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Odisha: Pulpwood livelihood plantation to generate employment for tribals

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By Chinmaya Dehury

Bhubaneswar: In a move to increase livelihood options in tribal-dominated areas against the backdrop of the changing climatic conditions, Odisha has decided to go in for massive pulp wood plantation covering 60,000 hectares over the next five years.

The plantation will be carried out in the public private partnership (PPP) mode, according to a note prepared by the state government.

It said the stress on pulpwood plantations would lead to a win-win situation for farmers and paper manufactures, as the project would cater to the needs of both.

Vagaries of climate and an uncertain market, as also pressure from middlemen, have led to the farmers incurring losses from crop cultivation.

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papermart.in

“Through this PPP model, the poor farmers will get direct benefits from their produce through a direct marketing channel of the company,” said the concept note prepared by the state horticulture department.

The project will be implemented in Koraput, Rayagada, Nabrangpur, Malkangiri and Gajapati districts.

The interested industries and horticulture department would identify the farmers for pulpwood plantations, to be carried out in the horti-forestry model.

“The government will facilitate and encourage the farmers to go for pulpwood plantations if they have land. It will be a buy-back system, ensuring a win-win situation for both the farmers and the paper manufacturing companies,” Horticulture Director Susanta Nanda told IANS.

He said it would provide ample scope for sustaining a large number of agro-industries which generate immense employment opportunities.

The government expects the project to generate 20 million man days, which will uplift the socio-economic condition of the tribals.

Hanji paper factory


“The farmers will enter an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) with the companies so that paper manufactures buy their plants for use in their industries,” Nanda said.

Odisha has a number of paper manufacturing companies, including J.K Paper and Emami Paper Mills, which will benefit from the pulpwood plantations.

“It’s a great initiative by the government. We are happy to partner with the government. The scheme would carter to the need of the company and immensely benefit the farmers in tribal areas,” a senior official of J.K. Paper, which has a paper manufacturing mill in Rayagada district, told IANS.

Many paper industries are importing raw material from Chhattisgarh, West Bengal, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh to run their mills as raw material is scarce in Odisha, sources said.

As the continuous rise in raw material costs is squeezing their profit margins, paper manufacturers have increased the area under pulpwood cultivation over recent years.

According to a study by Emkay Research, total sowing by leading paper producers was at 315,127 hectares in 2012-13 against 268,246 hectares in the previous year and 202,284 hectares in 2009-10 across the country.

(IANS)

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COVID-19: MakeMyTrip Lays Off Nearly 350 Employees

Covid-hit MakeMyTrip says that there's no respite in sight

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berlin MakeMyTrip
According to MakeMyTrip Founder Deep Kalra, the word of travel has been ravaged due to global Covid-19 pandemic. Pixabay

Covid-hit online travel major MakeMyTrip has laid off nearly 350 employees as the pandemic has changed the context and viability of some of its business lines in its current form.

The company is offering mediclaim coverage for the impacted individuals and their families till the end of the year.

According to an internal letter from Founder Deep Kalra and CEO Rajesh Magow sent to employees, the impacted employees will also get leave, gratuity, retention of company laptops and outplacement support, apart from salary payments as per their notice periods.

“It is undoubtedly the toughest decision we have had to take so far and it’s the saddest day for us as an organization,” read the letter.

The company analysed Covid-19 impact closely and spent considerable time thinking about the path to business recovery.

“It is evident that the pandemic has changed the context and viability of some of our business lines in its current form. Keeping this in mind we have had to take this sad but inevitable decision of rightsizing our workforce in these businesses,” said the duo.

MakeMyTrip Logo
MakeMyTrip analysed Covid-19 impact closely and spent considerable time thinking about the path to business recovery. Wikimedia Commns

The staff rationalization, they said, is mapped to their future business strategy and “is in no way a reflection of the work done by people in these teams”.

According to Kalra, the word of travel has been ravaged due to global Covid-19 pandemic.

“What’s evident is that the impact of COVID-19 crisis is going to be long drawn for us. It’s unclear when traveling will become a way of life, as it was pre-Covid,” said the letter.

The tourism industry in India is staring at two crore job losses as industry insiders cite central apathy and a predictably long recovery period.

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Indian tourism travel and hospitality impacts 10-12 per cent of India’s employment which covers almost 5 crore plus direct and indirect jobs.

“We are living through extraordinary times which have impacted individuals, communities, businesses, countries and our world at a magnitude unknown before and there is no let-up in sight,” said the MakeMyTrip executives.

The Indian tourism, travel and hospitality sector has already seen over one quarter of accumulated losses which began from February onwards. (IANS)

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Odisha Govt to Hold Rath Yatra Without Devotees this Year

Rath Yatra is said to be held in the absence of devotees this year

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Rath Yatra devotees
Odisha government has ensured non-arrival of devotees to Puri. Wikimedia Commons

The annual Rath Yatra of Odisha government and his siblings could be performed provided the Odisha government ensured non-arrival of devotees to Puri, said Puri Gajapati Dibya Singha Deb, here on Saturday.

The Ratha Yatra could be organised with minimum servitors and without devotees if the Odisha government granted permission for the 9-day sojourn of deities, said the Puri Gajapati after a meeting of Shree Jagannath Temple Managing Committee during the day.

As part of Rath Yatra and Bahuda Yatra, three chariots would be pulled on the Badadanda (grand road) in presence of servitors, officials and policemen. Snana Yatra, scheduled on June 5, could be performed inside temple premises, he said.

The Ratha Yatra
The Ratha Yatra could be organised with minimum servitors and without devotees. Wikiimedia Commons

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He said the temple would remain closed till Niladribije in view of Covid-19 pandemic.

The Information and Public Relations Department will make arrangements for live telecast of Snana Yatra and Rath Yatra rituals. “I request devotees to stay safe at home and watch the telecast on television,” the Puri Gajapati said. (IANS)

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Chilika Lake after Restoration has Benefitted Over 2 Lakh Fishermen, says IIT-Madras Report

IIT-Madras's intervention in Chilika lake restoration and continuous monitoring has benefitted over 200,000 fishermen

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Chilika lake
Continuous monitoring has benefitted over 200,000 fishermen living in 132 villages. WikimediaCommons

The Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT-M) on Friday said its researchers undertook a major restoration project at the famous Chilika Lake – the largest brackish water body in Asia and the first Ramsar site of India – located in Odisha to help in tripling the population of the Irrawaddy dolphins while also benefitting over 2 lakh fishermen.

According to IIT-M, its intervention in the year 2000 and continuous monitoring since then has benefitted over 200,000 fishermen living in 132 villages as it resulted in a seven-fold increase of fish catch and tourists to co-exist with the lake ecosystem with minimal disturbance to the environment.

Due to the successful restoration, the lake was removed from the threatened list (Montreux record) 1st from Asia. Chilika Development Authority also received the Ramsar Wetland Conservation Award and Evian special prize 2002 for outstanding achievement.

In 1981, Chilika Lake was designated the first Indian wetland of international importance under the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance, an international treaty for the conservation of wetlands. The Chilika lagoon is over 4,000 years old and spread over the Puri, Khurda and Ganjam districts of Odisha.

Lake Chilika
The Indian Institute of Technology Madras said its researchers undertook a major restoration project at the famous Chilika Lake which has now benefitted many fishermen. WikimediaCommons

The highly productive ecosystem of the lake supports the livelihood for fishermen and also acts as drainage for Mahanadi river basin. The lake was in a degraded condition and included in the threatened list (Montreux Record) by Ramsar Convention in 1993. This warranted urgent action for restoration of the lake.

The hydrodynamic regime of the lagoon was affected due to shifting of the mouth towards the northeast and subsequent reduction of seawater into the lake. Consequently, the ecology, biodiversity and economy of the area were also affected. The present study deals with the intervention carried out in October 2000 to open the mouth 18 kms south of the shifted mouth, IITM said.

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“The Chilika Lake has restored with a cost of Rs 10 crore by opening the mouth and other related works in six months’ time which has resulted in fish catch worth Rs 100 crore and revenue of Rs 35 crore due to tourism every year,” R. Sundaravadivelu, Institute Chair Professor, Department of Ocean Engineering, IIT-M said. (IANS)