Egg hurling: Political intolerance more pronounced
Another Central Minister has been egg-hurled and shown black flag by BJD and Congress workers at Nuabazar Chowk of Ali in Kendrapada district. The incident has evoked widespread discontent across Odisha because of a repeat of such incidents against political leaders. The agitators stopped the official car of Oram and argued with him on the Mahanadi issue decrying construction of barrage by Chhattisgarh CM Raman Singh and the dubious role of Odisha’s Central Ministers. The agitators mostly belonged to the youth cadres of both parties who were shouting for employment of local unemployed youths in the IOCL, Paradip. It was the ire of the youths expressed in a violent form but borne more out of political intolerance than the performance of the Ministers falling short of people’s expectation. Oram being a BJP MP from Sundargarh LS Constituency, the reaction in Sundargarh is but natural. There was a bandh call for about 7 hours throughout the district which evoked a mixed response. Whether the law is taking its own course is a different matter but the political violence has become a trend to stay for sure in a peaceful State like Odisha. CM Naveen Patnaik’s intervention is inevitable as he himself was the victim of such an incident on his way to a Vani Vihar function sometime back. Let us not encourage our youths to set a vicious trend and earn the tag of an ‘egg-hurling State’.
Whose Vikas you talk about, farmers ask BJP
Even as the BJP’s MODI fest programme amidst allegations of spending Central PSU funds gets a lukewarm response, farmers of Bargarh question the BJP as to whose ‘Vikas’ they are talking about? Farmers of “the rice bowl of Odisha” are peeved at the silence and inaction of the Centre on issues which would have improved their conditions. The district unit of the BJP welcomed MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan, but the farmers were angered over the killing of their counterparts in Mandsaur of MP and the dubious stand of the BJP in resolving Mahanadi conflict. PMNarendra Modi had addressed the farmers in a BJP organized farmers’ convention on February 21 last year where farmers anticipated declaration of sops like farm loan waiver and strengthening or irrigation. But the PM advised multi-cropping and diversion of crop which they had already adopted. Farm loan waiver and strengthening of irrigation which would have brought some relief for the farmers trapped in the vicious cycle of debt, found no mention. Subsequently, CM Naveen Patnaik’s visit to Sohela and his assurance to strengthen irrigation could not save Khainu Bagarti of Kendpali, who committed suicide on February 28, this year after his deep bore well failed to irrigate land due to erratic power supply. Even the Congress organised a Pada Yatra led by vice president Rahul Gandhi to champion the kisans’ cause and to woo the farmers. Against this backdrop, the visit of Chauhan and the meeting planned to be addressed by him will have little impact on these farmers. According to Paschim Odisha Krushak Sanghathan Samanwaya Samiti convener Ashok Pradhan, 62 organisations took part in stir on Friday held in various States of the country. The problem is likely to keep the Government on the tenterhooks for quite some time.
2nd Brahmani bridge, MCH demands finally heeded
Rourkela MLA Dilip Ray’s cry in the wilderness is finally heard by the Centre. In reply to CM Naveen Patnaik’s letter, Union Surface Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari has informed him that he will lay foundation for the second bridge on the river Brahmani in June. Modi after becoming PM had promised the people of Rourkela in a public meeting that they will have the second bridge on the river Brahmani soon. Three years on, work for the project could not start for some reason or the other. By now, the hurdles must have been cleared to build people’s confidence but nothing of the sort was found with respect to the project. Similarly, the other proposal of upgrading the Ispat General Hospital (IGH) into a Super Specialty Hospital and Medical College (SSHMC), which was hanging fire, was finally reviewed by a Central team at Rourkela. The team was led by Special DG of Health Dr BD Athani who met the senior staff of the IGH and discussed with them regarding infrastructure and facilities in the hospital to prepare and submit a feasibility report. The project is being monitored by the PM’s Office (PMO). Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram and Rourkela BJP legislator Ray had met the PM, the former Steel Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, his successor Birendra Singh and the SAIL Chairman seeking steps to expedite the matter.
All is not well in Odisha health sector
Despite Odisha Government’s claim about a reasonably good healthcare facility provided to its urban and the rural populace, its health sector performance remains unexpectedly poor. Pumping funds into health, education, communication and irrigation sector would have placed Odisha at a more advanced stage in the last 17 years but BJD’s mal-administration is the reason for the deplorable state of affairs. Mines and minerals would have opened floodgates for industries and nature’s bounty could have paved the way for taking a range of measures to boost its tourism sector and economy. The CM did not come out of the Naveen Niwas to reach out to the State’s people who lived in poverty and malnutrition with high infant mortality rate. The child and migrant-labour problem became their all weather friends. Nagada child malnutrition death followed by Japanese Encephalitis in Malkangiri district, increase in kidney related disease in Bonai block of Sundargarh and people of Dharmagarh sub-division of Kalahandi suffering from fluorosis have made media headlines pointing out at the deplorable healthcare system of the State. Now with kidney related disease taking toll on the villagers of Jamunabahal panchayat under Bhawanipatna block and Kelia village under Junagarh block in Kalahandi, more and more patients are preferring treatment at hospitals in Vishakhapatnam of AP due to lack of infrastructure back home. 32 persons are said to have died in last five years and 22 others are suffering from different kinds of deformities. Similarly in Kelia village, 14 persons have perished in the kidney related disease and seven others are suffering from it. Several villagers in Karlamunda block also face a similar condition. Will the proposed medical college in Bhangabari adjacent to the district headquarters town Bhawanipatna start building the required infrastructure and meet the deadline announced by the CM? The political will of the Government remains to be tested in the coming months as the next general election is fast approaching.
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