NIS BECOMES NISER: PM ANNOUNCES ITS ESTABLISHMENT

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In indirectly confessing that the Central Government had told a lie to the Supreme Court while moving for a vacation of stay imposed by the Orissa High Court on establishment of IISER at Kolkata till the offer given to Orissa was not fulfilled, Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh today admitted that the Central Government had in fact made the offer, though ‘promise’ was the word used to convey the meaning. He announced the setting up of National Institute of Science Education and Research at Bhubaneswar today.

Following is the text of his speech on the occasion:

“I am truly delighted to be here in Bhubaneshwar today at the Institute of Physics. I have great affection and regard for the people of Orissa whose contribution to the history, culture and economy of our nation are second to none. I am particularly delighted that my first visit to this State is associated with the announcement of the establishment of the National Institute of Science Education and Research. This is the fulfillment of a promise to the people of Orissa. Our Government is genuinely committed to the development of Orissa and to the educational empowerment of the people of Orissa. The National Institute of Science Education and Research will be a symbol of that commitment.

I share the concern being expressed by many of our scientists that our best minds are not turning to science, and those who do, do not remain in science. I am told that less than 3% of school children want to pursue a career in science. We must find ways of making these disciplines more attractive to children. We have to improve the quality of teaching of science and mathematics at the school level. Countries like China and South Korea are far ahead of us in investing in science and technology. We need to do much more in this vital area if we have to keep pace with the evolving global economy of the future.

We have to take urgent steps to prevent scientifically talented persons from moving away from careers in scientific research and development. This is happening at the 10+2 level and at the B.Tech. level. Most of our universities are performing sub-optimally. They lack good infrastructure and suffer from acute faculty shortage. There is not enough interaction between our academia and industry. Many technologies developed for our rural areas have not been delivered properly. We will need to address these on a war footing.

I am also concerned about the regional imbalance in science teaching and the development of science and technology in India. There was a time when the East was at the forefront. Today the East is lagging behind the South and the West. We need to redress this regional imbalance. It is to meet these challenges that we will be setting up the National Institute of Science Education and Research in Bhubaneswar.

As India moves up the technology ladder and improves its relative competitive status in the global domain, the need for capable innovative scientists will increase. Our higher education programs should empower young science students to engage not only in advanced research but also in domains which facilitate translation of research results into development of new technologies and their commercial deployment. This requires acquisition of necessary experimental skills and familiarity with the realities of practical world.

There is a strong synergy between research and higher education. Co-existence of both leads to higher excellence in both. It provides opportunities for students to be exposed to excitements in scientific research and benefit from teachers who are themselves engaged in expanding the horizons of knowledge. Such participation in teaching also benefits researchers by way of greater clarity of thought and availability of students to broaden support to research activity.

The National Institute of Science Education and Research will facilitate this synergy between research and higher education. The major strength of Institute of Physics is a strong emphasis on the quality of the faculty and its present pre-doctoral and doctoral programs are among the best in the country. The faculty is composed of all world-renowned scientists who are also established teachers. Association with the Institute of Physics will enable the National Institute of Science Education and Research to draw upon this outstanding tradition and expand it further to cater to a much larger pool of science students. NISER will be at par with the IISER being established in other places but will operate under the umbrella of DAE. It will undertake integrated 5-year Masters courses in core and emerging branches of science to provide world-class education to students after the 10+2 stage. It can also include an integrated M.Sc.–Ph.D. after graduation level.

The emphasis of education at NISER will be to generate scientific trained manpower of a very high quality which could directly find placement across the country. Greater emphasis will be on branches of science relevant to the Department of Atomic Energy and also catering to the better exploitation and utilization of Orissa’s regional natural resources. Orissa’s mineral and marine resources will be taken into consideration in designing training programs of students here.

While working within the DAE family and awarding degrees under the Homi Bhabha National Institute [HBNI], which is already a Deemed University for post-graduate studies, NISER will be an institute at par with the best in the country in terms of facilities and faculty. It will have a research to teaching load as practiced in the best universities in the world. This will ensure world class education and also attract the best researchers. It will have world-class experimental facilities in all the current and emerging branches of science including physics, chemistry, modern biology and environmental sciences. We will provide enough resources to DAE to convert this into reality within a very short time frame.

In order to attract bright young students to this integrated course, it is proposed to make the course challenging on a world-class level, give reasonable stipend to the students and also allow them time for research activities even during their student days. There will be campus interviews and placements at both research centers and in industry in order to make the course more attractive to the students in the present competitive environment of market forces which drives them to IT-related jobs.

I am told that this project will be quickly completed in two phases. In Phase-I, additional courses will be started immediately in 3 or 4 selected subjects like physics, mathematics, chemistry and biology with existing faculty and new faculty. In Phase-II, 200 acres of land will be acquired around Bhubaneswar and activities expanded on a larger scale. When completed, I am confident that the National Institute of Science Education and Research will become a Mecca for science just as TIFR and IISc are today.

With our recent unprecedented economic growth, I am optimistic that India will become a ‘developed country’ in the not too distant future. In this process, Science & Technology will continue to play a major role. Since independence, there has been a great deal of progress in our S&T system. This is evident from the success of the mission-oriented S&T agencies, like the family of DAE institutions, that have made our nation proud.

However, I am aware that we must increase our expenditure on Science & Technology. India’s expenditure on S&T is about 1% of our GDP. This is half of what developed countries are devoting to S & T. The Government is committed to increasing R&D funding. For the last few years, we have been allocating larger budgets for R&D. For example, last year, we increased it by 20%. We shall strive to reach the target of 2% in the 11th Plan. But I also expect the private sector to do more in this area. We also need more public- private partnership in R&D in all areas of S&T.

One way of making careers in science and technology attractive would be to improve remuneration and ensure the integrity of selection processes. It is well known that the initial starting salary for scientists with a PhD in India is often lower than those of Engineers, Doctors and Management graduates. It is obvious that if talented young people are to be retained in science, scientists have to be treated differently than other Government employees in service and salary matters.

The Government will be happy to provide career support for students talented in science for a reasonable period, including into their initial employment years, to attract such students to scientific research. There is also a need to develop a more productive interface between the National Laboratories and the University system. Proximate national laboratories could supplement the faculty both for undergraduate and post-graduate courses in universities and colleges. Private sector enterprises should also be able to create centres for their product innovation and development in proximate national laboratories and universities.

I would like to reaffirm our commitment to the growth and modernization of Indian science and technology institutions. The establishment of the National Institute of Science Education and Research in Bhubaneswar is one more symbol of this commitment. I hope this institution will emerge as a center of creative teaching and research and contribute to our national development. Orissa has produced many great scientists of India such as Jogesh Chandra Pati. I hope this institution will produce many more in the years to come. I wish you all the best in all your endeavours.”

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PRIME MINISTER MAY LAY NISc FOUNDATION, BUT THE VICTORY WILL BE OF ORIYA NATION

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh is slated to lay foundation of National Institute of Science (NISc) at Bhubaneswar.

He is in politics, he is in power and he is the Prime Minister of India. If he wants, he can lay foundation of any Government Institute he likes. So he will lay the foundation of NISc by virtue of the position he is holding. Any body else in his position could have done it. But any body else in his position could not have done the damage he has done to Orissa in the matter of Science education.

He is a man, who for his position had filed a false affidavit showing himself as a permanent resident of Assam. He is a man, who for earning American favor had sabotaged our Constitution by subjugating our resolved economic priority to WTO/GATT behind back of our nation. He is the man, who after submitting his resignation from Finance Minister post on being found by the Joint Parliamentary Committee as involved in stock-scam, had organized so much pressure on Prime Minister Rao that he did not dare to accept the so-called resignation. So, he is a man who can play any trick to grab and stay in power.

We cannot forget that he is the man, who in order to please the Communists on whom he is dependant to save his position, had sided with Bengali parochialism and cultivated machinations to shift Orissa’s NISc to West Bengal.

To us, Oriyas, laying of foundation of the NISc by Prmie Minister Man Mohan Singh is not important. Important is his honoring our victory.

I am sure; he shall come, lay foundation and as is politicians’ wont, declare that it is his sincere desire to see Orissa in the high sphere of science.

But we cannot forget that he is the man who had done everything to obliterate Orissa from the NISc scheme. He had butchered the University Grants Commission (UGC) decision to establish the NISc in Bhubaneswar in the realm of his kitchen coterie and gifted away the same to the Bengalis in a new form styled as Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) in blatant contravention of existing Laws and in naked display of disregard to national integration.

So the NISc is not a gift from Manmohan Singh to Orissa. It is the insuppressible outcome of the principled and relentless struggle of we Oriyas, specifically our senior citizens and netizens; it is our victory. We Oriyas have compelled him to withdraw the hurdles he had put on our way to have the NISc that the University grants Commission (UGC) had declared in our favor in 2003.

An international seminar on science education held in 1996 under auspices of UNESCO had stressed on building up of institutes of sciences of international standard with emphasis on their balance distribution within respective geographical limits of the participating countries. India being a signatory to this resolution, in normal course of administration, decided to establish four National Institutes of Sciences in four parts of the country including one at Bhubaneswar in Orissa. Records show that there was stiff objection to put one of the said NIScs at Bhubaneswar. The Bengali lobby, as is its wont, had whipped up this controversy. But the UGC had rejected the Bengali pressure and declared that when expansion of such institutes would be taken up in course of time, the demand for one at Kolkata might be considered. (Para 3.5 of Chapter-1, Detailed Project Report on NISc, Feb.2004.)

Then the proposal got stashed. Vajpayee administration was made to sleep over the issue. After Singh became Prime Minister and West Bengal Communists grabbed power from behind, the conspiracy to kidnap Orissa’s NISc started with new vigor. And, in the process, tactics of changing the name of the Institute from NISc to IISER was adopted. This tactics came out bare when moving the Supreme Court against the injunction issued by Orissa High Court on establishment of IISER in Kolkata Mr. Singh’s government asserted that “No decision was finally taken to set up IISER at Bhubaneswar”.

We in these pages reacted as here below:

In a bid to justify the change, the Central government has said, “The Scientific Advisory Council (SAC) to the Prime Minister, comprising of eminent experts from concerned fields having expertise examined with regard to the matter to set up IISER and advised / recommended on what decision should be taken”.
If it is a fact then Man Mohan Singh is doing a great damage to the nation. Like the Kalapahada of historical legends that had destroyed the places of worship, Singh is playing havoc with education system.
The Laws of the land do not have any provision for the Prime Minister to super-impose a SAC on the University Grants Commission (UGC) and to work according to the advice of the former to the nullification of the later.
Under Chapter III of the UGC Act, 1956, institutes like IISER (NISc) are to be established only by the UGC, which is the only legal body to “advise” the Central Government in this regard. At Clause (ccc) it is stipulated that the UGC will “establish, in accordance with the regulations made under this Act, Institutions for providing common facilities, services and programs for a group of Universities or for the Universities in general and maintain such Institutions or provide for their maintenance by allocating and, disbursing out of the Fund of the Commission such grants as the Commission may deem necessary”.

This gives glimpses of how Prime Minister Singh had sabotaged the orissa cause in order only to please the Bengalis on whom he is depending for survival. The Bengali motive was bare in the parliament when the injustice done to Orissa rocked the House. PM Singh was unable to defend himself.

To our satisfaction we had exposed the foul play of Prime Minister Singh in this matter in its entirety.

To us, the NISc at Bhubaneswar is symbol of Oriya solidarity in cause of its national interest. Therefore we will remember the day on which its foundation shall be laid but not for by whom it shall be laid.

Journalism Education And Its Spread in Orissa

Mrinal Chatterjee

Journalism is fast becoming a specialized profession requiring specialized theoretical and practical knowledge and skill. With the development of information technology journalists today need to acquire soft skills to handle equipment and the process of collecting, retrieving, processing and disseminating information, besides developing conceptual clarity relating to content, which requires a sound theoretical framework.

This makes journalism education a difficult proposition. The way it is taught varies from one country to another and even from one university to another. “Broadly speaking, it is considered either as the study of modern society or as a form of professional training. In the first case, study is focused on the theory of communications and the interaction of communications with other aspects of society; in the second case, the techniques of journalism are studied. Between these two extremes is a whole range of approaches which combine the academic and pragmatic approaches in various degrees” 1

According to Dr. Nadig Kishna Murthy former head of Journalism department of Mysore University, the first systematic journalism course was introduced in National University at Adyar in Madras (now Chennai) 2. For practical training the students were sent to New India of Dr. Annie Besant. The second attempt to introduce journalism education was made in Aligarh Muslim University with a diploma course. The class was begun by Sir Shah Mohammed Sulaiman, a former judge of the Federal court of India. The teacher in charge was Raham Ali Al-Hashami. He had varied experience in the journalistic field having worked for several English and Urdu newspapers. For the benefit of students he wrote a book on the subject in Urdu entitled,’ Fan-e-Sahafath’ which was published by Anjuman-e-Tarraqui-e-Urdu. The course was successful but short lived. Sir Sulaiman died in 1940. The teacher in charge resigned on account of some differences with the authorities.

The next attempt was in Punjab University, Lahore in 1941. The man behind the project was Prithvi Pal Singh, a highly intelligent man, who had his Journalism training in the University of Missouri, USA and for sometime was with International News Service and Pioneer. The course ran smoothly till 1947, when partition of the country divided the University and the department of Journalism was forced to be shifted to Delhi. It was revived at NewDelhi in 1947 and affiliated to East Punjab University which is now known as Punjab University. In 1962 it was shifted to Chandigarh, the University headquarters.

Madras University started a course in Journalism in 1947. Calcutta University started a Journalism course in 1950. There after many universities have started journalism course. Indian Institute of Mass communication was established in 1965. The growth of education in mass communication has been phenomenal in the last two decades. Today, India has over 200 media institutes compared to just over 25 in the early 80s, offering various courses. There is a university for journalism education now: Makhanlal Chaturvedi National University for Journalism and Mass communication (MCU) in Bhopal, MadhyaPradesh, which was set up in 1990.
The demand for trained manpower in this sector is growing. It is estimated that by the end of 2010, India will require about 15,00,000 media professionals. Hence many universities and private institutions are opening journalism courses. Courses are being designed and offered for mid-career media persons too for value addition and/or skill upgradation. For example IIMC has a number of such short term courses. Mediamentor Foundation has collaborated with MCU to offer short term courses on TV anchoring, Radio Presenting, Public Relations, Script writing and Freelance Journalism in the Noida campus of MCU. 3 This kind of collaboration with private institutions, even NGOs is new phenomena that are being practised across the country including Orissa.

In Orissa Berhampur University was first to start Journalism teaching programme in 1974. Chintamoni Mahapatra, a journalist turned journalism teacher was the person who ushered journalism education in Orissa.

Besides Berhampur University, till mid 80s there were not many institutions that provided journalism teaching in Orissa. Things began to change from late 80s.

Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) opened a campus in Dhenkanal in August 1993 and offered Post Graduate Diploma in English Journalism with 40 seats. IIMC began to attract, train and provide a steady stream of young professionals to the local papers that were on par with the best in the country.

Presently there are more than 15 institutes in Orissa — both government and private — offering various courses in journalism and mass communication. Nearly 300 students pass out from such institutes every year in the State.

Here is a brief list of institutes – both government and private (affiliated to some University) offering various mass communication courses in Orissa. The list is not exhaustive, but indicative.

1. Berhampur University, Berhampur. Two years masters degree programme
2. Indian Institute of Mass communication, Dhenkanal offers Post Graduate (PG) Diploma in Journalism in English and Oriya.
3. Utkal University, Bhubaneswar. Two years masters degree programme in Development Journalism and Electronics Communication
4. Sambalpur University, Sambalpur, Two years masters degree programme. By correspondence
5. North Orissa University, Baripada. One year PG Diploma in Journalism and mass Communication; and Advertisement and Public Relation. By Correspondence.
6. Ravenshaw Autonomous College, Cuttack. Offers both PG Diploma and Masters Degree Course
7. Centre for Development Education and Communication (CEDEC) NISWASS, Bhubaneswar. Two years Masters Degree programme.
8. Institute of Media Studies (IMS, estd. 1994), Bhubaneswar, Affiliated to Utkal University. Two years masters degree programme in Journalism and Masscommunication ; and Public Relation and Advertiseing
9. Academy of Management and Information Technology (AMIT), Bhubaneswar, Affiliated to Utkal University. Two years masters degree programme in Journalism and Masscommunication
10. Bharatiya Vidya Bhaban, Bhubaneswar. Affiliated to Utkal University. Two years masters degree programme in Journalism and Masscommunication
11. IGNOU, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and Angul Centre. PG Diploma course. By correspondence.
12. Arya School of Management and Information Technology (ASMIT), Bhubaneswar. Two years PG Diploma in Journalism and Mass Communication, affiliated to Utkal University.
13. Trident Academy of Creative Technology, Bhubaneswar. Affiliated to Utkal University. Offers MJMC.
14. Gangadhar Meher Autonomous College, Sambalpur. Offers 1 year PG Diploma in JMC.

IIMC started a PG Diploma course in Oriya journalism in 2000. This was for the first time that IIMC started a language journalism course besides English and Hindi. This has gone a long way in training Oriya journalism students and has immensely helped in raising the professional standard of journalism in Oriya.

But in general, when it comes to quality of course content and training, lot remains to be done. Besides IIMC and to some extent Berhampur university most of the other institutes providing journalism teaching lack sufficient infrastructure. Most of them are theory-oriented. Students lack industry-preparedness. There is not much industry-academics interface, which poses a hindrance in placement of students. Many institutes are starting Journalism courses with exorbitant fee structure (even universities are opening journalism courses on self-finance mode) without proper infrastructure and faculty. The result is rather poor quality education.
So, as Elisha Pattnaik, 4 a Cuttack based journalist comments “when on one hand the growing media and journalism education institutes in Orissa have opened vistas for many who want to pursue a career in journalism — their unregulated growth and the poor quality of training being imparted is a matter of serious concern not only for the students’ future, but also for the profession.”

Television Journalism

Of late Television Journalism has emerged as a viable career option. More and more young men and women are attracted towards it. Television journalism requires a combination of journalism skill and command over the technicalities of television medium. If one looks at the history of film and television education in India, introduction of formal courses for film making was made in S.J.Polytechnic, Bangalore in the year 1943. Thereafter in 1945, similar courses were introduced in Central Polytechnic, Chennai. At that time there was no systematic and organized approach to the film education. During 1960 an independent institute of film technology was established in Chennai by Government of Tamilnadu by transferring courses from Central Polytechnic. In the same year on the recommendation of Film Enquiry Committee the Film & Television Institute of India (FTII), Pune was established under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India. Subsequently, an independent Film & Television Institute was established in Bangalore under World Bank assisted project in 1996 by shifting the courses from S.J.Polytechnic, Bangalore. Satyajit Ray Film & Television Institute was established in the same year at Calcutta (presently Kolkata) under the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.

In Orissa it was in 1992 that the first batch of students in Cinematography discipline was admitted in Bhubanananda Orissa School of Engineering, Cuttack. In July, 1996 Government of Orissa approved for establishment of an autonomous Film & TV Institute at Cuttack. The Institute was formally inaugurated on 4 March, 2000 by Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Orissa. On 26 th May, 2001 it was renamed as Biju Pattnaik Film & Television Institute of Orissa. It presently offers courses in cinematography, sound and television engineering; and Film & Video Editing. 5

Prasar Bharati’s Training Institute at Bhubaneswar provides training to their technical and program staff. Staff Training Institute was established at Delhi for programme staff (Programme Assistants & Transmission Assistants-presently known as Programme Executives & Transmission Executives) in 1948. Technological advancement in the area of Broadcasting Hardware, necessitated establishment of a Training Institute for technical staff of All India Radio. The STI (T) was established in 1956 at Delhi.

Expansion of the Radio Network all over India during the sixties & seventies in various linguistic zones, necessitated establishment of Regional Institutes for programme staff. In 1975, two Regional Institutes were opened at Shillong and Hyderabad followed by four more at Ahmedabad, Cuttack, Lucknow and Thiruvananthapuram in 1988-89.

The Regional Institute at AIR, Cuttack was upgraded to the status of a National Institute at par with STI (P) Delhi in June’ 1995.

A Regional Institute for Technical staff was established at Bhubaneswar in 2000-2001, followed by one at Shillong in 2004-05.

While Programme staff is trained in the subjects of media need assessment, content creation and design, packaging, promotion & marketing initiatives in a competitive environment, the technical staff are provided training on the dynamics of technological innovations in the ICT (information communication technology) sector.

Besides the training activities of the staff, Akashvani & Doordarshan under Prasar Bharati have introduced counselling activities for the two courses conducted by IGNOU(Indira Gandhi National Open University) viz. PG Diploma in Radio Prasaran and PG Diploma in Audio Programme Production, in a joint collaboration since 2003-04.

Another initiative taken by the Staff Training Institute (Programme) is conducting courses for amateur presenters in various language on Voice Articulation Nurturing Initiative (VANI) from 2002-03. Among other television channels, ETV provide inhouse training to its programme and technical staff in their corporate office at Ramoji Film City, Hyderabad. They also conduct skill enhancement short training programmes from time to time.

Of late some private organizations have started short course of two-four weeks duration on ‘Television Anchoring’, ‘Television News reading’, etc. Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC), Dhenkanal had organised two eight weeks courses on ‘Television Reporting’ in 2002.
______________________________________________________________________________
Notes and References:

1. Sharma S.R.(Editor in Chief), Journalism as a Profession, Radha Publications, NewDelhi, 1996, p-16-17
2. Murthy Dr. Nadig Krishna, Indian Journalism(Origin, Growth and Development of Indian Journalism: from Asoka to Nehu), Prasanga, University of Mysore, 1966 p-412-414
3.Retrieved on 13 July 2006, from mediamentors.net/faqs.htm
4. Pattnaik Elisha, elisapatnaik@yahoo.com Journalism Education in Orissa, retrieved on 13 July from thehoot.org
5. Retrieved on 17 July, http://www.bpfti.com/history/html
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The author is Associate Prof. IIMC, Dhenkanal

SPIRIT OF HIGH COURT RULING SLOUGHED OVER IN DISTRICT COURT

ATTEMPT TO BILK THE STATE OUT OF COURT-FEES CONTINUES

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The issue is intricate. When the spirit of a High Court ruling is sloughed over in a lower court, that too, in the court of a District Judge, what else can it be?

Attempts to bilk the State out of its due Court-fees are not new. There are instances of persons hoodwinking Civil Courts in Court-fee issues by purchasing silence of government lawyers. Therefore, in a landmark judgment, the Orissa High Court had stipulated that it would be the duty of the Court to see that suits are entertained only on payment of correct amount of Court-fees based on proper valuation.

Let us first see this stipulation. It notes:

“This Court finds that though the extent of the suit land is more than five acres and the suit property situates within the locality of Bhubaneswar having a higher rate of valuation, the plaint has been admitted by the Court below on a nominal value put in the plaint by the plaintiffs. x x x x . It is the provision in Order 7, Rule 11, CPC to reject the plaint if the suit is not properly valued or required Court-fee is not paid. In other words, a plaint shall not be admitted, inter alia, if there is defect in valuation or non-payment of Court-fee in accordance with Law. (Nandakishore V. State, 2003(1) OLR-473-para-11)”

Thus saying, the High Court fixed responsibility of District Judges to ensure that no body bilks the exchequer of appropriate Court-fees. Pointing out that collection of proper Court-fees rests with the concerned Court, the High Court said,

“In the event of failure the High Court should take suitable action including considering the question of efficiency of such judicial officers to function as District Judges”.(Ibid)

Juxtaposed with this judgment, a probate case between Rajendra Kumar Mishra and another & Mohinirani Mishra and others, pending before the District Judge, Bhubaneswar generates much public interest. Involving land and buildings standing thereon in two places, one at Sahid Nagar, Bhubaneswar and the other at Sambalpur, the case bearing No. 10 of 2002 has been limping as one of the respondents Mrs. Asharani Mishra has questioned its maintainability by pointing out that the plaintiffs have neither shown the correct value of the concerned properties nor have affixed Court-fees of appropriate amount. If less value is okayed her financial stakes may be in jeopardy, she has submitted even while objecting to the will involved.

Considering the objection of Mrs. Mishra on the valuation front, the District Judge had required the Collectors of Khurda and Sambalpur to find out the correct valuation of the properties within their respective jurisdictions and to report accordingly. It transpires from their reports clubbed together that the value of the properties stand at Rs.1,16,18,138.00 (Rupees one crore, sixteen lakhs, eighteen thousand and one hundred thirty eight) where as the plaintiffs have shown the value under oath to be only Rs.1,00,000.00(Rupees one lakh)

Had Mrs. Mishra not raised the valuation issue, properties worth more than Rs.1.16 Crores might have been accepted as of value worth Rs.1 lakh only and imagine, what would have been the loss to the State Exchequer.

But the learned District Judge has passed an order on 17 September 2005 to the extent that

“The valuation filed by the Collector, Khurda and Collector, Sambalpur will be taken into consideration at the time of final hearing of the probate case”.

When the High Court has made it clear that “a plaint shall not be admitted if there is defect in valuation or non-payment of Court-fee in accordance with Law”, this stark instance of suppression of valuation by the plaintiffs being herded into the stage of “final hearing” is a riddle that debate on Law can settle.

But to raw minds, it looks as if the spirit of the High Court Judgment quoted supra has been sloughed over in the District Court.

The question that needs an answer is: Why?

NAVEEN IN A NEW SCAM; THIS TIME IN KENDU LEAF

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Unless he obliterates an illegal order of the Managing Director of Orissa Forest Development Corporation (OFDC) forthwith, there shall be enough ground to suspect that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik himself is involved with a scam in Kendu leaf trade involving around Rs. 60 Crores.

Kendu leaf (KL) scam is not new in Orissa. Many a Chief Ministers have been scandalized over KL. Orissa’s political climate has faced many traumatic upheavals due to corruption at Chief Minister Level in the matter of KL trade and license. There are instances of use of fair sex to net in Chief Ministers to their clutch by KL traders. The issue, at a point of time, was so sensitive that a Judicial Commission of Enquiry had to deal with it. So, Orissa is habituated with scandals over KL. And, that too, involving Chief Ministers.

At the present juncture, the portfolio of forest is being handled by the Chief Minister himself. And thus the OFDC is under his direct control.

The Managing Director of the OFDC is answerable to him and acts under his direction. Undoubtedly he is his choice.

Such an order has been issued by the MD that could never have been possible without active but clandestine instruction of the CM.

What is the order? What has he done?

He has killed the Orissa Forest Development (Tax on Sale of Forest Produce by Government or OFDC) Act, 2003 to ensure that the KL merchants get benefit worth several crores of Rupees.

The Act under Section 3 stipulates:

(1)There shall be levied and collected, on and after commencement of the Act, a Forest Development Tax (FDT) on every sale of Forest Produce (FP) from the purchaser, at such rate, not exceeding twenty per centum of the sale price of such produce sold to him, as the Government may, by notification, fix in that behalf, and different rates may be fixed for different Forest Produce.
(2) The FDT levied and payable under this Act shall be in addition to and not in lieu of any tax levied and payable in respect of the sale or purchase of the same under the Orissa Sales Tax Act, 1947 or any other Law for the time being in force.

This Act was a necessitated to alleviate the anxiety of the people of Orissa over loss of its forest wealth due to mismanagement. It was necessary not only to exploit but also to develop the forests. A group of environmentalists had apprised the Governor on the occasion of World Environment Day on 05 June, 2003 of possible precipitation of desert (Subhas Chandra Pattanayak:Orissa Cares Little for Similipal Project, Hindustan Times,27 July 1996) by denudation of the forests and urged upon him to apply his prerogative to guide the Government towards conservation. And the Governor had discussed the matter with the Chief Minister. Then it was thought of building up a Fund for exclusive use in development of forests. It was decided to collect a specific tax from FP purchasers as a part of compensation against the loss caused to the Forests through exploitation, the benefit of which they enjoy. Thus took birth the concept of FDT. The issue was so urgent that the above provisions were formulated and enforced through an Ordinance on 18 July 2003 in promulgating which the Governor had underlined that “Circumstances exist which render it necessary for him to take immediate action for the levy and collection of FDT on sales of the FP”. The Ordinance was enforced at once and later the Assembly adopted it into Act 18 of 2003. Following its enforcement with effect from 18 July 2003, as required under Section 3 (1), the Government fixed the FDT on Kendu Leaf at 16 % over and above the existing rate of Orissa sales Tax / Central Sales Tax.

It is surprising and shocking that the MD of OFDC has now obliterated this Tax by promulgating a Notification which is a clear case of killing of the beneficial Act behind back of the Governor as well as the Legislature.

The State is set to suffer a financial loss of not less than 60 crores of Rupees by killing of the FDT. Over and above the direct loss on the current lots, on which auction is to commence from 23 August 2006 till completion, this order of the MD will weaken the position of the State before the Orissa High Court where around a hundred cases are pending in the matter of FDT.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik cannot plead ignorance. The auction is to start on 23 August 2006. The Governor should also not sit idly in this matter. He must not allow the Act, adopted by the Assembly and enforced by him, to go inconsequential by a Notification issued by a MD of a public sector corporation.

It cannot be countenanced that a notification overrides a Legislative Act. That too, to the total disadvantage of the State.

PRESS ACCREDITATION RULES, 2006 IS ANARCHIC, ALLEGE SCRIBES

Journalists of Bhubaneswar on August 20th have condemned the Orissa News Media Accreditation Rules, 2006 as arbitrary and anarchic and have demanded that it be withdrawn by the Government forthwith.

In a spontaneous gathering that developed into a convention, journalists forgot union rivalry to express common concern over the State Government’s attempt to do away with the dignity of accreditation with a motive to promote a puppet Press.

Presided over by senior scribe Gopal Mishra, the convention was addressed by Rajaram Satpathy, Prasant Patnaik, Ramahari Mishra, Sudhir Das, Sampad Mohapatra, Prasanna Mohanty, Yotsna Rautray, Nageswar Patnaik, Soumyjit Patnaik and Subhas Chandra Pattanayak amongst others.

How the politico-bureaucratic nexus has time and again tailored the Accreditation Rules with a
motive to put true-to-the-profession journalists in disadvantage was dealt with elaborately by
SCP who emphasized that the Rule being of controlling impact on Free Press, should be salvaged from the clutches of the Executive and be left to the collective wisdom of the legislature. The arguement was supported by others.

It was unanimously decided to inform the Government that the Press Community will not tolerate this mischievous manipulative instrument enforced in form of an Executive Rules. A committee was formed to convey to the Government the collective objection of the scribes to the new endeavor to change the Press to an Official Fiefdom.

ACROBATICS CONTINUE; NOW UTKALAMANI USED AS A COVER!

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

His modus operandi behind renaming KBK Plan by the name of his father Biju Patnaik exposed threadbare in orissamatters.com, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has started newer acrobatics to divert public attention from this anti-democracy design. He has announced launching of a rural Plan in the name of Utkalmani Gopabandhu Das, which would be implemented in 11 districts beyond the eight districts comprising KBK.

His sycophants have started saying that there is no motive behind renaming KBK Plan as Biju KBK (BKBK) Plan. Naveen is in favor of naming welfare Plans by the name of persons who have sacrificed for the State. Launching by him of the Gopabandhu Gramina Yojana (GGY) is a proof of this.

What a plan to carry out a nefarious design!

Mark the formations.

The old components of eight districts comprising the KBK area, namely Kalahandi, Koraput, Rayagada, Nuapada, Malkangiri, Nabarangapur, Sonepur and Bolangir are now stamped as BKBK Plan Districts. Naveen has gone to those districts at the moment to launch the so called BKBK Plan for which the State exchequer is to spend Rs.600 crores.

In the GGY area, again to be implemented with Rs.600 crores, eleven districts, namely Angul, Balasore, Bargarh, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Jajpur, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Khurda, Nayagarh and Puri are posted. That this is born out of fidgetiness after Naveen’s ill motive behind announcement of the BKBK Plan was exposed is clear from inclusion of Bargarh in GGY. Till a new Plan of such genre is generated, Bargarh shall have to be controlled by the supposed authority of GGY by geographically jumping over Sambalpur from Angul. Had there been any application of mind to the real issue before announcing, Bargarh should have been posted to BKBK Plan instead of GGY. Why there was no application of mind? That was because there was no time. It was imperative and urgent for Naveen to announce this new scheme by the name of Gopabandhu in order to cover up his evil design in renaming KBK after his father.

Is this new surge of notoriety over? No.

His next but yet undeclared plan is clubbing the rest of the districts: Gajapati, Ganjam, Phulbani, Boudh, Sambalpur, Jharsuguda, Sundargarh, Deogarh, Keonjhar and Mayurbhanj in a Sub-Plan to be named after his mother Gyana Patnaik.

A former activist of Communist Party of India who had defected into the Janata Dal and continues in the BJD syndicate told me that Gyana Patnaik was the person under whose signature the Kalinga Industries had been “gifted away” to IDC and it being the first industry under IDC, Smt. Patnaik can be called as the mother of industrialization of Orissa. Therefore, naming of the third cluster by her name would be appropriate, he asserted.

How the so called “gift” was a fraud played against the people of Orissa has been discussed in these pages in a different context. Had our administrative machinery been vigilant and pro-people, she and her husband could have never escaped the Laws for the criminal conspiracy they had cooked up and the consequent fraud they had played against our people.

It would therefore be a fit case to watch how our people react to naming of a State Plan in her name; if at all the whispering of the BJD leader comes true.

But Naveen Patnaik is bound to launch the third Sub-Plan, in whatever name it be styled, covering the aforesaid districts as they cannot be left out, the advanced districts having already been covered by GGY. And, the cash involvement in this case would be Rs.600 Crores, if not more.

This means, the State is to spend another 1800 crores of Rupees from its own resources for programs coverable by the Center.

This is an instance of mismanaged administration. There is no planning for these so-called Plans. No fund provided for in the budget. No lacunae located. No prioritization arrived at. No source of support contemplated.

The impromptu announcement of GGY and the impending announcement of the program, yet unnamed, for the third cluster of the districts are neither study-based nor necessity-propelled. They are designed only to cover up the mischievous motive of Naveen Patnaik in his self-centric attempt to instigate the people of KBK area against the Center in the name of his father, lest people rise to reality.

This motive is more dangerous than the maladministration he has unleashed.