Friday, August 26, 2016

Ask Dana Majhi not to worry: development will be delivered soon! - Ranjan Panda

(Pic: grabbed from a tv news)

This picture is now making millions of rounds in the media.  This is of Dana Majhi of Kalahandi district whose wife died and the hospital denied him a mortuary vehicle. He started walking down to his village carrying his wife himself and had crossed about 10 kms of the total 60 kms road that some media people discovered this, made a news and called up the district medical officials so that a vehicle can be arranged.  The entire country is angry on this incidence and rightly so.  This is a shame on our system but I am sure no one will be held responsible for this.  After we discover another such news, Dana Majhi's case will be forgotten.  After the Mahanadi issue popped up, we have forgotten the Nagada malnutrition deaths of children!

This brings me back to a few pertinent questions that I keep asking to myself and others.  1. What is the real development? Building roads and buildings or having a humane system that manages these? 2. How has the GDP growth number helped improve the service delivery system and more importantly the accountability of the system managers i.e. government? 3. Is it really 'development deficit' or the failure of 'development?' 

Don't be under any illusion that Dana Majhi's case is a singular one in the country.  This is just one of the reported cases.  There must be thousands of such cases happening in each state during the duration of my writing this post.  Our governments are busy in 'construction' as the 'image' of development.  We have all sorts of jargons like Smart Cities, Digital India, bla bla... but no teachers to teach our children in govt. schools, no doctors to treat the common people, no growth in quality public transport, no increase in provisioning clean drinking water and most importantly no accountability. 

Be it contamination of drinking water, failure of health administration in cases such as the one in point, pollution of water bodies by industries, killing of our forests and rivers by our government policies/actions, collapse of our education system so on and so forth, no one is accountable.  Each time a case gets reported and there is a media/public outrage, an inquiry committee is formed that either delays the report till the public memory fades or covers up the mistake of the govt.  The government that we see does not behave like one elected by the people and meant for their service but a servant of the powerful politicians, bureaucrats and their masters.

Our memory fades and we clap when another road is built for the rich's car and industrialist's goods truck to ply. 

We love roads, buildings, big shots and our ability to forget things so fast. 

We are positive people, we should not report all these negative news.  Praise the governments, the politicians and bureaucrats day in and day out and there are many benefits on the cards! Dana will get some more kilograms of rice, a few thousand rupees and a few artificial sympathizers.

Keep doing that my progressive friends! Keep calculating the GDP numbers.  Development is going to take birth in this nation some day for sure!!

-    - 26th August 2016

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Mahanadi Peace Initiative Update: Mahanadi Peace Jatha in Odisha from 13th to 15th September! Ranjan Panda

Mahanadi Peace Initiative Update: 24th August 2016

Mahanadi Peace Jatha To Be Organised in Both States

·         Odisha Jatha to be held from 13th to 15th September from Belpahad to Paradeep.
·         Chhattisgarh Jatha to be organised from Sihawa to Hirakud in November first week.
·         A public convention to be held at Sambalpur in November first week.
·         The Jathas will connect people to the peace building initiative.
·         Mahanadi’s health and identify problems will be discussed
·         People’s aspirations and ecological issues to be brought to forefront of dialogue between two states

Sambalpur, 24th August 2016 –  The ‘Mahanadi Peace Initiative’ that was initiated by Mahanadi RiverWaterkeeper, Odisha and Nadi Ghati Morcha, Chhattisgarh had in its Campaign Coordination cum Strategymeeting held at Sambalpur on 5th August, had decided that a “Mahanadi Peace Jatha” will be organised to connect people of both the states to the Mother River.

Today, a discussion was held at Sambalpur and it was decided to hold two Jathas, a coordination meeting and a public convention in both the states, informed Ranjan Panda and Gautam Bandyopadhyay, joint convenors of the Mahanadi Peace Initiative. 

“The Mahanadi Inter-State River Water Dispute needs amicable settlement and real priorities of the people of the basin needs to take the centre state of the debate.  These Jathas will meet people in important locations of the River and garner their support for a peace process,” said the organisers.

“The Odisha Jatha will take the following ruote: Belpahad – Jharsuguda – Sambalpur – Dhama – Sonepur – Boudh – Kantilo – Banki – Cuttack – Paradeep,” informed the organisers.  A team of people – both from Odisha and Chhattisgarh – will participate in this and public meetings will be organised in the above places plus other places on way.  The Odisha part of the Jatha will be organised with active collaboration of Water Initiatives Odisha, Odisha Swabhiman Mancha, and about 20 social organisations who have already endorsed the Mahanadi Peace Initiative.  Further details will be shared nearer to the Jatha.

The Chhattisgarh Jatha will be held in the first week of November from Sihawa to Hirakud and culminate in a public convention at Sambalpur where people’s aspirations gathered during the Jatha will be shared and memorandum to Odisha, Chhattisgarh and Central Governments will be sent. 

The Jathas will have the following basic objectives:

To connect people of the basin to the real challenges such as water reduction due to dams and barrages, growing conflicts, diversion of water from irrigation to industries, climate change impacts on the basin, loss of livelihoods of farmers and fisherfolks, etc.

To build awareness on decreasing Health of the River Basin due to pollutin from industrial, urban and other activities.

To garner people’s support to the “Mahanadi Peace Initiative” and, with their support, urge both the state governments to enter into a peace building dialogue without any further delay.

To urge upon both the governments to prepare a joint River Basin Management Plan and work towards recharging the river basin through proper ecological planning and enable people’s rights over the River.

To urge upon both the governmnets to prioritise drought proofing the basin, providing clean drinking water to the entire basin population, water security to farmers through complete irrigation coverage, provide sanitation facilities with water security to the entire basin population, revive and restore surface water bodies as well as ground water sources.

“The “Mahanadi Peace Initiative” recognises that Mahanadi Civilization is more important than state geographical boundaries and both the states’ well being and prosperity is dependent on a ‘Living and Healthy Mahanadi.’  It is thefore important for the people to connect with each other and ask their governments to plan development of the basin in a coherant and coordinated approach which is only possible through a peaceful dialogue process.”

“The ‘Mahanadi Peace Initiative’ has already organised several village and city level meetings in both Odisha and Chhattisgarh and has got endorsement of more than 300 individuals and organisations from both the states and outside including some international organisations.  For the upcoming Jathas and public conventions we have formed a 20 member Coordination Committee that includes leading social activists, environmentalists, farmer leaders, experts, academicians and youth leaders from both the states. 

This is a unique neutral and non-political initiative and we seek cooperation of all citizens of the Mahanadi Basin and all people across the world who want to see Mahanadi a ‘Living and Healthy’ River. 

The Jathas and other progarmmes of the “Mahanadi Peace Initiative” are being organised with voluntary contribution of common people.  We request all the concerned people to join hands in the endeavours and support us in whichever means they can.

Look forward to your active support.

Thanking you,

For the Mahanadi Peace Initiative:

Ranjan Panda, Mahanadi River Waterkeeper, Odisha (Mob: +91-9437050103)
Gautam Bandyodhyay, Nadi Ghati Morcha, Chhattisgarh (Mob: +91-9826171304)

For further information over email, please contact:

Ranjan Panda, popularly known as the ‘Water Man of Odisha’ has been championing the cause of water conservation and management for more than 25 Years now. He has been designated in 2013 as ‘Mahanadi River Waterkeeper’ by New York based global Waterkeeper Alliance for his constant endeavours towards conservation of river Mahanadi. He also convenes the Water Initiatives Odisha (WIO), the leading network of organisations and individuals working for more than two decades in the state of Odisha on water, environment and climate change.

Mahanadi River Waterkeeper organisation works to conserve Mahanadi River’s ecosystem so that all communities and other species dependent on it have access to clean water for today and forever in a sustainable manner. It is based at the Water Initiatives OdishaMahanadi River Waterkeeper is member of the global Waterkeeper Alliance based out of New York!

Mahanadi River Basin Peace Building Initiative” has been started on 21st July 2016 between ‘Mahanadi River Waterkeeper’  and ‘Nadi Ghati Morcha (Raipur)’ to initiate a citizen driven initiative to resolve Inter-State Water Conflict over Mahanadi.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Swachh Bharat Short Film Competition: prizes worth million of rupees!

Swachh Bharat Short Films Competition to encourage participative approach for Clean India
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting is organizing a Short Films Competition on the theme “Swachh Bharat” that showcases inspiring stories and helps generate awareness among citizens about sanitation and its linkages with public health. The winning entries will be announced in a special felicitation programme to be held in New Delhi on October 2, 2016. National Film Development Corporation of India has invited entries for the Short Films Competition.  The last datefor submission of entries is September 10, 2016.
Awareness generation is an important objective of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan to bring about behavioral change in people regarding healthy sanitation practices. The competition aims to generate such awareness by involving people from different backgrounds, different regions and from different age groups.

About the Short Films Competition
·         The short films competition is open to all age groups with its central theme revolving around the Swachh Bharat Mission.
·         Short films with duration of not more than 3 minutes and shot in HD Format will be considered for the competition.
·         The film can be made in Hindi, English or any of the listed official languages of India.
·         The Best Film will be awarded a cash prize of Rupees 10 lakhs and a certificate. Three Second Best Films will be awarded Rupees 5 lakhs each and six Third Best Films will be awarded Rupees 2 lakhs each

To participate in the competition, interested applicants can log onto or write to
Source: MoIB, GoI, 22 Aug 2016

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Farmers Interaction on Water Harvesting and Drought Proofing at Paikmal: Ranjan Panda

Friends: We shall be at Paikmal tomorrow interacting with farmers about drought proofing the perennially drought prone regions of Odisha...