APPLAUSE FOR ANY BUT SONIA, HER SON AND MANMOHAN IS BANNED IN CONGRESS

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Intolerance of the newly “appointed” chief of Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee K.P.Singhdeo for shout of victory (jindabad) in favor of Youth Congress chief Rohit Pujari as was witnessed in Deogarh has precipitated a ban on any jindabad for any local leader in any Congress congregation in Orissa. But while contriving this elimination of applause for others, precaution has been taken not to stop singing of glory to Sonia Gandhi, her son Rahul and to the man in whose favor she had mysteriously given up her seemingly possible premiership, Dr. Manmohan Singh.

Media cell of KP says, except these three, jindabad may be raised at best for Rajiv and Indira Gandhi in special occasions.

Members of the extra-constitutional presidium of Congress in Orissa as well as its campaigner-in-chief know that any of them must act ex-officio object of applause in any meeting of or convened by their party till at least the general elections are over and thus there is no specific necessity of saying that the ban shall not affect them.

Congress workers, these days, have not known anything other than raising jindabad in favor of anybody who poses or aspires to be or is imposed upon them as their leader. They do not tell peoples of political economy. They do not emphasize on the importance of internal democracy in a political party. They know only one thing. That is raising jindabad in support of whoever bosses over them or whosoever represents the boss. On the other hand, whosoever wants to show himself / herself as a leader of the Congress in the village or panchayat or constituency level, cultivates sycophants in his / her sphere to raise jindabad in his / her favor. What should these fellows do if jindabad is banned?

Except Jindabad in their favor in hoodwinked or hired mouths, Congress candidates for so many years were never marked for having placed premium on political economy or any ideological issue during electioneering, at least in Orissa.

Not a single candidate of Congress party had discussed election manifesto of the party during entire electioneering last time. None of them had perused manifestos of rival parties and compared them with that of theirs and shown how the congress manifesto was better than others.

This time the same syndrome is also discernible. So far, nowhere in their meetings, they have discussed political economy. Only one thing they are saying. That is, the state government is unable to spend central government grants. The “appointed” presidium has declared that they will go to the people with this issue in their mouth. This makes it clear that their electioneering will be an act of mudslinging, not an act of politico-economic analysis.

Is mudslinging possible sans the sound of jindabad in support of the mudslinger?

With KP at the helm of affairs, Congress campaign is getting funnier day by day.

CM’S GRIEVANCE CELL BECOMES A DEATH CELL FOR THE POOR

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Jagannath Sethi, a poor young man of village Shashang of Baramba Tahsil is dead. But the way Bhubaneswar police has forced his relatives to accept a sum of rupees three thousand and get out of Bhubaneswar with his dead body is too uncommon to be overlooked.

Jagannath had come yesterday to the Chief Minister’s grievance-cell that the CM holds every Saturday. From there he was whisked away to the capital Hospital where he is said to have died.

It is clear that he has not died a natural death. It is also clear that he has not committed suicide.

Death, which is not natural, is of only two types: (1) suicidal and (2) homicidal.

Is he then a victim of homicide? Police must make it clear.

It is clear that he has succumbed to factors of death.

And factors of death overwhelmed him in the grievance cell of Chief Minister Navin Patnaik.

Should it not be investigated into?

Police says, Jagannath succumbed to stampede in the grievance cell. Nothing could be more misleading than this. People, severely harassed by the recalcitrant administration come to the CM’s grievance cell in hope against hope that the highest political executive may stand to his publicized pro-people image and grant them relief. Security police personnel that often exceed the visiters in number guard the cell. How could such a stampede irrupt there that killed a man? Who whipped up the stampede? Who others were affected? What happened to them? If nobody else could be affected why Jagannath alone? How the stampede finally stopped? All these and many more questions need urgent answer.

As it is heard on the grapevine, Jagannath, a wretchedly poor person having metabolic ailments was deeply disappointed to hear that the CM will not be available to hear his grievances. He wondered as to why the CM’s absence was not notified. Had it been notified he would not have borrowed money to come to the grievance cell, he said. But the tone of his protest was not palatable to someone present on the spot. He thrashed him down and he died on the spot. The resultant panic sharpened with gushing in security police force spread out a sudden helter-skelter that provided the police a strong alibi to build up the story of stampede.

This explains as to why the authorities did not allow his relatives to see him in the hospital. This also explains the official eagerness to force the relatives of the victim to leave Bhubaneswar immediately with his dead body and the money offered.

Under the circumstances, the matter looks murkier.

Onus now lies on the Chief Minister to honestly tell the peoples of this province as to what really had happened to Jagannath.

Peoples should know as to why he died and who was or who were the factors of his death in the CM’s grievance cell.

On the other hand the Government should bring out a white paper on how the CM’s grievance cell is functioning. Whether is a mere political trick of the CM to divert public attention from his continuous misrule under the cover of the grievance cell or it is a real serious relief endeavor. It should be ensured that the CM’s grievance cell is not turned into a death trap for helpless peoples, as it appears in the instant case to have become.

THUS HAS BEGUN CONGRESS CAMPAIGN IN ORISSA UNDER K.P.SINGHDEO

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

If a few fine persons are yet discernible in the Congress party in Orissa, Youth Congress President Rohit Pujari is one of them.

But to the newly “appointed” President of Orissa Pradesh Congress Committee, K.P.Singhdeo, he is “undisciplined”.

To teach him lessons on how to have discipline he has not hesitated to deflate him in public at Deogarh on February 19 in front of all the Congress workers of the district as well as onlooker public, just to show how apt is he in marshalling his autocratic might.

KP had gone there to attend a conference of Congress workers conveyed for stock taking of organizational condition and preparation for the general elections.

Congress is quite atrophied in Orissa and no evidence is required to prove that. This has happened to this party basically because of the distance its leaders maintained from its workers. So, it should have been appropriate for the “appointed” President of PCC to go there into the midst of workers quietly in a car and contact them with confidence in order to revive their confidence in the leadership. But KP, “appointed” by the lady autocrat of the party of the American lobbyists preferred to land there from a helicopter.

It was clear that the “appointed” PCC chief was eager to have a dazzling road show of Congress campaign.

To fit into this environment, the YC unit of the area also decided to add its color to the show. So, in a procession singing glory to their President Rohit, the YC members came to the meeting venue.

KP was irritated to watch YC members singing glory to Rohit instead of him. But when Rohit took the microphone to address the gathering and the YC members again raised slogans in his praise, it was impossible on part of KP to tolerate. He, in a conniption, dragged back Rohit from the addressing post and scathingly roared that he does not like “such type of indiscipline”.

It was not only a shock to Rohit, but also to senior members present in the podium and to the workers in the audience.

The PCC President “appointed” by the Congress autocrat could not understand that there was only youthful effervescence, no ill motive behind the behavior of the YC members. He took the slogans in praise of Rohit as an affront to his glorious presence! Whosoever showed any symptom of disapproval was browbeaten to keep quiet.

A shocked Rohit left the podium as well as the meeting venue followed by the members of YC.

And thus has begun the Congress campaign in Orissa under KP.

ORISSA GOVERNMENT IS A LITIGANT GOVERNMENT THAT DRAGS STAFF FROM COURT TO COURT

POOR EMPLOYEES, DRAGGED TO SUPREME COURT OF INDIA HAVE, HOWEVER, WON

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Supreme Court of India has rejected an Orissa Government appeal against a judgment of Orissa High Court that had asked the Government to regularize services of two of its low-paid employees.

Under wrongful reforms, Orissa Government has drastically reduced the number of its employees whereas by increasing populist programs manifold, it has massively increased the workload. This means the employees in every office are overloaded with works that they execute under normal salary.

As if this sort of exploitation is not enough, the Government has kept many employees underpaid by keeping them on temporary basis while deriving from them work on regular basis for years together.

This unfair practice keeps the employees away from regular salary, dearness allowance and other legal amenities like earned leave and medical benefits.

When any employee victimized by such unfair practice seeks judicial intervention, the Government goes up to the Supreme Court of India in justifying its machinations of exploitation!

For an instance the instant case involving two temporary employees namely Parixit Mallik and Gadadhar Sethi may be looked at.

They are posted under the Utkal University with a consolidated pay for many decades.

Kept bereft of regular salary, they were being forced to do all the works that regular employees were expected to do.

Repeated representations for regularization gone unheeded to, they had moved in 1999 the High Court of Orissa, which, after around seven years, disposed off in 2006 their petitions by holding the official action illegal and directing the Department of Higher Education as well as Department of Finance, Government of Orissa to regularize these two employees in their respective positions within a period of three months.

Around three years have elapsed. They are not yet regularized.

As is the wont of this Government, instead of honoring the High Court order, the State went to the Supreme Court in appeal.

As such, the Government under Navin Patnaik dragged both of the low paid employees into further litigation for the only fault that they had sought for justice in matter of their service and they had convinced the High court that they were victims of injustice and the High Court had granted them justice by asking the State Government to correct the wrong done to them.

The Supreme Court on many earlier occasions has observed that the state should behave like an ideal employer and should not act like a litigant and drag employees to higher courts when a lower court points out mistakes of the State in matter of dispute raised by any employee. But the Government under Navin Patnaik behaves like a habitual litigant.

These pages carry instances of how this Government has earned judicial strictures for having tried to frustrate the justice meted out by trial courts to its harassed employees. This time again the Supreme Court has censored the Government by turning down its appeal against the High Court order in the matter of these two low-paid employees in its decision on 16th last.

But, this order of the Supreme Court has least possibility of being honored expeditiously unless the two victimized employees grease the palms of the relevant mandarins in the State Government to execute the verdict.

I venture this apprehension on the basis of how the character of this Government is discernible in the following case.

There was a Civil Appeal bearing No.940 of 2006 arising out of SLP ( C ) Nos. 16362-16363 of 2004, preferred before the Supreme Court of India against an order of the Orissa High Court in which Government of Orissa was the Opposite Party. A Coram comprising Justice S.B. Sinha and Justice P. K. Balasubramanyan rejected the Appeal on February 2, 2006 with a virtual carte blanche given to Orissa Government to proceed against the persons that had tried to frustrate the State’s welfare through the litigation. But the functionaries of this Government are so habitual in serving vested interests that they have not hesitated to sleep over this judgment to the total detriment of public interest in order only to help the persons against whom the Government had won.

When Government’s victory in the Supreme Court is thus rendered defunct, what other than grease can make others’ victory against the Government functional?

Future will provide us with the answer. As on now, it is clear that the present Government of Orissa is a litigant Government. It harasses it employees. It is guilty of unfair labor practice. It is exploitive by nature and habit. It has been victimizing employees with continuous denial of regular salary and job security. It has no respect for Law. It is in the habit of harassing employees and dragging them from Court to Court to kill their fighting spirit and to frustrate verdicts as and when any is issued in their favor. And, two of the victimized employees having won their cases in the Orissa High Court had been dragged by Orissa Government to the Supreme Court, where, despite ruin of their purses in facing the State-run litigation, they have finally won.

GYANA PATNAIK, EPITOME OF ECSTASY OF COURAGE, PASSES AWAY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

She was not an Oriya by birth. But Orissa will always remember her with affection and pride.

Gyana Patnaik, wife of Biju Patnaik has passed away leaving behind her two sons, Prem and Navin and daughter Gita and innumerable peoples of Orissa who love and admire her.

People of Orissa admired Biju Patnaik only because of his courage.

With pride they talk of how courageously he had airlifted Sultan Sjharir and Sukarno of Indonesia from Jakarta to New Delhi and thereby had helped Indonesia in the most crucial phase of her fight for freedom.

They feel proud also of Gyana Patnaik, as it is she who had dared the sky in giving company to her husband in that epoch making flight that had charged the entire world with the ecstasy of courage.

If Biju Patnaik was the hero of that historic event, Gyana Patnaik was the heroin par excellence.

She was so far the only woman in whole of the world to have added strength to such a daredevilry of her husband that created history the like of which will never occur again.

Orissa will remain proud of her forever and we will always remember her with reverence when fight for eliminating any design of any nation to subjugate any people anywhere in the world would inspire peoples to wake up.

THIRTEENTH OLA ENDS ITS ACTIVE LIFE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The thirteenth Orissa Legislative Assembly wound up its active life on February 14 as its last and the 16th session ended with the Government shying at debates over the Chief Minister’s black money exposed by his cabinet colleagues, Samir Dey (as he then was) and Golak Bihari Nayak and escaping audit objections over revenue loss of at least Rs. 1242 crore due to malfeasance unveiled in sample instances tested by the Comptroller and Auditor general during the last financial year.

The House however adopted the vote-on-account to keep expenditures fueled till the next government takes over.

ETV USES TRAIN ACCIDENT TO SPREAD SUPERSTITION

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Private TV channel ETV, busy in promoting religious revivalism, has taken advantage of a train accident to spread superstitions amongst its viewers.

Chennai-bound 2481 Up Howrah-Coromandel Express derailed near Jajpur Road railway station last night. The train was in uncontrollable high speed when 15 of the 24-coach super fast express derailed. The impact even catapulted six of the coaches while killing at least 16 and injuring more than 200 passengers, as many as 25 of them quite critically.

The cause of the catastrophe is under investigation. But ETV is busy in spreading superstitions. It has focused profusely in its 14th February 9 PM news bulletin on views of two Brahmins, a widow and a man, both with the Panda surname, to view the accident as an act of evil spirit. There was a similar accident at the same spot a few years ago, they say and simultaneously suggest that steps should be taken up to perform special puja to propitiate the spirit.

What next!

SHOULDN’T EDUCATION BE MADE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT IN REALITY?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A sovereign country stands on fundamental rights of the citizens. We have our set of fundamental rights enshrined in our constitution. They are: right to equality (art 14-18), right to freedom (arts 19-22), right against exploitation (art 23-24), right to freedom of religion (art 25-28), cultural and educational rights (art 29-30) and right to constitutional remedies (art 32)

But there is no Right to Education in this list. The educational right is not right to education. It is limited to the right of minorities to establish and administer educational institutions “of their choice” (Article 30). So, this Article does not grant the general citizenry the fundamental right to education.

The eighty sixth amendment that brings in education to the list of Fundamental Rights, is nothing but a trick played by politicians on our peoples. The very language used, “The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of six to fourteen years in such manner as the State may, by law, determine” needs no elaboration on its frustrating design.

Government of Orissa has admittedly not posted Principals in 5491 Upper Primary Schools. Over and above this, there are 43,198 teaching posts vacant in Lower Primary Schools by the end of 2008. A posting in these pages on February 13 carry the official version placed before the Orissa Legislative Assembly that shows that the number of vacancies has increased from 27,840 vacancies noted in 2004. There are three thousand plus single teacher schools which means only one teacher is taking up classes from one to five in those schools in rural Orissa. When teachers are not there to teach, how is primary education being imparted to all the children of the age of six to fourteen? Is the Government taking education as a fundamental right of the children of this age group?

It is clear from the above sample instance that even the Government does not consider education a fundamental right.

The 93rd Amendment effected on Article 15 has given power to ruling politicians to reserve seats in government and/or private educational institutions for “any socially and educationally backward classes of citizens or for the Scheduled Castes or the Scheduled Tribes” and obviously, as witnessed, with a design for the vote box.

It is interesting to note that Right to Equality, which is the first Fundamental Right, under Article16, has guaranteed equality of opportunity to all in the matters of public employment. The purpose of this Article is being defeated. For all sorts of public employment the authorities have prescribed a corresponding minimum education. For example to become a teacher in a government college, the minimum education required is a doctoral degree. How can an uneducated person take advantage of equality in opportunity for the post of a college teacher? So, this fundamental right to equality in opportunity for public employment is defeated unless education is included in the list of fundamental rights sans any restriction such as age.

It is to be noted that education is placed under the Directive Principles of State Policy, which is not enforceable under the laws.

So the problem of lack of education in case of most of the Indians will continue to defeat the fundamental right to opportunity till education is not declared a fundamental right.

Let the lawmakers think of this afresh.

CAN THE CM TELL THE FARMERS WHAT HIS AGENT TOLD THE ASSEMBLY?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Chief Minister was noticed to answer. He did not. On his behalf Urban Minister K.V.Singhdeo replied. In the floor of the Assembly, which always is ravished by the magic of majority, the reply of Singhdeo might have given the CM the relief he must have desired.

But can the CM go into the midst of the cultivators of Orissa and tell them that what his agent has told the Assembly on February 13?

No, he can never. If he dares, there shall be no rampart of privilege like the Assembly to protect him from the wrath of farmers that are distress selling their paddy.

Distress sale of paddy was the crux of adjournment motion noticed by the Opposition. Initiating the debate, Arun De made categorical mention of how farmers of Balasore district, even of other districts like Bhadrak, are being compelled to distress sale their paddy for five to six hundred rupees a quintal as against official rate of Rs.850. He estimated the annual loss of farmers of his district to be no less than Rs.75 crore. This loss to farmers is direct gain to millers who share the loot with government functionaries in the food supply department, he alleged.

Netranand Mallik, Nalinikant Mohanty, Padmalochan Panda and Anant Sethi, who placed the share of the loot that goes to the functionaries at Rs.58 crore, supplemented him.

Treasury bench members Niranjan Pujari, Brundavan Majhi, Pradip Maharathi and B.B.Harichandan linked the problem to failure of the Food Corporation of India in procuring paddy from the farmers.

Even as the Minister was hinting at how the FCI has neglected paddy procurement, the Opposition wanted to know as to whose responsibility it is to eliminate the environment of distress sale. And, Singhdeo, acting as agent of the Chief Minister in answering the debate, thundered that there is no distress sale of paddy by farmers at all.

The Chief Minister as well as his agent is in advantage because the parting Assembly has no time to act on such foul play of falsehood. But if he dares to repeat this statement before the general public at the time of election, BJD will disown him or will be thrashed into doom, no doubt.

I am sure, Navin will never tell the people what his agent has told the House.

SHAME! GOVT. STRANGULATES PRIMARY EDUCATION IN ORISSA

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Had MLA Shambunath Nayak not put the question, Orissa’s School and mass education Minister Sanjiv Sahu would never have voluntarily informed the Assembly this session that more than one third of the Primary Schools in Orissa are running without Principals. Out of 15,741 Government Upper Primary Schools, there are no Head Masters in 5491 Schools, he has said.

To another question from MLAs Chiranjibi Biswal and Ramesh Chandra Majhi, his answer has revealed how shamelessly the Government has strangulated Primary Education.

By end of 2008, there were 43,198 vacancies against sanctioned posts of Primary teachers, he has confessed.

He has admitted that the vacancies have increased thus massive from 27,840 of 2004.

In 2004 Navin Patnaik was the Chief Minister. In 2008 the Chief Minister was he only. And, he is the Chief Minister as on today.

Why fellows of such incorrigible nonchalance are getting support in politics when they play havoc like this on education of our future generation?