March 28, 2014

BJD red carpet for royals, short shrift to women

Democracy, they say, begins where feudalism ends. But political parties in Odisha, the poorest state in the country, obviously have other ideas. At least 13 scions of ‘royal’ families have been fielded by various political parties for the simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in the state this time.

Curiously, as many as 10 out of the 13 have been nominated by the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), a party that has never tired of tom-tomming its ‘pro-people’ and ‘pro-poor’ credentials. While seven of them have been fielded in Assembly elections, three have been nominated for Lok Sabha polls, ironically from constituencies that comprise some of the poorest regions in the state: Kalahandi, Bolangir and Kandhamal.

March 07, 2014

In maoist land: A story of deprivation and victimisation

It was half past eight in the morning when we landed at Laxmipur, a small town in the Koraput district of south Odisha. Laxmipur is about 22 km from Narayanpatna, home to one of India's fierce tribal movements led by the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS).

On the way we passed two Border Security Force (BSF) camps–one at Palur between Laxmipur and Narayanpatna, and the other at Podapadar, the striking ground of the CMAS in 2009. Our guide, Anil Subudhi, a local journalist told us that the BSF personnel stationed at Podapadar would verify our identity and purpose of visit. They might even deny us entry into the forest, which was considered the seat of the conflict between the tribal and non-tribal communities, between the armed forces of the state and left-wing extremists.

March 04, 2014

Posco steeled for trouble

Source: Global Times
Posco's proposed steel plant near Paradip in Odisha, India, seems to be plagued by conflict.

Recently, the supporters of the project have taken up to agitation against Posco alleging non-fulfillment of promises made by the company and the local administration. While the movement opposing the project has delayed its execution, this fresh agitation by supporters has become another problem for Posco and the Odisha government.