As floods wreak havoc in the State with an unrelenting frequency every year, the Orissa Government is busy strengthening its search and rescue power. Besides carrying out a boat census across 24 districts, it too is preparing a directory of the vessels so as to be in readiness when the deluge strikes. The recent is addition of 18 aluminium boats, procured from Indian Registrar of Shipping, for increasing the rescue and search efficiency.

CUTTACK: Even as non-inclusion of Hepatitis B in the national immunisation programmes by the Government continues to rankle campaigners against the killer disease, an amazingly low level of awareness or negligent attitude among the medical personnel has emerged as a major concern. Awareness on Hep-B is very poor among the general public but it is appalling that a significant number of doctors is not up to date on prevention measures and actions.

BHUBANESWAR: With drinking water supply in rural areas emerging as one of the major challenges, the State Government has decided to cover at least 35 percent rural population under the safe and sustainable piped water scheme (PWS). Official sources maintained that sustainability and water quality have emerged as two problems in rural water supply sector. The ground water estimate made in 1994 identified 43 blocks as hydrologically critical and estimation of 1999 shows two blocks, Bhograi and Baliapal, in Balasore district over-exploited with limited scope for further extraction.

BHUBANESWAR: An Assembly Standing Committee has pulled up the Rural Development Department for delay in the implementation of drinking water project in Sakhigopal and Kanas region of Puri district as a result of which people of the area are living without potable water for years.

The panel members headed by chairman Narasingh Mishra visited the area recently to make an on the spot verification of the project implemented under the Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (RWSS) to supply pipe water to the people.

BHUBANESWAR: WITH four districts affected by pest menace and the farmers panicking the Agriculture Director, Arabinda Padhi, announced that the situation is under control and it has not assumed an endemic form.

Pest attacks on paddy crops have been reported from several western Orissa districts. While three blocks of Kalahandi district are severely affected, reports coming from Boudh, Nuapada and Sonepur said paddy crops are damaged by swarming caterpillar or

BHUBANESWAR: All set to launch the Rs 2- a-kg BPL rice scheme from August 1, the State Government today decided to issue temporary ration cards by July 25 to those beneficiaries who have lost their cards.

A high-level meeting chaired by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik discussed the modalities of delivery of the specially subsidised rice to the beneficiaries and major part of the discussion was on how to check diversion from the public distribution system (PDS).

In his latest pre-poll bonanza for the poor, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has decided to provide 25 kg of rice a month to all the families living Below the Poverty Line (BPL) at Rs 2 per kg.

The construction for the proposed 6MTPA steel plant of Tata Steel in Kalinga Nagar would start in a month, its managing director B. Muthuraman said. The Rs 21,000-crore project has been in limbo for more than two years after 14 tribal villagers died in a clash with police while resisting the construction of a boundary wall by the Tatas on January 2, 2006.

School teachers in many parts of the country find the government

Bhubaneswar: Tension continued to grip the Posco project site in Jagatsinghpur on Sunday as 26 people were arrested for allegedly killing an anti-land acquisition activist. The anti-land acquisition brigade began observance of