Orissa Official Language Act has no Drive // Amendment along with Rules Suggested

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Official language Act, 1954 came “into force at once” on 14th October 1954 (Section 1 (3) of the Act) and “It extends to whole of the State of Orissa (Sub-Section (2) of Section 1). Section 2 stipulated,”Oriya shall be the Language to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa.” However, Sub-section (2) of this Section mentioned that the Government may “direct” as to which specific area would come into the force of this Act from which date, by way of “Notification”. After various circulars and directions for use of Oriya went barren, the contemplated Notification was promulgated in 1885. Yet the Act is not being implemented.

I find three lacunae which unless removed governance of Orissa in Oriya shall remain impossible. Firstly, as there is no provision for punishment against contravention of the Act, Government functionaries are encouraged to ignore the Notification/directions and not at all honoring the Act; secondly, there is no Rules to drive the Act ahead and no power is also given to the Government to frame and promulgate the Rules; Thirdly, Section 3-A inserted in 1963, despite the Assembly Speaker’s ruling and limitation only to the Assembly business, is arbitrarily extended to entire administration and fourthly, with industrial empires controlling major manpower and public interest, the nomenclature of the Act by itself is deficient.

I found that, the necessary legislative mind was conspicuous by its absence while considering the Bill, as a result of which, there is no discussion on why the word “may” was used in Sub-Section (2) of Section 2 as against “shall” in Sub-Section (3) of Section 1 in the Act and the term “specific areas” in 2(2) was neither defined not discussed.

I feel, unless these lacunae are removed and there is a specific set of Rules to drive the Official Language Act ahead, it has to stay defunct as it has, since 1954.

Therefore, I am advancing a draft of the Rules for consideration in the JAC. Problem is: the Act has no provision for creation of Rules. Hence, necessary amendments to the Act are also suggested.

On the other hand, we need Oriya to be used in private, State-based foreign industries, trade and commerce outfits, corporate houses, public sector undertakings, cooperatives, and all autonomous organizations in Orissa. But, these bodies are not “official” in status.

Therefore, the word “Official” in the original Act needs to be replaced with a word that would encompass all such non-official organizations, in order to ensure that the purpose of the Act is not defeated. My dear friend Advocate Sarat Kumar Panda, whose wisdom and expertise sic passim the draft, suggests that, if the word “Official” is replaced with the word “Public” in the Act and used in the Rules (as drafted), the purpose would be best served.

Here are the suggested amendments in the Act and the Draft of the Rules, which, if accepted, will drive the Act effectively ahead.

It is submitted to Hon’ble Minister Debi Prasad Mishra, Chairman, JAC as per Resolution No.3 of its meeting dated August 1, 2015.

Bhasa sangram_eng

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In the Land of Arts, Artists Perish

Orissa is world famous for its wealth of arts. It is known as Utkala, the land of artistic excellence. But, in the present phase of her life, artist are perishing in absence of avenues of livelihood and due to exploitation by the State administered by Naveen Patnaik who is in power for about 15 years.

The State has an unique University called the Utkal University of Culture. It had selected through a selection committee qualified persons to teach in PG classes, several years ago. Instead of appointing them permanently, as they were selected against permanent vacancies, the state owned university had appointed them as ‘casual’ faculties on ad hoc basis, terminating their services before completion of 90 days and reappointing them immediately thereafter. This design was meant to exploit the faculties without granting them regular service benefits. When they have already worked for several years as such, a temporary VC, just before the end of his tenure, terminated them permanently by manipulating hand-picked members of the board of its management and took in new hands in the same temporary design. Whether or not sumptuous bribes from aspirants for the assignments was the fountainhead of this design is not known, but the illogical action has been challenged as illegal in many cases in legal forums. Notwithstanding what would be the fate of litigations, the hard reality is that artists are perishing because of exploitive design of the State.

Orissa Sangeet Mahavidyalaya is another center of exploitation of performing artists. Faculties are kept on temporary basis against permanent posts and tenterhook of hope for regularization keeps them afloat on slow starvation.

When teachers as thus are perishing, their pupils who have graduated from such institutions are seeking employment. The State is exploiting them by appointing them under Sarva Siksha Abhijan on a day per week basis where they have no hope of acquiring regular status. The performing and visual artists are suffering beyond endurance. In December, thousands of artist had gathered in Bhubaneswar to attract attention of the Assembly as well as administration to their plight. L.P.Pattanayak had captured some of their action in his camera. They are of continuing relevance; and so we place them here as a token of our recognition of undying agony of the artists despite passing away of the year 2013. (Editor)

2artists agitation 3artists agitation 4artists agitation 12artists agitation 13artists agitation 8artists agitation14artists agitation9

But the artists, despite their scornful agitation have given a hopeful message. The two pictures at the bottom indicate, an artist is caricaturing chief minister Naveen Patnaik where Sri Patnaik is trying to pacify the aggrieved artists by visiting them on the street and by patiently hearing them in their meeting.

artists agitation6in their protest meeting

We earnestly hope, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will stop exploitation of of artists in 2014 before relinquishing his post in 2014.

Affordable Justice is a Birthright; Give Western Orissa the HC Bench Immediately

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Several High Courts in India have their benches in places beyond their permanent citadels, because thereby justice sans hurdles of distance and burden of travel expenses is available to them. A bench in Western Orissa is an outstanding necessity on the same premises.

A government that claims to be a government of the people, by the people, for the people should have taken all necessary steps to give the people of Western Orissa the High Court of Orissa by extension, because it is the government upon which bestowed is the responsibility to ensure justice for the people. The government run by Naveen Patnaik has blatantly failed in this regard.

The plea of refusal of a bench at Sambalpur by a very old verdict of Orissa High Court is an anti-people plea. Denial of affordable justice to people of Western Orissa, where most of the economically disadvantaged population of Orissa reside, under any plea, is not acceptable.

Plea of deference amongst people of different districts of Western Orissa in the matter of seat of the Bench when created is a mischievous plea. The people there have expressed their oneness in demand for HC Bench by boycotting the Local Urban Body elections going on in Orissa. This should be a lesson to the Government and the Jurists.

It is better for the concerned authorities to understand that HC Bench in Western Orissa is unavoidable. They should concede it sans any delay.

They will have to concede one day. Why unnecessarily are they fomenting unrest?

Be it very clear that the demand of the people of Western Orissa for a HC Bench that they need for affordable justice, is entirely just and proper a demand. And this demand is also a demand of entire Orissa, because the issue is available of affordable justice the people as a whole.

PEOPLE ARE TO PAY FINE FOR BEING MISRULED IN ORISSA! WHAT NEXT!

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Several of the kings in pre-independence India specifically in Orissa were so tyrant that they had imposed on the people they were torturing a tax called PITUNI KARA which was a fine in cash for being beaten. The masses ultimately woke up against such tyranny and the kings were so thrashed that they had to abdicate their thrones and merge their States in independent India.

When Congress misrule surpassed the limits, in several States in India, people refused to grant a fresh mandate to this party of the factotums of Nehru family in 1967 and thus in Orissa, one of the former kings, R.N.Singhdeo managed to form a ministry in coalition with Jan Congress, comprising Congress members opposed to Nehru family hegemony. Corruption in the state acquired elite status and defamation of political opponents and victimization of bureaucrats who did not dance to the tune of the CM’s proteges became the norms of the day. Hypocrisy stood for administration. And, as people got disillusioned, protests galore, Singhdeo with many ex-kings in his segment of the coalition, wanted PITUNI TAX to be imposed on areas where organized resistance to what he called governance, was discernible. It was strongly resented to in Orissa. Fissure in the coalition grew and the Jan Congress withdrew from the coalition. Government collapsed. People refused to give mandate to Singhdeo. Like a house of cards, his party – the Swatantra Party – also collapsed and got obliterated from political sky of India.

Emboldened by repeated return to power, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who by sheer misuse of power has reduced Orissa to a Bijudom by naming and renaming utmost majority of public institutes and welfare projects after his father Biju Patnaik with himself as its preening prince, has revived the PITUNI TAX of the kings’ concept, as informed, exploited and tortured people in rising numbers in every segment of society are demonstrating their protests against ongoing misrule.

This time, the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation is being used as the medium of this punishment to still even the still small voices.

It would be wrong not to say that, in Orissa, the Governments in succession have gone against the people to please private industries and traders who prosper at the cost of the masses, as thereby, they, who run the Government, fetch fabulous financial gain.

In the process, people have been left at the mercy of exploiters and a climate of oppression and opportunism has engulfed administration pushing the entire working class – both in public and private sector – and self-employed ones – mostly in agriculture sector – into colonized condition. Naturally, people must protest.

One of the governments, run by J.B.Patnaik, sensing that protests in front of the citadel of power would obviously be by the well-informed ones and hence of immense impact, had contrived a method of obstructing all such protests against misrule and all possible campaigns for any alternative, by converting the vast open space kept by the original planners in front of the State Secretariat for such democratic activities, to a park named after Indira Gandhi after her demise. People of Orissa, after that, like they had thrown down Singhdeo to dustbin of time, thrashed the Congress out of office.

But, since the conversion of the democracy point to Indira Gandhi Park, despite the Governments’ insistence that people should express their concerns and/or protests in the Janata Maidan, away from the Secretariat, victims of government apathy and injustice were using the boulevards adjacent to the said park, spanning in front of the Sate Assembly up to the Master canteen square, to demonstrate their protests. Rallies and Dharana demonstrations were also being staged by the general public in expression of solidarity with the victims such as the ones conducted when the Naveen Patnaik Government became a butcher in Kalinga Nagar or its police became protector of the rapists in Pipili.

Naveen has now enhanced JB’s restrictive tactics against voices of mass conscience by imposing a PITUNI TAX in a different form.

Be it noted that the Government of Orissa rules from the City of Bhubaneswar. And, the City is run by Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation that lives under the pleasure of the Urban Development Department of the Government. Though managed on records by an elected body of ward representatives headed by a Mayor, the BMC is controlled by the Government through Laws enacted and enforced by it, through Government instructions and notifications leashing or unleashing its activities and through Government officers that administer it.

Now, this BMC has been used to tax the demonstrators to the tune of Rs.1000/- for staging their demonstration with the rider that the amount shall be recovered with penalty from leader(s)/organizer(s) of demonstration(s) if the tax amount is not paid in advance.

We mark that the Communist Party of India has staged a protest demonstration in front of the BMC office while demanding instant withdrawal of the new version of PITUNI TAX.

We deem it proper to warn the Government that if ventilation of people’s resentment against misrule is thus obstructed, the inevitable outburst of the tortured people’s wrath would be too sharp for the administration to overcome. From the former kings of Orissa who had imposed PITUNI KARA on their subjects to the former ruler of Balangir who in the attire of Orissa’s Chief Minister had taken steps to enforce PITUNI TAX, to a former journalist who had become the first CM to rule the State for a decade – all were thrashed to the dustbin by people of Orissa for having used devices to obstruct their voice against misrule. If Naveen fails to learn, it would be his mistake. This tax cannot be but anything other than a fine for being misruled in Orissa! It is better for Naveen to take note of it.

THREAT TO INDIA’S FEDERAL STRUCTURE: WE FULLY ENDORSE WHAT ORISSA CM HAS WRITTEN TO PRIME MINISTER

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

History will remember Dr. Manmohan Singh as the person who has rendered the national resolve of India enshrined in the Preamble of the Constitution inconsequential. Yet he is heading a government that is trying to damage the federal structure of India as is marked in Office Memorandum of February 3, 2012 issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs that superimposes a National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) on the State Governments.

It has the mischief of causing a permanent diminution of the primordial role of the Provincial Government in policing the State inasmuch as at Para 3.1, the OM empowers the Director of NCTC to act as the ‘designated authority’ under Section 2(e) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967, which would vest in him the power to search and arrest any citizen of the State u/S 3A of the UAP Act behind the back of its Government. It is further set to subdue the State Governments as, under Paras 3.5 and 5.1, it requires “all authorities” that include all functionaries of the State to provide all information and documentary data including confidential reports as would be required by NCTC even though thereby privileges of the provincial governments would be ripped up to the detriment of dignity of State administration.

Even as we have no hesitation in saying that the UAP Act is being misused by the State governments, specifically by the Government of Orissa, to settle scores with political opponents and disadvantageous journalists, we have no problem in foreseeing that the NCTC mischief would pose more severe threat to the federal entity of the States if the provisions as hinted to above are not dropped. The people will be doubly disadvantaged as it can never be said for certain that the NCTC would never misuse the UAP Act.

This makes us fully endorse Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik when he requests the Prime Minister “to review this order which has draconian overtones”. In a timely letter to the PM on Monday, Patnaik has asked, “Would it not have been advisable for the Union Government to have prior consultation with the State Governments?” To him, “this clearly seems to be an infringement on the federal structure of States as enshrined in the Constitution of India”.

Kalinga Prize Messed Up: Election Code Raped on the Podium of Indian Science Congress at Bhubaneswar

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The Kalinga Prize could not be presented to Dr. Rene Raul Drucker Colin, selected for the Award 2011, as he did not come to receive the same.

The explanation churned out is that, he was not informed of award ceremony sufficient ahead of time.

But in reality, this happened, because the UNESCO was not permitted under the Rules to present the Kalinga Prize at Bhubaneswar on the publicized date.

The Kalinga Prize is awarded under and controlled by a set of Rules framed and promulgated for the specific purpose. No deviation is permitted.

Under these Rules, administered by the Director General of UNESCO, after receiving the funds from the Kalinga Foundation Trust, the Government of Orissa and the Government of India in the preceding year of the Prize, shall officially invite member countries for submission of nominations to the Secretariat of the Prize, by 15 May of the year of the Prize.

Then, under Article 5 of the Rules, the Juri shall examine the records submitted along with the nominations and “shall send an assessment on nominations and accompanying recommendations to the Director- General of UNESCO no later than 31 August of the year of the Prize”.

Then the person nominated for the Prize shall be declared and the Prize shall be awarded by the Director-General at an official ceremony held for that purpose “in the place where UNESCO celebrates World Science Day, on 10 November”.

In view of this stipulation on venue and date laid down under Article 7 of the Rules, in absence of any amendment thereto, the UNSCO had no authority to award the Prize to the selected person at Bhubaneswar on 4 January 2012. The word “shall” connotes to “must” under the Rules and hence, it is mandatory for award of the Kalinga Prize “in the place where UNESCO celebrates World Science Day, on 10 November”.

The day, 4 January, was not 10 November and the venue of the session of Indian Science Congress was not “the place” where UNESCO was celebrating “World Science Day”.

Therefore, there is no surprise in absence of the awardee and awarder of Kalinga Prize.

No wonder that the Union Minister for Science and Technology, Bilas Rao Desmukh, despite being present at inauguration of the 99th Session of Indian Science Congress on 3 January, did not stay on at Bhubaneswar to attend the Kalinga Prize ceremony even though he was advertised to address the event. Human Resources Development Minister Kapil Sibal who was also advertised to address the prize giving ceremony as guest of honor did not thought it proper to come. Had they participated, they would have attracted punishment for violation of Election Codes, as the entire drama of Kalinga Prize was coined for the stage with the sole purpose of dazzling Panchayat voters by Biju Patnaik’s posthumous blaze created through propaganda in his favor flowing from the mouths of national and international celebrities in the sphere of science and politics.

Yet, there was no end to misuse of the official venue of Indian Science Congress for this political purpose.

As Dr. Colin did not come to receive the Prize, because he was not supposed to, a new contrived Kalinga Chair was given to co-winner of the 2009 Prize, Mr. Trinth Xuan Thuan by Sri Naveen Patnaik on the occasion, in clear contravention of Article 2 of the Rules.

It was not made clear that the Chair has no link to Biju Patnaik.

In 2001, Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, in order to please his Haryana supporters, had availed the opportunity of the 50th anniversary of Kalinga Prize to bag a global recognition for Ruchi Ram Sahni, a great but unrecognized scientist of pre-independence India, by annexing to it a chair in his name, to which the UNESCO, after enough pressure, had agreed over specific terms and condition to the extent that the Government of India would “offer” a recipient of Kalinga Prize the proposed chair on he/she being honored with the Prize, with a certificate and a token cash to help him/her to travel to India, where, on arrival a foreign awardee or an Indian on submission of tour program, shall be treated as Government of India’s guest for two to three weeks to interact with Indian scientists in Universities and lecture venues. This “offer”, however, has neither any retrospective effect nor any life after closing of the Prize chapter.

Hence it was ultra vires of Kalinga Prize Rules to present the said chair – wrongfully described as Kalinga Chair – to 2009 Prize co-winner Mr. Thuan by the Chief Minister of Orissa on 4 December 2012 when the offer of the Chair had legally lapsed.

This makes it clear that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik used the official platform of Indian Science Congress for his personal political gain that he dose always by spreading his father’s name.

While presenting the lapsed Sahni Chair wrongfully projected as Kalinga Chair, he not only kept the community of Scientists in dark about Sahni in whose honor the Chair is created, by not saying anything on him as expected, but also tried to hijack the entire venue into memories of his father by shedding tears on the podium in trying to take full emotional benefit of the event to his personal political advantage when Panchayat Polls are already on the anvil. There was no necessity for telling on the podium that he was the second son of Biju Patnaik, but he did. His party’s political agenda was complete with Rajya Sabha member Pyari Mohan Mohapatra singing the expected glory to Biju, thus using the most important official platform of the day – the official platform of Indian Science Congress as well as the podium officially given to UNSCO for award of the Prize – for nasty political benefit when Panchayat Election process has already started and posthumous political use of Biju’s name forms the pivot for election campaign of the CM’s party in Orissa.

So, not only the Kalinga Prize has been messed up, but also the Election Laws in force now in context of Panchayat polls are raped on the official podium of Indian Science Congress at Bhubaneswar.

Will the State Election Commissioner look into this rape of Election Codes? One shall not be surprised if he does not take any action.

Absolute honesty, in reality, must a man be possessing if he, rehabilitated after retirement, acts against the rulers of the day.

So, it would be a rare phenomenon if the SEC acts in this case.

WESCO COLLABORATES WITH HOUSEBREAKERS AND POWER HIJACKERS IN SAMBALPUR

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is well known that the Western Electricity Supply Company of Orissa Ltd.(WESCO) is infested with corrupt personnel. But it was not yet known that it also collaborate with housebreaking and power hijacking by the housebreakers!

Several of its employees and officials have been captured redhanded in different places on different days by the State Vigilance while taking bribes and also have been subjected to raids for accumulation of wealth beyond known sources of income.

Authorities are of the view that, it also is a mismanaged organization.

In analyzing its performance for 2010-11, the Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) has not only noted it to be “really shameful” , but also has arrived at “the inescapable conclusion” that “stealing of electricity by high end consumers with active connivance of the employees at different level” is going on with “the top management sitting as silent spectator”(OERC Report on Review of Performance of WESCO for the FY 2010-11, taken up on 26.05.2011).

Sadly, the Government run by Naveen Patnaik is also sitting nonchalant over such specific observation of OERC.

Encouraged by the State Government’s collaboration with corruption, the WESCO officials have become so very emboldened that they have started even collaborating with housebreakers in having energy connections at their criminally trespassed sites. One such instance has come into light in the town of Sambalpur.

Owner of ‘Asharani House’ behind Misra Lodge at Fatak, Sambalpur, Smt Asharani Misra, who resides with her family at Bhubaneswar, was, shocked to see that two illegal trespassers into her house were using electricity illegally dragged into by “wire-hooks connected to the street electric pole”.

In a complaint dated 23 Nov 2011, duly acknowledged by the SDO of the concerned electrical sub-division of WESCO, she wanted instant disconnection of the illegal line and corresponding actions against the miscreants.

But to her surprise and shock, to neither Sri Satpathy, the Junior Engineer to whom the complaint was addressed, nor Sri Tanuram Behera, the SDO concerned to whom copy of the complaint was given, this was a matter to merit attention.

A shocked Smt. Misra, in a complaint before the Chairman of WESCO filed on 30 Nov.2011, wanted her house to be free from illegal power connection failing which she would seek redressal in appropriate courts and make WESCO liable for the damage.

The illegal hook was then removed on 2 Dec. 2011, but despite Smt. Mishra having named the illegal users of hook to drag energy into her house, no action was taken against the hijackers of electricity.

Yet, to her surprise, Sri Behera, the SDO, gave her alarming threats over phone that if any hooking is found in future, she shall be prosecuted against for the same.

Smt. Mishra immediately informed the WESCO Chairman of this telephonic threat in her communication dated 6 Dec 2011.

To her horror, she found on 20 Dec 2011 that illegal connections are given to the trespassers by the WESCO officials on permanent basis sans any meter and inspection of wiring!

This being a potential threat to safety of her house, as she contacted the area JE, she was informed that, he had to give the connections under orders of Behera, the SDO as well as of the area Executive Engineer Sri Bibhudendu Padhi. This information was to her hand on 28 Dec 2011 and instantly she apprised the WESCO CEO of this illegality in her written complaint.

But yet, no action is taken against the illegal users of energy and their collaborators in WESCO!

The WESCO chief is unable to throw any light on this scenario.

It is apparently clear that WESCO has started collaborating with housebreaking by miscreants in absence of legal owners and helping the housebreakers in power hijacking too.

What next!