Come June 05, the World Environment Day, Discovery Channel will telecast Climates First Orphans, a documentary produced by Orissas Nila Madhab Panda under the Environment Film Fellowship, 2005 of the, United Kingdom Creating Tomorrow Programme, revealed Panda at Bhubaneswar on May29.

It is an attempt to look through the lens at the plight of Orissas coastal people, suffering as they have been from rise of the sea level due to global warming, as Panda has conceived and as subject matter specialists have informed him during interviews. During last five years only, around 20,000 people in coastal Orissa have been rendered homeless, it is estimated.

The Documentary that carries first hand description of how habitats have submerged under the sea from affected people vis--vis the views of scientists is a 22-minute exposure of a continuous calamity. It has already been invited to the Wildscreen Film Festival (Green Oscar) in the UK and the Planet in Focus Film Festival in Toronto.

For the first time, we will see a film that touches the subject at the most humane level, with real victims accepting their defeat at the hands of Mother Nature, Panda claimed.

This reminds, however, of Saswat Pattanayaks in-depth on-the-spot reports in Asian Age during super cyclone which culminated in the first ever documented book on the subject captioned speakingly by Sri Pattanayak as Fall and the Rise wherein he has stressed that though devastated by the sea, people of Orissa have never accepted defeat, but have arose again and again in their peculiar manner of matching with the Nature.

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

This year, it is a boy from Bhubaneswar that has secured the highest position in the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Class X examinations obtaining a record 98.06 per cent of marks. He is Shubhankar Mahapatra of DAV Public School, Chandrasekharpur.

Bagging 493 out of total marks of 500, Shubhankar has secured 99 percent in mathematics, 100 in science, 96 in Sanskrit and 98 in social science.

His School has achieved new distinction amongst the States Public Schools by registering an 83.74 success rate as against Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya of Kendrapada, which stands second with an overall performance record of 83.04 percent. The St Xavier High School, Bhubaneswar stands next with 81.75 percent in successful performance.

Born to Karunakar Mohapatra, an employee with the State Bank of India, on 07 August 1990, Shubhankar holds his mother, who is a housewife, as his inspiration and nurtures a dream to be a physician in future.

orissamatters.com wishes him all success in life.

PRESS CLUB OF BANGALORE FELICITATES BUDDHIA

M.Tunga Samanta from Bangalore

The wonder boy Buddhia Singh, despite leg-pulling by Orissa Government, has made his presence registered in the hearts of appreciating people of Bangalore on 27 May 2006, by receiving felicitations from the Press Club of Bangalore.

The Press Club, according to its Secretary Sadashiva Shenoy, had invited Buddhia Singh to offer him the felicitation in recognition of his splendid world record.

Had Orissa Government not mislead the Karnatak Government in the name of Orissa High Court, Buddhia would have demonstrated a marathon from the State Assembly Building to the Governors House, for watching which the entire city was eagerly waiting, innumerable fans of the boy thronging the roadsides.

The second explanation the Police offered was that the boy had attracted so many admirers that it seemed impossible to manage traffic if the run was allowed.

A disheartened public had no words to condemn the Orissa Government conspiracy. However Secretary Shenoy said, the Press Club of Bangalore is not a sports organization. It was not going to offer Buddhia in manner of a sports event. The Club had invited him to accept felicitations for the amazing achievement he has made and Orissa Government cannot stop the felicitation.

In reciprocating peoples love, Buddhia offered a demonstration of his running style within the campus of the Club.

MANA LAGE, ISILIYE MEYN DOUDTAHOON(I run because I like to run), Buddhia told his Bangalore fans.

To the media he made it clear that if people want, he can run any distance in Bangalore. He was at a loss to understand as to why the Orissa Government is after him like a Saitan or evil spirit. I want to rise by running but they want to ruin me by banning, he lamented.

Answering the media, his foster father and mentor Biranchi Das described Orissa Government attitude as detrimental to development of talent and declared that he shall do every legal thing possible within his command to build up Buddhia as one who can earn Olympic Gold for India

He condemned the reactionary mindset of people in power. Because of this sort of leg pulling attitude, we have not yet had an Olympian marathoner, he said.

When reminded of P. T. Ushas disapproval of Buddhia running long distance marathon, Das asked, Is she a marathoner?

In the evening of 27 May 2006, as reports reached this side, Buddhia accepted felicitation from Karnatak Chief Minister Mr. H. D. Kumaraswamy to reverberating applause from admirers in the packed to the capacity auditorium. Along with him, Master Kishan, recognised as the yougest cinema director, was also felicitated.

DEBAR SUCH DOCTORS

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Additional District Judge of Khurda Mr. Manoranjan Pattanayak has called for case records to see if Dr. P.C. Panda, Head of Surgery Department and Dr. B.C. Kar, his associate and Specialist in Surgery in the prestigious Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar could be enlarged on bail from the jail custody they are remanded to by the Citys Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate on 26 may 2006. Both of them were caught red-handed by Vigilance sleuths while looting an indoor patient in the guise of fees.

The matter is horrific. It reveals to what extent doctors may go in playing havoc with human life.

A 24 years old lady patient Ms. Truptirani Pati was operated upon on 25 May 2006 by both the doctors for appendicitis, her sister Prativa and brother Dipak waiting outside the Operation Theater along with their mother Biraja, the widow of Jayanta Pati of Jajpur.

Dr. Panda came out of the OT and asked: have you brought the rest of the money? Dipak begged for a little more time. Pay the rest of the money right now or you shall be responsible for any damage done to your sister, the doctor said. At that time, Trupti was on the operation table and stitches were yet to be taken up. The doctor was hinting at what would happen if his fees are not paid.

Dipak begged him to proceed with stitching as he was going to fetch money from a friend who was willing to lend the rupees. Dr. Panda asserted that till then, the patient wont be released from the OT and so saying he started for the car waiting in the campus wherein Dr. Kar was waiting for him to go out to conduct operations in private clinics. Dipak handed him over the money but no sooner than he grabbed it, his hands were under the grip of vigilance.

The vigilance trap was laid at the behest of Parliamentarian Mohan Jena who had lent a thousand of Rupees to Dipak after coming to know of their plight. Dipaks father was a friend of Jena. But the Parliamentarian did not stop there. He prevailed upon the Vigilance authorities to trap the doctor. Accordingly a lady officer of vigilance police had accompanied Prativa in guise of a family friend and had tape recorded Dr. Pandas version.

Trupti was admitted in the Capital Hospital on 23 May 06. Dr. Panda had demanded Rs.6000.00 for the operation even though as a government doctor he was not entitled to charge this money. The family was nose-led to pay an advance and the rest was to be paid on the day of operation.

Caught while accepting the illegal fees, Dr. Panda and Dr. Kar have of course been remanded to judicial custody. When their appeal comes up next week, they may or may not be enlarged on bail. Everybody knows how delayed is justice in India. It may take a very long time to punish these extortionist doctors, notwithstanding them being witnessed by the vigilance wing. It may so happen that the case may end in their acquittal. This is not impossible in our system.

This is an ailing system.

In this ailing system we have been made to accept that an accused is innocent till proved guilty. Courts are granting bails to accused persons and then the cases are made to limp. As long as the cases continue to be limping, the accused, howsoever terrible he may be, goes on being treated as innocent. Even people who have committed crime against the country have enjoyed and/ or are enjoying high political positions simply because cases against them are limping. And, shamelessly they are asserting that they are not guilty as long as the judiciary has not finally held them to be guilty. Its remedy lies in fixing up specific dates for disposal of the cases where bails are granted, but that is not being done. This is helping the accused in evading punishment while the victim (may be an individual, may be a group or may be the State) continues to suffer. This has made a farce of our justice system. We can reverse the trend if we love our motherland by a simple method.

I am suggesting this method taking the aforesaid two doctors as starting points. If you happen to peruse this article, please cogitate and come forward with your opinion.

In my opinion, if the two doctors are enlarged on bail, they should be debarred from medical practice till they are not declared innocent by the court.

In saying thus, I mean to say that bails should be interpreted as provisional judicial determination that the accused is guilty till proved innocent. It should literally mean that the court which grants the bail has found the accused prima facie guilty; but has granted bail to the accused so that he or she can convince the court that accusation is incorrect. Without this interpretation of bail prosecution has become a farce.

If the two apprehended doctors are debarred from medical practice and their registration as doctors remains suspended till they prove their innocence, the doctors who are eager to prey upon patients would be bound to think twice before indulging in the ghastly act. And, most importantly, a new interpretation of bail as found guilty till proved innocent would begin to rectify the judicial malady that has jeopardized the Country.

RULES RAPED: CHILD DEVELOPMENT MINISTER MISUSES POWER TO HARASS BUDDHIA SINGH

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Had there been not a Chief Minister like Naveen Patnaik, had there been not a Child Development Minister like Pramila Mallik, had there been not a Cabinet like the incumbents in Orissa, Buddhia Singh, the darling child of this splendid soil, who, at the age of around four, has earned the epithet – The Wonder Boy – by establishing himself as the best youngest marathon runner of the world, would have been enjoying the best possible support from the State Government in pursuit of newer records. But, instead of getting encouragement, the wonder boy is facing the nastiest barbs the Minister in charge of child development has been contriving. The Chief Minister and other members of his Cabinet are silent.

It is a shame. But it is true.

Her initial attempts to bridle Buddhia having failed, her obnoxious uttering against Buddhia’s source of inspiration Biranchi Das having taken up for penal action, her quarrelsome conduct having attracted scanning eyes, Ms. Mallik has tried to look like legal by using an apparatus under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2000 (hereinafter called the Act). Under the Rules framed by Orissa for implementation of this Act, called the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Orissa Rules, 2002 (hereinafter called the Rules), she has constituted a Child Welfare Committee (hereinafter called the Committee) for Khurda District with magisterial powers. Ms. Mallik has wanted us to believe that the ban she has imposed on Buddhia’s run is as per recommendations of this Committee. And, she has threatened to send every body to Jail whosoever contravenes the orders of this Committee.

Ms. Mallik’s negative activism in the matter of Buddhia has generated litigations and meretricious tears of PROFESSIONAL human-rightists have eclipsed thinking process of many.

Without any prejudice to any litigation pending in any court having Buddhia at the crux, let me look at the legality of subjecting Buddhia to the jurisdiction of the Committee and the resultant proceedings therein that has been used by the Minister to bridle the marathon wonder.

As I read the Law, I find Buddhia does not come within the purview of the Act. Following ratification of the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child on the 11th December, 1992, Government of India framed the Act in 2000, after eight years of the said ratification. Govt. of Orissa framed the Rules two years thereafter. The Act made it clear that its application shall be limited to two types of children: (1) Juveniles in conflict with Law and (2) Children in need of care and protection. Buddhia does not belong to either of the types. He is never in conflict with Law. On the other hand, he is well protected and taken proper care of by his foster father and mentor Biranchi Das. Not only physically nurtured in the best possible manner, he has been admitted into the best available public school in Bhubaneswar, the Buxi Jagabandhu Bidyadhar English Medium School. So the Act is never applicable to him.

When Buddhia was perishing in abysmal poverty in a Bhubaneswar slum, the Act was not invoked; when deprived by death of father he was sold away to a rag-trader by the helpless mother, the Act was not invoked; when the rag-trader had engaged the four year old boy in the tortuous work of rag-picking, the Act was not invoked: but when he has been rescued by Biranchi Das, when he has been adopted as a son by Biranchi Das, when he has been made to occupy a new domain in the world of sports by Biranchi Das, when he has become so stable that he has surpassed all the Ministers of Orissa in popularity contest because of Biranchi Das, when he has become so charismatic that thousands of people irrespective of caste, class, gender and age are seen thronging the roads to have a glimpse of him, their hero, because of Biranchi Das, when he has taken admission in the best of public school for his education because of Biranchi Das, when a well known technical education Institute that enjoys a deemed to be university status has appointed the mother of Buddhia so that she shall no more be financially crippled and therefore, both in paternal home and in the foster home Buddhia has become well stable and well protected and when he has become cult figure to whom the definition of “Child in need of care and protection” can never apply, the lady Minister, out of envy and inferiority complex, as discussed earlier in these pages, has used her powers to fetter the boy by misuse of the Act.

It is agonizing that when the Act is not applicable to Buddhia, the Committee constituted by the Minister has mentally tortured Buddhia by arresting him through armed and uniformed police of the State in the guise of magisterial power.

Use of uniform by police while dealing with a child being prohibited under the Laws, I had wanted to know from the Police Authorities as to how the police forgot this prohibition in regard to Buddhia. I was told that Section 42 of the Rules, which stipulates that “while dealing with juvenile/child under the provisions of the Act or these Rules, the police officer shall wear plain clothes and not the police uniform”, also says that “at the time of arrest” the police can use uniform.

Under whose orders they arrested the boy?

Under orders of the Committee in which magisterial powers are vested, I was told.

I saw the warrant of arrest issued by the Committee u/s 31 read with sec.54(i)of the Act and 87 of Cr.P.C. requiring the S.P. “for causing arrest of the child and for production of the child before the special medical board—–at 11 AM of 5 May 2006”. The orders of the Committee being judicial and therefore being beyond my scope, I am not dealing with it.

But what I want to share with fellow citizens on whom the Constitution has bestowed upon a duty to remain vigilant in respect of working of the Laws, is that, this COMMITTEE IS NOT LEGALLY CONSTITUTED.

Chapter III of the Rules under Clause 24 has provided for constitution of the Committee. It is stipulated here that including the Chairman there shall be four members in the Committee. But the Committee has five members as per Notification No. 8629/WCD, dtd.23.3.2005. Where from the fifth member came and under which law he or she is functioning is not specified. This makes it clear that a person, in contravention of the Rules, has been vitiating the decisions of the Committee with his or her illegal participation.

As per the Notification stated supra, the Committee is constituted with (1) Sri Rabi Sankar Mishra, Rtd. District Judge – Chairman; (2) Mrs. Adaramani Baral, Rtd. Reader: Member; (3) Mrs. Swarnaprava Das, Bhubaneswar: Member; (4) Dr. S.S. Mahapatra, Rtd. Doctor: Member and (5) Sri Priyabrata Mohanty, SIKO, Begunia: Member. If legitimacy is considered seriatim, the last one is bereft of it.

Now the details in respect to other members of the Committee including the Chairman thereof:

(a) Sub-Clause (1) (a) of Clause 24 of the Rules says: A retired Judge or retired Deputy Secretary / Under secretary to the Government having experience in Social Welfare who shall be the Chairperson of the Committee. Rabi Sankar Mishra is recruited to the Committee and made Chairman thereof under this Sub-Clause. He is a retired Judge. But that cannot be the whole. The legal stipulation is that he must be having “experience in Social Welfare”. The notification is silent on this vital aspect. As the Secretary of the concerned department was not available, I had met the dealing Under Secretary in his Secretariat chamber. He as well as the dealing assistant had no information on records about what experience Sri Mishra has in the area of Social Welfare. When I wanted to ascertain it from Sri Mishra himself, he avoided. So there is nothing on available records to show that Sri Mishra has experience in Social welfare before being appointed as the Member-cum-Chairman of the Committee. This experience being the unavoidable qualification for chairmanship of the Committee, his appointment is not in consonance with Sub-Clause (1) (a).

(b) Sub-Clause (1) (b) says: A representative from an Academic Body, with the background of Child Psychology, Education, Sociology or Home Science can be a member. Seriatim, Mrs. Adaramani Baral is recruited under this Sub-Clause. She is a retired teacher in Oriya. She does not belong to any of the stipulated disciplines behind her background. All the four subjects stipulated under the Sub-Clause are child related. Hence she is not qualified to be a member in the Committee. Moreover, she has not been elected by any Academic Body to work as its REPRESENTATIVE in the Committee as required under the Sub-Clause. Therefore, her membership in the Committee is absolutely illegal.

(c) Sub-Clause (1) ( c ) says: A representative of reputed Non-Governmental Organizations working in the area of Child Welfare can be the third member. Mrs. Swarnaprava Das, Bhubaneswar is the third member in the Committee. The key qualification for this membership is that she must have been sent to the Committee by “reputed Non-Governmental Organizations” as THEIR REPRESENTATIVE. There is no record available with the Government that can show that REPUTED NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATIONS have elected her to work in the Committee as their REPRESENTATIVE. Hence, her membership in the Committee is also illegal.

(d) Sub-Clause (1) (d) says: A teacher or a doctor or a senior retired public servant who has been involved in the work concerning Child Welfare, can be a member. Dr. S.S.Mohapatra, the forth member attracts this provision. How far he has been involved in the work concerning Child welfare has neither been ascertained by the Government nor has been specifically kept in official records.

From the above position it is clear that three of the members of the five-member Committee have no qualification for membership in the Committee and hence they are illegally appointed. The first member-cum-chairman as well as the forth member might be professionally qualified but EXPERIENCE IN SOCIAL WELFARE and INVOLVEMENT IN WORK CONCERNING CHILD WELFARE being prerequisites in their respective cases, their appointment to the Committee sans the same on records is not in consonance with the Rules.

Hence the Committee is a Committee that is illegally constituted.

When the constitution of the Committee is illegal, how could its decisions or recommendations be legal?

Even as this question needs cogitation, it is clear that Rules are raped in the official chamber of the Child Development Minister, who has exceeded her briefs to destabilize Buddhia’s self confidence and to harass him and his mentor.

THE POGROM AND THE PREDICAMENT

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is in a predicament over the Kalinga Nagar pogrom.

The relatives of the annihilated Adivasis (Tribal people) have refused on 23rd May 2006 to receive what the Government was prompting them to receive as the chopped off palms of five of their martyrs whom the State Police had killed on 2nd January 2006 to protect Tata interest at Kalinga Nagar in Jajpur District continue to show how inhuman could be a government under control of the rich.

These are not their palms. These do not look like their palms. Tell us which palm belongs to whom so that with that palm the last rituals of that man could be performed.

These are the words of the tribal people of Kalinga Nagar who are suspecting that the Government is trying to hoodwink them with palms cut off from some other corpses somewhere after the National Human Rights Commission asked Orissa administration to return the palms of the killed people for their last ritual.

This is a serious situation. The Adivasis have blocked the main road for around five months following the massacre. Spiritually superstitious to the core, they are unable to perform the last rites of the martyrs without their respective palms, which were cut off from their bodies by the State. And they cannot live in peace without performing the last rituals.

The question that refuses to subside is: why the palms of the massacred people were chopped off their bodies? The palms had no role in medico-legal investigation. We had a breaking analysis in these pages earlier. But the authorities have never thrown any light on the issue. Why the palms were cut off and in which way that helped the Law should have been placed before the people. But bureaucracy that masterminded the killing has never allowed this to happen. The possible reason is: it was not a massacre; it was an act of pogrom carried out with meticulous planning. Not only the palms of male members of the tribes were chopped off but also breasts of female members of the community on whose bodies post-mortem examinations were conducted were cut off. This must not have been done without any motive. And the motive could not have been anything other than transmitting a message to the tribal people that if they don’t cooperate, their future progeny would be threatened. Breasts of females symbolizing source of livelihood of the new born and hands of males symbolizing source of sustenance and protection, the message was formulated to terrify the tribal agitators who by birth and tradition rely upon symbols in every sphere of existence. Is it not indicative of a pogrom? The patrons of plutocracy in our officialdom, whose agents perpetrated this pogrom on experimental basis, are so shrewd that they have used Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as such a shield that they would stay safe for ever by evading public gaze.

Mark the scenario. Naveen Patnaik has not killed anybody personally. When people were killed at Kalinga Nagar what should have been his reaction as a Chief Minister? As the leader of the people? He should have rushed to the spot, like he has visited hooch victims of Ganjam district so many times. But he has never gone to Kalinga Nagar till date. The bureaucracy has not advised the Chief Minister to personally visit the victimized people to assuage them as their leader. This has worsened the matter further; but as a result of his refusal to visit the spot, he has no first hand knowledge on what really has happened at Kalinga Nagar even as this is enough for general public to look at him with suspicion.

When he rose above Orissa’s political horizon, he had no political experience. The sycophants of late Biju Patnaik had prevailed upon him to accept their leadership.

These sycophants were with Biju Patnaik to derive personal gain, as minus Biju Patnaik they were non-entities in Orissa politics. After his demise they were political orphans. No political party was willing to adopt them. Therefore they had prompted Naveen Patnaik to join politics and by projecting him and rallying round him, they were sure to benefit.

After occupying power, Naveen slowly but steadily understood the foul game his colleagues were playing and therefore, instead of relying upon party colleagues, started relying upon the bureaucracy.

Taking advantage of this, a mischievous section of the bureaucracy has misled him into the trap of private capital from where it is now impossible for him to come out.

In the name of development of our people, his Government has been displacing them from their inherited lands and natural habitats.

He is now known more for his allegiance to industrialists than to people of Orissa. His Government is doing everything to handover Orissa’s mineral wealth to the industrial community without caring for the stake the future generation of the Oriyas should be having in it.

Mineral ores are not created in a day. The Nature has taken millions of years to create them. Orissa has a heavy stock of these ores of different groups over which our people and their heirs have the geographical right. A Government is to manage this right of the people and their heirs. And a Government is temporary. It is authorized by the people to manage their assets and affairs for a temporary period, say for five years. How can such a Government lease out all the mineral ores to private industries, mostly outsiders, to be exhausted within, say, twenty years? Heirs of the present generation of Oriyas shall also have Orissa as their motherland and shall also have the right to take advantage of the resources their motherland should be possessing. If the entire stock of mineral ores is exhausted by the present Government, it cannot but be termed as a treachery against our people.

Naveen Patnaik may not be personally and solely responsible for this treachery against the people. But whom to blame if Orissa has been, during his regime, reduced to a pleasure garden of non-Oriya operators whose sole aim is to exploit its human and natural resources?

To what extent Orissa has been pushed into this plutocratic trap can be judged from the conduct of Bhusan Steel. Its pet and procured goons opened fire on our people on 20th May 2006 at its plant site in Dhenkanal district fatally injuring as many as ten persons in an attempt to scare away the displaced and disadvantaged people who have been agitating against annexation even of their community burial ground and cattle grazing field by the said industry.

This incident has a striking similarity with the Kalinga Nagar incident. Local people at both the places have been brutally and deliberately shot at in order to suppress opposition to grabbing of their land and habitats by the Industries. But there is a difference between the strategies adopted in both the cases. In the first instance, Tata had used the State apparatus in perpetrating the pogrom against the agitating people. But as the government was thrashed threadbare in the Assembly for this criminal collaboration with the Tatas, a new strategy for using contractors and contract killers instead of magistrates and police has been evolved. Bhusan Steel’s use of Orissa Stevedores offers the first glimpse of experimentation of this strategy.

Thanks to the Collector of Dhenkanal, Ms. Usha Padhi, a lady officer of uncommon commitment to principles, Bhusan Steel’s unlawful activities have been somewhat exposed and some of the culprits who had shot at the people have been apprehended. But the State Government has not taken any action against Bhusan Steel, the main culprit, as yet.

People of Dhenkanal are deeply disturbed over absence of action against the Industry even though its unlawful activities are well known to the Government. Penal proceedings against hired goons would not be a punishment against Bhusan Steel. If Naveen is to show that his Government is more loyal to the people of Orissa than to private industries, the lease and license granted to Bhusan Steel should be forthwith withdrawn for proven offense against the people of Orissa and use of third party agencies for execution of any construction and/or operation of any factory or site by any industry should be banned with provisions for cancellation of the lease/license when this ban is contravened.

If Industries try to subjugate our people by using hired killers like this, Naveen Patnaik and his band of politicians as well as the shrewd bureaucrats who have more concern for industrialists than the people should do better by looking at Kalinga Nagar as a referral point.

There the State was used in a pogrom against poor Adivasis. But they have clamped a blockade on the road which the Government has not dared to interfere with even though about five long months have elapsed. The Government has tried to gain over them by offering a whooping sum of five lakhs of Rupees to each of the bereaved families. But, though in a condition of inanition, they have refused to receive the money. They may be absolutely illiterate. But to them between subjugation and a sum of Rupees five lakhs, the later carries no meaning.

It would be better if Naveen Patnaik and his band understand this peculiar mindset of rural Orissa. People of Orissa can sacrifice anything in order not to sacrifice their love for their soil.

As he does not know Oriya, he does not have a free interaction with the people of Orissa. Therefore, perhaps, he has failed to feel that he is being looked at askance for the eagerness he has shown so far for serving the interest of private industrialists.

Because of this, along with him, Orissa is also in a predicament.

BJD MINISTERS SUCCUMBED TO SUPREMO SYNDROME

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A Chief Minister has the prerogative to reshuffle his cabinet. Hence, when Orissa CM dropped today four of his cabinet colleagues and inducted six new Ministers, it looked like a normal democratic business. But it was not.

The Ministers who are dropped are not democratically dropped; the Ministers who are inducted are not democratically inducted.

There was a short lived but sharp rumbling during oath taking of the new Ministers. It was bound to be short lived because the spot was within the heavily guarded Governor House and the occasion was disadvantageous to expression of any discontentment. But howsoever soon had it to vanish, it reflected that there was, though feeble, surely some resentment.

Who could have been the fountainhead of this resentment? Might be any or all of the dropped Ministers. Might be, beyond them, any element in Biju Janata Dal that still has any respect for democracy.

Democracy entails that party choice should be reflected in formation of the Cabinet. The Governor is empowered to appoint Ministers as per advice of the Chief Minister. The Governor cannot accept advice of anybody other than the CM in matter of appointment of Ministers. Hence this uniquely specific advisory role of the CM is known as his prerogative. And this is a limited purpose prerogative. It has no role beyond advising the Governor to lodge or dislodge a Minister. Other than advising the Governor to lodge or dislodge a Minister, whatsoever the CM shall have to do must have to be in consonance with collective wisdom of the political party he represents.

This is what Mr. Naveen Patnaik has not done in relation to the reshuffle in question. Under his advice, the Governor has dropped four Ministers and subsequently has appointed six others. But the BJD as a political party has never resolved for dropping of those four Ministers or for inclusion of these six Ministers. The party in fact did not know that this change was to take place.

In a democracy, public opinion regulates administration through representatives elected on basis of majority support to a political party. When majority of the electorate finds a political party manifesto better addressed to its aims and aspirations, that party earns mass preference over others and becomes able to form the Government. So it is called the party in power. Therefore the party in power enjoys the power to decide as to who should be placed in the Ministry and who should head them in order to carry out its manifesto. The democratic compulsion for MLAs to work under party whip makes it abundantly clear that it is the party that alone controls its representatives.

But this democratic norm had no relevance to the reshuffle of today. The Ministers dropped were not desired by BJD to be dropped. The party has not also wanted the Ministers inducted to be inducted.

In today’s reshuffle, no member from the coalition partner BJP has been taken into the cabinet. This is because the BJP has not taken any decision in the party level to recommend any name.

Contrasted with this, BJD is different. In BJD party does not decide. Naveen does. Whenever he wants to drop anybody from the Ministry he does it. Within last six years he has dropped 15 Ministers as and when he has wanted. And has taken any member as a Minister as and when he has liked. He has not hesitated to drop Ministers alleging in public that they were corrupt. But in reality he has no botheration over corruption. Debi Mishra offers an interesting instance. He was dropped very unceremoniously as he was considered corrupt. What was the corruption for which he was dropped was never made public. Today he has been inducted again as a Minister.

Who of the Ministers is not corrupt is a big question. But there is not a single department where corruption is not unveiled by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India. Even House Committees of Orissa Legislative Assembly and Members of the BJD-BJP combine have harped umpteen times on corrupt practices in vogue in all the departments of Orissa.

The Chief Minister’s clarification on sudden jettisoning of four of his Ministers, Dr. Damodar Raut, Bijayasree Rautray, Nagen Pradhan and Balabhadra Majhi leads one to infer that they are shown the door because of corruption. Be it corruption or incompetence, one thing is clear that BJD did not know of the jettisoning nor had it wanted them to go. The BJD as a political party has never met to evaluate activities of its Ministers and wanted any reshuffle. But it has never opposed what Naveen has done or has been doing. This is because; BJD has not developed as a democratically managed political party. It is a fiefdom of Naveen Patnaik which is proven by the very fact that he is regarded by every member of BJD as the ‘Supremo’ or the supreme boss. How can a political party, meant to play a part in democracy, have a Supremo? But BJD has. It was created by sycophants of Biju Patnaik who were ambitious but amongst whom there was none who could have led a political party. They therefore planed to cash in from the courtesy sorrow the leaders of other political parties were expressing on demise of Biju Patnaik. They picked up Naveen Patnaik whom they had thought of using as an umbrella under which cover it would be easier to grab and exploit Orissa. With this design, they successfully transformed the obituary wave to sympathy wave in favor of Naveen. Once Naveen got the sympathy votes, he thought that people of Orissa were fans of his father and he, as his heir, has brought victory to members of BJD who otherwise could have remained political non-entities. On the other hand, members of BJD started competing with each other in showing allegiance to him. Just like the court jesters of yester years, they competed with each other in showering praises on Naveen and in the process he became the supremo of the party created in the name of his father and voted to power also in the name of his father. Therefore, for him none in the party is his friend and colleague but everyone is a follower. He never shows himself as one amongst the equals but prides himself as the boss.

Founder members of BJD like Bijay Kumar Rautray, Nalinikanta Mohanty, Ramakrushna Patanaik etc have reaped the result of promoting Naveen as supreme boss of the party. Dr. Raut and three others have now succumbed to the same supremo syndrome.

The dropped Ministers do not deserve any sympathy. But rising of some one as the supreme boss of any political party cannot be held as a healthy development of democracy.

Reshuffle in State Government!


Breaking Story!

OM Bureau

The Chief Minister of Orissa Naveen Patnaik has informed the Governor recommending to drop four ministers as he wants to resuffle his council of ministers with six new inductions.
Ministers who have been dropped are: Dr. Damodar Raut (Panchayatiraj), Nagendra Pradhan (Mass education), Bijayasree Rautray (Health) and Balabhadra Majhi (SC & ST ).
All three Cabinet Ministers to be inducted are from BJD: Bishnu Das, Chaitanya Pr. Majhi and Raghunath Mohanty.
Among the Ministers of State, Debi Mishra and Duryodhan Majhi, who are both from BJD and were dropped earlier, have now been re-inducted. The third new minister of state is Sanjib Sahoo, also from BJD.

No new member from BJP is being taken.

MEDICOS MUST REFRAIN FROM MAKING HAVOC

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Students of the Medical Colleges of Orissa have joined the ongoing agitation of medicos in various parts of the Country against seat reservation for OBC candidates in elite educational institutions.

Seat reservation is a future program. It has no applicability to the present students. In no way the present medicos are to be affected by the proposed bill. So their present stir is meant against future generation. In future, students of backward castes would benefit from the bill. In future, the bill will help the disadvantaged class in getting admission into elite educational institutions. Thereby, in future the weaker section of the society will fetch opportunity to materially prosper by having well educated fellows in its fold. Why the present students are opposing the future of the country?

No medico can say that he or she is personally threatened by the reservation proposals. It is unfortunate that when they are not at all threatened by the bill they are opposing it.

It is they only from amongst all the students in hi-tech pursuits who are vitiating the streets against a national proposal to extend benefits to the weaker section. As doctors they are supposed to have sympathetic hearts for the socially disadvantaged. But their acrimonious opposition to the national proposal to provide help to the disadvantaged in future is a biting indicator to the selfish class motive of the present medicos.

It is everybodys knowledge that medical profession enables the practitioner to whisk out money even from the dead. It is most assuring of continuous income. Hence the advantaged class is so determined to have this profit-fetching avenue under its control. Looked at from this angle the medicos stir makes one feel that it is driven by class interest of the advantaged against the disadvantaged.

Yes, the class interest of the advantaged. In earlier days, we have seen meritorious children of poor families were getting seats in medical colleges and pursuing their studies on scholarships and loan stipends. But now plutocratically formulated joint entrance tests have changed the scenario.

Now it is almost impossible to find a medico who, coming straight from a plus two science course, has entered into a medical college. Every aspirant for a seat in a medical college is taking intensive coaching for years, as required, spending huge amount of money in specialized coaching centers. So the medico community is a community of well-to-do people constituting the upper echelon of society. And, they are mostly the upper caste people. Most of them are resourceful. Therefore, receiving extensive coaching for medical college entrance is monopolized by them. This syndrome has become more specific after the party of the Upper caste, the BJP, could grab power and commission agents belonging to this segment became remarkably richer. Those who support this segment, irrespective of caste factor, have benefited in BJP regime, just like scavenging jackals benefit from siding with the tigers, by acquiring political patronization for trade and commerce and project finance. Hence, over and above the upper caste people, this neo rich community floats medicos of India. Because these are the fellows who are able to bear the cost of coaching, they are able to get selected for medical education.

If seats are reserved for the OBC students, the monopoly of the upper caste people shared with their trusted acolytes in medical education will decline and the design to transform health service into a never-to-incur-any-loss-industry under their control will collapse. Therefore they are in no mood to allow weaker section to get any seat that they can net through money in medical colleges.

There is no question of passing out on quota basis. The proposed law never contemplates that medical degrees shall be reserved for the OBC. Whoever cannot pass the examinations cannot get the degree. But the nation cannot remain a mute witness to the present scenario that whoever cannot get coaching cannot get admission. Therefore reservation of seats in medical colleges for the OBC candidates cannot but be a must if society is to be saved from monopolistic control of the rich over medical education and possible industrialization of health services.

If they refuse to understand this, time will come, we may be compelled to witness violent resistance against the resistance of medicos to official offer of seats in medical colleges to the weaker section. The fury and hatred with which Mumbai Police beat up the medicos before the Governors residence there portends this to happen.

Why this hatred? Why this fury? Notwithstanding how vociferously we condemn it, it would be a wrong if we do not try to find out the answer.

I do not know who had commanded Mumbai Police to beat up the students. Even if there was a command, the furious hatred that was gushing out with every hissing of the lathi was peculiarly personal of the beater. Why this? Why some Police personnel of the lower strata displayed so much hatred against agitating medicos?

The lower strata of Police must be having men who can never afford coaching to their children to pass out the medical entrance test and therefore, reservation of seats might have been seemed to them as the last hope. So in the medicos agitation they might have seen the ugly face of their class enemy, which might have infuriated them. I cannot say for sure, but I cannot deny this possibility.

On the other hand the medicos should assess their situation through introspection. They know that collectively they can cause any society shudder. They are inseparably linked to medical college hospitals and therefore their position is essential. They can disrupt patient care in their respective hospitals and can drag the medical community to their forum in a solidarity campaign. Therefore they are in advantage in any agitation on any issue. They have scant concern for patient interest, specifically when they are in a mode of collective bargain. Unless one is a patient or relation of a patient in the out door or indoor of a medical college hospital when the medicos are on strike, one cannot estimate what damage they cause to human life. Those who mercilessly beat up the medicos at Mumbai – as we saw through the media lenses, their number would be not more than five – might have been provoked by suppressed wrath over some such damage experienced in paralyzed hospitals during such a strike. The Supreme Court of India has put a ban on strike by medicos keeping in mind the damage such strikes cause to the patient. If the medicos abandon their hospital responsibilities, the Supreme Court cannot come to the spot to ask them to retreat. Naturally therefore when any sufferer will get a chance to avenge the damage, he may mistake the striking medicos as havoc makers as a group and treat them with the contempt the pattern of which Mumbai has witnessed.

The Union Government deserves unreserved support in this issue of reservation. Medicos and for that matter comfortably placed community of technocrats cannot be allowed to destroy our collective entitlement to social justice, a petal of which is offered through reservation for entrance into elite educational institutions.

Dear Arjun Singh, stand strong. In this particular matter right thinking patriots must support you.

THE CM SHOULD UNDERSTAND THE LAW AND FOIL FOUL DESIGN OF BUREAUCRACY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

If a Chief Minister does not bother to know and understand the Law, how can the State run? This question stares at us in the context of Prof. Biswaranjan, a man known all over Orissa, not only as a perfect teacher, but also for his intellectual activities.

Prof. Biswaranjan has retired from Orissa Education Service on superannuation. He is entitled to all his retirement benefits including pension as he has not done any financial loss to the State at any point of time during a more than three decades long tenure that he dedicated to teaching. But as the Chief Minister does not know and understand the relevant Laws, an arbitrary order has been passed, pending approval of Orissa Public Service Commission, to cut off heavy chunks of his dues from the pension money he is to receive.

His fault is that he had refused to oblige the then Secretary, Higher Education, Ramesh Chandra Behera in destroying the charge-handover records of a co-teacher R.N.Panda, to whom, being the Principal-in-charge of BJB Junior College, he had relieved of duties in pursuance to an Order of transfer. On behalf of the Secretary, a Deputy Secretary had asked him not to show on records that Panda had been relieved, as that would pose administrative problems for withdrawal of his transfer. The Secretary had assured Panda to continue in the same college; but if records of handing over charges are communicated to Accountant General, withdrawal of the transfer order would not be easy; and hence, he should not keep the charge reports on records, the DS had told Biswaranjan. It was legally not possible. The College Office could not have been asked by Prof. Biswaranjan to suppress or destroy the charge reports of Prof. Panda as that would have shattered all administrative ethics in the College. Therefore, he did not buzz. This enraged the Secretary and thereafter systematic steps were taken to harass him. I had described him in these pages as a “victim of a vendetta”.

As a part of the scheme an idea to entangle Biswaranjan in a malfeasance over admission of students was cooked up. The government has never wanted to ascertain as to who was the real brain behind the malfeasance; but has arbitrarily held Biswaranjan responsible.

The intriguing drama of discipline that is going on in the corridors of Higher Education Department in respect to this particular matter is a specific sample of how conspiratorial and incompetent the State administration has become.

The crux of conspiracy that has engulfed Biswaranjan comprises a suggestion for increase of seats in the BJB Junior College for accommodation of a few numbers of students beyond the last date of admission. The suggestion came from the head clerk of the College with emphasis on the Principal’s prerogative to increase the seats. The Secretary of the Admission Committee forwarded the same to the Principal-in-charge for untoward transmission to the Principal, which he, Prof. Biswaranjan, did as per practice in vogue. By that time his position was also administratively dismantled by the Secretariat and paramount power of administration of the College had gone to the Principal. He had no role to play excepting forwarding the file to the Principal and the mandarins in the Secretariat had speculated that in the circumstances created by them, this would sure happen. After they ascertained that Biswaranjan had forwarded the file, the Principal was tele-advised to summon him to his chamber to obtain an endorsement on his forwarding note. Unaware of the conspiracy, Biswaranjan added the endorsement as desired by the Principal. The conspiracy clicked.

He was suspended, all on a sudden, in blatant disregard to the guidelines on suspension. No reason was shown. Scenes after scenes changed in the drama of discipline. Government withdrew the order of suspension and posted him again as Principal of Government Junior College at Puri. Had he really been involved with any admission malefaction, the Government would never have posted him as a Principal again. But bureaucracy has scant respect for integrity. It remained adamant on harassing Biswaranjan who had refused to crawl before its caprices. Therefore, he was subjected to a disciplinary proceeding before the Commission of Departmental Inquiry (CDI).

The conspiracy aspect was not investigated into by the CDI. It was alleged that the delinquent officer had not honored a government circular of 1993 while forwarding the relevant file to the Principal. Biswaranjan had pleaded that he was never a Principal in 1993 and at no point of time he was made acquainted with the alleged circular. The alleged circular was communicated to the Principals in 1993 as per the averments of the Government. It is therefore clear that Biswaranjan had no personal knowledge of the alleged circular, he being never a Principal at that time. He had not taken charge of the alleged circular when he joined as Principal-in-charge of BJB Junior College. On the other hand, Government had never made it published in College Calendars or Admission Guidelines which could have made Biswaranjan aware of its existence. So, he rightly pleaded that he had no knowledge of the alleged circular. Therefore, onus was on the department to prove that Biswaranjan had seen the circular and was aware of the contents thereof. But the Department never placed any material before the CDI to prove the veracity of its own allegation. Disregard to the circular being the crux of allegation against Biswaranjan, his plea of ignorance about the alleged circular was the minimum that the Government should have countered on strength of evidence to prove the allegation it had raised. But it never did it. Still the CDI decided that the allegation has been proved!

It has never found out, if the alleged admission of students was illegal and whether the Government has legalized the admission or has nullified it. The Government has never nullified the admission. All the students who were admitted, completed their study without any interruption or intervention and passed out in due course of time. This very fact establishes that the Government had accepted the admission to be legal or by default had legalized it. In view of this the Government’s case against Biswaranjan had no merit.

What was the crux of the issue? Admission of some students who were legally not competent for the same. If their admission was not found illegal and therefore was not nullified, how a routine forwarding of a file to the Principal for final decision at his end on increase of seats to facilitate the said admission becomes punishable for the person who had no direct involvement?

Biswaranjan had never been charged for having derived any personal gain from the alleged admission. The Government had never shown to the CDI that he had got any such gain nor had any personal candidate who had benefited from the increase of seats. No mala fide motive was attributed to the Professor. No mens rea. Neither had he personally gained from the alleged admission nor had he caused any financial loss to the government by forwarding the concerned file to the final authority. Neither any student who had been unable to get a berth in BJB College, as favor, if any, was shown to the ones who got admission nor any of the staff, teachers and the Principal of the College was produced before the CDI by the authorities to prove the allegation against Biswaranjan. On the other hand, he CDI, on its own accord, did not summon the Head cleark, members of the admission Committee, the Principal and the students out of the illegally admitted lot to his presence, to ascertain as to what extent Biswaranjan was really involved. The Government did never prove any allegation against Biswaranjan and the CDI did not see the matter in its entirety. It is therefore surprising that the CDI found Biswaranjan guilty of major offences and recommended to stop three of his time scale salary increments with cumulative effect!

Under the Law the Government is not bound to accept the recommendation of the CDI if that does not appear to be unquestionable. Biswaranjan has pleaded before the Government that the CDI report is defective and should be discarded. But, the Government has decided to disallow 5% of his pension for three years as following retirement his increments cannot be stopped. Bureaucracy’s proposal has been approved by the Chief Minister. In doing so the CM has erred.

To disallow 5% of pension for three consecutive years to Prof. Biswaranjan means that a certain amount of money is to be recovered from his pension.

Had the Chief Minister gone deep into the file, he could never have approved the bureaucracy’s proposal; because it is an illegal proposal. It transgresses the tenets of Service Laws of the State. Law has not given any scope for recovery from pension. Recovery can be made only from pay. But pension is not pay. Pay is a salary drawn prior to superannuation. Pension is a fraction of the salary a person drew for the last month of his service, to be paid regularly as an assured token of gratitude of the people for the service he had rendered. Recovery of any amount from pension is a disrespect shown to the retired person.

Mark the language of Law. The Orissa Civil Services (Classification, Control and Appeal) Rules, 1962, under Rule 13 (iv) says that the whole, or part of any pecuniary loss caused to Government, or to a company, association or body of individuals, whether incorporated or not, which is wholly or substantially owned or controlled by Government, or to a local authority set up by an Act of Parliament or of the Legislature of State can be recovered from ‘pay’ if the same loss is caused by negligence or breach of orders. The pertinent point is that the recovery can be made from ‘pay’ only, not from pension. The Rule says “recovery from pay”. It does not say “recovery from pay or pension”. It is sad that in the instant case the Chief Minister has failed to understand this soft thread of law and unfortunately has agreed with the illegal decision of bureaucracy.

Recovery from pay is also conditional. The Rule as quoted supra makes it unambiguously clear that only when a government servant is found to have caused any pecuniary loss to the State or public sector, recovery of the loss amount can be recovered from his or her pay. Again by saying that the whole or part of the pecuniary loss so caused can be recovered, it has been made mandatory that the amount of loss in term of money shall have to be determined and settled before recovery is ordered.

If for argument shake only, we concede that recovery can be made from pension, then no recovery can be ordered from his pension. He was never charged for having caused any pecuniary loss to the State or to the public sector. He has not caused any such loss. There has never been any enquiry into any loss caused by him at any point of time. Therefore it is blatantly illegal to recover any amount from him by disallowing 5% of his pension for three years. Sub-Rule (i) of Rule 13 has a provision of collection of money by way of fine. But the government cannot apply this to the instant case; because the proviso to Rule 13 has stipulated that “penalty of fine shall be imposed only on Group-D Government servants”. Prof. Biswaranjan was a senior Class-I Officer in the Orissa Education Service, not a Group-D employee.

I do not believe that officers in the Higher Education Department do not know this legal position. But they are determined to take revenge against Prof. Biswaranjan for his refusal to honor their off-the-record illegal orders as described above and therefore they have devised the design of disallowing a vital portion of his pension. Additional Chief Secretary is the Chief Secretary in respect of Higher Education Department. He could have applied his mind to the issue vis-a-vis the provisions of Law and stopped the illegal action proposed by the Department against the faultless Professor. But it seems he has not paid proper attention.

As I have already noted, the Chief Minister has also not applied judicious mind to the issue. But the issue is not finally over. There is a scope for the Public Service Commission to set right the wrong. Without any prejudice to the role of the PSC, it can be safely said that if the Chief Minister understands the Law discussed above vis-a-vis the sequences, he can foil the foul design of bureaucracy and protect the dignity of a person who has contributed his intellectual best to the people of Orissa for so many decades; but, by refusing to oblige an IAS officer in a nefarious deal, has been subjected to a severe conspiracy let loose by the scheming bureaucracy.