Oriya as Official Language: Know the Real Saboteur

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The question that hunts Orissa at the moment is: Who has sabotaged Oriya as official language of Orissa. My answer is:None but Biju Patnaik has sabotaged official use of Oriya Language.

In my column SINGHAVALOKANA in daily Sambad,  I had discussed the issue on March 14, 1996. It is available in my book of the same caption at pp. 211-217 for anyone of the blind supporters of Biju to revisit and react, if they dare.

Biju was a hypocrite and a political mafia who had created a gang of sycophants and BHATAs (bards) amongst politicians and journalists whose principal work was to project him as the personification of Oriya nationalism and thereby trap the gullible people to vote for him. But his Oriya nationalism was such a filthy junk that even today that is making grimace at us when we see that he had not taught even a single alphabet of Oriya to his children, as we watch his son Naveen Patnaik.

However, for ready reference for friends who have been wondering who is responsible for abandonment of Oriya as official language of Orissa, I deem it my duty to render in English the crux of my observation in Oriya around two decades ago. When Biju sycophants are ruling the roost, I do not know if it would be seen that the present Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is only following his father’s footprints in offending Oriya language. Yet, the people have a right to know. Hence it is here:

Biju had Sabotaged Oriya

Naveen’s father Biju Patnaik had sabotaged the Orissa Official Languages Act by inserting a provision that in the Assembly, English would be official language along with Oriya.

The Official Language Act, 1954 had stipulated that Oriya was “to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa”, but Biju Patnaik damaged this stipulation by amending the Act in 1963 providing for use of English “in addition to Oriya for transaction of business in Legislature of the State of Orissa”. This shrewd insertion subjected Orissa administration to predominance of English and ruined the utility of Oriya as a language.

Even when, in 1985, the then Chief Minister J. B. Patnaik fixed April 1, 1985 to be the day from which use of Oriya in all official work would be “compulsory”, and it was decided to enforce use of Oriya as the only official language by strengthening the 1954 Act with necessary amendments, and accordingly the Official Language (Amendment) Act, 1985 was taken up in the Assembly, it was Biju Patnaik, who opposed the proposal and refused to support the amendment. “We can progress further if we have international (English) language” (as the official language), he had said. He had ridiculed the idea of making Oriya the official language and had gone on elaborating, “If you go to Andhra, you will find DHUD DHUD, if you go to Karnatak, you will find FUD FUD ! Nothing you will understand there. So many languages there in our country. This is not a country at all”.

Biju was so very bitterly averse to Oriya that the PRASASANIKA SHABDAKOSHA which was ready to be published by the Law department of Orissa was thrown into the dusts on the racks of the department the moment he had taken over the chief minister’s chair, where it was kept buried from May 7, 1991 to March 16, 1995.

When J. B. Pattnaik led the people to end Biju Patnaik’s misrule and took oath again as the new Chief Minister, the Secretary of Law ordered, “Now it may be published immediately”.

But the concerned Deputy Secretary’s note on which the Law secretary passed the above order is mot speaking.

At page 126 of the concerned file the Deputy Secretary notes,

“By the time the chairman of the Shabdakosha Committee Prof. Khageswar Mohapatra submitted his report on completion of the work, the Government has changed. Language Policy of the new Government (of Biju Patnaik) was not only not clear, but also it was averse to use of Oriya language as Official Language. The then law minister (who was to carry Biju babu’s instructions) gave such orders in the file, the evil effect of which forced the Orissa Official Language Dictionary had to stay abandoned for so many years in the cold storage of official junks and as the new government has been formed by J.B.Patnaik, steps should be taken to publish the same”.

After Naveen Patnaik emerged as the Chief Minister, the said dictionary has been allowed to be misappropriated by a lady who has privately published it and charging heavy price to whosoever wants a copy thereof. Nothing else could have been done when compradors rule.

Sastriya Status threatened by Nveen’s apathy

World famous linguist Dr. Devi Prasanna Pattanayak, trade-unionist Ramachandra Khuntia – these two names I am citing, because by profession they are poles apart – have established the status of Oriya as a classical language of India where the status is not yet awarded to Bengali, Hindi and other languages that were, in the British time, trying to superimpose themselves on Oriya.

But this status is now threatened. Naveen babu has not addressed himself to this glorious achievement. To claim credit for it, he had engaged the entire administration and State funded celebrations were held after recognition of Oriya’s Sastriya status. But, when a case has been instituted in Madras High Court challenging this status, the State Government has not countered the case as yet as per sources in administration.

He neither says Oriya, nor writes in Oriya nor rules in Oriya. Yet he is in power; because, under his irresponsible administration, Orissa is over-saturated with mindless but self-centric sycophants in politics and public offices, and in Journalism.

To save Oriya language, we are to struggle hard.

And, we shall have to struggle, because, Orissa, our Mother is perishing.

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Emergence of Prasad as PCC Chief has unnerved BJP

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Amit Shah’s speech clearly indicates that emergence of Prasad Harichandan as PCC Chief has unnerved the Bharatiya Janata Party.

The national President of BJP in his speech at Bhubaneswar on January 6 blatantly failed to elaborate, even define, the ‘Mahasangram’ he had come to launch.

State leadership of BJP had drawn up the scheme of Mahasangram (The Great War) against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who, to them, epitomizes all dishonesty and corruption, scams and scandals from chit fund to mines and had invited Shah to give impetus to its scheme. But Shah failed to stand up to their expectation.

BJP State leaders seem to have failed to read their national leadership.

Modi had not uttered a single effective word against Naveen Patnaik in his “Vijay Sankalpa” speech at Bhubaneswar in February 2014 when pledging himself to fulfillment of Biju’s dreams – what dream, though, he had not revealed – he had, in fact given elixir to Naveen’s party named after Biju.

Now Shah has repeated the same approach by keeping mum on Naveen despite his State leaders having bared him layer by layer in matter of every wrong happening to Orissa.

BJP rank and file in Orissa is confused. They were expecting Shah to add force to their campaign against Naveen. They are discernibly frustrated.

But, in fact, Shah has indicated that the BJP central leadership is frustrated over its inability to keep the Congress party starved of leadership in Orissa.

He was very clear in his speech. He was absolutely emphatic in saying that the circle of his party’s victory could be complete only when Orissa comes to its fold. But for BJP’s central leadership, grabbing Orissa would not be possible by criticizing Naveen; it is possible if Congress does not get back its strength.

This soft thread of tactics is not easy for the State leadership of BJP to understand.

They have not yet understood that there is no difference except the name and banner between BJP and BJD.
Both of the parties have a common master – the rich; and in their top leadership level, there is no rivalry between them exactly as there was no rivalry between Chanura and Mustika, because both of them were stooges of their common master – Kamsa.

Even BJP was never seen attacking Dr. Manmohan Singh in real political term, because Singh was working for the rich.

When Singh was exposed threadbare in the Loksabha in matter of BCCI, the initiator of the debate Sri Jaswant Singh of BJP had rendered the entire debate inconsequential by withdrawing his notice in the last moment. He had acted thus certainly under direction of the BJP leadership, because, there was no action against him for having come to the rescue of Manmohan Singh.

The BJP was seen making campaigns against Congress, but was never seen exposing Manmohan Singh.

Singh had played treachery against the country by signing the nuke deal with USA behind back of the Parliament and declaring it “sealed, signed and non-negotiable” when, in fact, it was a “must” for the Indian Parliament to “agree to the text” of the Hyde Act on the basis of which 123 agreement was to be signed.

Manmohan Singh had not placed the Hyde Act before the Parliament and the Parliament had not been given the opportunity to “agree to the text” thereof or to disagree.

BJP was well aware of this.

But when the left parties’ objection to the nuke deal had terminated their alliance with the Congress and the issue of “agreeing to the text” of the Hyde Act or disagreeing was going to come up, the BJP had diverted the attention of the Parliament from Singh’s offense of suppression of vital facts from it to a ‘notes for vote’ scandal. Its members – Ashok Argal, Faggan Singh Kulaste and Mahavir Bhagora – were used to display currency notes in the House while alleging that the bundles were paid to them in advance for votes of confidence in the PM.

Why did BJP, arch rival of Congress, rushed to the rescue of Singh in the Parliament time and again?

This was because; Singh was working for the rich.

Similar attitude of BJP central leadership is seen in case of Naveen Patnaik, the obstinate facilitator of POSCO and such likes.

BJP knows that exactly as Congress has suffered the worst ever setback because of Manmohan Singh, the BJD is to suffer the same fate because of Naveen Patnaik whose dubious role in matters of chit fund and other scams is getting unveiled by watchdogs of people’s interest. If it so happens, the resultant benefit will be derived by BJP in absence of well defined leadership of Congress in the State.

To BJP perception in the top level, Naveen would bring in his own fall because treating Orissa as fee simple for all time to come would be impossible. In that case, BJP will have the victory in absence of a united and strong Pradesh Congress.

But,with emergence of Prasad Harichandan as President of the Pradesh Congress, this comfortable feeling of BJP in its top level has vanished.

It would be very difficult for BJP to denigrate the new chief of the Congress in the state of Orissa. Prasad has nothing to be criticized for adversely. He has no distance from any provincial leader of the Congress. He is honest and a man of prudence who has made splendid mark as a minister and legislator. He is strong in his views and humble in his expression. So, he has all the ability to unite and activate the grand old party that has given us our freedom and except the nefarious period of Manmohan’s regime, has all along accommodated left views in leading the country in the progressive line.

BJP national President knows that with emergence of Prasad as PCC Chief, it would be impossible for his provincial followers to match the Congress.

Therefore the hallucination one marked in his public speech in the capital city of Orissa on January 6. His entire speech was unqualified diatribe on Rahul Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi alone, when his provincial unit had been crying for his guidance against Naveen.

Clearly, Prasad’s emergence as PCC President has unnerved the BJP.

High Court in Apparent Error in Pratyusha Case, as Naveen Patnaik is not Asked to Explain Why He Found Her the Most Suitable

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The ruling BJD is de facto owned by Naveen Patnaik, whom all the members thereof know as their supreme master (‘the supremo’) and obey, exactly as my German Shepherd Dog knows me as its master and obeys my orders.

Patnaik decides who should contest from which constituency, provides funds for electioneering, projecting them as party candidates under the pretense of democratic practice.

He appoints his sycophants in any post available in Government, Public Sector and his party and even uses his personal factotum to take action against any of them as and when he wants.

He treats Orissa as his fee simple and squanders away Orissa’s natural resources like his father’s property in interest of any private – even foreign – industry and education mafia as he likes.

All his offenses are supported by his stooges, as they know, thereby is generated the election funds. Their participation in elections begin with nomination of candidates by him.

He or his authorized agent issues party tickets and inform the Returning Officer of this, basing on which, his party symbol is allotted to his candidates.

So, Naveen Patnaik is basically and entirely responsible for the nomination papers, which the BJD candidates file before the ROs.

The RO is guided by Naveen Patnaik as the issuer of party tickets pursuant to which election symbol of BJD gets allotted.

Laws prohibit a non-Indian to contest election.

So, the party boss that issues party tickets to a non-Indian is responsible for acceptance of a non-Indian by the RO/Election Commission as a legitimate candidate.

Kandhamal MP Ms. Pratyusha Rajeswari is alleged to be not of Indian nationality. She is alleged to be a lady of Nepal, staying in India as a widow of an Indian.

On this allegation, the High Court of Orissa has asked Pratyusha to explain as to why her election to Lok Sabha should not be nullified on nationality ground and has issued notices to the RO and the EC to explain their positions.

But Naveen Patnaik, the so-called supremo of BJD, being basically responsible for misguiding the RO/EC into accepting Pratyusha as a legitimate candidate to the extent of throwing the entire electoral process in to the feared fiasco, has not been asked by the HC to say as to why he set as his/his party’s candidate a non-Indian.

I think, this is an error that needs to be removed and Naveen Patnaik needs to be be asked by the High Court to explain as to why he shall not be responsible for crime against the country if his Kandhamal MP for whom he had actively campaigned along with his ministerial colleagues, is not of Indian Nationality.

If the allegation is found correct, Naveen is bound to be punished. But for this, it is essential that he be called for to explain as to why he had found Pratyusha the most suitable to be set up as his party candidate.

Bills in English are offenses against Orissa: Biju had designed the subterfuge, his son has given it the finality

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Sad, the Orissa Assembly is adjourned again due to the Government’s adamancy to impose English over the primacy of Oriya language in the Legislative Assembly.

After creating the cause for unrelenting ruckus in the House, the Government has architected passage of several Bill without discussion, even though they were blatantly violative of the Orissa Official Language Act.

In this, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has given a culminating effect to the act of subterfuge his father Biju Patnaik had devised to render the mother tongue of Orissa officially useless. It was one of the reasons of mass upsurge against Biju that had forced him out of power in 1963. After 50 years of Biju’s anti-Oriya foul play, his son Naveen has given Oriya language a deadly blow by bringing in Bills only in English, not in Oriya, and getting them passed beneath the whipped up hubbub.

The people of Orissa are the creators of the era of linguistic States in India and Orissa was the first State to have made administration to run in the mother tongue of the people – Oriya.

While celebrating the first Utkal Divas after independence, on 1st April, 1948, the Orissa Assembly, awaiting adoption of the Constitution, had resolved that, the First Assembly to be created by the people must make Oriya the Official language by enacting a Law to that extent and accordingly, the first Assembly enacted ‘The Orissa Official Language Act, 1954’. This Act stipulated that Oriya was “to be used for all or any of the official purposes of the State of Orissa”.

But, the administrative officers, in order to keep them as a separate distinguished class, ignored this Act and went on managing their files in English.

When a fellow like Biju Patnaik grabbed the Chief Minister chair, he pampered and patronized whosoever was priding in being elite.

In his vested interest administration wherein non-Oriya officers and favor-seekers were dazzling as the Chief Minister’s inner associates, the Official Language Act, 1954 was relegated to insignificance and English reemerged as the language of administration; and thus, Oriya language was rendered officially useless by Biju Patnaik. He even got the Act amended to make Oriya language bereft of its primacy in administration.

When the British had made non-Oriya languages the official languages in Oriya speaking tracks, the people of Orissa had woke up against the design and forced the British to amalgamate all the Oriya speaking areas to a separate province where they can use their mother tongue in offices.

But Biju Patnaik, the most hypocrite virus post-independence politics had ever produced, sabotaged this primacy of Oriya language by inserting a provision in the Official Language (Amendment) Act, 1963 to the effect that, English shall be used “in addition to Oriya for transaction of business in Legislature of the State of Orissa”.

This shrewd insertion subjected Orissa administration to predominance of English and ruined the utility of Oriya as a language.

By creating the Bills only in English language now, Naveen Patnaik has given finality to the act of subterfuge designed against Oriya language 50 years ago by his father Biju Patnaik. In his latest action, the concept “in addition to” penned in the 1963 amendment has also been discarded. It is a shame that there are sycophants who support non-framing of Bills in Oriya.

CBI and Corruption: Commonality between Father and Son_ Biju and Naveen

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

When the needle of suspicion in the compass of scams and misrule is pointing at Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik with increasing discernibility, Amicus Curiae Shyam Divan has told the Supreme Court on November 5 that Orissa Government is not cooperating with the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the ongoing inquiry into mega chit fund scams, even though the same is being conducted under orders of the Apex Court.

This reminds me of the same experience the CBI had had while investigating into economic offenses of Biju Patnaik. The CBI Director, while confirming that certain allegations against him were “serious”, had told the Union Home Minister in his report on November 15, 1964 that, further enquiry – obviously judicial – should be instituted, to “come to a definite and clear conclusion”.

The striking commonality between the father and the son – Biju and Naveen – in corrupting administration to the extent of creating situations for the apex authorities to order for investigation thereinto by CBI, is as gross as substantial.

Everybody who is currently watching the cascading exposures of chit fund and other scams is seeing how in increasing velocity public suspicion is rushing towards Naveen. It would be better, therefore, to focus on the other one, his father Biju Patnaik.

Clandestine Comprador

After occupying the Chief Minister post in June1961, Biju unleashed such a reign of corruption and embezzlement that a former Chief Minister of Orissa, the great Gandhian Nabakrushna Choudhury had to put before the public, the modus operandi of Biju and his likes that were collecting huge sums of money in the name of election funds and swindling the same while acting as clandestine compradors of mine-owners and big businessmen, to the serious detriment of the common people and the public exchequer.

He had exposed the felony in the inaugural function of Gandhi Tattwa Prachar Kendra at Balasore on 23 July 1963.

Mass Awakening against Misrule

Following that exposure, by the end of August 1963, people of Orissa, severely affected by his corrupt practices and maladministration, had woke up en masse to seek his resignation. Students all over the State had spearheaded the campaign to oust him from the chair of the Chief Minister. Marking his swift fall, Justice H. R. Khanna, who had later headed the Judicial Enquiry into his offenses, had noted that his misuse of power for personal and family benefits had so severely eroded his credibility that, “within two or three years of his stewardship his public image became tarnished and the hopes which were built around him were shattered to pieces”.

Khanna Commission was the culmination of people’s non-stop agitations for action against Biju.

The unprecedented mass awakening led by the students had spread in full fury all over the State calling for action against him. The Congress high command and the Congress government in the center had tried to protect him. But all their nasty tricks had failed.

Forced to Quit

The tumult of the unprecedented mass agitation against him had ultimately forced the Congress High Command to ask Biju to quit under face-saving cover of Kamaraj Plan.

Biju resigned on October 1, 1963 in order to escape the wrath of the people.

His protege-cum-partner in corruption, Biren Mitra took over as Chief Minister.

Immediately after he took the oath, Mitra declared that he would rule the State on behalf of Biju, exactly as Bharat of Ramayan had done after Ram was banished from Ayodhya.

No wonder, the CBI faced hurdles in investigation. With his docile protege as his successor, Biju, as Chairman of the State Planning Board, acted ‘super CM’ .

CBI pressed on Preliminary Enquiry

People of Orissa were not content with Biju vacating the CM post. They wanted action against him and continued their agitation. The Parliament was rocked with demands for action against him. His passport should be seized and he should be subjected to criminal prosecution for felonies he committed, was the concentrated demand. It had forced India’s then Home Minister Gulzarilal Nanda to ask the CBI to conduct a “preliminary enquiry” into allegations leveled against Biju by Leader of Opposition and scores of public figures.

The CBI enquiry was ordered obviously to calm down the rising wrath of the people against the Congress Party under the banner and protection of which Biju had run his empire of corruption.

When the CBI penetrated into files and facts that formed the basis of some of the allegations against Biju, it faced non-cooperation from the State Government to proceed further. But to its utmost dismay, it was under pressure from above to give Biju a clean chit.

Pressure for exoneration

The CBI Director has very tactfully revealed this reality in his Report to Union Home Ministry on November 15, 1964. He had said, “On the basis of the scrutiny of the records, it is not possible to say that all the allegations are unfounded, unsubstantiated or untrue”. These very words of the CBI Chief most intelligently revealed that there was tremendous pressure on him from above to say that the allegations against Biju were unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue.

Had there been no pressure to say “the allegations were “unfounded, unsubstantiated and untrue” the CBI would never have said, “it is not possible”.

Who must be the people in high echelon of power to have put such pressure on CBI?

Collaborators in Central Cabinet

We find them in the Union Cabinet who conspired to give the CBI report a burial as it went against Biju.

Instead of appointing a Judicial Commission of Enquiry, which was by then formulated and adopted as the necessary means to locate the crux of alleged felonies, when preliminary enquiries indicate prima facie correctness of allegations against persons in power, the central cabinet appointed a Sub-Committee of its own to “consider in detail the allegations against Orissa ministers, the CBI reports and the Ministers’ explanations”.

Despite Misconduct convincingly caught

The Cabinet Sub-Committee tried its best to render the CBI report inconsequential. Yet, the offenses of Biju Patnaik and his partner in corruption Biren Mitra were so vastly visible that, while refusing to institute a Judicial enquiry, it could not but say, “the manner in which Sri Patnaik and Sri Mitra, directly or otherwise, conducted government transactions in which were involved the interests of private concerns owned or controlled by them or by their relations, was definitely not in keeping with the normal standards of public conduct”.

Determined agitation

This design failed to dissuade people from their determination to see Biju and Biren ousted from the positions of power they were using to fleece from public exchequer. This determined agitation of the people forced the central leadership of Congress to ask Biju to resign from the chairmanship of the State Planning Board and his protege Biren from Chief-ministership. Biju resigned from the Planning Board chairmanship on January 29, 1965 and Biren from Chief-ministership about a month later on February 20. Shastriji appealed the people through the Lok Sabha on February 22 to “allow” this matter “to end” as both “Sri Biren Mitra and Sri Patnaik have already tendered their resignations”.

Punishment by the people

People of Orissa punished Biju Patnaik by rejecting him in all the five constituencies he contested in 1967 and also the Congress Party for having not punished Biju Patnaik.

The greatest beneficiary of people’s rejection of Biju Patnaik was R. N. Singhdeo, who headed a coalition with Jana Congress, formed by Congress members opposed to Biju.

Singhdeo appointed a Judicial Commission of Enquiry headed by Justice H. R. Khanna to inquire into and report on the charges against Patnaik and others.

Justice Khanna denounced Biju

In his report submitted on January 15, 1969, Justice H. R. Khanna denounced Biju as a morally corrupt fellow, as he was found to have used his chief-ministerial position to serve “the pecuniary and business interests of the companies, which had been started by him and with which his family members were associated” to such condemnable extent that “within two or three years of his stewardship his public image became tarnished and the hopes which were built around him were shattered to pieces”.

Scope yet to come

The ongoing CBI enquiry into chit fund scam in the regime of Naveen Patnaik offers a tremendous scope to study the syndrome in context of commonality between the father and the son in the zone of achieving personal benefits through power of governance.

BJP engaged in wiping out the evidences of illegal land grabbing

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A tiny facet of misrule and loot of the State going on in Naveen Patnaik’s administration has just been spotted at Gangapatna in the outskirt of mainstream Bhubaneswar, where around a hundred acres of forestland reduced by timber mafia to minor forest, has been grabbed by close collaborators of the Chief Minister, one of whom suspected is his blue-eyed boy Kalpataru Das, sent by him to Rajya Sabha oblivious of many worthy aspirants. Das has a nasty trail of dishonesty and is considered a black sheep by many of his colleagues in the ruling BJD.
Chief Minister’s blue-eyed boy and his collaborators in administration are so deeply linked to this design to grab the hundred acres that the land not only has a surrounding wall erected in contravention of Forrest Laws to give it a glow of exclusivity, but also a road has been built in the offenders’ service.

The Chief Minister’s total silence in the matter, when the whole of the State is in fire over this glimpse of offence, has made the situation more serious than corruption that the Naveen brand of administration stand synonym to.

But the conduct of BJP in this matter makes it more complicated. As the pictures below would show, BJP musclemen have all on a sudden become extremely active to remove the speaking evidences of the crime in a clever manner. They have razed down the compound wall illegally erected around the grabbed patch of land and also have started wiping out the illegally built road thereto.

BJP destroys corpus delicti of land grab 1BJP destroys corpus delicti of land grab 2

Why the BJP has tried to wipe out the evidences of illegal constructions of compound wall and approach road concerning the 100 acres in question, is a question its state president K.V.Singhdeo may answer in interest of probity, if he or his party has the slightest regard for probity in public life.

Brave people of Orissa fighting the Flood, as Political Govt. Discernibly Fails

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

With pictorial input from Chitta Mohanty/Pabitra M. maharatha

Flood 2014

People of Orissa know that their Political Government is of no use in times of calamities like the present flood, though the Executive Government may be of some use during and after the catastrophe. Therefore, oblivious of what their leaders are doing, they are, in their own way, fighting the flood.

The following pictures testify.

leaders fail, life to be saved 3leaders fail, life to be saved 6leaders fail, life to be saved 5

It is to be marked that the affected people belong mainly to the poor working class and marginal farmers, whose houses are not strong enough to withstand the deluge. The picture taken from a distance shows how the rising flood threatens the thatched houses as a helpless person has no other way than watching in despair. No necessity to say where, because it is everywhere in affected Orissa.

resigned to fate as rising flood threatens thatched houses

Executive Government is claiming to have rescued 1.5 lakh people, but as per Deputy Relief Commissioner Pravat Ranjan Mohapatra, 84,650 persons are sheltered in relief camps. Where are the rest of the rescued persons? Answer won’t be available, because anarchy and confusion is the prevailing syndrome Orissa administration is afflicted with, as otherwise, two days ago, when the spate was menacing, the chief minister could not have declared that the “flood situation is under control”. But reality dose not support the CM’s claim, as thereafter the flood updates by officials show that the number of villages and victims of flood is in constant increase.

Minimum 28.58 lakh people in 4,951 villages of 134 blocks in 1,300 gram panchayats spread over 23 districts have been affected due to the floods, if the latest words of Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) are counted. All this is because of a nonchalant Political Government.

Want of Embankment Policy

A man in political power for more than fifteen years, in charge over water resources, Mr. Naveen Patnaik has never bothered about proper maintenance of river embankments and has never contemplated to have even an Embankment Policy, whereas, the Water Plan 2004 is kept inconsequential by the Political Government.

This Water Plan prepared by the Department of Water Resources, under control of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been abandoned.

Though the “Plan” makers failed to find how far the embankments are meant to withstand the discharge in the delta basin, they had made it unambiguously clear that the embankments are deficient in several counts. To quote it, “The embankments are deficient in several counts.
They are not continuous. There are wide gaps at several places. They are not of uniform standard. Some are capital embankments, some are other agricultural embankments, some are test relief embankments and some are gherry bunds. The four categories have separate specifications. They are not properly designed. Most of them are deficient in slope and lack proper elevation at places. They are very poorly maintained”.

Water Plan abandoned

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik should have studied the Water Plan in right earnest and acted to rectify the defects so emphatically pointed out therein. But, he did not do it. He has neither framed an Embankment Policy, nor has he shown any interest to remove the defects in embankment system as shown in the Water Plan 2004. As a result, breached embankments have precipitated severe spread of the flood. See some pictures:

breached embankment 1breached embankment 2breached embankment 3breached embankment 4

The present flood has its severity because of two river systems: Mahanadi and Baitarani.
The pictures below would show, how, oblivious of the danger from fragile, poorly maintained, neglected embankments, industries have been helped by Naveen Patnaik to brutalize the beds of these two rivers causing thereby severe blockage in free flow, forcing the freshets to violate the normal confines. Mark them:

Mahanadi bed in industrial trapSubhas Ch. Pattanayak on the spot where Mahanadi is strangulated for industry

The situation has become worst, as because of his mad support to various industries, the natural beds of important rivers have been savagely tampered with, leading to breach of embankments under pressure of water debouching or over jumping the banks and levees.
The Water Plan 2004 had viewed lack of drainage a major reason of flood. To quote it: “Due to poor drainage system of the area, the flood water stays on and damages the crops and canal system, public and private utilities and properties. When this flood water combines with local rain water, the problem becomes more severe and acute”. Yet the government has failed to understand this phenomenon and helped industries strangulate the natural drainage. When the above two pictures show how Mahanadi is being strangulated, the two pictures below focusses on the debacles Baitarani is being subjected to by shrinkage of her natural breadth of flowing.

Severe destruction of Baitarani bedintake-well-on-baitarani chocks its free flow

 

Strengthening of embankments essential

From the history of flood in Orissa juxtaposed with data of recent floods, it transpires that strengthening of embankments to bear with 16 lakh cusecs of flow is essential to provide the people with enough protection from flood devastation, because floods of post-Hirakud period have not exceeded this volume so far. Only the Political Government could have done it. But Orissa’s Political Government, particularly under the preening prince of Bijudom, has blatantly failed.

Necessity of additional dams

The political Government could have erected additional dams to obstruct floods of this type in a more effective and useful manner. A dam at Tikarpada and another at Naraj in addition to Hirakud would fully control flood in Mahanadi delta, had underlined Dr. A.N.Khosla, He was certainly right, but vote bank politics punctured the proposal.

Alternative

In such circumstance the Water Plan envisaged “construction of a pond with conservation level of RL.54.90m. The control structure has to be designed in such a manner that the outflow from the pond will be limited to a safe discharge of 9 lakh cusec when a 100 year flood impinges. From routing studies it is seen that this is possible if the water level is allowed to rise to RL. 77.0m. When the design flood passes areas lying farthest from the pond will be submerged for only 24 hours and area closest to the pond for a period of 6 days and 6 hours (once in 100 years.). 64 villages will thus be affected. Habitations need not be submerged as gherry bunds up to 2 m height above flood level will be constructed around them. No towns will be affected. The proposal seems attractive and need further detailed investigation and proper design”.

Flood Storage

The Water Planners had further said, “Even if this proposal may not be accepted fully, a combination of the following measures may be considered. Some exclusive flood storage in the tributary reservoirs should be developed to reduce the MWL of the barrage.The ‘dynamic storage’ may be reduced to a lower level acceptable on submergence point of view. The safe discharge at Naraj may be raised to say 14 lakh cusecs experienced in 2001 and 2003 by strengthening the embankments.

Drawbacks in flood forecasting

A better flood forecasting mechanism at Hirakud to enhance the flood moderation capacity of the reservoir” was stressed upon. Behind this was location of specific drawbacks in flood forecasting system. To the Water Planners, “data transmission mechanism” was “unreliable” particularly at the time of flood, while observing that the “existing data communication mechanism is time consuming”. A single UG for a big catchment unit area up to 60,000 km2 involves error and the process of estimation of effective rainfall is also full of error, it was pointed out, in the Water Plan. Therefore, there is enough scope for development in the existing flood forecasting mechanism, it was pointed out in the Water Plan. But, the facilitator of POSCO, Vedanta, Tata, Bhushan and all such likes, got no time in the last ten years to pay attention to this.

Devastated yet brave people

Now as 38 deaths officially reported, 526 villages with 3.26 lakhs pf people marooned as per official report dated yesterday, at least 6.57 lakhs of livestocks severely affected when 96 domestic animals are dead and 2,69,765 Hectares of standing crop totally damaged, 24,823 houses collapsed (Ibid), the loss in terms of health and man days unfathomable, the brave people of Orissa are trying to save themselves, as the Political Government has failed them.