GOVERNMENT GUILTY OF MISUSING POLICE, ALLEGE OPPOSITION

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Initiating Opposition observations on demands of Home as well as General Administration, whip Prasad Harichandan alleged that the government is using the Crime Branch as its shield while using the Vigilance wing as it weapon against whosoever is found disadvantageous to its design. No wonder, the Transparency International has concluded that Police is the most corrupt wing of Orissa administration, he pointed out and added, the Government, unambiguously guilty of misusing the police politically, has dragged them to such a sorry state.

He remarked that the Police in Orissa are being looked at askance by the general public as in-charge personnel invariably fail to take up speedy, appropriate, successful action against miscreants. But in reality they are jeopardized by non-provision of essential effects by the Government, he said, showing how absence of adequate manpower and work atmosphere has eclipsed their motivation.

Mr. Harichandan, trading on the Congress line on Naxalism, categorically pointed out that 12,370 posts out of 55,025 approved posts in the State’s Police set up are lying vacant due to habitual nonchalance that incorrigibly afflicts administration under the incumbent Chief Minister. Even the importance of keeping a Director General of Police stable in his post for at least two years to enable him work in perfect pursuit of his action plan is not being appreciated by the Government, he alleged.

When the top Cop is not sure of his positional stability, when as many as 36 sensitive Police Stations are not provided with vehicles and those having allotted with vehicles are in paucity of funds to procure fuel for them, when the available and assured funds for modernization of the Police are not being utilized due to dullness in administration, how does the Home department justify the demands it has placed before the Assembly, he asked.

Mr. Kalpataru Das of the ruling BJD defended the demands by projecting a picture of programs under execution and on anvil for infrastructure improvement to suit the Police set-up. His party colleague Asok Panda, however, advised the Government to appreciate that the Naxal tangle couldn’t be tackled through Police force alone. He emphasized on sincere implementation of welfare measures in rural areas to lessen the scope of Naxal expansion. Dealing with the demands of the GA department, he stressed on retention of the State’s rights over lands being given to BDA and Housing Board.

Members Amar Pr. Satapathy, Anup Sai, Prabhat Biswal, Naba kishore Das, Pratap Kumar Sarangi, Niranjan Pujari, Mamata Madhi, Jiwan Pradipta Das, Jeorge Tirki, Prafulla Majhi etc also contributed to the discussions.

In replying the debates, Chief Minister Navin Patnaik informed the House that extinguishment of Naxal fire is his government’s top priority, which, if not today, tomorrow he will accomplish. As a step towards that 4000 new home guards would soon be appointed with enhancement of their existing wage from Rs.90 to Rs.110 per day and assured engagement from 90 to 300 days a year.

HIGH-TECH TEACHERS TREATED LIKE HELOTS IN ORISSA

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

At Sijua of Bhubaneswar stands NM Institute of Engineering & Technology. It is one of the 87 privately run high-tech educational institutes in Orissa, where teachers and staff members are being treated as helots in absence of any codified condition of service.

By an order on July 15 it has reminded the teachers and staff that there is no lunch break and hence they are debarred from going out for lunch. The order bears number NMIET/Academic/2009/139.

Under its stipulations, teachers and lab-staff are to stay on duty for 7 hours 30 minutes on all the working days that usually span from 9.30 AM to 5.00 PM. They are also required to attend duty as and when necessary at 7.30 or 8.30 AM, in which case their duty hours would end at 3.00 or 4.00 PM. So one is to work without lunch till 4.00 or 5.00 PM in a sub-human condition.

Behind this sub-human provision there seems to be a game plan of the owner of the institute. It almost compels the teachers and staff to cough up money as dictated by the owner in captive canteens where any food taken happens to be Hobson’s choice.

This is just a sample.

The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), suspected since long but currently in headlines for corruption, seldom inspects any private technical institute to find out if its norms are honored.

AICTE was set-up in November 1945 as a national level Apex Advisory Body to conduct survey on the facilities on technical education and to promote development in the country in a coordinated and integrated manner. And to ensure the same, as stipulated in, the National Policy of Education (1986), AICTE be vested with statutory authority for planning, formulation and maintenance of norms and standards, quality assurance through accreditation, funding in priority areas, monitoring and evaluation, maintaining parity of certification and awards and ensuring coordinated and integrated development and management of technical education in the country, says its pivoting document.

The document goes on to inform that the Government of India (Ministry of Human Resource Development) constituted a National Working Group to look into the role of AICTE in the context of proliferation of technical institutions, maintenance of standards and other related matters. The Working Group recommended that it be vested with the necessary statutory authority for making it more effective, which would consequently require restructuring and strengthening with necessary infrastructure and operating mechanisms; pursuant to which, the AICTE Act, framed in1987, came into force with effect from March 28, 1988 that equipped AICTE with statutory status on May 12, 1988 with power to formulate and implement proper planning and coordinated development of technical education system throughout the country, to promote qualitative improvement of such education in relation to planned quantitative growth and to regulate and ensure proper maintenance of norms and standards in the technical education system and to control, interpret and instruct in the matters connected therewith.

All these formulations are discarded in respect to Orissa. Instead of promoting qualitative improvement of technical education in relation to planned quantitative growth, Orissa has been allowed to become the hunting house of the mafia in this field. On 20 July 2006 we had shown in these pages how scam engulfs high-tech education in Orissa and how the mafia running the private institutions sale seats for several lakhs of Rupees to absolutely ineligible children of black money hoarders or fund-raisers. The report was captioned, Scam Engulfs High-Tech Education In Orissa: Merit Markers Silent! It took two years for the Government of Orissa to act. For the first time, the controlling department of Industry has only today banned admissions in Purusottam Institute of Engineering & Technology (PIET), Rourkela this year onwards while simultaneously clamping a cash fine of 5.4 lakhs of Rupees on situational spotting of high-priced sale of seats. But the AICTE is conspicuous by its absence in promoting qualitative education.

In almost all private technical education institutes there are teachers who could never have qualified for such posts in Government institutes. I was astonished to see a man whom I knew as an assistant electrical engineer with a checkered career in the chair of the Professor of Electrical Engineering last year.

The AICTE norm on faculty stipulates that Lectures should be recruited on merit basis through open competitions and higher posts up to the rank of Professors, on promotion from amongst the faculty members on merit and seniority basis. But Orissa’s private TE institutes recruit teachers on private preference of the owners and mostly nepotism plays the tricks. There is no recruitment yardstick, no Recruitment Board, no emphasis on competence. In such a situation, deficient hands get faculty positions within the pleasure of the owners of the institutes. And, work sans any demand for fair pay. And, this position encourages the owners of the institutes they serve to treat them as bondservants.

This year most of these private institutes have got a shock as a new institute, one of the 25 to get AICTE approval for admission, Shibani Institute of technical Education (SITE) has announced to pay its faculty and staff at the rate recommended by the 6th Pay Commission and seemingly under its impact, three other institutes such as KIIT, STI and SoA have declared to implement the same while GITA is reportedly contemplating to adopt the line. It is clear from this scenario that till this year none of the private TE institutes in Orissa has paid its faculty and staff at the rate adopted by AICTE or recommended by the Pay Commission.

On the other hand, a look at any of these institutes reveals that there are no permanent faculties in any of them. The primitive method of hire and fire keeps the faculty position ever so rolling that students are never assured of a regular course-guide. You will never find a single teacher or member of the staff in any of these institutes that does not suffer from sense of job-insecurity.

With students having “just the pass mark” in Plus-Two Exams in the classes of these institutes under the auspices of OPECA (Orissa Private Engineering Colleges Association) taken up by teachers that are too deficient of requisite qualification and competence to harp on fair and proper salary, the scenario of high tech education in Orissa is so alluring for the mafia that whosoever has earned and accumulated black money is in a position to become a baron of academic business in the field of TE.

Orissa has now 30, 000 seats approved by AICTE for admission under 4 governmental and 87 private TE institutes. They are to be taught by 2000 teachers. If the present pedagogic scenario does not change, there should be no doubt that the ultimate outcome would be most disastrous to the society.

Arrest of some AICTE officials on chance discovery of corrupt practices or penalty on a private TE institute on violation of admission norms will not solve the problem that has engulfed technical education in Orissa. The State Government must have to rise to the occasion and drag the owners of the private TE institutes that are being increasingly marked for their avarice than for academic service into discipline. To ensure that pedagogy in these private institutes runs on AICTE formulated norms, immediate steps should be taken to assize justiciable Service Code and Condition of Service for the teachers and staff in the TE sector including private universities with unambiguous stipulations to screen out deficient teachers with retrospective effect and with clear provisions to build up a select list of teachers through a Selection Board from which alone the private institutes may pick up their faculties.

The present treating of high tech teachers as helots by their masters in private TE institutes must have to be stopped by the State if at all it is run by a Government worth the salt, purely in interest of our future generations.

FUNNY THINGS TAKE PLACE IN ORISSA ASSEMBLY: UNSEEN SNAKE BITES THE DAY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

There was no snake in the Hall of the Assembly.

Security personnel, sniffing police dog, professional snake catchers and even members of the House failed to find any snake.

But on hearsay that there was a cobra in the Hall of the House, Orissa Assembly suspended today its business of the day.

The day was scheduled for discussion on and adoption of the demands of the Home department, which is under the Chief Minister. This demand is now shifted to the next day that stands already programmed for the demand of the General Administration department, also held by the CM.

Both the departments are mired under manifold corruption and misrule. Informed use of the full debate time could have brought to records matters that might have exposed the lackadaisical way the State is being managed. But perhaps it won’t happen. Guillotine may cut off debates in view of constraint of time that the loss of the day today is bound to create.

The Chief Minister is seemingly very happy. He was seen instigating members to come out of the Hall lest the unseen snake makes a bite! As confused members were coming out of the Hall, the CM seemingly in relaxed mood, was seen prodding them to visit places of tourists’ attraction that spangle Bhubaneswar and the tourism minister was eager to comply with his boss’s amusing suggestions.

And, as he whisked out a luxury bus from regular tourist service, it was loaded with members to start on sight seeing instead of using the available time in perusing the White Paper produced and placed by the Home department or other important materials essential for discussions tomorrow.

It is yet to be known whether or not the sweeper of the Assembly was used to cook up and spread the snake presence story. But it is sure that a precious day is lost to the House.

Funny things really happen in Orissa Assembly much often that curtail debate times to the detriment of business in this rampart of democracy under any pretext, which is a marked phenomenon ever since the present CM has occupied the top post.

THE SAHID SYNDROME: SHOULD WE NOT THINK AFRESH?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

What I propose to say is not meant to show any disrespect to anybody that dies on duty assigned by the State.

But what should one say if the way such persons are being projected as Sahids becomes increasingly an affront to Martyrdom?

In Orissa, in course of Navin Patnaik’s rule, the number of police personnel died on duty while fighting against left ultras has alarmingly increased.

Even as the collective body of police personnel attributes the repeated debacles to lack of proper planning and provision of appropriate ammunition by the government, the CM is in the habit of assuaging the grief of the family and the colleagues of the deceased by projecting him as a Sahid (Martyr) and making provisions of sumptuous sums of money from public exchequer and allotment of land in the capital city of Bhubaneswar to his family over and above government job to some of his heirs.

If linking the debacles to absence of planning and ammunition is not incorrect, this is an objectionable official bribe given to the legal heirs of the deceased to purchase their silence over the loss caused by the politico-bureaucratic misrule.

If there were no misrule and if there were ears to hear the grievances of the wretchedly poor hit hard by official recalcitrance, there could never have been any barrel in any hand to emit loud protests and there should never have arisen any occasion for any uniformed man to raise guns to silent that protest and to die on duty due to alleged lack of appropriate ammunition leading to his heirs being officially bribed to keep mum as hinted to above.

But more objectionable than the official bribe is the status of Martyr given to the deceased, be he in the Police or in the Army, who was in a salaried job to accept death as a part of duty assigned under a time scale of pay.

Because, Martyrs are only they who were or are never paid any salary for taking up the cause of their country.

Martyrdom belongs to Baji Raut and Bhagat Singh and their likes.

Salaried uniformed persons, whose official duty it is to die in action in failing to put the opposite party to death, should not be projected as Martyrs.

As long as there shall be exploitation, as long as there shall be swindling of peoples’ money, as long as there shall be private property sans ceilings, as long as there shall be private possession on assets of the Motherland given to her by Mother Nature, as long as capitalism shall stay active to disallow social ownership over means of productions, as long as administration shall remain addressed to benefit of self-seekers at the cost of the poor citizenry, there shall certainly grow the determination to get rid of that system of exploitation by any means. If the power that the masters of the system of exploitation enjoy remains theirs by use of bullets from the barrels of uniformed personnel, the victims of such power would certainly seek its extermination by mastering the use of barrels at their end. And, in the process, more and more men in uniforms may die; because, they shall be using weapons against salary payment whereas the left ultras, on societal commitment.

If all of them become declared Martyrs, it would be an increased affront to Martyrdom.

On the other hand, there is no uniformity in honoring uniformed men died on duty. If loss of one’s life on duty is compensated by money etc, there should be same amount of compensation in all occasions of death on duty. There is no uniformity. As is increasingly marked, the honor is always whimsical.

In absence of a Sahid Code, the uniformed men died in action against active opponents of exploitation are being wrongfully projected as Sahids. And, the misusers of power, who, by their solidarity with the rich have wrecked such havoc on the common man that to his perception the remedy thereto looks available through counter bullets, are using the occasion of bestowal of such Sahidhood to germinate emotional disapproval of the death of the uniformed man in the hearts of onlookers in calculated manners to use the same against the users of the counter bullets.

Thus the land of Orissa is being festered with capitalist virus that dilutes the importance of the word “Martyr” by bestowing Sahidhood upon persons in uniform, who die in their campaigns against the opponents of plutocratic exploitation.

It is not at all wrong to offer state honor to uniformed men dying on duty. Rather it is most welcome. But it is wrong to offer them Sahidhood or to accept them as Martyrs as that belittles the importance of Martyrdom to which selfless freedom fighters alone belong.

We may have no objection to benefits, if any, in shape of money, land and employment given to a bereaved family in lieu of the loss caused by a death on duty. But we strongly disapprove the way it is being given. On different occasions, we have observed, different amount of help was announced for different bereaved families, often suspected to have been influenced by caste, religion and political proximity.

Let this practice stop.

Let it be codified as to what should be the quantum of compensation against what sort of death on duty and what should be the protocol in offering the compensation or the honor. There should not be any scope of discretion; because in matter of expressing State’s gratitude to a person that dies on duty, there should be no scope for discrimination.

It is imperative, therefore, that the State should be saved from the Sahid-syndrome that is belittling the importance of Martyrdom and steps should be taken to codify how the State should honor a person who succumbs to counter bullets on duty so that there should be no discretion or discrimination in offering the State’s gratitude.

Orissa Impact on Vidyapati

Neither spiritualism nor sex was at the crux of Vidyapati’s popular songs in Maithili. They were probably authored to carry forward the Buddhist sociological concepts advanced by Orissa’s revolutionary poet Sri Jay Dev against Vedic imperialism.

MAN MOHAN MISHRA’S WIDOW PASSES AWAY

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Immortal freedom fighter Man Mohan Mishra’s widow Nirmala Devi passed away at the age of 81 in the Ispat General Hospital, Rourkela. She breathed her last in the morning of July 12.

As long as there should be people to whom Man Mohan Mishra remains the unforgettable epitome of the romance of revolt against oppression, Nirmala Devi would remain in memory as his partner in left activism aimed at upliftment of the working class from the labyrinth of wretchedness.

Time has changed and politics has become a fortune fetching profession and India has clandestinely changed from democracy to plutocracy and traitors who have caused this change by rendering our national resolve, enshrined in the Preamble of our Constitution, for socialism inconsequential by signing the GATT agreement behind the back of our Parliament and have pushed us into the pernicious clutch of capitalism, have shockingly stayed in power at the helm of our affairs.

At such a time, when a person is eager to live only for itself, what was the life of Nirmala when she was partnering her revolutionary husband for betterment of others in the society, may remain beyond comprehension of many.

But to any one, who prides in the feeling of dwelling on a soil where this unique couple had once prioritized its agenda for emancipation of man from the chain of exploitation, it would certainly give a feeling of personal loss.

PRANAB MUKHERJEE SHOULD NOT MAKE HIS FACE NASTY IN PARLIAMENT

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The country expects fair dealings from the Prime Minister and his cabinet colleagues. But whosoever might have watched how Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s face became nasty in wrath, as Orissa MPs expressed resentment to lack of fairness in central aid to Orissa, must have been deeply disappointed.

Might be Mukherjee was right in saying that the BJD MPs were not right in raising an issue not contextually concerned with the business before the House at that time. But the way he reacted reflected his irritations in his face and presented a posture not becoming of a Minister.

Orissa was discriminated against last year by Man Mohan Singh Government in the matter of central assistance to tackle the catastrophic damages wrecked by rivers in full spate. Even as Orissa damage was no less severe than that in Bihar, Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh and UPA Chief Sonia, then dependant on Lalu Pr. Jadav of Bihar for survival of their Government, rushed there and announced an instant assistance of Rs.1000 crores over and above the flood of funds Lalu was pumping from the Railways to that State as flood assistance. The Center deliberately delayed in having a survey of the spate in Orissa and when, much after the deluge had receded, the Union Home Minister made a reluctant visit to evade world criticism for negligence to Orissa on political grounds, he had announced central assistance worth only Rs. 500 crores in a face-saving attempt. But that the Union Minister’s announcement was a mere joke was unveiled as in reality the Union granted only Rs.98 crores.

It is shocking and surprising that out of this amount, the Union Government now wants refund of Rs.80 crores when on records in the Loksabha it has stated not to withdraw any fund from Bihar.

Orissa is undoubtedly discriminated against in absence of a legal guideline.

Orissa MPs were provoked by this Central foul play to raise their voice against the refund demand in the Loksabha on July 10. Their concern was never wrong, even though we agree, the timing might have been.

But was it proper for Mukherjee to have jumped into a quarrel with Orissa MPs in an obnoxious manner that watching the proceedings on TV screen we got the impression of?

Besides being the Finance Minister he is the Leader of the Loksabha as Prime Minister Singh is disqualified to hold the post. We marked, instead of addressing the Speaker, Mukherjee crossed words directly with the BJD leader in Loksabha, his face showing bitter contempt towards the Orissa MPs.

It will be better if Mukherjee practices not to show nasty irritation in his face when MPs from a State get provoked to voice their resentment against their State being discriminated against by the Union.