Thursday, December 20, 2007

May I, request you all to join in, and give a hand for NITRAA DataBase

Dear Friends:
I take the privilege of belonging to the pioneer batch of NIT, Rourkela, in writing to you this letter. It was known those days as Regional Engineering College or REC, Rourkela. It was inaugurated on 15th August of 1961, at premises of the Panposh, ITI, by late Biju Pattnayak, where we lived during India's China war of 1962.

REC, moved to its present campus on January 1963. We moved into the 1st 4 seated hostel. We graduated in 1965, which was followed by the Pakistan War and the recession of 1965/1966, which lasted till 1973. They were the worst years for the Engineers probably in last 60 years. Some of my classmates remained Junior Engineers in Govt of Orissa for nearly 8 years and they were top of line scholars.

But we had our high hopes and potential. And given the proper environment our juniors did much better though some of my own classmates also did extremely well.

One of them Sri Nalini R. Mohanty, went on to become Chairman of the prestigious PSU, HAL, Bangalore and has since been decorated with a Padma shree. And after that many other Alumni have reached similar and/or greater heights. In absence of good net working even I don't know about all of them.
In 2004 another Alumni Surya Narayan Mahapatra of 1971 batch was elected by Quest Diagnostics, a Fortune 500 company as it's CEO and it's Chairman.

This year another Alumni Drona Rath of 1972 became the 1st Chairman of the NITR itself. He had earlier became Chief of MECON, a top PSU.

This year as a proud member of the Orissa Society of America executive, I had the privilege of recommending 3 names for the Prabasi Pratibha Samman, a NRO(Non Resident Oriya) award. And all three were NITRaans.

And hundreds of other's have reached the top rung of any industry or Govt. they decided to work for, some of whom I know some others I don't. But this was all their individual disconnected effort. It resulted in much less achievement compared to our potential and talent. Because this did not involve networking that is possible today, with Rengcol Yahoogroup or overseasnitran Yahoogroups or similar.

But now we are coming in to an era which networking is possible easily. Two significant results of networking through Rengcol Yahoogroup happened this year.

1st when IBM reneged in taking the 2007 batch campus hires. Within days NITRans in IBM acted to help the affected students and they were absorbed.
2nd was when the Aricent repeated similar action. This time the old boys net work worked and only partially. Only half of the affected could be helped.

Why? Because only 5700 of 14 thousand students are listed in the Data Base and only half (of them) are connected through e-mails. So most of the Alumni even today are not in the network, and though they could have helped, they have not or could not - the news did not reach them.

This Data Base creation, sole credit goes to Dr. Saroj K. Patel, the present General Secretary of NITRAA.
He has confided in me and sought my counsel because the whole database registration has gotten practically stalled in the last 2 months and he has no ideas as to how to expand it further. Neither do I.

It now needs fresh volunteers, fresh ideas and fresh initiatives from the many chapters that have come up. I am appealing to you all: to please call, write e-mail to, any one you know who has not registered. Everyone of you must be in touch with 10 of your classmates who are not members and probably 20 of juniors/seniors also who are not members.
My appeal to you is to persuade them to be members and come in to expand this network, through which we can soon communicate to all of the Alumni. Today, I can visit any city in USA and find members NITRans who live nearby and meet them. I have done so thrice already during my visit to San Francisco Bay Area, South California and Detroit, MI.
I have also helped to connect Alumni visiting cities of USA or other countries thus. The potential is enormous, if everyone gives a hand.

Please request all your attendees, in the year end Alumni parties to register at site(with use of WiFi and a lap top) and each one to try to persuade 3 to 5 of their NITR friends, who have not registered to register.

May I, request you all to join in, and give a hand?

Best wishes,
Sandip K. Dasverma
Mech 1965

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Unless the current MOU terms are nixed and Royalty raised, our goose will be cooked - by Sandip K. Dasverma

Having lived in USA for nearly 3 decades and having worked in the large Engineering companies, it has become clear to me, that the purpose of India's planning should be different and the model used in Western countries particularly USA, not followed. This is because I also worked a decade and a half in India for Govt. of Orissa(GOO), too.

USA's population density is 31 vs. 366/Sq.mile is India's,i.e. population density is about 11.5 times lower. The western countries always go for technologies that are high on capital and low in labor because they always had a huge shortage of skilled labor.
I remember in a seminar in 1970s at The Institute of Engineers, BBSR one of the invitees, a planning commission member stating that employment potential in agriculture is 23 times more than in Industry, for the same investment. Today, with more automation, the ratio must have further increased. Though mechanization in agriculture would move this multiplier in the opposite direction, has it?

But until today India's main problem(and more so Orissa's) has been, how to generate employment/work for the large working age population among our 1.2 billion people. Unfortunately, we give all kinds of incentive to the industry and very little to the larger employment generating industry, the agriculture is. The very fact that we write off 1000s of crores of loans from public sector banks to various industries and yet in 60 years, we have not been able to set up a mechanism for short term loan to our farmers, (who commit suicide in thousands), tells the story of our wrong bias. Eminent journalist P. Sainath has extensively written and documented on this issue.

We have largely neglected major employment generating areas, thus bringing misery and destitution to our people, namely:

1. Education
2. Health
3. Agriculture
4. Animal Husbandary
5. Infrastructure - Road, residential houses, Railways, transportation et el.

The pretext since the 1960s has been that Govt does not have money. Yet the give aways to industries, have continued, perpetually. The sale of electricity cheap to Hirakud Aluminum Co(Hindalco), Hirakud and Orient Paper Mill, Brajaraj nagar, are case in point. Due huge undue incentives and bad contract with these private industries, the Orissa State Electricity Board was perennially at loss, while these Hindalco and Orient Paper Mills, made huge profits. The give away to these industries were not even compensated by the taxes they paid, draining the Orissa state coffer, perpetually. I remember, we were selling power at one paisa/unit to Hindalco, while producing it at more than 15 paisa/unit, in then new Talcher Thermal Power Plant. This was in late 1960s and early 70s.

We are in the process of signing of a second set of such contracts soon, when POSCOs, Vedantas, Mittals set up their plants in Orissa and convert their MOUs to Contracts. I have noted that as per the present MOUs free water, practically free Iron Ore, practically free coal, no taxes for 1st 5 years(when all the equipment will come in so no taxes) and then another 5 years 50% taxes, almost free land (now getting changed to some extent) etc etc. The true value of these inputs is staggering and mind boggling.

In my blog, I have only calculated what it will be costing GOO to go ahead as is, for the currently mined Iron Ore and POSCO's up coming plant. The blog on the subject is self explanatory. I conclude that, unless the current MOU terms are nixed and Royalty raised, our goose will be cooked.
http://mathtalentsearch.blogspot.com/2007/12/worlds-resources-are-limited-sandip-k.html

Friday, December 07, 2007

The World's resources are limited - Sandip K . Dasverma

The World resources are limited. This understanding dawned in recent decades, resulting in sky rocketing prices of natural resources. $100/ Crude oil barrel (up from $1.28 in 1970). Iron ore International Market price(IMP) has soared to $100/Tonne( see: http://www.econstats.com/rt_ironore.htm). ($1=Rs. 40)
And is still going up(http://metalsplace.com/news/?a=16372)
By common sense no one will off load stocks, when prices are rising. Thus it is not clear, why the Govt. of Orissa(GOO) is eager to sell off its Iron Ore reserves at throw away prices(Current Royalty Rs. 27/Tonne) to the likes of POSCO or TATAS or Mittals and many others.
In a democracy the only way to stop such deals is by informing/educating public and the civil society.
The cancellation of sale of NALCO couple of years back was an example of education of the civil society and general public. The common alibi is: Royalty prices have been fixed by Govt of India(GOI), not us. But in a democratic free country what prevents the GOO from asking for a revision, at an ad velorem rate? And why this haste in signing off the rights before such a revision?

The following data/numbers will explain, why:
1. In 2006 GOO leased mines raised 47.6 million Tonnes of Iron Ore. This has brought the miners, $4.76 billion at the international market price of $100/ Tonne. The cost of raising and transporting is only $450 million. So a net profit of $4 billion has gone to the miners or ISP(Integrated Steel Plants).
If OMC(Orissa Mining Corporation, a public sector undertaking owned by GOO) handled the whole business, GOO would have profited by $4.00 billion or Rs. 16 thousand crores.
2. But OMC can’t, because it is undermined by both inefficiency, corruption & the political influence of the mining lobby.
3. Thus mining rights were doled out to the private mining companies, who mostly export and to ISP, who mine and process. Miners & ISPs, paid only $30 million(Rs. 120 crores) as Royalty, Rs. 24($0.60) per Tonne to GOO.
This surely needs to change, if Orissa is not to remain perpetually poor, while it's family silver wire is sold off.

POSCO case - A similar analysis:
1. POSCO will consume 20 million Tonnes of Iron Ore in 12 million ton ISP per year. At Rs. 27($.68) it will pay 54 crores/ year. However the ore price is Rs. 8000 crores (Rs. 4000 X 20 MT)
2. At current prices GOO will give away rights for $60 billion or 240,000 crores worth Iron Ore for a mere 1620 crores. The price is expected to rise between 20 to 50%(http://metalsplace.com/news/?a=16372). Incidentally while GOO is selling it’s assets, China is trying to buy mining company Rin Tinto for $350 billions for it’s mining leases. In other words the Orissa lease will increase POSCO nett worth by $60 billion plus.
3. MOU has a clause by which POSCO will ship out 72000 crore ($18 billion) worth(30%) Iron Ore to it’s other plants, through it’s own port? It has to pay $18 billion plus the transport to bring it back. Who will keep account? At the end POSCO will probably go for arbitration and even if they pay $1 billion as fines, they will come out ahead.
4. This is added to the fact that when the plant machinery comes it will pay no taxes, since they have manipulated to get an SEZ, from GOI.
5. They don’t pay for water,for coal, dolomite, chromite etc.
6. They don’t have a clause in the MOU to restore land and treat their effluent, since laws of the land are not applicable to SEZ.

My recommendations:
Three ad velorem Royalty rates:
1. 50% for ISPs in Orissa, applicable to POSCO. They pay all taxes to the GOO, the main advantage of having an instate ISP. At this rate POSCO plant will bring Rs.4000 crores (20 MT X Rs. 4000 X 0.5) per year, same as current GOO budget.
2. 60% for ISPs in other Indian states. (Currently about 5 Million Tonne, will bring Rs. 1200 crores)
3. And 80% for the mining companies, to export. (Current 45 Million Tonne, will bring to GOO, Rs. 14,400 crores/year)
4. All environmental laws should be operative.
5. The R & R is a minor 4.5 % of the current give away to the ISPs and also one time only. All evictees should be fully compensated. The 900 crore payout is 20 lakh / acre per of 4500 acres of land to be acquired. I think they should be paid 10 lakhs and be given other 10 lakhs as postal saving bank deposits.

Common sense should prevail:
GOO should give first priority to change the GOI policy. Because they are losing out nearly 20 thousand crores per year for each of next 30 years.
The MPs and ministers from Orissa, 36Garh, Jharkhand should form an IRON ORE Alliance.
Like the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), they should get together to ask for higher Royalty, for minerals? Recently the CMs have got together and are trying to meet the PM but only to have the mine allocation rights restored to the states, not request to raise the Royalty. This is na├»ve and only good for the political parties – who can raise election donations from the mining lobby but not good for people of Orissa, who are remaining poor.
For ISPs currently operating in AP, MP, Karnataka and West Bengal, to bring them into IRON ORE Alliance, I have suggested a compromise formula, a Royalty at 60% of the IMP.
The change in above policy is clearly necessary before signing of the POSCO contract. Similar protective steps are necessary before Mittal, Jindal, Tata contracts are signed.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

A give away, a loot and a scam, rolled into one by Sandip K. Dasverma

Why I think leasing out any mines at this time without linking it to ad valerom, International Market price is a give away, a loot and a scam rolled into one? I will give the reason below. First please read below the very interesting news article about SAIL(Steel Authority of India Limited) plans.
Ad Valorem is a potent term, which means that price is linked to the value, going up or down based on it's International market price.

News paper article in The Telegraph:

Subject: SAIL would source about 30MT of iron ore from its seven mines in Jharkhand and Orissa.


Fresh techies make way for SAIL unit - PINAKI MAJUMDAR
Jamshedpur, Nov. 7: XXXX SAIL operates seven mines at Kiriburu, Megahataburu, Gua, Chiria, Bolani, Barsua and Kalta. The steel company is soon going to start mining operations at another iron-ore mines at Taldhi, between Barsua and Kalta.
A spokesperson of SAIL told The Telegraph that along with the 41 trainees, SAIL has also made recruitment at the middle management level, consisting of project engineers to meet the growing manpower requirement at its mining division. Moreover, the company is also planning to appoint geologists to fill up important positions.
The newly recruited engineers will fulfill the vital human resource requirement in the present mines as well as in the mines that are coming up at Chiria and Taldih, he said. SAIL has fixed a target to produce over 25 million tonnes (MT) of steel by 2011, for which iron ore requirement would be over 40MT. The raw material division would source about 30MT of iron ore from its seven mines in Jharkhand and Orissa.
.


This gives me an opportunity to demonstrate to the concerned citizens, why I say, we are missing out on focusing on the important issues of the deals.
Talking about Royalty, it being fixed at ridiculous Rs. 27 or $0.68/tonne by center ( by Govt of India) as an issue, which should be addressed foremost. In any independent country. Member of it's Parliament, dictate the policies which the bureaucracy implements. But why are our MPs more or less silent on this issue? To me silence is ominous and situation seems suspicious and we are probably in the middle of a scam. Where does the MPs allegiance lie? It should be People of their respective states. Yet they are silent when so much money is being drained out of the exchequer. There is no convincing reason to imagine that the MPs are unaware of these issues. When such huge money is involved, such deafening silence seems suspect.
Let us take this case of SAIL, which is a public sector undertaking. It's profits are theoretically to be plowed back to the revenue of the country, which in turn shares it with the states.

Each part of the country has it's own advantages & disadvantages of natural resources. Some are endowed with natural resources others are not. Those who are, like Orissa state and have other disadvantages, should insist on getting a fair price & return on depletion of their resources.
Only way to plow it back to the economy of Orissa, we have to insist on GOI, to raise the Royalty, proportional to the to international market price (rise) of the Iron and other ore. Presently the value of high grade lump Iron Ore from Orissa, is approx. $100/Tonne, less the raising costs. Of which we retain only $0.67 as Royalty. This is laughable but let us calculate the results.
Let us consider that we ask for higher Royalty at the ad valorem, at 50% of the international Market price to SAIL.
This will enrich the state of Orissa, @ $50/Tonne 50*40million =$2000 million or $2 billion or 8000 crores, approx, per year.

That Rs. 8000 crores will provide us with:
1. 8 IITs / year with our own money.
2. 15 times the present total Railway investment in the state.
3. 2 times the total annual commercial tax revenue, so we can abolish all sales taxes, octori taxes etc.
4. We can give any student who wants to study, all the loan they want.
5. We can also give loan to our entrepreneurs, the money they need, to invest
etc etc etc
And all this from only the earnings of one year.
We don't have to go every year begging to the GOI.
So why not?
Because there is a written and a signed lease contract with SAIL, which will prevent us from doing the same. Similar contracts are with NALCO, TATA etc. So those are lost cases.
But it can be done in case of TATA's, Mittal's or POSCO's, new plants and new leases, which are to be signed at the end of MOUs.
But only and only if, Govt of Orissa(GoO) does not sign new contracts in same terms, as in the MOUs.

So I think the R &R issues are diversionary and a SIDE SHOW. The pro-people lobby is fighting the wrong battle for better rehabilitation benefits, while all of the above companies (TATAs, Mittals or POSCO ) are going to laugh their way to the bank.
Because the money that these MNC(Multi National Corporations) and LNC(large National Corporations) will pay for rehabilitation and land, is equal to savings from only 8 million Tonnes, of the cost of the Iron Ore. So what if they pay a higher price for the land? If I were the CEO of POSCO I would create a problem in R & R area, in the beginning to divert attention away from the deal where lies, most of the money. I will demo that again below illustrating with POSCO numbers.
Similar is the case of VEDANTA, which needs bauxite, but it has different numbers but though equally bad. I will cover the same later.
To demo what I am talking about, let us run the same numbers through the POSCO numbers:
POSCO who will produce 12 million tonnes, thus will need approx 20 million Tons of Iron Ore/year.
POSCO will save them $100*20 million = $2 billion per year based on current international Market price. Or 8000 crore at current exchange rate. ($1= Rs. 40)
If POSCO agrees to pay 20 lakhs / acre (2 times the current highest price of 10 lakhs per acre offered by any Govt. in India) their pay out for 4000 acres, will be about Rs. 8 billions (Rs. 20 lakh/acre *4000 acres = Rs 8oo crore) or $200 million only, for the land.
And land is to be paid for one time only.
In other words even ignoring free water, free disposal of waste, low Royalty price of coal etc and SEZ advantages, POSCO will make a profit of 7200 crore in the first year and 8000 crore for the rest of their working plant life in Orissa from savings in Iron Ore prices, alone. Other benefits will add up at least up to a similar amount, if not more. There is also no cost to be paid for pollution and disposal.
If Orissa Govt Orissa(GOO) gives POSCO, 600 million tonne mines on lease, GOO will give away $60 billion to POSCO, at current prices for iron Ore. This ignores the international Market price rise which is expected to double in less than 5 years.
Shipping out 30% or 180 million Tonnes of high quality Ore, will be like giving away $18 billion to POSCO without any indemnity. Because POSCO’s whole plant is to be a $12 billion investment. Do you friends think that GOO has where withal to get back this Ore, from an MNC?

I can take the risk it in writing they will pay at 68cents/ Tonne ($125 million) and a penalty of $100 million or so. Because they don't have ore, and they buy it at $100 plus, which will cost them probably Whopping 20 to 30 billion Dollars, and $40 billion if prices escalate as projected in next 5 years.(include transport)
So some donation to some party fund, $ million or two to the those who need to be bought and buy an arbitrator and fix a deal like I have said above. It will cost may be another $100 million a saving of $25 billions to $40 billion for POSCO.
600 million * $100 at today's price =$60 billion dollars ignoring all other savings (the International price of Iron Ore is expected by the futures market to go up 30% in the coming year of 2008 alone) they will make or costs they don't have to incur, compared to other locations.
Similar is the case with all others: Tatas, Mittals, POSCO and VEDANTA.
I would like to draw every body's attention to these numbers and request them to rethink their blind support for such deals.
I do agree that giving mining lease to the mining company without asking for the international market price is an equally bad give away of public resources.

Solutions:
Fix the Royalty at 50% of the ad valorem International market price for in state Integrated Steel plant(ISP) or Aluminum plants .
Fix the Royalty at 60% of the ad valorem International market price for ISP or Alumina plants located in other states of India.
Fix the Royalty at 80% of the ad valorem International market price for Export.

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Myth - "Central Government controls the mining rights" refrain is a smoke screen- Sandip K. Dasverma

The Myth - "Central Government controls the mining rights" refrain is a smoke screen to protect lots of vested interests.

- Sandip K. Dasverma

It is a myth that Central Govt controls the mining rights? Why else Huda committee's recommendations, are so much opposed by Govt of Orissa, Govt of 36Garh and Govt of Jharkhand? It is a bone of contention, as it will shift the rights to Central Govt., the minining rights authority, which now rests with the states.

The Royalty is fixed by the Center (Govt of India), i.e a few babus of Govt of India, mining ministry. In in absence of any hue and cry from the concerned states or their MPs, the private parties from Jindals to Tatas, and Mittals to Posco call the tune. They are all in this along with the inefficient public sector plants which manages profit at the cost of the Orissa state and other states like it.
For last two years I have been pleading that MPs from Orissa and these other two states get together and demand better than 60% ad valorem International Market price of Iron Ore, as ROYALTY from the Industries. States should not beg Industry to come and to make super profits, while they stay as is. Whose interest they are protecting by becoming silent on this issue? You might as well guess. http://mathtalentsearch.blogspot.com/2007/05/orissa-mps-can-do-better-by-asking-for.html

Lastly, if we get 60% of International Market price we can give away 10% to any one for making their plant inside the state. And we earn $2 to $4 billion dollars(8000 to 16000 crores at current prices which are likely to go up next year). This we can spend not only to improve health and education but for changing quality of life. We not only give this away but add SEZ and other facilities in the name of competition between the states. For a reference Orissa's current year's budget is Rs. 4500 crores, half the money Orissa GoO is willing to giving away only to POSCO/year for next 30 years.

The three State Govts(Orissa, 36Garh and Jharkhand) can form a Cartel (like OPEC) so they won't have to compete against each other and give away their family silver, so to say.

Please consider why scarce OIL will sell at $80 a barrel every where and scarce IRON Ore at $0.68 C/Tonne, while Brazil and Australia sells it for $100/Tonne.
Also the Iron Ore price differentials, in Ores from lump to fine are all sold in India at the same price in India. Thus a huge wastage and throw away of fines, the less desirable Ore occurs in India.

Who benefits? This Royalty fixed by center argument is a smoke screen to hide that fact that lot of people are unduly benefiting at the cost of the affected states and their people, including Orissa.

Why no such action is being taken?

If it is not happening there must be some vested interest, who must be exposed, is it not?

Let states get together to demand from center:
1. there should be price differential in Ores based on the grade of Ores, from the lump ore, medium and fines.
And:
Fix the Royalty at 50% of the ad valorem International market price for in state Integrated Steel plant(ISP) or Aluminum plants .
Fix the Royalty at 60% of the ad valorem International market price for ISP or Alumina plants located in other states of India.
Fix the Royalty at 75% of the ad valorem International market price for Export.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Are we are becoming a shallow and mean people? - By Sandip K. Dasverma

A question often bothers my mind: Are we are becoming a shallow and mean people? Or we are just allowing such people to represent us by default?

I saw many of the protest videos in New York against Sonia Gandhi’s visit to UNO, last week. Most of them are in bad test, to say the least.

I don't like the dynastic tendencies at all. In 1975, my sympathies were with the opposition alliance, largely due to the dynastic tendencies and it's promotion by the All India Radio(AIR), also popularly known as All Indira Radio. Though I was a Government of Orissa servant, my position was not private, though I did not actively participate in politics. Even with that background I don't like this ugly illiberalism and ethos, which smacks of communalism and dirty politics. There is no doubt that starting from Indira Gandhi till today, this family has taken advantage of the coincidence of their last name with M.K. Gandhi. However the way to face that is not to ally with people who are openly communal. The way BJP has tried to take advantage of ignorance of Indian masses to project Ram Setu is clearly a manifestation of of their archaic and evil mind. Ofcourse Mr. Karunanidhi, a thrice married man, in a country, where only monogamy is legal, has by his stupid action made it worse. Unfortunately, we has a people have very little choice. The choice is between Twiddle Dum and Twiddle Dee. First a bunch of unscientific backward looking people who promote miracles in 21st century, for example Ganesh statue drinking milk (with Ph.Ds in science) and another bunch who speak all the right things but do just the reverse. They both keep other issues (like Ram vs. Rome) alive, so public attention is well diverted away from their CORRUPTION and emptying of the public treasury.

Why could not the same people at New York, protest stealing of 555 crores of 755 crores in NREGA money, in Orissa. And similar actions of Government and Government machinery all over India? I did not also see a single poster, demanding enforcement of RTI properly, nor a demand to enforce Rule of Law properly. Or a demand to STOP farmer's suicide in half of India, particularly in the leading industrial states like Andhra Pradesh and Maharastra. The NPA (National Progressive Alliance) Government led by Congress, can't anymore after 3 years, claim that it is what they inherited from NDA (National Democratic Alliance). Are these issues not what she as the leader of her party and NPA, be judged on? Would it not have helped people in whose name all this humbug is going on, if the attention of the International community would have been drawn to these deficiencies of the current Government? Would it not have forced changes and drawn attention of the international community - about real issues of current time. I am sure it was not beneficial to do as it was done, to raise the issue of her Italian ancestry rather than focus on the inadequacy of her parties’ Government??

Don't these people understand that it is stupid to do it this way – and project ourselves as a bunch of intolerant people, to an international audience? It is like asking sympathy of the very people you want to denigrate, is not it? It is stupid at best and highly harmful and damaging to image of India, at the worst.

If I were to decide what to do, I would have invited Prof. Jean Derez to lead a protest based on all the above issues and highlighted the fact that in Gandhi's land one Ambani is building a house worth $1 billion, under the present Government's guardianship and her leadership. This while, nearly 50 thousand or more farmers have committed suicide and there is no mention of the same in the issues raised. The rejection of our real heritage and values, like simple living and high thinking, was not even an issue made by these people each of whom want to be a Mahajan or an Ambani. All they can think of is Ram Vs. Rome, such is their lop sided view and politics.

We have to remember that replacing a Gandhi dynasty with a Mahajan (he improved his net worth from Zero to 2200 crores in 20 years of politics) is going from frying pan to fire. Should we not have concentrated on why we are going away from our real heritage, under this very Government? If we accepted Mira Behn (Magaret Slade), Rev. C. F. Andrews, Nelli Sengupta, Anne Besant, Dr. Varrier Alwyn, and today’s people like Jeanne Druz and many such, why can't we accept Sonia, as long as she accepts our heritage and type of living?

A question often bothers my mind: Are we becoming a shallow and mean people or we are just allowing such people to represent us, by default?

Thursday, September 27, 2007

A plan for Odissi Dance Market Development in USA- By S. K. Dasverma

A plan for Odissi Dance Market Development in USA
Or,

Can we show case of our culture in USA and use Odissi dance groups as a profitable venture?


By Sandip K. Dasverma


The answer to this question is: Yes.

Odissi dancers have been visiting USA since early 70s. Two names that were known early to the Indian community in North America's metros were Late Sanjukta Panigrahi and Late Kelu Charan Mohapatra. Both are legends and have since passed away.

We have come a long way since then, particularly after the International Odissi Dance festivals in 2002/2003 at Washington DC with active help of the then Indian Ambassador Mr. Lalit Mansingh. A new generation has taken over and the group dances have become popular. Additionally, a large group of male dancers, no longer masquerading as females (Gotipua style) are now becoming popular. A good Odissi dancer can now earn 1 lakh plus on a trip to USA, all costs paid. They are still not floating in milk and honey but no longer starving either, if they are good. The purpose of this article to discuss plans and possibilities to take these troupes to the next higher level, so more artists, can earn more. Also a corpus fund ($1 million) can be created out of the profits to support the purists and the pure form.

Strategic changes needed:

  1. Odissi troupes now must focus on mainstream Americans rather than target only Indian audiences. They still continue to depend on local Indian host groups (mostly Oriya or Bengali groups) for transport, food and shelter, to keep them within budget and provide them a support group in an alien circumstance.
  2. Professional management of the tours must happen, with good scheduling, good planning, regular networking with the local patrons, like a touring theatre company.
  3. There should be a central promotion group body for promotion of Odissi in America – constituted by the individual local patrons/promoters a body of hundred who have worked in the past or still working on it, as a independent non-profit federation or under OSA as a special unit.

A. The following visible developments have happened in the last decade or two:

  1. The grace of Odissi is now appreciated all over India and its popularity has come at par with Bharat Natyam, the most popular of the classical Indian dance forms, except in South.
  2. The development of group dances with equal number of men and women has transformed the image of Odissi from a slow, solo dance to a rhythmic dynamic dance form with lot of energy and speed.
  3. .It has come to the throes of a financially viable industry, provided it is professionally managed. The techniques of Scheduling, financial planning and marketing and electronic communication needs to be introduced to make it flourish. Of course it needs nurturing to become a cash cow.
  4. Like cricket, it is now a hobby, from which one can make a living, provided one is a top end of performer, (I would assume those within top Fifty women and men, can earn 2 to 3 lakhs an year – after all costs..
  5. Odissi has become very popular outside Orissa, all over India, particularly in West Bengal and among Bengalees.
  6. Awareness of the dance abroad has become wider. From ambits of an elite audience it has moved to general awareness among American public.
  7. There are now at least 60 to 80 American communities and big cities where more than one Odissi performance has been performed. If we include Canada it will probably be 100 communities. However public forget the performance if it is not repeated within 3 years plus/minus. These can be expanded to 150 or more if persistent effort is made, targeting all towns of population of 50 thousand or more.
  8. There are at least 20 / 25 Odissi Dance schools in North America that are run by good Odissi dancers, who teach this increasingly popular dance form. They are creating awareness and appreciation among general American public, in addition to Diaspora. A list needs to be prepared of such schools, as they are they are a natural ally/host to the touring teams and any performance in those communities is mutually beneficial.
  9. With web sites being easy and cheap, each troupe can develop their own web site, providing information about their group and while they tour a web based info on them. They can also post a standard brochure and poster which can be customized.

B. Exploitation of potential and future vision

1. Many questions come up. Like can we bring more than one troupe a year from Orissa, and make the trips financially viable?

2. If it is possible what is the model?

3. What will be goal of such expansion?

4. What will be the infrastructure needed?

5. Can the Oriya network, as it is today, run it and do justice to its potential?

6. Economics and financial viability.

C. Areas of Improvement, a few answers to the questions raised:

1. Develop a net work of Odissi lovers – not necessarily Oriya people, preferably Oriya, other Indian and American fans from the beginning at each target community.

2. A significant improvement in presentation with use of video, projectors and light. For example I saw a Mohini Attam group create the background and change it through overhead projector. This type of action will be particularly applicable to the dance dramas like "Konark" or "Katrina" by Orissa Dance Academy. Now it is being done by them on a white or black back ground, which could be significantly enhanced by a background depicting a sea on the background. Various other such projections to enhance the presentation.

3. Standardized optimal stage size, sound quality and light needs to be communicated early.

4. Standardized explaining of the nuances or each troupe having its presenter, who has practiced American English.

5. Making standard marketing techniques available to each community leader. As to how to Contacting local TV, local news paper etc.

6. Renting good but decent halls for cheap – possible if planning is done more than four to six month before the performances. Always using a non-profit organization as local promoter to avoid tax related problems.

7. Last but not least moving focus and target from Indians to general American community stated above. Visible local coordination with church groups or other community groups, are to be attempted as a policy.

8. Planning Workshops on local dance schools or collaborating with local Ballet schools one in each place of visit to expand market and create curiosity for the dance form. However in the initial trip only one in 4 places should be aimed at about 5 places to start with.

9. Collection of fund either as a bank loan or an investment from people who get 10% return on his capital, if venture succeeds. For example 100 people giving consent to contribute $1 K each can raise $100 K for venture capital. There could be call up only if the money is necessary, so money is not sitting in low paying bank accounts. However these venture capital donors can alternatively make the up the Board to run the venture and decide what they want to do with the surplus funds after they get their money back. It is expected to be donated to the Odissi Trust Fund.

10. For city performances the ticket should be on average $25 and for small town America $15 / person. Each center can bring in sponsors and donors and can use the extra money after paying for the troupe and expenses for their club or philanthropic goals. This way we can create a vested interest in them to repeat and thus will develop a permanent market.

11. The profitable efforts should also agree to give 50% of the surplus to a Odissi Foundation Fund to be floated and a significant portion of the surplus – and up to 50% should be deposited in a general fund (target $1 million) for the promotion of pure Odissi dance form. This will be an endowment fund, like the one Srikhetra at Chennai has, for Bharat Natyam. There are no patrons in Orissa for Odissi and Government of Orissa is in the process of withdrawing from all such activities due to the advent of market economy.(this suggestion is by Dr. Sri Gopal Mohanty, who like many others, feel that the original dance form is threatened).

12. Try to use 2 out of 4 layover days – Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, to promote appreciation of the dance form in small town America.

13. A standard rate for small towns should be $1 k for 1st visit, $1.5 K for second and subsequent visit. These will be on M, T, W, T days. (Week days). Other arrangements will be similar.

14. And halls will be smaller 200 to 300.

15. A standard remuneration of $4k/ performance to the party for the cities or big town and weekend performances is recommended. The transport, stay and food will be on local promoters, they can pay in cash or kind, at their choice. Thus facility can be provided like hosting the artists and giving them a ride.

16. Hall size in cities should be about 400 plus (depending on past success) – for performances on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

17. Live music is a must for these performances.

18. Develop a database list of all the communities where there has been performance in the past and keep the contacts updated.

19. For emergency situations a few of the artists getting international driving license and a credit card will be desirable.

20. There are many cities where Oriya groups are feuding among them. As a result if one group promotes an Odissi dance group the other completely non-cooperates or occasionally even create obstructions. This should be handled carefully by the national entrepreneurs by giving a program to each of the groups as a healthy competition rather than unhealthy rivalry. This should happen, in the common interest of every person from Orissa, to spread of name and fame of Odissi in North America, a cultural Gem from Orissa.

A sample virtual project:

I am using here a fictitious company which is visiting West Coast named ABC Dance company to demonstrate what I have in mind. They will fly in to say Washington DC as Rudrakhya has done this time and then fly to Seattle or Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston or Dallas, Washington DC/ New York, New Orleans, Louisiana to the six metropolitan areas and move around the area like shown for West Coast.

Premise/Assumption:

  1. A trip to west coast by ABC company, consisting of 4 male dancers, 4 female dancers, 5 live musicians and the Guru & the manager(who usually is the Guru or a lead dancer) – A team of 13/14 people, any variation is OK.
  2. The troupe will travel max 250 miles daily, usually 200 miles or less & preferably 100 to 150 miles.
  3. They will be hosted free by the hosts in individual houses or low cost Motels of Indians which will be paid for by the hosting community.
  4. They will be given preferably Indian food, with occasional variations.
  5. They will move in a 16 seat bus which will carry their instruments and belongings for the length of the trip. If they use Air travel the local trips will be in such a bus.
  6. Alternatively they could travel between cities by Air and travel locally by a bus.
  7. Food should be provided by the hosts or an allowance of $25/day in lieu of that / person.
  8. Private residential hosting accommodation is fine. Else Four / Five Motel Six type double bed double rooms to be provided.
  9. They will dance maximum 6 days a week, with Friday, Saturday and Sunday in big cities. And 2 / 3 other days in the 4 weekdays preferably rested every 6 th day.
  10. They will spend their rest day sight seeing supported by hosts at established fan bases.
  11. They will get adequate rest and food, so they can perform at their prime.
  12. They use a similar color fliers(couple available via internet) with localization and printing done by local promoters.
  13. Local TV, Radio stations and news papers requested to make public service announcements, not only in the Indian News papers as now. Ads will at no charge to the troupe..
  14. A few new locations have to be developed, for future exploitation/visit.
  15. Some flexibility is there and some are challenges to be undertaken. These are just suggested and can be modified or based on entrepreneurs can be added or deleted. Just gives a general idea of how in the west itself nearly 30 performances can be sold with 18 weekend performances and 14
  16. Group tickets viz. Disneyland and Universal Studio will be provided by the local promoters but may be shared by all locals, if more than one, are local.

Schedule:

They deplane in at Seattle and take a days rest, after finishing their trip to OSA July 4th convention, 2007.

1. 1st Performance Seattle North area Friday July

2. 2nd performance Seattle South Area Saturday July

3. 3rd performance Olympia Sunday July?

4. Sight seeing Seattle and Olympia Monday

5. 4th Performance Ellensburg(small town) Monday

6. 5th performance Richland(small town) Wednesday

7. 6th Walla Walla(small town) Thursday

8. 7th Performance Portland, Oregon. Friday

9. 8th performance at Portland, Oregon North(Vancuver) Saturday

10. 9th performance capital, Oregon, Sunday

11. 10th Medford, Ca Tuesday

12. Stay at Sacramento and Sight seeing at Capitol

13. 11th Stockton, CA Thursday

14. 12th Sacramento CA Friday

15. 13th San Francisco, CA, Saturday

16. 14th Hayward or Palo Alto, Sunday

17. 15th Livermore Hindu Temple, CA, Monday

18. Sightseeing Yesomite on Tuesday or rest

19. 16th San Rafel, CA, Wednesday

20. See San Francisco Thursday

21. 17thperformance at Freemont, Friday

22. 18h performance Santa Cruz, Saturday

23. 19th performance at South San Jose, Sunday

24. 20st Bakersville, Monday

25. 21nd Thousand Oaks, Tuesday

26. visit Universal Studio on Wednesday

27. rest on Thursday

28. 22th performance Los Angeles, Friday

29. 23th performance in Pasadena area, Saturday

30. 24th performance in San Diego, Sunday

31. sightseeing at San Diego, Monday

32. 25th performance Orange county, Tuesday

33. 26th Diamond Bar, Wednesday

34. See Disney Land , Thursday

35. 27th performance Riverside, Friday

36. 28th performance at Los Vegas, Saturday

37. 29th performance at Reno, Sunday

38. sight seeing at Lake Tahoe Monday

39. 30sth performance at Redding, or Davis Tuesday

40. See Lassen Wednesday Travel to Seattle

41. Fly out to Dallas, TX, Thursday AN and rest

42. Next performance on Friday at Dallas, TX.

Alternatively:

Alt step 37. 29th performance at Phoenix, AZ

38. sight seeing at Grand Canyon, Monday

39. Rest day at Safford, AZ

40. 30sth performance at Safford, AZ, Wednesday

41. Fly out to Dallas, TX, or Houston, Tx, Thursday AN and rest

42. Next performance on Friday at Dallas, TX or Houston, Tx.

43. * A south central itinerary to be drawn up by a set of locals

Moving South Moving North

Estimated Earnings:

  • 18 X 4 = 72 K
  • 12 X 1 = 12 K(can go up to 18K)
  • Costs:
    • Transportation costs:
      • The bus will cost approximately 10 K, to be shared by the 30 parties about $400 / party max and $300 / party min.
    • Food costs:
      • Either it can be paid @25/day/ artist
      • or will be provided by the hosts to the satisfaction of the artists.
      • Quality and personal hosting will be preferred and main consideration will be the cordiality of the hosts.
    • Accomodation costs:
      • It is assumed that in most of the places host families will be identified ahead of time.
      • In the worst case Motel accommodation can be arranged for by the hosts either free or paid for at their choice which shall be of reasonable quality(Motel six for example).
    • Entertainment costs:
      • Tickets to the places like Disney Land etc will be paid for by the local parties unless they make a loss in the performance.

Thus a net profit for the party for a properly organized US, West coast tour will be nearly 70 grand, assuming only a few small town performances will be squeezed in.

Alternatively, they can perform around four Airports Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Los Vegas and Dallas. They will unable to perform couple of performances and places to visit like Reno, Davis, Medford. But wont have to travel back to Seattle and they will spend one week less. However local transport will be the head ache .

Trips will be, with 3 month advance ticket:( some one can check if there are group travel tickets for 14 people)

Seattle to San Francisco @$52/ person by SWA

San Jose to Los Angeles @$52/ person by SWA

San Diego to Los Vegas @??

Los Vegas to Dallas @




- By S. K. Dasverma

Saturday, September 22, 2007

My response to Tathya story on Nuclear Power Plant in Orissa

Tathya Story: On Nuclear power plant in Orissa..
Dear Braja babu:
Nuclear energy is not clean as you say or people think - it is seemingly clean. The issue of spent fuel and high grade radiation waste are not yet resolved. Human kind does not know how to dispose off the high grade radiation waste. In USA for last 60 years such waste are seating inside of the plants themselves. So also everywhere in the world.
  1. They are even here done in sparsely populated areas, where population is evacuated before establishing the plant for about 10 miles radius around the plant. I doubt with Indian population density 366 / sq km vs USA's 31/sq.km, if there are such places in India.
  2. Additionally, they are locating with the hope that accidents will not happen - this is not a good strategy because once it happens the radio active contamination remains for the half life of the radio active material, which are between 300 to 1000 years. It is like you and Markat Keshari communicating about issues, which he has left for you to resolve.
USA is eager to sell Nuclear plants to rest of the world, where as not a single new Nuclear Power Plant contract in USA has been signed since mid 1970s.

How do I know it? I have worked for more than 10 years in this industry and in about 5 Nuclear power plants.

I am afraid those who are feeding you information on Nuclear Power Plant, do not know what they are talking about. Such people are rampant in USA but most of them some how or other benefit from the Industry. In India/Orissa it is mostly ignorance.
Best wishes,
Sandip

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Nanavati Commission Report and the UPA Government by Sandip Kumar Dasverma

A massacre is a massacre and the perpetrators should be punished,
irrespective of who they are. I believe the perpetrators are cowards and
opportunists, who believe they can get away with no punishment, even for
murder. This encourages them to repeat and others to follow suit. If 1984
criminals had have been punished swiftly, the 1993 Bombay pogroms would not have happened, northe 2002 genocide in Gujarat, because the criminals in 2002
would have known that there were noose and gallows for murder, at the end of the day. On all fairness, there must be exemplary punishment for both the politicians and the policemen (including those retired) to signify that no person gets away
putting another's life in jeopardy, by his acts of omission or commission.
The politicians like Sajjan Kumar, Jagdish Tytler, Kamal Nath, Vasant Sathe,
H. K. L. Bhagat and others should be punished both by prohibiting their
participation in elections (their source of power) and prosecuting them for
their criminal acts. After all there are nearly 2800 dead bodies even per the
Govt. report, though the unofficial count is more than 4000. Following the
great traditions established by the British Raj, citizens even today can't
get a correct figure from their own government. Be it as it may, if there
are 2800 dead bodies, as per Government's own admission, and not even 28
going to gallows or even getting life sentences, there is something
seriously wrong with the government. People will be aghast at this mockery
of justice and lack of Rule of Law.

It is outrageous to advance the argument that H. K. L. Bhagat should not be
bothered as he is old and sick. I think this exculpatory nonsense must stop.
The international standards are now being set by the prosecution of 90-
year old Pinochet in Chile. Why so much compassion for a low life who did
not have the same consideration for others? I remember he was given the
benefit of doubt by a previous commission, while a widow and her husband's
dead body were given no credence! Such is the bias of the Indian judicial
system in favor of the rich and powerful. What the commissions, nine of
them over 20 years, have done is to spend public money, enormous amounts of
it to chip away, from the list of the accused, one at a time. And always
some pliable judges have been rewarded remunerative appointments, be it in
the Congress or BJP regime.

This culture of crime and its condonment must change once and for all, if
India is to get anywhere. We can't remain in the list of most corrupt
nations, i.e., the list of least transparent nations, and continue clamoring
for acceptance as a world leader by others. Unless we cleanse the
institutional rot, like the compromised judiciary, the powerful will
continue buying their way out, as has happened in the Dabhol case.

This brings us to the very vital point of "speed problem", in the judicial
trials of India. If criminal cases linger long as they do(by bribing the
accused do always engineer delay), then everyone will grow old and on
"compassionate grounds" the criminals would be let go, even if they don't
die naturally.
The government's performance in 1st world is judged by how efficiently it can deliver justice and how soon. Everyone in today's world understands, time value of justice, except the Indian Judiciary and it's cohort the bureaucracy.
We must have fast track courts which should conclude such cases within two years. Yes, well before the next election, at most, so we can judge the UPA government by its actions whether it is truly secular or just expediently so? Then people in India can decide whether they commend or condemn such acts.

There is need for a law that stipulates that those whose names are recurring
in nine reports should be asked to prove that they are not guilty. And this
should be done expeditiously so that the affected and wronged families feel
that justice was done. That way people be sure that there is a fair chance
of grievances of the Tom, Dick or Harry, being addressed.

Having a Sikh P.M. does not mitigate the crimes or absolve the state of its
failure to punish the criminals. If tomorrow the BJP in its turn appoints a
Muslim as the CM of their next Government in Gujarat, for example, it will
not be absolved of the crimes of Narendra Modi government, not even if they
install a Muslim as the PM of India.
There should be a parallel process, another fast track court, to try and
convict all the police officials and administrative staff, including those
either retired or preparing to retire soon.

Again, enough resources should be put on the table for the whole process to
be finished in just two years or before. This is equally important, nay
more important, because it will set the standards for the present and future
police against colluding with the politicians in power. Punishment even
after retirement, amended laws, and removal of procedural bottlenecks along
the way, will firmly ensure that justice prevails, and the vestiges of
colonial rule disappear. Sycophancy will have to be made risky and
punishment for crime and rule of law, inescapably established.

May I request Dr. Manmohan Singh, the head of the Congress-led UPA
Government, Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, the head of the Congress party, their left
allies, and the bureaucracy et al for this once to rise above cronyism and
let the law take its own course with exemplary swiftness characteristic of
modern societies of the world, that India aspires to become a leading light
of?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Videos on NITR by outgoing students vis a vis other NITs

  1. Campus pictures and some pictures of students, 2007: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-503168825886512720
  2. Campus pictures and students of 2007: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8559804627685269052
  3. Shows a single room with a PC in Hostel 2: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4859965838341521427
  4. Confluence 2005 - Demonstration of Robotics and Aero modelling at NITR, They have come a long way: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-2289717650179153868
  5. By NITR 2007 Civil batch: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=43669665749918154
  6. Institute video, beautiful institute pictures, old tree in front of Hostel 2 seems still there, leaves a good impression about the campus: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-7913421902493380628
  7. A bit of a drama: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-1183693040725466812
  8. Holi at NITR - they are still wild: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2351172199399708607&q=NIT%2C+Rourkela&total=14&start=0&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=0
  9. NIT, Warangal: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6474006549983722414
  10. ROBOT Dance: http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=6474006549983722414
Dear Friends:
Recently, Sanjit Jesthi of 2007 class forwarded me a video to see and share with others. When I clicked the link it took me to YouTube and I found there were many other videos on NITR - two of them I had seen earlier courtesy my young friends of 2007 class: Minakshee Sandha(item 5 above) and Himanshu Shekhar Acharya (item 7). But there were others are too and good ones. I don't know how many others were made but the above were posted in YouTube. One on Confluence2007 was not accessible when I tried to see it.

The one I liked most was item 4, where they show Robotics and Aero-modelling at NITR. It is interesting that none - none show the labs or inside of the library. I also saw the videos made on other NITs - NIT, Trichy, NIT, Warangal and NIT, Suratkal which were ranked higher than NITR in 2005 Dataquest Ranking. I found that NIT, Trichy is doing such videos, since 1997. I liked their showing of the library, which looks excellent. One of them, also show their Gymnasium and big swimming pool. Warangal's Pragyan laser show is really good. I don't know if NITR also did so during the confluence 2007, video which I have not seen.

This will be good for NITR's publicity, because NITR may otherwise have to start an Admit weekend, to attract the best and the brightest, to it's ranking. Let me know if you agree and/or enjoy the videos. Your input may help the 2008 batches and onwards.