SAMBALPUR: As the year comes to a close, here is a look at some major events that hogged headlines in Sambalpur district.The year was marked by several tragic incidents in the district which sent shockwaves across the State. A couple and their three daughters committed suicide by jumping before a moving train near Sambalpur Road Railway Station. The family of Dharanidhar Panda, who worked as a music teacher in a private school, took the extreme step due to financial crisis and loan burden.
In a tragic accident, 10 persons including six women died after a van carrying them collided head on with a truck at Bhabanipali. Similarly, three minors including two siblings were burnt alive after their house caught fire due to leakage in LPG cylinder in Ranikhinda village. This apart, a lecturer and two siblings met with watery grave while taking bath in Hirakud Dam Reservoir at Burla side.
Theft of a baby from the District Headquarters Hospital (DHH) was another incident that triggered widespread furore. The newborn of Aniruddha Majhi and his wife Gitanjali of Amilipani village was stolen from the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Ward of the DHH. While the baby is yet to be traced, the couple is residing in a cabin of the hospital hoping to get back their child.
Tragedy struck Golebazar when a massive fire broke out in the market. As many as 214 outlets selling vegetable and other items were gutted.For the district police, it was a successful year. In a surprise raid on Sambalpur Circle Jail, police recovered `18.86 lakh in cash from the chamber of jailor Sushanta Rout and subsequently, Vigilance sleuths arrested him. Though there was no sign of Maoist movement in the district, the cops seized huge cache of ammunition besides explosives, hidden by the rebels, from Dangteka Reserve Forest.
There were some major happenings on the political front. BJP grabbed the Zilla Parishad (ZP) president post in the district after winning 13 out of 18 ZP seats. While five seats went to BJD, Congress failed to open its account. Radheshyam Barik of BJP became the ZP president despite the intra-party wrangling.
Former minister Jayanarayan Mishra was arrested ahead of Hanuman Jayanti procession apprehending breach of peace during the religious march. BJD workers staged Jal Satyagraha in Mahanadi river protesting the visit of Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh for panchayat election campaign in the State.
The agriculture scenario in the district was disheartening. Farmers were badly affected after standing kharif paddy crop was attacked by brown plant hopper pest and damaged due to scantly rainfall.The year witnessed major development activities in the district. Sambalpur got Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Planetarium besides Science and Evolution Park at Burla. Both the projects were developed at a cost of `15.45 crore. Apart from construction of learners’ pool and strengthening of street lighting, the Ramsagar Boating Club was renovated with installation of a musical fountain.
The other highlights of the year include opening of Post Office Passport Seva Kendra in Sambalpur. Popular Sambalpuri folk singer Jitendra Haripal received the Padma Shri award this year, bringing laurels to the Western Odisha district.Towards the end of the year, Cultural Affairs Minister of Assam Naba Kumar Doley and Media Adviser to Assam Chief Minister Hrishikesh Goswami visited the city after news regarding demolition plan of the houses of doyen of Assamese literature Lakshminath Bezbaroa was reported in media. Subsequently, they met Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who announced to renovate and conserve Bezbaroa’s houses.