OMFED WORKERS’ STRIKE STORMED INTO SILENCE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

OMFED workers’ strike against unfair labor practices has been stormed into silence.

The workers union has filed an FIR with the Chandrasekharpur Police Station against the Chairman-cum-Managing Director Hrushikesh Panda IAS for having organized and executed a brutal attack on its members by hundreds of unknown hooligans posing as milk producers.

Panda’s purpose was to terrorize the striking workers and fizzle out their protest against unfair labor practice, the union has alleged.

Officers of Chandrasekharpur Police Station were present on the spot along with the police force and were eyewitness to the attack.

The FIR has been taken into cognizance and a case has been registered against Panda under sections 147 (for rioting), 148 (for rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 323 (for voluntarily causing hurt) and 324 (for voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means). The case number is 241/08.

Along with Panda, the case covers officials like marketing manager Basant Kumar Misra, general manager Swarup Ranjan Pattanaik and transport manager Subasis Satpathy.

Tirtol MLA Chiranjib Biswal and three others namely Jameswar Nayak, Jagat Ballav Mahapatra and Kanhu Charan Lenka are also covered by the case under the same charges.

The attack was so well planned and barbaric that the terror struck workers could not dare to stand any further on their basic demand for regularization of their employment and with six of them crying in pain amidst pools of blood, they acquiesced into Police Commissioner Lal’s intervening advice to call off the strike on recall of the order of transfer that the management had vindictively served on five of their leaders.

Panda brandishing a body language of personal victory declared on the spot that the milk producers (in the instant event, the attackers on the unarmed and nonviolent workers) would be paid all the money that OMFED should have paid to procure milk had the workers not resorted to strike.

Workers suspect that the money Panda has pledged to the milk producers sans any real supply of milk is nothing but a direct bribe given to the hooligans for wrecking havoc on their lives.

There is a nexus between milk producers and Panda and the money forming its crux exceeds several crores in Indian Rupees, they say.

OMFED is such a phenomenon where milk is purchased, milk is treated, milk is transformed into milk-products and milk and milk-products are packaged and marketed. When the procured milk is not directly marketed in its original form, there is ample opportunity to misappropriate any amount without fear of exposure, as loss in transit during phases of transformation is not meticulously estimable.

Over and above this inbuilt immunity, false records of payment of money against any quantity of milk shown in collection but not really collected is also a promising source of clandestine income if the concerned milk producer / supplier is ready to offer his / her cooperation in preparation of such false records. The money thus ill-gotten is supposed to be mutually shared and thus a nexus between public sector purchaser and the supplier grows. OMFED is a public sector firm.

To check such misappropriation in factory or office level, the post of Managing Director was created. To check such misappropriation in the level of Managing Director, the post of Chairman was created. But Hrushikesh Panda is the Managing Director as well as the Chairman. Who checks whom when misappropriation, if any, takes place? To check misappropriation at both these levels, there is the post of a Secretary in the administrative department. But Hrushikesh Panda is himself the Secretary! He being a senior IAS officer, and the idea behind retaining IAS officers being availability of their unbiased advice to State administration on intricate issues of public interest, he should have declined to be posted in these three top most posts of administering OMFED. But he is enjoying being three-in-one and the result is blood shedding to defeat a workers’ strike.

The bloody assault on the workers that gave a sense of victory to Panda was so ruthless that Chandrasekharpur Police station collected Binod Behera, Bipini Muduli, Surendra Pradhan, Sukanti Barik and two others namely Rashmi and Basanti, all workers who have been compelled to distress sale their labor all these days spanning decades, from their place of sit-in-strike in serious conditions and organized their medical treatment in the Capital Hospital.

Binod and Sukanti, severely injured in the skull, are slated for brain scanning, Police says.

The poor fellows, serving OMFED for decades, have been demanding job security. An IAS officer, who has grabbed all the three top most administrative posts of OMFED is denying them that security. These illiterate but innocent workers are being compelled to distress sale their efficiency to the public sector undertaking for decades. They need regularization of their job so that they can work under a recognized condition of service. But the said IAS officer, who has grabbed all the decision taking posts in the highest level, wants to keep them in sub-human condition and as they challenge, they have been brutally beaten up and have been forced to call off their strike at dragger point.

Is it not time for the Chief Minister to review the role of this IAS officer vis-à-vis the terror-struck workers’ precarious lives in OMFED?

Or is it his brand of administration that this IAS officer is just executing?

WHITHER IS MOTHER INDIA WANDERING?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Even as Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh’s political boss Sonia Gandhi is using her power to project her son Rahul as the future PM, Thekki of Patnagarh, daughter of Hanu nag, who had sold away her three year son Gurubari for Rs.3000/- is not happy even after getting him back, as, to her there is no avenue available to feed her child.

Whither is Mother India wandering?

Look at Thekki and search for the answer.

A mother of three children, she has been abandoned by her husband. Whether he has left her with deliberate intention or under unavoidable compulsion, she does not know. But she knows, abject poverty has played the tricks.

She has no source of income. She has no land. She has none in the family on whom she can depend. Starved, she is in a state of inanition. Her third child, the last gift of the husband now no more with her, is suckling. No avenue of income is available in the village or near about. How to live and how to keep her children alive?

In such a predicament she had sold away her second child Gurubari, a son aged three, for that seemed to be the instant life-support to her and the rest two children besides being the best way to save her second son from starvation death.

Media exposed this sordid event in order only to expose the misrule that has engulfed Orissa.

And Orissa government in order to stop further spread of the picture of its misrule, pressed the area Sub-Collector to force the purchaser of the boy to surrender him to avoid prosecution and thus the boy has come back to his mother.
Depositing the child on her lap, the Sub-Collector had ordered for supply of 20 Kgs of rice to her to preempt allegation of starvation death, if any occurs in future. The person who delivered the rice has perhaps misappropriated one kg thereof and thus, nineteen kg rice has been given to her.

She does not know what to do and how to live hereafter.

The swindlers who, headed by the then PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, had sold away our public assets to private profiteers by forming a specific ministry for that treacherous purpose, have already started their election campaign to register in public mind a hard core communalist as their Prime Ministerial candidate when the incumbent PM Dr. Man Mohan Singh is single-mindedly concentrated on contriving ways to serve the nuke interest of USA even though that would be sheer catastrophic for the peoples of India.

Trading between these two lurking dangers to our democracy, queen of cautious stratagem Sonia Gandhi has been building up her son Rahul to grab power.

When national politics is thus shrouded under the clouds of vested interests, Orissa, ethically averse to BJP and circumstantially to Congress, has embraced a bear that does not bother for the children of the soil when outsider industrialists warrant his services.

Where to shall go the Thekkis and their children? Whither Mother India is wandering?

ORISSA GOVERNMENT EXCELS IN UNFAIR LABOR PRACTICES

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Government marked for failure in every aspect of welfare has excelled in unfair labor practices, of which OMFED is the latest instance.

Since two days it has stopped supply of milk to people of the capital city and a vast area comprising Cuttack, Puri and Khurda districts as its plant at Bhubaneswar has failed to operate due to labor strike.

Unfair labor practice by the management is the cause of this strike.

The plant at Bhubaneswar, for operation, is dependant on around 250 workers everyday. But the public sector organization headed by IAS officer Hrushikesh Panda as the Chairman-cum-Managing Director has been compelling all of them to distress sell their labor while refusing to regularize them in employment.

It is shocking that only 40 workers are shown as casual workers, which means they work as and when they are required to work on daily wage basis. Records show that these 40 persons have been working everyday and are required to work every day as regular employees work. Hence they are entitled to regular scale of Pay with D.A. and other perquisites as law enforces in matter of regular employees. But they are deliberately debarred from this by being shown as casual workers.

The manner of exploitation of workers is so ingenuous that in a civil society one is to see it to believe.

Besides the batch of the 40 workers shown as casual as above, there is another batch of 45 workers clubbed as “contract workers” who work daily but are debarred from being recognized as OMFED’s casual workers.

Another group of 150 workers are also engaged daily in OMFED operation. But they are shown as “sub-contract” workers and are bereft of even the casual employer-employee relationship.

The two later nomenclatures are clearly devised to disown any legal responsibility in the cases of these wretchedly poor fellows, who are being compelled to distress sell their labor to the public sector monopoly milk trader run by the government with an IAS officer as its CMD.

The workers affected by unfair labor practices of the CMD are severely disadvantaged as the Secretary of the administrative department to whom they could have appealed to intervene in their victimization by the CMD is no other than the perpetrator of the illegality, Sri Hrushikesh Panda.

By appointing Panda as Secretary of the administrative department Chief Minister Navin Patnaik has preempted every administrative action against any illegal activities going on in OMFED, managed by Panda as its CMD.

Panda has defended his decision to keep these workers unemployed despite their daily employment as casual, contract and sub-contract workers on two grounds.

Firstly, there is lack of fund to regularize them and secondly, these workers are not qualified to work as workers on regular basis.

If the workers are not qualified to work as workers, how have they been working as sub-contract workers?

It is sheer disgusting to hear an IAS officer throwing such a statement in media about the workers on whose work OMFED is running. If these people are not qualified to work as workers why then OMFED has stopped its production on refusal of these workers to work?

The OMFED workers issue is an indicator of how Navin Patnaik government has been shielding misrule and wrecking havoc on the life of the working class. The top executive in this public sector undertaking is the Managing Director. Hrushikesh Panda IAS is the Managing Director. If the MD resorts to mismanagement and victimizes the workers, the intervening authority is the Chairman. Hrushikesh Panda himself is the Chairman. Now Hrushikesh Panda as the Chairman cannot take any action against the illegalities of Hrushikesh Panda as MD. So, whatever wrong steps Hrushikesh Panda takes as the MD becomes the steps taken by the Chairman in his capacity as MD without any remedy available to the affected. The State power to control, oversee and intervene in matters of this public sector undertaking is vested in the Secretary of the administrative department. Under the Rules of Business, the Secretary of a department is the chief executive of that department and hence he is the officer to whom the affected persons are supposed to go against mismanagement and mal labor practice in OMFED. But the Secretary of the administrative department is also the same Hrushikesh Panda.

Unless democracy is bastardized, such a scenario would never have grown.

If you love democracy, and if poor workers in this land have any right to live with dignity, react as you like.

FIASCO IN HSC EXAMINATION NEEDS LEGAL ACTION

Almost all the newspapers of Orissa have carried public shock over the fiasco in Board of Secondary Education even though none of them including the ones run by Navin loyalists has been able to throw light on how the chief minister and his cabinet colleagues view the havoc wrecked on the life of the students, which indicates that the present ministry has nothing to worry over the matter.

With BJP in power, schools under the banner of the Saraswati Bidya Mandir have been marked for having bagged many top positions in High School Certificate Examinations and this year too saffron school students have occupied ten berths in the group of the best ten. This would instigate more flow of students into the saffron chain and into whatever extracurricular activities go on there.

However without any prejudice to the achievement of these students, instances that prove that examiners have not discharged their duties properly and fairly blurs the credibility of the results whereof the group of the best ten is the greatest beneficiary.

A look into the case of Ms. Rina Sahoo of Shiva Durga High School at Panchapada of Chandabali proves the point. She has obtained 85 marks in Oriya, 83 in English, 95 in Sanskrit, 99 in compulsory Mathematics, 89 in Social studies, 99 in optional Mathematics, 99 in optional Science; totaling 649. But she has failed. The reason: she has obtained zero mark in compulsory Science!

How is it possible?

In only two circumstances this was possible. These are: (1) lack of zeal on part of the examiners in paying due attention to all the answer papers consequence upon fixing of results And (2) lack of probity on part of the examiners engaged to eliminate possible rivals of favored students in course of fixing of topper positions.

That the results were fixed is suspected from another angle. The High School attached to the Board, known as Board High School, is a model High School and its students were supposed to fetch good marks, big enough to claim top positions. Unless possible toppers were obstructed, the scheme of position-fixing, if any, would not have succeeded. For this reason perhaps, all of the Board School students were restricted to 30 marks in Mathematics. As for example, Sandip Kumar Acharya (Roll No.35RG205) has obtained only 30 marks in compulsory Maths even though in all other subjects he has got at the rate of more then 90.

Restricting meritorious students with only 30 marks in Maths is not limited to the Board School. This has also been the strategy in cases of different other Schools. As for example, Ms. Akamkshya Biswal (Roll No. 18PB007) has got a total of 692 marks at the rate of at least 90 per subject except compulsory Mathematics wherein she has been restricted to 30 marks only. So award of 30 marks in Mathematics to many meritorious students is clearly an attempt to eliminate rival aspirants for top ten positions. But the mischief is not limited to mark restriction. It is more conspicuous in allocation of highest possible marks to whosoever the examiners or the board wanted in top position. And, this is a trend that we mark ever since the saffron schools are seen bagging positions in best ten.

Take the marks of the first position holders for a study.

The topper of 2004 had obtained a total of 710 out of 800 marks. The next year’s topper got 713 marks. The topper of 2006 bagged further more marks by obtaining 724 numbers. This trend further increased to 727 allotted to the topper of 2007. This year, it is 761.

When the success rate of students is declining year after year suggesting a decline in intensity of teaching imparted in schools how the toppers year after year are obtaining marks in ever increasing a pattern and making newer records in their corresponding years is a matter that needs special investigation.

Whether or not there is a continuous position fixing in vogue in HSC Exams can be determined only through a judicial scrutiny of this scenario.

We feel it is needed. But will the CM agree?

ORISSA SECONDARY SCHOOL RESULTS SADDEN STUDENTS WHEN THE SAFFRONISTS SMILE: SECRET SHENANIGANS SUSPECTED

Orissa has fallen so low that when the results of the Board of Secondary Education came out on 25th June, around 50 percent of students were found failed with answer-scripts of around 13 thousand students stashed behind the black curtain of corruption, consideration and incompetence.

The Board President Arun Samantray, an IAS officer, who is very much in news for nepotism in facilitating his son’s success in a certificate test, says sans qualms that the poor result is not due to defective management of examinations; but due to the confusion created by changes in syllabus like introduction of optional subjects and practical as well as due to lack of adequate teachers to deal with the specialized subjects introduced in the syllabus.

Even as this syndrome is not area specific, students of Saraswati Vidya Mandirs have excelled everywhere including bagging the top position. The saffronists in power in Orissa run this chain of schools. Students in these schools might have fetched spectacular results on merit, but the confusion created by change in syllabus has so rampantly affected the students that test debacle having demoralized majority of them, the achievers of this particular brand of schools run by politicians in power makes people look at their achievements askance. Many wonder, is there any secret shenanigan?

Such a bizarre situation in secondary education had never hit Orissa so severely so far.

Experiencing Lord Jagannath with ‘ETV News’ in Net

A thirty episode special initiative styled ‘Jeebana Jagannath‘ aimed at presenting Lord Jagannath and ‘Ratha Yatra’ both in historical and mythological perspectives while juxtaposing them with rituals and traditions as conceived by ‘ETV Oriya News’ is also in internet since June 18, 2008 and with an episode a day it will continue till July 17.

Available to the viewer daily at 7 A.M. in its ‘Aamari Odisha’ newscast program, this special treat is perceived to project special features on Lord Jagannath and His Ratha Yatra and the Culture that centers around Him as well as reports on the ancient Jagannath temples of the state and comprehensive stories on Ratha Yatra celebration at various parts of the country. The program covers the period from ‘Snana Yatra’ (ceremonial bath of the deities) to ‘Niladri Bije’ (return of the deities to the Sreemandir).

It may be noted that ‘ETV News’ has also been carrying special reports on Ratha Yatra celebrated at overseas locations like America, Bangladesh and many other places. This has been a regular feature at ETV over the last 3 years.

This year, it has gone a step ahead by making the daily feature (as telecast in Oriya News) available on web for the global audience for thirty days at the rate of one story a day. More than thirty capsules are ready for this, says Nilambar Rath, News Coordinator, ETV News- Oriya Network. They are conceived to depict how the deity leads a normal human life akin to life led by Oriya commons. And, the language used is “none other than Oriya language”.

And, in doing this, ETV Oriya becomes the first television channel in the world to air the month long special program on Ratha Yatra of Lord Jagannath in its totality as in vogue.

DEFEND OR PERISH

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Those who do not want to defend themselves must perish. Those, who instead of defending their rights harp on relief from outside at times of disasters, deserve to be left to perish.

It is disgusting to see our people begging for relief and our government granting them relief for three days, and in special cases for a day or two more as a special grace, as if the scoundrels are giving the help from their personal pockets.

The deluge Balasore and adjoining areas are trying to survive is not a natural calamity; it is caused by non-maintenance of embankments. It is caused, to say more appropriately, by corruption in maintenance of embankments. It is caused, to say the least, by lack of concern for the people in Navin Patnaik’s scheme of administration.

Like his father Biju, this man is an udan-chhu and is so very anti-people that he has kept his government busy in oppressing our people in order only to pave ways for non-Oriya industrialists to exploit Orissa.

The yet unpunished conduct of Dhenkanal Collector in terrifying our people and his rowdy manners publicly displayed in his attempt to cow down Member of Parliament Rudra Pani last week as he protested against oppression of the local inhabitants by the goons engaged by Vedanta industries on its site, is an instance to cite in this respect.

Navin is continuing to ruin Orissa because the people have wanted him to continue as chief minister.

According to an Oriya maxim, “A prostitute has no choice about the size of the male organ.” (“Darire nama lekhaile saru mota baribara adhikar nahin”) So, even if deluged, the people have now no choice.

If the people had no hesitation to embrace Navin, more sadly if they could reelect him despite his first phase being devastative to Orissa, and if they do not stand with the people who are fighting to save the State from the current misrule, if they have no inclination to protect their own interest from the schemes of exploitation, if they have failed to remain vigilant and to compel the government to maintain the embankments and to keep the estuaries clean for free flow of deluge into the seas, let them realize that they perish because of their own follies.

It is time the people must be told – defend your rights or perish.