Chief Minister’s Cohabitation with Corruption Costs the Assembly Its Resuming Day

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Vigilance wing of Orissa has unearthed, this month, a multi-crore Rupees coal scam carried out by the state owned Orissa Small Industries Corporation (OSIC); but has left the two most relevant persons that were bossing over OSIC untouched, apparently because, they are close confidents of Chief Minister Navin Patnaik. They are Urban Development Minister Badrinarayan Patra and School and Mass Education Minister Pratap Jena.

The two Ministers have vehemently denied that they are not involved with the scam. But they have not said that the scam unveiled by the Vigilance is not real. They have also not said that they had not headed during their respective tenure the administration of OSIC. They have not said that when OSIC was left to their control by the Government, they had gone there simply for honeymooning, not for managing its affairs. Everybody knows, when political dogs are appointed to head public sector corporations by a political government, they are so appointed for the avowed purpose of vigilant management of the same and in fact, after they take over, only their writ runs there. So, Patra and Jena are not supposed not to have known the scam carried out during their respective regime. In other words it cannot be said that they are not involved with the scam.

Opposition in Orissa Assembly, specifically the Congress, demands that these two tainted Ministers be ousted from the cabinet. In view of political probity, these two fellows should have been dropped by the Chief Minister the moment his own government’s vigilance wing unearthed the scam. But by not doing that, he has given the opportunity to Congress, the recognized Opposition in the Assembly, to raise the demand for their dismissal.

The Assembly, as a result, had to stop its scheduled business on its resuming day on July 14, with sadly a marginal transaction of only 26 minutes, that too under pandemonium.

The Chief Minister’s cohabitation with corruption has taken the toll of the first day of the resumed session of the Assembly , though the rampart of democracy is under the massive load of majority in the treasury side.

Press To Publicly Condemn Atrocious Administration in Front of Orissa Assembly

Media persons united under the auspices of MUFP today have decided to stage a protest demonstration in front of the Assembly tomorrow in order to condemn publicly the atrocities they are being continuously subjected to by the Police personnel and their protected goons in Orissa, with a nonchalant government sitting mum over their collective protests against all such attacks.

The government’s willful silence over attacks on journalists has emboldened miscreants in uniform to such extent that a lady reporter of a TV major was publicly embarrassed by obnoxious attempts by a section of Jawans to cow down her when she was covering the car festival of Sri Jagannath at Bhubaneswar on July 13. When her accompanist cameraman protested against the unexpected misdeed, he was brutally thrashed down by the maniac men and his camera was broken to pieces. Around forty Jawans were involved in the attack from whom only two are arrested and the rest are untouched. The more sordid part of the offense is that the police that has apprehended two of the Jawans, has not yet touched the officer(s) in charge of command over the said Jawans on the spot.

In the circumstances, even as the media persons unanimously condemned today the obnoxious act of the uniformed men, they decided to demonstrate their protest tomorrow in front of the Assembly in session.

POSCO Scandal: High Court Thwarts Orissa Government’s Repeated Act of Favoritism

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa High Court today found the state government guilty of favoritism and quashed its recommendation for giving Prospecting License (PL) on the Khandadhar iron ore mines to Posco-India, viewed as the object of Chief Minister Navin Patnaik’s cup-board love.

A bench comprising Justice B P Das and Justice B P Ray in hearing a petition of Geomin Enterprises has disapproved the Government’s modus operandi and directed for reconsideration of the recommendation that breathes discrimination against about 227 applicants for mining lease over Khandadhar.

The state government had recommended to the Center in January 2009 in favor of the South Korean Company in total disregard to objections of the Adivasis as well as people of Orissa to whom Khandadhar is Orissa’s life-saving eco-system.

In this anti-people act, the Government had not hesitated to slough over other applicants’ right not to be discriminated against.

This had prompted Geomin Enterprises, one of the applicants to challenge it in the High Court of Orissa and subsequently 16 others had intervened.

Navin Patnaik is in the center of suspicion as favoritism shown to POSCO was not inadvertent. It was deliberate. Earlier in December 2006 the central government had turned down the state’s recommendation for POSCO on ground of discernible discrimination and stressed on re-hearing of all applications by the state. But POSCO was again the beneficiary of favoritism.

The High Court order is therefore more significant.