central aid. It would serve as a major breeding farm in south Orissa. The chicks produced in this poultry farm would be sold to poultry farmers of Ganjam, Gajapati, Kandhamal and Nayagarh districts.

The Regional Poultry Farm is ready to start its sale of newly-hatched chicks from 29 April. … The farm has decided to specialize in breeding ’Banraj’ breed of poultry. The head of the farm, G.Naresh Kumar informed that at present the animal husbandry department is promoting this breed among rural poultry farmers.

The Banraj breed is being promoted to cash on the market of organic chickens of traditional breeds, which are still grown in large numbers in rural areas in an unorganised manner. The traditional breeds are slow growing yet they have a good market and fetch good price in market. It may be noted that similar poultry farms of the State government at Chiplima, Angul, Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Sundergarh, Bolangir, Semiliguda and Koraput are also being modernised to meet the increasing need of poultry products in Orissa.

The Government of India has a Department of Animal Husbandry and Diarying under its ministry of Agriculture. That Department has the following sub-ordinating offices, of which three are in Orissa. Orissa should try to get a Fisheries division office.

I. Animal Husbandry Division

  1. # Central Cattle Breeding Farm, P.O. Dhamrod, District Surat, Gujarat.
  2. # Central Cattle Breeding Farm, Andesh Nagar, District Lakhimpur, (UP).
  3. # Central Cattle Breeding Farm, Similiguda, P.O. Sunabada (Koraput) Orissa.
  4. # Central Cattle Breeding Farm, Suratgarh (Rajasthan).
  5. # Central Cattle Breeding Farm, Chiplima, P.O. Basantpur, District Samalpur, (Orissa).
  6. # Central Cattle Breeding Farm, Avadi, Alamadhi (Madras).
  7. # Central Cattle Breeding Farm,P.O. Hessarghatta, Bangalore North.
  8. # Central Frozen Semen Production and Training Institute, Hessarghatta, Bangalore North.
  9. # Central Herd Registration Unit, W-15, Jagdish Colony, Rohtak (Haryana).
  10. # Central Herd Registration Unit, W-34, G.N.M. Colony, Christian Ganj, Ajmer – 305 001.
  11. # Central Herd Registration Unit, 10, Gautam Vihar, Cooperative Society Building, Usmanpura, Ahmedabad.
  12. # Central Herd Registration Unit, Santhapat, Ongole 523 001, District Prakasam (A.P.)
  13. # Regional Station for Forage Production & Demonstration, P.O. Netaji Subhash Sanitorium, Kalyani, Distt Nadia (W Bengal).
  14. # Regional Station for Forage Production & Demonstration, 48, Rajbagh (Extension) Srinagar (J&K).
  15. # Regional Station for Forage Production & Demonstration, Suratgarh (Rajasthan).
  16. # Regional Station for Forage Production & Demonstration, P.O. Textile Mill Hissar (Ha ryana)_.
  17. # Regional Station for Forage Production & Demonstration, GA 128/2, Sector No. 30, Gandhinagar, (Gujarat).
  18. # Regional Station For Forage Production & Demonstration, Avadi, Alamadhi, (Madras)-600052.
  19. # Regional Station for Forage Production & Demonstration, Mamidipally, Via Keshavagiri, Hyderabad – 500005.
  20. # Central Fodder Seed Production Farm, Hessarghatta, Bangalore North.
  21. # Animal Quarantine & Certification Service Station, Delhi -Gurgaon Road, Kapashera Village, New Delhi.
  22. # Animal Quarantine & Certification Service Station, Velachary Main Road, P.O. Pallikarni Village, Madras – 601 302.
  23. # Animal Quarantine & Certification Service Station, Village Gopalpur, P.O. Gopalpur, Distt Choubis parganas (W Bengal).
  24. # Animal Quarantine & Certification Service Station, Bombay – 400 065.
  25. # Central Sheep Breeding Farm, P.O. Box No. 10, Hissar – 125 001 (Haryana).
  26. # Central Poultry Development Organization, Southern Region, Hessarghatta, Bangalore North.
  27. # Central Poultry Development Organization, Eastern Region, Bhubaneshwar.
  28. # Central Poultry Development Organization, Western Region, Aarey Milk Colony, Mumbai.
  29. # Central Poultry Development Organization, Northern Region, Industial Area Chandigarh.
  30. # Random Sample Poultry Performance Testing Centre, 69/4, Urban Estate, Gurgaon (Haryana).

II Dairy Development Division

  1. # Delhi Milk Scheme, West Patel Nagar, New Delhi.

III Fisheries Division

  1. # Central Institute of Coastal Engineering For Fishery, Bangalore
  2. # Central Institute of Fisheries Nautical and Engineering Training, Cochin.
  3. # Integrated Fisheries Project, Cochin.
  4. # Fisheries Survey of India, Mumbai.
  5. # Aquaculture Authority, Chennai.

High court asks center and state on loss to Orissa on faulty mine policies

Demanding equitable treatment, Mine royalty and cess, Odisha issues in the Parliament No Comments »

From Samaja:

From Dharitri:

Central ministers continue to treat central budget as their personal fief: When will they realize that they are ministers of India and not of their state or hometown?

Demanding equitable treatment No Comments »

Following is an excerpt from the article at http://bihartimes.com/Newsbihar/2009/Feb/Newsbihar16Feb7.html.

Sometimes it is quite difficult to understand why leaders from Bihar are so squeamish about helping their home state when leaders from other states are so brazen in doing this.  Defense Minister A K Antony has gone about making the defense PSUs set up their facility in Kerala.  Even non politicos like Dr Madhvan Nair have selected Kerala to set up "Indian Institute of Space Technology" at Thiruvananathpuram while being fully aware that Bihar does not have any ISRO center worth mentioning. I hardly find anyone questioning why the benefit of all the Farm Loan Waiver Schemes have been cornered by so called developed states like Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Tamilnadu. Moreover, I’m yet to see any one questioning as to how  Mr T R Balu has focused just on developing roads and sea ports in his home state of Tamilnadu only. As per his own claim, he has brought investment of over Rs. 50,000 crores ( Rs 33,000 crores in road sector and balance in ports) to Tamilnadu. Similarly, Mr Velu has lobbied hard to get Rs 7000 crore worth railway project approved for TN. Politicians from Andhra Pradesh were being indignant at their state being ignored. One must add up the fund Andhra Pradesh has cornered over last 10 years.
 
If the central government had not formulated the policies and its programs the way it has been doing till now, all these so called developed states would have been underdeveloped.  The states which have been the worst sufferers have been actually the states like Orissa, Jharkhand, MP and Chhatishgarh. If any state has any right to be indignant at all, it is only these states.

Bihar certainly deserves a better treatment now before it is too late for Indian Union to manage inequities between various states. Till date Bihar has been marginalized in setting up institutions and assets of national importance, putting it at huge economic disadvantage. As recently as last month, even in the case of ‘Institute of Translation Research’, Bihar’s case was ignored to favour Andhra Pradesh. How long the fellow countryman and the policy makers think that people of Bihar should meekly accept this discrimination. Central policy makers are so blatant that they have not even bothered to release a reconstruction and rehabilitation package for flood ravaged region of Kosi, as they did in case of other national calamities like Gujarat Earthquake and  Tamil Nadu Tsunami. It is hard to comprehend why different yardsticks are being followed for citizens of the same country. Most paradoxical thing has been that the central policy makers are focusing on developing regions which has been traditionally inimical to people coming from other parts of country and ignoring the ones which have been receptive all along.
 
Anyway, talking about the railway, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav has only partially fulfilled the wishes of the people of state in this Interim Budget. He has made more noise and delivered less in this budget than his earlier budgets even while conceding that it was only an Interim Budget. I would have expected him to take up some railway lines for which surveys were announced in his previous budgets. Also, he has announced survey of Mono Rail for Patna last year with much fanfare but there is no confirmation whether the same is going to happen any soon now. After returning from Japan he forgot his old promise of Mono Rail and ended up on a new promise of Bullet Train which is even less likely to happen soon.  Of particular interest for state would have been announcement pertaining to a Rail Bridge between Chapra and Arrah over the Ganges River and perhaps two more at Bakhtiyarpur and Sahibganj over this mighty river. He could have also ventured to provide fast track connectivity for Kosi Region to the state capital by linking up Saharsa, Kusheshwarsthan, Samastipur and Hajipur using a rail Bridge on Kosi at Kusheswarsthan.
 
Though the minister has done a commendable job for Bihar over the last five years, yet he is leaving a lot of things incomplete.

GFT Technology to be used to arrest sea erosin

Coastal highway - beach preservation, Odisha govt. action No Comments »

Following is excerpted from a story in The Week.

The Orissa government for the first time would use the Geo Filter Tube (GFT) technology in construction of sea wall to save the Satbhaya village from constant threat of sea erosion.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is scheduled to lay foundation stone of the much ambitious project, estimated to cost Rs 15 crore to the state exchequer, Aul Saline division executive engineer Rajkishore Ghadei said.

Official sources said a high-level scientist team from Chennai-based Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), which earlier visited the sea erosion prone Petha village under Rajnagar, had asked the district administration and the state government to erect a sea wall by using the Geo-Filter Tube technology.

Mr Ghadei … The erosion control measures, he said, would be easily solved by installation of the Geo-Filter Tube erosion barrier. Shoreline restoration is also easily achieved by the installation of the Geo- Filter Tube which acts as a natural sand filter to reduce the insecticides.

It is a low cost shoreline restoration system easy and fast to install with little or no impact on existing landscape at 25 per cent of the cost of the conventional bulkheads or sea walls.

According to Ghadei, the Geo-Filter Tube is constructed of a spun-bond polyester fabric sewn together to form a custom diameter tube. The tube is interconnected along the water-edge, then a small sand pump is used to fill the tube with the same sand and organic material that has been eroding into the lake or canal.

The final result is a long lasting fully contained sand filter barrier that would stabilise the bank from erosion and filter rainwater and irrigation run off.

The Geo-Filter Tube erosion barrier could be installed on any shoreline contour or stacked pyramid fashion to create a more substantial barrier to protect against soil erosion during heavy rains.

The Tubes are geo-textile encapsulated soils used to replace rock as conventional building blocks in marine Geo-tube wall to prevent sea erosion and hydraulic engineering structures,Ghadei.
 

State to propose for an army base in one of the backward and maoist affected districts: Samaja

Defence establishments, KBK Plus district cluster, Malkangiri, Samaja (in Odia) No Comments »

Kharabela Swain, MP from Orissa, has the guts to point out Lalu Yadav’s partiality

Odisha MPs, Railway network in Odisha, Railways 1 Comment »

Following is an excerpt from a the Lok Sabha transcript of 20th October 2008.

SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN (BALASORE): What he has done? He has taken one railway factory to his constituency, another factory to his wife’s constituency, and the third one to the UPA Chairperson’s constituency. … (Interruptions) We are nowhere.  Shall we be eligible to get any rail factory any time in life? … (Interruptions) People say that now-a-days jobs are being given in the Railways by taking land from them. … (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please go to your seat. Let the Minister reply. I will give him time.

… (Interruptions)

SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN (BALASORE): Even now the Ministers in the Government are becoming Ministers by giving land in this country. … (Interruptions)

1707 hours

(At this stage, Shri Ram Kripal Yadav and some other hon. Members

 came and stood near the Table.)

… (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: If you do not go, I have no other way but to adjourn the House. If you want me to adjourn the House, then I will adjourn it.

… (Interruptions)

SHRI KHARABELA SWAIN (BALASORE): It is because of this only. … (Interruptions) This is happening and nothing else. I strongly object to what is being done by the Railways. … (Interruptions)

MR. CHAIRMAN: Please go to your seats. If you do not go, I have no other way but to adjourn the House.

          The House stands adjourned to meet tomorrow, the 21st October, 2008 at 11 a.m.

One wonder if Lalu Yadav is the Minister of Railways for India or the Minister of Railways for UPA or the Minister of Railways for Bihar?

Orissa in Transition: From Fiscal Turnaround to Rapid and Inclusive Growth (Forthcoming World Bank Study)

Best practices, CENTER & ODISHA, INDUSTRY and INFRASTRUCTURE, INVESTMENTS and INVESTMENT PLANS, Odisha govt. action, World Bank 1 Comment »

The following is from http://go.worldbank.org/F6WBERON80. See  also this Telegraph report.

Orissa in Transition

From Fiscal Turnaround to Rapid and Inclusive Growth 

Forthcoming World Bank Study

 

Overview: Orissa has transformed from a seriously lagging state to a state on the move

 

From being the poorest state of India in the mid 1990s, Orissa has become a state on the move.  The state’s economy has shifted gear and is on a higher growth trajectory.  Gross state domestic product (GSDP) has grown at 8.5 percent on average during the Tenth Plan period (2002-07), compared to 5.5 percent during the previous plan (1997-2002) and even slower in the past. 

 

Public investments in infrastructure have begun to rise, and private industrial investment is booming. The finances of the state have improved remarkably, creating fiscal space for expanding public investments. 

 

Private investment is booming: Indian and foreign mega investments in the steel and power sectors and aluminum and chrome products are dominating the private investment boom. Industry has grown at 20 percent annually in 2002-07, compared to only 6 percent in 1997-2002.  This is fuelled, in part, by the rise in world metal prices. Since 2004, Orissa has ranked as the country’s premier investment destination, according to the Center for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE).

 

Private investments under implementation in Orissa now total about US$125 billion – which is about seven times the state’s annual gross domestic product (GSDP).  Many of these investments are at an advanced stage and expected to start production before 2012/13. This makes it likely that Orissa will enjoy high double digit growth, faster than the rest of India, for several years to come.

 

Early signs of economic diversification: There are also some, albeit early signs of economic diversification. In the services sector for instance, Indian IT companies are entering Orissa as traditionally favored destinations become increasingly saturated. The services sector is now growing at a rapid clip, almost touching 10 percent. Even agriculture, traditionally beset by drought and floods, grew at 3 percent per year during 2002-07, which is better than the rest of India.

 

As a result, Orissa’s per-capita income, which progressively fell behind the rest of the country during the past five decades, has begun to catch up. Inequalities within Orissa have also narrowed.   The latest National Sample Survey data show that rural families in the southern region of the state – one of the poorest parts of the country without the mineral deposits of the north – are now spending up to 25 percent more on basic necessities like food, clothing, and schooling for their children, compared to just five years ago.  Although average spending in rural Orissa is still low, it is moving up more rapidly than ever before.

 

A great deal still remains to be done

 

Second poorest state in the country: Despite recent progress, however, Orissa is still the second poorest state in the country with one of the lowest levels of urbanization. Over 45 percent of its people live in poverty with the scheduled tribes (STs) – who make up a sizeable 22 percent of the state’s population – lagging far behind the rest of the population. Most STs live in tiny villages or remote habitations in the hills where their geographical isolation underlies much of their poverty. Rural electrification is among the lowest in the country; some 18,000 villages and 5 million households have yet to get electricity. Learning levels in schools are low, and the burden of ill health too high.

 

Capacity constraints in infrastructure: Capacity constraints in rail are increasing congestion on roads, and limited port capacity is diverting cargo from Paradip in Orissa to Haldia in West Bengal, and Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. The state has yet to capitalize on its large coastline facing South East Asia.

 

Undoubtedly, much remains to be done. Given the state’s recent growth, the time is now ripe to consolidate the gains of the past and devote public resources to building infrastructure, and reducing the gaps between the people – between rural and urban, between the interior and the coast, and between the scheduled tribes and the rest of the population.



Policies will need to unleash the full potential of agriculture, fisheries and forestry on which an overwhelming 85 percent of the state’s people depend. Education and health will need urgent attention if the people are to benefit from the growing opportunities provided by the new economy. Roads, railways and ports will need major upgrades if the benefits of growth are to be spread more equitably and the state’s natural resources effectively utilized. And, for all this to happen, the accountability of the government in the delivery of basic services must be increased.

 

While Orissa seeks to industrialize on the strength of its rich mineral wealth, it is important to ensure that those who live on mineral-rich land benefit adequately from the advent of large mineral-based industries. While the Orissa government has adopted a progressive rehabilitation and resettlement policy for the displaced, and legislated to ensure that a share of company profits are earmarked for development, the challenge ahead lies in   the effective implementation of these promising policies.

 

As Orissa strives to build for the future and surpass average Indian living standards by 2020, it can take productive lessons from its recent successes. The open and consultative process that has served it well in the past will be necessary to deal effectively with the complex issues that lie ahead on the road to modernization.

 

Reforms Spur Faster Economic Growth

 

Since 2001,Orissa has achieved a remarkable fiscal turnaround. The ratio of the state’s debt burden to annual GDP has fallen significantly, helping it transform from being one of the most fiscally-stressed states of the country in the late 1990s, with a primary (non-interest) fiscal deficit of 6 percent of GSDP, to a surplus of 3.4 percent.

 

The turnaround has been triggered by a number of factors. Policy reforms at the central and state level have spurred the arrival of industry, the state government’s strong resolve has helped to complete long pending infrastructure projects despite a resource crunch, and its consultative approach has enabled it to reduce expenditures:

National level reforms: The central government’s elimination of the freight equalization subsidy – that prevented Orissa from becoming an attractive location for mineral based manufacturing in the past – paved the way for arrival of the metal industry in the state.

State government efforts to improve the investment climate: This was followed by a wave of well-sequenced state level reforms. In the first instance, from 2000 to 2003, the government mainly concentrated on raising its revenues through tax reforms and improving the investment climate by simplifying the regulations.

 

Between 2004 and 2006, it undertook significant measures to contain unproductive public expenditures. Through a consultative and transparent process, the state government took the people on board in its efforts to rightsize the civil service, retrench employees of loss making public enterprises, and rationalize grants to non-government high schools and colleges. The growing private sector presence that had already begun to open up new job opportunities for the people, helped gain their acceptance for the government’s efforts to downsize the public sector.

Improved connectivity: Strong resolve and a focus on outcomes rather than outlays helped the government to complete long-pending construction projects – roads, bridges and irrigation canals – despite constrained budgets. As a result, the number of bridges completed rose from 19 in 2004 to over 100 in 2006.

 

CHALLENGES AHEAD:

Over 45 percent of Orissa’s people still live in poverty with almost half of them belonging to the Scheduled Tribes, most of whom live in remote villages with little migration to the cities. There are large gaps in the delivery of basic services. The state still has large untapped potential for economic growth.

 

Improved transport and power connectivity: Almost half the villages in Orissa are small and isolated – with less than 500 residents. As geographical isolation poses a big challenge for connectivity, adequate road, rail, and port infrastructure is essential for inclusive growth as well as to benefit from the state’s mineral endowments.

 

Urban infrastructure: Although Orissa has one of India‘s lowest levels of urbanization – 15% – its urban centers are growing rapidly. With the growing advent of industry, tourism and IT services, the demand for urban housing, water and power services is likely to increase many times over. Massive upgrading of urban infrastructure is therefore needed to attract and retain the skilled labor force demanded by modern industry and services.

 

Agricultural and forestry growth: While some 85% of the state’s population remains dependent on agriculture, fisheries and forestry, these sectors are beset by low yields, excessive middlemen, poor connectivity, and lack of storage facilities. The ban on land leasing has resulted in informal and illegal share-cropping arrangements that are harmful to cultivators. To improve the rates of return from farming, the state has amended the agricultural products marketing act to permit privately run mandis and contract farming. The computerization of land records is ongoing. Yet, reforms in land tenure and land administration are needed so that small farmers can access bank credit and make productive investments in the land. For the mostly tribal populations that are dependent on forest produce, joint forest management practices can be a promising route to higher incomes.

 

Education: While school enrollment has risen, learning levels remain very low. While the state government has launched bold measures to improve teacher accountability, strong educational fundamentals from the earliest years, supplemented by some public and mostly private efforts in training and skill development are needed.

 

Health: Despite dramatic improvements in overall infant mortality rates in the past 5–10 years, the predominantly tribal districts lag behind. They have the poorest immunization rates and least access to antenatal care. While the state government’s health sector plan for 2005 envisages a decentralized and participatory approach to service delivery, innovative and flexible approaches will be required to reach geographically isolated villages. Importantly, systems of accountability will need to be strengthened before budget allocations to education, healthcare, and anti-poverty programs are increased.

 

Small and Medium Enterprises: With the arrival of new mega projects, the demand for a wide range of goods and services will rise, generating opportunities for small investors as well as new avenues for employment. To capitalize on these opportunities, an improved regulatory climate for SMEs is called for.  

Environmental considerations while tapping mineral rich areas: Given that mineral-based industries impact the environment, there is need to strengthen environmental institutions. Ongoing plans and current efforts of the government toward strengthening public consultation mechanisms will play a crucial role in determining the sustainability of mineral sector investments in Orissa.

 

QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

 

 

1. How many people have been brought out of poverty in recent years?

 

Between 1999/00 and 2004/05, based on NSS data estimates using ‘mixed reference period’, the proportion of people in poverty in rural Orissa declined by 8 percentage points compared to 5 percentage points in rural India as a whole. Despite this progress, however, the level of poverty in Orissa remains significantly higher than the rest of India.

 

According to the latest calculation based on official figures released recently by the Planning Commission, the number of poor in Orissa has come down by about 1.5 million between 1999/00 and 2004/05.  This figure will feature in the final Bank report.

 

 

2. By how much has Orissa’s economy grown in recent years?

 

The rate of economic growth depends on the period one considers. According to the latest data released by the Directorate of Economics and Statistics, Government of Orissa, the state GDP grew at 10.5 percent annually on average during the most recent five years, that is 2003/04 to 2007/08.  During the Tenth Five-Year Plan period, that is 2002/03 to 2006/07, the average growth rate was 8.5 percent.  Clearly, Orissa, which grew much slower than the rest of India during the 1990s, has now caught up.  From about 2004 onwards, it has begun to overtake the national average.

 

3. What is the state’s current debt burden?

 

How the debt burden has moved can be appreciated by comparing not rupee figures but the ratio of the debt burden to annual GDP or annual revenue. As a proportion of revenue, Orissa’s debt has fallen from 343 percent in 2001/02 to 201 percent in 2007/08. As a proportion of GSDP, it has declined from 63 percent to 50 percent.  This is a major correction, and reflects responsible fiscal management to lift the state out of a crisis situation.

 

 

4. Has the government achieved a revenue surplus by curtailing capital expenditure and squeezing development expenditure?

 

The revenue surplus has been achieved as a result of 3 factors:  improved performance of the state’s own taxes, enhanced central transfers and external donor support, and curtailing of expenditure.  The capital budget was constrained during 2002-05, but still outcomes improved due to emphasis on project completion. As explained in the report, there was undoubtedly a lot of flab in the administrative machinery, and Orissa was more over-staffed than other states. The government undertook major surgery to trim the fat, and in the process some muscle also got cut, which needs to be rebuilt now.   The Government of Orissa has been hiring a large number of para-teachers, and the teacher-pupil ratio is 40 on average, ranging from 31 in the best served district to 60 in the worst.  This is far better than the situation in Bihar, Jharkhand, Karnataka Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal.

 

 

5. Has the signing of MOUs been interpreted as industrial growth?

 

The reported industrial growth in recent years is based on actual and officially estimated GSDP figures, not on MOUs.  Assessment of future prospects has been informed by CMIE’s projections using detailed information on the status of each investment project under implementation, and its likely date of completion based on historical experience and informed judgment in exceptional cases.

 

 

6. What is the evidence of crop diversification?

 

The report cites some signs of crop diversification.   For instance, the output of maize and cotton has increased in some areas; this is reflected in official agricultural crop statistics. 

Calculating Indian Railways’ estimated profit from Orissa in 2008-09

APPEAL to readers, Railway network in Odisha, SECR, SER 1 Comment »
  Total Route kms Route Kms in Orissa

Total estimated Profit in 08-09 (in crores)

Orissa’s portion of the profit (in crores)
ECOR 2430 1607 3077.15 2034.97
SECR 1599 51 2529.89 80.69
SER 2577 589 2467.88 564.06
    2247   2679.72

 

Indian Railways exploitation of backward and tribal areas of Orissa: confronting Railway Board Chair with the facts in Toronto

Balasore - Niligiri (defunct?), Baripada - Bangiriposi (under constr.), EXPOSING ANTI-ODISHA-GROWTH SCHEMES, FINANCE & BANKING, Gajapati, Ganjam, Interstate disputes on Water and rivers, Jaroli - Deojhar .. Chaibasa, Kandhamala, KBK Plus district cluster, Keonjhar, Koraput - Rayagada, Mayurbhanj, Nayagarha, Odisha Consumer Welfare Foundation, Paradip - Jatadhari - Kujanga, Railway maps, Rajathagara - Nergundi, Rayagada, Samaja (in Odia), Sambalpur, Sonepur, Sundergarh, Talcher - Barang, Titlagarh - Jharsugurha Jn, Tomka - Jaroli, Uncategorized 3 Comments »

Following is the news report on the discussion (almost a confrontation) with the Railway Board Chair, as reported in India Abroad. The basic premise behind our grievances against Indian Railways and our demands is simple.

  • Indian railways is scheduled to make 2500-3000 crores/year from Orissa, but spends only 1000 crores/year on Orissa in terms of new lines, doubling and gauge conversion.
  • Its current plan for major spending includes freight corridors, metro rails, and high speed rails, none of which touch Orissa. It plans to do gauge conversion of 12000 kms, most of which is unprofitable (this proves that Indian Railway lies when it says it only does profitable lines), very little (less than 100 km) of which is in Orissa.
  • Orissa is already behind the national average in terms of rail density and way behind its neighbors such as West Bengal and Bihar. If no changes are made to the 11th plan IR allocations Orissa will further fall behind.
  • Indian Railways must not take money from its profit in Orissa, and spend it else where, until it takes care of proper connectivity to Orissa’s tribal, backward and maoist infested areas. The 2500-3000 times 5 = 12,500 -15,000 crore that Indian Railways will profit from Orissa during the 11th plan must be spend in new lines in Orissa until the (i)-(v) lines below and other port and mine connectivity lines are completed during the 11th plan.
  • To Mr. Jena’s retort that Mumbai earns so much in taxes and not all of it is spent in Mumbai; we reply that it is often acceptable to take from rich and give to poor; But when did it become acceptable to take from poor (Orissa) and give to rich (freight corridors etc. in other states)?

The lines in Orissa connecting to the tribal and backward areas that we demand to be finished during the 11th plan are:

  • (i) Khurda Rd – Nayagarh – Balangir: Lack of connectivity was one of the reasons a recent Maoist mayhem happened in Nayagarh. It seems after recent events, including the confrontation with the Railway Board Chair and various dharanas in Bhubaneswar, IR has started responding to this demand, but not to the extent to promise its completion during the 11th plan. Note that Balangir is the B in the KBK districts that are the most backward in India.
  • (ii) Lanjigarh Rd – Junagarh – Nabarangpur – Jeypore – Malkangiri – Bhadrachalam Rd in Andhra Pradesh: Only small part of this is approved. Most of it is not even surveyed. In the long run this will really bring those parts of Orissa closer to the rest of Orissa. This is the most important connection and has to be take care of at the earliest. Like the approved Vijaywada-Ranchi highway, this line will create an alternative Hyderabad – Ranchi path passing through backward and tribal areas of Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Jharkhand. This line will connect the Kalahandi and Koraput districts, the two K’s in KBK. The recent Maoist attack and killing of the Greyhound forces in Malkangiri might have been prevented if this line existed as then the forces would have used the train rather than being seating ducks taking a boat across a lake in Malkangiri.
  • (iii a) Rayagada – Gopalpur: This has been surveyed and but work on it has not started. Note that Rayagada is part of the undivided Koraput district, one of the K’s of KBK. This line could come under port connectivity and will be a viable line connecting the industries near Rayagada with the upcoming port in Gopalpur.
  • (iii b) Gunupur – Theruvali: This will add to the Naupada-Gunupur line and make it an economically viable line. (IR and Mr. Jena agree about its importance.) This line will be completely inside the Raygada district, part of the undivided Koraput district, one of the K’s of KBK.
  • (iv) Talcher – Bimlagarh (connectivity to the tribal district of Sundergarh): This line has been approved but is only being given a few crores each year, which is less than the inflation. This line will reduce the distance between Sundergarh district and teh coastal areas significantly. For example, it will make Rourkela only 4-5 hrs from Bhubaneswar.
  • (v) Baripada/Buramara – Chakulia: This line will connect the tribal district of Mayurbhanj to tribal areas of Jharkhand. It will add to the Rupsa-Baripada-Bangiriposi line and make it an economically viable line. (IR and Mr. Jena agree about its importance.)

All these lines can be completed if Indian railways just suspends its practice of taking from poor (Orissa) and giving to the rich for only a few years (may be just 3-4 years). The following maps show the above mentioned lines.

CM writes to PM for Ad Valorem rates on minerals: Samaja

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Tehelka interview with Finance minister: some relevant excerpts

ADMINISTRATION & REPs, CENTER & ODISHA, EXPOSING ANTI-ODISHA-GROWTH SCHEMES, INDUSTRY and INFRASTRUCTURE, INVESTMENTS and INVESTMENT PLANS No Comments »

Following is excerpted from a Tehelka interview. SC is one of the inerviewers Shoma Chaudhury.

SC: China has just six SEZs. But our Board of Control cleared more than 200 SEZs in its first sitting. I know that privately you…

It doesn’t matter what I think. We are not talking off the record, and I am reluctant to talk about it because I am bound by government policy. There is some consternation about the way the policy is operating. An empowered group of ministers has been asked to look into it. It’s taking more time than I would have liked, but hopefully some of the concerns expressed will be addressed.

SC: But our industrial projects, our growth centres, our cities have zero concern about environment, human life. Shouldn’t quality of life — a sense of well-being — be a factor in the growth story? France is revising what its GDP should mean to include the intangible but crucial idea of “well-being”.

Yes, but that’s after you reach a certain level of GDP, a certain degree of per capita.

SC: That’s the point. First we must arrive at the crisis, then we will look for the remedies.

Poverty is the worst polluter. If you are poor, you live in the most polluted world. The sanitation is poor, the drinking water is poor, the housing is poor, the air you breathe is poor. Everything is polluted. Poverty is the worst polluter. It’s our right, our duty, to first overcome poverty. In the process, yes, we will be sensitive to concerns expressed by other countries but not at the cost of our growth and our goal of eliminating poverty in our lifetime.

SC: The worrying thing is that on the ground the exact opposite of what you say is happening. Take the POSCO project or Vedanta or the sponge iron factories in Raigad. It is the poor who are suffering the most from the move towards industrialisation. Most of the unrest in the country today is over development projects that are anti-people — in terms of land takeover, resource usage, pollution of water and air. On the very things you talked about — air, water, basic health, basic living — the growth that is meant to alleviate poverty is adding to their misery. Do you call this inevitable collateral or would you admit the way we are going about things is wrong?

I think people are being deceived to believe that the existing state of life is an ideal state of life and development and industrialisation will make it worse. Here we talk about steel prices going up, but for three years we have stopped the world’s largest steel producer from producing steel in India. This could be categorised as a conspiracy of the socially-driven class to keep poor people poor. What is the quality of life we are talking about? They have no food, no jobs, no education, no drinking water. These districts of Orissa have remained poor since the world dawned. They live in abject poverty and you want me to accept the argument that if you set up a steel plant or mine the minerals there, they will become even poorer? What are we talking about?

SC: I am talking about the way it’s done. So what do we do?

We keep the minerals buried in Mother Earth? We keep the iron ore where it is, we keep the coal where it is and keep people poor? Is that what you’re suggesting? I’m telling you, we must develop those iron ore mines, we must mine that coal, we must build industries, we must give jobs to people. If this argument had prevailed there would be no Jamshedpur, and today the quality of life in Jamshedpur is better than in any other city in India. It has 24 hours water supply, electric supply, it has education for all its residents, and it has cleaner air than any other city. Had these people been around to advice Mr Jamshedji Tata in 1908, there would have been no Jamshedpur at all.

SC: There’s little evidence to go by. There was a culture of collective good and nation-building which no longer exists.

I don’t agree that the only ones with conscience and sensitivity to the environment are NGOs, and that business houses and entrepreneurs have no conscience and are totally oblivious to the larger good. I don’t agree at all. Just go to Neyveli and see. What was Neyveli? It was the poorest part of Tamil Nadu and today it is a humming, buzzing town and it has a school which has hundred percent pass results every year. The boys and girls from that school are toppers in competitive examinations. I sincerely hope you do not believe the poor enjoy a high quality of life.

SC: Our governments have been pretty derelict in regulating or nudging corporates to behave well. The Vedanta project in the Niyamgiri hills in Orissa is a good example. It earned international censure for its untenable behaviour in Orissa, a Norwegian fund even divested from it because of that. But here it took a PIL to stall the project. Would you agree that our government is failing to bat for the common good?

We have enough laws to take care of the issue. Apply those laws. If the Central or state government does not enforce environmental laws then blame that government. If the laws are inadequate, strengthen them, but in the name of the environment, for heaven’s sake, please don’t say that the poor should remain poor for the next five thousand years.

SC: Take Vedanta again. I’m asking what is the view from the other side, what is the government’s thinking on them? Even after they were stalled by the Supreme Court, the government asked it to reapply for the project under its Indian company. You argued as a lawyer for them when you weren’t Finance Minister.

In one of their excise cases. What has that got to do with this? Are you insinuating that my answers are coloured by the fact that I appeared for them? If a lawyer is pleading for a client in a murder case, does that imply that he has complicity in the murder? What is the relevance of your statement?

SC: Alright, I’ll withdraw it. I am asking, given their dismal track record in Orissa, why is the government defending their position instead of disqualifying them or pushing them towards better practices?

So do it. Who is preventing you? Apply the laws. But don’t stop the project. That’s the only way of rescuing those people from the clutches of abject poverty.

… SC: It sounds like a pipedream, because the experience on the ground is very different. Look at Gurgaon — emblem of India Shining, coming up on virgin land. It could have been a kind of urban utopia. Instead, there is no water, no electricity, no public transport, huge pollution, and absolutely no space or planning for the poor. Take any other B-town. Moradabad. Siliguri. Patna. Take the megalopolises — imploding under the weight of growth. The poor definitely don’t seem to be benefiting in these places.

So shall we leave people to live in these villages?

SC: I am asking is there a slower, deeper, more varied way of doing things that might not mean instant and insane wealth for a few of us, and yet ensure overall growth?

Apply the laws. Apply town-planning laws. The laws do not allow you to build without providing water and open spaces. You are passing off our collective failure to apply laws upon the model of development itself. I don’t think there is anything wrong with the model of development. It is just the unwillingness of the authorities to enforce rules and regulations. The answer is not to go back to the past and say, if we cannot apply the laws, let’s continue to live in our original state of poverty, neglect and despair.

SC: Let’s go back to national resources, like minerals. When you hand over natio – nal wealth to private corporations driven purely by the profit motive, what is the logic of usage? What’s to stop them cynically destituting a place before moving on?

Don’t hand it over to a private corporation. Set up an efficient PSU if you want.

SC: But you are against PSUs.

We are not, who said we are? We are putting more money in NTPC, SAIL, NMDC. We have revived 29 sick PSUs and put aside 13,000 crores in the last four years for this. So create a PSU. But why this old mental block that private is greed and therefore bad, and public is good.

SC: There are bad examples. Union Carbide, Enron.

If you want to continue with those traditional images of public and private sector you are welcome. The point I’m making is coal and iron ore is not meant to be kept buried under Mother Earth. They have to be put to use. As for your fears about environment and overuse, when we found that mining Kudremukh iron ore is highly polluting, we stopped mining it. But the argument that resources should not be used is an argument that must be rejected. Those who say that have a vested interest in perpetuating poverty.

I am with the finance minister on this.

Khurda-Balangir work stopped for now?

Khurda Rd - Balangir (under constr.), Railway network in Odisha No Comments »

Following is from Sambada:

Following is from Samaja:

Orissa to rework its coastal highway plan

Balasore, Bhadrakh, Coastal highway, Coastal highway - beach preservation, Ganjam, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Khordha, Odisha govt. action, Puri 1 Comment »

Following is from a report in New Indian Express.

The State Government has decided to revive the Gopalpur-Digha coastal highway proposal. Announcing this on Monday during question hour, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Raghunath Mohanty said the proposal would be submitted to the Centre for approval after completion of the feasibility report.

Mohanty, who was replying on behalf of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, said that the length of the highway will be 573 km. Of this, the Astaranga-Dhamra patch will be 245 km while the length of Astaranga-Gopalpur will be 180 km. The patch of highway from Dhamra to Subarnarekha will be 148 km.

The State Government had earlier submitted a proposal to the Centre and requested that it should be included in a Central scheme. However, the proposal was rejected as it did not confirm to the guidelines of the Planning Commission.

Chinese to help in the making of a world class station in Bhubaneswar?

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Following is an excerpt from a report in the Economic Times.

Railways may seek Chinese help in developing railway stations at Bhubaneswar and Bypanahalli in Bangalore.

A high-level Chinese delegation is visiting India from tomorrow to understand the Indian Railway system in a better way as part of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between both the countries.

The 13-member delegation headed by Wu Wei, Director of Sino-India Railway Cooperation Working Group will visit Agra, Bhubaneswar, Mumbai and Bangalore during their 12-day visit.

… The two countries’ cooperation in rail sector is envisaged in the MoU signed on January 14 during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Beijing. The agreement, valid for three years, envisages development of rail-related programmes of mutual interest.

… The team would visit railway station at Bhubaneswar and Bypanahalli to explore the possibility of developing these stations at the international level. "After visiting these places, the team would share their views with us about the way to go ahead with the project, said the official.

Grievance redress mechanism of GOI

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Their web page is at http://pgportal.gov.in/. The page http://dpg.gov.in/purview.htm lists the departments which are under the purview of this mechanism. At present they are:

1)      Railways

2)      Posts

3)      Telecom (incl. BSNL & MTNL)

4)      Urban Development (DDA, L&DO, CPWD, etc)

5)      Petroleum & Natural Gas

6)      Civil Aviation (IA, AI, AAI, etc)

7)      Shipping, Road Transport & Highways

8)      Tourism

9)      Public Sector Banks

10)  Public Sector Insurance Companies

11)  National Saving Scheme of Ministry of Finance

12)  Employees Provident Fund Organization

13)  Regional Passport Authorities

14)  Central Government Health Scheme

15)  Central Board of Secondary Education

16)  Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan

17)  National Institute of Open Schooling

18)  Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti

19)  Central Universities

20) ESI Hospitals and Dispensaries directly controlled by ESI Corporation under Ministry of Labour

 

 

National Waterway 5 bill to come up in Lok Sabha today

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Update: It could n’t come up on the 26th (item 17) as the Lok Sabha was adjourned after the Railway budget. It was scheduled to come up on the 27th (page 4), but  the Lok Sabha was again adjourned following protests by NDA and others raising the issue of the farmer’s plight.  Its scheduled to come up again on the 28th. But again the house was adjourned till the next day just about when this item was supposed to come.

The following is from http://164.100.24.207/lobtext/14/XIII/RLOB26.2.2008.pdf. (Our earlier coverage of this was in http://www.orissalinks.com/orissagrowth/?p=445)

Excerpts from TOI editorial: “After Nayagarh”

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From Today’s TOI Editorial:

Along with policing, however, other arms of the state machinery need to act and reach out to India’s tribal areas where Maoist insurgents are based. That means schools, roads, health care, easy credit, market access and other social welfare measures needed to mainstream India’s tribals and poor.

There’s a misguided belief that a hands-off policy is best when it comes to tribals. It becomes a handy excuse for not undertaking concerted efforts to bring them within the ambit of modernity and an Indian common market. The problem is that if government institutions don’t make serious efforts to get to India’s 84 million tribals then others will: Christian missionaries, Hindu activists, Maoist proselytisers. And that will end up strengthening the forces of both ideological extremism and regional chauvinism. Instead of ad hoc, panicky responses whenever incidents like Nayagarh happen, a long-term strategy comprising both security and welfare elements needs to be put in place to tackle the Naxalites and tone up governance in the areas that are their strongholds.

 

Two Orissa-West Bengal MPs plan to jointly push for Jaleswar-Digha Railway line: Samaja

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Press release on CM’s speech to the National Development Council

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The following is from http://rc.orissa.gov.in/index3.asp?linkid=30&sublinkid=272.

ORISSA’S 11th Five Year PLAN SIZE FIXED AT RS.32,225 CRORE

 AIMS AT 9% GROWTH

 

Addressing the 54th meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) at Delhi, Chief Minister of Orissa Naveen Patnaik announced that the 11th five year plan for Orissa has an outlay of Rs.32,225 crore and targeted 9% growth for the plan period. This was set against the achievement of 7.26% growth during the first four years vis-à-vis the target of 6.2% of the 10th five year plan.

 

In his address, the Chief Minister, Orissa stated that tackling the challenging task of reduction of regional, social and gender disparities and achieving faster, broad-based and inclusive growth needed a three-pronged strategy that included:

(i)               Increasing flow of untied Central assistance to less developed states,

(ii)            Providing greater fiscal space to the states for mobilizing higher resources, and

(iii)          Helping states to reduce their debt burden by swapping high cost debt, including Small Savings debt, with low cost loans.

He impressed that a growth strategy that promotes employment has been rightly given prominence in the 11th Plan.  Orissa has already put employment generation on a mission mode for achieving convergence of resources and activities under different programmes to generate more employment opportunities for unemployed people.  Development of small scale industries in clusters and ancillarization are also going to be given more attention during the 11th Plan.

 

He also stressed that increasing irrigation potential and drought proofing were critical pre-requisites to enhance agricultural productivity.  With a view to increasing assured irrigation in Orissa, he urged Government of India to substantiality increase Accelerated Irrigation Benefit Programme (AIBP) funding for Orissa and to expand the scope of AIBP to include Lift Irrigation projects.  He further requested Government of India to significantly enhance allocations under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Revival Mission (JNNURM) and Urban Infrastructure Development Schemes for Small and Medium Towns (UIDSSMT) for providing basic infrastructure facilities in urban and semi-urban areas in Orissa.

 

The Chief Minister, Orissa further outlined several interventions that were urgently needed for expeditious and inclusive growth of backward states like Orissa.  Some such interventions included:

(i)               higher Central Assistance for infrastructure development in the areas of roads, ports and railways in Orissa and other backward states,

(ii)            enhancement of funding for the World Bank sponsored Orissa State Road Project from US $ 250 million to US $ 360 million and increased Central support for the proposed Ranchi-Vijayawada Highway,

(iii)          establishment of prestigious Central institutions like IIT, IIM and IIIT in Orissa to meet growing needs of skilled manpower for upcoming industries,

(iv)          exemption from income tax and central excise for 10 years for the KBK region on the lines of Special Category States in order to promote industrialization,

(v)             timely revision of royalty on coal and other minerals, on  ad valorem basis and  equitable share of export duty levied by Government of India on major minerals to the mineral rich states,

(vi)          just and adequate compensation for power producing states which bear the brunt of pollution and displacement, and

(vii)        expeditious coverage of all 30 districts under RGGVY and release of funds for the same.

 

The Chief Minister, Orissa also stressed that the mineral rich states needed to benefit from their natural endowment in a fair and efficient manner and that these states needed to be consulted in assigning mineral concessions.  He stated that value addition within the mineral bearing states needs to be given emphasis and hoped that Government of India shall fully address the concern of the mineral bearing states while finalizing the proposed mineral policy.  He further urged the Central Government to declare Orissa as a Special Category State.

 

Little progress on Lalu’s promises on the Rupsa-Baripada-Bangiriposi line: Samaja

Baripada - Bangiriposi (under constr.), Baripada- Bangiriposi- Similipal foothills, Mayurbhanj, Railway network in Odisha, Samaja (in Odia) No Comments »

Orissa number 3 in taking advantage of the Pradhan mantri Gram Sadak Yojana: Samaja

Central govt. schemes, Odisha govt. action, PMGSY, Samaja (in Odia) No Comments »