Archive for the 'New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express' Category

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

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

Following are excerpts from a report in ibnlive.com.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Location for Tata power in Naraj is more apt for a Knowledge Park

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, CENTER & ODISHA, Cuttack, ENVIRONMENT, HRD-n-EDUCATION (details at orissalinks.com), IT, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express, Tatas, Thermal 2 Comments »

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

The wildlife wing of the Forest department has raised concerns over the setting up of 1,000 mw thermal power plant proposed by Tata Power Company at Naraj.

Its proximity to critical sites, impact of pollution on them as well as on the wildlife are issues the wildlife wing is worried about. The ` 4,900 cr coal-based power project is proposed at Naraj Marthapur, about 12 km from Cuttack and 20 km from Bhubaneswar.

“The Centre had referred the project site matter to me. Subsequently, I inspected the proposed power plant site and submitted a report in which I have indicated certain concerns relating to environment and wildlife,” Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) P N Padhi said on Monday.

One of the major issues is its location. According to Padhi’s report, the power plant is proposed amidst six critical sites.

It has Bhubaneswar and Cuttack on both sides and it is located between two major rivers __ Mahanadi and Kathjodi.

Besides, it is flanked by two wildlife habitats __ Chandaka- Dampara wildlife sanctuary on the one hand and Nandankanan Zoological Park and Zoo, also a notified sanctuary, on the other.

“With two protected areas (PAs) on its sides, a thermal power plant may have adverse impact on wildlife,” Padhi said. Chandaka, for one, is an elephant sanctuary and has witnessed growing man-animal conflict over the past 10 years.

Besides, the jumbos are known to stray out of their habitats more frequently in the last few years.

Similarly, apprehension of pollution is a major concern …

The power project, which is located in Cuttack Sadar tehsil, needs about 990 acres. It is well close to a road that connects Khurda, Chandaka, Barang and Gobindpur. …

That location (close to Sri Sri University) is apt for a knowledge park. Since the Tatas have already worked hard on the land acquisition Odisha government should tell them that instead of a power plant they should create a Knowledge Park there. It could include a large operation of TCS, a TCS training center like the Infosys center in Mysore, space and infrastructure for multiple universities, medical colleges, etc.

There the total land area is about 990 acres. Currently such an amount of contiguous land is not available so close to Bhubaneswar where one can build IT parks and knowledge parks.

So the Odisha government should consider giving the Tatas some other land for their power plant and use that land for a knowledge park, possibly even built by the Tatas.


Saubhik Chakrabarti gives a nuanced picture of Lanjigarh in Indian Express

Aluminium, Anil Agarwal, Bauxite, CENTER & ODISHA, ENVIRONMENT, EXPOSING ANTI-ODISHA-GROWTH SCHEMES, Kalahandi, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express, Vedanta 2 Comments »

Following is from his article in http://www.indianexpress.com/news/orissas-unobtainium/673845/0

…Niyamgiri, or Niyamgiri hill range—more than 100 hills; 250 square km approximate area—justifies the use of a few cliches. Lush. Verdant. Breathtakingly beautiful in clear, early morning light. The abundance of flora is easily evident (fauna, of course, is not easily spotted, but there are indisputable authoritative declarations on its abundance). Dense clusters of fruit-bearing trees on the slopes can pleasingly unnerve a typical city type. Niyamgiri mangoes are going for Rs 5 a kg or even less at small local markets. Medicinal plants that grow on the hill slopes, say locals, can cure severe wounds. A long trip to the indifferent care of the public heath centre is not required. So, yes, you can think ‘unspoilt’. Many members of the local tribal population—Dongria Kondh, who live on the upper slopes of Niyamgiri and the Kutia Khond, who live near the foothills—were bussed in for Rahul Gandhi’s rally on Thursday, and many of them were clearly happy that mining in Niyamgiri is now stalled.  …

There are plot twists. Seven twists, in fact.

1. A question on local tribal custom.

2. The nuanced answer to the question, what do tribal groups want?

3. How the private investor in Niyamgiri is a bad advertisement for private investment.

4. Where’s the ruling party in Niyamgiri politics?

5. Can we assume a tribal arcadia?

6. Could Niyamgiri have become a laboratory of intelligent mining?

7. Can Orissa afford the Niyamgiri decision?

First twist: That the tribes are protected groups, under Schedule V of the Constitution, that wildlife protection rules apply to much of the area, that the ecosystem is something special are all undisputed facts. That tribal groups have always associated their deity with the hilltop is also supposed to be undisputed. But if you ask around persistently, you don’t get a clear answer. Some locals, otherwise unimpressed with Vedanta’s development efforts, say the hilltop becoming ‘sacred’ is a recent change. Many others dispute this. And this lack of local consensus on what should be widely known local tribal tradition is important because bauxite in Niyamgiri resides on the hilltop—that’s where the mining was to happen before the Central environment ministry denied Orissa Mining Corporation a clearance. This part of the story is more complicated than the usual anti-mining narrative suggests.

Second twist: What are the tribal groups opposing? They are opposing mining on the hilltop. But are they opposing the building of social and physical infrastructure in an area that’s staggeringly underdeveloped even by Indian standards? The answer’s no, and that might seem obvious. But its implications are not obvious. No one denies that successive state governments, Congress or BJD, have been worse than negligent in terms of building social/physical infrastructure. Niyamgiri is in Kalahandi, which is part of the infamous KBK (Koraput-Bolangir-Kalahandi) group of districts: extreme underdevelopment is the KBK signature. KBK districts account for 72 per cent of Orissa’s below the poverty line population. Of the 82 very backward blocks in Orissa, 53 are in KBK. KBK literacy rate is an abysmal 43.3 per cent, while Orissa’s state-wise average is 63.08 per cent. These are all figures (source: 2002 Orissa BPL Census) that tell a dreadfully grim story. And everyone in the Niyamgiri battle, whichever side they are on, agrees.

Siddharth Nayak, leader of Green Kalahandi, a local activist group that counts among its supporters Vandana Shiva, Medha Patkar and Arundhati Roy, said lack of minimum and halfway reasonable quality infrastructure is a big problem. He also said Vedanta Aluminum Ltd (VAL) hasn’t developed as much infrastructure as promised. This is a complaint made by many locals, tribal or otherwise. But if there’s no Vedanta, or no mining, no trigger effect from private investment, who will develop infrastructure, build schools, hospitals, roads? To say that the state administration should do it seems a bit of a cruel joke given decades of history. And especially because local infrastructure is linked to local economic vitality.

There’s no convenient railhead for Kalahandi, a brutal reminder of the district’s lack of minimum economic heft. Apart from agriculture in tiny holdings and forest produce, the latter, consumed and sold locally, and therefore offering no multiplier effects, Kalahandi has little to offer, except a king’s ransom in minerals. Eco-tourism on hills like Niyamgiri is the local activists’ favourite solution to act as a development trigger. But will eco-tourism concentrating on the lush hill ranges bring in the kind of investment that large-scale industrial activity can? And minus the large-scale investment, can enough jobs and enough infrastructure be created? Locals loudly complain that Vedanta doesn’t employ enough of them, that its school—DAV Vedanta School, an impressively well-appointed facility—doesn’t enroll enough tribal/non-tribal children. Vedanta officials deny this. But the fact of these complaints says something: that there was and is a strong expectation, from tribal and non-tribal locals, that big private investment can have beneficial effects. If we assume Vedanta’s corporate social responsibility hasn’t been up to the mark, then the question, from locals’ point of view, is one of more locally engaged private investors, not solely of the absolute villainy of private investors. But the villainy is what the simple narrative of Niyamgiri highlights.

The more nuanced telling of this story comes from the likes of Raju Sahu who came from Bihar to Kalahandi 10 years ago and runs four tea/food stalls on the state highway that links Lanjigarh—where Niyamgiri and the Vedanta factory are situated—to Bhawanipatna, the district HQ. Sahu says his business has more than trebled since Vedanta started operating from here about four years ago. But he complains: what will happen if operations shut down, and why isn’t the state highway in a better condition; his business would be even better then. All along the road and right up to the site of Rahul Gandhi’s rally, tiny businesses run by locals talk of a quantum jump in sales and brood about it all ending. They, too, are locals, and the Niyamgiri story and the Kalahandi story can’t be delinked from what they represent: the possibility of local economy regeneration.

Third twist: Vedanta hasn’t made it easy for themselves or for the cause of private investment. This is apparent even if one sets aside questions about how Vedanta set up its bauxite refinery, how it increased the capacity and the sources of its current bauxite.

Vedanta officials offer you stacks of folders on CSR activities. But local complaints on Vedanta’s less-than-stellar efforts are universal. Lanjigarh or the wider area surrounding it doesn’t even look like a company town, as habitations surrounding big industrial projects often do. The bauxite to aluminum business gives very high returns. Those kind of margins sharpen the question of effective spending for local development.

Also, the company faces several allegations of what activists call its “reliance” on strong-arm methods. A recent case, much mentioned by activists and Congress leaders, is that of the police picking up Lado Sikaka, a Dongria Kondh, and later releasing him. Sikaka says he was brutally roughed up and was almost “kidnapped” because, as he alleges, he’s a prominent anti-mine activist. The local police say picking him up was an error. Vedanta says it doesn’t support any strong-arm methods. But perceptionally, the company seems to have lost this battle.

The state highway mentioned earlier is a good example of bad optics. Vedanta’s 16 tonne carriers, which weigh 33 tonnes when packed with aluminum oxide produced in the plant, trundle down this road every day, 30 trips a day on average. The road shows the toll of this traffic. Local administration officials admit the state highway, never top quality in the first place, is in increasing state of disrepair. They talk about charging more toll from the carriers and rebuilding the road. But, strangely, Vedanta hasn’t helped in making this road better. The company’s response to this highlights the local administration’s responsibility, while adding that it has built roads elsewhere. But this is literally the road to the project. It was entirely appropriate therefore to see, on this road, a shabbily painted Vedanta signboard, hanging askew, with a Rahul Gandhi poster pasted smack in the middle of the board. That pretty much tells you the story of Vedanta’s big PR problem in Lanjigarh.

Another aspect of the same problem is how Niyamgiri was planned to be mined. The Orissa Mining Corporation and Sterlite (Vedanta’s sister concern) formed a joint venture, the Southwest Orissa Bauxite Mining. Sterlite has 74 per cent shareholding. This JV was supposed to act for OMC in choosing and monitoring mining on the Niyamgiri hilltop. But given that the controversy on Niyamgiri mining was brewing for two years, was this arrangement—essentially Sterlite in charge of ensuring good mining practices for bauxite that’s needed by its sister concern Vedanta —the smartest? Vedanta officials say Sterlite’s experience makes it ideal for the purpose. But they don’t have a good answer to the question whether this is credible in a charged atmosphere. Knowledgeable local activists keep making this point, with some justice.

Fourth twist: The absence of enough competition in local politics. The Congress is front and square in the Niyamgiri agitation, delighted now by its ‘victory’. But where is the BJD, Orissa’s ruling party? The line between activists and the Congress is muddled enough for the local Congress MP, Bhakt Charan Das, to have been a past head of Green Kalahandi. But the BJD is so politically ineffective here that bandh calls on Wednesday and Thursday were comprehensively ignored. The BJD’s local weakness may seem surprising for a party that has won three state elections, and whose chief minister, Navin Patnaik, has made a determined effort to appear tribal-friendly. The explanation lies in the vagaries of alliance politics. When the BJD and the BJP became allies, Kalahandi was given to the BJP to build a base. The alliance broke up on the eve of the 2009 assembly elections. So, the BJD essentially had a late start in Kalahandi. That political weakness has resulted in giving the local Congress, which was always strong in Kalahandi, a headstart in political mobilisation on Niyamgiri. Had the BJD been stronger, had it been in a position to work among local tribal groups, the contest would have been more even. Local BJD officials admit this privately.

The Niyamgiri story is not just about activists and tribal groups, it’s also about the Congress getting an unusually clear political field. There are no credible local politicians to speak for the mining project. The sharp irony here is that Patnaik is also the forest minister, who has publicly led the campaign for tribal land rights, but the Niyamgiri mining proposal has been deemed dramatically violative of forest rights. There’s no local BJD counter-point to this.

Fifth twist: Tribal arcadia? Yes, Niyamgiri provides plenty of natural resources. Yes, the hill inhabitants don’t get affected by the droughts that are so common to Kalahandi. Yes, rank starvation is not a feature in Niyamgiri. But the tribal groups still operate in what is a subsistence economy, and they don’t have access to basic facilities in education or health. Tribal groups seems more aware of this than those romanticising the Niyamgiri way of life. Which is why local tribals complain about not getting jobs or education for their children. Which is also why Sitaram Raju, an 18-year-old security guard at the under-construction Vedanta co-funded mid-day meal cooking centre in Lanjigarh, has these stories about several inquiries from local tribal people on when the centre will start operating?

Our children will get eggs and good rice, local tribal people said when asked about the mid-day meal centre. There’s desperation for wanting something more than what they have in that wish. Raju, from Sambalpur in Orissa, earns Rs 4,200 a month. That’s a handsome salary in comparison to local average incomes. And Raju got the job because private security agencies have come in numbers since Vedanta started building sites. A local young tribal—he said he’s “eight class pass”—when asked whether he would like a job that pays what Raju gets, looked at his interlocutor as if the latter was an idiot. Of course, he said. But there are no jobs.

The hazards of romanticising tribal ways of life are colourfully exemplified by Kalahandi’s self-proclaimed “most important communist”. …

Sixth twist: Could Niyamgiri have become an ideal laboratory for good mining? Some Niyamgiri stats bear mention. There are around 8,500 tribal people in the 250 sq. km. hill area. That low population density makes industrial activity easier to handle in terms of fallout. The proposed mining area was four square km: a very small part of the hills. There’s seemingly irreconcilable debate about whether the bauxite-rich hilltop is green-friendly or not. The pro-mining view says trees don’t grow on bauxite-rich hilltops because the mineral doesn’t retain water. Post-mining, when the bauxite reserve is exhausted, the hilltop can, this view says, be made green-friendly. The example given is Nalco’s greening of the hilltop in the Koraput mine; Koraput is a neighbouring district. The anti-mining view says bauxite is porous and it therefore allows water to filter down and that keeps the hills lush. Establishing the real position objectively seems a lost cause in Niyamgiri. The talk is only about Vedanta’s violations and keeping mining away forever. Vedanta may well have violated legal norms, as the environment ministry says. And definitely, the Vedanta-OMC arrangement on mining Niyamgiri, as explained earlier, doesn’t pass muster in terms of a conflict of interest test. But sustained talk of huge ecological devastation, as the Saxena report for example talks about, has killed intelligent discussion on whether Niyamgiri could have been intelligently mined, under proper supervision. Also, bauxite mining, because the hilltop deposits are shallow, rarely needs blasting, the most disruptive of mining activities.

There’s something odd about the Central approach to ecological impact of the proposed Niyamgiri mining. Niyamgiri had received environmental clearance in October 2007. This okay comes after impact assessment studies under the Environment Protection Act. The Saxena report, which was submitted with a speed rare in government—formed in late June this year, the report was submitted on August 16—spends pages on ecological impact. But what does this mean? That the Centre was unaware since 2007, when the EPA clearance was given, that Niyamgiri mining would be environmentally harmful, and that the dangers were discovered only after a two-month study by the Saxena committee?

The seventh and the biggest twist: Can bauxite be mined in Kalahandhi, which has a huge reserve of the mineral? The Central environment ministry says the denial of mining rights is based on rules violation, in particular violation of forest rights under Forest Rights Act. This seems to imply that had Vedanta played by the book as per the ministry’s assessment, clearance would have come. But the Saxena report also puts emphasis on tribal groups’ livelihood traditions and on potential ecological damages. On the ground in Kalahandhi, it’s these two that are being highlighted. Local Congress leaders and activists talk of attempts at stealing away tribal land. If the Centre reckons that subsequent applications for mining hilltop bauxite can be measured only against legal benchmarks, it is probably making a mistake.

Kalahandi is a scheduled area, with heavy tribal presence. Tribal habitations are typically in the area’s hills. The hilltops have bauxite. The ‘victory’ in Niyamgiri has fired up activists and the Congress. Not all tribes who live in other bauxite-rich hills have the heavily protected legal status enjoyed by the Kondhs of Niyamgiri. But, as Nayak said, every mining application will now be met with movements about tribal rights. He reckons Niyamgiri has created a precedent that’s too strong to be ignored. This is good from the activists’ point of view, or for Orissa Congress’s political calculations, but it’s hardly good news for Kalahandi and Orissa.

This is the real big potential fallout of Niyamgiri: it can create more Niyamgiris. 

Following are some of my comments: 

  •  Earlier, we also made the point regarding how sacred the hill-top was. In India, both tribals as well as Hindus have many things that they pray. Often many people make temples to usurp government land.  So the lack of consensus regarding the hilltop being sacred and even people who are unimpressed with Vedanta suggesting that the "hilltop being sacred" is a recent change points finger at the activists being behind hyping up the sacred aspect of the hill top.
  • On Vedanta not having developed infrastructure: The various reports say that with importing bauxite from outside the company was not making profit, so based on short-term economics it did not spend enough in developing infrastructure. But that was short-sighted action from the company.
  • The author makes a nice point that the local and tribals do want jobs, schools etc.  and  were not opposed to development per se.
  • Vedanta’s trucks are directly responsible for the deterioration of those roads. They should have spent money on those roads and made them better.
  • BJD has a unique opportunity now to counter congress and shore up its base. It should immediately announce and start a state university in Kalahandi; it should take over the half-constructed medical college and make it a government medical college; and it should augment the agricultural college. Being in power in the state, it can do that. It can then go to the people and say: "See Congress is against development. But we are not going to let their anti-development stance hurt the people of Kalahandi. We will do our best to bring development to Kalhandi." (Hopefully Congress will then counter this with some kind of a central institution there.)

My final thought is why did not Saubhik Chakrabarti write such an article before. In the past the only views on Lanjigarh mining that would come out is that of the activists and the press releases by Vedanta. Both were one-sided. So the Indian media is partly responsible for the negative effects of Ramesh’s activism. If only they had given nuanced views like the above before Ramesh made the decision then Ramesh may have made a more nuanced decision.

Joint venture (51% Odisha govt. and 49% AES) 10,000 crore Ib valley Thermal Power Station expansion to start by March 2011

INVESTMENTS and INVESTMENT PLANS, Jharsugurha, Jharsugurha- Brajarajnagar- Belpahar, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express, Thermal Comments Off on Joint venture (51% Odisha govt. and 49% AES) 10,000 crore Ib valley Thermal Power Station expansion to start by March 2011

Following is an excerpt from a report in Financial Express.

AES India, a subsidiary of the US utility giant AES Corporation, is proposing to expand the capacity of the 420 MW (2 x210 MW) ITPS by adding two super-critical units of 660 MW each. The Rs 10,000 crore expansion programme includes the development of the captive coal mines and the MGR (merry-go-round) rail link to transport coal to the plant site. In fact, ITPS is owned by Orissa Power Generation Corporation (OPGC), a company where the AES Corporation has 49% stake while the Orissa government has 51% holding. However, the management of the company is with AES Corporation.

… The AES chief said that the 1320 MW (2 x 660 MW) thermal power project would be completed within four years of the award of the contracts. The two units would come up on the site III and IV already developed for the purpose.

… Presently, OPGC is committed to sale the entire 420 MW of power to the state government. As the initial plan was to put up two more units of 210 MW each at site III and IV, the state government insisted that the power generated from the expanded units be allotted to Orissa. However, the AES was of the view that the power be sold in the open market to maximize the revenue realizations. Finally, it has been decided that 50% of the power generated from the expanded 1320 MW project would be allotted to Orissa grid and the rest would be sold in the open.

Orissa may be among the top states in India in implementing the historic Forest Rights Act, 2006, which seeks to restore the land rights to the indigenous population

KBK Plus district cluster, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express, Odisha govt. action, Restoring land rights 1 Comment »

Following are excerpts from a report in expressbuzz.com.

the Government has distributed over 86,000 titles under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, by December second week. … close to 90 per cent of such titles is in 15 Maoist-affected districts. To be precise, 78,011 titles have so far been distributed in these areas.

… Forest Rights Committee received a good 3,22,590 claims of which 2,86,006 were verified and sent to gram sabhas.

The gram sabha-level committee approved 2,13,666 claims recommending them for titles to the sub-divisional-level committees which verified the cases and in turn sent 99,868 claims to the district-level committees (DLCs). Finally, the DLCs gave a green signal to 88,136 claims for issue of title.

… Of the 86,878 titles distributed yet, 13,321 titles are in Malkangiri alone. …

“It’s very important to note that 17 per cent of these title certificates so far distributed in the 15-affected districts are in Malkangiri alone which at the same time account for 25 per cent (31,570 acre) land.

… The trend shows in Koraput too. The number of title certificates so far been distributed stands at 13,203 which translates into 21,784 acre land. …

For other Maoist-affected districts like Gajapati, Rayagada, Sambalpur and Sundargarh, the rate of title distribution is very high.

… Interestingly, of 1,38,004 acre land for which title certificates have been distributed, 1,25,401 acre are in tribal districts of Mayurbhanj, Jajpur, Nayagarh, Deogarh, Dhenkanal, Keonjhar, Sambalpur, Sundargarh, Gajapati, Ganjam, Kandhamal, Koraput, Malkangiri, Nabarangpur and Rayagada.

So far, 3,551 primitive tribal groups have been issued the titles accounting for over 5,559 acre land.

Dhamara and Astaranga close to be chosen as the sites for the 2nd and 3rd UMPP in Orissa

Bhadrakh, Dhamara- Chandbali- Bhitarakanika, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express, Puri, Thermal Comments Off on Dhamara and Astaranga close to be chosen as the sites for the 2nd and 3rd UMPP in Orissa

Following is an excerpt from a report in Financial Express.

The proposed port town of Dhamra in Bhadrak district and the coastal village of Astaranga in Orissa are going to get two ultra mega power projects (UMPPs). The Centre, which has awarded two more UMPPs to the state besides the one at Sundergarh, is zeroing in on these two sites for the proposed projects.

A high-level team of experts and officials from the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) and Power Finance Corporation (PFC) identified the two sites after examining five possible sites located near the coast in the state. The five sites are Kirtaniya (on the mouth of the Subernarekha river) in Balasore district, Dhamra in Bhadrak, Paradip in Jagatsinghpur, Astaranga in Puri and Ganja in Ganjam district.

…  The CVR Navayuga Group has signed an MoU with the Orissa government to set up a 60 million tonne cargo handling capacity port at Astaranga with an investment of Rs 6,000 crore in three phases. The Hyderabad based company is also proposing to set up a 2×660 mw coal-fired thermal power plant and a 12 million tonne steel plant near the port.  

A state government official said DPCL and the Navayuga Group has no objection to the UMPPs coming up near their ports. The two UMPPs with 4000 mw capacity each will be developed through special purpose vehicles promoted by the Power Finance Corporation (PFC) with a proposed investment of Rs 32,000 crore.

Army base to come up in Amarda, Mayurbhanj

Baripada- Bangiriposi- Similipal foothills, Defence establishments, Mayurbhanj, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express Comments Off on Army base to come up in Amarda, Mayurbhanj

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

Land has been identified near Amarda in Mayurbhanj district for establishment of the Army base in the State.

General-officer-commanding (GOC), central command, J.K. Mohanty met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here at the Secretariat today to discuss the issue.

Mohanty told mediapersons that it is now for the State Government to acquire the land and hand it over for establishment of the base.

The Centre recently informed the State Government that it had decided in principle to establish an Army base in the State and requested it to provide the required land. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik had assured the Centre that it will extend all cooperation including provision of land for this purpose.

Amarda is close  to NH 60 on State highway 61. Its about 15 kms west of from Jaleswar. It is 10 km from Rasgobindpur airport and is about 50 kms from Baripada. There is an Amarda Road station between Basta and Rajghat stations.

The sequence of Railways stations around Amarda Rd are: Balasore, Rupsa Jn (18), Basta (28), Amarda Rd (34), Jaleswar (48).

State funding to develop Puri as part of a mega tourist circuit

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Chilika, Circuit: Bhubaneswar-Chilika-Puri, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express, Puri, Puri Comments Off on State funding to develop Puri as part of a mega tourist circuit

Following is an excerpt from a report in expressbuzz.

The State Government today decided to develop Puri as a mega tourism circuit with an investment of Rs 50 crore.

An outlay of Rs 30 crore will be made in the next budget for the project that includes improvement of Badadanda (grand road), beautification of Puri town and sea beach, dynamic lighting system of Jagannath temple and Gundicha temple, development of parks and parking lots and construction of a tourist complex.

The high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik also decided to give a facelift to the peripheral areas of Puri, a major tourist attraction.

At Satapada, a sunset viewpoint and a park will be developed. There will be tourist jetty at Sipaguda and Rajahansa, official sources said. Plans are afoot to paint the buildings lined up on both sides of the Badadanda with a unique colour to give an added attraction to the Puri town. This will be done in consultation with various stakeholders.

While additional parking places for vehicles will be created in various parts of the city, arrangements will be made to ease out traffic during festivals like Rath Yatra. There will be three interchanging nodes within the town to evacuate traffic. It has been proposed to set up a multi-media museum called Srikhetra Sankrutika Sangrahalay. Vending zones will be set up on the sea beach to keep it clean and free from pollution.

Special board and lodging arrangements will be made for tourists. A few tourist complexes will be developed in various locations.

It has been estimated that about 34 lakh out of 52 lakh tourists coming to the State every year visit Puri.

 

Nine projects approved by the Single Window Committee

Dhenkanal, Jindal, Keonjhar, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express, Ore pelletisation, Puri, Single Window Clearance (SLSWCA), Steel, Thermal, Titanium Comments Off on Nine projects approved by the Single Window Committee

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

The State-level single window clearance authority (SWCA) today gave approval to nine project proposals worth over Rs 13,000 crore.

The Ashapura Minechem Limited, the largest multi-mineral solution provider in the country and the flagship of Ashapura Group, has evinced interest to set up mineral separation plant in Puri district with an investment of Rs 910 crore. The plant will separate minerals from beach sand and it will produce titanium dioxide, widely used in paints. The project will create employment opportunities for 300 persons, Industries Secretary Ashok Dalwai told mediapersons.

The other new proposal cleared by the SWCA was a 1.2 million tonnes iron ore beneficiation and pelletisation plant by Jaiswal Nicco Industries at Harmote near Barbil in Keonjhar district. The company planned to invest Rs 452 crore and the proposed project would generate employment opportunities to 500 persons.

The proposal of Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) for capacity addition to its existing steel plant from two million tonnes to six million tonne was also approved. The steel production of the plant will be 3 million tonne through DRI (sponge iron) route and another 3 million tonnes through blast furnace route. The company has also proposed to increase the capacity of its thermal power plant from 900 mega watt to 1080 MW. The total investment of the company will increase from Rs 13,135 crore to Rs 22,440 crore.

The authority also cleared the expansion plan of International Mineral Trading Company having a pelletisation plant at Barbil in Keonjhar district. The company proposed to set up an iron ore beneficiation plant of 1.5 million tonne capacity with an investment of Rs 175 crore.

The BRG Iron and Steel Company at Khurunti in Dhenkanal district proposed to increase its steel production capacity from 0.257 MTA to 1.2 MTA with an investment of Rs 960 crore. The project has received environmental clearance.

Shree Metallics also proposed to increase its steel plant capacity from 0.25 MTA to 0.98 MTA with an investment of Rs 709 crore. The other expansion projects include Grewal Associates sponge iron plant at Barbil to 0.25 MTA steel plant and a 15 MW power plant, Dinabandhu Steel and Power for a 0.26 MTA steel plant with 25 MW power plant and Ganesh Metallics for 0.25 MTA steel plant with 16 MW captive power plant.

Reliance to lease OSRTC land

Angul, Anugul- Talcher - Saranga- Nalconagar, Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Cuttack, Dhenkanal, Khordha, Modern Bus Stands, Mukesh Ambani group, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express, PPP, REAL ESTATE, Sambalpur, Sambaplur- Burla- Bargarh- Chipilima 1 Comment »

Following isĀ  from a report in New Indian Express.

The State Government will lease out unused land of Orissa State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC) at Cuttack, Baripada and here to the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) for commercial purpose.

The OSRTC has prime land at Master Canteen, Pala Mandap in Cuttack and Baripada town. The corporation will lease out the Master Canteen land to RIL for 33 years for Rs 20 crore. Reliance has proposed to open retail outlets and has agreed to pay a monthly rental of Rs 15 lakh.

The company has reportedly deposited Rs 6 crore with the Government for the OSRTC land at Baripada town. However, OSRTC will collect monthly rent from RIL for all the leased out plots. Rent will be revised every five years.

The proceeds from leased out land will be invested for procurement of more buses and modernisation of the Government bus stands.

In the first phase, five bus stands at Angul, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Dhenkanal and Sambalpur will be modernised under the public-private partnership.

While the bus stands of Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Sambalpur will be renovated, two new bus stands will be developed at Angul and Dhenkanal.

The public utility has 230 on road buses and plans are afoot to add another 50 to its fleet. The corporation has submitted a proposal to the Government for pay revision of the employees, official sources said.

Planned IT Park

Bhubaneswar- Cuttack- Puri, Business Standard, IT, Khordha, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express, REAL ESTATE, Samaja (in Odia) Comments Off on Planned IT Park

Following is an excerpt from a report in Business Standard. (See also the report in Financial Express.)

Mumbai-based realty major Raheja group will be investing around Rs 3000 1000 crore for the development of the first information technology (IT) park in Orissa.

Alongside, a 50 Mw power plant, cold storage in the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode and a hotel would also be set up by the group. The group also plans to enter the retail space and set up an IT development centre after surveying the potential.

The park would be christened Mindspace cum Techno-campus Park. The group already has such Mindspace cum techno-campus parks in Hyderabad, Mumbai and Ahmedabad.

… As per the presentation, in the first phase an incubation centre on 30-40 acres would be developed. The entire IT park would come up over 100 acres.

The plan envisages development of the park within the next 8-10 months, provided land is made available by the Orissa government in the next couple of months.

Following is from Samaja.

Progress on Paradip PCPIR proposal

INVESTMENTS and INVESTMENT PLANS, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express, Odisha govt. action, Paradip - Jatadhari - Kujanga, Petrochemicals, Refinery, Samaja (in Odia), State Bureaucrats (IAS, OAS, etc.) 1 Comment »

Following is an excerpt from a report in Financial Express.

The Paradip Petrochemicals & Petroleum Investment Region (PCPIR), which has raced ahead to become one of the five fast track projects, is expected to attract a total investment to the tune of Rs 2.75 lakh crore.

The IL&FS, the consultant for the Orissa project, Monday gave a presentation to the senior officials of the state government about the development of the project. The presentation was witnessed by chief secretary, Ajit Kumar Tripathy, development commissioner RN Bohidar, industries secretary Ashok Dalwai, commerce & transport principal secretary Priyabrata Patnaik, special secretary Guru Ray, IDCO managing director Vishal Dev, among other senior officials.

The IL&FS vice-president, Anil Goel, said that the Orissa project, which was lagging behind, has made good progress during the last two months. According to him, the project is now at par with the projects proposed at Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, Dahej in Gujarat and Mangalore in Karnataka. He said that the project has been highly appreciated by the Centre.

Goel, who was accompanied by his Orissa head Manoj Panda, said that the project, which will come up over an area of 28,500 hectare at Paradip, will have Indian Oil Corp’s (IOC) Rs 26,000 crore petrochemical complex as anchor tenant. Besides the IOC investments, the project will attract investment to the tune of Rs 23,000 crore in township, housing and allied sectors, Rs 15,275 crore in external infrastructures like port, airport, cargo complex, road, while Rs 2.30 lakh crore will come in the hardcore industries of the petrochemical sectors. He said the investments would be by the private corporate houses, public sector undertakings, and in the mode of BOOST and PPP.

Following is Samaja’s take on it.

Coal belt in Angul district

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Following is  from a report in New Indian Express.

Raijharan area of Chhendipada near here where power grade coal is available just eight feet below would soon become a major coal producing area of the state. The coal rich area called "Utkal block" has attracted both private and public sector companies to open up open cast coalmines. The block has been divided into seven parts named Utkal-A, B1, B2, C, D, E and F.

According to district official sources there are about 900 million tonne deposit in the area. This is for the first time that private coal producers are going to open up mines in the area which come under Talcher coalfield.

As per the latest in formations available, Utkal-B1 block has been allotted to Jindal Steel and Power Limited in the year 2003 as a captive coal mine while B2 block went for Monnet Ispat &Power limited in 1998. The block C has been allocated to IMFA group may 1998 while Block F came under Tata Spong Iron Limited of keonjhar in 2006.

Orisa Mining Corporation got block D while block E has been given to Nalco for captive mining in August 2004. AS regards to Utkal block A the union Coal ministry has allotted it to public sector Mahanadi Coalfield Limited and four other companies including Jindal stainless limited. The block A was earlier allotted to Kalinga Power Corporation in 1996 which was to set up a power plant at kalinga nagar.

But when the company moved away from setting up the plant there the allotment was cancelled and given to MCL and four companies . All the coal blocks except Utkal D are captive coal mines for power plants. .Utkal D though is owned by OMC will be developed and mined by a private company called Kalinga Coal mining private Limited.( KCMPL).

It is in an advanced stage other than these companies to begin production by December if all goes well. It has successfully acquired all the required land by now without any trouble.As per the records of the district office here 4 (1) notifications for all the coal producers except Nalco and Utkal have been done. Monnet Ispat and Energy which is setting up a steel and power plant along with the coal mine is acquiring private lands on direct purchase basis.

Jindal Steel and Power Limited (JSPL) which opening a captive mine is also progressing well on the acquisition matters after the meeting of its chief Navin Jindal with state chief minister Section 7(1) of its land acquisition in under progress.

As regards to the environmental clearance all but Nalco got the clearance from the union ministry of Forest and Environment. TATA also did not have the clearance but its case is different as it got the block in last year while Nalco got in 2004.

Satkosia Gorge: second largest sanctuary of Orissa and a tiger reserve

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Following is an excerpt from a report in New Indian Express.

Satkosia gorge sanctuary located in the heart of the State is unique in more than one way. River Mahanadi has cut right across the Eastern ghats endowing the gorge with all its beauty.

The 22 km long gorge divides the area into two distinct parts accessible from Angul and Nayagarh or Boudh. It covers four districts of Angul, Cuttack, Nayagarh and Boudh and is the second largest sanctuary of Orissa.

The areas support moist deciduous forest, dry deciduous forests and moist peninsular sal forests and a largely bamboo species.

Wild animals like the Royal Bengal Tiger, Leopard, elephant, four horned antelope, giant squirrel, wild dogs, nilgai, sloth bear, mouse deer, spotted deer etc are the pride of the sanctury.

A huge variety of resident and migratory birds and reptile species (gharial, mugger, crocodile, fresh water turtle, poisonous and non poisonous snakes etc) are also a part of the sanctuary.

The sanctuary is home to 400 plant species, 38 mammals, 31 reptiles in the sanctuary. Satkosia gorge was declared a sanctuary in 1976 AD by the State Government under Section 18 of Wildlife (protection) Act 1972. Its area is 795.52 sq km.

The sanctuary is managed by two wildlife divisions, south part by Mahanadi Wildlife Division at Nayagarh and north by Satkosia Wildlife Division at Angul. Both Satkosia Gorge and Baisipalli sanctuary area of 1038 sq.km were declared elephant reserves in 2002 by the State Government. Satkosia also enjoys the status of a Tiger Reserve after being the title in December 2007 after an approval of the Central Tiger Conservation Authority as per Wildlife Protection Act (amendment 2006).

Now, request would also be put forth to declare it a bio-sphere reserve for its biodiversity and abundant natural resources. Former Central Environment amd Forest Minister Kamalnath initiated to declare as Bio-sphere reserve.

About 133 villages in the sanctuary, including three forest villages and 10 hamlets. In The buffer zone as many as 128 villages are located.

The village people mostly depended on forest for their livelihood but the ban enforced by the Government on forest work and collection of NTFP and forest produces as per direction of Supreme Court and Wildlife Protection Act.

No developmental work is being done inside the sanctuary for a long time. The recent declaration of Satkosia as the second tiger reserve was long over due. It would not only go a long way in protecting the tiger population but also take care of other rare animals on the verge of extinction.

State government should spare no time in implementation of the reserve process by making an action plan and constituting an authority as required. Now in the Tiger Reserve 18 Royal Bengal Tiger, 34 Leopard and 194 elephants.

Power plants in and around Angul

Angul, Anugul- Talcher - Saranga- Nalconagar, Captive power policy, Coal, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express, Thermal 2 Comments »

Following is an excerpt from a report in New Indian Express.

… The coal rich Angul district alone shared 8050 mw out of these projected power generation. The figure may go up if Reliance Power Limited and Lanco Power who have also evinced interest to set up power plants, go for it.

Besides, there would be another 1900 mw power generation in the district for captive purposes. The district, virtually, is slated to be the power house not only of State but also of the nation as hardly any district in India would have so much of power generation capacity when these projects would go on stream.

The independent power producers are Jindal photo (2000 mw), Mahanadi Aban Power Limited (1050 mw), Bhusan Power Limited (2000), ESSSAR Power (2000 mw), Tata Sponge (1000 mw). All these are in very infant stages.

While Mahanadi Aban and Jindal photo would get their power plants set up at Talcher, the remaining producers will have their ventures at Angul area.

Besides these, steel producers like Jindal Steel and Power Limited would set up its 900 mw of captive power plant while Monnet Ispat will go for 1000 mw of power plant at Angul.

This would be the additional capacity generation of power in the district in addition to the existing generation capacity of 4500 mw of two NTPC and one Nalco captive power plant.

While at Kaniha, NTPC has 3000 mw super thermal power plant, it has another 460 mw plant at Talcher also. Nalco also has a power plant of installed capacity of 840 mw while another 220 mw addition is under way under the expansion.

Taking into account this current capacity, the total capacity of the district in coming years would be around 14000 mw. If Reliance and Lanco come, this figure will go up further.

Most of these upcoming power producers will have their own captive coal mines. Some of them got allotment while others are waiting.

Angul district unlike others is conducive for power plants because of availabity two key infrastructural bases. These are coal and water.

… but how far the area, already extremely polluted, could sustain such power generation on such a massive scale. Environmentalists fear the Talcher and Angul area which is experiencing 50 degree Celsius in summer could be led to catastrophe unless massive forestations and anti-heating measures are not taken right now on a long term basis.

A concrete environmental management plan should and must be in place along side of these power plants, environmentalists asserted.

Aquarium and moated Elephant enclosure opens in Nandan Kanan

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Following is an excerpt from a report in New Indian Express.

In all, there are 14 aquariums spread over 0.8 acre. Among them four house marine species and the rest freshwater species equipped with titanium chiller.

All the aquariums are equipped with `insitu’ filtration and recycling mechanism. In fact, two large size aquariums measure 3.5 meters in length and 0.9 meter in width. Attractions include well-researched education materials on aquaria, said zoo director Ajit Patnaik, adding, the materials are displayed on trans-slides boards.

One of the key objectives of the endeavour is to educate visitors about the rising pollution and the resultant impact on the aquatic life. About Rs 10 lakh alone has been invested on education materials.

There is also a special section which depicts the uniqueness of the marine ecosystem of the State. One of the freshwater aquariums represents fish fauna of the adjoining Kanjia lake.

The `moated’ enclosure has been developed over an area of five acres to provide a near-natural ambience to the elephants. The enclosure encompasses components like natural vegetation, water hole and adequate space for the movement of the animals.

The enclosure would stimulate their natural behaviour. Further, they will provide adequate opportunity to the visitors to watch the elephants literally in wild, Patnaik said. An elevation point has been put up to ensure better viewing.

Update on Titanium SEZ in Chhatrapur

Berhampur- Gopalpur- Chhatrapur, Bhubaneswar-Berhampur, Ganjam, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express, SEZs, Titanium Comments Off on Update on Titanium SEZ in Chhatrapur

Following is from a report in New Indian Express.

The Rs 2,000-crore titanium plant to be established jointly by the Russian Federation and Kolkata-based Saraf Group at Chatrapur in Ganjam district would lay the base for development of the Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

The SEZ spanning over 600 acres would house beach sand mineral-based industries.

It would be spearheaded by the Russian and Indian partners and developed into an industrial hub as the flagship titanium project gets executed, said General Director of Technochim Holdings L N Bobkov here on Tuesday.

Plans are to pump in around 3 billion USD for development of the SEZ and the concept paper would be submitted to the Governments of India and Russia for consideration and approval.

The high-value applications of titanium as raw material would open a floodgate of opportunities for value-addition by downstream industries.

Units in the sectors of casting, titanium metal, magnesium, automotive and machine parts, electronics , computers and other manufacturing sectors, etc., can come up. The SEZ would also be open to other private players, the developers have said.

FACOR’s expansion plans in Orissa; 2 power plants: New Indian Express

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Following is an excerpt from a report in New Indian Express.

Ferro Alloys Corporation Limited (FACOR), one of India’s largest producers and exporters of ferro alloys, is going to expand its integrated plant at a cost of Rs 2,700 cr in Orissa.

The company has initiated an ambitious expansion plan of setting up two power plants and a Stainless Steel Plant (SSP) in Orissa for which a consultancy has also been appointed.

The FACOR group is planning to set up the power plant for its own consumption. A 45 MW coal-based captive power plant is to be set up for Bhadrak near Randia of Orissa at a cost of Rs 180 crore.

The power plant work is scheduled to be completed by 2009 for which the FACOR group has inked a financial tie-up with Rural Electrical Corporation, New Delhi.

Another 250 MW coal-based power plant and a five lakh tpa SSP are also being planned to be set up to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore at Orissa. The expansion works will be completed by 2011.

… According to Ashim, for the Rs 2,500 crore 250 MW power plant and SSP, Rs 1,700 crore would be the debt component while Rs 400 crore would come from internal sources and another Rs 400 crore raised from a partner.

“We are looking for a strategic business partner either in the form of investment or through technological support,” he said.

Various road projects to be taken up with the help of world bank

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Following is an excerpt from a news report in New Indian Express.

Three major roads will be taken up for development in the first year of the phase-1 programme under Orissa State Road Project (OSRP) with World Bank assistance.

The World Bank has agreed to provide funds for improvement of road infrastructure of about 1,400 km with an estimated cost of Rs 1,480 crore.

While the loan component is Rs 1,175 crore, matching fund from the State will be Rs 305 crore. The project will be implemented in five years.

In the first year, 204-km stretch of road will be taken up for improvement. The three road projects which will be developed include the 99-km Chandbali- Bhadrak-Anandpur road, 70-km stretch of Khariar-Bhawanipatna road and 41-km road from Berhampur to Taptapani.

The State has identified five major roads having a length of 835 km for development in the first phase. Detailed project report (DPR) and economic viability and feasibility study of the projects have been completed.

The 152-km road stretch of Jagatpur-Kendrapara- Chandbali-Bhadrak, 138-km Bhadrak-Anandpur- Karanjia-Tongabilla, 213-km Khariar-Bhawanipatna- Muniguda-Rayagada-Kereda, 202-km stretch Berhampur-JK Puri- Rayagada and 127-km Banarpal-Daspalla- Bhanjanagar-Aska road have been finalised for the first phase.

… The 204-km road stretch, that will be developed in the first year, is passing through 160 villages.

The Revenue Department informed the meeting that notification had been issued to the district collectors for land acquisition. Works Department, the nodal agency for the State Road Project, has planned to develop 294 km of roads in the second year.

The Department will submit the first three road projects to the World Bank for approval and sanction of loan, official sources said.

Orissa media links

Business Standard, calnet, orissa today, Daily Pioneer, Dharitri (in Odia), DISTRICTS & BLOCKS, IRFCA postings, METROS/CLUSTERS, New Indian Express, Indian Express, Financial express, NEWS SOURCE, Odisha Media, Odisha.in, Others, PIB - GOI, Pragativadi, Press release, Odisha Govt., Samaja (in Odia), Sambada (in Odia), Tathya.in, TOI, Economic Times 1 Comment »

Following is a collection of links about Orissa on-line media.