Illicit occupiers of the Samaja use a woman against workers union President in cooked up case

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
In Orissa’s shameful and long history of police atrocity against active media persons, another black chapter has been added on March 26, 2013.

President of Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association Sri Devi Prasanna Nayak and eminent social worker Braja Bhai, who, as Servants of the People Society’s man in charge of the Samaja, had lifted the paper to top stature, have been arrested by Cuttack police after the hijackers were sure to lose their illicit grip over the premier daily of Orissa.

Police knows details of how the newspaper has been perishing under internecine quarrels amongst life members of the SoPS. The present gang of Samaja hijackers has been facing various cases under alleged charges of fraud, forgery, embezzlement and various other heinous crimes including severe moral turpitude.

As Sri Nayak, has refused to dance to the tune of the hooligans that have captured the paper, he has been arbitrarily transferred and simultaneously suspended and dismissed by the very same gang whose incumbency, according to a decision of the District Judge, Cuttack delivered on 21.03.2013, “appears to have no prima facie sanction of the Constitution of SoPS”. In view of this clear and unambiguous decision of the District Judge, all administrative actions of the occupiers of the Samaja are to be read as illegal orders. So, the lawful incumbent Vice President of SoPS Sri K.C.Tripathy, who is officiating as President, has nullified all illegal orders of the wrongful occupiers of the Samaja passed against Sri Nayak and has promoted him to the rank of senior subeditor with instruction to join the job immediately. Sri Tripathy has also reinstated Braja Bhai in his previous status with all corresponding powers that he was enjoying previously with emphasis on his resuming his office with immediate effect.

That, Sri Nayak was harassed by vested interest persons in occupation of the Samaja was located by the Conciliation officer in course of his inquiry, in consequence whereof, his case has been recommended for adjudication. It was a lady subeditor who had given deposition against Nayak before a stage-managed domestic inquiry to the extent of saying that there was neither any association of the employees nor any reality in Nayak being its President. To all employees who know the truth, it was professional envy in part and influence of the paper’s controversial printer-publisher Niranjan Rath on her in particular that had made her give the false and misleading deposition before the inquiry officer who was perceived as a puppet inquiry officer imported from Rath’s own place of living. Rath is a member of SoPS on whom the Inquiry Commission headed by Justice Arijit Pasayat has observations that makes one assume that the commission was not very far from saying that he is man of dubious moral standard.

In the meantime, officiating president of SoPS, Sri K.C.Tripathy has obtained a verdict from a competent Civil Court to the extent that his case against his rival group in the SoPS is “a foolproof case” and taking over his position by his rival group “appears to be prima facie without jurisdiction”, which establishes that all the actions of the occupiers of the Samaja are without jurisdiction. Hence, Tripathy’s order nullifying the orders of the occupiers of the Samaja against Sri Nayak and other employees of the paper is just and proper; so also his orders promoting Nayak to the rank of senior subeditor.

In this peculiar situation, even though his case against illegal termination has earned competent recommendation for adjudication, Nayak had been to the Samaja Office to join his job without any prejudice to his dispute. The illicit occupiers have framed him up in a false case by using a police officer since long in their pocket. And, the lady subeditor who has discernible antagonism with Sri Nayak has raised some such allegations against Sri Nayak and Braja Bhai that the S.D.J.M. (S), Cuttack had to reject their bail application with a note that the alleged offense was grave.

What the lady subeditor has said? From the order sheet it transpires that both Braja Bhai and Sri Nayak “pulled her saree, caught hold of her, squeezed her breast and assaulted her, for which she sustained severe injuries on her head and her left of body”. The magistrate has not heard the accused persons and hence, whether the accusation is correct or concocted is yet to be known. But, if any such misbehavior took place, it must have happened in presence of others as on “getting information, when she went to the spot”, the accused persons had “pulled her saree, caught hold of her, squeezed her breast and assaulted her”.

From whom she got information and why she alone “went to the spot” and what was “the spot”? The order sheet is silent about it when the case also involved the issue of fundamental right to freedom of Sri Nayak and Braja Bhai.

The order sheet mentions that “although a case u/ss 341/323/447/294/506/34 IPC was registered, the accused persons were forwarded to the court u/ss 341/323/294/354/506/447/34 IPC”. Was this difference between the two positions an act of normal finding or deliberate coining? The court has not tried to find that out though the bail applications stands on the question of fundamental right to freedom and liberty. The basis of the case is the written report of the General Manager of the Samaja, as the court has noted. In the said report, there is no mention that Braja bhai and Sri Nayak “pulled her saree, caught hold of her, squeezed her breast”, From the body of the “written report” it transpires that after the report was written, a sentence i.e. “Mamata Bisoi, sub Editor has been assaulted severely”. Why this sentence was not in the originally written report and why was it inserted? And, thus visibly clumsily? Was it an act of after-thought to falsely implicate Braja Bhai and Nayak in a offense that they have never committed? When the issue involved fundamental right to freedom and liberty, was it not proper to study this aspect?

On perusal of the order sheet that has denied bail to Braja Bhai and Sri Nayak, I find that the magistrate has not given a complete meaning to the sentence that follows the sentence “Getting information, when she went to the spot, the present accused persons “pulled her saree, caught hold of her, squeezed her breast and assaulted her, for which she sustained severe injuries on her head and her left of body”. The said meaningless sentence is “her the medical examination”. Why the magistrate has noted such a meaningless sentence? Was it written in a hurry?

In matter of issues involving fundamental right to freedom and liberty, even if the issue is raised by an accused, no decision should be taken in a hurry. And orders of rejection of bail should evolve on ascertainment that the accusation is prima facie free of possible doubts, antagonism and motive.

Without any prejudice to the case in question, we have reason to believe that Braja Bhai and Devi Prasanna Nayak have been subjected to a cooked up case where a lady subeditor with history of antagonism against Sri Nayak has been used by illicit occupiers of the Samaja with ulterior motive.

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Shah should keep his mouth shut

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Justice M.B.Shah heading a commission of inquiry is to probe into illegal mining in Orissa and several other States and to submit his report to the union government within 18 months of commencement of its first sitting as per terms of reference.

The ‘Terms of Reference’ need the Commission to do the following jobs:

i. to inquire into and determine the nature and extent of mining and trade and transportation, done illegally or without lawful authority, of iron ore and manganese ore, and the losses resulting there from; and to identify, as far as possible, the persons, firms, companies and others that are engaged in such mining, trade and transportation of iron ore and manganese ore, done illegally or without lawful authority;

ii. to inquire into and determine the extent to which the management,regulatory and monitoring systems have failed to deter, prevent, detect and punish offences relating to mining, storage, transportation, trade and export of such ore, done illegally or without lawful authority, and the persons
responsible for the same;

iii. to inquire into the tampering of official records, including records relating to land and boundaries, to facilitate illegal mining and to identify, as far as possible, the persons responsible for such tampering; and

iv. to inquire into the overall impact of such mining, trade, transportation and export, done illegally or without lawful authority, in terms of destruction of forest wealth, damage to the environment, prejudice to livelihood and other rights of tribal people, forest dwellers and other persons in the mined areas,and the financial losses caused to the Central and State Governments.

Nowhere the ‘Term of Reference’ has given any power to Justice Shah or any member of his team to vomit speculations in the public before TV cameras or while entertaining any media person, about whether or not political leaders are connected with the loot. He or any member of the Commission has, similarly, no right to say that bureaucracy is involved with illegal mining.

The Terms of Reference asks him to carry out many such jobs that include the responsibility to expose the persons responsible for illegalities to be unveiled.

Sadly, Justice Shah has started giving the impression that politicians, specifically the gang in occupation of power in Orissa is fit for a clean chit.

It would be proper for him to keep his mouth shut before coming to a final conclusion through investigation and submission of the ‘Report of Inquiry’ as his premature vomiting before the Press is likely to prejudice the investigating staff.

Attempts to foil Health Minister’s assurance; only the rich to get safe blood!

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In reply to an adjournment motion moved by Opposition Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan on 1st September 2012, Health Minister Dr. Damodar Raut had assured that Orissa would adopt NAT PCR system to ensure appropriate screening of blood to avoid AIDS from transfusion.

A boy of only 17 months was found infected with AIDS by accepting transfusion of blood obtained from Muncipal Hospital Blood Bank, Bhubaneswar. The news was broke by orissamatters.com in 8 July 2012 and Sri Harichndan had very ably brought the matter to the attention of the Assembly.

Dr. Raut in his reply noted that people of Orissa have made monumental mark in blood donation and from 126076 units in 2000; blood collection has reached 307022 units in 2011. People’s eagerness to donate blood to save the lives of fellow citizens needs be equally honored by the government’s readiness to supply safe blood to needing patients through proper screening. Therefore, Dr. Raut said, in a meeting on 22 August 2012 the Government had consulted all the Blood Bank Directors and Officers in a conference and had taken a decision to jettison the rapid test method of screening and adopt ELISA method to screen out AIDS virus in the Blood Banks.

As Harichandan pointed out that ELISA is not the latest technology to screen AIDS virus, but NAT PCR is, the Minister had appreciated the position and had assured to adopt the latest method; for nothing is more valuable than human life and moreover, as patients’ confidence in blood banks would diminish if AIDS virus escapes the deficient screening. He however had declared that the method being costly, the State would start with four major blood banks: one each attached to the three Government Medical Colleges and the Capital Hospital Blood Bank. The facility would be extended to all the Blood Banks of Orissa in course of time, he had assured the Assembly.

The Budget of Health department placed in and awaiting approval of the Assembly has made a token provision for replacement of ELISA with NAT PCR in the aforesaid four Blood Banks.

But, the Finance department has planted a rider that the cost of NAT PCR screening should be collected from the patients. If the rider is not dropped, only the rich will benefit; because the poor patients cannot afford the screening cost.

The present Finance Minister was the Minister of Health when deficient screening through old method of ELISA had infested the seventeen months old child with AIDS and the Orissa High Court had punished the state Government with cash penalty of Rs.3 lakhs for supply of HIV infested blood to the boy without perfect screening. When he is the Finance minister, his department is asking the Health department to impose such a heavy cost on poor patients on accounts of NAT PCR that it will never be possible for them to get pure blood through perfect screening!

Should the poor people have no right to safe blood? Should the latest and the safest NAT PCR screening for which the government in the Health department has put budgetary provisions on the anvil of the Assembly be available only to the rich?

Should the Finance department be allowed to foil the most welcome welfare proposal of the Health department?

Should the Assembly allow its own anxiety for safe blood to patients be steered into benefit of the moneyed men alone?

In NGT, ESSAR fails to sell lies

The Essar Steel Orissa Ltd (ESSAR) tried today to hoodwink the National Green Tribunal in the matter of forest clearance by saying that its project does not cover any forest.

A five member bench headed by Chairperson of the NGT Justice Swatantra Kumar dismissed the contention, specifically as the environmental clearance has mentioned of the quantity of forest land coming within the spread of the project; and further as, the environmental clearance was subject to grant of forest clearance.

The Bench extended the interim orders granted earlier in favor of the petitioners that have challenged laying of slurry pipelines inside the Baitarani River by a foreign company BRPL and ESSAR steel Ltd.

The Tribunal has taken strong exception over the companies’ digging of intake well on the heart of Baitarani which would obstruct natural course of water and disadvantage the riparian community. The Tribunal expressed deep concern over intake well dug inside the Baitarani River when pictures thereof were brought to its notice by the counsel of the petitioner Sri Bibhu Prasad Tripathi.

The matter would be heard by the bench on March 18.

Naveen Govt. signs MoU with a ghost company, helps ESSAR use the same to its benefit

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The fraud Naveen Patnaik has partnered with a non-Oriya company called ESSAR Steel Orissa Ltd (hereinafter called ESSAR) is so monstrous that a Judicial Commission of Inquiry should be the minimum to probe into the offense in order to bring in discipline to errant administration.

ESSAR is facing environmental prosecution preferred by two responsible citizens of the State, Sri Sarbeswar Mishra and Sri Murli Monohar Sharma in the National Green Tribunal for having subjected River Baitarani to a stratagem of trapping through a huge intake well dug on her chest. But, action is essential against the government functionaries including the Chief Minister for injuring the people of Orissa with a MoU with a non-existent organization called Hy-Grade Pellet Limited and allowing ESSAR to use the same MoU to acquire Government Land, and to use public resources for its own benefit.

Now as the trapping of Bitarani is subjected to environmental jurisprudence in the NGT and there is every possibility of focus on the crime, ESSAR has dismantled the huge intake well it had dug on the chest of Baitarani. It is guilty of dismantling the corpus delicti of its crime when the National Green tribunal is hearing the case against the mischief.

The gory details of the offense, one believes, will come out in course of hearing before the NGT. But we are shocked to see that ESSAR has acquired huge public land and proceeded with construction of its plant, even though it has no authority to do so. The goriest part of the mischief is that it has not even signed the MoU with the State Government!

The fraud Naveen has subjected Orissa to, in this particular case, is grievous. He has made the Government in the department of Steel and Mines sign a MoU with HGPL on 21 April 2005 though by that date the company was not in existence and has forced Orissa officials to act on this MoU in favor of ESSAR!
Orissa Government officials have worked as its slaves in allocating it lands and allowing it to build up the intake well to trap Baitarani for its nefarious exploitation.

When the harmful stratagem of trapping the Baitarani was designed, it is Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who, being the minister of water resources, should have, as the custodian of public interest, acted against ESSAR. But, he didn’t act. Why he didn’t act against ESSAR, despite the discernible violation of relevant Laws, is a matter that calls for his explanation to the people.

He owes explanation to the people in many more matters.

Not accepting but acceding for sake of argument that the ESSAR is the same as HGPL, one deserves the Chief Minister’s answer as to why he has sat nonchalant when Laws of the land as well as its forests and Eco-systems are being raped by ESSAR.

He being a Chief Minister with limited powers to work under the Constitution guided by its Preamble, where from he got a carte blanche to gift away the water of Baitarani to a private firm when the River is not a creation of his Government; and the Government is not the owner thereof, but a mere custodian? And, why his Government failed to appreciate this position?

Why his government did not act to stop the construction of the illegal and unauthorized intake well, when people of different places living on the banks of Baitarani and dependent on her water, raised their voice against the illegality?

Why he did not support Sarbeswar Mishra and Murli Monohar Sharma when they, having all their democratic and peaceful attempts to save the Revered River Baitarani from being so brutally subjected to the traps of ESSAR gone unheeded to, finally preferred an application under section 18(1) read with Section 14 (1) of the National Green Tribunal Act, 2010, as responsible citizens devoted to public well-being?

Why has he not diligently acted when ESSAR has dismantled the intake well that obliterates the corpus delicti of the crime when the matter is actively under environmental jurisprudence before the nation’s Green Tribunal?

His decision as a chief minister to co-operate with ESSAR might have been driven by a desire to usher in an avenue of employment for the local public, as he has been claiming. But in reality the ESSAR system is designed to precipitate unemployment.

The ESSAR system would use Baitarani water to transport ores to inland destination through slurry pipelines is bound to do away with the scopes for road transportation.

Advocate Bibhu Prasad Tripathy, representing Mishra and Sharma in Case No. 89 of 2012 before the NGT says, drawing of water from Baitarani for transportation of iron ore through slurry pipelines and other industrial purposes directly violates environmental laws besides inflicting serious injuries on the riparian community. The Government of India in the Ministry of Environment and Forests, the government of Orissa in the Department of Water Resources, and concerned District Collectors-cum-Magistrates are evading “statutory obligations” casted upon them for protecting and improving the quality of the environment, he points out. Dismantling of the intake well is as illegal and arbitrary as construction of the same, maintains Advocate Tripathy.

When of late, his government has waked up to the cries of agriculture and has projected a special budget for agriculture, why has he been co-operating in industrial squandering away of the water of River Baitarani? Is the agriculture budget a gadget to befool the farmers?

When the MoU was signed on 21 April 2005, why was it not signed directly with ESSAR, but was signed with HGPL that had lost its life on 10 February 2005? What is the secret purpose behind this fraud?

The so-called MoU with HGPL, which Naveen administration has allowed ESSAR to use to its benefit, in its ‘General Clauges’ (G) (j), has made it a must for the State Government to withdraw all facilities offered to the company in case of non-implementation of the terms and condition, laid down under the MoU. Adherence to Environmental and Forest Laws by the Company is of cardinal importance therein.

But from communications from the Field Officers of the Government, it is seen that ESSAR has constantly contravened the Environmental and Forest Acts.

As for example, the Tahsildar of Barbil, in his report to the Collector and District Magistrate of Keonjhar, vide letter No. 3666, dated 19 October 2011 has mentioned, “there is a clear violation of the orders of the Collector for which action deemed proper may kindly be initiated against M/s Essar Steel Ltd”.

What was the order of the Collector that the Company (ESSAR) contravened?

To see the order, we go to the Collector’s communication No. 960/G & M of 4 August 2011 that tells ESSAR, “In this context, you are hereby noticed not to undertake any construction activities in the non-forest land till final approval orders of diversion of forest land for the project is received”.

It transpired from the same order of the Collector that ESSAR had not submitted any valid document “regarding permission for installation and construction of the project from the Government”. So, it was asked to “show cause with proof of documents” within seven days.

This information gives birth to another question: How in absence of valid documents regarding permission for installation and construction of the project” the Collector/ concerned officials have allocated lands for the project? Have they acted under telephonic instructions of somebody whose telephonic order is too powerful to be ignored? Who that somebody is else than the Chief Minister?

It deserves mention that there was no relevant response to the Collector’s notice; and obviously therefore, the Collector had to ask the Tahsildar to visit the spot and report if his orders were honored.

The Tahsildar visited the site of ESSAR project on 19 October 2011 and reported on the same day that “civil works like construction of boundary wall ……. was going on involving masons and laborers”.

So, ESSAR was caught red-handed by the Tahsildar while contravening the Collector’s prohibitory orders.

Why the Collector had to issue the prohibitory Orders?

This was because, he was forced to issue such an order under compulsion of circumstances, as the company continued to violate the Environment and Forest laws and “public complain” was rising in velocity at his end.

The company had earlier been booked under Orissa Forest Act 1972 for blatant brutalization of the reserved forests while proceeding with laying slurry pipelines sans any authority and legality.

From “show cause notice” issued by Forest Range Officer of Champua Range on 25 June 2011 vide No. 350, it transpires that ESSAR had excavated the soil and laid the slurry pipe line “without forest clearance” and had stored slurry pipes in Naibuga Reserve Forest in which “connection” OR case No. 67ch was instituted against it.

The Collector also mentions of OR case No. 66CH of 2011-12 under the Forest Act while confronting it with the following words: “Prior to obtaining the approval of Govt. of India, MOEF as required under Forest Conservation Act, your agency have already laid pipelines and started construction work in the non-forest land which violates point 4.4 of Chapter 4 of the guidelines of the F.C.Act, 1980 as the project involves both forest and non-forest land. ……………….. Also you have violated the condition at point 4.4 of the F. C. Act, 1980 by constructing a beneficiation plant over 80.0 acres of non-forest land”.

In his Memo No. 5758 captioned “violation of guidelines of Forest Conservation Act, 1980 by M/s Essar Steel Orissa Ltd” sent to the Chief Conservator of Forests on 6 July 2011, the Divisional Forest Officer of Keonjhar has informed, “In spite of repeated instructions, the user agency (ESSAR) has continued the work of laying slurry pipe line and construction of beneficiation plant in non-forest area violating the guidelines of Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980”.

On spot visit we found that it has also laid slurry pipe line on forest land and on public roads. At the top of all its illegal activities, it had constructed the huge intake well on the Chest of Baitarani, which it has now dismantled after NGT has taken up the case against it.

These are just a few samples of how the company has contravened the terms and conditions of the MoU signed with HGPL, if at all it is bound to the same.

Naveen Patnaik is required to explain to the public as to why his government has not withdrawn itself from the said instrument so far, in view of the stipulations laid down in the MoU itself.

ESSAR dismantles corpus delicti of crime in panic, Conspires to hoodwink NGT

A team of delegates of Baitarani Banchao Abhijan comprising Sri Murali Manohar Sharma, Sarbeswar Mishra, Pabitra Maharatha and Subhas Chandra Pattanayak visited the site of intake well illegally constructed by the ESSAR Steel Orissa Ltd on 28 February 2013 as reports reached them that after its illegalities were challenged in the National Green Tribunal, the company has dismantled the intake well. The team found that the intake well has really been dismantled the day before they reached the spot.

In a press conference the next day they informed that Abhijan leaders Sarbeswar Mishra and Murali Manohar Sharma have moved the NGT to intervene in the matter of water hijacking by ESSAR Steel which has become a national as well as international issue.

The Abhijan leaders, through their lawyer Sri Bibhu Prasad Tripathy have alleged that the water hijacking by ESSAR is meant to provide bonanza to the company while creating unemployment amongst the general public, particularly transportation operators, drivers, vehicle attendants, forest dwellers and the farmers.

The Abhijan leaders have further moved the NGT for a spot visit to get first hand views and data on the serious damage done to the eco-system in blatant contravention of the laws of the land.

The ESSAR Steel on coming to know of the possible spot inspection by the NGT, have dismantled the intake well to remove the most speaking proof of its illegalities, the team members alleged.

The Abhijan is of definite views that dismantling of the intake well by ESSAR Steel Orissa Ltd over the River Baitarani is not only designed to wipe out the proof of its illegal construction of the intake well, but also is a deliberate attempt to derail the nation’s highest environmental jurisprudence.

The Abhijan has strongly condemned the illegality resorted to by ESSAR Steel in the instant case and has called upon the State Government to initiate stiff penal prosecution against the scheming company for this serious mischief played against the public.