Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cong finalises names of PCC delegates

The Congress has finalised the names of PCC delegates. The chief of the Congress' Central Election Authority (CEA) Oscar Fernandes has reportedly given approval to the proposed names of 85 PCC delegates at New Delhi on Tuesday. However, the second list of DCC presidents has not yet been finalised as the senior party leaders have failed to evolve consensus over the prospective names.
Sources informed that the national leadership would also reconsider the names of recently announced 11 DCC heads as controversy sparked off after the first list was made public. Even Fernandes was unaware about the final names of the first list, said sources.
The PCC president Nandkumar Patel who is in the national capital for the past couple of days is likely to announce the names of PCC delegates after he would return to Raipur.
According to information, the second list of DCC heads could be further delayed because of too many claimants backed by different factions.

Jogi demands CBI probe into schoolbag scam worth crores

Senior Congress leader and legislator Ajit Jogi has demanded CBI inquiry into alleged schoolbag scam in which the government reportedly purchased bags much more than the required figures for the SC and ST girl students through fund released by European Commission.
“Surprisingly, the company, which was existing only on papers and had limited capacity and infrastructure, was selected during tendering procedures to supply bags despite of its highest quotations,” Jogi said.
He informed that the European Commission had released Rs 5.60 crore to the state government under its joint development programme to distribute school kit (containing schoolbags along with pair of shoes and socks) to the SC and ST girl students from class 3rd to 6th of Sarguja district in the current academic session, i.e. 2011-12.  “The total number of eligible beneficiaries was 1.79 lakh, but the Assistant Commissioner of Tribal Development Department purchased 317348 schoolbags which was 1.27 lakh more,” Jogi said.
He alleged that the company Krishna Industries which was hired by the government to supply schoolbags was completely fake one. “On inspection, the company’s factory was found closed. The factory does not come under the category production units. The company has not even submitted documents mentioning that it was authorised producer and supplier. The company has seven workers, capital worth Rs two lakh, a rented building which it claims as its factory, no machine, but still it got the order to supply schoolbags,” Jogi said.
He informed that six companied participated in the tendering process and one Balaji Manufacturer was the lowest bidder as it had quoted Rs 144 per bag. “Four companies quoted Rs 148, Rs 157, Rs 158 and Rs 164 respectively while Krishna Industries which got the order quoted Rs 185 per bag,” he said.
Jogi said the state government was already engaged in various scams but it did not hesitate in misusing the fund meant for schoolbags.

Cong to CM: Stop blaming Centre on naxalism in state

The Congress has asked the Chief Minister Raman Singh to stop blaming Centre on rising naxalism in state. The PCC general secretary and chief spokesperson Ramesh Varlyani on Tuesday said that the CM cannot shirk his responsibility merely by shifting it on Prime Minister and Union Home Minister. Notably, the CM had told the media during his Dantewada tour on July 25 that not he but the PM and Union Home Minister were the apt persons to reply about the rising naxalism in the state.
“This is ridiculous. As we follow the federal system, it is the responsibility of the state governments to maintain law and order. The Centre is always there to help the states. In case of Chhattisgarh too, the Centre has provided sufficient resources for tackling naxal menace. Still, if the CM feels that he is unable to deal the extremists then he should concede that he is not fit for the job and step down,” said Varlyani.
“In fact, the BJP adopts double standard and it always holds the Centre responsible for its failure. Even on corruption, the BJP keep on pointing its fingers on the Centre but has never taken any action against its own corrupt leaders,” he said.
Pointing towards corruption charges against Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa, Varlyani said, “The glaring example of BJP’s double standard is Yeddy’s refusal to resign in spite of Karnataka Lokayukta holding him and two ministers of his Cabinet guilty in Rs 1800 crore-illegal mining scam. Even the BJP’s national leadership could not dare to ask him to step down,” Varlyani added.
He said the Congress-led UPA government had always show commitment to eradicate corruption and hence it never hesitated in taking action against former Union Telecom Minister A Raja, former CWG chief and Congress MP Suresh Kalmadi, former Maharashtra Chief Minister Ashok Chavan and DMK MP Kanimozhi.

Sowing of Kharif crops in 34.30 lakh hectares land

The farmers of the state have so far sowed Kharif crops in about 34.30 lakh hectares land during the current monsoon season. The government has set a target to sow Kharif crops in about 47.65 lakh hectares land in this season and the farmers already completed 72 percent of the task, informed Agriculture Minister Chandrashekhar Sahu on Tuesday.
The department is continuously providing all the necessary inputs including technical information regarding Kharif crops to the farmers through its field staff as well as via the experts. Sahu has instructed the officials to take proactive measures to prevent occurrence of any crop disease.
The department’s officials informed that about 553717 quintals seeds and 531242 MT chemical fertilisers had been distributed to the farmers by far through primary agricultural cooperative credit societies, government agriculture institutes and organisation and private sector.

Dugga pays courtesy visit to Governor

The chairman of Chhattisgarh Tribal Commission Devlal Dugga paid courtesy visit to Governor Shekhar Dutt at Raj Bhawan on Tuesday. Dugga informed about Commission’s works to the Governor. On the occasion, Commission member secretary Badri Sukhdeve was also present.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Mahant: Give land, water first to farmers then industrialists

Says state may cease to be known as rice bowl of India due to rapid industrialisation at the cost of agricultural lands

Expressing his concern over rising industrialisation and reducing crop area in the state, the Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Dr Charandas Mahant says that the government should first give priority to the farmers while giving land and water and then to the industrialists. “Bulk MoUs between the state government and the industrialists for establishment of power plants in Janjgir-Champa district major are not good sign for farmers as large tracts of their agricultural lands have been acquired for the purpose,” said Mahant while he was talking to the media persons after convening a review meeting of the state’s Agriculture Department at New Circuit House on Monday.
“The common people have first right on flowing water. In fact, the government should first reserve water for the people for drinking purpose. Then come farmers who should get water for irrigation. The animals too have right on water before industries. But, the state government has reversed the order has given prime importance to the industrialists,” Mahant said.
He said the fast reducing crop area was also a bad omen for agriculture sector in the state. “It is surprising that in spite of reduced crop area, production increased in state. He said he would ask for technical inspection of state government’s claims besides mapping the lands and soil.
When asked his take over alleged sale of Rogda dam in Janjgir-Champa district by the state government, Mahant said, “I cannot comment much on this subject as it is already being probed by the legislators’ committee formed by the state Assembly. Still, I am concerned that the dams meant for irrigation purpose are being sold to industrial sector.”
He informed that the six barrages being constructed over Mahanadi had not yet been approved by the Union Environmental Ministry. “Rather, the construction is being done ignoring rules and conditions,” he said.
He also said that the state may cease to be known as rice bowl of India due to rapid industrialisation at the cost of agricultural lands.
He said he convened review meeting of the state’s Agriculture Department to get acquainted with the department’s ongoing works being carried out to benefit farmers. 
Expressing satisfaction over rains in state, Mahant said, “Except few districts, the state has received good rains by far. I have advised Agriculture Minister Chandrashekhar Sahu to facilitate farmers so that they could take double crops annually. This will not only increase crop production but would also make the farmers financially sound.”
Mahant said he not given any significant instruction to the state government, however he had pointed towards lacking in the Agriculture Department. “I said the state government that it can take my additional benefit in improving the agriculture sector as I belong to Chhattisgarh,” he said.
‘I got right ministry’
Mahant said he got the most appropriate ministry at Centre. “Every department is full of opportunities for a person who wants to progress. I am a Chhattisgarhiya. I hail from a small village. I am a farmer’s son and understand the problems of the farmers very well. Hence, I feel that my party head’s decision to induct me in this ministry is right,” he said.
He said his past experience as Minister of State for Agriculture Department during Arjun Singh’s tenure in undivided Madhya Pradesh would be an added advantage for him to move ahead.
He said his Food Processing Department too was significant for its basic role is to increase agriculture production value. “In India, foodgrains worth about Rs 50000 crores damage for different reasons every year. The department’s job is to develop a strong and vibrant food processing sector to create increased job opportunities in rural areas and enable the farmers to reap benefit from modern technology,” he said.

Dreams about agri sector in state
Mahant says that he wants to see Chhattisgarh developing as major crop producing state in the country. “I would also suggest the state government to develop agriculture as lucrative sector so that the next generation could show making career in it,” he said.
He feels that that at least one child of the each farmer family must adopt agriculture as his profession. “I will also try to inspire youth living in villages to establish agriculture-related industry in their respective areas for better growth of the sector,” he said.

Future plans for Chhattisgarh
Mahant informed that his department would establish biospace centre in Chhattisgarh. “This will help the farmers to get all agriculture-related information,” he said.
He also feels that fisheries and animal husbandry departments in the state too have potential and his department would surely take initiative for growth of the two fields. He further informed that the Centre was also planning to accord central university status to the Indira Gandhi Agriculture University (IGAU).
On plan to establish a food park in the state, he said, “I asked the state government to send proposal to the Centre in this connection at the earliest.”

Mahant hopes Cong will win next VS polls

Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Dr Charandas Mahant hopes that Congress will win the next Assembly elections in Chhattisgarh. “The party supremo has given opportunity to me as a minister at Centre, Nandkumar Patel as a PCC chief and Ravindra Choubey as a leader of Opposition in Vidhan Sabha. We are jointly working to consolidate the party. We will give importance to all the senior leaders as well as workers. In fact, no one will be ignored,” said Mahant while answering to a question over his party’s poor poll performance in previous elections and future plans during his media interaction at New Circuit House on Monday.
“I have no hesitation in admitting that the party lost past elections because we lacked unity. We are working hard and would ensure that the history may not get repeated. We will unitedly fight next polls and form government in Chhattisgarh,” he said.
When asked his comment over allegations that the Congress was working as B team of the state government, Mahant said, “This is wrong and a sheer rumour. In fact, Congress is committed to expose corruption prevailed in the state government. It is also collecting evidences of misuse of funds released by the Centre.”
When asked to elaborate his remark regarding lacking in state, Mahant said, “There is no progress in agriculture sector. Rather, the government has completely failed to create opportunities for youth in this sector. Similarly, education sector is not at par with other states. The government has failed to develop ‘trust factor’ in students pertaining to competition examinations. The controversies in PMT, PET, PSC and other competition exams apparently indicate that the government has barely made an effort to raise the standards of education sector at national and global level.
When pointed that the minimum support price (MSP) against paddy procurement needed more hike, the minister said, “I agree that the MSP should be given to the farmers in proportion to production cost.”
Earlier, Mahant said it was not his official media interaction. “In fact, I will take this opportunity to express my gratitude to my party chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh for believing in me,” he said.
He said his representation at Centre would certainly benefit the state. “I feel sad that the state’s agriculture sector has not grown much. But now, since I got an opportunity to represent Chhattisgarh at Centre, I invite the state government and the common mass as well to give their inputs regarding betterment of agriculture sector, I would surely convey the messages to the Union government,” Mahant said. 

YC gheraos power companies’ HO

The Youth Congress (YC) on Monday gheraoed the head office of all the power companies protesting inordinate hike in power tariffs. The YC’s Raipur North general secretary Dilip Singh Chouhan said that the consumers were irked with excessive power bills.
“The power companies are also taking huge amount on the name of security money,” he said. Later, the YC members met executive director of Chhattisgarh State Power Distribution Limited (CSPDCL) SD Diwan and informed him about the problems of the consumers regarding power bills.
The YC warned of staging dharna, launching signature campaign and gheraoing Chief Minister’s house if the power companies would not take steps in favour of customers.
On the occasion, Chouhan was accompanied by Shiekh Shakeel, Waqar Abbas, Arshad Quraishi, Bhavesh Shukla, Wasim Kasif, Bablu Raza, Dilip Nag, Savitri, Sanjay Kaushik, Dilip Singh, Rahul Khare, etc.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Centre not responsible for delayed MNREGA payment: Ramesh

Admits irregularities prevailed in MNREGA & PMGSY works

Would make two social audits mandatory in a year

Holding Chhattisgarh government responsible for delay in Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), the Union Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh says that the Centre cannot be blamed for it. “It is the primary responsibility of the state governments to corruption in Centrally-sponsored schemes,” he said while addressing media persons after concluding his two-day Chhattisgarh visit at the residence of leader of Congress legislators’ party (CLP) Ravindra Choubey on Saturday.
He said the cult of delayed payment was bad omen for progress of rural development works in the state. “A according to the Act, the workers should get payment within fifteen days of completion of their work, but in case of ten naxal-hit districts of Chhattisgarh the payment has been delayed by three months to one year. This has resulted in labour crisis in these districts.  Now people are reluctant to go at work,” Ramesh said.
“I also found that Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) has not been implemented properly in some parts of Chhattisgarh. Even state’s Panchayat and Rural Development Minister Ramvichar Netam and the department’s Principal Secretary Vivek Dhand admitted that sub-standard materials had been used on some of the projects we inspected jointly,” said Ramesh.
“The Centre is disbursing whopping Rs 90000 crore annually to the state governments to spend in rural development schemes. Chhattisgarh is receiving Rs 3500 crore. The Centre simply wants the state governments to make right use of the funds,” he added.
The minister apparently indicated that he would closely keep a tab on his ministry’s nine flagship programmes including MNREGA and PMGSY.

My first tour in new avatar
“I have come to Chhattisgarh earlier but this is my first tour in this state in my new avatar. I have toured Kanker and Dhamtari districts in two days. I also interacted with district panchayat CEOs and public representatives of five naxal-infested districts – Jagdalpur, Kanker, Narayanpur, Bijapur and Dantewada. I listened, watched and read in this tour,” said Ramesh adding that he had spent only 12 days in the ministry and would speak after sometime when he would explore more.
He said he would come to state regularly in every three months and his next Chhattisgarh visit would be on October 22, 2011.

Prime focus on naxal-hit districts
“My prime focus is on ten naxal-hit districts of Chhattisgarh,” Ramesh said. “In fact, my priority is effective implementation of rural development schemes in 60 naxal-hit districts across the country. About 80 percent of these districts are in three states – Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha.

No politics, simply work
The minister says that he does not believe in politics and rather wants transparent implementation of Centrally-sponsored rural development schemes. “I have received large number of complaints regarding misuse of funds in several states. I think Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) can help tightening noose on implementation agencies,” he said.
Ramesh informed that he would meet CAG on July 26 and would request to appoint special accountant General (AG) for large states to monitor implementation of rural development works.
He further said that he was planning to make two social audits mandatory in a year.

I have suitcase-full of complaints
On complaints regarding corruption and scams in Central works, the minister said, “Yes, the Congress leaders have provided me some documental evidence regarding misuse of funds in MNREGA and PMGSY works in Dhamtari. In fact, I have got suitcase-full of complaints. However, I am not taking the complaints just to put them in files, but instead I would go through them and take appropriate action.

Rural development major tool to deal naxals
 Ramesh says that if the if Chhattisgarh government seriously wants to eradicate naxalism then it should make use of rural development factor as major tool in naxal-affected districts. “The outcome will surely appear in a couple of years as such places desperately require development,” the minister said.

42 children get benefitted under MBSY

About 42 children with hearing impairment have undergone successful cochlear implant surgery under Mukhyamantri Bal Shravan Yojna (MBSY) since the commencement of scheme back in April 6, 2010. By far, state government has spent Rs 2.26 crore for treatment of children under the scheme. The government provides Rs six lakh for surgery of the child belonging to the family below poverty line (BPL) and Rs four lakh for the child hailing from other non-BPL family.
Presently, the facility of cochlear implant surgery is available only in Ambedkar hospital in the state. The officials of the Health department informed that the Ambedkar hospital’s ear, nose and throat (ENT) department first conducts initial test of the children suffering from hearing problem. If the doctors recommends for cochlear implant surgery then the parents are asked to submit application in the ENT department. The application forms are available in Ambedkar hospital, office of the civil surgeon or at office of the block health officer.
The officials further informed that the parents must attach their children’s domicile certificate along with the application. If the applicant belongs to BPL family then he or she should also produce documents authenticating his claims.
The doctors of Ambedkar hospital informed that a cochlear implant is a device that provides sound perception through direct electrical stimulation of the hearing nerve, bypassing the inner ear - the most common culprit of hearing loss.
“A cochlear implant is comprised of two parts - an internal device and an external device. The internal device is surgically implanted under the skin and is comprised of a receiver, a magnet, and a bundle of fine wires, the electrode array. The external device includes the sound processor, a cable and a microphone, all housed in an earpiece. The sound processor analyses incoming sounds from the microphone and converts those sounds into patterns of electrical current. The current is carried along the cable and delivered across the skin by radio wave transmission to a receiver implanted under skin. The receiver carries the current to the electrode array, which has been implanted into the cochlea, the portion of the inner ear that contains hearing nerve fibers. The current stimulates fibers of the auditory nerve and results in the perception of sound, the doctors said. 

CM on Bastar tour today

Chief Minister Raman Singh will be on day-long tour of Bastar (Jagdalpur) district on Sunday. He will leave for Bastar via helicopter on Sunday morning at 10 am. He will reach village Lohanga at 11 am and dedicate Bastar haat and new building of Industrial Training Institute (ITI) to the public. Thereafter, he will address a public meeting there. He will then reach Jagdalpur district headquarters at 12 pm and attend the conclusion ceremony of 25-day massive health camp organised in Lifeline Express train. At 1:15 pm, he will participate in plantation programme at Bastar Club. He will return from Jagdalpur at 3:40 pm. 

Agriculture department’s review meeting on July 25

Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Food Processing Dr Charandas Mahant will convene review meeting of the state’s agriculture department at New Circuit House on July 25. The meeting will also be attended by state Agriculture Minister Chandrashekhar Sahu. In the meeting, Mahant will take stock of sowing of Kharif crops, stock availability of fertilisers in cooperative societies and other problems related to the farmers. The allocation, expenditure of funds under Centrally-sponsored schemes would also be discussed along with review of physical progress of works. The meeting will be attended by the officials of state’s Agriculture department, Livestock Development and Fisheries Board, Agriculture Marketing Board, Seed Certification Agency, Seed Development Corporation, etc.

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