Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The chief of India's top investigation agency has said he regretted his remark on rape after criticism from women's groups.

Ranjit Sinha made the remark while speaking on illegal sports betting.
"If you cannot enforce the ban on betting, it is like saying 'if you can't prevent rape, you enjoy it'," he said at a meeting on sports ethics.
Women leaders like Brinda Karat of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) said Mr Sinha's remarks were "shocking".
Mr Sinha, the director of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), later said he regretted "any hurt" caused by his "inadvertent and unintended remarks".
"I gave my opinion that betting should be legalised and that if the laws cannot be enforced that does not mean that laws should not be made. This is as erroneous as saying that if rape is inevitable one should lie back and enjoy it," he said in a statement on Wednesday.
"I regret any hurt caused as the same was inadvertent and unintended. I reiterate my deep sense of regard and respect for women and commitment to gender issues."
Women activists had criticised Mr Sinha's comments and demanded that he resign.
'Malicious propaganda'
"It is sickening that a man, who is in charge of several rape investigations, should use such an analogy. He should be prosecuted for degrading and insulting women," Ms Brinda Karat told The Hindu newspaper.
Ranjana Kumari of the Delhi-based Centre for Social Research told The Hindustan Times newspaper that "such a senior police officer... should not have passed such a remark".
"It is not acceptable and he should apologise for it. It has become a habit of people in senior positions to treat the issue of sexual assault lightly."
Activist Kavita Krishnan told the BBC Hindi that if the head of India's main investigating agency "doesn't understand the difference between rape and enjoyment, then he should step down from his position".
On Tuesday, Mr Sinha told The Hindustan Times that he was "using a proverb" to "make a point" about "how difficult it was to enforce a ban on betting".
"[The reaction to the remark is] malicious propaganda, it's hitting below the belt, and it's unfair," he told the newspaper in New Delhi.
The issue of sexual violence against women in India has been under intense scrutiny since the gang rape and murder of a student on a Delhi bus in December led to widespread protests.

 source:BBC NEWS

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Rain and flood continue to disturb normal life in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: 27/10/13: Rain and flood continue to disturb normal life in Odisha. It has lashed about 10 districts of the state, thrown the lives of people of over four thousand six hundred villages out of gear. There is no respite from incessant rain lashing several parts of the state for the past five days under the influence of low pressure and the north east Monsoon.
The low pressure induced rain caused fresh flood in Budhabalanga river in Mayubhanj district and Rusukulia river of Ganjam district yesterday as it received over 30 centimeters rainfall during the past 24 hours.
The government has been able to evacuate about 2 lakh 30 thousand people marooned in flood waters in different areas of the state like Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri and Khordha. The post-phailin second spell of flood has not only literally played spoilsport with the people of Odisha when the 5th ODI between India and Australia in Cuttack was called off  yesterday, but metaphorically as well it has caused heavy casualties in the shape of loss of human and cattle lives, extensive damage of standing crops and collapse of thousands of huts, homes and houses across the state. 
Crops over 564,000 hectares destroyed – the floods in the state are getting worse by the hour. And the deluge can only get worse, with more rains expected in the next 48 hours.
The death toll went up to 19 due to rain related incidents in the state. Rivers and rivulets are flowing to their brim due to heavy inflows due to which several more villages are facing a threat of flood. The authorities are evacuating people from low lying areas especially those who are closer to the river banks government official said today.
And in neighboring West Bengal, torrential rains flooded streets, uprooted trees and sent houses crashing that took two lives.
Road and rail routes have been badly hit huge stretches of train tracks are under water, so are parts of the NH-5 and SHs. Overall, 1533 km of roads have been damaged.

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Thousands of people remain marooned at several places in flood affected coastal districts of Odisha

Bhubaneswar: 26.10.13: The current spell of floods deluged vast areas close on the heels of the very severe cyclone of October 12 and resultant floods devastated coastal Odisha. 
At least 25 people have lost their lives due to fresh floods in Odisha. Floods, triggered by low pressure induced rain, have devastated cyclone-hit Ganjam and other coastal districts. Over 5 lakh people in more than 2,000 villages have been affected by the floods, while around 1.5 lakh people have been evacuated to safety. All rivers in Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Nayagarh districts are in spate. Special Relief Commissioner, P K Mohapatra said adding two others died due to wall collapse in those areas.

"Rail services disrupted with flood water flowing over tracks at several places and road transport stalled as over thousand Kilometres long roads washed away across the state. Low laying areas at numerous places were flooded. Thousands of villages and city in state marooned in especially north and south coastal districts and some parts of costal region.
State Revenue and Disaster Management Minister SN Patro said, helicopters have been pressed into service in the worst-hit Ganjam district. He said, a tie up with the Indian Air Force has been done to move NDRF battalions to different places. Patro also said, that thousands of people are trapped in the flood waters in the Aska, Sorada, Hinjili, Sergarh, Belaguntha, Rangelunda blocks Ganjam and Kasinagar,Mohana blocks of Gajapati district. Flood waters have submerged railway tracks at many places.All rivers in Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Nayagarh districts were overflowing, he added.
Besides Ganjam, districts like Khurda, Jagatsinghpur, Puri, Cuttack, Nayagarh, Kendrapara, Bhadrak, Balasore, Mayurbhanj, Jajpur districts were also affected by floods.
As flood waters submerged railway track at many places, all trains to south India from Bhubaneswar and Puri tomorrow have been cancelled, East Coast Railway sources said.
Nine persons sheltering on a tree near Aska were rescued last night with the NDRF and ODRF on the job, Ganjam Collector Dr. Kishan Kumar said.
Many places have now become inaccessible and relief teams could only reach them after the waters receded.
The state government announced closure of schools and colleges in coastal districts in view of the floods.

Though the intensity of rain was likely to decline, there was heavy rain in the catchment areas of rivers like Rushikulya,Mahindratanaya, Budhabalang and Baitarani, Director of the IMD centre here, Sarat Chandra Sahu said.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Odisha: 10 people killed, 1.5 lakh others affected due to flash floods

Ten people have been killed and 1.5 lakh others have been affected due to flash floods in Odisha. Around 129 villages were flooded due to the continuous rain for four days in Ganjam district of Odisha. The One Day Cricket match between India and Australia which is to be held on Saturday in Cuttack is likely to be cancelled. The Government of Odisha said that schools and colleges in all 12 flood affected districts will be closed till Monday. Train services from Khurda to Vishakhapatnam have been badly hit.

According to the special relief commissioner, PK Mohapatra, "Following heavy rain for four days, water level in rivers in south Odisha are above danger level and have entered many villages". The blocks affected in flash flood include Chikiti, Hinjili, Sana Khemundi, Patrapur, Dharakote, Aska, Parlakhemundi, Mohana. Some areas of Gajapati district were also reported to have been affected. He added that the collectors of all coastal districts have been directed to evacuate people from low-lying areas. Two persons have died in wall collapse due to rain in Khallikote and Rangeilunda since yesterday, district emergency officer Mahendra Panda said. About 40,000 marooned people had been evacuated from Patrapur, Sana Khemundi, Chikiti, Digappahandi, Hinjili, Sheragada and Purushottampur in Ganjam, he said. Another 10,000 people were evacuated from Gajapati district, the special relief commissioner's office said. With rivers like Rusikulya, Bansadhara and Ghodahada rising due to non-stop rain for the last four days, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik directed the administration to provide cooked food to the people in relief camps, Mohapatra said.

"The flash flood has hampered relief and restoration work in places worst-affected by the cyclone," Revenue and Disaster Management minister SN Patro said. Some evacuated people have already been sent to relief camps following cyclone Phailin that struck Gopalpur on October 12, with the state government deploying personnel of NDRF, OFRAF and fire services for evacuation, Patro said. Another 80,000 houses have collapsed in the torrential rain, Mohapatra said, adding that the total number of houses damaged in both cyclone and flood in Ganjam has risen to 3.40 lakh.

Meanwhile, the local unit of Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has predicted heavy rain in central and interior districts. A well marked low pressure area now lay over coastal Andhra Pradesh and adjoining areas of Telangana and Rayalaseema area, the latest bulletin said. Rain or thundershower would occur at most places over Odisha in next the 24 hours, it added. 

Continuous Raining in Cyclone-hit Districts

It continues to rain miserly in Ganjam, Puri, Kurdha, Cuttuck, Gajapati and Balasore. A lot of relief work is being affected by the same. It has caused more floods in some of the areas. The communication is blocked. Roads are damaged. Trains are diverted to different rout.

Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak of Berhampur of Southern Odisha informs that he is one of the stranded persons in that region and was supposed to return back to Berhampur - Gopalpur, a worst hit of Phailin yesterday; he is quite secured but is not able to come out of that region even though he tried several routes. Since these are hilly areas; water does not get stagnated. There are signs of water receding. It is replay of northern Odisha like Balesore; after Phailin, flood.


Dalit and Adivasi’s livelihoods being discriminated

Rain and wind lashed Odisha and nearly 900,000 people fled to cyclone shelters after the government clams, issued a red alert and warned of severe damage when one of the largest storms the country has ever seen makes Phailin landfall later on Saturday.
People gathered at community hall, school and religious houses in Odisha state, praying Cyclone Phailin would not be as devastating as a similar storm that killed 10,000 people 14 years ago.
The Phailin hits many Tribal and Dalit as a result of lose their houses and no work for  daily laborers in Odisha, Even the relief has not reached to them, due to which they have to migrate to other parts of the state and the country.
Mostly tribal and dalit work as daily wage laborers which make them dependent on other communities for employment. Many of the tribal and dalit who are engaged in agricultural occupations and have their own lands are losing their lands as they have been damaged of crops from their cultivable land due to the heavy rain effect of Phailin hits.
Many of them are not allowed to enter the common evacuate centre at under Patamundai PS, Kendrapada district. Even their livestock was washed by the flood. Many such incidences find a place in the state, giving us a picture of how people lost their jobs and are unable to find other livelihoods Mr.Tapan Samal from Kendrapada district said.
“The situation is turning very shaky. Putrefaction of animal cadaver, rotting of uprooted trees, Drinking water and open defecation lacking toilets now threaten outbreak of epidemics. But the Government does not appear to be serious to address these problems,” he added.
“Everyone was focusing on the coastal evacuations and relief and recovery along the coast and we weren’t prepared for the Phailin hits in our areas as well as not told to our community regarding Phailin,” Mr.Buri Nayak from Kandhamal district, a victim surviver said. 
Besides, we could find already there are evidences of discrimination in evacuation shelter, relief and other support. Like Gajapati and Kandhamal district; not only government but also local media; even Global NGOs have blacked out. There is more than 60 percentage of the population belongs to these communities in the state.
During the recent twin calamity of cyclone and flood hits dalit, tribal and minorities are the worst affected even though the lives are restricted to 38. In the disaster, only these communities are the worst off as their muddy houses are destroyed along their crops.

            So also, there are no standardized policies for support is seen. It is left to each district administration and local officials to report or not; we need to work out for the same as a Human Rights Activist Ajay Kumar Singh said.

With the financial toll from Phailin expected to 200,000 rupees to the families of each of the 25 victims, it remains to be seen whether authorities will commit the money required to replace the hundreds of fishing vessels lost.” That is a lot of money. Which we cannot afford this much,” Mr.B.Simadari President of Fishing Community of Ganjam District said.”It is quite visible from the destruction around that our village bore the maximum brunt but we don’t want to be dependent on the government. That would make us useless,” Mr.B.Simadari added

Monday, 21 October 2013

Cyclone and Flood situation assessment report

        Sever Cyclonic storm Phailin, which forced the highest evacuation in the history has played its havoc in coastal areas of Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. A total of approximately more than eight lakh people are evacuated to cyclone centres and public schools. It disrupted the communication lines before weakening considerably on today morning. It made the land fall around 09.00 pm at Goaplpur continued for six hours with sever wind and rain in many districts of Odisha. 
     The affected districts are Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri,Kandhamal, Khorda, Nayaghargh, Bhadrak, Balasore, Keonjhar etc. Even though the speed of the wind has considerably gone down, still it is in the speed of 60 KMPH. Ganjam, Gajapati, Puri were some of the most affected districts by this devastating cyclone. Continuous rain from 11th night onwards is continuing in almost in many district of the state.
       According to Pradipta Kumar Mahapatra, the Special Relief Commissioner, "out of the total cultivable area of 3.6 million hectares (ha), 0.5 million has been affected due to the cyclonic storm. The crop loss has been estimated at Rs. 2,300 crore". In toto, Phailin has its impact more than eight million people in 13 districts - Puri, Ganjam, Phulbani, Nayaghargh, Kendrapara, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Gajapati, Balasore, Bhadrak, Khorda and Keonhjar etc.          
          While the official human causality has been pegged at fifteen, ten of them are from Gajapati, and two of them are reported from Balasore district. One person from the Sadar Block and the other person from Khantapada (Bahanaga) according to the latest news from the OTV. So many trees and electrical posts also have fallen down which obstructing the traffic. Villagers are clearing the roads and helping the administration for a smooth traffic.

       According to a message from Skymet, As the cyclone Phailin moving further in north and north west direction and likely to weaken gradually. It would become depression and tomorrow enter into Jharkhand and Chhattisgargh. There is a forecast of 100-150 mm rain in Balasore Disrict.
In an interview given by Mr. Suresh Chandra Mahapatra, the Principal Secretary of Water Resource Department to OTV said that the rivers like Baitarini, Budabulango, Subarnorekha are crossing its danger level due to incessant rain in the north eastern part of Odisha. He added that it will result into flood.
      Understanding the gravity of the situation the President of BSSS Rt. Rev. Dr. Thomas Thiruttalil CM, along with Director Fr. Jojo C. V. had personally visited cyclone and flood affected areas of Balasore District. He was exhorting all the staff of BSSS to work whole heartedly for saving the life, livestock and property. As we were visiting some of these locations today, we could witness that the rivers are already overflowing and many low lying areas are submerged under water.

        Based on suggestion and the secondary information received from field level volunteers and Medias, a filed visit and consultation made by BSSS volunteers in worst affected villages of Jaleswar, Sadar, Basta of Balasore and Panchupalli of Keunjhar districts.

Visit Made by
Fr. Jojo C.V. (Director, BSSS) and Pradeep, Prabir, Chandrasekhar, Silu, Tulashi, Prakash (Staffs, BSSS)
Villages visited
Nalabhar, Dhandadi, Binjha, Sana Dhandadi, Sundarhata, Dandika, Rasalpur, Kusudiha, Sanakanja ,Srirampur, Mathani.
To understand the extent and type of damage; identify  the priority needs, most needy area and estimated affected households
Direct observations, KII with affected men and women /PRIs and transact walk wherever possible.

The following problems were identified:
·        Many of these villages are not approachable due to which the detailed information are not available for time being. We also could witness that many of the villages are marooned under water as we were trying to enter into these villages. The rain is still continuing and water level is going high.
·        Even though many people had gone back to their own villages and respective houses, they came back to cyclone shelters and public schools due to incessant causing flood in their villages and fear of falling down of mud walls of their own houses.
·        There is no electricity in the village and kerosene is not available, even though it’s available in few places, it’s expensive.
·        Families are living in the open crowded building, in the back of the trucks  covering with  plastics . Families took shelter wherever they could and with whatever they could bring with them. Mostly in school buildings (Women particularly find the lack of privacy a concern and risk for children). Their houses likely to be collapsed and been suspected to damage. Even now, there is no chances of water receding, though the water level is highly increasing in Jalaka, Kansabansha and also in Subarnarekha.
·        Livestock lack fodder and are at risk of disease. A significant number of livestock are sure to have perished in the floods, and those that have been rescued face a risk of disease. 
·        Families are at risk due to poor hygiene and drinking untreated water, suspected to be suffer from disease.
·        Panchupally village of Anantapur sub-division of Keonjhar District is totally submerged under water due to the overflowing of Baitarini River.
·        Parikhi, Channua, of Balasore District and parts of Baripada of Mayurbhanj district are submerged under water due to the overflowing of Budabolanga River.
·        Sartha, Kasafal, Bahabalpur and many other villages of Jaleswar and Bhograi Blocks of Balaosre district are also under water due to Subarnarekha and Jalakha rivers.
·        There is high current in water and people are scared of getting drowned and swept away with flood water. Water of 2-2.5 feet level is currently inside villages.
·        Road communication cut-off to the villages sindhia,buanla, nagram,alanda sargoan, chhanua, bahabalpur (Partly) ,parikhi,Chasakhanda, Nizampur (Partly).
·        Different reports shows that, there is heavy rain started in Jharkhanda and Chhatishgad and the upper catchment areas of Mayurbhanja, which will again aggravate the flooding situation.