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Dumka: Children of a Paharia Adivasi village prefer to graze cattle than study

Children of Budhudehi, a Paharia Adivasi village in the Dumka district, prefer to graze cattle than study.


"The primary school in the village is closed as the teacher never comes to take classes, but children should not roam idle. So, we ask them to graze cattle instead," says Malti Paharia, a homemaker.


"Last year, we had the opportunity to enjoy classes, that too only for three-four days," said Budhan Pujahar (9), who is enrolled in Class III in the school. His classmates, Faku Paharia, Ravi Hansdak, echo Budhan, who all have turned cowboys for now.


Dulali Baski of the village said that besides grazing cattle, the kids have now started helping their parents in domestic chores and agriculture, while the youth have left the village in search of jobs.


In a letter to deputy commissioner Prasant Kumar, Ram Jivan Paharia, the Dumka district president of the Adim Janjati Vikash Samiti, an association of the vulnerable Paharia tribes, has urged to ensure arranging education at Budhudehi primary school, which has around 130 children. During early '60s, the school was set up for the children of Paharia tribes. Ram Jivan, in the letter, alleged that schoolteacher Ajit Kumar Singh prefers to stay at his house in neighbouring Bihar and never visits the school. "With tacit support of education department official, he, however, enjoys his regular salary," the letter said.


One has to walk more than 12km on a difficult stretch to climb Budhudehi on a hilltop, about 29km from Ranishwar block headquarters. The hilltop village consists of 58 Paharia families and 13 Santhal ones. Budhudehi — bordering Pasaliya in Jamtara's Kondohit block on the west and Rajnagar police station areas in Bengal's Birbhum district on the south — has become infamous for Maoist activities.


The Naxalites conduct training camps in the nearby Sonachara forest, on the other slope of the hill. Even block administration officials avoid visiting the village fearing Naxalite violence.


In December 2007, an eight-member team of Simi, a voluntary organisation, conducted a survey at Brindavani panchayat, while climbing on to the village. It had first highlighted the issue of the school's closure because of the teacher's absence.


Then Dumka deputy commissioner Mastram Meena, who had taken the issue seriously, decided to hold a janata durbar (public hearing) at Budhudehi. The hearing was organised at nearby Tarani village on January 28, 2008, after district officials found it hard to climb the hill and intelligence bureau sniffed Maoist presence in the locality.


Villagers from Budhudehi came down to narrate their plight before top-ranking district officials. District superintendent of education Rajiv Lochan had selected one unemployed youth from the village, Bijoy Puzahar, as a para-teacher of the school at the hearing itself.


Meena also had ordered the transfer of Ajit Kumar Singh from the school. But after Meena's transfer, nothing was done — Singh still enjoys his post and Puzahar did not get the para-teacher's job.


Lochan refused to comment. "I am out of Dumka. So I cannot speak on this," he told The Telegraph this afternoon.


Deputy commissioner Kumar was not available but sources in his office were unaware of the school. Asked the reason for closing of the school, Haridutt Thakur, the Ranishwar co-ordinator of block resource centre-cum-block education extension officer, said that appropriate action would be taken after conducting an inquiry.


Telegraph / June 20, 2009

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY) has failed to take off successfully in Dumka, Godda, Sahebganj, Deoghar and Pakur

The Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), the Centre's ambitious project to connect the rural interiors with the state's roads, has failed to take off successfully in the Santhal Pargana districts — evident from an analysis of the past two years.


In the 2007-08 fiscal, the rural works department, the nodal agency assigned for the project, managed to complete only seven out of the 87 sanctioned roads, for which Rs 100 crore had been approved.


The state had approved Rs 100.45 core for the construction of 343.44-km of roads in Santhal Pargana. Of that, only Rs 29.28 crore was spent during 2007-08. Result: Eighty incomplete roads.


The situation was similar in the next financial year, 2008-09. Under PMGSY, 111 new projects were sanctioned and Rs 84.09 crore released. However, only five new roads were completed at a cost of Rs 12.25 crore.


During 2007-08, the construction of new roads was also not completed in Dumka, Sahebganj and Pakur districts. In Dumka, 12 new roads, stretching over 65.36-km, were scheduled to be completed. Out of the sanctioned Rs 21.18 crore, the rural works department spent only 5.85 crore.


In Deoghar, during 2007-08, only four the 39 sanctioned road projects were completed. Out of the sanctioned Rs 30.67 crore, the district managed to spend Rs 4.23 crore. In 2008-09, out of 35 sanctioned roads, only two were completed at Deoghar.


Similarly during 2007-08, only one road under this project was completed at Jamtara and two were completed in Godda. During 2008-09, Rs 10 crore was sanctioned for Godda. In 2007-08, out of a sanctioned Rs 27.06 core, Godda managed to spend only Rs 2.14 crore for completing two roads under the PMGSY.


The 2008-09 fiscal witnessed no improvement. As the officials concerned remained busy in publishing tenders and completing the formalities related to the tender process.


Not a single officer in the rural works department was available for comment on the cause of such delay or non-execution of the works for the roads under PMGSY.


Divisional commissioner of Santhal Pargana Sahazanand Sharma was also not available for his comment but sources from his office said that he recently expressed his deep concern over the delay of construction of the roads under the project.


Telegraph / June 9, 2009

Dumka: Jobless Adivasi youths on Maoist payroll

Inability to secure a job prompted "captain" Soren to join the outlawed CPI (Maoist).  Son of a retired army officer from Vijaypur village near Dumka, Soren along with his live-in partner Santoshila Hembrom were arrested by the Dumka police a couple of days ago. They were charged with supplying essential items to Maoist armed squads active in different parts of the district.


In his confession to the police, Soren spoke of his futile efforts to secure a government job following the retirement of his father, Som Soren.


In 2004 he came in touch with Santoshila, fell in love with her and they started living together as husband-wife without the bond of a formal marriage. Thereafter, they both sought employment only to see their efforts go in vain. Soren told the police that the failure to get a job took him to Maoist "area commander" Praver Da in Shikaripara block of Dumka in April 2008. Praver was considerably impressed with Soren's ideology and accepted his proposal to join the outfit. He was entrusted with the task of supplying day-to-day items to the armed squads after procuring them from Dumka and providing information about police movement. For his efforts, Soren was paid a fixed amount every month. Soren is not the only unemployed tribal youth who has turned a sympathizer of the Red rebels.


According to reports, the banned outfit has been recruiting unemployed youths residing in remote pockets on a monthly payment of Rs 2,000-Rs 3,000.


The Maoists have been reportedly zeroing in on Paharia youths. The Paharias, one of the most deprived and primitive tribal groups residing along the Rajmahal Hill range, are conventionally skilled in warfare.


The hilly and dense jungle terrain where the Paharias reside are strategically advantageous for Maoists. Maoists have reportedly established their stronghold in that area by mobilizing Paharias by instigating them against the state authorities.


Paharia is the most privileged community among tribals in the Santhal Parganas as both the Centre and the state government spend crores of rupees on them every year for their preservation and development. It is another matter that most of the funds do not reach the tribals.


The announcement by the erstwhile government to form a separate Paharia battalion to bring the community into the mainstream has still not crystallized. The Paharia youths are recruited by the Maoists after a 15-day training and the assurance of a monthly remuneration.


25 Jun 2009, TNN

Rampage at principal’s office, ransacking furniture and breaking the nameplate by students.

Dumka, June 3: Principal of AS College today faced the wrath of his students for making his son appear for two board exams this year.


Around 150 students, belonging to Chatra Sangh and Chatra JD(U), went on a rampage at principal Nagashwar Sharma's office, ransacking furniture and breaking the nameplate. They also locked the institute for an indefinite period.


Sharma was in his cabin when the incident took place, but escaped sensing trouble.


The protesters alleged that Sharma had misused his position to admit his son, Navin Prakash, at two institutes — Gita Devi DAV School and AS College — so that he could appear for both CBSE Class XII and intermediate examinations this year.


According to them, Sharma had done this to make more college options available for his son. If Navin failed to score good marks in one board exam, he could get a berth in a good college by showing the marks of the other exam, the students pointed out.


President of Chatra Sangh Ajoy Dubey said Navin had appeared for the CBSE exam from Gita Devi DAV School and secured 68.8 per cent in science while he scored 82.8 per cent in intermediate examination from AS College. Suman Pandit, the president of Chatra JD(U), demanded an inquiry. They said they would keep the institute under lock and key till Sidho-Kanhu Murmu University (SKMU) takes action.


SKMU registrar A.N. Pathak said he was unaware of the incident while principal Sharma declined to comment on the matter.


June 4, 2009 / Telegraph

Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) await industry partners in Chaibasa, Daltonganj, Dumka, Kharsawan, Ranchi and Jamshedpur

Well begun is half done and the state labour department is upbeat. Its plans to upgrade six government-run Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) in collaboration with industry partners are afloat, with Ranchi and Jamshedpur being the latest additions.


Work had started in Chaibasa, Daltonganj, Dumka and Kharsawan last year and the ITIs in Ranchi and Jamshedpur will be included in the plan this fiscal.


Rs 2.5 crore has been assigned for the upgradation of each ITI, bringing the total cost of the plan to Rs 15 crore for the six ITIs. In all, there exist18 government-run ITIs in the state.


Funds for the scheme were sanctioned from the Union ministry of labour and employment between 2007-08 and 2008-09. At present, the Daltonganj and Chaibasa centres have utilised about Rs 45 lakh each for buying equipment and conducting minor repairs.


Associated Cement Company (ACC), Jhinkpani, is acting as the industry partner for Chaibasa while BCCL, Rehla, is working with the centre in Daltonganj. Tata Steel has agreed to help the Kharsawan ITI while Jasidih-based Hyderabad Asbestos will assist the Dumka ITI.


The state labour department is yet to finalise industry partners for the Ranchi and Jamshedpur centres.


Different ITI trades include that of an electrician, mechanical worker, fitter, welder, moulder and diesel mechanic. Industry partners will work with the centres to forecast emerging areas of employment, develop course curricula of various trades, develop instruction material for training, assist in training trainers, check availability of training and testing facilities, provide on-job training in their establishments, develop assessment standards and monitor quality.


Besides, they would also assist in placement of graduates. Though it is not mandatory, it is expected that industry partners make a financial contribution to the centre they are associated with. The partners can also contribute machinery and equipment for upgradation and assign faculty members for on-job training.


Principal secretary in state labour department S.K. Choudhary believed the scheme would prove beneficial, especially in the long term once the state's industrial climate improved with more units coming up.


The state government, in consultation with industry associations, selects the industry partners. Once chosen, an Institute Management Committee (IMC) is constituted with representatives of the industry partners. Four members are nominated by industry partners and five by the state government. The principal of respective ITIs happens to be ex-officio member secretary and one member becomes the chairperson.


Interest free loans of up to Rs 2.5 crore is given directly to IMCs for various purposes. With time, an ITI is also upgraded and is also listed as a Centre of Excellence in totality or for a particular sector.


May 16, 2009 / Telegraph
Birla Institute of Technology (BIT) is opening new extension centre at Dumka

The wait for an extension centre of the Birla Institute of Technology (BIT), Mesra, will finally get over. The centre is all set to open doors for students in the 2009-10 academic sessions.


Vice-chancellor of BIT, Mesra, P.K. Barhai and deputy secretary of Jharkhand science and technology department M.P. Singh today signed a MoU in this regard. Principal Secretary of science and technology department R.S. Sharma and director (technical education) Arun Kumar was also present on the occasion.


To start with, the extension centre would offer only two courses — Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) and Bachelor of Computer Application (BCA) — and the classes will be held at Government Polytechnic, Dumka.


The state will give Rs 23.76 crore to BIT authorities and an area of 25 acres to set up the centre in next two years. Administrative buildings, students' hostel, staff quarters would also come up there.


"The 25-acre land has been identified in Dumka town but it is yet to be transferred to BIT. We will ask the concerned deputy commissioner to expedite things," said Kumar.


Barhai said that they would offer 60 seats each in BBA and BCA courses.


"The vacancies would be for students of the state only. An entrance test would be conducted for admission. We will offer postgraduate courses once we have our infrastructure," he said.


Telegraph / May 28, 2009

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