BHUBANESWAR TO HOST FILMFEST ON ENVIRONMENT

(Bureau News)

Bhubaneswar shall have a film festival for the first time on the themes of environment come November 30.

Styled ‘Environment – Beyond Trees and Tigers’, The Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi in association with Manav Adhikar Seva Samiti, Sambalpur is offering this event as ‘Traveling Film Festival 2005’.

This occasion would also commence national release of CSE’s new film “The Rain Catchers: A practical guide to solve your water problems”.

Screening of ‘The Rain Catchers’ and ‘The Ridley’s Last Stand’ would be followed by discussion when other films to be screened are Changing Climates: The Impact, Changing Climates: The Future, Drinking the Sky, The Village Republic, Oozy Ozone, Race to Save the Sky – Every Action Counts.

The festival shall continue till 01 December 2005.

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The allegation is not new. Neither the ruling.

Both the allegation and the ruling thereon are germane to constitutional stipulations that the government is answerable to the House of Representatives of the people.

But who cares? Orissa Legislative Assembly has perhaps lost its significance to government officers!

During the zero hour on 25 Nov.05, Opposition Chief Whip Satyabhusan Sahu attracted attention of the chair to absence of officers in the gallery meant for them while the House was discussing primary and secondary education. The areas being in mess, the concerned officers were duty bound to remain present in the house gallery to understand where they have erred vis-ŕ-vis pertinent legislative intention. But, they were conspicuous by their absence in the House that suggested that the present political regime is too demoralized to have any control over the bureaucracy. They must be made to attend the House during discussion on their subjects, demanded the Opposition.

The position did not improve. Has the House lost its significance to the government officers? – the Opposition Chief Whip wondered when the Assembly resumed after lunch. Deputy Speaker Mr.Prahllad Dora, chairing the House, was shown as to how despite the Zero hour concern the officers were absent in their gallery oblivious of the debates to be taken up. Then the ruling came.

They must be present in the House during debates on their respective departments as this is entailed by democracy, he declared and hoped that this ruling would be honored.

Let us wait and watch.

WHO SHOULD EDUCATE THE CHIEF MINISTER? OPPOSITION WONDERS

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

If anything, the Opposition was in a loss to understand as to who should educate the chief minister that it is becoming of him to remain present in the House when important issues germane to his portfolios were being discussed!

Naveen Patnaik’s habitual absence has irritated the Opposition if the concern expressed during zero hour of 25 Nov.05 relays any indication.

The State is rocked by events of mayhem perpetrated by mafia in fixing up of official tenders that has denuded Orissa not only of her exchequer but also of her peace and tranquility. Top executives including politicians in and out of power are involved as per revelations in course of enquiry. People want to know the details. The Chief Minister has refused to ask the C.B.I. to find out the facts. He has, instead, relied upon the crime branch Police under his control while assuring the Opposition to apprise them of details of the sordid matter. But as time marched, he has refused to reveal the names of persons figuring in the mafia list. Over and above this he has preferred not to remain present. Therefore, Opposition wondered, is he evading?

Deputy leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra came out heavily on the Chief Minister alleging that even though the CM was entailed by law to answer to his specially mentioned query within 48 hours, he has neither given the a written answer nor has remained present to answer it orally.

Speaker Maheshwar Mohanty came to the rescue of the CM. He informed from the Chair that the CM has submitted his answer, which would be delivered by agriculture minister on his behalf. It was stoutly objected to by Opposition.

But the issue of the Chief Minister remaining absent from Hall remained unanswered.

NETIZENS OF ORISSA MAKE ASSEMBLY REALISE ITS RESPONSIBILITY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Legislative Assembly has decided on 23rd November to constitute a house committee comprising members from all legislative parties to take up the issue of National Institute of Science (NIS) that was offered to Orissa in 2003 and shanghaied into West Bengal under the guise of Indian Institute of Science for Education and Research (IISER) in 2005.

Netizens of Orissa have been agitating against the mischief played by the Central Government against Orissa, dislodged as it has the national cause of higher technical education to accommodate regional ambition of Bengali politicians who are to face the electorate in 2006. Never before India had experienced such a nasty power play.

The Oriya netizens have flooded the Prime Minister’s Office with e-mails protesting against the illogical and unstatesmanly role he has played in obliterating the just and minimum due of Orissa.

Electronic media like orissamatters.com, which is the only recognized online journal of the State has highlighted the issue in right earnest and as emphatically as possible within its command. Netizens from all over the world who are distressed at seeing the State’s cause violated by the Union Government have expressed their disapproval of Man Mohan Singh’s action through their comments on the pages of this online journal. Its comments and reports have been adopted by a section of the print media of Orissa leading to invocation of judicial intervention. Senior citizens of excellent career records have submitted signed memorandums to the Prime Minister demanding execution of the 2003 decision. Blog sites like http://iiser.blogspot.com/ have provided alternative media to everybody to express solidarity with the people of Orissa in their just cause. The erstwhile NDA government abandoning its decision to establish the NIS at Bhubaneswar, the present UPA government obliterating whatever was left in the files in relation to Bhubaneswar and the State government at Bhubaneswar sitting nonchalant throughout over the issue – reviewed meticulously by Orissan netizens has concussed the conscience of right thinking Indians so much that people beyond Orissa, who do not belong to Orissa by birth, have also expressed their displeasure over the Prime minister’s decision, opining that the Union should not have done any such thing that precipitates regional imbalance.

Even as the State Government is gropping about in dark as to how to defend its position in the ongoing PIL before the Orissa High Court, the Legislative Assembly’s unanimous support to the demand of the netizens, in their peculiar style, has strengthened the campaign for NIS/IISER in Orissa.

The Deputy Speaker in chair, the House has decided to form the committee under chairmanship of the Speaker to negotiate with the Union Government and to take all such steps as would be deemed proper for establishment of the National Institute notwithstanding in whatever form it is established anywhere.

This is just a beginning. Netizens, apolitical as mostly they are, and online media unreachable as it is by the pernicious politicians, have proved in this particular event that representatives of the people in Assembly or in Parliament can be prodded to desist from playing the shark and to side with the people notwithstanding their party stands.

CENTRAL UNIVERSITY: UNION GOVT. IGNORES ORISSA AGAIN

What do our M.P.s do?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

If Arjun Singh’s agenda goes clockwise, Bhopal shall have a Central University very soon. But no Central University can be established without the Parliament making a Law in its respect. Hence, the Parliament shall have to assize for establishment of a Central University at Bhopal.

Here the Members of Parliament from Orissa have a role to play. They must ask the HRD Minister as to why he has ignored Orissa.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, in a state of fidgetiness over exposure of his indifference to Orissa’s interests in Higher Education, specifically in the NIS case, has urged upon the Union Government to allot a Central University to the KBK zone of Orissa. If Orissa M.P.s, majority of who belongs to Naveen and his ally BJP, take up the matter with Arjun Singh, it may so happen that the union government while placing before the Parliament the required Bill for establishment of a Central University at Bhopal, also place another Bill in favor of Orissa.

In fact, Orissa’s claim for a Central University has been pending since 1991.

Orissa had moved the Union Government in 1991 for upgradation of Utkal University to the status of Central University. But the concerned Ministry, vide letter No.14-71/90 UI on 7 May 1991, stashed it as the Union then did not favour setting up of “any new University”.

Biju Patnaik, as Chief Minister, had failed to deliver a better government than the Congress. Collection of commission was the single point program that had kept every echelon engaged.

The Commissionists and the Communists had made strange bedfellows in Orissa. Therefore no credible politician was available to oppose what Biju Patnaik was doing.

The State was plunged into utter confusion and administration was replaced by misadministration.

Collection of commission was going on so shamelessly that suffocated supporters of Biju Patnaik had started clandestine campaigns against him within his party within a year of his occupying power. He had to reshuffle his Cabinet three times by end of 1991 under such circumstances. You may recall, he had assumed charge of office on 15 March 1990. He had to reshuffle his cabinet on 24 July 1990. The 2nd reshuffle occurred on 01 January 1991 and the third reshuffle on 04 December 1991. This indicates in what sort of political uncertainty he had fallen despite massive majority in the Assembly by the year 1991.

The IAS officers had collectively defied his orders to the extent of challenging him in the High Court in the matter of property list.

Liquor mafia Belu was looming large and commission agents had arrived in the administrative horizon as a new segment of power-wielders whose whims and caprices were being carried out as law.

To demoralize the officers who were not willing to dance to the tune of commission agents he was calling upon the people to beat up any officer they find non-cooperative.

How devastative was its impact was amply demonstrated when Biju Patnaik himself and his Chief Secretary-on-extension Rabi Das got thrashed in the Secretariat by their own staff.

Thus Orissa being in utter chaos under Biju Patnaik between 1990 and 1995, the Union Government’s refusal to accept the State’s requests for a Central University got lost in the labyrinth of administrative apathy in Bhubaneswar’s corridors of power and therefore, we could not protest.

We could have raised the issue afresh when the Central Government decided to establish Central Universities elsewhere and the Parliament adopted Bills in that respect. But our representatives in Parliament, once in Delhi, get so much musti in other matters that none of them could raise Orissa’s pending case.

The Central Government established three Central Universities in the year of 1994 by virtue of Acts made by the Parliament: one in Nagaland at Kohima and two in Assam at Silchar (Assam University) and at Napaam (Tezpur University) in addition to the Central University (North-Eastern Hill University) established at Shillong in 1973. Where was the difficulty in having one for Orissa for which proposal was submitted to the Central government in 1991?

But Biju Patnaik had no time for this. He was busy in big things like handing over Orissa’s core sector to the American concern A.E.S.! He was to run after Swaraj Paul. He was to support his cabinet colleague Damodar Raut for his macho manners when the Commission for Women had found him guilty of sexual assault on Smt. Basanti Bara, elected Chairperson of Kutra Panchayat Samiti! He was to do many such splendid acts. Where was time for Orissa’s higher education? Orissa’s bureaucracy was too self-centric to bother either. And, ask any Member of Parliament as to what did he do to attract Parliament’s attention to the Union Government’s refusal to Orissa’s proposal for a Central University when it was setting up two additional such Universities in a single State, you will never get an answer. Because, none of them had bothered to agitate for Orissa.

Look now at Uttar Pradesh. It had two Central Universities, viz. Banaras Hindu University at Varanasi and Aligarh Muslim University at Aligarh. In 1994 a new University styled as Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar University was established at Rae Bareli Road, Lucknow. The Central Government elevated it to the status of a Central University within only two years in 1996 by an Act of the Parliament. No M.P. from Orissa raised our State’s claim before the Bill was passed.

Let us go to Andhra Pradesh. The Hyderabad University at Hyderabad is a Central University since 1974. But in 1997, the Central Government established another Central University there styled as Maulana Azad National Urdu University through the Parliament. What did Orissa M.P.s do at that time? Why did they not raise Orissa’s pending issue?

In the year 1997, the Central Government established two Central Universities with respective Acts made by the Parliament. The other one namely Mahatma Gandhi Antaraashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya was established at Wardha in Maharastra.

Mizoram got a Central University called Mizoram University at Aizawal in 2001. We had no problem in supporting the Bills in Parliament in this respect. But was there any difficulty for agitating for Orissa’s cause, specifically when our claim for a Central University had been strangulated by the Union Government as far back as on 07 May 1991 on the ground that the Union was no more interested in setting up of new Universities?

When setting up of new Universities are going on by the Central Government, Orissa is being ignored. In the current year, i.e.2005, an Act of Parliament upgraded the University of Allahabad to Central University status. Why did the Orissa M.P.s kept their lips closed when the Parliament passed this Bill?

What do our M.P.s do?

ORISSA STAND SUBSTANTIATED: IISER AT KOLKATA STAYED

Cuttack Bureau

It is an interim order. But in it, people of Orissa find their stand substantiated.

The Orissa High Court has asked Union Government to refrain from establishing Indian Institute of Science for Education & Research (IISER) at Kolkata, acting on the PIL in hearing of which the Union as well as the State Governments are yet to participate.

It was decided in 2003 that a National Institute of Science should be established at Bhubaneswar, which was the number one choice amongst four such places listed in the plan, placed before the Parliamentary Consultative Committee and thus approved by the Parliament. But surreptitiously, behind back of the Parliament, with an eye on fetching electoral support in West Bengal in the Assembly election to be held a few months later, the Prime Minister ordered for its shift to Kolkata under the cover of a new name, i.e. IISER.

The Orissa High Court summoned the Central as well as the State Governments to put forth their versions with documents. But the response was not becoming of responsible Governments.

Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Sujit Burmon Roy and Justice M.M.Das today heard the case and issued the interim order prohibiting establishment of IISER at Kolkata till the final decision on the PIL.

ORISSAMATTERS.COM CLICKED,BUT I WILL PRAISE NAVEEN

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

I have not seen anybody beyond his circle of sycophants to have praised Naveen Patnaik recently in public. But I will do.

I will do it because it was I who had put the comment captioned ‘Orissa is in the worst phase of her life’ on these pages on 28 August 05.

I am glad that the comment has clicked and he has tried to correct the wrong. He has intervened and used his prerogatives to stop opening of 1853 new retail wine shops through out the state.

On this occasion, the female folk, particularly the women in rural households, deserve the highest praise. Initiated by tribal women, the female folk in major parts of Orissa had raised the banner of revolt against the state government’s decision to grant so huge number of new licenses for retail sale of wine in addition to equal number of ongoing shops.

Quoting from the Excise policy that opening of ON shops of IMFL or Beer etc shall depend upon the “need” or “demand” of the people of the concerned locality, I had challenged Naveen Patnaik and his Excise Minister to place before the public the details of the “need” and/or “demand” they have been satisfied with before agreeing to grant of further 1853 licenses. I was sure that there was no such ‘need’ located or no such ‘demand’ received. The Right to Information Act having come into force, the State government was not in a position to avoid the answer. Naveen obviously understood this as well as the trick his excise minister was bent upon to play.

He has assured the public that he has dropped the idea of spreading wine shops for fetching revenue. To do a wrong is bad; but to rectify a wrong is good.

This is why I will praise him.