Bhubaneswar, Nov 25 (LocalWire): Light to moderate rain and thundershowers has been predicted for Nov 25 owing to cyclonic storm Nivar.
Bhubaneswar, Nov 25 (LocalWire): Light to moderate rain and thundershowers has been predicted for Nov 25 owing to cyclonic storm Nivar.
Bhubaneswar, Nov 24 (LocalWire): Light rain or thundershowers are very likely to occur at one or two places, Met centre informed.
Tag Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Kandhamal, Gajapati.
The Regional Transport Office here has been directed to begin new LL applications from 20.11.2020 following COVID guidelines.
The decision was taken after the demand for slots came down in the RTO.
Berhampur, Oct 19 (LocalWire): Forest officials have seized over 6.5 quintals of red sandalwood worth several lakhs from an abandoned community house at Bhimpur village under Mahendra forest range in Gajapati district.
However, no one has been arrested in this connection during the raids conducted on Saturday.
Acting on a tip-off, forest officials raided the community house, which lay abandoned. During the raids, they found as many as 18 red sandalwood logs, weighing around 661 kg from the house, said divisional forest officer (DFO) Paralakhemundi S K Behera.
The endangered species might have been stocked in the house for the purpose of the smuggling, forest officials suspect.
While the forest officials were tight lipped about the value of the seized red sandal wood, unconfirmed reports said it would be worth several lakhs of rupees. Since there were no claimants of the seized articles in the village, no was arrested in this connection so far, said the DFO.
“Inquiry is being done as to who has stocked the red sandal wood in the house, he said.
After the arrest of the accused persons, we can ascertain the source, destination and procurement of the logs,” he said.
The DFO however did not rule out the possibility that the logs belong to the red sandal wood forest in Gajapati district.
Since the red sandalwood trees are abundant in Gajapati district, particularly in Garabandh and Mahendra ranges, located in the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border, the smugglers were desperately trying to illegally transport the valuable woods from the district.
The red-sandalwood tree cover area in Gajapati district is over 1200 acres in different forest areas, which was planted in 1919, sources said. Besides Gajapati, it is also largely found in Andhra Pradesh.
Red sandalwood, which comes under the endangered category of wild flora and fauna is in high demand in the international market, mainly in China. It is used for preparing medicines, handicraft items, furniture and perfume. The wood is generally smuggled to China via Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and West Bengal and Nepal, forest officials suspected.
Trade of red sandalwood is prohibited by the Convention of International trade, officials said.
Berhampur, Sept 15 (LocalWire): Gajapati district administration has cracked down on the Baliyatra, a traditional festival of the local people at Adava in Mohana block, organized by the yatra committee on Sunday where several hundreds of people participated violating the COVID-19 restrictions.
“Acting on a tip off, we raided the area and stopped the yatra.
We have also issued a show cause notice to one of the members imposing a fine to a tune of rupees one lakh, as per the COVID-19 regulation,” said Mohana Tehsildar Kalyani Sanghamitra Devi.
Baliyatra, one of the festivals of the village Goddess, is generally celebrated by the villagers every year in the Hindu lunar month of Sravana.
Due to the strict restrictions by the district administration, the villagers postponed the festival to the month of Aswina and celebrated it on Sunday.
Almost all the villagers participated in the yatra, where they worshipped the Goddess. Several folk dances were also staged during the period of the festival, sources said.
The yatra committee however did not take any permission from local Tehsildar for celebration of the festival and gathered a large number of people to celebrate it by violating the COVID-19 regulations, said tehsildar.
“At the time of our joint raids by the tehsil staff and the police, the festival was in its last phase.
They were preparing to immerse the sands in the huge procession.
We however stopped it and dispersed the gathering,” she added.
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has strictly prohibited the gathering of more than seven persons in the religious function.
Berhampur, July 10 (LocalWire): The state government has restricted the ply of passenger buses in Ganjam and Gajapati district due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an order, the state’s transport commissioner said that no stage (vehicles with specific route and time of halts) or contract carriages on any intra or inter-district and inter-state routes would be originated or terminated from these two districts.
However, vehicles plying on inter-district and inter-state routes passing through Ganjam and Gajapati districts may operate on the highways only without making any halt for picking or dropping down the passengers, he said in his order.
“It means no passenger will be allowed to come or go in the buses from Ganjam and Gajapati district,” said regional transport officer (RTO) Ganjam Sanjay Kumar Biswal. He said that the government had taken the step in view of the increasing number of COVID cases in the districts.
Earlier, railway authorities had withdrawn stoppages of trains in all the stations in the district following the request of the state government.
Meanwhile Gajapati district collector restricted the movement of the people to its adjoining districts like Ganjam, Rayagada and Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh for non-essential purposes.
“Non-essential movement to and from Gajapati district to adjoining districts will not be allowed until further orders,” said Gajapati collector Anupam Saha.
SP (Gajapati) Sarah Sharma said forces would be deployed in all the order points to check the movement of people and vehicles.
Berhampur, July 1 (LocalWire): In a bid to protect police personnel from contracting COVID-19 while ferrying accused persons in their vehicles, Gajapati police authorities are mulling redesigning of their vehicles with installation of a barrier wall inside the jeep.
“The partition wall inside the vehicle will maintain distance between the accused and the police personnel and hence there will be a lesser chance of infection from them,” said SP (Gajapati) Sarah Sharma.
“We will discuss it with the collector and regional transport officer (RTO) to make a final design of the vehicles,” she said.
“We have planned to design this vehicle for at least one in each police station,” said SP (Gajapati). The district has ten police stations.
Even though the police personnel have taken preventive measures like wearing masks, maintaining social distancing and washing their hands and putting off their uniforms, they are concerned about contracting the infection, she said.
They were worried because several cops in different districts; including Ganjam, have been tested positive after contact with the accused persons, who later tested positive for COVID-19.
In Ganjam district, while at least 40 police personnel have tested COVID positive, at least ten under-trial prisoners have been found to be positive after their arrest.
“Our personnel sanitize on a regular basis, while disinfection of the police stations is done daily,” she said. Moreover, outsiders were not allowed inside the police station during the pandemic period.
“Police persons go outside the police station to talk or to receive any grievance from the complainant. During the period, they were also strictly instructed to maintain social distancing and follow other COVID regulations,” she said.
Berhampur, June 24 (LocalWire): Sarah Sharma, Superintendent of Police, Gajapati, has decided to adopt the Soura tribal village in Bhubani panchayat located atop a hill, having a population of nearly 120.
Besides providing clothes to all people, including women and children, she has distributed books, mosquito nets, utensils, slippers, water containers, solar lights and masks, in order to contain the spread of COVID-19.
“In the first phase, we have distributed these essential materials, as per the demands of the people,” she said.
With her personal initiation, some of these materials were procured from local entrepreneurs, funds from Mo Sarkar and the contribution from the alumni association of Hidayutullah National Law University (HNLA) Raipur, Chhattisgarh.
Sharma was serving there as an Assistant Professor in 2008, before becoming an IPS officer in 2010.
“During my discussion with the villagers about maintaining social distancing, I urged them to enroll their children in the nearby schools and to give up the shifting cultivation which caused the destruction of the jungle,” she said.
“The villagers gladly accepted the proposal, while the children were eager to go to school,” she said.
The remote village lacks basic infrastructure like roads, drinking water, and schools for the children.
The villagers who are eking out their livelihood by practicing shifting cultivation on the hilltops bear nature’s fury in the rainy season while living in very miserable conditions.
While most of the children have dropped their studies at the primary level due to poverty, they cannot even access basic health services.
Berhampur: March 16 (LocalWire) A 27-year old man from the Baliguda area, who was admitted at the district headquarters hospital, Phulbani for suspected Covid-19 infection fled from the hospital on Monday.
Kandhamal chief district medical officer Rajashree Patnaik however said, he had no symptoms of the novel coronavirus infection.
Since he came from the Corona hit Kerala, about 13 days ago and suffering from a cold, he had been kept under observation for two weeks.
His quarantine period will come to end on Tuesday, she said.
Besides him, the other two persons, including a woman, were kept in the isolation ward as the duo had also returned from Kerala.
‘The conditions of them are stated to be good’, she added.
Meanwhile, the Gajapati district administration has identified 11 persons who came from foreign countries in the last 11 days and stay quarantined at their homes.
These persons had travelled USA, Malaysia, Dubai, and Abudhabi.
Gajapati collector Anupam Shah said they have been kept under observation as per the direction of the government.
They have been asked to avoid visiting the public gatherings and to strictly follow the home isolation.
Sagarika Raika (21), of Keranga village in Gumma administrative block of Gajapati district works as a cluster coordinator under Odisha’s Integrated District Intervention program (IDI). She has been working towards empowerment of adolescent girls and women for the past four years.
She is popular in the community for standing against the marriage her parents finalized when she was 16, since girls dared not go against social norms like early or child marriage. Raika could do so because of the life skills education she had received.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), life skills are abilities for adaptive and positive behavior that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life.
Life skills required for the health and well-being of children and adolescents include decision making, problem solving, creative and critical thinking, effective communication, interpersonal relationship, self-awareness, empathy, and coping with stress.
Life skills training imparted to tribal school students in Odisha has empowered girls, and brought down the common practice of child marriages.
“Child marriages take place due to pressure from the family and community, and lack of awareness on the fallouts of early marriage,” said Sanjukta Tripathy, program manager at People’s Rural Education Movement (PREM), a local non-profit organization.
PREM conducts life skills education programs for adolescent girls. “Life skills education informs and empowers adolescents deal with issues such as physical changes during adolescence.
As per Indian laws, any marriage where the girl is below 18 and/or the boy is below 21 years of age is a child marriage, a punishable offence. Other than legal implications, according to Girls Not Brides, a global alliance of organizations, child marriage violates girls’ rights to health, education and opportunity.
While exposing girls to violence, and trapping them in a cycle of poverty, child marriages hinder the achievement of at least six of the Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations.
Child marriage being prevalent among scheduled tribe (ST) and scheduled caste (SC) communities, Odisha government has included life skills education as an academic component in all residential schools run by ST & SC Development, Minorities & Backward Classes Welfare Department.
In partnership with United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and civil society organizations, the department provides life skills education to more than 6,50,000 students studying in 1,670 schools across the state.
“Through this scientifically designed program, since 2015, we have been creating awareness about physical and cognitive growth during adolescence, and demystifying myths about personal health, individuality and sexuality,” said Sushant Kumar Panda, program manager for life skills education in Odisha’s residential tribal schools.
Awareness for girls
“In life skills education sessions I learnt about the physical and behavioral changes integral to adolescence and the ways to cope with them. We were also sensitized about the possible consequences of early marriage, which helped me convince my parents about my planned early marriage,” said Sagarika Raika.
In most cases, adolescents find it difficult to oppose pressure, when it comes to marriage. “We bring self-awareness among the adolescents, to understand themselves, establish their personal identity, resist any negative pressure, and live up to their full potential,” said Panda.
“Our community teaches us different myths and beliefs, expecting us to conform to popular gender norms,” Mridusmita Sabara, a student of Keraba Government Girls’ High School.
“After attending these classes for an hour every Saturday, we understand the importance of knowledge.”
Raimani Gamanga and her classmates at Keraba school in Gunupur block of Rayagada district have dreams regarding their future. “The dreams came naturally after we attended life skills sessions, when we realized our potential and ways to tackle issues in life to move ahead for a better future,” said Gamanga.
“Such education has changed the views of the girls about life,” said Umarani Gauda, matron of the school hostel who has also received special training on life skills. “They are not shy any more to talk about personal issues. Now they are capable of dealing with issues affecting their life and future.”
Impact of life skills education is not confined to the campus. According to Sabyasachi Rout, who is in charge of life skills education at Bhubaneswar-based Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS), with students educating friends and peers in their village, it impacts the communities as well.
Kumari Deepanjali Pradhan, a tribal girl pursuing M.Sc. Physics at KISS, said that school dropouts and adolescents find it difficult take decisions on their own, due to lack of life skills training.
“During vacations, we prepare projects for the students so they can help their communities by passing on the knowledge they gained at the institute.
“I belong to the Saora tribe; when I go home during holidays, I try to share my knowledge with friends, relatives and other community members, and try to convince them why child marriages should be stopped,” said Mridusmita Sabara.
Reduced child marriages
By creating self-awareness among adolescents from tribal communities and helping the girls nurture dreams, life skills education has been successful in bringing down the number of child marriages in districts with predominant tribal population and in the state as well, said Panda. By end of 2016, in Gumma block, child marriages were almost nil because of life skills education
Though child marriages are more prevalent in tribal communities, with top five being tribal populated districts of Malkangiri, Nabarangpur, Mayurbhanj, Koraput and Rayagada, as per National Family Health Survey 4, the custom prevails in non-tribal and upper class communities too.
“Life skills education needs to be extended to all high schools if child marriages across communities are to end,” said Rukmini Panda, gender specialist working with OXFAM.
“There should be gender education in high school curricula; and life skill education should be gender focused to create gender awareness among adolescents and youth.”
According to Eliminating Child Marriage in India, a report by ActionAid, negative consequences of child marriages must be included in the curriculum of class six and above.
In October 2019, Odisha government announced a five-year action plan and new rules to make the state child marriage free by 2030.
The state government would appoint a Chief Child Marriage Prohibition Officer empowered to initiate action against officials failing to prevent child marriages in their jurisdictions.
“As the custom is governed by social norms, stigma and other factors, punishments may not be the solution,” said Rukmini Panda. “Education and gender sensitization among school students and at community level would make the state child marriage free.”