Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Island in Saheb bandh

Spoonbills at Purulia's  Saheb Bandh !

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Dragonfly in the 'Purulia park'

Common picturewing dragonfly in the morning hours at Subash Park of Purulia

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The 'haunted' station reopens

Begunkodor Railway Station in Purulia, abandoned for more then 40 years reopens. (In picture, after week it was opened). It was closed till date because of fears that it was haunted. Locals and railway workers say that they lived in fear of a ‘female phantom’ that frequented Begunkodor station!. Though officials deny the same, but station was closed that had made life difficult for locals. Local people were happy as the Ranchi-Hatia express stopped at Begunkodor, few days after such a long gap.


Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Heritage Black Queen Engine

Heritage Black Queen on display outside Purulia railway station. It was 18 ZE narrow gauge engine which weighed 43.7 tonnes. It was manufactured by Corporel Convet Etcia, Paris in the year 1948 and was commissioned in Indian railways in the year 1953. This used to haul trains on Purulia - Ranchi Sector and later on Ranchi - Lohardaga after gauge got converted. Last time it ran on Indian railway track was on 19.8.1992.

Rainbows of life

Friday, February 27, 2009

Primitive tribe kids convince parents, more kids go to school

- Amitava Das
Ayodhya Hills (West Bengal), Feb 17 (PTI) After studying in a school for six months, something unusual in her tribe, 13-year-old tribal labourer Sukurmani Besra felt sorry for the Paharia girl she befriended while tending cattle in the forests, but could not bring her to the school. Paharias are a primitive tribe and hunter-gatherers who live in the Ayodhya Hills, a Maoist-affected area known for ecological beauty, in Purilia district of West Bengal.

"I missed Sanjana Paharia and felt sorry for her while studying in the school. So, I asked the teacher if I could ask her to come to school as well," Sukurmani, a student of Saharjuri special school on Ayodhya Hills says. Paharia girls tend cattle, collect firewood and Paharia boys ensnare hare and other small animals for meat. They remain uneducated and away from the touch of modern society, officials say.

Bringing the Paharia boys and girls to school was not easy, they say. Manor Kumar Mahato, a teacher of the special school run under National Child Labour Project, says, "The Paharia parents declined to send kids to school despite our persuasions. They were only convinced when Sukurmani and her school uniform wearing classmates explained to them in their dialect." Two girls and four boys from six Paharia families of Barogora hamlet here have been attending the school for a month. Along with education, the students are given mid-day meal and Rs 100 every month which would be paid after they get admitted to class-V. Barogora is a Paharia hamlet of 19 families who live by hunting in the dense forest of Ayodhya Hills, 55-km south of the district headquarters of Purulia.

Among Paharias, the adult males and females live by hunting, collecting firewood from the forests and selling them in the market and making coir by dry sabai grass locally available, publications on the tribe by Anthropological Survey of India records.

Sanjana says she has been enjoying studies with friends whom she met in the forests. Like Sukurmani, Fudun Mandi and Bhisan Kisku too have brought Urmila Paharia and Lakshman Paharia to school. "I love to study books full of pictures. Now mothers do not usually ask us to accompany them to forests," says Urmila, a ten-year-old Paharia girl.

Project Director of NCLP schools in Purulia, Prasenjit Kundu, says the Paharia students would work with their parents and the tribal boys and girls mostly worked in the local guest houses, lodges, tea stalls and shops which run good business in winter for incoming tourists from towns and distant Kolkata. "The students are also made aware of their rights under UNICEF-supported "Child Activist Project" which aims to provide them a platform to speak out on issues like early marriage, child labour etc," Kundu says. Unicef officials say the students have been working on a newsletter where their articles and reports would be published. Lakshman Paharia says that his father has not been asking him to accompany in hunting and they have not been catching forest animals since attending the school. Teachers now realise that the parents have been supportive to their school-going children. They value the education when the children help them to follow how they were being cheated by unscrupulous buyers in the market, says a girl.

Paharias cannot differentiate between the currency notes of various denominations and are cheated when selling forest product, firewood or coir made of sabai grass in the market, Kundu says.
PTI story

Friday, February 13, 2009


Egrets at a pond, in a village which is in Jharkhand but falls on the way to if one travels towards Bandawan block of Purulia from Purulia town.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Moorhen at Saheb Bandh

Purple Moorhen (Gallinula chloropus orientalis) is a ground-dwelling bird which is usually found in wetlands like Saheb Bandh, Purulia. The bird has red frontal shield and yellow tipped red bill. It is normally sighted within vegetation consisting of marshy, out grown rushes and water hyacinth. It could be hard to spot at first but on closer look it is enjoyable to watch the same.

Waiting for quite long to be driven !

Parked in Purulia town it has been waiting for quite long to be driven..

Saturday, February 7, 2009

From a highway

Sunset from Bankura - Purulia highway

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Morning at Saheb Bandh, Purulia

Purulia's Rickshaw

A rickshaw puller in Purulia town

Villagers celebrate as every home gets a toilet

Purulia (West Bengal), Jan 29 (IANS) The setting up of toilets to end open defecation may be a mundane affair in urban India but it became a cause for celebration in a cluster of villages in Purulia district of West Bengal.Members of self-help groups and youth clubs gathered here Wednesday to witness the fruits of their labour and celebrate as Matha gram panchayat became the first cluster of villages to end open defecation in the district.

Bilasibala Sahis, the beaming district council chief, proudly declared that Matha Gram Panchayat now has 100 percent toilet coverage. “By 2010 we will make sure that 50 percent of Purulia’s gram panchayats will be open defecation free,” she said while addressing a rally attended by a jubilant crowd of over 10,000. Matha gram panchayat is a predominantly tribal area of Purulia. All 1,929 households in this village cluster live below the poverty line. The primary source of their income is agriculture or farm labour. Around 124 women self-help groups active in this area have been being prime motivators in the campaign to end open defecation. They closely worked with the local district administration, civil society, elected members of the panchayati raj institutions and United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

“The efforts of self help groups here are praiseworthy and this could act as a catalyst to scale up sanitation coverage in the district,” Unicef’s child environment specialist S.N. Dave told IANS. “The West Bengal government has already started engaging self help groups to improve sanitation coverage across the state now,” he added. “Purulia is an Unicef intervention district in West Bengal. The state has a high sanitation coverage of 76 percent but some districts like Bankura, Birbhum, Murshidabad, Uttar Dinajpur and South Dinajpur have low levels of sanitation coverage,” another Unicef official said.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hand of God

Hand of the idol of Ma Saraswati (Goddess of learning) being made at Chorida Village of Purulia for Saraswati Pooja. The puja of Ma Saraswati is held arond this time when the winter comes to an end and is the time of the beginning of 'Basanta Kaal.

Scaring the crow away !

Scarecrow in field in a village in Baghmundi block of Purulia

Scarecrows are an integral part of the rural landscape including Purulia. One might notice its different forms in fields in Purulia and across India, for that matter. Some use painted earthen pot with a human face and place it upside down on the wooden pole; others may have human figure made of cloth, sticks etc even cap if they intend to give it a different look! They say crows and birds adapt get adapted to the designs, hence one needs to innovate its shape and designs and even use number of scarecrows in the fields.
The word ‘scarecrow’ literally means ‘which scares away crows’, hence the name scarecrow. Traditional scarecrows remain the best; it’s economical, affordable and an integral part of our rural life.

Bird drawings, Ayodhya Hills, Purulia

Drawings of birds (pakhi) on Ayodhya Hills, Purulia. These are part of 'Paki Pahar' project. As per sify.com reports based on an interview with Chitta Dey on the prjoect wherein he along with 30 local artists are drawing a huge bird which is 120 ft wide surrounded by other birds 55 ft wide on the hills. 'Pakhi' in Bangla means a bird. Based on the interview 'theme of the project is to present an amalgam of unity and harmony and subject is humane hence the object chosen to depict the idea is a bird. The drawing has been done with white oil paint. It covers almost 65 per cent of the hill. One can see these from a distance. Ayodhya Hills in Purulia, West Bengal are an extension of the Dolma Hills of Jharkhand. The place is picturesque getaway with hills, river and clear skies and fresh air. It is an ideal destination for rock-climbing and trekking. Ayodhya hills had vast forest, part of which is receding and is cause of concern.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Flowers for the Purulia flower show !

Flowers at Subash Park for the flower show.

Matha will be 'open defecation free'

In picture - A sanitation toilet and sheet outside a household in 'Matha village' of Baghmundi Block, Purulia.

Matha is a tribal village in Baghmundi Block of Purulia. As an effort to promote sanitation coverage in this panchayat and district which has low levels of sanitation coverage, gram panchayat and district administration had resolved to make Matha as 'open defecation free' i.e. all households in this panchayat will have sanitation facilities and will be using it. If it happens, it will be the first panchayat in the district to achieve that status. The family in picture had bought the sanitary toilet and the sheet by paying One hundred rupees whereas district administration had added a subsidy of Rupees five hundred twenty as it costed Rs 620 for the basic toilet. Village motivators - women from self help groups are going house to house to motivate families to install sanitation facilities in their houses while district has also undertaken information campaigns including painting messages across walls of panchayat and houses to promote sanitation.

Pigeon pitchers !

Pigeons 'growng up' in earthern pitchers hanging outside a house in Matha village, in Baghmundi Block of Purulia.

Lotus, aquatic plant

Lotus in a pond in Baghmundi Block, Purulia
The Lotus is an aquatic plant with broad floating green leaves and bright fragrant flowers that grow only in shallow waters. Based on the color of its flower, it is divided into two types, the red lotus flower and the white lotus flower. The beautiful flowers float and have many petals overlapping in a symmetrical pattern. Lotuses, prized for their serene beauty, are delightful to behold as their blossoms open on the surface of a pond.

Empowering field functionaries to save lives

Integrated Management of Neonatal and Childhood Illness (IMNCI) is a comprehensive strategy which is empowering field functionaries to save lives of young infants and under five children. This is being implemented by the district health and family welfare department with support from UNICEF in Purulia district of West Bengal.

‘Based on signs and symptoms of sick children who come to my Anganwadi centre, I am confident that I will be able to classify them into red, yellow and green cases and advise the parents accordingly’ says Urbashi Kumar an Anganwadi worker from Chekya IV village of the Jhalda II block in Purulia district. She clarifies that if the sick child is in red category, she will refer the child to the hospital after giving the first dose. If in yellow, she will provide the parents with medicine and information on how they can give the medicine at home.

IMNCI will help improve the quality of care for new born and sick children in the district. It also focuses on strengthening home based care and provides special attention to under-nourished children. Training is one of the key components of the IMNCI intervention. The parents of children in green category would need advice and counseling for home treatment.

Urvashi is one of the 24 participants in the 38th batch of skills based training being imparted to the field functionaries as part of the rollout of IMNCI strategy in Purulia district.
Her colleague at the training Seema Gorai, a female multi-purpose worker finds this training quite useful. She says it is like a tool in her hand which will help to save lives of little ones. She finds role plays and the hands-on aspect of the training interesting. Implementation of child care services, strengthening health systems including the referral chain and promoting positive practices at family and community levels are the other components of IMNCI which make it an inclusive approach for child and newborn care.

As part of the training which is ongoing in Purulia, UNICEF provides the participants with a training kit which they use at the training and retain for use in the field. The training kit consists of chart booklet, training module, assessment form, photo booklet, digital watch to monitor breath count, clipboard etc.

One of the master trainers, Dr. Kunal Kanti Majumdar says that the training has helped in increasing referrals and more importantly, field functionaries are able to guide the sick child to ‘right place at the right time’. Many child deaths are preventable if the danger signs are detected on time and appropriate referrals made. IMNCI is a positive step towards early detection of sickness and treatment, said Dr. Majumdar.

Dr. Kaninika Mitra, Health Specialist with UNICEF West Bengal, adds that IMNCI is building capacity of ground level functionaries so that they are able to assess and manage sick children as well as provide quality care to newborns.

Sun rise at Purulia

Photograph - Sun rise over Saheb Bandh, Purulia

Chhau masks, Chorida village, Purulia

In the photograph - Chhau Mask on display at a household in Chorida Village, Purulia. In the second photograph an artist is making Chhau mask at the same village.
Chhau mask is used during the unique mask dances of Eastern India. In Chorida village practically every house is into making masks or assembling decorations for headgears. The process of making mask is nearly the same, however, due to thick layers of clay, paper and mud these masks are bit different then Seraikella masks which is another form of Chhau dance. Chhau is probably a generic name of a group of stylistically varying dances. It ranges from simple folk to highly evolved styles. All these styles of dances are called Chhau. There are three most representative styles of chhau which have as epithets the names of the places where they developed under the patronage of the respective feudal nobility. They are known as Seraikelaa Chhau, Mayurbhanj Chhau, and Purulia Chhau. Though they vary in degree of sophistication but do have similarities, one of them being the generic name: Chhau.

Purulia children prevent early marriage

November 14, 2008, Purulia : Eleven-year-old bidi worker Rekha Kalindi's greatest achievement came on the Children's Day today as she persuaded her father to refrain from marrying her off. Karna Kalindi, Rekha's father, looked happy in taking his little daughter to attend a programme in the special school run under the National Child Labour Project at Baratola village in Jhalda-II block of Purulia district in West Bengal. "Rekha is not the only girl to prevent her marriage. Other girls like Ruksana Khatun, Sakina Khatun, Afsana Khatun and Sumita Mahato hailing from poor families in the district and aged between 11 and 13 years have also persuaded their parents to cancel their marriages," Assistant Labour Commissioner, Prasenjit Kundu, said. According to a survey and Census by West Bengal Department of Women and Child Development, child marriage has been endemic among poor people in the impoverished Bengal districts of Purulia, Murshidabad, Malda, Birbhum, South Dinajpur, South 24-Parganas, Nadia and Cooch Behar districts where 48 per cent girls at a minor age.

The report also showed that Jhalda-II block in Purulia has one of the lowest female literacy rates in the country. Kundu said most of the poor people had been engaging minor children into rolling bidis and making sohanpapdi (condiment). "As a result the children cannot attend school and parents too fail to realise the change that education could bring among the children," he said.

Source - PTI

NCC cadets in Purulia to push sanitation awareness

NCC, in partnership with UNICEF and district administration would promote sanitation coverage, hygiene practices, and construction and use of toilets in Purulia district of WB. At present, only 10 per cent of households in Purulia have toilets..

SHEKH REHAN from village Suklara and his colleague cadet Soumen Sharangi of village Bamunidha, and Umarani Mahato of village Ankro in the Purulia district of West Bengal, all seems charged to support district’s administration efforts to promote sanitation coverage, hygiene practices and most importantly, construction and use of toilets. This is important as these cadets can help add a momentum to the total sanitation drive and can push the sanitation coverage needed in the district.

This is a part of special drive being undertaken by National Cadets Corps (NCC) cadets with support from UNICEF office for West Bengal. State of West Bengal is doing well on sanitation and has about 76 per cent of sanitation (toilet) coverage in the state, which is higher than the national average. However, within the state, districts like Purulia have low level of toilet coverage. Only 10 per cent of households in Purulia as of now have toilets.

In order to create an environment of change for the present situation, NCC in partnership with UNICEF and district administration has taken up the challenge and they hope to push awareness on sanitation and hygiene within the district. An inaugural event to start this drive was held on last Sunday at JK College in Purulia district headquarters. Speaking at the inaugural function, Bilasibala Sahis, Purulia’s sabhadipati (panchayat’s district head) lauded this initiative of NCC and urged the cadets to come forward and adopt a gram panchayat near their college and support districts drive to increase sanitation.

Commanding officer NCC in Purulia, AK Das said that cadets have taken upon themselves to build awareness on sanitation within communities in the district. As a first step, many of them who do not have toilets in their home are being motivated to get toilets in their homes and spread the need of hygiene and sanitation near their households. 210 cadets from 13 colleges and 11 schools of Purulia are participating in this campaign on sanitation.