Ranchi to get supply from Aug 23; Jamshedpur next, from Sept 8

Source: hindustantimes.com

Around 3,000 households in Ranchi’s Mecon Colony will get piped cooking gas supply from August 23 while over 2,000 households of Jamshedpur will receive the same from September 8, GAIL officials said .

The Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL), which has been carrying out the infrastructure development and pipeline work from last one year, is preparing a roll-out the project in Jharkhand’s two biggest cities. It would benefit over 5,000 households in the initial phase.

“We have received the launch date for Ranchi on August 23 and September 8 for Jamshedpur. Pipeline connections have been provided to 3,000 households in Ranchi, while 2,000 in Jamshedpur,” said GAIL executive director (eastern region), KB Sinha.

“Two CNG stations, one at Khukri in Doranda and another at Madhuban (Ormanjhi), will also be inaugurated on August 23 in Ranchi. Since the CNG and PNG will be transported from Patna through cascading system, it might be little costlier in Ranchi. However, the GAIL’s Ranchi authority is yet to announce the rates of the gases,” he said. A cubic metre PNG costs around Rs 31, while as one kilogramme of CNG costs around Rs 61 in Patna. The GAIL officials said, PNG price would be more or less same in Ranchi , while CNG might cost Rs 8 to Rs 9 higher in Ranchi than Patna.

The prices, however, will drop after the Centre’s ambitious Jagdishpur-Haldia and BokaroDharma gas pipeline projects reach Ranchi.

The main gas pipeline would reach Ranchi through Chatra, Hazaribag, Bokaro and Ramgarh. It will cover 551-km in Jharkhand comprising 362 villages in 12 districts.

As per the calculation of GAIL, PNG would be 6% to 10% cheaper than LPG, and CNG would be around 40% cheaper than petrol and 25% lower than diesel.

In a meeting with Jharkhand chief minister, Raghubar Das, and union petroleum minister, Dharmendra Pradhan, in Ranchi on Tuesday, the progress of the city’s gas distribution was discussed. Pradhan said, the gas pipeline projects in two cities would be started by first week of September.

The GAIL has set the target to cover 30,000 households in Ranchi and 25,000 households in Jamshedpur in next five years.

In Jharkhand, merely 18.9% households use clean energy such as LPG and electric kitchen appliances, while 81% are still dependent on wood, coal and cow dung cakes for fuel in kitchens.

The national average for usage of clean energy in household is 43.8%, Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board (PNGRB) officials had said during a road show in Ranchi in January this year.

The CNG-run vehicles are expected to lower down the vehicular pollution in Ranchi and Jamshedpur. However, operation of such vehicles would take some time, as mere two CNG stations would not serve the purpose, experts said.

Ranchi Metro a must but where’s the will

Source: telegraphindia.com

The proposed monorail/metro project for Ranchi, which chief minister Raghubar Das had announced in November 2015, has been struck off from the priority list of the government ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections.

Ministers and members of the BJP tasked with the job to highlight the achievements of the government ahead of the crucial polls no longer broach the sensitive topic of “Metro Rail”.

The central government, which was supposed to provide funds for the project, has also rejected the state’s proposal on technical grounds but residents feel that monorail or metro railway is the need of the hour for better public transport in the state capital.

“In the next three decades Ranchi is bound to expand because of the growing population but the government has not taken any step for planned development of the capital. The main city is spread over a few square kilometres but people are gradually settling down in the fringes of the city. In such a situation, metro rail would have served future purposes. Now, the Jharkhand High Court and the Assembly are being shifted outside the city limits and people will require a rapid transport system,” said city-based contractor Arun Kumar Mishra.

Ranchi entrepreneur Chandra Bhushan Jha, however, feels metro is not feasible for a city like Ranchi that is growing vertically.

“Patna will soon have metro railway but we don’t even have proper city bus services. A bus fleet was purchased under JNNURM to improve urban transportation but most of these buses are in bad shape because of lack of maintenance. Metro is indeed required since Ranchi has the worst traffic system but the big question is whether we have enough space within the city to execute the project,” said Jha.

Sidharth Tiwary, a business consultant, however, feels otherwise.

“Three cities of Jharkhand — Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad — have been categorised as tier-II cities. Trade, commerce and industry in Ranchi is expanding. Inter-connectivity of districts should be priority for the government now. Urban development remained pivotal for the government and a number of good works were done by Das but I am surprised why the government did not take up the metro railway project,” said Tiwary.

State urban development minister C.P. Singh, who also holds the additional charge of transport, said the project had been aborted on technical grounds.

“We had submitted a proposal to the Centre but it was rejected on technical grounds. In future I don’t think neither monorail nor metro railway would be taken up for Ranchi. We don’t have sufficient land in the city to start the project. People want facilities but they won’t part with land. Even in executing small projects we face problems and protests. To commission a project the government is forced to use force and then attract criticism. Without public cooperation it is impossible to start a mega project like this,” minister Singh said.

He added that the urban development department had identified government land at Dubalia to set up the Transport Nagar but people had started protesting against the project.

“Like at Bajara, the department had identified government land to execute a housing project for the poor, but we have been facing protests. In fact, the government drags its foot from any project fearing people’s protest,” said Singh.

Ranchi Metro a must but where’s the will

Source: telegraphindia.com

The proposed monorail/metro project for Ranchi, which chief minister Raghubar Das had announced in November 2015, has been struck off from the priority list of the government ahead of the upcoming Assembly elections.

Ministers and members of the BJP tasked with the job to highlight the achievements of the government ahead of the crucial polls no longer broach the sensitive topic of “Metro Rail”.

The central government, which was supposed to provide funds for the project, has also rejected the state’s proposal on technical grounds but residents feel that monorail or metro railway is the need of the hour for better public transport in the state capital.

“In the next three decades Ranchi is bound to expand because of the growing population but the government has not taken any step for planned development of the capital. The main city is spread over a few square kilometres but people are gradually settling down in the fringes of the city. In such a situation, metro rail would have served future purposes. Now, the Jharkhand High Court and the Assembly are being shifted outside the city limits and people will require a rapid transport system,” said city-based contractor Arun Kumar Mishra.

Ranchi entrepreneur Chandra Bhushan Jha, however, feels metro is not feasible for a city like Ranchi that is growing vertically.

“Patna will soon have metro railway but we don’t even have proper city bus services. A bus fleet was purchased under JNNURM to improve urban transportation but most of these buses are in bad shape because of lack of maintenance. Metro is indeed required since Ranchi has the worst traffic system but the big question is whether we have enough space within the city to execute the project,” said Jha.

Sidharth Tiwary, a business consultant, however, feels otherwise.

“Three cities of Jharkhand — Ranchi, Jamshedpur and Dhanbad — have been categorised as tier-II cities. Trade, commerce and industry in Ranchi is expanding. Inter-connectivity of districts should be priority for the government now. Urban development remained pivotal for the government and a number of good works were done by Das but I am surprised why the government did not take up the metro railway project,” said Tiwary.

State urban development minister C.P. Singh, who also holds the additional charge of transport, said the project had been aborted on technical grounds.

“We had submitted a proposal to the Centre but it was rejected on technical grounds. In future I don’t think neither monorail nor metro railway would be taken up for Ranchi. We don’t have sufficient land in the city to start the project. People want facilities but they won’t part with land. Even in executing small projects we face problems and protests. To commission a project the government is forced to use force and then attract criticism. Without public cooperation it is impossible to start a mega project like this,” minister Singh said.

He added that the urban development department had identified government land at Dubalia to set up the Transport Nagar but people had started protesting against the project.

“Like at Bajara, the department had identified government land to execute a housing project for the poor, but we have been facing protests. In fact, the government drags its foot from any project fearing people’s protest,” said Singh.

Company cements ties with 5 villages of Angara block near Ranchi

Source: telegraphindia.com

Two anganwadi centres in Angara block of Ranchi district have received a bright makeover, and three more in the block will do so, thanks to the corporate social responsibility activity of a cement company.

ACC Cement under its CSR has taken the onus to revamp all five anganwadi centres — the mainstay of mother-and-child healthcare in rural areas — in Angara block.

Recently, chief minister Raghubar Das’s principal secretary Sunil Kumar Barnwal inaugurated two revamped centres in Soso and Nawagarh villages, appreciating the innovative work.

Under the ACC Cement project, the so far the two buildings have been completely renovated, painted and given a bright look with graphics on walls to help women and children get a feel-good experience. Walls are painted with alphabets, animals, birds and graphics on child nutrition, cleanliness and care tutorials. Bright colours have been used.

Jamshedpur based architecture firm Espacio is implementing the project.

ACC Cement CSR head (Chaibasa) Pranav Arya said their main idea was to do something for rural kids and their mothers.

“These are very important centres as they act as the first playschool for rural kids and the place where mothers get contraceptive counselling and supply, nutrition education and supplements. But they look very shabby. So we conceptualised the idea to upgrade them and give them a new look. We wanted to something for children and their mothers in rural areas, and upgrading anganwadi centres seemed to be a good idea. We have also built a Panchayat Bhavan hall in Nawagarh,” Arya said.

While the Soso and Nawagarh anganwadi centres have been revamped, those lined up for a similar makeover are the centres in Obar, Rangamati and Harabera.

Director of Espacio, Kalyan Kumar Patra, said they wanted to make the centres “happy places that mothers and kids love to visit”.

“Anganwadi centres are meant for mothers, toddlers and young children so we wanted to make the spaces warm, inviting and informative too. So after the mandatory painting, we went all creative, painting figures, alphabets, solar system and pictorial graphics on walls with bright colours,” Patra said.

A woman of Nawagarh, Surbari Sit, who is the mother of a four-year-old, said she felt happy at the new-look anganwadi. “It’s so cheerful. It feels good to see all these colours in front of you. Children love looking at colours and cry less,” she laughed.

30 steel companies down shutters, Tata Motors on a closing spree

Source: hindustantimes.com

Industries in and around Jamshedpur– particularly in Adityapur Industrial Area (AIA) housing auto ancillaries – are facing tough time with series of block closures in Tata Motors from past month because of market slowdown. So much so that about 30 steel sector companies were on the verge of closing down while about a dozen downed their shutters from Thursday.

Hit with recession in the automobile sector, Tata Motors has gone for block closure for the fourth time since last month – this time from Thursday to Saturday, besides Sunday being a holiday. The company has also opted for separation of 12 days (asked to sit in house) for over 1000 Y-6 (temporary) workers. Permanent employees will rejoin duty on August 5 whereas Y-6 workers have been asked to rejoin on August 12.

Tata Motors had to take series of block closures due to sluggish market demands. There was production for only 15 days per month for the last two months. Union sources said the company has orders for only a week’s production in August. This has resulted in limited work in about 1000 auto-ancillaries dependent on Tata Motors in AIA.

On the other hand, the ‘exorbitant’ power tariff hike has hit the steel sectors with induction furnaces – where electricity is an essential raw material – resulting in the closure of about 30 companies. In fact, over a dozen such companies have started downing shutters from Thursday.

Recession in auto sector is nothing new…It comes every two-three years. I met Tata Motors Plant Head today who said that the company might have to take another block closure of 3-4 days after which things would normalise. We expect things to be back on track after September. The company has got 40% less orders for its vehicles this July compared to corresponding month last year. Some of our companies are working in limited capacity while some have opted for maintenance work,” Inder Agrawal, president, Aditaypur Small Industries Association (ASIA), told HT today.

Agrawal confirmed that 25-30 steel sector companies have downed their shutters after state government exorbitantly hiked power tariff by 38% with effect from April this year. “The production cost has spiraled… They have no other option but to close down,” said Agrawal.

The JBVNL – supplier to most companies in Kolhan – tariff of Rs 5.50 per unit is the highest when compared to cheap rate of Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC) and Jamshedpur Utility and Services Company (Jusco), the two other power suppliers.

DVC supplies power to steel sector industries in Giridih, Ramgarh, Patratu, Deogarh and Ranchi. As a result, the companies are producing ingots at much cheaper rate. However, Jamshedpur and Adityapur-based industries bear the brunt of high JBVNL tariff of Rs 5.50 per unit. “DVC charges Rs 2.95 per unit while Jusco rate is Rs 3.50 per unit of power consumed. The government should withdraw the tariff hike immediately and also strictly implement scrapping of 15-year-old vehicles to boost both the sectors,” added Agrawal.

Laghu Udyog Bharti (LUB) president Rupesh Katiyar said about 1000 companies in Jamshedpur, Adityapur and Dhalbhumgarh were affected with the recession and power tariff hike, rendering over 30, 000 direct and indirect workers jobless.

“We demand the government to waive off the fixed charge for power or cut down the tariff hike and request the banks to support the industries at this hour of crisis. If we fail to pay loan instalments for three months, our accounts will turn NPA. How will we pay loan when we don’t have money to pay salary to our workers?” asked Katiyar.

Jharkhand blood donors oppose card fiat

Source: telegraphindia.com

The state government’s decision to abolish the system of issuing blood against donor cards will adversely impact the smooth system of donations, voluntary outfits of the steel city feel.

Blood banks in Jamshedpur, which received the letter from Jharkhand State Aids Control Society (JSACS) on Sunday, have already implemented the May 30 directive issued by M.K. Baranwal, project director of JSACS and member-secretary of State Blood Transfusion Council.

At present, Indian Red Cross Society, Voluntary Blood Donors Association (VBDA) and others contribute 75 per cent of the annual requirement of Jamshedpur Blood Bank. These organisations have been working towards increasing their contribution to 100 per cent.

But the directive is expected to impact the number of donation camps and lead to a decline in stocks in blood banks.

Members of the Red Cross society and donor associations are scheduled to meet JSACS officials in Ranchi on Thursday.

The government directive states, “… the system of issuing donor cards for supply of blood without replacement to the blood donor or another person on behalf of the blood donor should not be practised by any blood bank.”

Henceforth, donors would not get identity cards from blood banks. The cards come with a serial number, donor’s name, blood group and telephone number. These cards helped blood bank maintain records and check on the number of donations.

Experts believe that not issuing donor cards would lead to severe consequences. With donations coming down, cancer and thalassemia patients, in need of regular blood transfusion, would be at risk.

Usually organisations get donor cards for half the number of blood units collected at a camp. “If donors cannot help someone in need, why will they donate? Those who donate blood or organise donation camps don’t expect anything in return. In fact, organisers of camps hand over donation cards to cancer or thalassemia patients or accident victims,” said Bijay Kumar Singh, the secretary of Indian Red Cross Society.

On an average, Jamshedpur city collects 54,000 units of blood a year, catering to the Kolhan region and cancer patients who come from neighbouring Odisha, West Bengal and Bihar.

“We have been working very hard since 1985 to step up blood donations by raising awareness levels and holding camps. The steel city has now developed its own system and we will not let anyone destroy it. We have, however, already told donors to not expect donor cards,” said association president Sunil Mukherjee.

Kalpavriksha Foundation felt the directive would be meaningful only when the government could boast of a perfect healthcare system with state-of-the-art blood banks in every city, district and block.

“We only have Jamshedpur Blood Bank catering to so many patients. Even then there is shortage in summers. We are writing to governor Droupadi Murmu to withdraw the directive,” said foundation director Arun Singh.