Rabi Pattanayak: Unsung Hero Passes Away

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

At 10 in the first part of this day, the burning Sun at Bhubaneswar added utmost warmth to its rays to welcome an unsung hero into the folds of elements, though thereby a dark void is created, which can never be filled up.

Rabindranath Pattanayak, beloved Rabibabu of the people of Narasinghpur in the district of Cuttack in Orissa, object of love, affection and confidence of members of a very large extended family and relations and friends, whom thousands and thousands revere as the primary shaper of their lives, passed away in a private hospital at Bhubaneswar, fighting bravely against a lung disorder.

Bereft of his father in early childhood, Rabibabu was very ably guided by his mother to face the challenges and to become a man of distinction in society.

A brilliant student, he had to stay content with High School graduation, as Narasinghpur, a Princely State till 1948, had no College at that time and his widow mother had no strength to part with her only child, as College education at Cuttack or elsewhere was calling for.

He, in that situation, after matriculation, picked up a career as a primary school teacher and remained so till superannuation heading upgraded units for decades.

Career as a primary school teacher ensured his continuance in service at and within the area of Narsinghpur, that helped him with enough time to look after his landed properties and he emerged as a remarkable user of land in cultivation, even when all the schools he was working in were emerging as model schools because of his devotion to the institutions and dedication to the students. He had taught thousands of students in his long career, but had never stopped at any point in injecting into them the self confidence to proceed in any direction as they prefer in pursuit of knowledge. This made him unique.

Apart from being a teacher par excellence and a farmer of highest repute in the locality, he was the matchless man of culture in the area with dedicated devotion to drama and social events.

More than everything, he was a man, whom smile had never left for a single moment, even in moments of turmoil. In fact, if smile had any epitome, he was that epitome in life.

Very seldom such a man takes birth who becomes the beacon of inspiration and encouragement for one and all in his area.

I, along with my family, deeply mourn his demise and stand in silent respect in remembering him, even though I know, in my heart and ours, like of all the others who know him, he shall live till breathes continue.

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ATBN Advocates’ Association Celebrates Foundation Day

(Photos from Laxmi Prasad Pattanayak)

Advocates from the four Ex-States – Athgarh, Tigiria, Baramba and Narsingpur (ATBN) – belonging to Athgarh Sub-Division in the District of Cuttack, celebrated today the 17th foundation day of ATBN Advocates’ Association in the NALCO guest house auditorium at Bhubaneswar with F.B.Rath, its President, in chair.

Sarat Kumar Panda, President of Bhubaneswar Chapter of the Association, while welcoming and introducing the event, delivered the keynote address.

Advocates: Lalit Kumar Biswal, President of Narasingpur Bar Association, Surjyanarayana Mishra, President of Baramba Bar Association, Bikram Keshari Das, President of Tigiria Bar Association and Adwaita Charan Panda, senior advocate representing Athgarh Bar Association in absence of the President thereof gave views of their respective Bar Associations, when Sadayalaxmi Pattanayak, a Tigirian practicing in Orissa High Court, Jambeswara Das of Kandarpur, Athgarh, who heads the Cuttack Civil Bar Association and Banoj Kumar Pattanayak of Baramba, a High Court practitioner as well as Member of Orissa State Bar Council also addressed the conference.

The senior-most lawyer of Athgarh sub-division – Dhanurdhara Raut – was felicitated on this occasion. In his reply to the felicitation, he gave hint to now extinct Athgarh District created after independence.He recalled how Subhas Chandra Pattanayak of Tigiria, Pratap Chandra Pattanayak of Baramba and he together had initiated steps for its revival and urged upon the members of the Association to take up the issue.

Hemanta Kumar Das, eminent financial administrator and former member of Orissa Public Service Commission, addressing as Chief Guest, observed that in post independence India positive economic development has reduced poverty, but feeling of poverty generated generally by consumerism and specifically by neighbors’ envy has spread. This contradiction has been contributing to rising unrest in the country.

He eventually came to the current mass movement against corruption as led by Anna Hazare and even as he opined that Anna deserves support for his voice against corruption, the obstinacy he displays in the matter of constitution and scope of Jan Lokpal is counter productive inasmuch as no Prime Minister can function if every now and then he is to be dragged to a Lokpal. He emphasized on thus-far-and-no-more norm in agitations against administration, if a responsible democracy is to be built up and retained. He called upon the lawyers not to forget commitment to country in prosecuting and defending the under-trial persons in pursuit of financial gain and fame.

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak of orissamatters.com, who was the chief speaker, stressed on legal steps to revive the lost district of Narasingpur that was one of the eight districts created with Princely States after they merged with Orissa giving the State its present form. He gave vivid details of how the district was created and lost because of lust for power of a person, who taking advantage of being a minister in the interim government despite pre-merger public rejection at Athgarh and being influential because of grip on the highest circulated daily of the day published from Cuttack town, had caused obliteration of the Narasinghpur district by using the Government to reduced it to a subdivision under the district of Cuttack, so that, from his residence he can pull the strings through the Collector of Cuttack. It is time to revive the district as the people thereof have been drastically discriminated against when the rest of the seven districts created with the merged ex-states are in existence and are getting profuse amount of district development funds whereas annexed to a highly developed district like Cuttack, the most undeveloped four ex-states have been perishing due to lack of due development funding, he pointed out.

At the beginning of the meeting, the Association had paid silent standing respects to the mother of Sri Pattanayak, passed away on 16 December, along with obituary respects paid to member advocates living no more since its previous meeting.

In expressing deep gratitude for the kind gesture, Pattanayak described, how she had to endure unbearable terminal illness for several months with no hope of survival on the strength of medical science. He then urged upon the legal community to cogitate as to why should there not develop legal provisions , even through case-laws, to ensure final journey into peace with dignity for terminally ill, incurable and entirely atrophied old citizens instead of subjecting them to tormenting and barren treatments, squeezed ultimately into paranteral feed and bottled oxygen.

Emphasizing on evolution of humane face of law and elimination of judicial blunders that encourage wrongful prosecution, he cited the case of Mili Panda, who, despite quashing of cognizance against her in a lower court by Orissa High Court, is perishing in prisons under various pretexts. Hatred generated towards activism against exploitation is helping hijackers of public exchequer in accumulating massive wealth when maximum majority of Indians are being forced to thrive on distress sale of anything they have, including agro-products and offspring. The legal community, therefore, should consciously work for protection of pro-people elements from the dragnet of law misused in the guise of maintenance of law and order, he said.

He found similarity between the current anti-corruption drive by Anna Hazare and the one of 1977 led by J.P.Narain and observed that this drive would lead to no remedy exactly as the movement steered by JP had failed, because there is no agenda in it to change the country’s political economy from pro-rich to pro-society, from capitalism to socialsm. If right to equality is what is to be ensured by Law, then lawyers must act against political economy of inequality, he underlined.

Dev Narayan Pattanayak, Secretary of the Association proposed vote of thanks and the participants were given a lively musical treat.

Navin Brand of Administration: Minister Debi Mishra Suspected Kingpin of Narasinghpur Corruption

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Higher Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra belongs to Narasinghpur and represents that constituency in Orissa Assembly and as a member of the Assembly, has become a Minister.

In Narasinghpur, his protégés rule the roost. Officials of all the departments, from top to toe, consult him off the records in every matter that matters in Narasinghpur context.

Debi’s representative Kishore Chandra Mishra acts as a conduit that officials depend upon for reading the Minister’s mind as the Minister has made them understand during interactions. In any matter that the officials fail to consult the Minister directly, Kishore’s instructions are complied with.

No official dares to do any work that Debi may disapprove. Hence all officials first collect intelligence on how he would be satisfied and then only they proceed to execute a work.

Work execution means corruption. Members of the general public openly and officials unofficially define execution of an official work as practice of corruption. I had an accidental opportunity to interact with an executive of the Block in a friend’s place. He confirmed the above definition and advised me to pay a visit to S. N. Pattajoshi’s landmark “palace” at Nukhapada square. It is such a landmark that every passerby looks at it and as owner of it, Pattajoshi is known to everybody. In the locality it has earned a distinction of being a place that Minister Mishra also visits during his visit to Narasinghpur. So, Mishra knows how valuable the building of Pattajoshi is. Who is he? He is a Junior Engineer of the Narasinghpur Block. The Block has three J.E.s. But Pattajoshi is in charge of majority of the Panchayats and the hariyali projects. He is in the Block for 19 years and his words act as commands on the Block Development Officer. Nobody knows how rich is he, but the locals know that he has a modern sedan car in service of his family and an aura of crorepati that dumbfounds them. Why it is so, is a question that has its answer in another question: why has he not been transformed from Narasinghpur despite many officials having come and gone during these 19 years? People look for the answer at Minister Mishra.

The same executive told me that Mishra’s rise in politics has transformed Narasinghpur into a specific purpose touchstone that has helped paupers metamorphose into men of crores at the cost of local public for whose welfare the Assembly allows appropriation of funds. As an instance of such metamorphosis, the local people indicate towards a man who was once nicknamed “Kandia-Bidi-Bhaina” (smoker of an used Bidi time and again unable to afford a new one to smoke).

However, the local officials, whom Minister Mishra is not readily available, are guided by his representative Kishore Ch. Mishra in dealing with the public fund for project purposes. The later Mishra has acquired public regards as a man of massive wealth that usually is perceived to have come to him during his association with the former Mishra.

So, in public perception, certain individuals, close to the Minister Mr.Mishra in Narasinghpur constituency in their official or political capacities have become unfathomably rich and are in possession of wealth disproportionate to their legitimate sources income.

Trade secret is corruption. Corruption is being practiced in many fronts. Misappropriation of public funds is one of them. For a sample of misappropriation one may look at allocation of funds to construct houses under the IAY scheme to one Padmavati Maharana of Bandhahuda on non-existent land and twice allocation of funds for the same purpose to a dead person, Dama Khatua, Khalisahi/ Kokalaba. Instances galore.

Narasinghpur had a lady Chairperson Indumati Nayak whom the BJD had planted.

She did not cooperate in the loot raj. She tried to bring discipline to Block administration. She failed.

She preferred two letters to the authorities; one to the Collector of Cuttack and the other to the Minister, Mr. Mishra on 10 June 2010 to inform them of the ongoing corruption in the Block.

In her letter No. 2405 dated 10/06/2010 to the Collector, she wrote about allocation of IAY houses to dead persons, service holders and individuals that have earlier been allotted with the same houses two repeated times. “In many cases, false bills have been prepared without construction of houses”, she informed the Collector with copies thereof served on the Chief Minister, Minister Debi Mishra, Secretary to Government in the Panchayatiraj department and to the Sate Vigilance Directorate. On the same day, she also preferred a direct communication to Minister Mr. Mishra with copy thereof submitted to the CM informing that she has come “to know that Mr. Kishore Chandra Mishra, Vice President of Zilla Parishad, Cuttack is unauthorisedly pressurizing the officials to select the beneficiaries in his illegal way”, in which “many dead beneficiaries are also included”.

Her report, though competent, was never investigated into.

On the other hand, members of the Panchayat Samiti, majority belonging to BJD and Mishra’s coterie, raised a “No-Confidence Motion” against her and she had to quit, politically defeated.

As she was ousted by the stage-managed vote of no-confidence, the reign of the Panchayat Samiti came to the grip of the younger brother of the Minister, Durga Mishra, who as Vice-Chairman of the Block, has been authorized to functioning as the Chairman-in-Charge and thus the people of Narasinghpur are left in the lurch.

Narasinghpur is an instance of how Ministers have patronized corruption in Panchayat level. The lady chairperson who attracted attention of the authorities to ongoing corruption had to be shown the door by her own party that on August 01, 2010, ousted her through a “No-Confidence Motion” .

Take note, this is Navin brand of administration.