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Odisha attracts investors, but projects still in files

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Bhubaneswar: Odisha, a mineral rich state, may have attracted big ticket expressions of interest from potential investors and been ranked seventh in ease of doing business among the states, but it is miles behind in getting the projects off the ground.

Several mega projects, including Posco, continue to face hurdles in even getting off the ground while several have stalled. Companies have shied away from investing in the state for reasons ranging from not-so-business-friendly policies, environmental issues, land acquisition, protection of ethnic tribes and their culture and the menace of left-wing ultras.

A total of 264 mega projects evinced interest to set up projects with an investment of almost Rs. 8 lakh crore ($120 billion) between 2004 and 2015. The government had approved the projects through its single window clearance system.

“Out of these 264 projects, only 20 have successfully established their set-ups and have started partial or full production with an investment of Rs. 12,000 crore,” Industry Minister Debi Prasad Mishra said in the state assembly.

Besides, the government has inked memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with 92 companies worth Rs. 5.96 lakh crore. Out of this, 45 have started partial or full production with an investment of Rs. 2.45 lakh crore, Mishra added.

In the energy sector, as many as 20 independent power producers are yet to commence construction work on their projects. While the state government has inked MoU with 30 power producers, only four have started production, a senior official of the energy department told IANS, requesting anonymity.

The companies are expected to produce the thermal power of around 37,000 MW involving an investment of over Rs. 1 lakh crore.

Those projects that have begun despite all odds now facing raw material linkages, industry sources said.

Vedanta’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Abhijit Pati, who met Odisha Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi a few days back, said the company’s one million tonnes per annum (MTPA) aluminium refinery at Lanjigarh in Kalahandi district is running at 50 percent capacity and incurring a loss of Rs. 3 crore per day due to the paucity of raw materials.

Then, there is Tata Steel’s newly-commissioned greenfield three mtpa steel mill at Kalinga Nagar but it is not running at full capacity, industry sources said.

In an attempt to reverse this state of affairs, the Odisha government has recently come out with a new edition of the Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR) to upgrade its rank among investors on ‘Ease of Doing Business’.

It has not only made it simpler to set up a business but also eased tax procedures for corporate houses.

The IPR has envisioned attracting new investments worth Rs. 1.73 lakh crore by 2019-20.

The policy is also loaded with features like a fast track cell to clear investment proposals within 30 days, a dedicated portal to ease business processes for investors and an exclusive mobile app for investment facilitation.

To overcome the land hurdle, the state government has also identified about 100,000 acres to create a land bank for facilitating to set up industries without any hassles, sources said.

The Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation of Odisha (IDCO) has ordered the acquisition of land at Angul, Balasore, Cuttack, Deras, Dhamra, Dhenkanal, Jharsuguda, Kalinga Nagar, Koraput, Paradip, Rayagada and Rourkela in the first phase.

Odisha has been ranked seventh in the “Assessment of State Implementation of Business Reforms” a collaborative effort of the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the World Bank, consulting firm KPMG and business chambers CII and FICCI.

Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh were ranked first and second.(IANS, Chinmaya Dehury)

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Do You Know there are only two Leaning Temples in The World? Visit the Leaning Temple of Huma in Sambalpur

Huma is about 23 kms towards the southern direction of Sambalpur, Odisha. and is connected with Sambalpur and other cities of Orissa by road. The temple is situated inside the village of Huma.

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Leaning Temple
The Leaning Temple of Huma. Wikimedia.

Odisha October 23, 2017: The famous Leaning Temple of Huma built in 1670 AD is dedicated to Lord Shiva. This temple is one of the only two leaning temples in the world. It was constructed by the ruler, Baliar Singh, the 5th ruler of the kingdom of Chauhan of Sambalpur, Odisha, India. The speciality of this temple is it’s structure skewed to one direction.

Reason Behind its Tilted Structure:

It is regarded that the reason for its tilted structure could be some interior dismounting of rocky bed at which this temple is positioned, either because of flood current inside the Mahanadi River or earthquake, thereby affecting the position of this original temple.  An interesting fact to be noted is that the other little temples inside the Hamlet are also tilted to various other directions.

The finest time to visit this leaning temple is October to March. Enshrine your spirituality during these months and celebrate the festive season in the town of Sambalpur, Odisha. Shivratri is believed to be the chief festival of this temple. Hence, it advances a huge gathering specially during Shivratri festival during March. You may also find ‘Kudo’ fishes on the bank of river Mahanadi near the temple who are given food by devotees as a part of the worship.

Leaning Temple
The Leaning Temple of Huma. Wikimedia.

How to Reach the Leaning Temple of Huma:

By Road – Huma is about 23 kms towards the southern direction of Sambalpur, Odisha. and is connected with Sambalpur and other cities of Orissa by road. The temple is situated inside the village of Huma.

By Rail – Sambalpur railway station is the closest station from Huma. You may find taxis and cabs to drop you 23 kms towards the temple of Huma.

By Air – Bhubaneshwar is the closest airport to Huma which is approximately 290 ms away from Huma. Catch a taxi or cab to drop you at the exact destination.

Leaning Temple
Huma Leaning Temple is one of the two leaning temples of the world. Wikimedia.

Where to stay:

There are various hotels nearby the temple at affordable prices presenting the pleasant view of the outside village.

-Prepared by Bhavana Rathi of NewsGram. Twitter @tweet_bhavana 

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Woman IAS officer Gauri Parashar Joshi saved Panchkula when Local Police Ran Away

When violence escalated, Gauri Parashar Joshi went to her office, issued an order to hand over the situation to the Army that helped to reduce the chaos of the situation.  

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Panchkula Voilence
Panchkula Voilence. VOA
  • Gauri Parasher Joshi tackled the ruckus caused by Dera followers
  • She didn’t flee from there even when her clothes got torn and had injuries
  • Had the Army not come in, the residential area would have seen the unprecedented devastation

Panchkula, Haryana, August 28, 2017: Haryana Police ran away from the spot, leaving innocent people in danger when violence caused by Dera followers increased. This happened after the conviction of Dera Sacha Sauda Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh on 25 August 2017.

It was then Gauri Parasher Joshi, Panchkula Deputy Commissioner, IAS officer took matters in her hand to tackle the ruckus caused by Dera followers. When she was trying to calm down the agitators, police guards fled the spot as soon as they saw an angry mob of Dera followers who were coming to attack with stones, sticks.

Also Read: RapistRamRahim: Kamlesh Kumar from Rajasthan Lost his Wife at Dera 2 Years Back

Soon violence increased, but she didn’t flee from there even when her clothes got torn and had injuries. She took a wise decision, went to her office along with a PSO and issued an order by which the situation was handed over to the Army. This was a clever move as it helped to avoid further damage in the situation.

A local expressed his disappointment over the cowardly act of the local police.  According to Economic Times report, Satinder Nangia, a local from Panchkula said “Had the Army not come in, the residential area would have seen the unprecedented devastation. We have been serving the local police with tea and biscuits for last few days, but the moment the Dera followers went on a rampage the local police was the first to run.”  It was the Army which prevented further deterioration of the area.

Also Read: Dera Chief Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Being Treated As Ordinary Prisoner, Clarifies Haryana DGP (Jails)

Gauri Parasher Joshi reached home at wee hours, around 3 am but she went home after going around, checking every place with possible danger in the city and thus making sure that the situation was under control and rioters were not causing any more trouble.

She has served in Kalahandi, the Naxal-affected district in Odisha in the past and may be that helped her in tackling the situation with such competence.Betty Nangia praised the efforts of Joshi, “It’s time the patriarchal state, with abysmally low sex ratio, looks up to such woman and take a lesson or two.” She was disturbed as she witnessed the Army men shooting two Dera followers who were at close proximity from her house, as the locals tried to enter their homes in panic.  We need more woman IAS officers like Gauri Parasher Joshi.


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Maharangajodi Village: The ‘Village of Widows’ in Odisha

The men of Maharangajodi Village are dying of deadly lung diseases, pushing women to battle the misery and survive

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Village of Widows
50 men working in mining company of Odisha lost their lives to a fatal lung disease. Wikimedia
  • The Maharangajodi Village in Odisha is increasingly becoming known as the ‘Village of Widows’
  • The men have lost their lives to deadly lung diseases while the women are expected to carry the burden of survival
  • No compensation has been provided to the widows by the government or the mining company

July 22, 2017: In Keonjhar District of Odisha, the Maharangajodi Village has witnessed the deaths of men because of lung disease. Their women are left with no option but to seek ways of survival in this ‘Village of Widows’.

Also Read: Odisha Felicitates Indian Athletes with Cash Awards at 22nd Asian Athletics Championships

In 1982 a mining company called Pyrophilites was inaugurated in the village. It was responsible for the production of lime and sand stone.

The 50 men in the village, who worked at this mining site and earned living for their families, saw their health being degraded. Gradually, these men became weak and also faced trouble in breathing. It was discovered that the exposure to silica had an adverse impact on the health of these men.

The men lost their lives to deadly lung diseases they had developed over the course of employment. Silica affected the men with a fatal disease known as Silicosis.

The village was branded as ‘Village of Widows’ as none of the workers survived the disease.

The village was branded as 'Village of Widows' as none of the workers survived the disease. Click To Tweet

Pyrophilites was shut down eight years ago. However, no compensation has been given to the women or the families of the men who succumbed to the fatal exposure.

Sarojini Khuntia told Odisha TV, “The company paid very less wages to the men. Even after exploiting them, the company did not do anything to mitigate the problems of the workers diagnosed with respiratory disease. Neither have we been compensated after their deaths”

Furthermore, the government has remained insensitive to the issue. The party in power had failed to provide any compensation or even assistance for these widows to take care of their families.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394