WE SHOULD BE SERIOUS IN LOOKING AT 26/11

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

One year ago on November 26, India had to face bloody terrorists from Pakistan at Mumbai. In different parts of the country different persons and organizations are observing the first anniversary of this nasty day in lighting candles in honor of victims of the terror strike and in organizing human catenae to symbolize their solidarity with the people against terrorism. Members in the Parliament have, at commencement of the day, paid homage to victims of 26/11 by standing up in silence for two minutes.

It would be wrong to describe this “anniversary” observance as an instance of how much we Indians are capable of making a farce of our patriotism.

But why are we as a nation so passive in our reaction?

We have Governments that have confused us in the matter of terrorist threats by concentrating more on projecting the opponents of exploitation as the terrorist and pressing military might to extinguish them in a style that has the mischief to dilute the definition of terrorism. The active leftists, whom the usurpers of political power have been branding as terrorists, are the persons that the exploited, wretchedly poor and helpless population, forming the majority in our country, look at as their redeemers. Instead of preserving the word “terrorist” for perpetrators of cross border terrorism, the right-wingers in power have consistently used the term for the left ultras. As left ultras enjoy political credibility because of being the strongest opponents of exploitation, the word “terrorist” as their official epithet has gained such credentials that it has lost the reason to be looked upon as a word to be despised. Most of India’s socio-political thinkers have not yet cogitated upon this point. Unless we drop the word “terrorist” from use against the left ultras, the cross-border terrorists may also be mistaken as opponents of exploitation.

November 26 calls for application of alert collective mind to this aspect. We shall have to stop use of the word “terrorist” and use of uniformed forces of the country against left-ultras if we are serious on concentration against real terrorists such as those that shocked our nation on this day last year.

But this would not be enough. We are to find out who provided the Pak terrorists the environment they needed to strike like they did in Mumbai.

It is well on records that the USA was funding and instigating Pakistan to mount terrorist attacks on India. Their Home Department Documents bear rampant evidences. But our Prime Minister Dr. Man Mohan Singh is a strong ally of USA. And, when he was the Chief of our Reserve Bank, an USA pampered Pakistani Bank called BCCI, known as the Bank of Pakistani terror-funding, had bagged RBI cooperation to spread its tentacles in India in stark disregard to warnings from our country’s main external intelligence agency RAW (Research and Analysis Wing).

Even as this Bank was unmasked by USA Congressional investigations and was banned in different countries, its activities went on uninterrupted in India and then as the Union Finance Minister Dr. Singh had tried to shield it from public knowledge. Even the parliament of India was hoodwinked.

People should have the details of this sordid scenario through publication of all reports and discussions on BCCI vis-à-vis the records of USA role in instigating Pakistan against India to the extent the government knows with explanation thereto, if any, so that the real masterminds behind the creation of environment for 26/11 attack on India could be known.

The motion regarding collapse of BCCI had to collapse under a secret pact of the Congress party with the BJP, as its stalwart Jaswant Singh who had moved the motion. However, as the debate was abruptly ending, Dr. Singh had told the House that he would look into the matter afresh.

“Whatever has been said on the floor of this House I would transmit to the Reserve Bank, to our intelligence agencies. I may also inform the House that I have appointed, rather the Reserve Bank have appointed M/s. Billimoria and Company to do a comprehensive audit of the activities of the Bombay branch (of BCCI) right from the date of its inception”, he had then said.

What did report Billimoria and company? Why Dr. Singh has not revealed that to the nation so far? Why should we not look at him with suspicion, when we know the USA link with Paki terrorism and how imitable is USA to Dr. Singh?

It is time; we should be serious about the background of 26/11 and the environment of terrorism that our motherland is subjected to.

VIGILANCE SHOULD TELL IF NAVIN IS NOT INVOLVED

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The provincial Congress demand for CBI inquiry into illegal mining in Orissa is absolutely unacceptable, because the said organization has no spine to work honestly, as has already been established in the case against Quattrocchi. On the other hand, the Vigilance Police of Orissa has shown its ability to work as allegation of illegal mining in the State has been corroborated on the basis of its investigations, even though the mines it has made a cursory inquiry into, are quite marginal in number. Because of Orissa Vigilance, a group of officers including the Director of Mines is suspended under charges of involvement with the offense. So, it would be wrong not to rely upon Orissa Vigilance in the instant matter.

But instead of telling who is looting Orissa mines, the Vigilance Police would do better by telling if Chief Minister Navin Patnaik is not involved with the loot. Motherland is more important than the ruler, the sleuths and officers should remember.

Ores worth how many thousand crores of Rupees are looted according to Vigilance is not important at the moment. Important is, revelation of the details of the facilitator(s) of the loot. This revelation is needed for better management of democracy and the Orissa Vigilance Police is capable of fulfilling this need.

The Vigilance wing knows and we also know that it has raided a very small number of mines for an instant assessment of the loot. But the State Government has suspended operations in 128 mines and cancelled 482 trading licenses.

Why the Government has suspended operations in 128 mines and cancelled 482 trading licenses? The answer is very simple. To the knowledge of the State Government they are involved with illegal mining.

When the Vigilance has not spotted them all, how the Government could know that they are involved with illegal mining?

This question prompts us to assume that the State Government does not need to know of the looters through Vigilance Police, because it knows who the illegal operators are.

So, suspension of operations in 128 mines and cancellation of 482 trading licenses are based on the Government’s own knowledge of illegal mining activities of these operators.

How could illegal mining operators mushroomed to such high dimension so swiftly and so safely and why had the Government not taken any earlier action against them?

We need the answer to this question from the Vigilance. We expect that Chief Minister Navin Patnaik should come forward with the answer if he is not involved with this loot. If he does not come out with the answer, it should be the duty of the Vigilance Police to tell the people the truth.

It is not inappropriate to recall how Navin had figured in then Union Minister of State for Environment Dilip Singh Judeo’s bribe taking picture, when, before a spy cam, in the mouth of his personal assistant Natwar Rateria, a mines-monger from a foreign land was assured of smooth grabbing of mines in Orissa. “Orissa mein tasalli banayon. Jo chahenge voh hoga” (Celebrate your scope in Orissa. Whatever we want will happen there). How could Judeo be so sure? As Rateria hinted to, that was because of mutual cooperation between Judeo and Navin, which had helped the latter to bag 9000 crores of Rupees out of environmental clearance granted to mines operators. The dialogue delivered through Rateria, embarrassing to Orissa but relevant to the issue at hand, is, “Orissa mein bhi ………… apna kafi command hai… Nau hazaar (9,000) crore ki relief Naveen Patnaik ko apne mantralay ke project se… us se kuch bhi karva sekte hain”. (We have sufficient influence over Orissa as by granting environmental clearance to mining projects we have helped Navin Patnaik pocket 9000 crores of Rupees. We can make him do anything.) “… Naveen Patnaik ka jab bhi koi baat padegi, ek minute mein karva denge. Apne pehle aahsaan hain uske upar hai. Aur relationship bhi badi purani hai”. (Whenever you need work done from Naveen Patnaik, we can get it done in a minute. He is already indebted to us and our relationship is quite old.)

These were the dialogues on records that had shaken the country in August 2006 so much that Judeo was forced to resign from the Vajpayee ministry. But neither the Central Government under Vajpayee whose Ministry of Environment was misused for benefit of illegal mines operators nor the State Government of Orissa whose Chief Minister was thus named to have gained Rs.9000 crores from mines operators with the help of Judeo, took any step to establish that the assertions caught by spy cam were baseless and incorrect. This has kept the allegation alive and erect, though under layers of the dusts of time.

But time has exposed the enormity of illegality and corruption in management of mines in Orissa.

Therefore it is time, the Vigilance Police, if they are true to their salt, should investigate truthfully into every aspect of the mining scam and say if the Chief Minister Navin Patnaik is not involved with this. As we have watched, his henchmen have held the portfolio of mines in all these years and such enormous illegal activities by the mines mafia could not have run so safely for such a long period sans cooperation of the ministers concerned and the Chief Minister.

Modus operandi of Ministers, specifically the Chief Minister in helping mines mafia for payola or bribe, call it as you like, is a long experienced reality in Orissa.

As far back as on 14th July 1963, when Navin’s father Biju Patnaik was the Chief Minister of Orissa, an ever revered leader of matchless patriotism, late Nabakrishna Chowdhury had exposed the nexus between the political boss of the State and the mine owners.

Speaking at Gandhi Tattwa Prachar Kendra, Balasore, he had shown how huge money was being collected from mine owners / operators in the name of election funds by providing them with official support to fetch more profit by exploiting Orissa mines even as most of the funds so collected in name of the party was being misappropriated by the top leader and his close associates.

Taking the cue, journalist G.S.Bhargava had enumerated Biju’s unholy connection with the mines mafia and his other corruptions in the Indian Express in July 1964.

As Biju had tried to hoodwink the people by instituting a damage case against Bhargava, the people of Orissa had raised such a sharp and severe mass movement demanding his resignation that ultimately he had to be thwarted out of power. His case against Bhargava did not retain focus and was abandoned.

Like Biju, his mentor Harekrishna Mahtab was also marked for having personally gained by granting favor to exploiters of Orissa mines.

Justice Mudholkar in his fact-finding report had noted that Mahtab’s role in grant of lease of chromite mines to Md. Serajuddin in 1957 vis-à-vis his rapid acquisition of wealth between 1956 and 1960 read with his orders for withdrawal of criminal prosecution against ten iron and steel dealers were suggestive of corrupt practices.

When on Mudholkar’s recommendations, a judicial commission of inquiry was instituted with Justice Saraju Prasad in the Chair, Mahtab tried to obstruct its proceedings. The report of Prasad is full of evidences of evasive tactics used by Mahtab. Had a subsequent State Government not preferred not to press on prosecution against him in view of his old age, judiciary could have punished him for his grave offences against the State that he had committed in order to please the mines mafia.

So, Chief Ministers of Orissa serving the underworld in mining sector for personal monetary gains is not new and Navin Patnaik is a Chief Minister.

By suspending operations in 128 mines and canceling 482 licenses granted for trading and storage of minerals, the State Government has conversely confessed that till it decided to take this step, these illegal activities were going on without obstruction within its full knowledge. In fact, this step would never have been taken had Navin not been alarmed by the exposure spearheaded by BJP, his ally of yesterday, who are supposed to have known much more of mining corruption as the partners in previous two consecutive ministries. To save his skin, he may take further such steps and press vigilance to inquire into more mines. That does not and should not indicate that he is not personally involved.

To Navin, Congress is not a problem. Because the Congress is the breeder and protector of the environment of corruption in this country.

This party of Quattrocchi protectors has planted Dr.Man Mohan Singh, the father of India’s decadence into the Augean Stables of loot and treachery that has helped emergence of not only Harshad Mehtas and Ambanis but also has served the Pakistani Bank of Terror funding, BCCI with official support and even after it collapsed, has kept its role in ruining India shielded from public eyes as the Prime Minister of India. Inheriting by default the party of the founders of Indian democracy, the present Congress party has already been transformed by Sonia-Singh combine into a lunching pad of American interest and therefore, Navin in who POSCO and the likes see their staunch supporter, has nothing to fear from this party. Its role in the Assembly over the mining issue in the preceding couple of days confirms this aspect..

This is why there is no possibility of knowing the political components of the mines loot unless the Vigilance unveils who of the politicians in power has or have helped the mafia in this matter so far. Wrongs in democracy cannot be corrected if the real culprit is not dragged out of its political cocoon into public gaze.

Vigilance officers are our beloved countrymen with no less patriotism than what their political bosses claim to be having. They should, therefore, act honestly and help our democracy survive the onslaught by telling us through truthful investigation, if Navin is not involved in facilitating the mines loot.

When the principal opposition party’s role is dubious, the Vigilance wing, in the instant case, will be viewed as the last hope or the lost hope.

WHEN MEDIA ACTS IRRESPONSIBLE, EVERY PERSON IS VULNERABLE

Advance assassination of character is not becoming of Free Press

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In what a media major has found a front page material today is an allegation against a top executive under the department of culture raised by a self-proclaimed victim of his deviance. In some other dailies, the matter has found inner-page posting.

The alleged victim has reportedly filed a complaint with the Baragarh Police Station, Bhubaneswar on November 24 which the latter has taken into cognizance. But the allegation, as reported by the media, does not speak of any current offence.

It is alleged by the victim that he has been working in Orissa Sahitya Academy since eight years and the officer concerned had been forcing him to serve at his residence in the night and subjecting him to sexual exploitation. As he had in resentment stopped going to his residence, he was threatened with dire consequences on October 24. This much the media that has preferred to circulate the news has reported.

Dependable sources in the Sahitya Academy say, the alleger is a hesitant worker and the officer concerned is too strict to accommodate any attempt to take office for granted. As confessed by the alleger, he was not a regular employee and hence recommendation of the officer concerned for regularization of his service was necessary. To the alleger’s apprehension, his regularization was impossible because it was not possible to hoodwink the officer on the steering. Therefore, Academy sources say, the mischief has been contrived.

Whether or not this aspect is correct, the fact is that an allegation of sexual exploitation is raised before the police and no investigation to find out the truth has yet begun. But the way the media has acted, the victim has become the officer against whom the allegation has been raised, that too, after lapse of every conceivable limits of time.

Had media acted responsibly, it should have preferred to wait till the Police find out if at all there was any prima-facie truth in the allegation. But without waiting, the Fourth Estate should have dug out as to how the alleger got his first assignment in the Academy and why for so many years preceding posting of the officer under question he was not regularized.

I regret to note, the media has acted most irresponsibly in the instant case.

The officer named in the media is a man who has given discipline and decorum to practice of administration in the Academy. His additional posting in the Utkal University of Culture has brought a total change to its academic environment. Had the Government been doing documentation of office management or were the media ever tried to keep eyes on such offices of cultural importance, this Officer should have come to be looked as an instance of dedication to work that changes offices from worst to best. But, because of rashness in media, this man having been named, has been thrashed into ignominy even before the allegation against him is investigated into.

In these pages, we have earlier stressed on the need of using medico-legal equipments such as lie-detectors to determine if the alleger is not telling the lie for settling scores with any disadvantageous one, specifically the boss.

In the instant case, we therefore stress, the Police should proceed from putting the alleger to polygraph. And the media should wait till lie-detector says that there is no lie in the allegation. Advance assassination of character is not becoming of Free Press.

Government doesn’t bother to halt power famine, will the Assembly please?

HERE WE PLACE A GENERATION PERSPECTIVE PLANNING FOR ORISSA TO MEET THE PRESENT AND FUTURE POWER DEMAND

(With input from Orissa’s eminent power-professionals and planners)

Due to lack of vision and planning, Orissa is at present facing power shortage of about 1200 MW during evening peak hours (from 6 PM to 11 PM) and 600 MW during off-peak hours (the balance 18 hours of the day) as she is unable to meet its evening peak demand of 3200 MW and average demand of 2500 MW even though it is endowed with two super rich coal fields at Talcher and Ib Valley which can generate thermal power of 1 lakh MW for 100 years with hydro potential to harness about 10,000 MW and Renewable Energy potential of about 20000 MW.

As per the Economic Survey for 2008-09 of Govt. of Orissa, the Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) has registered an annual compound growth of 6.97% over the period 1999-2000 to 2007-08 whereas the demand for electricity has registered a little over 10% during the period 2005-06 to 2008-09.

So it is time to stop thinking of five-year plans for generation planning for capacity addition and to focus in stead on 10, 20 & 30-year scenario. In a rapidly transforming economy, the winners will be the ones who think further ahead. If the state of Orissa as a whole has to be winner, the systemic capacity addition for generation of power has to be planned with great caution and with a serious exercise as power lies in the core of the core sector. The World Management Guru Sri C.K. Prahlad now talks of India at 75 i.e. the year 2022 to consider India’s potential to become a super power. TERI has prepared a Report “GREEN INDIA-2047” to make a really Green India at 100 i.e. in the year 2047. Ministry of Power has already under “VISION-2032” outlined the Integrated Energy Policy which projects the required installed capacity of India at 962 GW and the energy requirement at 4973 BU based on estimated GDP growth @ 8% in FY 2031-32. It would therefore be proper to map the possible power scenarios for the State under “VISION-2025” as power-scientists and planners involved with this site are harping on.

Electric Power Survey

The 17th Electric Power Survey (EPS) Report on India published by CEA in March, 2007 made the forecast for the power demand of Orissa for 11th, 12th & 13th as under Table-1.

As per the Report on Power Supply Situation of CEA for the month of April-Sep,2009 (FY 2009-10), the Orissa System met the peak demand of 3120 MW against the required Peak Demand of 3188 MW and the Energy Availability was of 10599 MU against the actual Energy Requirement of 10728 MU. Orissa will be requiring an installed capacity of about 6780 MW around 2012, 9620 MW around 2017 and 15300 MW around 2022 to cater to the peak demand of 4459 MW, 6330 MW and 10074 MW projected by CEA for 2011-12, 2016-17 & 2021-22 respectively. As against this, the present availability is about 2000 MW. Hence peak shortage is about 1200 MW & off-peak shortage is of about 600 MW. The installed capacity of Orissa from the Central Sector share & State sector is about 4060 MW as on 31.03.2009. Orissa has to add generation capacity of about 2700 MW, 5500 MW and 11,000 MW to cater to the state demand in 2012, 2017 & 2022 respectively considering the installed capacity of 4060 MW as on 31.03.2009 as the base.

As against the requirement of 2700 MW additional installed capacity and about additional energy availability of 7000 MU up to 2012, Orissa may expect additional power from the available sources during 11th plan as under Table-2.

The State has to source an additional 2000 MW in 2011 & 2012 to meet the projected demand made in EPS prepared by CEA, which in July, 2009 has published a Booklet on “Equipment and Key Input Requirement” for the power sector 12th Plan & beyond and has outlined the capacity addition for 12th & 13th Plan for the country as under Table-3

The fund requirement for generation, transmission and distribution during 12th Plan & 13th Plan as the CEA has assed is under Table-4.

CEA has already undertaken the advance action for the projects to be constructed during 12th Plan from now onwards mobilizing the resources and placing the orders for procurement of Equipments for both Main & balance of plants, so that there shall be no slippage in targeted capacity during 12th Plan.Table-5 shows the status of projects under construction of 72,798 MW as on 31.08.2009.

Orissa has to chalk out similar capacity addition programme in generation for addition 5500 MW for 12th Plan in which all the necessary preliminary works including financial closure should have to be achieved by December, 2009 and the project works should start from January, 2010 to be in stream for commercial generating during 12th Plan period. The associated transmission connectivity should have to be also finalized by June, 2010 so that connectivity issue should not crop up at the time of commercial generation of power.

The road map to meet the power shortage, capable of meeting the future power demands of Orissa, may be drawn on short term, medium term and long term basis in the time horizon of less than one year, more than one year but less than three years and three years plus respectively.

Short-term Measures

They include (1) Injection of Surplus Power by CGPs, (2) share from unallocated quota of Central Generating Stati and (3) Harnessing of Solar Power.

Injection of Surplus Power by CGPs

CCPPO during hearing in OERC on 15.10.2009 has assured to inject about 400 MW power provided CGP’s surplus power is paid @ Rs. 4.50/kwh as the Market Price discovered in Power Exchanges averages @ Rs. 10/kwh and has gone upto @ Rs 17/kwh for which CERC has imposed capping on the price for 45 days limiting it to Rs. 8/kwh. OERC has issued orders with a very attractive price for surplus power from CGPs ranging from Rs.3.10/KWH to Rs.4.05/KWH.

Orissa share from unallocated quota of Central Generating Stations

Govt. of Orissa may urge upon GOI, MOP to allot additional 600/700 MW through emergency allotment from 15% unallocated quota of NTPC stations like Farakka STPS, Kahalgaon STPS, Talcher STPS etc. And,

Harnessing of Solar Power

The installed capacity of Soar Power of India is only 6 MW as on 31.10.2009. Eight nos. of IPPs have been permitted by OERC to install Solar Photo-Voltaic (SPV) Plants of 5 MW and 10 MW capacity and the State Commission has given a very attractive tariff of Rs.15/KWH for first twelve years of commercial operation and @ 7.50/KWH for the period from 13th year to 25th year of operation. Govt. of India, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) have issued guidelines that these SPV Plants which commence its construction works by December, 2009 and commence commercial operation by March, 2010 are eligible for subsidy @ Rs.12/KWH for first twelve years of their operation. Based on these stipulations, eight nos. of IPPs may add SPV capacity of about 70/80 MW in Orissa grid as Decentralized Distributed Generation (DDG) by March, 2010 which would help the state to meet the power shortage to some extent. This requires urgent cohesive action by the State Govt., Deptt. of Energy, Deptt. of Science & Technology, the State Nodal Agency OREDA and the State Trading PSU GRIDCO so that Orissa will be a pioneer state in India to add 80 MW Solar Power by March, 2010.

Medium term measures

They may be Brown-field expansion and Energy conservation.

Brown-field expansion

Putting emphasis on Brown-field expansion, the State Electricity Regulatory Commission has been advising the State Govt. since 2006 with reminders in 2007 & 2008 u/s 86 of the Act to immediately start the expansion projects at IB Thermal (2×660 MW) and Talcher Thermal (2×660 MW) to cater to the power need of the State.

These brown-field expansions only take the constructions/gestation period of about 30 months for commercial generation of power. The Government of Orissa should immediately start these brown-field projects exerting pressure on OPGC and NTPC.

Energy conservation

Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) of Ministry of Power, Govt. of India has launched a Unique Energy Conservation Scheme on 25.02.2009 in the National Plane styled as Bachhat Lamp Yojana (BLY) where BEE intends to give 50 lakhs CFL bulbs of capacity 11 watts to 23 watts to each distribution company @ Rs.15/- each to replace all the incandescent 60 W/100 W bulbs as these CFLs will give the same lumens output with the required illumination. It is tentatively estimated that the State of Orissa can reduce its peak demand from 6 PM to 11 PM by about 400 MW if these 4 DISCOMs can implement the BLY in their area entering into a tripartite agreement with BEE and their empanelled CFL Manufacturers/Traders with a token investment of about Rs.20 cores in FY 2010-11 but they will earn annual profit bonanza from FY 2011-12 onwards of about Rs.80-90 crores/month. Govt. of Orissa and OERC should direct and insist on all the four Distribution Companies to adopt BLY of BEE as “MISSION-2010” and DISCOMs should be directed to complete the BLY in their DISCOMs by end of 2010 so that Orissa can reduce its 40% evening peak demand by end of 2010 due to this BLY alone.

Long Term measures

(1) Thermal Projects under MoU

On this leg, the companies having signed MoUs must be made expedite their work.

In the International Conclave on Power Sector on the “12th Five-Year Plan and Beyond” held on 18th and 19th August 2009 at New Delhi, Thermal Projects as under Table – 6 have been firmed up by CEA and MoP for materialization in the 12th plan out of the 21 MOUs for Thermal Projects that have been signed by the Govt. of Orissa.

The State may get 25% to 30% share of about 1125 MW from these four Private Thermal Projects expected commercial generation during the 12th plan period.

(2) Thermal project of OTPCL

Orissa should give top priority to start the construction work of OTPCL’s (JV of OHPC and OMC) 2000 MW Thermal Project near Rengali from April, 2010 for which Ministry of Coal, Govt. of India, has allocated a separate Coal Block so that the 1st stage of Project (1000 MW) can be completed by 2015 and 2nd stage project (1000 MW) by 2018.

3) Orissa Ultra Mega Power Project

Govt. of Orissa should urge upon MOP & PFC to put Orissa Sundargarh UMPP in a fast track mode to auction and finalize the award to private developer to complete this UMPP in the 12th plan period from which Orissa is slated to get about 1300 MW power. And,

(4) Thermal Projects developed by IPPs

The Govt. of Orissa has signed 21 MOUs with 21 nos. of IPPs to develop about 25000 MW of Thermal Power in the State. The Govt. should immediately sort out the land, coal and water linkage problems of these IPPs so that instead of 4500 MW expected in the 12th Plan, Orissa may add about 12000 MW during the 12th Plan period. The balance 13000 MW may have to be planned to come up in 13th and 14th Plan period.

Suggestions for improvement of ailing Orissa Power Sector

1. The Govt. of Orissa should prepare a generation plan for capacity addition under “VISION-2025” by March, 2010 and outline therein the Road Map of capacity addition.

2 The Govt. should immediately appoint a full time three-member Task Force to monitor the power sector developments continuously so that Orissa can be saved from the power famine that is looming large over the State in short-term and to prepare Orissa to undertake capacity addition under “VISION-2025”.

3 The Task Force should be headed by eminent Power Sector professionals from Orissa having expertise in Thermal, Hydro & Techno-Commercial matters relating to the Orissa Power Sector.

4 The Task Force should monitor all upcoming Power Projects and associated connectivity issues for the 11th and 12th Plan and take advance action plan for projects to come up in 13th Plan as indicated below:-

(a) Thermal Projects of private developers, other Govt. PSU and UMPP to be setup through award/auction to be processed by PFC.

(b) Hydel Projects – large, medium, small, Mini and micro Projects.

© Renewable Energy Projects – Solar, Wind, Biomass etc. now coordinated by OREDA as the State Nodal Agency for Centralized and Decentralized Distributed Generation (DDG).

(d) Connectivity and power evacuation from all the upcoming projects mentioned under “VISION-2025”.

(e) Energy conservation measures for avoided generation in the line of guidelines of Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) to monitor the BLY under “MISSION-2010” Programme and other associated conservation measures formulated by BEE from time to time.

DEMOCRACY AT ITS WORST! WITNESS IS NARAYAN PATNA

(Fact Finding of Narayanpatna Firing on CMAS)

As this report gets written Singanna and Andru’s bodies are being cremated at Podapadar village amidst a throng of police platoons waiting to arrest any member of Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangha (CMAS) who exposes herself or himself to the police. Already 20 have been arrested and there is evident fear of many more hundreds being detained or arrested. The total clamp down on participation of the media, activists, leaders and any sympathizer of CMAS is not only condemnable but totally unjustified. The district has been turned into a hunting ground of tribals and there is fear written all over the faces of tribals in this remote block of Koraput district. A small team of three members made a two-day visit to Narayanpatna to ascertain the situation and understand the truth behind the firing incident which killed two tribals.

Blocked roads, long walks up and down winding hill paths and petrified tribals afraid to open their mouths to any unknown persons were the memories etched in the team members’ minds. But what left the members shocked during their visit on 21st and 22nd November 2009 was that democracy had fallen to its worst during those three days after the firing and murder of two tribals.

There is much to be asked about the firing but the question foremost on our mind is – who ordered the firing ? did the police take the permission of a magistrate before setting off their guns ? and why was tear gas and other non-fatal measures not used to disperse a crowd which police thought might create a law and order situation ? the time gap between the protest gathering and the firing is just about 30 minutes ? but police say they requested and warned and then opened fire ? all these things happened in 30 minutes ? sounds a little preposterous and forces one to wonder whether it was cold blooded murder or a freak incident or a well-planned strategic elimination of a leader who held sway over a large number of fearless and empowered tribal cadres of CMAS.

As the days pass rising police brutalities destroy brick by brick the euphoric notions of ‘democracy’ so carefully packaged and sold to people of India by a political class sold out to corporate greed. Every night and every dawn brings shivers to the tribals as they await an assault on their hamlet, whether on the hill top or on the plains or deep in the jungles, by the marauding security forces. No one knows from which end and at what time under cover of darkness these cobras and scorpions will attack their village, break open their doors, kick them out of their homes and beat the blues out of them. The CMAS has been persistently branded a frontal organization of the CPI (Maoist) despite their vehement rebuttal and lack of any evidence to show their Maoist connections.

Facts and observations stated in this report are based on information and statements collected during interviews with Narayanpatna residents who were witness to the firing, local mediapersons and villagers of Kumbhari and Narayanpatna Panchayats.

The Facts of 20th November 2009

About 200 CMAS members including 100 women came to Narayanpatna Police Station to protest against harassment of tribals in particular women during the previous days’ combing operations by security forces. They reached the police station at around 2 pm and since the two gates of the police station were closed they called on the OIC to come out for a discussion. The police refused to let them in and began verbally abusing tribals who had assembled at the gate.

When the police did not respond to their repeated requests to let a team of tribals into the police station for discussion on their complaints with the OIC, CMAS leader Kumudini Behera and CMAS President Kendruka Singanna broke open the lock of the small side gate of the police compound with an axe. As the gate opened 5-6 main leaders of CMAS including Singanna and Kumudini went to meet OIC Gouranga Charan Sahu. During a heated exchange between the OIC and Singanna, the OIC began to shout that he was being attacked by CMAS leaders and he ordered the IRB guards on the roof of the police station to open fire on the crowd gathered outside. The police fired three shots in air and then began to indiscriminately fire at the crowd standing outside the police compound. The firing was done by the IRB as well as CRPF and Cobra at 2.45 pm. The firing continued for half an hour and 300 bullets were fired at people.

Hearing the sound of firing Singanna and others came out of the police station. Singanna was hit in the chest while he was walking out of the police compound. He received ten bullets in his chest and fell in front of the small police gate. Another CMAS member Andru Nachika of Bhaliaput village received bullet injuries and fell face down outside the police compound. Their bodies were left there by CMAS members who ran helter-skelter as the police began firing at them. Around 300 bullets were fired at the people. In this firing, while two have died it is being estimated that around 60 more persons have been injured and some are in a serious condition.

Singanna is survived by his wife who is also pregnant, three sons and a daughter. Andru is survived by his wife who is also pregnant and two children.

The Reason for CMAS Protest

During a fact finding visit on 22nd November 2009, all CMAS members and villagers interviewed stated that they had gone to the Police Station to lodge their protest against police harassment of tribals and in particular women who were being harassed by the security forces.

One of the main reasons for CMAS members’ protest was that they wanted an answer from the OIC regarding violation of an assurance made to the tribals earlier. The CMAS members stated that about two months back they had held a protest rally regarding harassment of tribals in the name of combing and deployment of security forces in their villages. Following the rally, the OIC had given a written assurance to CMAS leaders that forces would not enter their villages and harass the tribals. They would conduct combing operations without harassing the locals. But the CMAS members stated that the police had violated this assurance and hence they came to ask the police the reason for this gross violation which was a serious breach of trust.

Of particular importance is people’s statement that the security forces categorically told them during combing operations on 18th and 19th November that they should leave their villages immediately or else they would have to face dire consequences. They even told them that the non-tribals whose lands CMAS had ‘grabbed’ (sic!) would come back soon to claim their lands !

Combing operations and related harassment of 18th and 29th November was reported from Odiapentha, Dandabeda, Palaput, Dubaguda and Badhraguda villages.

Apart from warning them, they did not allow the women and men to continue their harvesting work. Some said that they even took away their harvested paddy and mandia crops. The tribals explained to us that this season is the most important time for them because they are engaged in harvesting, husking and storing of their foodgrains. Hence such combing operations and threats to people would destroy their harvesting operations and affect their food security.

When the tribals related this to their CMAS leaders, the latter decided to go to the police station to demand an explanation for this warning and also protest the harassment. The CMAS leaders sent cadres to different villages and assembled the members and took a decision to hold a peaceful march to the police station to make their protest and put their demands before police.

About 50 tribals whom we interviewed and most of who had attended the march to the police station, categorically stated that they did not carry any firearms and that they carried a few axes and thick bamboo sticks. None carried any bow and arrow because they explained to us that on previous occasions their bows and arrows had led the media to brand them as Maoists. So they said that they had consciously not carried any bows and arrows or local swords.

Situation of 22nd November 2009

As of today, it is difficult to ascertain the exact number of persons injured as CMAS members have returned to their villages and have not been able to meet or communicate with each other about the actual injuries to their members. Medical aid to these persons is not available as the injured are afraid to come to Narayanpatna Primary Health Centre (PHC) for medical treatment for fear of being arrested. They are taking treatment from their traditional tribal healers (disaris). Doctors are also reluctant to go to the villages for treating any patients for fear of abuse by the police and security forces. Local Anganwadis and ASHA workers are unable to teat the injured as they do not have the necessary medicines, spirit and cotton to clean and dress the wounds.

Far flung villages and constant combing by the security forces is also making it difficult for the leaders to move to different villages to ascertain how many have been injured and what is their condition. Most leaders are in hiding as there is a reported shoot-at-sight order against them.

On 22nd November early morning there was a combing operation by security forces and seven persons were arrested from their homes between 5 to 6 am. Apart from this, forces forcefully broke into homes and searched for ‘red flags’ (whatever that might signify as evidence !?). They abused people, in particular the women, kicked and beat young boys with thick bamboo sticks who did not answer questions. They seized axes, sickles, knives, bows and arrows and bamboo sticks from every house they entered and told the tribals that these are ‘dangerous weapons of murder’ and that they would be arrested if they were found in their homes next time. The tribals asked us, “these are our agricultural implements and daily household needs so how can we not keep them at home ? How will we get fuelwood, cut vegetables, harvest paddy and cut branches to feed our animals ? Where should we hide them and why should we do that when we never use these as weapons of murder as accused by the police ?” We had no answers ….

Four CMAS members from Narayanpatna and three persons from Palaput, 1 km away from Narayanpatna. The details of persons arrested are :

1. Raju Huika – Narayanpatna Kandha Sahi
2. Dora Nachika – Narayanpatna Kandha Sahi
3. Masi Sirka – Narayanpatna Kandha Sahi
4. Ramesh Khosla – Narayanpatna Ghasi Sahi
5. Kumudini Dora – Palaput Tala Sahi
6. Debendra Behera – Palaput Tala Sahi
7. Satyanarayan Bangu – Palaput Tala Sahi (his commander was seized)

These seven persons have been taken into police custody on 22nd November and will have to be produced before Judicial Magistrate at Laxmipur within 24 hours. If this is not done then the police would be violating its own laws.

Apart from this, the fact finding team also met three persons who have received bullet injuries. A boy of 18 years received two bullet injuries in his leg and in the same village another person has a bullet injury wherein the bullet is still lodged in his hip. Yet another person of that village has a bullet wound which whisked past his left calf and has left a slit which needs immediate stitches. Another older man of another village has received a bullet injury in his left hand. This person was marketing dry fish near the police station when he was hit. He had no idea about the rally and the reasons for it. He is also partially hearing impaired. Apart from this, the people the fact finding team spoke to said that about 60 others have also received bullet injuries and are hiding in the villages. None of these persons are able to get medical help.

As the fact finding team wanted to give some medicines to the injured patients and went into Narayanpatna town for purchasing these at around 3 pm on 22nd November they were stopped by DSP Jagannath Rao and Semiliguda IIC Sarat Sahu along with some armed constabulary. After initial questions on where the team had gone and why and checking of vehicle, they asked the team to leave the town immediately or else they would have to detain the members. This warning came despite knowing the fact that two of the fact finding members were journalists.
Impact of Firing on People

All people whom the fact finding team met in the last two days are under tremendous fear that the police would kill every tribal they set their sight on including all members of CMAS. There is fear in their eyes as they spoke to the fact finding team members. They asked, “what should we do when the police comes to our village ?” When they were told not to run upon seeing the forces, they asked, “if we do not run then how can we save ourselves ? they will definitely kill us”. The women stated that they heard forces warning them in low breath that if the CMAS male members did not hand themselves over to the police then they would rape the all the women to ‘teach them a lesson’. One old woman asked us, “what wrong have we done ? We only asked for lands to cultivate and live a life of dignity and freedom from hunger ?”

People are afraid to move out of villages due to fear of arrest and are constantly discussing about what will happen to them after this. Every village we went to we found women and men assembled in their village meeting place discussing the impending dangers. They are afraid to stay in the jungles as the forces are patrolling the jungles as well. They say that if they stay in the jungles they will be hunted and killed and if they live in their villages then they will be hunted out into the jungles and then also killed. “So either ways we die”, tell the women.

The leaders of CMAs have several questions : why did the police not use tear gars to disperse the tribals if they thought there was going to be a law and order situation ? Why were rubber bullets not used ? The firing took place within half and hour of the protest rally so how did the police state that they gave the people adequate opportunities to break the rally and disperse ?

The CMAS leaders also asked us, “when the police comes attacking us in our villages we do not retaliate and kill them ? In fact we allow them to search us, our homes and even beat us up mercilessly ? So why did police kill us when we came to their home to seek answers to simple questions ?” They told us, “even if we had snatched the weapons we could not have fired because we do not know how to use them ? So how did we become threats to the life of the OIC or the IRB guards standing on the rooftop ?”

They asked us to reflect on why would they, the tribals, want to attack the police in their own compound ? And why would 200 tribals come to the police station to loot arms when the OIC did not even have a gun on him when they confronted him ? They explained to us that the IRB guards stationed on the roof, who fired at the crowd, were beyond the reach of tribals and hence it is impossible that they were trying to snatch their weapons at the roof.

A very pertinent question was asked to us by a few tribal youths at a meeting in a village of Kumbhari Panchayat. They told us that the Government wants tribals to keep peace and help the Government and use democratic means to state their complaints. But the CMAS members asked us, “why should we help Government when it has not even given us our basic survival needs like PDS, NREGS, schools and health ? Government forced us to fight for our survival but killed us because we went to ask them a question ? Is that so undemocratic ? And what the police did to us, is that what you call democracy ?”

The fact finding team also observed that the local mediapersons have not been reporting the truth behind several facts of the firing incident and are tracking movement of other reporters and fact finding teams visiting the area. They are conveying this information to the local police. The team felt very strongly that local mediapersons were doing this with malafide intentions.

Fact Finding Team Members

1. K Sudhakar Patnaik – Senior Journalist
2. Manoranjan Routray – Journalist
3. Sharanya – HumAnE, Koraput

AWARD MANIA HARMS RTI MOVEMENT: WILL INFORMATION COMMISSIONERS STAY OFF THE TRAP?


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Right to Information movement in India is in severe jeopardy because of award mania created by a private combine styled as ‘Public Cause Research Foundation’, hereinafter called the foundation, comprising three persons, Arvind Kejirwal, Manish Sisodia and Abhinandan Sekhri. This combine has, in name of the nation, instituted awards in three segments in RTI implementation mechanism, such as (1) Information Commissioners, (2) Public Information officers and (3) citizens active in use of RTI Act.

When the Information Commissioner selected as “most outstanding” for having enabled access to correct and complete information to maximum appellants and enforced RTI Act in its true letter and spirit would be awarded with Rs.2 lakhs cash and citation as the best IC of the year, two Public Information Officers marked for providing complete and correct information in maximum number of RTI applications within the prescribed time limit and/or for having made special efforts in providing information to the applicants, would each receive a citation, a plaque and prize money of Rs. 2 Lakhs where as prizes of the same pattern would be awarded to two of the citizens who should have created maximum public impact by using RTI Act, the Foundation has declared.

The awards are “an effort to celebrate honesty and openness in public service”, claims the Foundation. This is saying in other words that the RTI implementation machinery is infested with dishonesty and clandestinity. From this perception the Foundation proceeds to find out if there is any exception.

It has floated a body with misleading title like the National RTI Awards Secretariat.

And, the so-called secretariat has hand picked preferred persons to act as “National RTI Awards Jury” as if it enjoys national approval with the power to select the “winner(s)”!

And, what they have done?

They have made a report of selection, which, according to Central Information Commissioner Prof. Dr. M.M. Ansari, “is so flawed that it is not worth even the paper on which it was written”.

Putting his reactions to the revealed ranking under the caption “Flawed Logic and Specious Conclusions”, Prof. Ansari has noted that the parameters adopted for valuation of Commissioners “can best be described as voodoo statistics and methods which will not stand scientific scrutiny even for a moment”.

Suggesting that the Foundation’s exercise is obviously an act of award-fixing, Prof. Ansari has cited some instances. Such as, he says,

“Mr.V.V. Bhorge (Information Commissioner, Maharastra) has disposed of 4593 second-appeals, out of which in 989 cases, he had issued affirmative orders in favour of the appellants. He had imposed 126 penalties on errant public officials. Mr.Bhorge has been ranked as one of the five worst Commissioners.

Now contrast this with the indulgence with which the authors have treated Mr.D.N. Padhi of Orissa. Mr.Padhi has decided 423 cases, out of which in 361 cases, he has decided the appeal in favour of the appellant. He has imposed 40 penalties. Mr.Padhi has been ranked as one of the best five Commissioners.

Now contrast Mr.Padhi’s performance with the performance of Mr.Bhorge and you will find how lopsided and erratic have been the self-appointed evaluators of the performance of the Commissioners. Mr.Bhorge has decided a much larger number of cases than Mr.Padhi. He has imposed a far larger number of penalties than Mr.Padhi and the number of cases in which he has decided in favour of the appellants are about as many as Mr.Padhi’s own. And yet in the estimation of the authors, Mr.Padhi is one of the five best Commissioners and Mr.Bhorge is one of the five worst under Pro-disclosure category and Overall Public Satisfaction category”.

The award-fixing was so certain that the so-called Secretariat of the Foundation had congratulated Padhi for having been adjudged “best” amongst CICs. As Prof. Ansari’s analysis hit the internet and RTI activists started censoring the report of the jury, the so-called Secretariat of the Foundation has issued a Press Statement to say that it had not congratulated a CIC on being adjudged “best” in ranking.

The statement begins thus: “National RTI Awards Secretariat denies it has “congratulated” some information commissioners for being “best” or “topping the rankings” of information commissions

… and clarifies that rankings, released by the Secretariat to the media on October 21, 2009, are interim rankings, subject to change in the coming days; final rankings will be decided by the Jury on November 27, 2009”.

This quoted portion of the statement being the Foundation’s official version, one is at loss to understand as to why certain words are suppressed under dots in the second paragraph. Read with a State Commission tampering with its own website as exposed in these pages under our caption “Orissa CIC embarrasses the State by suspected self-glorification” on November 10, 2009, these undefined dots in the preceding paragraph generate fear that a few RTI activists, hand-in-glove with fellows suffering obviously from recognition crisis amongst the implementation executives , have taken the nation for granted and have used the fine art of manipulation in the award fixing business, all in the name of democracy.

Whether or not the so-called Jury changes its earlier decision on November 27, the RTI movement has already been injured under the award mania.

It would be proper for Government of India to instantly ban any award of cash prize and / or citation for any Information Commissioner by any individual or outfit. It would also be proper to ban acceptance of any such cash prize or honor by any in the RTI implementation machinery. But it would be more appropriate for Information Commissioners to stay away from receiving any such award from any private or official entity as sanctity of RTI movement needs to be protected in the greatest interest of democracy.

JB IS THE BEST CHOICE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

If Man Mohan Singh government in the center could at all be marked for having done any good to democracy, choice of Orissa’s former Chief Minister J.B.Pattanaik for posting as a Governor should form the reason.

JB joined power politics from the podium of journalism. Orissa’s history of journalism cannot be written without dedicating sufficient space to JB. As a mainstream editor he had given journalism the edge to make administration answerable to the people. His contribution to journalism as editor of Prajatantra for 15 years and editor of The Eastern Times for around 14 years were so unique that when he relinquished them, both the papers suffered irrecoverable decline despite all out attempts of an excellent fund raiser like Dr. Harekrishna Mahtab and an illustrious editor like Sriharsha Mishra where as, the Paurusha, a monthly Oriya digest that he started became an instant household name in Orissa.

It is not to be ignored that before adopting journalism as avocation, JB had taken Congress as a mission. He was elected to head the State Youth Congress in 1950 when elections were based on devotion to people at the bottom rather than to a person at the top. So, after decades long role as an editor, when he joined parliamentary politics under the Congress umbrage, that was just a toggling into one from the other constituent of the twin forums of service to people – Press and Politics- available to social activists beyond the boundary of service codes and earned salaries from the State exchequer.

In politics, he has served India as Union Minister in two terms and Orissa as Chief Minister thrice over and above having served his home State as Leader of Opposition and PCC President. The Congress Working Committee has benefited from his participation for decades and he is marked to have influenced thinking process of many a Prime Ministers.

But politics has not detracted him from pursuit of letters.

It is proper that he is preferred for the Governorship of Assam, the State where letters form the crux of pride of the nation.