BALASORE: The year 2011 may have slipped into history for many by now but the coastal district’s name will remain etched in golden letters in the fashion world. Pritam Panda -- a native of Balasore and internationally acclaimed haute couturier hosted his solo runway in Paris, the fashion capital of the world. His runway titled ‘My journey to Paris’ received accolades from all across the globe.
He also made the State proud as Ecole Normale Superior University, the finest and leading university of France, honoured Pritam with masters degree for his profound skill and contribution to the field of art and design.
Another local boy’s achievement in the sports world came as an icing on the cake. Body builder Sk Mustaq bagged gold medals at the national level on several occasions in the recent past.
On the education front, the district did extremely well with 12 students from Balasore district securing positions in the CHSE examinations.
However, the district had its flip side too with farmers’ suicides, floods and industrial upheavals making national headlines and portraying the district in bad light.
As many as 12 debt-ridden farmers committed suicide or died of heart attack in the district failing to repay the loan taken for harvesting crops. Floods from mid-June till September washed their hopes of a good yield and no rains during the fruit-bearing season added to their woes. In Balasore, around three lakh people were affected by the floods.
Industrial scenario was no better with big units like Birla Tyres and Balasore Alloys Limited (BAL) witnessing frequent labour unrest over wage settlement and management conflicts respectively.
The resignation of BAL Managing Director RK Jena along with many senior employees protesting the unethical and illogical practice of the top management made national headlines.
The upcoming Subarnarekha port was also received with huge protests from the locals and land losers. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has also lodged protests claiming that the ports at Inchudi, Chudamani, Bahabalpur and Bichitrapur will hamper their activities.
For the wildlife, the year did not augur well as poachers had a field day in the reserve forests. Death of elephants and other wild animals in Similipal and Kuldiha reserve forests sent the forest officials into a tizzy.