State Must be Stopped from Campaigning against the Union

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Both of them, Prime Minister of India, Dr. Manmohan Singh and Chief Minister of Orissa, Sri Naveen Patnaik are one despite dissimilarities. Their defined dissimilarity lies in their political banners. But they are discernibly similar in offense against India’s common man.

Singh has sabotaged India’s dream for socialism and has subjected the country to American hegemony and for all time to come from now when question would arise as to who dragged our liberty into the pernicious labyrinth of the anarchy called free economy, patriotic Indians would point their fingers at him.

Yet, the way Naveen Patnaik is engaging his sycophants in campaign against Manmohan Singh government is deplorable.

Patnaik’s is not a campaign against Singh’s pro-American and anti-Indian policies. His campaign is against union government’s objections to illegalities resorted to by industries like Vedanta and POSCO.

His is an attempt to mislead people of Orissa against the Union and is clearly anti-national-integration. His speech to students wing of his party at Bhubaneswar on December 5 is a speaking instance.

This must not be tolerated any further.

He must be stopped from endangering national integration the way he has started to do.

But he cannot be stopped as long as the present Assembly, where his sycophants form the majority, is alive. In our system, though the Assembly is a playground for number games, when number supremacy makes it numb, the occasion arises to dissolve it to save democracy. That occasion has arrived.

One who watches the Assembly in session feels disappointed at the decadence of democracy. It needs to be remedied.

President’s rule seems to be the only remedy available in the circumstances. Every step must be taken to stop the State government campaigning against the Union. A political party campaigning against another political party is politically permissible; but not a State Government against the Union Government. The sooner this danger to democracy is removed, the better.

Blacklist POSCO and Take Steps against its Agents in Administration

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Navin’s reign of corruption is ruining Orissa. But that, it has gone up to corrupting the central decision in matter of POSCO is a shocking revelation, which the Mina Gupta Committee has made.

The Committee has submitted a split report with Ms. Gupta having preferred to submit her views separately.

However, there is reason to apprehend that her personal views reduced to her part of the report were governed more by the motive to help POSCO than locating the reality.

There is nothing to be surprised, as it is she who was heading the executive in the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) when POSCO was being patronized in violation of Laws. It was her duty to monitor the implementation of the central Acts in POSCO matters, but she did not. Now therefore it is natural on her part to make light of the crime committed against the people at the behest of POSCO.

Except Ms. Gupta, all the other three members are subject-matter specialists such as Dr Urmila Pingle, an expert on tribal issues; Dr Devendra Pandey, former Director, Forest Survey of India and Dr V. Suresh, an eminent practitioner of environmental laws. These three experts together differ from Ms. Gupta in answering the terms of reference.

The terms of Reference:

The MoEF in partially modifying its earlier order, set out on 27 August 2010 the following terms of reference:

(1) Investigation and ascertainment of the status of the implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act, 2006(FRA) in and around the forest land;

(2) Investigation and ascertainment of the status of the implementation of the Rehabilitation and Resettlement provisions in respect of the said project;

(3) Review compliance with Environmental (EIA), Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) and other clearances and permissions under various statutes, rules, notifications etc.

(4) Review compliance with pari passu conditionality imposed in item (3) and (4) above;

(5) Any other matter in furtherance of the above objectives.

The Committee was required to submit its report finally by 18 October 2010, which has been done.

How have they answered:

In working over the first reference, they have found that the Government of Orissa has blatantly violated the FRA inasmuch as falsehood has been resorted to about completion of its process. “A large number of documentary and oral evidences have been found to support the presence of forest dwelling STs and OTFDs in the proposed POSCO project area contrary to the claim made by the district administration and the Orissa government that there are none”, they have concluded. Stating that the “District administration of Jagatsinghpur has not been fair and democratic in implementing the FRA in the project affected villages” their report has made it clear that in “Recognizing the role of Gram Sabha in implementation of FRA as well as in diversion of forest land for non-forestry purpose, the MoEF in its circular dated 3 Aug 2009 made it clear that a letter from each of the concerned Gram Sabha indicating completion of the process of the FRA and of prior informed consent for any diversion of the forest land is a pre-condition that must be satisfied before final forest clearance is granted. Instead of obtaining certificate from Gram Sabhas, Orissa Government, vide letter dated 16 March 2010, forwarded certificate of the Collector of Jagatsinghpur enclosing proceedings of the Sub-Divisional Level Committee of FRA. This is clearly not in compliance with but actually in violation of the conditions imposed by the MoEF”.

Against reference No.2, the Committee observes that Orissa Government, eager to patronize POSCO, has shown no concern for the poorest people. “A large number of fishing communities depend on fishing in the Jatadharmohan creek area in which the POSCO project is located. They have old and recognized customary rights of fishing in the area which have been overlooked and left out of the R & R scheme”. Similarly, “Landless workers, economically the most vulnerable social section, have not been included in the list of affected persons”, the report has pointed out.

In the matter of Reference No.3, the report has unambiguously exposed that there have been “many serious lapses and illegalities in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) process”. On the matrix of Comprehensive Environmental Pollution Index (CEPI), Paradeep, already “a severely polluted area” is almost a critically polluted industrial cluster with 69.26 score in the index. The Orissa State Pollution Control Board, despite in know of this and notwithstanding POSCO’s mum over many queries it had made about matters of substantial importance, specially air pollution, rushed to recommend for clearances and issue of Consent to establish, which, the committee held to be “ a serious abdication of statutory responsibility”. On the other hand, by fixing public hearing venue at Kujang, about 15 Km distance away from affected villages while keeping people cowed down by “a strong police force” posted “at the venue of the public hearing a day prior to the hearing itself”, the State had made “a mockery of rule of law and procedural safeguards”, the report has noted. The report has held the State government guilty of suppression of information as is evidenced in its non-revelation of allocation of additional water to POSCO from Hansua Nalla for construction purpose.

The fourth Reference has been answered with observations that there are “a number of serious lapses and violations, including suppression of facts”.

These are only samples of lapses. The report is full of many more such defects with details.

We had in these pages shown that to protect POSCO interest, the government run by Navin Ptnaik in Oissa has been creating cleavage amongst the people. The committee in its report has said the same thing.

“The POSCO project has, unfortunately, divided the villagers of the eight project-villages into opposing camps and has created a great deal of hostility within the Villages, in what was earlier a peaceful, agricultural area. The hostility has reached levels where violent assaults among the villagers have taken place, as well as
confrontation with the police, resulting in grievous injuries and even in one death”, it has mentioned.

MoEF has asked Orissa Government to react to the report.

Navin and his troop have started saying that the lapses pointed out by the committee would be studied and if found necessary, suitable remedial steps could be taken.

Remedy of lapses in respect of projects is not significant; because, that has to happen if they are to proceed.

What is important at the moment is that POSCO is a foreign firm that has used the Government of Orissa as its instrument in hitting its target. Navin Patnaik administration has acted as its rubber stamp. Starting from Collector of Jagatsingpur to Pollution Control Board, from lower bureaucracy to Chief Secretary, from the ruling party’s local elements to the Chief Minister, in every relevant office of this Government, the agents of POSCO have ruled the roost.

Steps should be taken to determine the reasons of Orissa Government functionaries acting as facilitators of POSCO. But as from the Committee report it is clear that many illegalities and violation of Acts and Rules have been committed by the Government both in the State and the Central administration to help the foreign firm achieve its aims, it is necessary in national interest to blacklist POSCO immediately.

If the political leadership has an iota of probity and patriotism, this is the minimum that is expected.

CLEAVAGE AMONGST THE ORIYAS BEING CREATED TO HELP INDUSTRIES

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Chief Minister Navin Patnaik will be ill remembered for incomparable misrule; but what is the severest harm he has done to Orissa?

He has ushered in the environment of creation of cleavage amongst the Oriyas, would be the answer.

His patronization to POSCO is an instance of misrule. Whosoever gets elected to rule may misrule. In a democratic society misrule is not totally ruled out.

Legendary leader of Freedom Movement, Orissa’s former Chief Minister Nabakrushna Choudhury had made such a public statement that Navin’s father Biju Patnaik was to eventually succumb to public demands for action against him for corruption. While addressing the inaugural function of Gandhi Tattwa Prachar Kendra on 14 July 1963 at Balasore, when Biju was the CM, Choudhury had exposed how the person in power was collecting money clandestinely from the mine-owners and other operators of the underworld and helping them profusely compensated at the cost of the public. His speech was widely covered by local, national and international media. This had encouraged investigative journalists to work on Biju. In July 1964, G.S.Bhargava had brought out a series of his investigative reports on corruption of Biju in The Indian Express. How the students, the youth and general public of Orissa had become one in demands for action against Biju and how that forced him to quit behind the face-saving screen of Kamraj plan is well on records in the political history.

The same pattern of nexus between politicians in power and industries/ mine-mongers/underworld that we call misrule is yet in vogue everywhere in India.

So Navin’s misrule in matters of POSCO is not unexpected.

But it is never expected of a Chief Minister to stay nonchalant if people of the area pledged by him to POSCOO are divided into two groups such as Bipakshavadi and Sapakshavadi. The first group is the people that have been living peacefully for generations in the environment that has nourished them through out through cultivation and healthy climate that the local forests have ensured. They do not want to leave their living environment for benefit of a foreign firm. The second group, though abysmally small in number, insists that the locals leave their living environment. Obviously this group is cultivated to support the foreign firm. The people, who, till Navin’s arbitrary imposition of POSCO on the soil, had been living like a united family, have now been divided. As if this is not enough, a minister, such as Damodar Raut, who represents the POSCO area in the Assembly, has been used to divide the locals on caste line, as is evidenced in his cliquish chiding of Harijans (Scheduled Caste Persons) in a public meeting, when these traditionally exploited people constitute the majority of frontline obstructers to transfer of their living environment to the foreigner from Korea. Retention of Rout in the cabinet despite this dastardly anti-democratic conduct makes clear the Chief Minister’s hidden role in creation of cleavage amongst the people for benefit of POSCO.

The same tactics of division of Oriyas in interest of industries, specifically of non-Oriya origin, has been in use in Niyamgiri. The unique and ancient tribes indigenous to the Hills are threatened with displacement from their living environment. To pave the way for Anil Agrawal to destroy the eco-system, betrayers are selected from the tribes, brainwashed and planted to start internecine war amongst the hill dwellers. Police is pressed to prosecute the peaceful tribes opposing displacement from their living environment as Maoists and Corporate Media is used to sing glory to the brainwashed betrayers in order to demoralize the rest of the tribes who oppose industrial rape of Mother Nature and desecration of their sacred Hills.

The tactics of division of Oriyas started aggressively in organized manner from Kalinganagar for the benefit of the Tata empire is being applied everywhere in Orissa in the regime of Navin Patnaik to suit the design of non-Oriya land-grabbers.

Navin’s love for Anil Agrawal’s “commercial hub” project, touted as Vedanta University, is so effusive that when the Lokpal directions in the matter are being buried under its force, lobbyists of this project of so called world class education are shining bright under the arch of administration.

This is happening when textbooks – nationalized in Orissa – are not being supplied to students despite lapse of several months of the academic year. Thousands of Schools are roofless, thousands of Classes are teacherless and around a lakh of faculty positions in Lower to High Schools are vacant. Teaching in post-high-school stage is in such disarray due to want of faculties, laboratories, libraries and study atmosphere that medical and engineering seats are lying vacant in their majority as the products of Orissa Colleges are found absolutely deficient for entry into techno-institutes despite most liberal entrance tests. The Government run by Navin Patnaik has thus ruined education in Orissa. Instead of salvaging the State’s undergraduate education from prevalent atrophy, he has been hoodwinking the people for Vedanta University. And in its nefarious design to help Anil Agrawal grab multithousand acres of precious coastal land at Puri, his government has encouraged internecine quarrels amongst the locals while pressing the police to prosecute the people that are against land allocation to the Ratnakar posing as Valmiki. In this attempt, certain non-resident Oriyas are also being used to divide the State’s intelligentsia so that the rapists of their precious eco-systems appear like benevolent heroes.

Industries may come and industrialists may go. But it would be hard for Orissa to be salvaged from the cleavage Navin has already created amongst her children to help corporate houses divide and rule the land.

Centre Punctures the POSCO Pelt: Navin’s Perjury Exposed

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The MLA from Paradeep, Dr. Damodar Raut, ousted from the cabinet on 16.5.2006 by Chief Minister Navin Patnaik for reasons best known to himself, punched Patnaik on his face by threatening in his journal “Sanchar” to expose him as “the mercury was falling down from the Belgium glass” and curiously enough he was soon inducted back into the cabinet on 22.5.2009.

As he became a minister again, he stopped exposing Patnaik.

But the central Government in the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) has punctured the POSCO pelt and exposed the perjury resorted to by Navin (in POSCO matter the administration acts as per his direction) in support of this foreign firm.

As indigenous inhabitants’ resistance to POSCO becomes more resolute, the MoEF and Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA ) jointly commissioned a Committee under N.C.Saxena that deputed Arupjyoti Saikia, Ravi Rebbapragada and Ashish Kothari to study and report if there is any violation of environmental laws involving the POSCO project. On the basis of realities found on the spot and documentary as well as oral evidences, the three member committee came to the conclusion that the provisions under the Forest Rights Act (FRA), specifically the rights of Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (OTFDs) stipulated therein, were blatantly violated and the State Government had given false and fabricated reports to the Union Government in order only to serve the interest of POSCO.

Therefore, the “final approval” given by the MoEF on 29 December 2009 was itself a violation of its circular No. F. No.11-9/1998-FC (pt) dated 30 July 2009 and improper.

This improper approval was influenced by the false reports given by the State, the committee held.

Hence it urged upon the MoEF to withdraw the forest clearance issued on 29 December 2009 and to ask the Orissa government to stop all such work till the required processes under the FRA are completed.

Accordingly the MoEF has written to the Orissa Government to “ensure that work, if any, being undertaken on the said land, for the said project, including handing over of the forest and non-forest land to the said project, shall be stopped forthwith”.

Chief Minister Navin Patnaik has sought for Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh’s intervention and as the later is known for his pro-POSCO stance, time would soon say as to how the Union handles the predicament.

But the pertinent question at this point of time is: why the Government of Navin Patnaik has misled the Union Government with false reports on compliance of the FRA in the so-called POSCO area?

POSCO Scandal: High Court Thwarts Orissa Government’s Repeated Act of Favoritism

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa High Court today found the state government guilty of favoritism and quashed its recommendation for giving Prospecting License (PL) on the Khandadhar iron ore mines to Posco-India, viewed as the object of Chief Minister Navin Patnaik’s cup-board love.

A bench comprising Justice B P Das and Justice B P Ray in hearing a petition of Geomin Enterprises has disapproved the Government’s modus operandi and directed for reconsideration of the recommendation that breathes discrimination against about 227 applicants for mining lease over Khandadhar.

The state government had recommended to the Center in January 2009 in favor of the South Korean Company in total disregard to objections of the Adivasis as well as people of Orissa to whom Khandadhar is Orissa’s life-saving eco-system.

In this anti-people act, the Government had not hesitated to slough over other applicants’ right not to be discriminated against.

This had prompted Geomin Enterprises, one of the applicants to challenge it in the High Court of Orissa and subsequently 16 others had intervened.

Navin Patnaik is in the center of suspicion as favoritism shown to POSCO was not inadvertent. It was deliberate. Earlier in December 2006 the central government had turned down the state’s recommendation for POSCO on ground of discernible discrimination and stressed on re-hearing of all applications by the state. But POSCO was again the beneficiary of favoritism.

The High Court order is therefore more significant.

ORISSA IN SEVERE PREDICAMENT: ARCELOR MITTAL BLACKMAILS HER CM TO RENDER THE FARMERS INSTANTLY LANDLESS

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa is a land of farmers. Proud farmers that are self-employed communities of autonomous social forces for whom, in Ashoka’s confession in the 2nd Kalinga Rock Edict, Orissa had remained “Abijita” (Unbeatable) and as observed by the area Magistrate of the British regime, in the matter of India’s first war of independence called the Paik Vidroh of Orissa, she and her people were such that they were beyond being subdued either by the British Military or by the Police. (Magistrate W.Forrester, Khurda to Commissioner Robert Ker, at Para 18 of his Report Dated 9.9.1818).

All the fellows considered Orissa’s top level bureaucrats or technocrats, professionals or politicians, residential or non-residential, who assert or are viewed as Oriya elites, come either from the community of farmers or from the strata that have prospered by cheating the farmers in the name of religion or under the cover of trade in crops or crop connected commodities or crop loan. Hence whosoever has ascended to upper echelons in Orissa, owes his or her elite status only to the farmers of Orissa.

Chief Minister Navin Patnaik has been injuring these proud farmers by forcing them to part with their soil so that industrialists would rule the roost.

Farmers of Orissa are self-employed. They supplement each other in clusters of self-employed autonomous social forces. Navin’s POSCO love threatens them with displacement and consequential destruction of their self–dependence that eventually would force them to live as servants for survival in an environment where labour department is so pro-management that availability of service with fair pay is impossible.

When the farmers of Orissa are reluctant to part with their lands, POSCO, hand-in-glove with the miscreants in power, has cultivated dogs in the kennels of the elite that are not only barking at those farmers but also have started pouncing upon their leaders.

This is the scenario everywhere in Orissa.

When dogs of the industries fail to frighten the farmers, two specific strategies are adopted.

The Government arbitrarily allots thousands of Acres of land reserved by the ancestors for use of future generations of the Oriyas to industries basically belonging to non-Oriyas, thereby bestowing upon them the unholy rights they need to operate from the soil of Orissa against the people of Orissa. Like scheming prostitutes side with shrewd pimps, media bigwigs stand with the ad-givers and pleasure-providers and use their misguiding might to highlight how land allocation to these industries would usher in the bright future for people of Orissa when its farmers know that their future would be doomed forever under shifting of administrative priority from agriculture to industry.

When grabbing of the land belonging to future generation of Oriyas fails to fully satisfy their avarice, they use the second strategy.

They start blackmailing Navin Patnaik, whose spree of signing of MOUs has, they know, kept his sail afloat in Orissa’s turbulent political seas. They start threatening to nullify the MOUs and to roll back their proposed ventures if the several thousand of Acres of consolidated land they want is not readily handed over to them. POSCO had played the tricks a few weeks ago and now has Arcelor Mittal.

Arcelor Mittal’s unilateral declaration to roll back his proposed steel industry from Orissa if obstacles to land acquisition in its favour are not stilled by Navin Government is being read as blackmail used by Mittal against Navin to force him to immediately render Orissa farmers landless by force.

Mittal has not gained over Orissa government to go away the way he asserts. It is not for serving the people of Orissa but for exploiting them for his own profit, Mittal has been trying to grab land in Orissa.

The Orissa Secretary in the Department of Mines had in October 2007 informed the Central Government that Arcelor Mittal “have made a formal application for allocation of land in Keonjhar district and the State Government is looking into the matter”. But three months prior to that, in July 2007, the Company’s Chairman L.N.Mittal, had declared at New Delhi that they “have already placed an order of $50 million to purchase equipment for the two steel units (one each in Orissa and Jharkhand of 12 MT capacity)”. This makes it clear that even before initiation of steps for acquisition of lands, Mittal was so very sure of getting ownership thereof that he had invested so massive money “to purchase equipments”. In other words, Mittal had decided to grab the Orissa land and had made Navin Patnaik support his design. This is a nefarious mischief in play against the people of Orissa.

The proud farmers of Orissa, by obstructing transfer of their beloved land to Mittal, have frustrated the evil design so far. Hence Mittal’s new drama of declaring a roll back can be termed as deliberate design to provide Navin with new arsenals to proceed swiftly against farmers that are opposing to be rendered landless.

When the State Government is not for the people of the State but for the land grabbers from outside the State, the contradiction seems too sharp for the people to tolerate.

Orissa is really in a severe predicament.

ACTIVE INDIVIDUALS IN ORISSA POLITICS PRESENTLY PREFER BJP

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Active individuals in Orissa politics are eager to join BJP in the context of Election 2009.

Repentant for having spent so much energy for a party that has turned into a body of Sonia factotums and a launching pad of American interest, Sri Tara Prasad Bahinipati, who was markedly the most vociferous member of Congress in the outgoing Orissa Assembly, has resigned from its primary membership and has joined the BJP.

Uma Ballav Rath, the lone crusader against Navin misrule in the district of Puri is leaving Congress in protest against factotumism. BJP being a party run on internal democracy, he is trying to make his tryst with it.

Amongst all political activists of Orissa Bijay Mohapatra is a noted name, who, despite being a founder member of BJD, was dismissed by Navin simply because he had refused to accept Navin Patnaik’s personal hegemony over the collective body. He has joined BJP after his party NCP allied with Navin.

Ms. Archana Nayak, who was a BJD Member of Parliament in the outgoing Loksabha and known from her student days as a person dedicated to the cause she takes up, has joined BJP.

The list is long and rising.

But note worthy is, when politicians with a sense of self-respect are resigning from Congress and BJD is trying to catch as much of them as possible but getting only the sophomores, seasoned politicians and veterans of hustings are joining only the BJP.

Communists have become such a laughing stuff after seeking refuge under the POSCO pillar Navin Patnaik that not a single political fellow worth mention is even looking at them.

This is worrisome for the progressive peoples; but in context of election 2009, this is the realty.