SAMBALPUR: The Western Odisha district of Sambalpur made it to the national headlines in a currency seizure case post demonetisation. Eight persons, including Public Relations Officer (PRO) of main branch of State Bank of India (SBI) here, were arrested and `85.62 lakh in new currency notes and `25.29 lakh in old currency were seized from them.
In another incident, Hirakud police arrested Managing Director of a non-banking financial company SKM Finance, Subrat Malla of Dhenkanal, on charges of duping depositors to the tune of `45 lakh. However, the black spot for Sambalpur Police was suspension of three personnel, including IIC of Hirakud police station, Sabitri Bal, besides dismissal of a home guard after visual of a juvenile being brutally assaulted by Hirakud police was aired by a local TV channel.
The child swapping mystery at VIMSAR, Burla, was resolved after police received the DNA test report and the child was handed over to the biological parents. Apart from the child swapping case, the shifting of a dead body in a cart rocked the State. Poverty forced Manas Mohapatra and his sister Sasmita to carry the body of their mother Pramila Mohapatra on a cart to their house at Sarapali in Naktideul block.
On the political front, posters containing cartoon of Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan and describing him as an opportunist on Mahanadi issue appeared on the walls of Sambalpur resulting in blame game. The colourful posters in Odia did not name publisher and printer.
The year also marked the launching of Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) in the State by Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram and Petroleum Minister Pradhan at Sambalpur.
The district took a big leap in infrastructure development, which saw inauguration of a new modern bus terminus at Sambalpur by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. He also laid foundation stones for the walking track around Budharaja Reserve Forest in the city.
This apart, the construction work on flyover at Laxmi Talkies Chowk in the city and ropeway connecting Jawahar Udyan with Gandhi Minar near Hirakud Dam Project was started. Work on the much-awaited high-level bridge over river Mahanadi to connect river island Kud Gunderpur in Dhankauda block with mainland also begun.
Hirakud Dam was found safe by the Central Soil and Material Research Station (CSMRS), New Delhi.