The Year That Was for Orissa

The year of Christian era that just ended gave Orissa a lot of frustration but this brave soil not only withstood that but also made marks in the field of letters, science and sports. It was a year of bad days and bright days. Our team recapitulates some of these.

JANUARY

03: A postal employee received bleeding injuries and the city a shock as a bomb in a parcel pack exploded in the post office attached to the Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology.

08. Motivated or not, the vigilance police interrogated former ministers Nalinikanta Mohanty, Prasanta Kumar Nanda and Dr. Kamala Das.

09. Misappropriation of a crore of Rupees in the Suvarnarekha Irrigation Project being prima facie established, the vigilance organization initiated penal action against the Chief Engineer.

19. Resma Mohapatra of Jajpur was nominated for posthumous bestowal of National award for Bravery.

20. Civil construction of any kind banned within 100 meters from the Konarka Temple.

25. The Atomic missile ‘Agni’ successfully test fired.

30. The Trisul missile test fired successfully.

FEBRUARY

01. The Local Self Government of Bhubaneswar superseded.

02. Rash act of police kills an innocent man at Simulia when the bus he was boarding was whimsically fired at. Two members of the police force responsible for the illegal and uncalled for action were suspended.

15. Sudarshana Pattanayak of Puri bagged Gold Medal for the best-sculptured sand statue.

18. Former Chief Minister J.B.Patnaik who is also a doyen of journalism is selected for the coveted Central Sahitya Academy Award.

20. The Sarala Sammana is bagged by Srinibas Udgata

27. (a) Indian national Congress wins over the highest numbers of nine Zilla Parishads follwed by BJD in seven and BJP in two.

(b) A pregnant woman and her baby child were severely affected as the Police officer of Mahakalapada P.S. threw on them hot scum of rice with criminal intent.

MARCH

05. Eminent Odissi dancer Mira Das got the eighth Mahari Samman.

13. In the elections for posts of Presidents in Zilla Parisads,BJD succeeded in 12, vis-ŕ-vis the Congress (10),BJP(7) and JMN(1).

14. Adulterated Saline injection causes casualty and resultant panic in SCB Medical College Hospital at Cuttack.

16. Orissa Legislative Assembly desecrated by demonstrators from the camp of BJP.

17. As many as 67 miscreants belonging to Biswa Hindu Parisad and Vajrang Dal were arrested and forwarded by Police for having attacked the Orissa Assembly even as 21 members of the police force including 2 Deputy Superintendents got orders of suspension from service for their failure to prevent the said miscreants.

21. Minister of Panchayati Raj assured the Assembly to accord semi-official status to the Gram Panchayat Secretaries.

27. Horse trading came to be known as the trademark of a group of MLAs belonging to the BJP in the business of election to the Rajya Sabha that saw Dillip Ray elected.

30. Officer-in-charge of Kanpur Police Station, in the Athgarh Sub-Division of Cuttack raped and extinguished life of a lady constable who was unmarried but carrying, an event that revealed the sorry state of affaire in the police force of the State.

APRIL

05. Privilege motion pressed against Collector of Bolangir in Orissa Assembly.

11. Angul severely hit by hailstorm.

15. His Bihar counterpart assures Orissa Revenue Minister that the landed properties of Lord Jagannatha lying within the geographical limits of his State shall be restored to the Lord.

18. Wild elephants intrude into the enclosures of Tiger Safari;Nandanakanana in doldrums.

22. J.B.Pattanaik becomes a permanet invitee to central working committee of Congress.

23. Non-vegetarian dishes banned on the ‘Badadanda’ zone of Puri.

24. The culprits in Chhabirani murder case in the long last punished by the Supreme Court.

27. BJP ousts 7 MLAs from the party, charging them of disloyalty, as they had crossed the floor in support of Dillip Ray.

28. Supersonoc missile test fired successfully from Chandipur.

29. Two of the gang that raped Anjana Misra, the estranged wife of an I.F.S.officer are found guilty and given life imrisonment.

30. Orissa High Court passed orders for direct purchase of paddy from cultivators by the State government. *State government resolves to set up a vigilance commission and corresponding special courts for curbing corruption.

MAY

05. Remnants of the Simghaprastha Bouddha Vihar discovered from Udayagiri through excavation.

07. Self driven missile Laskhya testfired from Chandipur.

19. The State experienced unprecedented heat-wave.20 persons succumbed.

25. Starvation death reported from Kalahandi.

27. Srnibas Udgata and Uttam Pradhan felicitated with Sarala Samman.

28. Purna Chandra Hota appointed Chairman of Union Public Service Commission.

JUNE

02. BJD wins the Bhadrak bi-election.

03. Minister Bhagawat Behera passed away.

16. Roof of the kitchen hall of the Sun temple in Sri Mandira campus of Puri caved in causing dislocation in the Deity’s daily rituals.

20. Orissa High Court issues orders for penal action against hotels that pollute the Puri sea beach.

21. Vigillance charge sheets filed against Santosh Mishra, I.A.S.

JULY

04. Widow of Bhagavat Behera wins by-election to Assembly from her late husband’s constituency, Nayagarh.

07. I.A.S. officer Rajamani is drawn into prosecution under charges of corruption in handling rice earmarked for people below poverty line.

08. Charge-sheets filed against Nalini Kumar Mohanty, Prasanta Nanda and Kamala Das found prima facie guilty as they were in events of corruption.

16. Vigillance organization files charge-sheet against I.A.S. officer Madan Mohanty and former Minister Bijoy Mohapatra.

17. Students of Vir Surendra Sai Medical College, Burla were brutally beaten up by the WESCO authorities through their security force in order to choke their protests against undeclared power cut.

23. An oestrus hippopotamus in Nandana kanana zoological gardens succumbed to injuries caused by a mail in musth.

25. Missile strikes five fishermen to death at Chandipur.

26. Atanu Sabyasachi is appointed President of Biju Juva Janata Dal.

AUGUST

05. Ministers M/S Duryodhan Majhi, Amar Prasad Satpathy, Devi Misra ans A.P.Singh resigned on instructions from the Chief Ministerat the eve of resuffle in Sate Cabinet.

06. Ramkrisna Pattanaik embarrassed by being relieved of the finance portfolio and resigns.

08. George Tirki resigns from the position of general secretary of BJD in protest against non-inclusion in the State Cabinet.

09. Kumudini Pattanaik, wife of Ramakrisna Pattanaik along with two other M.P.s M/S Pravat Samantray and Jagannath Mallik suspended from BJD due to alleged anti-party activities.

10. State government identified 283 out of 314 Blocs as draught affected.

11. Manoj Kumar Kar of village Sankarakul in the district of Jajpur becomes a martyr while guarding the Boarder

19. J.B.Pattanaik gets National Sahitya Academy award 2001 for having enriched Oriya literature through translation.

21. Paschimeswar Jena gets Guru Kelu Charan Mahapatra Samman for his contributions to Odissi music.

25. Guru Gangadhar Pradhan gets the ‘Sanjukta Panigrahi Jatiya Samman’ 2002 for his contributions to Odissi dance.

27. A village mechanic of Sonepur builds up prototype of a train that runs only on air pressure.

SEPTEMBER

07. State government enhances the amount of cash award to the best sports person of the year to Rupees one lakh.

15. As many as four persons succumb to slow starvation at Adaba village precipitated by intaking of mango carnel.

16. State government contributes Rupees Five Crore the Sri Mandira Temple Fund.

19. Orissa ‘Band’ in protest against central government’s conspiracy to privatize NALCO.

20. Suspended M.P.s of BJD held a mass rally at Hinjili in a show of strength.

21. Ramkrishna Pattanaik ousted from BJD.

23. Monsoon session of Orissa Legislative Assembly begins.

25. Independent MLA Manas Mallik beaten up in the well of the Assembly by treasure bench members in presence of the Chief Minister and shifted to Hospital in critical condition.

OCTOBER

07. A Public Interest Litigation challenging the selection of persons for State Sahitya Academy Awards is taken up for admission.

12. The Revenue and Excise Department is identified as the most corrupt in the Report of the State Vigilance Organization.

22. Six more Colleges get autonomous status.

24. Founder of Universal Peace Mission Sri Mentu Maharaj passes away.

25. Atanu Sabyasachi appointed only on 27.7.2002 as President of Biju Juva Janata Dal is forced to resign under charges of numerous malfeasances.

29. The Rebel M.P. of BJD, Prasanna Acharya is declared as the new leader of its Parliament wing.

30. B.S.N.L. starts its delayed Mobile Phone services in Orissa.

NOVEMBER

13. President of Orissa Police Association was caught red-handed while receiving bribe and arrested.

14. Bankim Chandra Naik is felicitated with Sri Jagannatha Sammana-2002 for his contribution to Children literature.

16.Rebel M.P.s M/S Pravat Samantray, Kumudini Pattanaik and Jagannath Mallik ousted from BJD.

17. Legendary singer Askhaya Mohanty passes away.

29. Communal conflict over collection of support money in the context of ‘Id’.

DECEMBER

01. The World AIDS Day submerges under streams of malpractices in its funds management which is revealed by the sex workers in a street demonstration. This gives M.L.A.s to point accusing fingers at Secretary of Health Ms. Mina Gupta and Director of AIDS cell Ms. Ranjana Chopra, both I.A.S. officers during debates in the Assembly.

15. Elephant herds hailing from the Chandaka Sanctuary kills a man at Naharakanta adjacent to National Highway between Bhubaneswar and Cuttack.

16. Kickbacks to the tune of 400 crore suspected in the recycling operation of rice meant for people below the poverty line; mill owners, ministers and officers-both of state government and Food Corporation of India hand-in-glove in the matter. The Assembly hears acrimonious demands for debate on the issue.

17. Assembly in doldrums over entry of foreigners representing American A.E.S.Co. in to the privileges of officers’ gallery without any authority when the House was to take up a debate on mismanagement of the energy sector after privatization wherein the said company had played a pernicious role. Privilege motion is also notified against Ms.Mina Gupta and Ms.Ranjana Chopra , both I.A.S. officers in the context of the contemptuous attitude they had shown when Members took up the issue of corruption in management of AIDS Funds.

18. Cabinet resolves to enhance the salary and allowances of Ministers and MLAs and other authorities of the Assembly including consequential pension. The song captioned ‘Vande Utkala Janani” authored by Kanta Kavi Laxmikanta Mohapatra earns Speaker’s directions to be honoured as the National Anthem of Orissa.

21. Sarat Mohanty selected for central Sahitya Academy Award for his book ‘Gandhi Manisha’.

28. Orissa Legislative Assembly selects Sukinda MLA Sri Prafulla Ghadei as the best legislator of the year when in its views, Sri Banamali Das, the legendary Communist leader was the best member of the House so far.

29. For the first time in Orissa, a seating President of the State Public Service Commission is suspended for his doubtful conduct. He is Hadibandhu Mirdha.

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WHAT A SESSION WAS THAT !

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Bhubaneswar, Dec .25
The beginning list of its business had to collapse by the clamant call of the opposition for debate on collapse of law and order in the State.

The Orissa Legislative Assembly had to wind up its last Session six days ahead of schedule. And what a session was that!

A lady IAS Officer, who as secretary of the department of health is tainted with allegation of corruption, whipped up a question as to whether IAS officers are bound to remain present in the gallery meant for them during debates. She was, for such contemptuous reaction, viewed as a transgressor of privileges of the House in numbers of Notices to that effect. But, the session ended without any action against her.

The Govt. was castigated by the members of its own side on issue of nepotism, favouritism and inaction. Very speaking allegation were raise against the Chief Minister himself, entangling him with his brother in a scandalous deal carried out in the Orissa Mining Corporation. The Minister, Mines, did not refute the charges but tried to escape under the cover of the public sector status of OMC, claiming that being a business operator, it was beyond the control of govt.

The govt. failed to defend itself convincingly during debates on recycling of rice meant for the people below the poverty line, distress-sale of paddy by farmers, corrupt practices in mining, failure of the ministry to have control over bureaucracy, felony in the State Beverages Corporation etc and etc.

But it succeeded in using the Assembly in enhancing the amount of pension of MLA’s, without taking into consideration that, pension to a member who has been denied reentry to the Assembly by his electors, evidently because of his anti-people activities, tantamount to be a reward to the miscreant. (SCP)

FIRST VOICE FOR CHILD RIGHTS COMMISSION

OM Bureau

Bhubaneswar
The Human Rights Commission is not enough. Children here are for a ‘Child Rights Commission’. The first voice in this regard was heard at the consultative meet of Legislators on Global Movement for Children (GMfC),jointly organized by Unicef and Cerebrum. Adyasa Das, a small girl, urged upon Chief Minister .Navin Patnaik to give a serious consideration to this demand. Another child participant Sri Subhankar was equally emphatic in demanding affordable healthcare facilities for the children. Refusing to believe in halfhearted assurances, they expressed deep anguish over continuing instances of child exploitation.

The Commission, if formed, should be made to enumerate and enforce child rights and to look exclusively into the problems a child faces in course of socialization and education, they emphasized. Even as the Chief Minister expressed concern over high rate of infant mortality in the state, Industries Minister K.V.Singhdeo, convener of Orissa Leadership Initiative on GMfC , reacting on remarks made by the child participants, said that the state should do sufficient soul-searching in the matter of its programmes for the children. State representative of Unicef Tom Olsen placing a report on state of world children for release in Orissa indicated its emphasis on meaningful and quality participation of children and adolescents in programmes addressed to their issues.

Societal approval not a must for marriage

Bhubaneswar Bureau

CUTTACK, Dec.19, 2002:
If two majors marry, that cannot be nullified because their family or caste or community refuses to approve, ruled Orissa High Court in a landmark judgment. Marriage between two persons in permissible age is a matter of their mutual preference and hence, societal approval has no part to play in it.

The Family Court of Cuttack had rejected the prayer of one Basanti Mohanty of village Kapileswar of Kendrapada for alimony in 1999 on the ground that her alleged estrangement with Pariskhita Raut did not constitute a divorcement between a couple as her marriage with the later had no prior approval either of their family members, or from their caste or clan guardians. Sans societal recognition, the marriage itself being improper, demand for alimony on termination of that marriage must be held misconceived, the Family Court had said.

Terming this determination as an instance of non-application of mind to the case, the High Court disagreed with the Family Court and issued direction for payment of alimony with retrospective effect. {SCP}

SONAL MANSINGH FELICITATED

OM Bureau

Cuttack
Smt.Sonal Mansingh, Padma Bibhusan, was felicitated by ‘Odishi Dance Circle’ to mark the inauguration of Barabati Dance Festival. She was conferred with the ‘Rajlaxmi Nrtya Samman’ for her consistent contributions to the culture of Orissa. Inaugurating the dance festival on the famous Bali yatra field in front of the historic Barabati Fort, Smt. Mansingh , to whom Orissa is that land where the three aspects of the highest humane order: divinity, austerity and choreography have flourished to the zenith, called upon the present generation to keep up endeavor for furtherance of this excellence.

RULING ON ORISSA’S NATIONAL SONG

OM Bureau

Bhubaneswar
Whosoever shows any disrespect to Orissa’s National Song “Vande Utkala Janani” shall face penal action, ruled Speaker Mr. Sarat Kumar Kar in the Orissa Legislative Assembly, on December 19,2002. The song, composed by Late Laxmikanta Mohapatra, revered as ‘Kanta Kabi’ was first sung on the dais of the Utkala Sammilani at Balasore during its unique movement for formation of a new Orissa on the basis of its language, and the movement having succeeded, it has been sung on every socio-political and cultural events of the State. From the Chair itself the Ruling having been issued by the Speaker, the State Government is now bound to frame and enforce a Law in this regard.

NEXUS BETWEEN THE VULTURES STIRS THE HOUSE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Nexus between unscrupulous traders and government officials was the crux of a noisy scene in the Assembly that heard on December 16, 2002 from members, cutting across party lines, that, rice worth around Rs.500 crores, earmarked for supply only to the people below poverty line, has been recycled into the godowns of mill owners and agents in the State. Food Supply and Consumer Welfare Minister Bed Prakash Agrawal admitted that the government was aware of such a nexus. On prima facie proof, a particular instance has been forwarded to Central Bureau of Investigations for a detail probe and the Central Government has been moved to authorize the CBI in this regard. But, despite reminders, the last being the November 14 letter of the Chief Secretary to Union Ministry of Personnel, the CBI is yet to receive orders to start investigations, he stated. The members, however, remained apprehensive of a cover up and demanded for production of the letters the Minister was relying upon which was done under directions from the chair.

These letters gave a stick to former Works Minister Mr. Nalinikanta Mohanty to beat the government with on December 17. The case has not been forwarded, as claimed by the Food Minister, to the CBI; no issue has been drawn up; scope of investigation not settled; terms of reference not decided. No notification making a formal requisition of the services of CBI as stipulated under Section 6 of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, 1946, has been issued, and, therefore, the government has resorted to dilatory tactics in order only to provide a protective umbrella to the offenders, he said. Former Finance Minister Mr. Ramkrushna Patnaik was of the same view. The negligence was deliberate, alleged opposition heavyweight Mr. Ashok Das. Pointing out that the government had dawdled over the investigations against MESCO for two years by not notifying the requisition of CBI as required under the relevant law, Mr. Das alleged that the same ploy has been resorted to in the instant case, in total disregard to the observation of the Supreme Court in the former matter.

The issue having generated tons of doubts in public mind, demands were made for clarification from the Chief Minister. The Speaker issued a ruling in favour of the demand and asked the Chief Minster to come up with a statement before discussion on the Appropriation Bill.

Postscript:
CM HINTS AT PRIMA FACIE PROOF

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik revealed while replying to the debate that the government was prima facie convinced that the subsidized rice supplied by the Union government for food-for-work programmes were being recycled into the godowns of millers. Officers of the State government as well as of the Food Corporation of India were suspected to be hand-in-glove with the mill owners and agents in such dubious deals. The State government, however, thought it prudent to move the Union government to authorize the Central Bureau of Investigations to conduct an in-depth probe. Necessary notification should be issued immediately after receipt of the central consent, he said.

His statement was in deference to a direction from the Speaker issued during debates over an adjournment notice in the matter on December 17.