Odisha at Large in 2016: Eventful memories
Year 2016 was a very uncomfortable one for the Odisha at large with more issues of controversies, tragedies making it gloomy. But there were also some positivity also with stories of resurgence and changes beckoning good things to follow.
Dana Majhi, a resident of Nakrundi block in Kalahandi distcrit carried his dead wife’s body on his shoulders for a stretch of 10 km due to non-availablity of an ambulance service. State had to be blemished for such a violation of human rights. King of Bahrain came across the news and sent financial assistance to Dana.
Parala Palace tragedy
Questions still sound of same complexity in allegations of forcible house arrest to Paralakhemundi King by his very own palace managers and their subsequent mysterious death led to state wide debates for over few months. Even though the King has been shifted to Chennai for better healthy treatment, his prime palace manager Ananga Manjari Patra, her two brothers and another sister have committed suicide inside their locked house at Parala following severe allegations against their name on misappropriating royal properties which kicked off a CB investigation.
2016 was the year of horrific and extremely sorry tale of child deaths in state. The dreaded Japanese Encephalitis (JE) claimed more than 100 kids in the district of Malkangiri. The issue made national headlines and caught both state, centre locking horns against each other. The disease became an outbreak and a nightmare for people for some months at stretch.
Athamallik Bus tragedy
It is the most heartrending bus tragedy in recent memories. Maharaja Bus en route from Boudh to Athamallik skidded off road at Manatri bridge in Athamallick onto hundred feet down below leading ton death of as many as 19 persons died and injuries to 30. For the first time air ambulance was used to rescue the injured.
As many as five innocent persons became victim of this mistaken encounter by security personnel at Kndhamal’s Gumudumaha jungle. The incident created state wide outrage and severe criticisms of police personnel. Centre State fought over the issue for some time.
Nagada malnutrition deaths
As many as 19 helpless kids succumbed to one of the most egregious of human rights violation, ‘impoverishment’ due to lack of food in Nagada village under Jajpur district. The condition showed true picture of brutally neglected tribal lives in the state in spite of hundred of welfare schemes.
In the biggest ever military operations in Odisha as many as 30 left wing extremists were gunned down in the far cut off Chitrakonda forests along AP-Odisha border in Malkangiri district.
Sum hospital tragedy
The most horrific fire incident at any public institution in state till date the fire outbreak in the emergency ICU ward of Dialysis department in Bhubaneswar’s SUM hospital left dozens dead. The total death counting until now stays at 30 while more than hundred have been maimed with critical burn injuries.
Death of Lulu Mohapatra
One of the modern iconic politician in Odisha considered to be most poular leader in present Odisha youth politics, Lulu Mohapatra, former Congress MLA died leaving behind his legacy of a strong youth organisation. A grievous loss of quality leader who can never be replaced.
Bhubaneswar Mayor Sex scandal
During last part of the year, Bhubaneswar Mayor AN Jena was caught entangled in an alleged sex scandal and the murder of city based ITER techie Rishi Mohanty. The issue created outrage as political parties, social activists razed down protests demanding ouster. Bandhs, protests, blockades followed.
This is the so far the biggest state issue this year. The unilateral construction of water projects on upper Mahanadi by Chhatisgarh government created controversy between both the states and Centre with Odisha vying to move for the Supreme Court and a tribunal to solve the row.
Niladri Bije fiasco
Even Lords were not spared this year as on after other controversies kept hurting religious sentiments of millions of Odisha. At the most holiest Odia pilgrimages sites, Jagannath temple in Puri witnessed controversies like touching of deities on chariots during Rath Yatra leading to a big debacle in Niladri Bije ritual of Lord Jagannath and his siblings.
Casting Couch/ Papu issue
Noted Ollywood actor and comedian Papu Pom Pom was caught in a ring of fire due to allegations of sexual harassment to a minor girl the issue which was popularly connoted as casting couch. Several cine artistes, producers, directors of the cine industry were later alleged to be involved in sexual harassment to new comers to the industry.
Fall of Odisha’s crime bigwigs
Some of the most notorious criminal bigwigs had to reap the results of their past crimes. Dhalasamanta brothers, Ramesh Jena, Bapi Sarkhel, Mahima Mishra and horde of others were put behind bars especially due to magnificent crime sweeping campaign of twin city police.
Kathajodi train accident
Bhubaneswar-Bhadrak DMU crashed onto a stationary goods strain at Cuttack’s Kathajodi station leading to death of 1 and injuries to dozens of passengers.
Bhubaneswar, Rourkela smart cities
Both Bhubaneswar and Rourkela were declared smart cities under the Centre’s flagship Smart City Mission. While steel city was later included in the second phase Bhubaneswar meanwhile bagged a place among World Smart City Awards at Barcelona.
NIT sex scandal
In one of the leading engineering institutes in eastern India, Rourkela NIT witnessed Sexual harassment charges this year as the very own security chief of the instituite was revealed of harassing other female security officials inside the campus itself. Although the prime accused was later nabbed but the issue caught limelight of national level.
Chllika boat tragedy
A boat ferrying 29 passengers capsized in Chilka lake on December 10 leading to death of as many as 4 persons including a child and injuries to many others.
Odisha in Ranji Quarters after 13 years
Odisha managed to go past the league encounters and into the Ranji Trophy Quarter Finals for the first time in 13 years while eventually losing out to a Gujarat which was propelled by a record breaking triple ton from Samit Gohel.