Cleaning Drive in Sambalpur DHH

Around 1,800 people of Sambalpur town participated in a mass cleaning drive launched by District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) here on Sunday. The drive started at 8 am and continued till 12 noon.

People from all sections of society including academicians, intellectuals, senior citizens and members of social organisations armed with broom and cleaning equipments cleaned several wards, departments, drains, pathways and avenues of the hospital.

The area in and around the DHH premises wore a clean look after people toiled for four hours in the exercise which was aimed at spreading awareness about cleanliness in the hospital, said coordinator of the sanitation drive Sudhir Pujari.

Not only was the wild growth removed along with polythene bags and green coconut shells which were clogging the drains but also the entire campus was cleaned with water and disinfectant. Staff of Sambalpur Municipality, Public Health and Engineering Department (PHED) and General Electricity Department (GED) also joined the drive and provided logistic support.

While GED staff checked the electrical fittings and undertook the repair work, the PHED officials checked sanitary fittings. The Public Works Department (PWD) undertook minor repair work.

About 20 vehicles were engaged to transport the garbage collected during the drive and dump it at Jamadarpali dumping yard here.

Sambalpur Collector Balwant Singh, who was present during the drive, lauded the efforts of the people. Stating that DHH has drainage problem due to lack of master plan, he said the PWD has been asked to prepare a plan for the purpose.

A similar drive at DHH was undertaken on November 25 last year apart from the one at VSS Medical. Recently, the people of the town had united and cleaned the Ring Road.

Sambalpur seeks change in Mahanadi bridge site

People of the town have demanded construction of the proposed bridge over the Mahanadi near Kachery ghat instead of Sadak ghat to ease traffic.

The government has already finalized a proposal to link eight gram panchayats of Sambalpur Sadar block with the town by constructing the bridge at Sadak Ghat. This would be the shortest route.

The locals argued though Sadak ghat is not ideal for construction of the bridge, keeping expansion of the town in mind.

“Sadak ghat was an important place because people after crossing the river by boats were going to their destinations from Mundoghat located on the other side. But after the construction of Hirakud Dam and Burla bridge, Sadak ghat is hardly being used by people,” resident Fanidra Patnaik reasoned.

Sources said there are nearly 50 villages in the eight panchayats under Sambalpur Sadar block. These are separated from Sambalpur by the Mahanadi. The villagers have to cover 25 km by crossing Burla bridge to reach Sambalpur as there is no direct road communication to the town. Now as 25 villages under four panchayats namely Katapali, Chaurpur, Shenhapali and Baijamunda have been included under proposed Sambalpur corporation, people need a shortest route to reach the town, another inhabitant argued.

SDO of PWD (Sambalpur) P K Nath said the government has decided to construct the bridge in public-private partnership mode at a cost of Rs 112 crore. “Since the site to construct the bridge has already been finalized, it is now up to government to meet the demand of people.”

Farmers threaten blockadge of roads to sambalpur

Resentment is brewing among farmers of the district as procurement agencies have not lifted their stock of paddy though the State Government had directed the district administration to start procurement from November 22.

According to sources, there has been a stalemate over paddy procurement as the Primary Agricultural Cooperative Society (PACS), designated as procurement agency, along with Odisha State Civil Supplies Corporation Limited is insisting on Fare Average Quality (FAQ) paddy to pay minimum support price (MSP) while the farmers are demanding that their paddy should be accepted as FAQ and they are paid MSP.

It has left the district administration in a fix as it is yet to get Central Government’s nod for Under Relax Specification (URS) of the FAQ. On Monday, farmers under the jurisdiction of Sersuantal Market Yard of Regulated Market Committee (RMC) brought about 5,000 bags of paddy in 19 vehicles to Collectorate.

Road blockade using paddy bagsAs their stock was not procured at the market yard, they resolved to dump it at the collectorate and the office of Food and Civil Supplies as a mark of protest. However, police stopped the vehicles at Jail Chowk ahead of the collectorate.

A delegation of the farmers went to meet the Collector to discuss the matter. In the absence of the Collector, the Sub-Collector wanted to meet them but the farmers refused. Later, they went to Baraipali Market Yard of the RMC in Sambalpur town and dumped the paddy there.

In an emergency meeting held at the market yard, the farmers resolved that if the paddy lying in various market yards of RMC is not procured on Tuesday, they will block all National and State Highways passing through the district by dumping paddy bags on the road on Wednesday afternoon at 12:35 pm

Advisor of Sambalpur Zilla Krushak Surakhya Sangathan Ashok Pradhan said though procurement has begun since November 22, paddy is not lifted by the procurement agencies with the millers calling the shots. District Food and Civil Supplies Officer Bijay Rath said the problem has erupted over FAQ.

Although they have set a target to procure 14 lakh quintals of paddy, only 20,000 quintals have been procured till date, he added. In reply to a query on payment to the farmers, he said so far only 87 farmers have been paid their dues.

Prasanna seeks 7 days to reply to showcause

Finance Minister Prasanna AcharyaFinance Minister Prasanna Acharya has requested for seven days time to reply to the show-cause notice served on him by the State Election Commission (SEC) after he was accused of threatening the voters with stopping funds if they did not vote for the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the second phase polls to the urban local bodies (ULBs).

Acharya made the request to the SEC in a letter on Saturday. Sources in the SEC said that the Bargarh Collector is also yet to submit a report on the matter.

The Minister is reported to have said in the letter that though the SEC issued the letter to him on Thursday, it reached him on Saturday. Acharya said that he was not be able to reply to the letter the same day as he was busy with the meeting of Council of Ministers convened to approve the first supplementary budget for 2013-14.

The SEC had on Thursday directed the Bargarh Collector to submit a report on the incident by Saturday. But he failed to do so. The report from the District Collector is likely to be submitted by Monday.

Acharya has been in the eye of the storm after it was reported that the Minister, while campaigning in ward number 19 in Bargarh municipality, threatened the voters with stopping funds if they did not vote for the BJD.  In separate memoranda submitted to the SEC, the Congress and the BJP demanded the resignation of the Minister for violation of model code of conduct. The Congress demanded that election to Bargarh municipality should be stopped and fresh polls announced.

Of the 19 wards in Bargarh municipality, the BJD won 15 while the Congress and the BJP could win in two and one wards, respectively. Independents and others won in one ward.