Corporate-State Foul-play in Kalinga Nagar: A Firsthand Report from Prasanta Pattanaik

A team of journalists from Bhubaneswar virtually demolished the invisible iron wall created by the Government of Orissa through its district administration for the benefit of corporate houses and barged into the tribal villages that had become out of bounds for any outsider for past many months.

Eminent journalist Prasanta Pattanaik, who led the team, gives us a firsthand narration. Here is what he says:

Journalists Expose Corporate-State Nexus in Kalinga Nagar

Indian Express reporter Mr Amulya Pati and many other working journalists were attacked on 5th April when they were covering the BJP team led by its State unit President Jual Oram that was trying to enter into Gobarghat and other tribal villages to have a spot study of how the inhabitants there were brutalized by the Police and Corporate goons combine on 29th March, 2010.

Earlier a team of Congress leaders headed by former MLA Mr Sarat Kumar Rout was also prevented from entering into the area.

No journalists were allowed to meet the affected tribals who were physically attacked by the police and corporate goons, their houses looted, personal belongings damaged and livestock taken away.

Every body was prevented from meeting the tortured tribals of Kalinga Nagar as the corporate-Government nexus did not like the picture of their plight to come to light.

Inspired by MUFP, Bhubaneswar based journalists had taken a decision on 7th April 2010 to go in a team to the “prohibited and deprived” villages on 8th April, decrying all prohibitory orders and to meet the people to bring the truth to light. Accordingly a team comprising Prasanta Patnaik, Chandra Mishra, Ramesh Chandra Mohanty, Sudhir Patnaik , Vivekananda Dash, Bhabani Parija, and Bhimsen Kumar had left for Kalinga Nagar.

The local journalists were so much intimidated by the perpetrators of state-terror that some of them even tried to persuade us not to meet the affected tribals. It transpired that they ware not daring to accompany us in fear of the S.P. and the Collector! However some young and energetic journalists of Jajpur district who came by motor cycles joined us. A team of the former category, traveling in a brand new white Innova bearing registration number 3333, driving ahead of us from Chadhei Dhara square stopped in front of Kalinga Nagar police station and did not proceed ahead while the bike riding team led us further.

After we drove about 100 meters from the police station we found the road was blocked with stones and branches of trees. Such blockages we found in three places. However our young friends from the locality removed all the blockades in order to facilitate our movement further.

Gobarghat and 12 other tribal villages which have been branded as the fortress cluster is virtually kept out of bound for civil society bodies, politicians and even mediapersons for past many months by the police and local administration allegedly under instructions from the State Government and particularly from Finance Minister Prafulla Chandra Ghadei, representing the Assembly constituency.

Over 8,000 tribals residing in 13 villages near Orissa’s most talked about steel hub Kalinga Nagar live in confinement and fear for past many months as their villages are surrounded by large contingents of armed police, who terrorize them at frequent intervals. Their only “crime” is that they oppose acquisition of their fertile agricultural land for construction of a mega steel plant by the Tatas. They were opposed to construction of a so-called “common corridor road” leading only to the proposed site of Tata’s steel plant. Though they had announced to go on “peaceful demonstration” to press their seven point demands, the corporate-Government nexus was determined to crush them by using brutal police and hired goons.

On 2nd January, 2006 13 tribals were killed in police firing and one policeman was also killed when the tribals resisted against construction of boundary wall for the Tatas with heavy police deployment. The tribals under the banner of “Bisthapan Birodhi Jana Mancha ” were protesting against their displacement from their home lands, agricultural lands and forests to pave way for acquisition of land for Tatas and other industrial houses. They were pleading that since over ten thousands acres of barren lands were available near adjacent Sukinda area, there was no justification on displacing the tribals of Kalinga Nagar, where they were living from time immemorial depending on agriculture and forest products.

When Tatas and the State Government are bent upon acquiring the land of the tribals, the tribals are also determined not to leave their land at any cost. Dabar Kalundia, one of the leaders of Bisthapan Birodhi Mancha, says, “We will not spare an inch of land for the purpose of establishment of industry. That will be like selling our own mother.We will not allow our mother soil ( mati maa ) to be raped before our eyes…One Govt. officer had approached me and had persuaded me to sale my land at a higher price for industry, I had asked him:what price will you demand to sell your mother?” The officer went back”. Interestingly enough, the administration has declared Dabar Kalundia as an ” absconder “, though he is moving freely in his village and talking to the media on camera.

Some of the tribals of the area alleged that, only to assist Tatas to construct their plant on the lands of the tribals, the State administration has started constructing a “corridor road” by forcefully acquiring the lands of the tribals.

As the local villagers were protesting against such activities of the corporate-Government nexus, their villages have been surrounded by large contingents of armed police for months together and they are not allowed to come out of the villages for marketing, to go to hospital or even to attend the schools.

The only primary school in the village with a student strength of 120 have been abandoned since past two years as a result the students have been denied right to education. No developmental work is taking place in the area as the Government officials have branded it as “disputed area.”

No mediaperson was allowed entry into the area to meet the people and bring their plight to light.

The villagers alleged that recently a group of policemen and goons had forcibly entered into Gobarghati and Chandoli villages after opening fire at the villagers who had gathered near the village. They set ablaze their straw heaps and paddy stocks. Whosoever was a little prosperous amongst them attracted ransacking of their households. Gadgets like TV, electric fans, sewing machines, chairs, tables, dish antennas, utensils, etc. were destroyed and valuables were looted. The police-goon-combine set ablaze a number of bicycles, motor cycles etc and took away chickens, goats, and other domestic animals and birds. All this happened when prohibitory orders under Section 144 of Cr.P.C. were imposed in the area.

Even though the local scribes were covering on duty the BJP team’s visit to the area the Corporate-State was determined to hide from public eyes, one of them, Amulya Pati, was deliberately beaten up by four of the goons quite close to the Minister hailing from the concerned constituency. A seriously injured Pati has named those in his F.I.R. But no action is yet initiated against because of their proximity to the Minister.

The villagers exhibited the rubber bullets and pellets fired at them that has injured and incapacitated around 30 of them.

A Sarvodaya activist, Dr.Biswajit, showed us the pellets which he had brought out from bodies of some injured persons by operation.

We were the fist team of scribes to visit the area on Friday. Earlier, though some TV and print media journalists had tried to enter the villages following the assault by the police and the anti-socials, they were prevented both by the police and goons. The cameras, cell phones and personal belongings of some scribes were snatched away and some of them were beaten up mercilessly.

We met Mr Amulya Pati at his house where he is undergoing treatment for injury. It may take about a month more for his recovery. Amulya informed the team that his main assaulters were henchmen of Finance Minister Mr Prafulla Ghadei and his M.L.A. son. Though he has mentioned the names of his assaulters in his F.I.R., the police so far have not cared to arrest them. We gathered from reliable sources that there were attempts to pressurize Mr. Pati to drop the names of two assaulters from the F.I.R.

See the Unseen Condition of Orissa’s Indigenous Tribes against Whom the Government is helping the Tata Empire


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The tribal people whose natural habitat is being hijacked by the Tata empire and similar corporate houses under the design called Kalinga Nagar in the district of Jajpur are ruined.

They are being killed by the Corporate-State; their cottages ransacked, belongings destroyed, livestock looted.

The world is obstructed to see their plight as journalists from outside are disallowed entry into the cursed land even as local scribes are too intimidated to report the reality.

A team of Bhubaneswar based journalists had to dare all dangers to reach the poor children of the soil to see their condition in their own eyes. The report will follow.

But here we post a few pictures for you to see how wretchedly poor are the people against whom the Government run by Navin Patnaik is helping the Tatas and CHs.





Mediapersons’ Unprecedented Protest Against Ban

A blanket ban has been imposed on entry of media persons into the troubled zone in Kalinga Nagar ever since the police unleashed a reign of terror in the name of maintenance of law and order in several tribal villages including Baligottha.

Media Unity for Freedom of Press (MUFP) has expressed deep concern over this unprecedented assault on Press freedom and demanded for immediate withdrawal of the ban as it interferes with free and fair reporting of the ground realities and the actual status of the victims of State violence.

Under call of MUFP, Bhubaneswar today witnessed an unprecedented congregation under the ‘Freedom of Press Tree’ in front of the state Information center (Soochana Bhawan) of media persons beyond boundaries of trade unions to condemn the attack on their colleagues and gagging of Press.

It was a silent protest, but the condemnation was sharpened with speaking pictures of the prevalent scenario as perceived by media.

We present here a few of those pictures as samples:

No elaboration needed. The pictures are self explanatory.

If mediapersons are debarred from spotting what exactly happens, they would grasp the scenario as circumstantial evidences entice. These pictures depict that as also they speak.

Because, howsoever severe the repression be, the silent people will not relinquish their right to speak.

ISSUE OF IIT AND THE GROTESQUE FACE OF PRIVATIZATION

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A very grotesque phenomenon is taking shape in Orissa. Supporters of privatization have started demanding that the Central government establish a public sector IIT in the State.

The demand is just and genuine. But the stratagem is improper and baffling.

In a meeting to voice this demand held recently under banners of an organization projected as non-political, politicians belonging to ruling BJD were most vociferous against the Man Mohan Singh government, which they alleged, is denying Orissa her legitimate share in high-tech education. They have decided to lunch a protest campaign that seems resolved against Singh’s government. This means, it would be a shrewd campaign of pro-NDA factors against the UPA government under the guise of non-political activism. This is therefore more injurious to Orissa than blocking of an IIT.

Orissa’s immediate requirement is that it should be saved from the grip of Naveen Patnaik who, heading a syndicate of family sycophants, has been squandering away her mineral wealth for the benefit of non-Oriyas, even sans a mining policy.

Elected for a term of at best five years, and constitutionally bound to surrender or relinquish office on completion of five years if not dismissed earlier, he is playing havoc with our race by exhausting the stock of mineral ores that Mother Nature had taken millions of years to so kindly provide for use by Oriyas generations after generations.

Mineral ores are not made in a day. The ores taken away cannot be recreated. Navin Patnaik, with any number of sycophants under his command and any number of Goebbels in media projecting him as the best amongst the chief ministers and any amount of auras of Bijusonship he emanates by adopting the tactics of naming every state-run or state-owned project after his father Biju Patnaik , cannot create a grain of mineral ore that Orissa is getting denuded of day by day by mindless mining that he has precipitated.

His chief-minister-ship shall sure collapse one day; but with that our state shall not collapse. We of this generation shall pass away; but with us shall not end our race. So the mineral wealth Mother Nature has given to Orissa must be so managed that when our future generations grow up to manage our state, there should be no dearth of this wealth. Therefore framing and enforcement of a mining policy is essential. Navin never bothers about this. He is taking advantage of non-existence of a mining policy to hand over our mineral wealth to mine grabbers almost all of whom are non-Oriyas, without paying any attention to how it would disadvantage our future generations.

It is not that the people are tolerating this. It is happening, because the Naveen regime has reduced our people to such a state of inanition that they are unable to do anything other than tolerating.

Had the victims of Naveen’s Tata-love at Kalinga Nagar been financially able to seek in the Supreme Court a judicial evaluation of the Orissa High Court order that helped the official design, it could have been such that they might not have withdrawn their heroic road blockade against the inhumanly exploitation even till date.

This is enough to understand that our people are not tolerating this misrule but more impoverished in Naveen’s anti-people administration and in dire impecuniousness, they are acquiesced in to toleration. This is no rule of law. This is misrule.

Patriots who love Orissa must not provide any umbrella to this misrule.

Naveen’s meretricious manner has befooled even some high-qualified netizens to believe that he is doing well to our people.

But during his tenure poverty eradication programs are so menacingly sabotaged that the latest National Sample Survey report shows that when during the period from 1999-2000 to 2004-05 there was a 4.03 per cent reduction of poverty in the national level, it was only 0.06 per cent in Orissa. When the Country has an average of 21.08 percent of people below the poverty-line, in Orissa their number is 46.06 per cent. The biting reality is that Naveen’s misrule has kept as many as 1.75 crore of people out of Orissa’s total population of about 3.70 crore perishing below the poverty-line.

And every poor person is left at the mercy of money-lenders. Strengthened by schemers and scamsters, Navin’s government has ruined the cooperative organizations that could have, if managed by the members, saved the people from money-lenders in the state. It has denuded the forests; has subjected people to hooch-horrors repeatedly while infesting nooks and corners of the State by mindless supply of liquor through official counters; has eliminated importance of elementary schools in villages by neglecting their maintenance, has starved the high schools and colleges by slashing down faculties; has dragged the self-employed villagers to unemployment by handing over their lands to non-Oriya industrialists and amongst many other instances of mischief, has destroyed rural brotherhood by politicizing the Panchayats.

Supporters of privatization have never voiced their protests against this misrule. But by initiating a campaign for a public sector IIT in Orissa in a manner that conspicuously tries to make people believe that Congress led government under Man Mohan Singh has been creating obstacles in Orissa having her legitimate share in high-tech education, they are, perhaps intentionally, trying to divert public attention from all these failings.

By saying this I am not saying anything in support of Man Mohan Singh. I have exposed his mischief to the extent my patriotism has dictated. And perhaps, more emphatically than any.

I have shown how Man Mohan Singh had degraded the august position of Prime Minister to a level of lobby-collaborator of Bengalis in kidnapping the National Institute of Science originally conceived for Orissa to Kolkata. As sentinel of Orissa’s interest, orissamatters.com had lost no time in exposing Singh’s deplorable role in this anti-national-integration act. The foul play of Singh government against Orissa in the matter of IIT needs condemnation as strongly as possible and anybody should be welcomed to campaign for Orissa’s share in high-tech education.

But it is necessary for Orissa to know who really hinders; and to know who really are her people’s class enemies. Any attempt to attack one class-enemy to the advantage of the other class-enemy is an attempt to protect the real class enemy that poses the real threat to Orissa’s real interest. So I am apprehensive of a hidden agenda in the so called apolitical campaign for public sector IIT. The way NDA leaders are being provided with platforms to play political game against UPA government by some campaign formulators for IIT, Orissa’s real interest is bound to suffer the setback.

I recall, when senior citizens and netizens had started the campaign for NISc, some of the current campaign formulators for IIT had tried to buzz about that the BJP-led NDA government had given the Institute to Orissa, whereas the Congress-led UPA government, having failed to fetch electoral support in this State, has done away with it as a matter of political vendetta. This was absolutely misleading and deliberately so. This was meant only to project NDA as benevolent to Orissa.

But in reality, it is NDA, specifically Vajpayee’s office that had blocked the establishment of NISc in Bhubaneswar with support from Orissa government run by Navin Patnaik. Orissamatters.com, committed to tell the truth to the people of Orissa, had placed the truth on records as follows:

An international seminar on science education held in 1996 under auspices of UNESCO had stressed on building up of institutes of sciences of international standard with emphasis on their balance distribution within respective geographical limits of the participating countries. India being a signatory to this resolution, in normal course of administration, decided to establish four National Institutes of Sciences in four parts of the country including one at Bhubaneswar in Orissa. Records show that there was stiff objection to put one of the said NIScs at Bhubaneswar. The Bengali lobby, as is its wont, had whipped up this controversy. But the UGC had rejected the Bengali pressure and declared that when expansion of such institutes would be taken up in course of time, the demand for one at Kolkata might be considered. Thereafter, Vajpayee’s government slept over the proposal. Who does not know that Vajpayee’s inner court yard was murmuring under the feet of a Bengali known as his son-in-law? Who does not know how Mamata Banerjee, who leads a regional party of Bengal, was close to Vajpayee? Should one do a mistake by drawing an inference that the NISc proposed by the UGC for Bhubaneswar was willfully sloughed over by Vajpayee government as the UGC rejected the Bengali lobby for change of location of the eastern institute from Bhubaneswar to Kolkata?

Vajpayee government could not have blocked Orissa’s NISc, despite Bengali lobby, had Navin Patnaik government allocated the required land to the UGC and harped on its establishment. But the UGC’s request for land was ignored in Orissa Secretariat! And Navin Patnaik’s government did never show any speaking interest in implementation of the UGC proposal for NISc in Orissa.

When ultimately the Bengali lobby succeeded in hizacking the Institute to Kolkata by maneuvering Man Mohan Singh, Navin Patnaik government also refused to rise. That a private citizen challenged the illegality of Man Mohan Singh government in the Orissa High Court through a public interest litigation speaks volumes of how Navin Patnaik government was reluctant to express due interest for establishment of the NISc in Orissa.

Lackadaisical demonstrations of NDA MPs in protest against shifting of the NISc to Kolkata were led more by motive against UPA than urge for the Institute. Were it not been so, after senior citizens of illustrated career and diligent netizens through their consistent campaign and the fear from the PIL compelled the Prime Minister to correct his wrong which he did by lunching the NIESR in the campus of IOP at Bhubaneswar, the Institute would not have remained landless so far. The same NDA MPs of Orissa would have compelled the State government, which is their own, to have registered the required land in favor of the Institute by this time. But till date no land is located for and allotted to the NIESR as a result of which a fear of its sleeping away from Orissa to elsewhere has started restirring some alert netizens who had worked tirelessly for bringing the Institute to Orissa.

Against this backdrop, any combine, claiming to be apolitical, but providing a platform to NDA politicians to attack the UPA government for non-coming of a public sector IIT to Orissa, prompts one to look at it askance.

To me personally, most painful is association of some of very genuine watchdogs of Orissan interest in the proposed campaign, which, with its pro-NDA and anti-UPA stance, portends an exercise to divert public attention from the foul play that is going on in Orissa in the field of high-tech education.

A former Secretary of higher education in Orissa, Swapneswar Baya, retired from government service on superannuation, has been provided with a special chamber in the State Secretariat to work there on a special assignment to formulate a special law to ensure complete autonomy for Anil Agarwala’s Vedant University, in favor of which, Navin Patnaik, who had not alloted land to erstwhile NISc till shifting thereof to Kolkata and has not allotted any land to NISER so far, has allotted 8000 acres of land on the Puri-Konark marine drive. The declared aim of Anil Agarwal is to use this highly sensitive and immensely valuable eight thousand acres of land in an “economic hub” in the pattern of Stanford University where, according to his version, “more than 1200 companies are operating with a combined market capitalization of more than USD 300 Billion”.

Anil Agarwal needs sovereignty over this vast land near the sea and absolute freedom to manage his “economic hub” on this land.

And, the preening prince of Bijudom has, without any study on how it shall affect the state owned and private educational institutions of Orissa, besides its eco-system, has pledged the State to Agarwal’s hidden agendas by compelling the administration to authenticate the M.O.U. with the Vedanta boss, known to people of Orissa as the man against whose objectionable and aggressive assault on our natural assets and environment, they have been fighting.

The campaign formulators for the public sector IIT, who are encouraging Navin sycophants to use their podium as a platform for beating drums against the political opponents of NDA, are conspicuous by their silence over this, even as front-rankers amongst them are vociferous in their support for this private “economic hub” veiled as Vedanta University.

No nastier than this design has ever hit Orissa.

But our people are helpless. When the government they have elected conspires against them, the Opposition seems stoically silent!

The design is really devastative. March is the month of budget session of the Assembly. The session is unavoidable.

Without waiting for the Assembly, where a Bill could have been placed for adoption, which would have been a regular business of the legislature, on March 02, 2007, the State government promulgated an ordinance vide Notification No. No. 2699-Legis, captioning it as “The Orissa Professional Educational Institutions ( Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fee ) Ordinance, 2007” imposing thereby a lot of prohibitory provisions on private professional colleges of Orissa in matter of admission and course fees. The admission time is at least four months away. The Assembly was to commence its 10th session on March 21. A regular Bill for the same purpose could have been moved and adopted. Why the Ordinance was promulgated? Why this haste?

The haste is linked to Vedanta University. Eager to grab the land and start his empire, the Vedanta boss wants Navin to enact the Law as soon as possible to put him above all answerability over the said land. And Navin is eager to comply with his desire. As discussed supra, former secretary of higher education Swapneswar Baya has been reappointed to draw up the said special law in order to ensure that Anil Agarwal hits his target. The Law is designed to vest in him total autonomy; in fact to make him sovereign over the land he is given. The law is so designed that the Vedanta University will be above all questions. It will determine its own course, course fee, curriculum and control mechanism. In all practicality it will be vested with autocratic autonomy. Whatever the Vedanta boss wants Navin is eager to comply with.

But there is a problem. It starts with this website.

In these pages I had earlier exposed how unscrupulously private professional colleges are running their business. The owners/operators of these private colleges have invested huge black or white money, sure as they are of sumptuous profit. Profit comes from illegal collection of money from students. The black money hoarders get their ineligible children admitted to these colleges by grabbing seats through auctions clandestinely conducted. So sure is this method that they were openly advertising that just a pass mark in plus two science would suffice to get admission to engineering, medical and management courses in their colleges, the undefined norm being, the lesser the marks in plus-two the bigger the amount of secret fee. After I exposed this, the government, till then hand-in-glove with them, wanted to avoid the blame by asking the private professional college operators to declare the amount of fees they have collected through affidavits, just to pose that it was not in any connivance with them. But for the operators, it was not easy to file false affidavits. And therefore none of them complied with the government orders. But because of this website it was on net that Orissa is a place where 10,000 seats in 42 private professional colleges look like potential mints.

And then the mega-grabber looked at his acolytes. The minters must be subjugated or prohibited. Stratagem started. Prohibitions were formulated, stymies were ready.

And then it occurred that if Vedanta cannot be prohibited, no other professional educational institution can be prohibited. If all others are not prohibited, Vedanta cannot catch the mint.

In Navin-raj schemers never fail. A scheme was built up to block all the profit fetching paths of the owners of private professional colleges by a law ahead of the law that would give carte blanche to the Vedanta boss to collect, control and manage money as he likes. Otherwise question of discrimination would have arisen.

Therefore the Ordinance was promulgated on 2nd march giving it force with immediate effect.

Under this ordinance the government will, through a “fee structure committee” determine and declare for each of the institutions a quantity of fee that no private professional educational institution can contravene. If this ban is contravened, a cash punishment up to Rupees ten lakhs for each instance of contravention would be imposed.

So it is a deterrent step against profit fetching by private institutions. Outwardly it looks pro-people; but in reality its design is different.

It is designed only to subjugate the private professional educational institutions of Orissa (here in after Orissan institutions) to the non-Oriya Vedanta Empire. Let us go to the point.

Owners/operators of Orissan institutions have invested huge money – black or white – and running them as business ventures. If they do not fetch the profit, how can they get back their money? So they will either sale away their institutions to recover the money invested and close the business or explore other avenues to fetch whatever income comes regularly out of it by any means and run the business.

Such avenues are made available to them in the ordinance.

When the Ordinance is promulgated “to provide for the regulation of admission, fixation of fee, prohibition of capitation fee, reservation of admission and for other measures to ensure equity and excellence in professional educational institutions” with imposition of “fine not exceeding rupees ten lakhs on such institutions in case of each such contravention” of the provisions stipulated, Section 1 (4) of the Ordinance declares that “The provisions of this Ordinance shall not be applicable to a private professional educational institution which is established by a special enactment of the Legislature of the State of Orissa”.

And the only private institution that is slated to be “established by a special enactment of the Legislature of the State of Orissa” is the Vedanta University.

So the prohibitive provisions of the present Ordinance shall never be applicable to that institution. That means, ban on capitation fee shall not be applicable to Vedanta; so also the ban on profiteering.

Eventually what shall happen? All the Orissan Institutions will negotiate with Vedanta and get affiliated to it as a result of which the present prohibitions will become inconsequential. They will even agree to transfer major share of their institutions to the Vedanta boss in lieu of regular flow of whatever amount of income would be mutually fixed. Thereby Anil Agarwal will get a vast and developed infrastructure of 42 Orissan institutions over night as part of his “economic hub” and become the professional education emperor as he designs to be.

According to Vedanta Resources source, Anil’s decision to establish his educational empire in Orissa was preceded by a vast in-depth research. So perhaps ever since his obliging Navin has taken over the reign of Orissa, he has been planning to take over the State’s professional education field.

When this scenario attracts our attention, it become crystal clear as to why Navin Patnaik had not allotted the land sought for by the UGC to establish a world class NISc in Bhubaneswar till it was finally transferred to Kolkata. In fact, the world class NISc, if established in Bhubaneswar, would have been most disadvantageous to Anil Agarwal. This is perhaps the reason again behind Navin’s non-allocation of lands so far in favor of the NIESR. It also makes one look with suspicion at the State Government’s failure to take up the issue of IIT in right earnest. Circumstantial evidences suggest that more than Man Mohan Singh or UPA, it is Navin Patnaik and NDA factors that are responsible for hijacking of the NISc and non-coming of the IIT.

Before closing this topic, let me cite a report published by Basant Rath of Nabarangpur even in a right-winger paper like The Pioneer. I deliberately cite it because it is such a representative piece of misrule that even a supporter paper of Navin has not though it prudent to supress it. It is:

“Lack of infrastructure and shortage of staff continue to plague education in Kasturba Gandhi Residential Girls’ U.P.School in Maidalpur of Papadahandi block, the only institution of this kind in the district.

The school was established on October 31, 2005 under Central Government’s assistance to impart quality education to the tribal students, especially school dropouts (either for lack of proper environment or financial crunch) with 50 tribal girl students from Class VI onwards.

With one teacher deputed from education department, the school was inaugurated in the premises of Maidalpur ME School temporarily.

Till date excepting the only teacher deputed no other staff has been appointed. It is sad to note the class is functioning in outer verandah and 50 students are accommodated in a single room without basic facilities.

The students are forced to sleep on the floor of that room which needs immediate repair. Basic facilities like latrine, urinal and bathroom are not sufficient.

The only teacher deputed, imparts education to students in all subjects, including looking after the hostel, cooking, marketing and managing the school which speaks volumes about the type of education being imparted to the needy tribal students.

The parents as well as senior citizens of the locality demanded intervention of the concerned authority, for the betterment of the students and to check further dropout.

Though finance is not a problem for the project, the will power of the authority concerned is lacking resulting in suffering of students.

This is how Navin Patnaik has managed Orissa and its educational institutions. This is how he is sincere in spreading education in Orissa.

Therefore, when thinking minds get together to voice a demand for a public sector IIT, if their’s is not a cover to hoodwink the poor tax-payers of the state in a way that would divert public attention from the ongoing misrule, they must first say as to why they are not seen in demanding development of primary education; why they are not seen equally aggressively hammering on Navin to ensure that primary education be available to Oriya children in proper form instead of helping a single non-Oriya businessman usurp 8000 acres of our prime land on the rare beach of Mahodadhi to sale education inaccessible to our children to the children of the rich and the students from foreign lands.

If, however, they are sincere in their endeavor for the IIT, it would be better for them to keep their combine apolitical as they are wishing us to believe; and utmost care should be taken to ensure that Navinites do not misuse the platform to reprimand Singh or UPA with an ulterior motive to shield the saboteur. Otherwise it would be reaffirmed that elite fellows fail to see the grotesque face of privatization. Then the people will loss faith even in non-political organizations formed by the intelligentsia. And, then, that would be a irreparable loss to the people.

SUBHAS PATTANAYAK: FOURTH ESTATE NEEDS TO BE SALVAGED FROM GRIP OF TRADERS

Subservience of people’s interest to commercial interest in the Fourth Estate must stop, if democracy is to be salvaged from the pernicious grip of plutocracy, emphasized veteran journalist Subhas Chandra Pattanayak while inaugurating the annual function of Athgarh Prahari.

Athgarh Prahari, a rural newspaper published from Athgarh in the district of Cuttack celebrated its sixth anniversary on the day of Makara Samkranti, observed in Orissa as a day of solidarity amongst agro-based communities.

Enkindling the ceremonial candle, Sri Pattanayak called upon the working journalists to consolidate their class strength to retrieve their lost freedom from the fiefdom of the media merchants.

Capitalists who need freedom to multiply their profits by using newspapers and audio-visual networks that they own, must no more be allowed to project that freedom as ‘Freedom of Press’, he said.

Rare Chapter of Journalism in Orissa

Felicitating posthumously the legendary journalist Surit Ranjan Pattnaik, who was born in Athgarh, Sri Pattanayak dwelt on a rare chapter of journalism in Orissa that may be termed as the single most remarkable battle of Press for freedom from owner’s fiefdom.

In a flashback he said: Surit Pattnaik was reporter of the daily Kalinga, founded and possessed by Biju Patnaik, the first mafia then in rise in Indian politics, who was using his chief-ministerial position to further his fortune from trade and industry in the early sixties, last century. One of Surit’s reports went against TATAs. Biju summoned him to his chamber and rebuked him for having written against TATAs and demanded an explanation on why had he written the story that may mar his rapport with the industrial tycoon. In utter wrath Biju further asked Surit to file a fresh story depicting the one he had published as a product of misconception and to remember not to write against TATAs in future.

Slap on Biju’s Face

Surit paid Biju Patnaik a patient ear as an employee ought to pay to his employer and then told Biju the like of which had never been told in India to any newspaper owner by any working journalist till then.

He told Biju in no uncertain terms that as owner of the paper he was a trade operator when as a reporter he was a conscience-keeper of the society. He made it clear that he was a working journalist and under the working journalists(Condition of Services and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, he was answerable only to his editor, not and never to the owner.

He also told Biju that as a journalist he was a sentinel of Freedom of Press which he cannot allow to be diminished under Press owner’s over-lordship. It was a sharp slap on Biju’s face.

Man Mohan Mishra’s uniqueness as Editor

This enraged Biju so much that he summoned the manager and ordered him to dismiss Surit summarily under charges of insubordination. Editor Man Mohan Mishra supported Surit and condemned managerial intervention in the matter of reporting and Biju got such a thrash that he preferred to pretend to have accepted the norm of Press Freedom by desisting from taking any action against Surit. But the issue did not die; it went on simmering, till at last Kalinga was closed down by Biju Patnaik and beyond, till the owners in mainstream media succeeded in misappropriating Press Freedom donning editors’ robe, as in Hindustan Times K.K.Birla replacing B.G.Verghese.

Profit motive of media merchants ruins the Press

Dwelling on how subservience of public interest to profit motive of media merchants has spread since those days, Sri Pattanayak bared the tricks the Press owners play against Free Press. One such trick is obliterating or dismantling the designation and status of journalists as envisaged in and defined under the Working Journalists Act. Sudden and arbitrary change of Nalapat’s designation from Chief of Bureau (a category of working journalist defined under the Law) at Delhi to that of Political Analyst (not at all defined under the Law) by the Times of India is an instance, he said. He pointed out how for having refused to render extra-professional help in securing release of Asok Jain, chairman of the Times of India group arrested then for FERA offences, H.K.Dua, the celebrated editor had to be summarily dismissed in 1998 by use of an offending method of replacement of his name with that of Executive Director Ramesh Chandra showing him as in additional charge of Managing Editor in the print-line of the paper. This trick of obliterating law-defined categories of working journalists and creation of undefined desks in editorial wing is not only playing havoc with editorial independence but also subjugating journalism to business. And such a situation is helping plutocracy to consolidate, he alleged.

Pointing out that the recent Supreme Court Judgment in the matter of Laws put under the Ninth Schedule of the Constitution of India has failed to stir public mind because a plutocratic Press is not showing due diligence in weighing the judgment on the matrix of the necessities of the poor, deprived and disadvantaged people, Sri Pattanayak called upon the working journalists to change this scenario. People have a right to know every aspect of every act of management of their Country and therefore, the Press must be salvaged from the grip of plutocracy and restored back as people’s Press. When a Plutocratic Press reduces people’s right to a non-entity and transforms information to a commercial commodity, which is happening in India, Pattanayak pointed out that a People’s Press educates the people in the matter of how best to manage their affairs through their informed participation in democracy.

Surit Pattanayak the unseen Polestar

When K.K.Birla snatched away for himself the robe of editor of Hindustan Times from B.G.Verghese in the seventies because he refused to compromise with editorial independence or when H.K.Dua was summarily dismissed in the late nineties because he did not agree to misuse his journalistic position for securing release of the times of India Chairman from FERA prison or earlier when Dilip Padgaonkar had to relinquish the position of Editor in Times of India in early nineties in favor of the management man Gautam Adhikari taking over as Executive Editor, or when a principled person like Nalapat was dismantled from the position of Chief of Bureau to be stashed in a out-of-category post of political analyst, had the working Journalists defended Press Freedom like Surit Pattanayak had done defying Biju Patnaik, the situation would not have been such precarious, Pattanayak said.

Rural Press must coalesce with rural people

In the prevailing climate, as people in the unorganized sector like the victims of Kalinga Nagar land grab have been making their supreme sacrifices to safeguard their collective interest, working journalists must unite to thwart away the plutocratic over-lordship on Freedom of Press, he said, putting emphasis on rural people making a coalition with rural newspapers run by rural journalists whom corporate culture has not yet corrupted. People must help rural newspapers in building up a People’s Press so that their own interest does no more suffer a blackout, and the Country is saved, told Sri Pattanayak while calling upon the local intelligentsia that predominated the audience to take leadership in this regard.

Prahari reaching more people: Narayan Das

Sri Narayan Das, self-employed Editor of Athgarh Prahari (AP), in his welcome address, presented a detail picture of how local interest has been best served by his paper and how for that reasons only, its popularity has spread beyond Athgarh. The AP has its circulation in 13 out of the 30 districts of Orissa and day by day its circulation is increasing and he said, he was sure, his paper will reach the rest of Orissa within two years.

Closer to the people

Ratnakar Beura who has been representing Orissa’s premier newspaper Samaja at Athgarh for last three decades, told the audience that AP is closer to the hearts of the people of the locality than the mainstream papers of Orissa because people find “their news” more accurately and elaborately in its pages than in their’s.

Mainstrem media hand-in-glove with money-grabbers

Veteran social worker Biswanath Sahu alleged that the funds provided for development in budgets are being looted by the executive. Mainstream media being hand-in-glove with the money-grabbers, the modus operandi of the executive is kept willfully secret from the people. Rural newspapers like AP run by self-employed journalist are therefore the only forum available to the people through which they can develop their collective barricades against corruption and save the country.

Social activist Basanta Kumar Sahani warned people of impending danger from mega as well as minor industries to rural environment. Rural newspapers free from influence of the industrialists as they mostly are, are the best weapons available to people to safeguard their interests, he stressed.

Posthumous Honor to Surit Pattanayak

Chief Guest Sri Pattanayak presented the citation of posthumous honor to Surit Ranjan Pattanayak, which the daughter of the late scribe Ms. Jayanti Pattanayak received. Surit Ranjan had breathed his last on 21 December 2005.

Felicitations were also given to educationist Narayan Panda for poetry, advocate Bimbadhar Raut for essay, Journalists Partha Sarathi Patnaik and Sujit Rashmi Mohanty for rural reporting. Ms. Babita Pattnaik read out the citations.

Journalist Satchidananda Panda presided.

MISCHIEF OF PLUTOCRACY AT KALINGA NAGAR: AMNESTY CONDEMNS ORISSA GOVERNMENT

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The anti-people administration run by Naveen Patnaik in Orissa has been sharply censored by the Amnesty International in a recent statement. It has stated that justice continues to elude the victims of Kalinga Nagar massacre and that the Orissa Government has failed to fully address their concerns over displacement and threat to their livelihood.

Media scholar Saswat Pattanayak shows why 12 tribals were murdered by the Orissa state police at Kalinga Nagar in commemoration of the supreme sacrifice the tribals offered on January 2, last year, while protesting against the illegal, and inhuman encroachment of their sweet little homes by a profit-mongering private industry giant. As many as 13 industrial plants had been declared to be set up in Kalinga Nagar itself, resulting in evacuation of thousands of indigenous people from their own lands, sans adequate compensations, relocation benefits, education or healthcare assurances, let alone alternative residences. Countless people were left in the lurch because one private company got greedier and bought the conscience of few dozens of political opportunists. And when the people were told that their villages were going to be leveled –meaning, their carefully worshiped houses were to be razed off the grounds without seeking any of their approvals, some tribals thought they should protest he has said.

He has correctly said that Orissa’s working class people are doubly oppressed – by the military-industrial nexus of the government in power, and by the educated and elite section of its own population that dance to the tunes of opportunism and betray the poor people’s causes.

And, he has recapitulated, Despite the odds, when tribals staged a non-violent protest, the police state, under obligation from industry pimps, opened fire and murdered them mercilessly. And this, despite the very fresh memories of killings of tribals in Rayagada done under the same BJP-BJD regime led by Naveen Patnaik”.

We in these pages had reported,

A dozen of her most beloved and innocent children, the tribals, were massacred by agents of capitalism on the 2nd day of January 2006 simply because they ventured to add collective strength to their demand for protection of their fundamental rights from the avarice of industry; in this case, from the Tata house at Kalinga Nagar in Jajpur.

Navin Patnaik has reduced Orissa to a pleasure ground of brutality. Not only twelve proletariats of the tribal community, while participating in a very peaceful sitting-in demonstration, were gunshot by the Police, but also they were butchered. Hands of as many as five of them were chopped off by government doctors, as reportedly admitted by them, under insistent orders of higher authorities. None in authority has supported the doctors. It is obvious, therefore, that the five tribals subdued by the police and taken away from the spot were brutalized till death in police custody and later the doctors commandeered to conduct post-mortem test were to concoct explanations to show that the chopping off was an after-death-medico-legal-necessity.

Medico-legal procedures never countenance this.

Then why the hands were chopped off? No exercise is necessary to guess the answer. Archers by birth, the tribals use their hands to suit. A message was to be sent to them that they won’t be allowed to use bow and arrow for protection of their properties from industrial acquisition. We do not find any reason to disagree with the apprehension that the hands of the five tribal agitators were chopped off because of this.

The brutality did not end here. Breasts of tribal women and penes of tribal men were also chopped off as observed by their relatives at the time of cremation and reported by a fact-finding delegate of the National Commission on Schedule Tribes. Following the exposure, Chief Minister Navin Patnaik has informed the Press that this particular matter will be addressed to the State Human Rights Commission for investigation. When a judicial commission of enquiry is announced in the matter of the massacre, is the CM in want of knowledge that the HRC has no jurisdiction to entertain any request to conduct any enquiry over any aspect that has any link with the said massacre? Why has he started playing the cards of HRC? If not in fidgetiness, he is surely in a covering up business. If the later is true, what does he want to cover-up? He perhaps wants to cover-up the criminal intent behind the ghastly act. As is well known, the tribal communities understand symbolic messages. They see different phenomena in different symbols. Breasts and penes are symbolic of continuity of their clans. By chopping off these two most vital organs, the message that their reproduction would be interfered with if they go against the Industry was intended to be transmitted.

Now the Amnesty International has stated,

The adivasi protestors belong to the Munda community and are affiliated to Bistapan Birodhi Jan Manch, a group protesting against displacement at Kalinga Nagar. Kalinga Nagar is being promoted as an industrial area by the state Government-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDCO).

In the last five years, the Orissa Government has signed 45 agreements to set up various industrial plants in the state. Of these, thirteen major steel plants are coming up at Kalinga Nagar, where more than 100 chrome washing plants are already in operation.

The adivasis at Kalinga Nagar allege that IDCO has been acquiring their lands either through force or at a low price and selling the same land to various companies at a high price. They also allege that they were not consulted or provided with access to information, and are excluded from the decision-making processes that affect their livelihood.

The police firing last year occurred after months of protests from adivasis who claimed that they had received inadequate financial compensation for the land acquired from them for the proposed Tata Steel plant.

Not satisfied with the State and Union Governments’ offer of monetary compensation for the families of the victims of the police firing, the adivasis have been demanding:
* disciplinary action against those responsible for the deaths;
* dropping of cases against their community leaders;
* granting of equivalent farm land in lieu of land acquired from them;
* an end to further displacement due to other industrial projects in the area; and
* that the State Government recognise that the adivasis have the right to development and the use of resources in areas of their traditional habitation.

A number of developments over the last year point to a situation where time may be running out for the state government to resolve these issues of contention. The adivasis at Kalinga Nagar continue to barricade the proposed plant site and a few neighbouring villages and prevent entry of officials in the area until their demands are met. A memorial to the victims of the police firing has been erected there. The latest round of talks between the adivasi representatives and the State Government, held in May, have failed to provide any practical solution. Also, the judicial inquiry ordered by the state government into the firing faces an uncertain future after India’s Supreme Court recently ruled that judicial inquiries should be headed by retired and not sitting high court judges.

And so stating it has reminded the Orissa Government that it has the responsibility to:

ensure speedy justice and adequate compensation to the victims of the Kalinga Nagar police firing. The state government must prosecute those suspected of being responsible for human rights violations, including excessive use of force, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment;
withdraw cases levelled against those peacefully expressing their right to freedom of expression over issues relating to development plans at Kalinga Nagar;
announce a consistent policy of full consultation with the communities at Kalinga Nagar before any development project affecting their livelihood can take place;
ensure full scale consultation about the human rights impact of economic decisions with those to be affected, including with adivasi activists and with non-governmental organizations. These are vital means through which human rights are safeguarded in the context of development;
and ensure that, where populations are resettled, there are just, adequate and culturally-sensitive rehabilitation, resettlement and reparation schemes in force for those affected.

We have nothing more to say at the moment except quoting from Saswat’s noteworthy note that “right to self-determination has been inherent in Orissa’s history–from the ages of the Kalinga War to the days of Kalinga Nagar. Just the way, the Kalinga War was fought with bloodbath, Kalinga Nagar met the similar fate. Entirely innocent people, yet valiant and brave, unarmed to fight the ancient and modern emperors, protested for sure, and paid the price”.

And to warn Navin Patnaik that people of Orissa cannot be taken for granted for all time to come. The land-grabbers and the pimps of the imperialists in the Government may take note of this.

IN GOVERNMENT; BUT IN CRIME AGAINST THE STATE

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

If you do not pay the State its dues, without any valid reason, how can one term it?

It is a crime against the State. Can one say, no? No.

Then a crime has hit our State. The perpetrators are Ministers and Leaders of Orissa. The crime is willful.

Let us rely upon Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s answer to a question in the Assembly. The pre-intermission part of the current session being hot under impact of acrimony generated due to suspected involvement of either the Chief Minister or the Chief Secretary or both in the brutal oppression let loose on poor tribal community of Kalinga Nagar, the baffling fact placed before the House by the CM escaped attention of many, this site not being an exception. But the information cannot be overlooked.

Any body watching this government must be knowing that Dr. Damodar Raut is considered weightiest amongst Naveen Patnaik’s own party ministers. He has been facing prosecution under the Orissa Public Premises Eviction Act, 1972 for having forcefully occupied Govt. quarter No. B-1 in Unit 1, Bhubaneswar for business purpose. He is to pay the State a sum of Rs. 1, 71,297.00 towards interim penalty fee as determined by the Director of Estates, Govt. of Orissa. The Rent Office is neither able to collect the penalty fee or nor to evict Sri Raut from the unauthorized occupation because of his proximity to the Chief Minister.

Another heavyweight of ruling BJD, former Minister and current Member of Parliament, Prasanna Acharya is in unauthorized occupation of one of the highest type of government quarter, i.e. VIMR-8 in Unit-6 since July 2004 and has defaulted Rs.92, 430.00.

The Congress has two former small time Chief Ministers in the defaulters list. They are Hemananda Biswal and Giridhar Gamango, unauthorized occupants of a VIIIC and 5R type of quarters respectively. Sri Biswal’s penal dues come around Rs.2, 25,500.00 whereas Gamango is to pay Rs.1,50,550.00 as interim penalty.

Former colleague of the Chief Minister Bijay Mohapatra who heads Orissa Gana Parisad in Opposition segment is carrying a govt. overdue to the tune of Rs. 5, 03,702 .00 for unauthorized occupation of a govt. quarter in VII category since April 2000.

But none of these defaulters can vie with Bikram Keshari Deo, prince of Kalahandi and M.P. of BJP. He has not paid Rs.7,94,581.00 despite demands and kept a VII-C type of quarter in Unit-1 in forceful occupation notwithstanding eviction orders, since April 1998. BJP heavyweight Ved Prakash Agrawal, who when Food and Civil Supplies Minister was more marked for his sympathy with the Millers oblivious of their role in distress sale of paddy, is to pay a sum of Rs. 2,22,801.00 to the Govt. as interim penalty over unauthorized occupation of govt. qrs after order of eviction following his loss of entitlement to official accommodation.

If the seniors could set a trend, why should a junior lag behind? Look at Dharmendra Pradhan, President of BJP Juva Morcha and M.P. He has not paid penal license fee applicable to unentitled persons though under his unauthorized possession is lying government quarter No.VIB-4/2 since 17 Nov.2005. He is to pay more than half a lakh of Rupees.

Though compelled to reveal this picture in the House, the Chief Minister is yet to inform the public as to why his machinery has failed to recover the huge money from his core colleagues and who has clipped down the eviction wings of the department of General Administration of which he himself is the Minister.

Prasad Harichandan of Congress, a former minister, held to be in unauthorized occupation of a government quarter since June 2004 says, he will comply with the Special Accommodation Rules the moment he finds that the Chief Minister has made his party colleagues pay their outstanding dues and vacated the quarters under their illegal occupation.