A retirement age for MLAs?
By Sanjaya Jena
The Speaker of the Orissa Legislative Assembly, Shri Maheswar Mohanty has suggested a retirement age and a minimum qualification for the elected representatives to contest polls. He gave the suggestion while inaugurating a state-level workshop on ?Civil Society and Governance Reforms?.
Shri Mohanty said electoral reform measures like verification of criminal records and filing of affidavit on property by the candidates had helped in reducing the degree of criminalisation of politics.
?But what'srequired is that the MLAs and MPs should have a retirement age like the civil servants and also a minimum qualification to contest the elections,? he said adding that the election process should
be completed within a week.
Stating that media has a vital role to play in the healthy functioning of democracy, he criticised the ?negative attitude? of the fourth estate.
Tackling Mahanadi flood
Mahanadi, the largest river in Orissa also causes large scale death and devastation at frequent intervals. Controlling floods in the Mahanadi river system which has more than 20 tributaries and distributaries is seen as a great challenge.
Recently, the State government prepared a Rs 3,491 crore master plan to control floods in the Mahanadi basin and submitted the proposal to the Centre for financial assistance.
Minister of State for Water Resources in Orissa Rabinarayan Nanda admitted that the Mahanadi basin was more vulnerable to floods and
vast areas in the basin are affected every year. Participating in the Assembly deliberations the Minister said, considering the threat a memorandum had been submitted to the Union Water Resources Ministry in early 2004.
The Minister said, the State has proposed to raise and strengthen the river embankments, and increase the delta head for maximum release of water.
Another Rs 570.76 crore proposal has also been submitted to the Central Water Commission (CWC) to improve the drainage system in the coastal areas.
De-siltation of the river mouth is another priority project to be taken up. The department has made an assessment to clear over a stretch of 500 km of river mouth at an estimated cost of Rs 624 crore.
In the current season, six districts have been affected by floods, while Mahanadi is yet to swell beyond its capacity.
People in Brahmani and Baitarani catchment areas in Bhadrak and Jajpur districts were mostly affected by flood water because of high rainfall in the upper and lower catchments.
In the flood this year 11 people have lost their lives, Revenue Minister Shri Manmohan Samal has said.
Its simply not Maoist guns that threatens security personnel deployed in the deep Orissa forests. Engaged in combing operations against the left wing ultras a large number of security men are suffering from malaria and few of them the deadly ?falciparum? commonly known as brain malaria.
While one person died recently, the maximum number of cases of malaria among security personnel have been reported from the Jujumara police station limits in Sambalpur district.
It may be noted that armed Maoists had killed four persons in Taparsingha, Larabira and Banjaratikira under the Jujumara Police station limits. Since then more than a hundred armed security men have been deployed there to guard the villagers.
As the condition of five securitymen deteriorated they have been shifted to Burla Medical College and Sambalpur Sadar hospitals.