Right Honor for the Right Man

Delhi Chief Minister Ms. Shila Dixit felicitated Eminent Journalist Prasanta Patnaik for his contributions to Television journalism on the occasion of eleventh death anniversary of Chintamani Panigrahi in the State Information Center auditorium, Jaya Dev Bhawan, in the evening of April 29.

Late Sri Panigrahi was a doyen of emancipatory journalism and in search of a more effective platform for service to the people he had joined the left movement and as there was a need for progressive activists to join the National Congress for making it lean towards socialism, he had joined the Congress and made a mark as a progressive parliamentarian.

Prasanta Patnaik is known for his progressive orientation and trade union activities amongst the journalists. With over 40-years experience in the field of journalism, he has worked for print media, news agency, photo-news agency, television and web media. He is well known for investigative journalism. Patnaik who has been associated with various regional , national and international media organisations was earlier honoured for his contribution to investigative and progressive journalism, creative writing and photo-Journalism by several respectable institutions.

Besides Patnaik, journalist Abani Raut was felicitated for remarkable contribution to print media, Gopal Nanda for exemplary administration, Prasad Harichandan for outstanding participation in Legislature and Ms. Dixit herself for being the best Chief Minister in contemporary India.

State Congress Unit Chief K.P.Singhdeo presided over the meeting when the Managing Trusty of the Chintamani Panigrahi Memorial Trust, Vivekananda Panigrahi proposed the vote of thanks.

Orissa Chief Minister Assured Mediapersons of Action on Their Memorandum

Orissa Chief Minister Navin Patnaik received the the Resolutions adopted by the Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) from its delegation at the appointed time on April 29 in his Secretariat Conference hall and assured of action thereon as expeditiously as possible.

The delegation comprised Gopal Krushna Mohapatra, Jajati Karan, Ramesh Chandra Mohanty, Ashok Panda, Prasanta Kumar Patra, Balaram Mohanty, Malaya Ranjan Mohanty and Subhas Chandra Pattanayak.

The resolutions are already published in these pages on April 29.

Freedom of Press is Severely Threatened in Orissa: MUFP

A meeting of Bhubaneswar based mediapersons, conveyed by Media Unity for Freedom of Press, after deep deliberations at the Lohia Bhawan , Bhubaneswar in the evening of 28 April 2010, unanimously determined that the Freedom of Press is severely threatened in Orissa. While exploring remedies, the following resolutions were unanimously adopted.

Resolution No. 1

This meeting condemns the bloody attack on mediapersons on duty covering plight of students of privately run Silicon Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar. It appreciates the police action in arresting some of the spotted miscreants comprising management and staff of this institute; but simultaneously it puts on record that the police is yet to proceed in the right track, as all the arrested miscreants are enlarged on bail in absence of police ability to forward the case details promptly to the court of hearing and the body of the student that succumbed allegedly to food poisoning has been disposed off sans post-mortem and other medico-legally studies.

This meeting takes serious note of the advertisement of OPECA in various newspapers designed to denigrate the Press. OPECA advertisement goes on to say that “allegation against the Directors and employees of Silicon Institute of Technology for allegedly manhandling the media is absolutely false and fabricated”. When in subsequent advertisement the OPECA admitted the offense and offered unconditional apology, a team of its members have disowned it the next day and have openly tried to influence the Police Commissioner to drop the charges under 307 IPC under which prima-facie the attackers were booked. This meeting condemns the first ad. Of OPECA as blatant lie and resolves that the state government be called upon to appeal against the grant of bail to the miscreants specifically as their collective body has been trying to influence the Police to drop the charges under 307. It is clear that the miscreants were using their group to tamper with normal process of law by trying to influence the police commissioner to drop the charges of attempt to murder and if they are allowed to stay on bail, it cannot be said for sure that they will not try to tamper with evidences. Hence this meeting call upon the Government to go instantly on appeal against the bail order as well as to take action against the in-charge police authority that have helped the miscreants be enlarged on bail by not submitting the CD in time.

Taking into consideration the above scenario vis-à-vis the exhibition of cold silence by the Silicon College authorities over the sordid development this meeting hold that the Silicon College perpetrated the murderous attack on the media persons to obliterate the proofs of havoc they have played on the lives of students as well as to intimidate the Press and therefore, calls upon the Government to take exemplary action against SIT as a measure to discipline the errant traders of techno-education and to restore professional climate for the Press.

To bring the truth to light, this meeting of MUFP urges upon the Chief Minister to institute a time bound Judicial Commission of Enquiry under the Commission of Enquiry Act. to be headed by a Retired High Court Judge to probe into the incidents that lead to murderous attack on the media persons inside the Silicon Institute of Technology , after they went there to cover the alleged death of a student due to food poisoning, functioning of the SIT and all technical institutions who are members of OPECA, where neither the students nor the media persons are safe. The Commission may kindly probe into the cause of the sudden death of the student, role of police for not registering an Unnatural Death Case and handing over the body to the parents without ascertaining the cause of death and allowing the body for cremation. It may also probe into the role of the police in not filing the CD before the Court in time, role of the Public Prosecutor and circumstances under which all the ten accused persons were bailed out in absence of the Case Diary.

Resolution No.2

The MUFP expressed its grave concern over murderous attack on Mr. Amulya Pani by anti socials, while on duty. Though he has named the assaulters in his F.I.R. before the police so far the Kalinga Nagar police have not arrested the assaulters because of their high political connections.

This meeting of MUFP therefore urges upon the Chief Minister of Orissa to intervene in the matter and ensure arrest of the assaulters within a week and to take exemplary actions against the police officials and politicians for protecting the assaulters.

Resolution No. 3

This instance of bloody attack on media persons calls for immediate legislation against any such attack in future. Hence it is resolved that the government be moved to promulgate an ordinance pending framing of a law on physical protection of media persons, the nomenclature of which should be something like ‘Physical and Intellectual Protection of Media persons Act’ with provision of severe punishment. As such, this meeting calls upon the government to frame and promulgate an Ordinance styled as ‘physical and intellectual protection of media persons’ Order, 2010’ to be turned into an assize by the Assembly.

Resolution No. 4

It was shocking to note that the Lokpal of Orissa has been addressed by the Secretary of the Public Grievances & PA department to initiate appropriate action as per Section 15 (5) of Orissa Lokpal and Loayukta Act 1995 against journalists and media organizations that according to him have violated Section 15(4) of the said Act by publishing recommendations of the Lokpal in cases against Vedanta. Even as this meeting wants to make it clear that with evolution of peoples’ right to information, any restriction on press coverage of matters unrelated to defense privilege has become redundant; it is of the considered opinion that the concerned Secretary has no locus standi under the said Act to post such a notice to the Lokpal.

Hence it is resolved that the Secretary, PG&PA department has acted without authority in posting the notice against Press to the Lokpal and has, by seeking action “so as to prevent” the Press from publishing the Lokapal’s recommendations “in future”, has resorted to a criminal act of intimidation against the media persons/houses.
It is therefore further resolved that the role of the Secretary of the PG&PA department in the instant case is condemnable and therefore his action is condemned as anti-people, anti-Press and pro-dubious_industrial_operators. This meeting, on this ground, calls upon the State Government to take exemplary action against the PG&PA Secretary in order to assure that gagging of freedom of Press is not the job of this Government.

It was decided to submit these Resolutions to the Chief Minister in a Memorandum.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

I had in a mail confronted the Commissioner-cum-Secretary of the department of Public Grievance and Pension Administration (PGPA) with a news item published in the de-facto official newspaper Khabara on April 21, 2010. I had sought for his reaction thereto. He is conspicuous by his silence.

This news item reveals that he has preferred a notice to the Lokpal of Orissa requiring him to initiate penal prosecution against journalists and news media organizations that have, according to him, given publicity to his recommendations in violation of the Lokpal Act. My instant reaction was that a senior bureaucrat who heads a department that deals with matters relating to the Lokpal cannot act so foolish to seek punishment against the Press. I therefore tried to locate the letter the said Secretary has written and found that it was well in circulation even though marked ‘confidential’.

This is a confidential letter from the Secretary of the administrative department to the Secretary of the Lokpal with a copy thereof communicated to the Secretary, Higher Education department of Orissa. But it has been leaked to the de-facto official newspaper Khabara and the paper has published it.

Leakage of confidential communication between three of the Secretaries is a severe offence no officer is allowed to commit. But in the instant case any one of these three top executives has certainly committed this offense. If the issuing Secretary has not done it, the Secretary of Higher Education or the Secretary to the Lokpal or the Lokpal himself must have done it, because none else was privy to it.

I deemed it proper to attract attention of the issuing Secretary to this severe offence. His silence suggests that he might be the man, who has circulated it through the government’s loyal media.

Such clumsy conduct a top executive exhibits only when he acts under unavoidable pressure. Therefore, it is obvious that the issuing Secretary has issued the letter to the Lokpal under unavoidable pressure and has also purposefully leaked it to media organizations of his choice.

Whose pressure?

Answer lies in who was affected by the exposure?

It was Chief Minister Navin Patnaik and his Office, marked for uncommon eagerness to serve the interest of Anil Agrawal and his Vedanta project even though thereby the interest of the poor children of the soil is jeopardized.

What was the purpose?

The answer lies in the last sentence of the letter that emphasizes on penal prosecution against the mediapersons “so as to prevent” such exposure “in future”.

So it is a clear act of intimidation resorted to by the PGPA Secretary against the Press.

Let us see if he has the power to send this notice to the Lokpal.

He has no such power.

He has relied upon only one Section of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 1995 to venture his notice to the Lokpal. And, that is Section 15.

This section is captioned as “Secrecy of Information”. This term is a limited purpose term, as is discernible in Sub-Section ( 1 ) that says, “any information, obtained by the Lokpal or the lokayuktas or members of their staff in the course of, or for the purposes of any investigation under this Act, and any evidence recorded or collected in connection with such information” are to be kept secret, save disclosure allowed under Sub-Section (2). Sub-Section (4), which the PGPA Secretary has stressed upon says, “No person shall publish any proceedings relating to investigation which is pending before the Lokpal or a Lokayukta, as the case may be, nor shall any person publish such proceedings after the investigation is complete”. So this ban is put on “proceeding relating to investigation”, which read with Sub-Section ( 1 ) means the keeping on records the corpus of information or evidence collected in course of investigation. No media has published any such corpus except legitimately letting people know of the Lokpal’s observations on questionable conduct of the Government in patronizing Anil Agrawal and his recommendations for action. The people have legitimate right to know of this as they have the soverign right to watch the action taken report of the Government thereon. So there is no question of violation of the secrecy of information provision by any of the media community. The Secretary has not revealed which records of information or evidence related to investigation by the Lokpal are published by the media organizations and/or the media persons. And, he has not named any. So his allegation is misconceived and irrelevant and is vitiated with the ill intention to intimidate the Press so that the misrule is no more exposed in future.

But has he the right to write about the Press publicity to the lokpal? No, he has no right.

Sub-Section (3) of Section 15 of the Act bears the only provision that allows an Officer to write to the Lokpal claiming privilege on any information. It says, “ An Officer or other authority prescribed in this behalf may give Notice in writing to the Lokpal or a Lokayukta, as the case may be, with respect to any document or information specified in the notice, if any class of documents so specified that in the opinion of the State Government the disclosure of the documents or information of that class would be contrary to public interest and where such a notice is given, nothing in this Act shall be construed as authorizing or requiring the Lokpal, the Lokayuktas or any member of their staff to communicate to any person any such document or information specified in the notice or any document or information of a class so specified”.

Except this, no officer has any right to write to the Lokpal requiring him to initiate penal action against publication of its observations and/or recommendations.

So, in the context of the Lokpal and Lokayukta Act, 1995 the PGPA Secretary’s act is ultra vires.

It has exposed Government’s secret agenda against free Press.

Orissa under Climate of Criminality; Silicon EC Was A Mere Display Point

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The climate of criminality that the continuous misrule of Navin Patnaik has clamped on Orissa has culminated in bloody attack on mediapersons on duty by the mafia that has been ruling the roost in techno education sector.

One such joint of techno education, operating at Chandrasekharpur of Bhubaneswar, called Silicon Engineering College, is now marked for having hosted bloodshed in the night of April 22 in its attempt to eliminate proofs of the havoc it had played on the lives of its students.

It has a captive canteen where the staff and the students are almost forced to eat. A third year student, Samsuddin Shah, soon after taking food in this canteen succumbed to suspected food poisoning and as many as seventy other students, who had taken food in the same batch, reportedly showed symptoms of severe suffering.

This sad news spread like wildfire and around 1500 students could escape pangs of death as they, thereafter, abstained from taking that food.

But Shah’s demise and others’ reported critical condition ignited a demand for immediate action against the canteen staff and for forensic test of the food the canteen had fed the students with.

Instead of taking prompt steps in this respect, the College activated its repressive methods, which precipitated the situation.

The media rushed to the spot.

As the plight of the students was being recorded, a surprise attack was unleashed on them, the cameras and cameramen being the instant targets. The mafia was determined to obliterate the proofs captured by the cameras come what may. To what extent the operators of the joint were bloodthirsty may be seen from this picture of Rohan of Kanak TV, placed here just for example.

As Journalists all over Orissa are registering their protests against assault on mediamen, a Director of the institute and two of his associates have been apprehended and sent to the judicial custody.

How the guilty would be punished in this case depends upon probity of the police. But what is easily comprehensible is that were Orissa not been engulfed by the climate of criminality, the bloody attack on Press at the Silicon Engineering College could not have happened.

This College was just a display point of antagonism patronized against the Press.

Visionary C.K. Prahlad is Dead; Long Live the Vision

Er. Nagendra Nath Mahapatra

World famous management guru C.K Prahlad passed away on 17th April, 2010. He was 68.

Over last three decades CK launched radical new ideas which later became conventional wisdom in the world of management. Here is a brief note:
1. With Gary Hamel, he wrote ‘the core competence of the corporation’ and developed the unconventional concept of ‘core competence’ in 1990.
2. In 1994, again with Gary Hamel he authored ‘competing for the future’ advocating that the future of business lies in taking quantum leaps of faith and reorganizing the employees to think out-of-box strategy for implementation.
3. With Venkat Ramswamy in 2004 he wrote the legendary book ‘the future of competition’ where he explained the process of “co-creation” Because in the new world of interconnected business ,the consumers and the firm must jointly create value .
4. In 2006, he published ‘the fortune at the bottom of the pyramid ‘ and challenged global business to consider co-creating products and services serving billions of poor consumers which would open up whole new set of opportunities for business.
5. With M.S.Krishnan in 2008 he authored ‘the new age of innovation’ explaining how to make innovation works for a company.
6. C.K has rightly said that his works centered around four areas: globalization, role of connectivity, inclusive growth and sustainability.
7. CK’ s BOP theory is adopted by Tata for designing Ginger Hotels in 21 cities of India, NANO, Tata SWATCH (water filter) and Tata Housing (low cost residential apartments). CK himself implemented two new business models targeted to the poorest in Arvind Eye Hospital & HUL’s Project Shakti.Cavincare practiced BOP doctrine & became pioneer of low cost sachets in shampoos. .Prof. R.Mazumdar of IIM Kolkatta says that the cell phone revolution & sachet revolution in India validate BOP theory of CK.
8 On India, he said, “I see nothing but opportunities. If India can leverage its diversity and harmonize the talents available, then 30 of top Fortune 500 companies will emerge from India & 10 Nobel Prize winners.

CK is dead but his ideas will long resonate around the world.

Stop Publicity Stunts; Confess Failure; Let People Play Their Part in Power Sector Again

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Ever since Biju Patnaik in his last term as Chief Minister decided to kill the people’s stake in power sector and took steps to destroy the Orissa State Electricity Board to execute a dastardly scam by handing over Orissa’s electricity world to foreign firms like AES and Price Water House, which eventually has helped Indian mafia to grab the field to use as their grazing ground, this state of surplus electricity has continuously been dragged into the labyrinth of power shortage. In his son’s regime, the situation has taken a turn towards the worse as during the last decade not a single unit production capacity has been added to the generation network.

We have exposed the malady in details in these pages that have attracted massive attention. So instead of repeating how the administration has erred, this essay would like to react to the false propaganda the administration has started to make about tackling the unbearable shortage through power banking.

Mainstream Print media, The Samaj, in a report from Tathya source datelined April 16, has given front page publicity to a propaganda that Orissa has overcome massive power-cut situation because of GRIDCO chief C.J.Venugopal’s timely step to draw 300 MW through power banking out of which 200 MW power is being readily drawn and the rest 100 MW would soon be drawn. The said news item has gone up to saying that because of this intelligent step, when the current rate of energy is 8 to 10.5 INR in the market, Orissa is getting it in quite a lesser rate. Falsity of the later claim having been dealt with along with data in these pages earlier, we deem it proper to examine the post-power-banking power scenario for the period from April 1 to April 15, the date of generation of the propaganda through Tathya to see whether or not the energy managers have told the truth.

We have taken the input from eminent electrical engineers and power advisors who in the past and at the moment have been active in and are privy to energy administration

Our investigation reveals that the requirement of energy in Orissa as per the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) is 21112 MU in 2009-10 which in the last year, i.e. in 2008-09 was 20519 MU. Against this requirement, availability of energy last year was 20214 MU where as this year it is 20926 MU. On the other hand, last year there was an average demand of 3062 MW which was met with 2987 MW. This year the Demand is 3491 MW, but it is to be met with 2700 MW in the maximum. This difference between demand and supply is devastating to consumers.

If the Government through Venugopal wants us to believe that draw of 300 MW through power banking meets the demand, then it must be meaning the last year’s demand, not of the current year. Obviously our power sector is being managed by persons who it seems are experts in misleading.

However, the reality of availability through power banking as propagated is 200 MW with effect from April 1. Hence taking 31 March 2010 as the Benchmark Day (BD), let us see how Orissa has benefited from power banking. The data we shall use is based on SLDC data available in the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) website.

By virtue of power banking, Orissa received from the Power Trading Corporation India (PTC) and NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam Ltd (NVVNL) 140 MW on April 1, out of which Orissa lost 50 MW share from Farakka STPS; thus the net receipt was 90 MW, not 200MW as claimed.

When on the BD. i.e. 31 March 2010, the average demand was 2125 MW; rise of mercury enhanced the demand to 2189 MW on April 1, causing an increase of 64 MW in demand. Hence, the benefit after power banking was a meager 26 MW even though the draw on papers was 140 MW that day. This is the reality.

Let us see the pictures of the next days till April 15.

April 2: As heat increased, demand increased to 2215 MW which was 90 MW higher than that of the BD. So the net receipt of 90 MW from Banking was of no surplus value.

April 3: Average demand was 2202MW showing increase of 77 MW from BD setting the benefit at meager 13 MW.

April 4: This day being a Sunday, the demand was a bit less, 2142 MW which was 17 MW higher than that of the BD. Hence on this day the benefit was 73 MW.

But since this day, everyday the power banking benefit has stayed far behind the need as the data below would show.

April 5: The demand was 2264, registering an increase of 139 MW from the BD. As against the net receipt of 90 MW, shortfall was 49 MW.

April 6: The demand was 2255 MW which was higher to demand of the BD by 130 MW. Thus the banking was deficit by 40 MW.

April 7: This day Orissa received 90 MW through power banking as indicated above; but lost 50 MW share from Farakka STPS, thus drawing only 40 MW. When demand was 2270 indicating an increase of 145 MW in demand than that of the BD, it is clear that the power banking was inadequate to address the demand by 105 MW.

April 8: Demand was 2227 MW which was higher to BD demand by 152 MW. Thus the banking marked a deficit of 112 MW.

April 9: Demand was 2218 MW showing an increase of 93 MW that indicated 53MW in minus.

April 10: Demand was 2236 MW, higher to BD demand by 111 MW. Thus the deficit was 71 MW.

April 11: Demand was 2214 MW. This being 89 MW more than the BD demand, the banking benefit was deficient by 49 MW.

April 12: Demand was 2202 MW, which was more than the BD demand by 77 MW. But the net receipt being 40MW, the benefit shorter by 37 MW.

April 13: Demand was 2237 MW showing an increase of 112 MW from BD demand. Thus the deficit was 72 MW.

April 14: Demand was 2266 MW which was higher than BD demand by 141 MW setting the deficit at 101 MW.

April 15: The demand was 2246 MW, indicating an increase of 121 MW from that of BD. This meant that there was a deficit of 81 MW on that day.

When the data above establish that the Tathya news carried by The Samaj is contrary to actual, it is also established that the private Companies, hand-in-glove with Nabin Patnaik government, have contravened OERC directions and have been harassing the consumers by adopting unfair means like unauthorized power-cuts and undeclared brownouts to cover up the deficits.

According to a well-known referral expert in power sector, NVVNL has further reduced from 16 April.2010 a quantum of 25 MW towards supply to Orissa. Hence receipt of Orissa through Power Banking is only 70 MW and after accounting for loss of 50 MW share from Farraka STPS, the net receipt of Orissa is only 20 MW at present, which is only one-tenth of the publicized 200 MW.

When Orissa is sizzling with higher temperature in 80% of its geographical area this summer, false propaganda about efficient power management is most hazardous and harmful. It is a grave offense against the people.

It is better the authorities desist from trading lies and tell the truth. Chief minister Navin Patnaik should confess his failure in removing the chaos in power sector and allow people to take a fresh decision on quality of his administration. It is time to think afresh and to restore people’s right to play their part in the power sector. The so-called reform having totally failed, Biju should be censored posthumously and GRIDCO must no more be the place of false propagandists’ pleasure hunt.

How Does the Chief Information Commissioner Function? See an Instance

– Pradip Pradhan*

If you seek information on liquor trade, you may be thrashed by excise officials and smashed by Information Commissions. See an instance.

On 21.10.08, Mr. Himanshu Tripathy, a journalist based at Bhawanipatna in Kalahandi district had applied to the PIO, Office of Superintendent of Excise, Bhawanipatna for information on liquor shops as well as production and consumption etc. of liquor, in Junagarh area of Kalahandi district. Getting no information, Mr. Tripathy filed a complaint petition before Orissa Information Commission on 1 February 2009. It took around nine months to be heard!

On 20 October 2009, the case was heard by Mr. D. N. Padhi, State Chief Information Commissioner (SCIC).

During the hearing, the PIO submitted that he had supplied the information in two installments on 19 and 25 November 2008 consecutively.

The complainant alleged that the PIO had given a wrong statement inasmuch as he had not supplied the information as requisitioned in his application, and the so-called information provided to him were false and fabricated. After hearing the case, the Commission directed the PIO to allow the complainant to verify and inspect the documents and records available in his office and provide him the requisite information by 15 November 2009 free of cost.

As per the direction of the Commission, the complainant visited the office of Superintendent of Excise, Bhawanipatna on 27 October 2009. He was shown some files which were not at all relevant. As he objected, the PIO and his staff hurled obnoxious language and manhandled him. They also threatened him with more brute action if he does not desist from insisting upon the information. After he returned empty handed, the PIO sent a constable to his residence in the night around 11 PM obviously to intimidate him.

In the second hearing held on 14 December 2009, the complainant explained in detail the humiliating incident that took place in the office of the Superintendent of Excise on 27 October 2009.

Mr. D.N. Padhi , SCIC hearing the case ordered the PIO to provide the information on the spot.

The PIO agreed to give him information after the hearing is over. The SCIC decided to close the case. But the complainant made a request to the Commission not to close the case as the PIO used repeatedly to serve false and misleading information. The complainant also demanded penalty against the PIO under Section 20 of the Act as he had made a long delay in providing the information over and above the acts of intimidation he has committed. The Commission fixed 2nd March 2010 as the next and final hearing of the case.

But, the complainant was smashed by the Commission as he was served with an order telling him of the disposal of the case on 14 December 2009. Neither the Complainant, Mr. Tripathy got the information applied for nor was the PIO penalized for his defiance of RTI Act and use of muscles and other means of intimidation against the RTI applicant.

This is how Orissa’s Chief Information Commissioner, who is paid approximately a sum of 1, 30,000 INR per month is delivering justice in RTI-Cases.

* Sri Pradhan is a prominent RTI Activist of Orissa.

State Appears Rudely Repressive: Patients under Shadow of Death

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In yet another display of its rude reaction, the Government of Orissa has asked the District Collectors to use ESMA against the Doctors who go on strike on and with effect from April 18 in protest against official repression.

Health Secretary-in-charge Suresh Chandra Mohapatra has declared that if the Doctors go on strike, the State would run the Hospitals with trained quacks who are branded as Ayush Doctors. They comprise persons practicing Ayurved, Unani and Homeopathy.

Government Hospitals in Orissa are Allopathic Hospitals. Just imagine what is going to happen in Orissa when Ayush Doctors take over.

The Secretary-in-charge has also declared that if the quacks fail to tackle or contribute to acuteness of any illness, the affected patients would be shifted to selected private Hospitals. This is nonsense. The government knows that beds in private Hospitals are too marginal in number to shoulder the number of patients taking treatment in and depending on Government Hospitals. So, it is evident that the assurance to provide the patients with treatment in private Hospitals is impossible. But possible is that the design is drawn to provide a bonanza to private operators of medical care. In that case, the present impasse might have been promoted by the private Hospitals through their commission agents in occupation of political and official posts.

Might be, therefore, the Doctors’ demand for Dynamic Assured Career Progression (DACP), even though it would have acted a correct incentive, is not being heeded to by the Government. Undoubtedly, anarchy is engulfing the health care sector.

Patients, no doubt, are under the shadow of death.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Government Doctors of Orissa are tortured like never before. Two notifications of mass transfer in close proximity to an earlier one have become devastating to medical environment. If the administration doesn’t change its harassing stance, the Doctors may go on strike en masse, though the Orissa Medical Service Association (OMSA) says, the cease work would be in protest against cold shoulder shown to their demand for Dynamic Assured Career Progression (DACP).

DACP is a just demand. The Doctors are not only assigned with the most intricately complicated duty of saving human life, but also are the ones that hail from the most brilliant academic stuff. But once in Government job, they are left in the lurch at the mercy of corrupt bureaucrats and incompetent politicians sans any scope for fair pay commensurate with their caliber or at least for timely promotion in service. DACP may do away with this drastic disadvantage, they hope.

Hence, in the guise of putting pressure for implementation of DACP through strike, which the Doctors in general would not hesitate to join, the OMSA is trying to put the Government in a predicament that may, as a matter of compromise, end in modification of the mindless orders of transfer that is pushing the medical care sector into melancholy, specifically as Office bearers of OMSA having been shunted out of Bhubaneswar into remote corners of the State, their organized demand for DACP is set to suffer.

Doctors are in distress as the Service Tribunal has refused to impose any ‘stay’ order on the orders of transfer. This has emboldened the Government to refuse to heed to the just demands of the Doctors for DACP even. This is clear from nonoccurrence of the cabinet subcommittee meeting scheduled to consider the DACP issue on April 13.

When the Minister of Health has threatened the Doctors with prosecution under ESMA, a surprise body of self-proclaimed watchdogs of patients’ rights is precipitating the situation by raising demands for arrest of physicians who would go on strike.

All the media organizations having their constituencies in Orissa are today flooded with Government advertisements aimed at brainwashing the people against the organization of the medical community.

The Minister is openly threatening the Doctors with ESMA, the draconian legal instrument created by anti-people politicians to choke every voice of employees’ resentment against unbearable unfair official practices. Shadow boxers are taking the name of patients’ right to intimidate the Doctors so that their proposed strike is stymied. OMSA President’s credibility is also in decline as he preferred protesting against the order of his own transfer when he was conspicuous by his silence over the posting scam executed through Notification No.7027/H dated 18.3.2010 discussed in these pages on 23 March 2010. The OMSA officials’ double standard in matter of transfer of Doctors in general has made many physicians so disillusioned that it is not as certain as before that the announced strike would get total participation. The Government’s tactics to treat OMSA officials with carrot and stick has resulted in this dwindling of Doctors unity. The Government knows it. And therefore, administration has no hesitation in torturing the Doctors. This provides the sophomores basking under the aura of administrative power the opportunity to derive enough sadistic pleasure by eclipsing the brilliant lights of academic career at this moment.

The wrong that needs correction:

The Executive as well as the Judiciary is wrong in the matter of Doctors’ transfer. The official version that the orders of transfer was necessary to ensure that no Doctor should stay in the same place of posting beyond six years and that this happens to all categories of government employees is absolutely wrong because this never happens in the Doctors’ case. Under this cover, in reality, only the Doctors are subjected to favoritism, nepotism and post-fixing.

Has the Health Minister or any in the administration ever understood that Doctors, like the Teachers, are not mere servants of the Government, but are much above the concept of Government servants? Have they ever understood as to why it is universally held that when others’ jobs are ‘Service’, the Doctors’ is a ‘Profession’? Had they understood this, the savers of human life would never have been forced to agitate for their own fair living.

Let me narrate a few events that I am witness to.

A few years ago, from my village Tigiria I got a letter from a senior citizen, Bidyadhar Tunga, asking me to find out where Dr. Shiba Kumar Rath was staying. I collected from the Health Directorate that Dr. Rath was working in the Hospital at Sakshigopal of Puri District and informed Sri Tunga accordingly. The next day he arrived at my residence at Bhubaneswar and requested me to take him to Sakshigopal. He had some ailments, which could have been treated at the Capital Hospital. I suggested him accordingly. But he refused. I suggested that I can take him to S. C. B. Medical College, Cuttack where he may get advice from proficient Professors. He refused. I finally took him to Sakshigopal, where Dr. Rath was most happy to devote time to him. Reaching back home, after a week, Sri Tunga thanked me for the help I rendered with the information that he was completely cured.

Dr. Rath was in Tigiria about fifteen years prior to this event. Why Sri Tunga was so eager to find him out and get his advice even though medical advice was available to him at the doorstep and everywhere, even in the Medical College nearest to his home?

Confidence of the patient in the Doctor is the reason.

On another occasion, a Western Orissa couple appeared in the emergency ward of Capital Hospital where I was consulting a Doctor on my personal ailments. They wanted to know where they can get Dr. P. C. Mahakud. They had come from Kinjirikela in Sundergarh District. The Emergency Doctor informed them that Dr. Mahakud had been transferred to Nimapara and offered his services to them. They declined and insisted that they had come such long a distance to take the advice only of Dr. Mahakud. As they wanted how to go to Nimapara, I was curious to know as to how they knew Dr. Mahakud. They informed me that he was the Doctor in the Primary Health Center in their locality a decade ago.

In yet another event, a man from Pallahara once came to my residence in search of Dr. B. N. Mishra. Dr. Mishra was my neighbor and at that time, a Medical officer in the Capital Hospital, he had come to my residence for browsing an old newspaper that he was in search for. Gathering from his residence that he would be in my place for sometime, the gentleman, suffering from jaundice at that time, came to my house to save time. I found Dr. Mishra was very happy to see the man after around two decades. As he heard him, he stopped his newspaper search and left with the man. I gathered, he admitted him to Capital Hospital and gave him all the treatment required till he was cure of the ailment.

Space does not permit me to give further instances of this type. I myself have my preferred Doctors whom I consult as and when required instead of going to more known names. Why this? This is because; patients grow their confidence in Doctors.

Sad, the Ministers and the mandarins never understand this. Therefore, they are harping on transfer of Doctors. They are unable to understand that every transfer of Doctors is a loss to every patient under his treatment.

If you ask me, I will say, stop every transfer of every Doctor. If there will be no transfer, every doctor would develop a sense of belonging to the people he/she serves and there shall be no problem in the health care sector.

A few suggestions:

Instead of indulging in transfers, the Government should do at least four things.

One, the Doctors should be granted DACP sans any delay so that in their respective hospitals they would get the satisfaction of promotion, peace and tranquility they need essentially.

Two, the Government should provide them with laptops and internet facility so that they can update their knowledge, which is now severely lacking.

Three, reorientation training must be made a must for every Doctor discipline wise.

And four, registration of every Doctor should be of only five years duration and every Doctor should be subjected to examination every five years to test the desired standard of his/her knowledge update, failing which re-registration should be denied.

This last suggestion I have derived from a discussion with Dr. Shubhashish Circar of Ranchi whom I held with high esteem because of his spotless commitment to his profession.
The Government of Orissa should take note of the issues I have raised. It should desist from denigrating the Doctors and from pampering puppets in its attempt to intimidate them.

If without constructive approach, the Doctors are treated with unprincipled orders of transfer, whims and caprices of the Minister and the mandarins in the health department may be satisfied thereby; but the sane society must say that the doctors are tortured.

Let the savers of human life not be tortured.