Global protests against Vedanta continue as verdict deferred again

By OrissaMatters Bureau

People across the globe have registered their protests against Vedanta once again. On January 11, parallel demonstrations took place in Orissa, London and New York where activists in hundreds raised slogans and upheld placards to denounce the corporate annexations of indigenous peoples’ lands.

Orissa

From Niyamgiri hills, more than 500 people turned up at a rally which covered about two kilometers in the Bhawanipatna town. Resistance movements in Lanjigarh have also inspired tribal representatives of Karlapat region whose mountains are now being targeted by the mining companies. In this rally, several people who were cheated of their lands narrated the atrocities and tortures they faced from Vedanta highhandedness in Lanjigarh. They also gave an account of how the company goons and the local police routinely harass the women in the afflicted areas.

London
In solidarity with the indigenous peoples of Orissa, a loud group of protesters from Foil Vedanta and other grassroots groups mobbed the company’s Mayfair headquarters in London the same day. Holding a banner that read “FCA: de-list Vedanta”, the demonstrators called for the Financial Conduct Authority to remove Vedanta from the London Stock Exchange for poor corporate governance and human rights crimes.

New York

Likewise, in New York City, protesters gathered outside the United Nations headquarters to highlight the company’s human rights crimes, displaying placards that read: “Our Mountain! Our Rights! Vedanta: Give Up!” and “Dongria Kond’s Niyamgiri: Hands Off!”

Simultaneously, the Supreme Court of India has deferred its final verdict on Vedanta’s planned mega-mine until 21st January. If permission to mine is denied Vedanta is likely to close its Lanjigarh refinery due to lack of bauxite costing them billions. On Sunday the Minister for Rural Development Jairam Ramesh plans to visit the threatened mountain to visit the Dongria Kond.

Various grassroots groups including Phulbari Solidarity Group, Japan Against Nuclear, Tamil Solidarity and London Mining Network, along with Foil Vedanta gathered at Vedanta’s London headquarters to add their voice to recent pressure for Vedanta to be de-listed from the London Stock Exchange for its poor corporate governance, illegal operations and major human rights violations. They shouted ‘Vedanta out of London’ and blew horns and whistles. Several parliamentarians and the former CBI Director Richard LambertLondon have highlighted how Vedanta’s listing is used for legal immunity to hide their corporate crimes.

At the Supreme Court in Delhi today lawyers for Vedanta dwelled on the ongoing demonstrations in London, asking why people are protesting there, and claiming that India is suffering because of this. Judges noted that this is not relevant to the case and pointed out that people have a right to protest. Foil Vedanta’s spokesperson reacted:

“Vedanta is a London listed company and profits from this affiliation. It is typical of Vedanta to assume they are above the law and above public accountability. We will continue to draw attention to their corporate crimes here in London”.

Activists at the rally in Bhawanipatna chanted “Vedanta go back: water, land and forest ours. We are Supreme people of the supreme court” while dalit leader Surendra Nag spoke about the loss of land and livelihood for local people, some of whom have ended up as beggars. One man spoke of how his whole family had been tortured by company goons and they had lost 6 acres of land to the company without compensation.

The project has been racked with controversy from the start, as a spate of recent coverage points out: The Lanjigarh refinery built to process the bauxite from the hills was illegally constructed, the court case presided over by a judge with shares in the company, and the refinery should never have been given permission without including the associated mega mine in impact assessments. The Delhi High Court is also currently investigating the large donations from Vedanta to India’s two main political parties which could be deemed illegal as Vedanta is a foreign (British) company.

A cover story in “Open Magazine” in December details evidence of corruption and collusion between Vedanta and the Orissa state government, local officials, judges and the police to force the project through. Meanwhile Vedanta’s chairman and 56.7% owner Anil Agarwal has launched a rare PR crusade claiming that Vedanta ‘have not cut one tree’ and respects and preserves the rights of the protesting indigenous tribe living on the threatened mountain. He sets out his extractive philosophy for India – suggesting that exploration should be drastically increased and regulation decreased to provide for the domestic market for metals and oil.

If Vedanta loses the case to allow state owned company Orissa Mining Corporation to mine the mountain on their behalf they may have to close the dependent Lanjigarh refinery costing them billions. Under enormous pressure from Vedanta the Orissa government has suggested alternative bauxite supplies from a deposit located in a major wildlife sanctuary and tribal area at Karlapat arousing anger and opposition from grassroots groups.

The court’s decision rests on whether the Green Bench of India’s Supreme Court rules rules the rights of forest dwellers to be ‘inalienable or compensatory’. In view of this, India’s Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo has asked the Environment Minister to ensure the rights of forest dwellers is protected in the spirit of the Forest Dwellers Act.

Speaking about the verdict, Dongria Kond activist Lado Sikaka states: “We will continue our fight even if Vedanta gets permission. Are these Judges above the Law? In effect, they act as if they are. Niyamgiri belongs to us. We are fighting because We are part of it. Our women are harassed and we are called by the police and threatened not to go to rallies. Last month they have been working like Vedanta’s servants.”

Foil Vedanta’s Samarendra Das says: “Vedanta is not the only mining company that should be de-listed for their corporate crimes. Infamous London listed offenders Lonmin in South Africa, Monterrico in Peru, GCM in Phulbari and Bumi in Indonesia should also be investigated for extensive human rights atrocities.”

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.

Opposition Chief Whip Stripped the Chief Minister Layer by Layer in Vedanta Matter

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In a opening statement on the adjournment motion moved by Opposition Chief Whip Prasad Harichandan, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik told Orissa Assembly this forenoon that the period of limitation of challenging the order of Orissa High Court in Vedanta University matter is not yet over.

The High Court verdict delivered on November 16 has nullified the land lease granted to the non-existent University. It has held the land acquisition illegal and directed for restoration of the acquired land to the owners thereof. The government has been taken to task by the Court on about 16 counts and corrupt conduct of the government in the matter has got focused in the judgment.

The CM in his statement tried to counter the determinations of the Court and to show that there is no illegality in acquisition and allocation of land to Vedanta University.

Harichandan took the CM by horn on this ground. Is the CM competent to say that the High Court judgment is not correct? he asked. The supreme Court is the only authority that can weigh the the High Court verdict, not the CM, he said.

As on the day, the reality is that the High Court has held the acquisition of land and allotment thereof to a non-existent university as illegal and impermissible, said he.

Prasad further pointed out that the intention behind the rash acquisition of lands, in utter disregard to the stipulations under Land Acquisition Act is held by the Court as mala fide. Hammering on the CM’s statement he said that the government knew that in showing his concern as a public company for the purpose of facilitating the land acquisition, Anil Agrawal was cheating Orissa. It was a must necessity for the government to verify the truth from the Registrar of Companies. But because of the now legally known mala fide motive of the CM, the executive did not dare to obtain any such verification from the Company Registrar, he said.

The CM is clearly in a criminal nexus with Anil Agrawal in cheating the people in the name of a non-existent university and hence needs be prosecuted under the Indian penal Code. Sloughing over of objections / advice of the Law department as well as others, for instance – Higher Education Minister’s note on the file dated 31.5.2007 where , instead of taking a decision at his end, he had noted, “sensitive issue, CM may decide” – is indicative of CM’s involvement with the crime in question.

Prasad alleged that a case against Anil Agrawal pending since 23 May 2008 is not proceeding as the Crime Branch is not getting his address whereas his visit to the CM’s chamber is often telecasted, each time in know of the police higher-ups. Obviously the CM has been giving him protection, he alleged.

When for this and other instances of abetment in the crime by Agrawal against human rights, fundamental rights , forest and environmental rights etc the CM, if laws of the land are to prevail, needs be prosecuted under 120(b) of the IPC, a criminal case has already been registered against him day before yesterday, registered vide No.371/2010 before the SDJM, Puri, he said.

In the circumstances, Naveen babu should quit the CM post as with him at the supreme helm of affairs, the State cannot conduct the prosecution properly.

From the very beginning of his speech, ruling party backbenchers as well as distinguished heavyweights were wildly roaring to suppress him. At a point, the Leader of Opposition had to rise to ask the Speaker as to whether that was the manner of debate he was supposed to preside over? And, whether that was the pattern of protection he was legally required to provide to members speaking on call? Then for a few minutes the ruling party loudmouths abstained from shouting. But no sooner than that, Prasad was asked to cut short his speech in view of paucity of time. And the next from the notice givers was called upon to speak.

The debate is to continue in the second half of the day.

Alumina Refinery at Lanjigarh a Possible Epitome of Foreign Conspiracy against India

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Time must come after a decade or two, when India will have to develop her own industries to manufacture aircrafts for civilian as well as military purpose and then she would need enough bauxite ore to get the required metal for the purpose. But by then she might have been denuded of her bauxite deposits if the Vedanta type of extraction is encouraged, fears eminent economist Prof. Nilakanth Rath in a mail to Sachi Satpathy, a known facilitator of conversations on Orissa’s development.

“I have read the Vedanta Committee report. It is well drafted”, says Prof. Rath. To him, “it is sad” that the government of Orissa “quite clearly” has “failed to carry out its statutory duties and the company and the government have given false reports to the centre”.

“What surprised me is that all this falsehood was indulged in to ensure the supply of ore from the Niyamgiri hills, which will supply seven per cent of the total ore to the mill from Orissa, and with the illegally expanded production capacity of the mill to 6 mt of aluminium, i.e., 18 mt of ore, the Niyamgiri hills will be exhausted in just four years.”

He wonders, “It is difficult to understand why the company and the state government had to indulge in so much of falsehood and court cases for so little.”

Prof. Rath, presently Hon. Fellow, Indian Institute of Political Economy, Pune, leads us into “a different and wider question” that needs deep cogitation.

Taking into accounts the international data on bauxite ore deposits, he notes that the biggest deposit of bauxite at places like Australia and Niger, which are much larger than India’s, are marked for quite low exploitation. “I guess …..India’s comparatively smaller deposits will be exhausted in about a couple of decades if the proposed expansion by Vedanta and some others is added to the current rate of exploitation……..If my rough impression from some data I had seen is correct, such rapid exploitation of our very limited ore will leave the country at the mercy of the MNCs that will control the large resources in Australia and Niger, by the time India will begin to develop industries, like aircraft manufacture for civilian as well as military purpose in the next couple of decades” says Prof. Rath.

He suggests that India’s known bauxite deposits should be studied in the context of the current rate of extraction of the ore and Vedanta type of added extraction plans and handled with foresightedness if long-term national interest is to be prioritized over instant private interest.

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.

The Polluter Needs be Kicked Out: It Has Started Polluting Even the Press

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In these pages, Anil Agrawal’s design to have a “commercial hub” on the most sensitive sea shore near Puri in the guise of a so-called world class university has been earlier exposed. The Orissa Lokpal has expressed shock over rape of laws by the State Government in acting Agrawal’s acolyte in grabbing his desired land and has wanted action against the politico-bureaucratic pimps because of whom the laws are so raped.

But it is more shocking to see that a major newspaper of Orissa – Sambad – has used its pages to brainwash the people that are opposing allocation of land at Puri to Agrawal for his commercial hub styled Vedenta University.

The nefarious design is given a news shape that goes on to say that continuous opposition to allocation of the Puri land to Vedanta University has put its shift to Andhra Pradesh on motion. It has tried to mislead the people of Orissa by saying that Andhra Chief Minister has offered 4000 acres of land anywhere Agrawal prefers in the province as his State needs the world class university.

How media organizations are acting as facilitators of plutocracy by spreading “paid news” is not new to our observation. In these pages, we have shown how mediacracy has become dangerous to democracy. Much after we exposed the syndrome, Press Council of India had recently resolved to have a study on it. But, the pimps are so powerful that it had to suppress its own finding on “paid news”.

So, “paid news” is increasingly being used as “news” to mislead the general public by miscreants, politicians, power mongers, land grabbers, mines looters and all sorts of economic offenders.

Against this backdrop, the Sambad news referred to supra is not surprising. But it is certainly shocking as the paper, so far seen as a dedicated carrier of indigenous interests of Orissa, has indulged in serving the interest of a concern that has corrupted Orissa administration to bag benefits at the cost of indigenous people.

The shady operator has a few contact killers that are trying to kill Oriya conscience from foreign soil in the name of world class university even though the said term has not been defined in the Act formulated/framed by Navin Patnaik Government for the Vedanta University so far. Sambad, inadvertently or willfully, has joined the club of the conscience killers.

It has forgotten that the ultimate beneficiary of its new campaign is a polluter that has ruined Bansadhara and her river-system. It has severely jeopardized the unique eco-system of Niyamagiri. It has already pushed lakhs of indigenous Oriyas into the labyrinth of slow poison emitted from its alumina refinery in Lanjigarh. And, it has corrupted the administration to bag benefits and is being opposed to by massive majority of the Oriyas.

From amongst the entire population of Oriyas, only a couple of persons are supporting Vedanta. If Sambad has failed to see this reality, it is perhaps for the pollution that the Press in Orissa has been subjected to by this purchaser of elite support.

In interest of Orissa, notwithstanding what its campaigners say, natural resources of Orissa need be saved from its avarice and people of Orissa need be saved from exploitative conspiracy and Press of Orissa need be saved from being gained over to mislead the people and hence the polluter needs be kicked out.

TATHAGAT IS RIGHT

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In a signed editorial on May 11, editor of Orissa’s well-read broadsheet’Dharitri’, Mr. Tathagat Satpathy has preferred irrigation to an IIT in Orissa.

“Put priority on providing water to agricultural lands instead of spending money for IIT, so that the Oriyas, basically agriculturists as they are, will earn enough money to afford high-tech education, as and when they want, to their children in any top-rated institute anywhere; but don’t misspend money on IIT as that will not help poor cultivators, forming the majority in Orissa, to get them admitted even to the same IIT established in the State”, he has argued.

It reminds me of the agitation for water to agricultural land that I had initiated at Athgarh in early eighties, in the constituency of the then Chief Minister Mr. J.B. Pattanaik in open disapproval of his famous call for establishment of a thousand industries in a thousand days. Priority on agriculture, not industry that was the theme of that agitation. The anthem of that agitation, authored by me, is available in saubhasya.com. I had kept that agitation symbolically limited to the constituency of the chief minister.

Notwithstanding howsoever wrongly he is painted, Mr. J.B.Pattnaik is a pro-people leader who appreciates demands from his political opponents if thereby the common man would get any benefit.

This I say on the basis of my experience with him as his archrival in his constituency for almost the decade full of eighties. He had appreciated my demands for priority on irrigation and had remarkably shifted his priority from industry to agriculture.

But before he could do something tangible for agriculture, omnipotent Time played the trick and his second term as chief minister having terminated prematurely, Congress replaced him with me as its candidate and offered me its ticket with hand symbol. On principle I declined to accept the offer and instead, filed my nomination on behalf of the United Communist Party of India. Congress did not plant any other candidate and supported me officially. Excepting the voters who were politically conscious and had understood the significance of Congress alliance with the UCPI, the general electorate refused to support me, even though individually all of them were my admirers, such was the aversion of people towards the Congress by then.

That was a time of confusion.

Congress was soiled to the core as the ‘Mr. Clean’ image of Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi had been razed down by his own finance minister V. P. Singh in Bofors deal.

Moreover, elevation of R.K.Dhawan, the man suspected to have played a key role in murder of Indira Gandhi, to an immensely powerful politico-administrative position by Rajiv Gandhi had made people look at him and his cronies askance.

Justice M. P. Thakkar, who had officially investigated the assassination of Indira Gandhi, had reported that “needle of suspicion” pointed directly towards Dhawan. He had submitted this report to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi personally. But instead of initiating action against Dhawan, Rajiv had brought him back to power as Prime Minister’s Additional Secretary, a post from where he later controlled the entire cabinet.

This was quite baffling that after becoming the Prime Minister, Rajiv could reinstate and enhance the powers of a person, who was factually suspected by a judicial commission of enquiry as a kingpin in the murder of his mother, the iron PM India had ever had, who had in course of time become a total antagonist of US of America and in whose assassination Justice Thakkar had seen the shadows of CIA.

People were sensing rat but unable to react. As and when time will come, they would sure oust Rajiv from chair, it was clear.

V.P.Singh took the advantage and many a discredited politicians like Biju Patnaik saw a new possibility of recapturing power by siding with Singh. This had metamorphosed into a new outfit of vested interest design called the Janata Dal.

On the other hand, people were eager to get rid of the scandalous phase of Congress rule. Therefore, Congress in Orissa also got defeated. And hence, Congress’ official offer of support to me had affected my electoral prospects quite adversely.

Biju grabbed the opportunity and captured power and then, as was his wont, unleashed chaos. A new era of payola determining administrative decisions commenced.

Corruption and chaos became so rampant in Orissa that his staff in the Secretariat had to give vent to their irk by manhandling him in the office premises and he had to be rescued by police. Nowhere in India government employees had ever manhandled a sitting chief minister in the Secretariat like this. The entire State was drowned under misrule.

This helped Congress in gaining back people’s support as, through comparison, they felt that Congress misrule was less harsh than that of Biju.

JB became the chief minister again.

As I saw, immediately after he took oath, he took steps for improvement in agriculture.

An official from the agriculture department had come to me to explore as to what best could be done for agriculture.

I had responded with my views that any attempt to effect any improvement in agriculture would go barren if the executive is not bound by an agriculture policy.

Then as I saw, the first thing to happen very fast in JB’s new phase of chiefministership was formulation and promulgation of an official policy on agriculture.

Under his stewardship, Orissa not only got a government that was bound by law to a first-of-its-kind-agriculture-policy, but also agriculture got the status of industry.

But Congress is a party of many peculiarities where self-seekers carve out their own domains and operate those domains without any objection as long as the so-called high command enjoys their loyalty.

Taking advantage of this specific character of Congress, persons with unbridled ambition like Basant Biswal and pseudo-socialist saboteurs like Bhagabat Mohanty had built up their own syndicate inside the State unit and maddened by inferiority complex and envy had been contriving such scenarios that JB could not employ his full vigor for implementation of the policy he had framed. Ultimately he succumbed to the high-command syndrome of Congress and the party suffered the logical setback in the elections.

In the void thus created Biju’s posthumous spirit taking a bizarre turn his son Naveen Patnaik gained the reign and pampered by family factotums attired as politicians, he started looking at Orissa as his fiefdom. And, befitting a fiefdom, administration discarded whatever democratic commitments it had had and adopted sycophantic stances so densely that Orissa’s every step became a step against the commons.

Priority of the State changed from improvement of agriculture to acquisition of agricultural land for allocation to private industries. This has resulted in many perversions, patronization to POSCO with 4000 acres of land on the security sensitive seashore near Paradip and 8000 acres of land to Anil Agrawal for his industrial hub in the guise of a university on the marine drive near Puri being instances.

Naveen Patnaik has clearly been ruining Orissa.

Come to the official records.

Open any page of the Reports of the Comptroller And Auditor General, you will find immense instances of unbridled corruption, malfeasances, misappropriation and misadministration going on with ever rising frequency unpunished.

You will find instances of how the funds earmarked for poverty amelioration are being used to ensure profit fetching by commission agents.

You will find instances of how contractors have been grabbing the money meant for providing food to the starving village folks, of how food-for-work funds are looted by engaging machineries instead of men and women by the contractors under the nose of the concerned authorities.

You will find instances of how public sector undertakings are subjected to avaricious assaults by their boards of management appointed by the government and how the government goes on giving protection to persons by whose help unscrupulous businessmen have been bilking the State of its revenue worth crores and crores of rupees

Look at any area audited, you will only find instances of misappropriation and mismanagement, administrative chaos and corruption.

But you will never find a single instance of good governance in Orissa.

Even the government’s own contrivances will fail to give you a different picture.

Look at the Department of Information & Public Relations. It publishes two journals: Orissa Review and Utkal Prasang. It churns out innumerable press notes and sponsored ads. You will find in them amplification of how foreign operators like the POSCO are being established in Orissa, but you will never find a single instance of how a displaced Oriya has been genuinely and gainfully established.

In the pages of these official publications, you will find how MOU after MOU with non-Oriya and non-Indian capitalists are being signed with increased vehemence under the umbrage of the chief minister; but you will never find any instance of any project aimed at saving our own people from disasters like flood and drought to have ever been given even a semblance of priority attention.

Orissa has fallen into a labyrinth of despair. And the people are no more willing to tolerate.

The Panchayat polls have established that the chief minister’s outfit BJD has been mortified by the people notwithstanding high-expensive and gorgeous campaigns conducted by himself and all his cabinet colleagues as well as all his party MLAs and MPs. It portends a severe debacle for Naveen in the next election.

So methods to divert public attention from his misrule to failings of political opponents, specifically the Congress, are being contrived. One such contraption is instigating people of Orissa against the Congress-run central government on concocted allegation that it has not implemented the decision to establish an IIT in this State.

In these pages I have earlier shown how a specific group of Oriyas, staying mostly in UK, USA and Japan have been supporting the illegal acquisition of our peoples’ lands by the Naveen Patnaik government acting as it is as the launching pad of industrial empires of POSCO and the likes.

These people are vociferous against road blockade resorted to by the displaced as their last resort in expressing their active protests against state terrorism to which they have been subjected to.

These people have been openly advocating for land-grabbers and mines-mongers, as according to them, Orissa’s acceptance of their spread would be her emancipation!

There are persons amongst these people who are in their ingratiating best to eke out berths for themselves in POSCO and/or Vedant with full protection of their current income in foreign coin expanded by incentives for their contributions to the ongoing public-relation-campaigns of those industries.

As I am informed by dependable sources, a number of NROs have already applied for prime plots and prospects of easy acquisition of such government lands at Bhubaneswar in important locations if the chief minister is pleased is another cause of their open support to POSCO and Vedant.

One of these ingratiating methods is the endeavor to safeguard the political interests of Naveen by attacking the central government for non-grant of IIT to Orissa and instigating the people to believe that the IIT has been theft away from their soil and unless the same is restored, paths of prosperity would not open for them.

These NROs have been trying to show that if anything deserves priority attention that is the establishment of IIT.

This is no small a tool contrived to divert public attention from ongoing misrule in the State. But the most catastrophic aspect of this campaign is relegating agriculture to an inferior position in public perception while elevating imperialism to the position from where alone people can expect benefit.

It is a shame that political leaders and media, supposed to be watchdogs of interest of the commons, are conspicuous by their silence!

In such a situation, Tathagat Satpathy, though a BJD member in Parliament, has, through his welcome editorial in Dharitri, assured the people that every conscience is not yet killed.

A two-in-one, politician and pressman, he is right and absolutely so in his reading of the real requirement of Orissa.

He is the first amongst politicians of our state to have refused to be swayed away by the neo elite howling for the IIT. And he is the first amongst the print media editors of our State to have shown how irrigation to agricultural lands deserves more attention than running after an IIT.

I thank him from the core of my heart and wish others to follow him. I have no hesitation to say that he has emerged as the most speaking conscience-keeper of Orissa.