Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

In the guise of global economic crisis, various industrial and commercial establishments have already created an environment of job-insecurity for workers; some alert exploiters having already resorted to lay off / retrenchment even as labor laws implementation authorities in various States have got proforma requests from various companies for permission to impose lay off.

And, as is the wont of administration, it would be the rarest thing to watch if in any case permissions is denied.

So, the regime has, in the name of development, developed an environment of lay off and retrenchment and rampant job-insecurity.

International pressure is a ploy. Our peoples need employment and job security. They are being dragged into unemployment and job-insecurity. This is the reality.

It is noteworthy that the companies that are resorting to lay off / retrenchment, are not closing down their establishments. This means, the companies shall run to meet the demands of the markets but shall run with less personnel. In other words, works shall not stop. Production shall go on. But less number of workers will shoulder larger workloads with the same or lessened salaries.

Hand in glove with the players of world exploitation network, the “right viruses” are in a position to eat away the climate of job-security in India.

And, the industrial employers who prosper by usurping the surplus value of labor have got the golden opportunity to get more works done by lesser number of workers. So, sure, there will now open up an unprecedented era of lay off and retrenchment. And, scheming managements will marshal false evidences of financial loss to obtain permission for lay off/ retrenchments.

Industrial Laws provide for adjudication on legality of lay off or retrenchment and Labor Courts and Tribunals shall now swell up with disputes. But any body having any experience of functioning of the Labor Courts and Tribunals know the victimized worker will seldom survive to get a bit of justice.

What should be done in the circumstances?

To me it occurs that there is only a single way to save the workers from unwanted lay off / retrenchment.

This way should be enforced by the central government with immediate effect and applicability to the entire geographical limits of India.

If the central government is not a box of “right-viruses” but a set up with concern for the working class, it should promulgate that every management that proposes for or proceeds to impose lay off or retrenchment, must allow the worker to be affected by its order to personally or collectively or through his / her agent audit the accounts and efficiency of management of the concerned company or establishment to determine as to whether the said company or establishment has suffered or is about to suffer genuine losses to justify the lay off / retrenchment.

If this does not happen, it may lead us to infer that the “right-viruses” have only one intension and that is to eat away the climate of job security of our peoples under the cover of “globalisation”.

Of course, the government can ban lay off and retrenchment altogether and ensure job-security to workers.


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

OMFED workers’ strike against unfair labor practices has been stormed into silence.

The workers union has filed an FIR with the Chandrasekharpur Police Station against the Chairman-cum-Managing Director Hrushikesh Panda IAS for having organized and executed a brutal attack on its members by hundreds of unknown hooligans posing as milk producers.

Panda’s purpose was to terrorize the striking workers and fizzle out their protest against unfair labor practice, the union has alleged.

Officers of Chandrasekharpur Police Station were present on the spot along with the police force and were eyewitness to the attack.

The FIR has been taken into cognizance and a case has been registered against Panda under sections 147 (for rioting), 148 (for rioting, armed with a deadly weapon), 323 (for voluntarily causing hurt) and 324 (for voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means). The case number is 241/08.

Along with Panda, the case covers officials like marketing manager Basant Kumar Misra, general manager Swarup Ranjan Pattanaik and transport manager Subasis Satpathy.

Tirtol MLA Chiranjib Biswal and three others namely Jameswar Nayak, Jagat Ballav Mahapatra and Kanhu Charan Lenka are also covered by the case under the same charges.

The attack was so well planned and barbaric that the terror struck workers could not dare to stand any further on their basic demand for regularization of their employment and with six of them crying in pain amidst pools of blood, they acquiesced into Police Commissioner Lal’s intervening advice to call off the strike on recall of the order of transfer that the management had vindictively served on five of their leaders.

Panda brandishing a body language of personal victory declared on the spot that the milk producers (in the instant event, the attackers on the unarmed and nonviolent workers) would be paid all the money that OMFED should have paid to procure milk had the workers not resorted to strike.

Workers suspect that the money Panda has pledged to the milk producers sans any real supply of milk is nothing but a direct bribe given to the hooligans for wrecking havoc on their lives.

There is a nexus between milk producers and Panda and the money forming its crux exceeds several crores in Indian Rupees, they say.

OMFED is such a phenomenon where milk is purchased, milk is treated, milk is transformed into milk-products and milk and milk-products are packaged and marketed. When the procured milk is not directly marketed in its original form, there is ample opportunity to misappropriate any amount without fear of exposure, as loss in transit during phases of transformation is not meticulously estimable.

Over and above this inbuilt immunity, false records of payment of money against any quantity of milk shown in collection but not really collected is also a promising source of clandestine income if the concerned milk producer / supplier is ready to offer his / her cooperation in preparation of such false records. The money thus ill-gotten is supposed to be mutually shared and thus a nexus between public sector purchaser and the supplier grows. OMFED is a public sector firm.

To check such misappropriation in factory or office level, the post of Managing Director was created. To check such misappropriation in the level of Managing Director, the post of Chairman was created. But Hrushikesh Panda is the Managing Director as well as the Chairman. Who checks whom when misappropriation, if any, takes place? To check misappropriation at both these levels, there is the post of a Secretary in the administrative department. But Hrushikesh Panda is himself the Secretary! He being a senior IAS officer, and the idea behind retaining IAS officers being availability of their unbiased advice to State administration on intricate issues of public interest, he should have declined to be posted in these three top most posts of administering OMFED. But he is enjoying being three-in-one and the result is blood shedding to defeat a workers’ strike.

The bloody assault on the workers that gave a sense of victory to Panda was so ruthless that Chandrasekharpur Police station collected Binod Behera, Bipini Muduli, Surendra Pradhan, Sukanti Barik and two others namely Rashmi and Basanti, all workers who have been compelled to distress sale their labor all these days spanning decades, from their place of sit-in-strike in serious conditions and organized their medical treatment in the Capital Hospital.

Binod and Sukanti, severely injured in the skull, are slated for brain scanning, Police says.

The poor fellows, serving OMFED for decades, have been demanding job security. An IAS officer, who has grabbed all the three top most administrative posts of OMFED is denying them that security. These illiterate but innocent workers are being compelled to distress sale their efficiency to the public sector undertaking for decades. They need regularization of their job so that they can work under a recognized condition of service. But the said IAS officer, who has grabbed all the decision taking posts in the highest level, wants to keep them in sub-human condition and as they challenge, they have been brutally beaten up and have been forced to call off their strike at dragger point.

Is it not time for the Chief Minister to review the role of this IAS officer vis-à-vis the terror-struck workers’ precarious lives in OMFED?

Or is it his brand of administration that this IAS officer is just executing?


Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

This is a day that comes to me with all the sweet fragrances Mother Nature has so kindly created till date. On this day, 13th of June in 1977, my wife Sabitarani had given birth to my son Saswat.

Those who know him personally know that he is a man of extraordinary erudition with exemplary dedication to Mother Earth.

But when he was even a student, in the eyes of his illustrious teachers, he was held rare.

Once expressing his views on him his teacher in Utkal University, Prof. Pratap K. Rath, at the Centre of Advanced Study in Psychology, had said, “He is the only one I have come across in 25 years of teaching at the highest level of learning in India who could challenge my teaching and follow it up with documentary evidence to hammer his points… In Indian set up, a student’s conviction and the character to express it clearly is a rarity and I consider that most important, simply because it is (was very refreshingly for me) a rarity”.

Now a media scholar he is married and is residing in United States of America with my daughter-in-law Amrta, who even though an official counselor, is pursuing a course of studies in a newer discipline. When a few days ago, we were having our daily chat, Saswat informed me that the day being Amrta’s examination day, he was cooking food for both of them so that she gets time to concentrate on her preparations.

As I expressed pleasure on knowing of his responsible help to my daughter-in-law, he recalled the initial experience of both of them after arrival at USA.

As I have said, I will produce the excerpts of the chat. In writing a mail one may get time and scope to review and make necessary corrections in composition. But real mind of a person comes instantly alive in a chat.

In the chat conversation, you will find my son as “Raja”. We call him “Raja” because when he took birth, the day was “Pahili Raja”, the festival of Orissa’s national retort to caste apartheid and the festival of matriarchy, sic passim in societal outlook of indigenous Oriyas.

So, now to the chat conversation:

Raja: we remember how much food we were throwing in the beginning when we first came to this country. we could not even eat our own cooked food…it used to be so bad in taste. but now both of us manage to cook quite decent food whenever time permits
Subhas Ch. Pattanayak: cooking is one of the most creative expression of a person
Raja: yes of course it is…and plus it teaches you to have more patience and understand how diversity of thoughts (or multiculturalism of spices) help in refining the tastes in living life
Raja: it of course also teaches one to be more caring….else the food…like everything else in life… will be burnt..
Subhas Ch. Pattanayak: you are so very right
Raja: well..these are things that come purely from the standpoint of male privilege i guess…because traditionally we have never attached importance to cooking skills and never really paid the “housewives” for all the amazing things they did…i quite enjoy switching the historic gender roles and getting better insights into appreciating the silent (mostly, the women) workers of the world.

Raja Festival being the festival of Oriya culinary skills, on my son’s birthday, his honest emphasis on “getting better insights into appreciating the silent (mostly, the women) workers of the world” gives me immense hope that the world will one day rise to recognize the amazing things the housewives have done to make a better world to live in.

And, the Raja festival of Oriyas is perhaps the best vouchsafement.