Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Odisha HR Bulletin-6

Opposition demands CBI probe into Pipili case
The criticism against the Naveen Patnaik Government continued to gain momentum on Tuesday with opposition Congress staging demonstrations in the city as well as at different places across the State demanding a CBI probe into the Pipili gang rape case.
While the students' wing of the party staged a demonstration on Mahatma Gandhi Marg here and burnt effigies of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy, the local unit of the youth wing held a demonstration outside the office of the Additional District Magistrate demanding action against those involved in the case.
The party leaders demanded that Mr. Maharathy, who allegedly provided shelter to the accused and put pressure on Pipili police not to register a case into the gang rape and physical assault on the Dalit girl, should step down to facilitate a proper probe into the case.
Meanwhile, Mr. Maharathy denied having links with the accused persons. The judicial inquiry ordered into the case will bring out the truth.
In another development, leaders of various opposition parties, social activists and representatives of different mass organisations, who have come under the banner of Odisha Gana Samaja, visited the victim's house in Arjungoda village in Pipili area.
Alleging that the Biju Janata Dal Government was not keen to bring the truth to light, they said that the government should hand over the case to the CBI if it had the courage to bring the truth to light. The Crime Branch investigation and the judicial inquiry will not help punish the culprits, they stated.
The Gana Samaja has announced to continue its movement till October 30 by organising demonstrations and dharnas across the State by involving the general public.
Apart from the Left parties, the Congress and Bharatiya Janata Party have also joined hands under the Gana Samaja banner making it difficult for the BJD ahead of the forthcoming panchayat polls.
The Gana Samaja has resolved to organise demonstrations in Cuttack on January 21, in Sambalpur on January 24 and in Berhampur on January 27 to put pressure on the State government to transfer the Pipili case to the CBI.
It has also decided to appeal all political parties and civil society organisations to dharna and hunger strike across the State near statues of Mahatma Gandhi on January 30.

Displaced visit Hirakud

BURLA: A newly married Alekh Sahu was forced to leave his village Khajurdihi and whipped by police when he resisted forcible eviction. That was 56 years back when Sahu, now 74, along with hundreds of other villagers was evicted from Khajurdihi to make way for the Hirakud dam.
On the occasion of 56th Foundation Day of the dam on Friday, Sahu and 20 others, now residing in Rengali block of Sambalpur district and Lakhanpur block of Jharsuguda district, visited the dam hoping to trace the place where their villages once stood. This was their first visit ever since they left their home.
Walking down memory lane, Parkhita Sahu (75) said they owned 121 acres of land then and once the land was gone they were reduced to paupers and now possess a mere five acres.
He now resides in Sukhadihi village in Lakhanpur block after Kutgad village was submerged.
 The other evicted people Gurbari (76), her husband Sobharam Mirdha (81), village priest Ranjit Kalo (67), Lingaraj Pradhan (82), Duryodhan Ati (81), Bihari
Meher (75) now struggle to make ends meet in contrast to the affluent lifestyle they led nearly six decades back.

Five get 10-year RI for gang-rape

SAMBALPUR: Four years after an MCA student of Sambalpur University was gang-raped on February 23 and 24, 2008, the ADJ (Fast Track), Ashok Kumar Panda sentenced five persons to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) on Friday.
Although the police had filed three separate cases in the incident, hearing of two was taken up on Friday while the judgement in the third case reserved till Monday.
Disposing the first case, Panda awarded 10 years RI and a fine of Rs 5,000 to Kapilas Senapati, Md. Anwar, Sayed Munir and Abdul Arman for their involvement in gang-rape of the victim at Deer Park area of Sambalpur town on February 24. They have to undergo an additional three months imprisonment in case of default of payment of fine.
In the second case, Panda convicted Sanjit Behera and sentenced him to 10 years RI and a fine of Rs 5000 besides another three years RI and
Rs 2,000 fine.
However, both the sentences will run concurrently and the accused has to undergo additional three months of imprisonment in default of payment of the fine. Besides Behera, a juvenile identified as Trinath Behera was also involved in the gang-rape of the victim at Ainthapali on February 23 evening. But he has already been awarded three years of sentence by the juvenile court.

No rehabilitation to ostracised widow, daughter

PADAMPUR: Police too seem to have failed to act against the villagers of Chantipali under Gaiselet police limits where a widow and her daughter were ostracised. The police have reportedly expressed helplessness to bail out the mother-daughter duo and have asked them to wait for normalcy before they can return home.
Sources said Chamra Behera of the village was found hanging from a tree on the outskirts of the village on December 27.  Soon rumours spread that he was forced to take the extreme step due to his wife, Visaka (65) and daughter Nilendri (25).
Basing on the rumours the villagers locked the two women in the village club house while they were preparing to leave for the neighbouring Malmanda village to perform the last rites on January 9. They later beat them up and paraded. The keys of their house and mobile phone were snatched and the two asked to leave the village.
Left with no option, the mother and the daughter approached Gaiselet police for help but were told to come after five days as the situation in the village was tense. When their suffering grew more and the cold conditions intensified, they decided to meet Padampur Sub-Collector. But, unfortunately it being a Sunday the office was closed and they had to return to live in the open.
Though some villagers confided that some vested interests in the village were eying Behera’s property as Chamra’s lone son had left home long back and had no links with the family.
IIC of Gaiselet police station, Dilip Swain said the situation in the village was tense and he would intervene once normalcy was restored and settle the matter.

Family of Payal murder accused moves NHRC
BHUBANESWAR: Family members of Cuttack-based James Ray, who was accused of murdering Payal Sureka in Bangalore in 2010, moved theOrissa Human Rights Commission alleging that he was falsely implicated in the case.
The IT professional, Payal, was found murdered at her flat at JP Nagar in Bangalore on December 17, 2010. Her husband Anant was not in town at that time. Anant of Cuttack worked as a gym instructor in Bangalore. Within a week of the murder, police claimed to have cracked the case and arrested Anant's friend, James Ray.
"We urged the commission to help us in vindicating that James is innocent. Though the Bangalore police arrested him from Cuttack in Odisha, they showed the place of arrest as Andhra Pradesh. We find everything fishy," James's mother Choudhury Snehalata Ray told the media.
"I cannot imagine my husband killing anyone. He is completely innocent," his wife, Smrutirekha Ray, said. "The commission would look into the grievance," OHRC registrar C R Mohapatra said. The police contention was that James had killed Payal to take revenge on Mishra, as she had terminated James's service at a gymnasium that Anant owned in Cuttack.

Villagers protest police inaction in rape attempt
SAMBALPUR: Jujomora police of Sambalpur district came under scanner for not initiating action against the accused in an attempt to rape eight days ago near Dunguripada of Birsinghgarh under the police station limits. Senior police officer of the district went to the spot only after a group of villagers came to Sambalpur and filed a complaint with the district police on Tuesday.
As per the allegation of the victim, two youths of the village took her to a secluded place forcibly and tried to rape her. She was, however, rescued by a villager who rushed to the spot after hearing her screams. "She made a complaint with the Jujomora police the same day but no action was taken by police. So we have come to Sambalpur to bring the matter to the notice of senior police officers," said an activist Barun Dehury here on Tuesday.
Additional SP Dilip Kumar Deo went to the village to probe the issue after receiving the complaint. "Today they came and made an allegation. I will personally conduct a probe into the allegation," Deo said on Tuesday.

'Harassed' officer alleges cop inaction against hubby
BHUBANESWAR: An Odisha Forest Service (OFS) officer on Monday filed a fresh petition at the state commission for women (SCW), alleging police inaction into her complaint against her estranged husband, who is an Odisha Administrative Officer (OAS).
Sasmita Lenka, an assistant conservator of forests in the city forest division, alleged that her husband, Debi Prasad Mohanty, a block development officer in Balasore district, was taking advantage of the situation to intimidate her frequently and was maligning her character by uploading misinformation about her on the internet.
Lenka, a resident of Bhubaneswar's Unit IV area, had filed the first petition on December 15. "Despite my approaching the SCW on December 15 and filing an FIR at Mahila police station on December 20, no action was taken to redress my grievances," she said.
The petitioner said she had married Mohanty in a court in 2009 and as per Hindu rituals in 2011. However, the marriage was tumultuous within days of the formal procedure.
The government servant said that Mohanty and his associates had threatened to kill her if she didn't agree with his proposal of divorce in December 2011. She also accused Mohanty of dowry torture, cruelty, impersonation as IPS officer, cheating and mischief. "He posed as in IPS officerwhen we first met in Dehradun in 2008," she said.
Lenka said Mohanty was now posing an unmarried man and trying to marry another woman. "I am now in great agony and my life is endangered. I am a responsible government officer but am too disturbed at present to discharge my duties," she added.
Pleading for justice, Lenka requested the SCW to direct the authorities concerned to arrest the accused and take necessary action.
SCW chairperson Jyoti Panigrahi said the commission was acting on her complaint by following due procedure. "We got a second petition from Sasmita Lenka on Monday. The commission will seek an action taken report from the police and also summon her husband soon," she said. Police said they have launched a manhunt to arrest the accused and are investigating into the matter.
Criminal killed in police encounter
KENDRAPADA: Notorious criminal Abdul Rafiq Khan alias Raja (30) of Fakirabad village in Kendrapada town was on Saturday injured in an encounter with police in Laxminarayanpur village.
Khan is the prime suspect in several murder and dacoity cases, and is also reportedly involved in tender-fixing, police said. Recently, Khan along with Sk. Latif (25), another known criminal, pelted bombs at the house of a businessman at Oladhi and demanded Rs 3 lakh from him.
" Khan shot at the police when they tried to arrest him and the officers returned fire in retaliation police fired at him. He was admitted to the district government hospital with bullet wounds and later shifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack as his condition was not stable", said SP Narasingh Bhol. Police also arrested Latif, who was with Khan at the time of the incident.
Khan is a member of the notorious Sk Hyder gang. Police had arrested Hyder in Nagpur. Maharastra, five years ago on the charges of killing Sk Chuuna in Bhubaneswar. Hyder has been in jail ever since and in his absence, his son Sk Babu and Khan are running their syndicate in Kendrapada and nearby areas, sources said. Security has been tightened in Kendrapada town and its nearby areas after this incident, added the police officer.

Odisha on way to becoming child labour-free by 2012

Bouyed over the joint efforts that resulted in Odisha becoming a ‘Polio-Free’ State during 2011, the State  Government has fixed a target to make the State child labour-free by 2017 and urged the UNICEF to have a convergence with the State apparatus to achieve the objective.
According to official sources, Chief Secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik on Tuesday has urged all the District Child Protection Committees to prepare a five-year Plan of Action relating to Integrated Child Protection Scheme in association with the UNICEF with the main thrust to eradicate the stigma of child labour. The DCPCs were also asked to specify the goals and sell out the strategy clearly by April next.
The DCPC have been asked to undertake fresh survey of child labourer to prepare a basic data district-wise to help chalk out strategy to move forward to achieve the proposed objective.
Meanwhile UNICEF has projected an estimated Rs 19.20-crore plan for Odisha for the year 2012 to take up schemes for the over all development of children.
Sharose Mawaji, Odisha chief of the UNICEF informed the Government on Tuesday at a meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Secretary Patnaik to review the performance of the proagrammes jointly implemented during 2011. This year the focus of the UNICEF strategy would be child health, education, child protection, sanitation and awareness, said Mawaji.
Meanwhile, the Chief Secretary told the UNICEF authorities to continue convergence activities in all the sectors of child development to avoid duplication of schemes and to achieve higher rate of success.
Meanwhile, the State Government decided to include health, hygiene, sanitation as part of school curriculum and the Chief Secretary has asked the School and Mass Education Department and the Health Department to jointly prepare the syllabus so as to create awareness among children.
According to sources, during the meeting it was decided that during the 12th Plan period all the schools and Anganwadis would have toilets with running water coverage. Besides, the Chief Secretary has urged for nutritional increase in the food intake with ensuring proper communication relating to nutrition habits and the lack of vitamin-A. In order to achieve the objective, he urged the UNICEF authorities to involve the Gaon Kalayan Samitis and the Women Shelf Help Groups in the awareness programme.
During the meeting the Unicef Odisha Chief praised the Joint efforts with the State Government on launching the“Tikka Express” and said that the scheme was more effective Odisha than other States.

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Odisha HR Bulletin-5

OHRC takes note of Pipli gangrape case
BHUBANESWAR: Taking strong note of police inaction, the Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC) on Monday asked the Pipili police in Puri district to submit the action taken report into the recent alleged gangrape of a 19-year-old girl within three days.
"The commission has asked the Pipili police to register a case and submit action taken report within three days. The SP of Puri has been directed to monitor the investigation of the case," OHRC registrar C R Mohapatra said.
The girl, who is also a court witness in a molestation case, was allegedly raped by two persons in Pipili area on November 28. Her family members alleged she was targeted by goons for being a court witness.
Earlier in the afternoon the rape victim, in a comatose state after being strangled by rapists, and her family members came to the OHRC office here seeking justice. She was lying on the floor with saline drips and nasal feeding pipes pierced to her body. Her sobbing uncle and brother refused to move from there until justice is delivered to them. "Neither the government nor the police helps us in getting justice. While government is not ready to bear her medical expenses, police are not receiving her complaint," the rape victim's uncle said.
The disgruntled family on Saturday approached the State Commission for Women (SCW) alleging police inaction into the alleged rape and murder attempt on her. Though the SCW assured her help and medication, it came a cropper. The SCW had arranged to shift her to hospital again on the same day. "The woman was critical and needed medical help. We first took her to Capital Hospital. But she can't get psychological and neurological help here. That is why on medical advice, she was referred to SCB Medical College and Hospital," said Jyoti Panigrahi, chairperson of SCW, adding "the commission will ensure that she gets justice."
However, the family chose not to go to Cuttack again as they can't afford treatment there. Instead, they shifted her to a relative's place in Bhubaneswar.
Meanwhile following media reports, a few police officers from Pipili rushed to Bhubaneswar to listen to her grievances on Monday. The police again shifted her to Capital Hospital following a directive by the OHRC.
Source said the girl was first allegedly assaulted on January 13, 2008, a few weeks after some miscreants molested her friend in the village. The miscreants attacked her house again on February 18, 2008 after she became a court witness in the molestation case. Police had then arrested two persons, sources said. Though police are yet to ascertain whether the alleged rape on her in November last year was anything to do with the 2008 case, it was alleged the girl was raped by a married man, who was insisting to marry her since long. He was a close associate of one of the two persons arrested in the 2008 case. "We will investigate from all angles," Pipili sub-divisional police officer Rajendra Kumar Rout said.

HC asks hospital for status of rape victim

The Odisha High Court on Tuesday directed the Chief Medical Officer of Capital Hospital in Bhubaneswar to submit a detailed report on the health status of the Pipili gang-rape victim. The CMO was asked to submit the report by Wednesday, stating whether or not the 19-year-old is responding to the treatment and if she needs shifting to a better facility for treatment.
Taking up a PIL filed by civil rights activist and advocate Prabir Das, a division bench headed by Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda took strong exception to the matter and decided to hear the case again on Wednesday to consider the report of the CMO.
The HC also directed the Bhubaneswar Deputy Commissioner of Police to immediately post a woman constable to guard the victim near her hospital bed and further asked Bhubaneswar police to step up surveillance in and around Capital Hospital to restrain the accused persons from interfering in the security and treatment of the victim.
This direction came from the court when the petitioner brought to the notice of the Chief Justice that the accused persons in the case are trying to threaten the family of the victim while leaders of a particular party are trying to coerce the victim’s family members to do their bidding.
Also taking strong exception to police inaction in the case, the HC directed the Puri SP to place an officer in the rank of DSP to investigate into the case thoroughly. The SP was also asked to personally monitor the case and submit an action-taken report to the court within seven days after apprehending all the accused persons.
The rights activist in his petition specifically prayed to the court to ensure that the victim, who is from an imporerished Dalit BPL family, is given proper treatment by the Government free of cost as she is now in coma, battling for life, after she was raped in November. The petitioner also mentioned the need to rehabilitate the victim and take stringent action against the perpetrators of the crime in his prayer.
In another development, the State Government ordered a Crime Branch inquiry into the incident in a face-saving attempt after the local police registered a case under Sections 323, 307, 376, 506 and 34 of the IPC along with Section 3 of the SC and ST Act against all four persons named in the FIR.
State DGP Manmohan Praharaj said a five-member team of the Crime Branch is already on the job and assured that the accused would be dealt with severely.

14 permanent night shelters to come up in State for the homeless

After getting the Supreme Court’s nod, the Odisha Government decided to construct 14 permanent night shelters in the State for the homeless and distressed people.
Chief Secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik told newsmen here on Monday that in compliance of the apex court’s directive, the State Government has decided to set up four permanent night shelters at Bhubaneswar, two in Cuttack and one in Puri.
He said the respective district administrations have identified suitable lands for construction of the night shelters. Each night shelter would be constructed at an estimated cost of `40 lakh within next two months and basic facilities like light and water would be provided in the shelters, Patnaik informed.
Patnaik further said while 464 homeless distressed persons spending night under the open sky were identified in Bhubaneswar, 162 persons were identified at Cuttack. With the construction of the night shelters, the homeless would be benefited, he hoped.
In Bhubaneswar, two makeshift night shelters are functioning and there is no permanent night shelter in the capital city though the Supreme Court had directed to provide at least 15 permanent night shelters.

Save Mahanadi Forum ups ante


CUTTACK: The Mahanadi Banchao Andolan (MBA), which is spearheading the movement against diversion of water from the Mahanadi to industries, has warned that allowing permanent constructions for continuous drawing of water from the river to projects will have grave implications on groundwater availability, leading to disastrous situations in the region.
Submitting a memorandum to the five-member expert committee studying the impact of construction by IOCL at Hadia Patha, the organisation has called for detailed evaluation of the water availability throughout the year before reaching a conclusion.
The river bed goes dry in the non-monsoon months and even the Jobra Barrage reservoir feels acute pressure from November to June. The impact is already visible on the non-availability of water for the irrigation channels through Taladanda and other canals branching out of the barrage.
The drinking water requirements of Cuttack city and adjoining areas is  primarily met from groundwater.
In the event of allowing large industries like IOCL and Posco to get their water from the Jobra Barrage, the consequences are glaringly evident. During the dry seasons, the industries will depend on groundwater to meet their requirement. The catastrophic fallout can be easily foreseen, president MBA GC Hota has said.
The five-member expert committee headed by retired chief engineer SM Patnaik is due to submit its report to the High Court later this month.
The High Court has directed the committee to thoroughly study all possible impact of the construction of the intake well and laying of pipeline by IOCL on the entire water distribution system.
The Committee has been entrusted with the responsibility of studying water availability across all seasons, irrigation requirement and current demand and supply scenario, groundwater level and availability along with the implications of the pipeline on the Ring Road.
The Court had stayed construction on a PIL filed by the Nationalist Lawyers Forum.
While warning that the canal system would be rendered defunct due to scarcity of water during the dry non-rainy seasons and the groundwater would be acutely depleted, the organisation has sought stop to all activities at Jobra, Naraj and other upstream of Mahanadi for provisioning of water to industries.

Fugitive Nimapada cop suspended

The Odisha police on Tuesday placed under suspension Nimapada police station Inspector-in-Charge Bimal Nayak who is on the run ever since the State vigilance sleuths caught him taking bribe last week.
After widespread criticism, the police headquarters here issued a suspension letter in the name of Nayak who was allegedly helped by some locals after the vigilance sleuths caught him red-handed while taking a bribe of Rs 5,000 inside the police station on January 6.
“The police inspector is placed under suspension and orders about his suspension has already been issued,” said State DGP Manmohan Praharaj on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, three special squads of the Puri district police are reportedly continuing raid at various places to find out the absconding police officer.

BJD leader arrested for alleged link with Maoist

PHULBANI (Odisha): A ruling BJD leader and prominent Christian functionary in Odisha's communally sensitive Kandhamal district Junus Pradhan was today arrested for alleged links with Maoists and involvement in recent landmine blasts, police said
Junus Pradhan, block president of Daringbadi, was picked up from his house in the early hours on charge of his involvement in last week's landmine blasts near Kotagarh in which four persons including three policemen were killed and three others injured, superintendent of police Jaynarayan Pankaj said.
Pradhan is also the Kandhamal district chief of Christian Janakalyan Samaj, the apex body of tribal Christians in the district.
A landmine went off when a police team with two trained dogs was proceeding in a vehicle on Kotagarh-Srirampur road on January 5 to the site of the blast the previous day in which one person was killed.
The deceased included two police constables and a homeguard, the sources said adding they were identified as Sunasir Mohanty, Umakant Jani and Sangram Lenka.
Meanwhile, as soon as the news of Pradhan's arrest spread, hundreds of BJD supperters had assembled in front of the block office at Daringbadi shouted slogans demanding his immediate release.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Odisha HR Bulletin-4

Women's panel admits 'raped' teen into hospital
BHUBANESWAR: A 19-year-old woman on Saturday approached the State Commission forWomen alleging police inaction into the alleged rape and murder attempt on her.
Her family members said she fears for her life. She was allegedly raped for being a court witness in a similar crime.
The woman from Arjanguda village within Pipli police limits was allegedly found naked and unconscious by passersby on November 28 minutes after she went to attend nature's call. "We had taken her to Capital Hospital and from there to SCB Medical College and Hospital after that. But we had to leave the hospital after a few days as we could not afford the treatment. She is still critically ill," said the victim's father.
After the family approached the SCW on Saturday, the SCW arranged to shift her to hospital again on Saturday. "The woman was critical and needed medical help. We first took her to Capital Hospital. But she can't get psychological and neurological help here. That is why on medical advice, she was referred to SCB Medical College and Hospital," said Jyoti Panigrahi, chairperson of SCW, adding "the commission will ensure that she gets justice."
Family sources, however, said they chose not go to Cuttack again as they can't afford treatment there. Instead, they shifted her to a relative's place in Bhubaneswar.

Court denies bail to Kujang cracker blast accused
KENDRAPADA: A court in Jagatsinghpur district on Sunday turned down the bail plea of Subash Rout, the main accused in the recent Kujang cracker blast case that had killed four persons. The development followed the Jagatsinghpur police bringing Rout to Odisha on Saturday night after he was arrested in Puducherry on Thursday.
"Rout was first produced in a court in Puducherry. He was on Sunday produced in the court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC) in Kujang. The court rejected his bail petition and sent him to judicial custody," said Santanu Das, the sub- divisional police officer (SDPO) of Paradip. 

Police had earlier filed a case against Rout and others under section- 9 of Explosive Act and 147, 148, 337 and 338 of IPC. Rout was carrying crackers in a truck when the mishap occurred, police said. After this incident, Rout managed to flee from his village. After getting tip off, a police team rushed to Puducherry and arrested him on Thursday. 
Sources said the Jagatsinghpur SP, Debadutta Singh, and other senior police officers interrogated Rout for three hours after his arrival on Saturday night. Rout is a cracker maker of Balia village near Kujang. 
Four Dalit drummers had succumbed to burn injuries and at least six persons were injured on November 16 after crackers exploded in a procession of Biju Patnaik Workers' Union organized by BJD MLA of Cuttack- Barabati, Debasish Samantray, Jagatsinghpur MLA Bishnu Das and others. BJD leaders and their supporters were going in a procession to attend a meeting of the trade union in Paradip while the crackers exploded in truck. 

The incident had snowballed into a major political controversy with former minister and Paradip MLA Damodar Rout locking horns with Debashish Samantray and Bishnu Das over the mishap.

HC vacates stay on Kandhamal nun rape case
CUTTACK: Orissa High Court has vacated a stay on the trial proceedings in the Kandhamal nun rape case. The court had imposed the stay in June last year while adjudicating a petition filed by the nun.
The nun had appealed to the high court to recall the judicial magistrate who had conducted the test identification parade of the accused. She had alleged that the magistrate had misrepresented her statement to the trial court.
Earlier, she had filed a petition in the trial court, but it was rejected on May 16 last year. Subsequently, she had challenged it in the high court.
The defence counsel had opposed the plea, stating that the magistrate had followed all procedures properly and had alleged that the nun was trying to delay to trial proceedings. "We told the court that the nun had not raised any objection during hearing in the trial court. When the hearing was in the last leg, the nun raised such an objection to delay the trial proceedings,"said Sarbeswar Behera, counsel of the accused, after the high court order on Friday.
While disposing of the petition, Justice C R Dash advised the nun to raise her grievances in the trial court. Notably, the trial hearing of the case was going on at the district and session court, Cuttack, but it was stopped midway in June last year, due to the stay order.

Angul villagers protest land acquisition
ANGUL: The Odisha government's decision to set up a 1980 MW power plant by J R Power Jain Company at Kishore Nagar, about 85 km from here, is facing strong opposition from locals. TheJibana Jibika Krushi and Krusaka Surakshya Committee (JJKKSC) observed a 12-hour bandh on Friday in protest against the proposed power plant.
People have been opposing the plant as they stand to lose fertile agricultural land and forest cover in its wake. They have been demanding immediate scrapping of the deal by the state government.
The state government had issued a notification under section 4(1) of Orissa Land Acquisition Act two years ago for acquisition of land for the project. Irked over the decision, hundreds of locals of about 15 villages of Kishore Nagar block, under the banner of JJKKSC, observed the bandh on Friday. Agitators squatted on National Highway 55 and blocked rail traffic near Bamur. Some protesters reportedly took out a rally in the morning earlier.
All government and private offices, schools, colleges and banks remained closed in the area. All business establishments downed their shutters and road and rail traffic was disrupted. All passenger and express trains plying on Bamur-Boinda route were cancelled. Sambalpur-Puri Intercity Express, Bhubaneswar-Balangir, Rourkela-Bhubaneswar, Puri-Jodhpu and Puri-Nizammuddin Express trains were cancelled due to the bandh, railway sources said.
Five platoons of police force were deployed to maintain law and order in the area and no untoward incidents were reported during the bandh.
Ramani Ranjana Pradhan, a resident of Jairat village said the state government notified for 4(1) of Land Acquisition Act without taking them into confidence. "The area which is notified for the project is highly fertile for paddy and other crops. Setting up the power plant here would not only affect the livelihood of farmers but will also have an adverse impact on the environment," he said.
The company will acquire 1,000 acres of land, out of which 300 acres are government land. Villages like Dhaurapalli, Barada Malia, Karamala Kata and Baija are going to be affected due to the project.
Dinabandhu Pradhan, president of JJKKSC said, "Our main demand is cancellation of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the company and the state government in the year 2009. We have asked the district administration to relocate the plant elsewhere and we have been opposing the power plant for the past two years. If the state government continues to acquire land for the project, there will be more opposition in the coming days."
The state government should instead focus on developing irrigation system in the area, Pradhan said, demanding the government should start the construction work of Sureswari Irrigation Project, the foundation stone of which has already been laid by state transport and commerce minister Sanjeeb Kumar Sahoo.
When contacted, district collector Siba Prsada Mishra refused to divulge anything on the issue. However, Athamallik sub-collector Sudarsana Sethy said the demands of the locals have been forwarded to the state government for consideration. He said if people feel any discrepancies have been meted out to them in issuing the 4(1) notice, they should come to the table for a discussion.

Road accidents claim 3,900 lives in a year

Odisha witnesses around more than 9,000 road accidents every year that kill over 3,900 and leave 11,000 plus others injured, revealed Chief Secretary BK Patnaik. He was speaking at the closing ceremony of the State Level Road Safety Week held here on Saturday.
Principal Secretary, Commerce &Transport GK Dhal, Transport Commissioner Surendra Kumar and Khurda Collector Roopa Mishra were present at the meeting.
While rash driving, overloading, untrained drivers and poor roads are among the factors that have led to the rise in fatal accidents, a majority (94 per cent) of them were due to drunk driving and human error, pointed out the Chief Secretary. In the last two years alone, 7,464 people lost their lives in road mishaps.
The State Government has now decided to concentrate on proper training to the untrained drivers and initiated talks with Maruti Suzuki and many other automakers to set up modern driving training institutions in the State, Patnaik said. Odisha is the third State to set up a driving training institute with the help of the largest automaker, Ashok Leyland in Jajpur district. Every year, more than 3,000 drivers would be trained in this institution, he said.
Dhal revealed that the Government would frame tough rules gainst drunken driving. Such drivers’ licences would be cancelled.
He informed that there are 30 lakh vehicles in the State, and the number is rising at a rate of six per cent to seven per cent every year. And the number would reach the 45-lakh mark during the next 10 years.
The Transport Commissioner said that every year the country loses Rs one lakh crore due to road accidents, which is three per cent of the nation’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Road accident have turned epidemic with 94 per cent of the mishaps being caused by untrained and drunken drivers.
He said the Government is mulling use of speed governors in three-wheelers and four-wheelers. Roopa Mishra said that as many as 6.5 lakh vehicles are running in the State capital and out of them 22,000 are auto-rickshaws.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Odisha HR Bulletin-3

CBI arrests two RPF officials

The CBI sleuths on Thursday conducted a raid on the Railway Protection Force office and arrested one inspector and a sub-inspector on charges of taking bribe.
The two RPF officials were caught red-handed while taking a bribe of Rs 500 from the relative of an accused,sources said.

Abhay Sahu bails rejected

ABHAY SAHU: At another hearing, the Junior Magistrate, First Class (Kujang), Alpana Swain, rejected the bail plea of anti-Posco leader Abhay Sahu. Sahu, president of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), had been arrested from Nuapokhari while he was returning to his village from Bhubaneswar on November 25.
Altogether 10 cases had been slapped against Sahu during the last six months which included clash with police during construction of a coastal road and involvement in a dowry-related death.
2000 tribals rally in Kalinga Nagar
KENDRAPADA: Over 2,000 tribals took out a rally at Kalinga Nagar on Monday to mark the sixth anniversary of police firing in which 14 tribals, including three women, were killed. Six years ago, police fired at tribals protesting against forcible occupation of land and their consequent displacement. The immediate provocation then was construction of a boundary wall by Tata Steelfor its six million tonnes steel plant.
On Monday, the anti-industry groups under the banner of Bisthapan Birodhi Janamanch (BBJM) took out a rally from 'martyrs column' in Champakoila village to Veerbhumi at Ambagadia, where the tribals had been killed and vowed not to spare an inch of land for the steel plant. Family members and relatives of firing victims offered rituals at Ambagadia also.
Prafulla Samantray, an anti-land acquisition leader and president of Lokshakti Abhijan, accused chief minister Naveen Patnaik of working for private industrial houses at the cost of the masses, who voted him to power. He said Naveen is least interested in the development of tribals. "He has not bothered to visit Kalinga Nagar even after six years of the firing speaks volumes of his mindset," he said.
"Odisha has about 97 per cent chromite, 71 per cent bauxite, 33 per cent iron ore and 32 per cent manganese resources of India. As commodity prices soar, international companies are eyeing this mineral bounty, much of which is in tribal territory," said Mahendra Parida, a leader of CPIML (Liberation).
The anti-industry leaders vowed not to allow industries. "We won't tolerate torture of innocent tribals. There shouldn't be any industry at the cost of tribals and their livelihood. Our fight against industrialisation will continue till the government changes its decision to set up industries on farm land. Fourteen of our fellowmen sacrificed their lives for the cause of tribals. We are ready to die but will not spare an inch of land for industry," said Rabindra Jarika, secretary of BBJM.
On the other hand , about 800 people led by Visthapita Parivar Unnayan Parishad, a pro-industry outfit participated in a rally at Tata's rehabilitation colony at Gobarahat village. They were led by president Dhaneswar Soi and secretary Biren Jamuda.
Though the two parallel meetings were held at a short distance of each other, there was no clash between the rival groups. "The rally and meetings passed off peacefully. We deployed six platoons of police force to check any untoward incident," said K C Mund, the police officer of Kalinganagar police station.

Maoist blast kills three policemen in


BHUBANESWAR: Two days after a Maoist died while planting a land mine, the Maoists on Thursday blew up a police van killing three on the spot and seriously injuring three others at the same place in Kandhamal district. The injured cops - two constables and one home guard - were first taken to a nearby hospital in Kotagada hospital and then shifted to Baliguda, before being airlifted to SCB Medical College and Hospital at Cuttack. Hospital sources described the condition of the three as "critical". 

"They have multiple injuries," said a doctor. The
blast took place around 10.30 in the morning. The deceased policemen were identified as Sunasir Mohanty, Uma Jani and Sangram Lenka. The police personnel in two vehicles along with two dogs were reportedly on their way to the site where pieces of the Maoist cadre's body from the overnight land mine blast were recovered at Srirampur in Kotagada police station area. The police team was barely three km away from a CRPF camp when the land mine exploded. 

While the first vehicle was badly damaged, the one following and the occupants in it escaped unhurt, a police officer said, adding that the two dogs were not injured. Soon after the incident, CRPF and other police personnel rushed to the area. SP (Kandhamal) J N Pankaj and other senior police officials also headed for the place. Home secretary U N.Behera confirmed the incident and said appropriate measures had been initiated. Thursday was the second day of the two-day Odisha bandh called by the extremists. 

This was the first major Maoist violence recorded in 2012. Earlier, the extremists had set fire to three mobile towers in Ganjam district's Baragarh area on Tuesday night. Sources said police were still clueless whether the land mine that exploded on Thursday was planted on Tuesday night itself or the night after. 

"We suspect they might have planted the explosive on Wednesday night, because it was all but expected that police parties would raid different places in the area after Tuesday night's blast in which one of their men was blown to pieces. This was perhaps a strategy by the Maoists to thwart combing operations in the area," said a senior police official. 

"We had earlier checked with many local people to identify the body of the Maoist cadre, but in vain. Everybody pleaded ignorance," he added. Chief minister 
Naveen Patnaik expressed his condolence to the bereaved families. He said the government would provide Rs 8 lakh to the families of each of the deceased. This is beside Rs 10 lakh towards insurance, a job to a dependant member in the family and family pension, an official release here said. It added that the government will bear all expenses of the three injured persons undergoing treatment.