Intimidated Samaja Staff sign on Plain Papers: State is Silent!

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

THE SAMAJA is Orissa’s iconic newspaper and belongs to people of Orissa. It was created by five most beloved leaders of the State – famous as Panchasakha of Satyavadi – for imparting political education to the people fighting for reconstruction of their divided motherland and emancipation. Utkalmani Pandit Gopabandhu Das was its co-founder and was its forefront editor.

As we have shown earlier, a low-paid shrewd servant of Gopabandhu – Radhanath Rath and an associate of the great leader, whom, despite his mental dullness he had sponsored to Politics – Lingaraj Mishra – had betrayed Gopabandhu and had forged his Will after the original was probated and discarding the probated Will, had used the forged one in all offices to grab the Samaja under cover of Servants of the People Society.

This Society, after death of these two miscreants, has seized the Samaja in its entirety and has been looting its revenue.

Like vultures fight amongst themselves over a carcass, members of this Society are in fight against each other to grab whatever benefit they can and they have reduced the Samaja premises to their internecine battle ground.

Lest the workers wake up against this, they have resorted to blatant unfair practices, have subjected the Union leaders to concocted cases, have illegally dismissed active members of the Union, pushed employees into enforced idleness and as per a press note issued by the Union, have taken signatures of some employees in plain papers by intimidating them. This is happening, because, the State Government never act against illegalities of SoPS.

The press note is in Oriya script and as this posting is addressed to people of Orissa, we give below the same for their perusal.

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Many heights climbed together and all heights to reach

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In March 1999, when Smt Shailabala and Sri Gobardhan reached Patnitop, 112 km from Jammu on the highway between Udhampur and Srinagar, they were about 6,640 ft above the sea level in the Himalayas. They have climbed many heights in life together and have many more heights to reach.

PujarisShailabala Rath, a glowing flame amongst Orissa’s socialist students of the 1960s, and Gobardhan Pujari, then a distinguished leader of Students Federation, whose adherence to Marxism was a source of inspiration to his friends, found in each other their dream-epitomes of revolutionary culture that made them seek family approval for life partnership. With their marriage on February 10, 1972, they have continued as a two-in-one unit to espouse the cause of the disadvantaged, the downtrodden and the exploited, all these years, as they also have served the cause of Orissan letters.

campaigning for employment guaranteelawyers meetJustice Anang Pattanayak inaugurating Chetana BhawanBoth lawyers of eminence, specifically in areas of labor interest, they are illustrious examples of responsible conjugal life that not only is addressed to personal family, but also is noted for responsibilities to the society. Be it a campaign for guaranteed employment for the rural people or a campaign for disarmament and world peace or for the rights of the child and women, or a meet of lawyers on impact of globalization, they have contributed their might with entire consciousness to the cause they have pledged themselves to. So dedicated they are to the society that they have built up on their premises in Rourkela a hall for mass interaction on burning issues of public importance in inauguration of which Justice Ananga Pattanayak of the Supreme Court of India and former Chief of Bar Council of India Sri Jagannath Pattanayak were conspicuous by their presence and participation.

I am thankful to my friends Sura Narayan Patra and Bibhu Prasad Tripathy for telling me that they are for the time being residing in Bhubaneswar, where, as and when I want, I may not find it difficult to meet the exemplary couple.

40 years of togethernessLast year, when they celebrated their 40th marriage anniversary, their three daughters had brought out a souvenir with very rich and firsthand inputs from their classmates, colleagues and admirers. It was captioned “Murchhanara Chalishiti Basanta” (forty years long rhythm of togetherness). I wish, some publishing house should reprint it to make it available to people of Orissa, because of its inspiring revelation of four decades of selfless love and sacrifice to make the society a bit better. It would be a contribution to our living history in keeping on records how our soil is a proud mother of unsung heroins and heroes like Shailabala and Gobardhan, who, without any expectation, have always tried to make the world a better place to live in and honestly.

Samaja Editor served with Damage Notice worth Rs.1 Crore by the Family of Sub-Editor Devi Prasanna Nayak

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It is increasingly being clear that the once most popular language daily of Orissa, The Samaja, is in the worst phase of its life. Its editorial conscience is rendered unstable. Massive corruption has crippled its normal functioning. Employees are being subjected to alarming unfair labor practices and acts of intimidations by a gang, the legitimacy of which has been judicially challenged by the officiating President of the Servants of the People Society, which, again, is suspected to have hijacked The Samaja by using a forged Will of its original owner, late Utkalmani Gopabandhu Das.

The gang, whose legitimacy is challenged by the SoPS authority, comprises fellows whose moral turpitude and corruption had come under the radar of Justice Arijit Pasayat Committee of Inquiry, leading to its recommendations for action against them.

This gang has, sans any proven legitimacy, appointed a board of management and has allegedly arbitrarily changed the printer and publisher of the paper and has re-empowered a manager whom the officiating president of SoPS had, on records, divested of his responsibilities and asked to go on long leave.

This gang is playing havoc with jobs of the journalists and non-journalist employees of The Samaja with the apparent intention to keep them intimidated. Transfer and suspension of Sub-Editor Devi Prasanna Nayak is an instance. Sri Nayak , besides being an acclaimed journalist, is the President of the Utkalmani Newspaper Employees Association, the recognized and the only one trade union of the Samaja employees and therefore a protected workman under the Industrial disputes Act. Sri Nayak is not being allowed entry into the premises of the paper by the alleged hijackers of The Samaja, as hired musclemen termed security guards are engaged to keep him out of the newspaper campus. Thus the trade union is being strangulated. The trade union has raised a dispute against this malpractice and illegality and the concerned labor office has issued repeated notices to the employer to respond to the allegations. But the gang has kept the labor office notices hidden from the SoPS authority, for which the Opposite Party is conspicuous by its absence in the labor laws implementation forum.

This gang, on the other hand, has tried to damage the reputation of Sri Nayak by misusing the space of The Samaja to feed the public with derogatory information on him. Sri Nayak is a distinguished journalist with an unblemished career and a very promising future. Everybody who knows him deeply knows that he is a totally disciplined person dedicated to his profession and wholeheartedly committed to virtues of journalism. Besides, he belongs to a highly esteemed family, well connected with the society. Spread of derogatory information about him that paints him as an absconding man of misconduct by this gang in the pages of the newspaper, in order only to intimidate the employees whose union he leads, is taken very seriously by his fans, friends as well as his family.

Mrs. Nayak has immediately sent a notice of damage to three persons who carry the orders of this gang in The Samaja. They are, (1) Gopalkrishna Mohapatra, (2) Niranjan Rath and (3) C.R.Das

The Notice says:

Whereas in page 4 of The Samaja dated 31.10.2012 a notice has been published addressed to my husband Sri Devi Prasanna Nayak under a boxed caption ‘NOTICE TO BE PRESENT IN THE DOMESTIC ENQUIRY’;

And whereas in the said notice attempts have been made to denigrate the image of my husband in public eyes;

And whereas the author of this notice, C.R. Dash has no legitimacy to issue such notice in the known environment of disputes over management of Servants of the People Society before the appropriate court of law;

And whereas Sri Niranjan Rath has no legitimacy under the same environment to publish such a piece of character assassination of my husband;

And whereas Sri Gopal Krushna Mohapatra is responsible for anything published in Samaja as its editor;

Now, therefore, I issue this notice, that you all three must publicly apologize to my husband and to my family for having played such mischief against the reputation of my husband as well as my family within a week of issuance of this notice in the same paper, at the same place, in the same format, failing which I will sue you three individually and collectively for a damage worth at least a Crore of Rupees against each in the appropriate court, over and above any prosecution deemed proper against the crime involved.

This notice has been issued on November 1, 2012.

It was never expected that Utkalmani’s noble spirit shall get killed in the premises of the paper he founded. But this is now the shocking reality.

The media persons of the State are silently but keenly keeping a watch.

MINIMUM WAGES ACT CONTRAVENED: EMPLOYEES STRIP ORISSA GOVT. LAYER BY LAYER

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Private property-holders prosper by exploiting the working class. But Orissa has a government that is anti-worker and a habitual contravener of labor laws.

The tortured employees of Orissa State Guest House at Bhubaneswar have stripped the meretricious Chief Minister layer by layer in the demonstration and sitting-in strike they resorted to on January 31 in their attempt to attract attention to their plight.

The State Government is using them as bonded labor without paying any compensation against work they are being compelled to do on holidays.

The Chief Minister has hoodwinked them by making them believe that he has issued instructions to the Finance minister to provide for compensatory wages against work on holidays. But, had he been honest, his instructions to the FM could never have been left abandoned since two years, they said.

The conduct of Navin Patnaik government in this instance is clearly anti-worker. Denial of paid holidays is prohibited under the labor laws. It is a clear case of denial of paid holidays. The Government is guilty of contravention of the Minimum Wages Act in the minimum.

The State Guest House is the official house where very important visitors whom the State Government declares, under the protocol, as official guests of the State are entertained with accommodation and hospitality.

To all the guests the day became a day of discomfort due to the strike. But to all of them it was a shock to see how the Government has been contravening the labor laws in the official institution.