It would be wrong on part of the Governor

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

It would be wrong on part of the Orissa Governor if the transacted businesses of the last two days of the Assembly are not quashed and the Speaker, whom he has summoned, is not asked to retrieve those two days for placing before the Legislature afresh the Bills declared to have been passed behind the Opposition.

It is sad that it could not be appreciated that democracy is democracy only because of Opposition. Any Bill could be passed by the Government because the Government stands on majority in the Assembly. But any such Bill passed without being examined under wisdom of the Opposition would make a farce of the said Bill and shall have no credibility in a democracy.

It was within the competency of the Speaker to halt proceeding of the House till wisdom of Opposition was available to the official Bills. But it did not happen. Even Rules of Business was given no respect in adoption of mass affecting bills.

The Congress legislative wing has acted most correctly by apprising the Governor of the sad developments in legislative business of the Assembly.

It would be wrong on his part if the Bills declared adopted behind back of the Opposition are not recalled and placed in the pre-debate position. The details of shenanigans involving the bill prohibiting land grabbing should also be obtained by the Governor and acted upon in interest of democracy vis-à-vis what the Speaker says.
We deem it proper to publish the Congress Memorandum to the Governor.

Your Excellency,

The Odisha Land Grabbing (Prohibition) Bill, 2015 was introduced in the Odisha Legislative Assembly to replace the ordinance which was promulgated on 28th May, 2015. The bill was taken for consideration and the whole House cutting across the party line objected to certain provisions of the Bill. It was unanimous view of the House that landless and homesteadless persons occupying urban land should not be criminally prosecuted and they should not be forcibly evicted without making alternative provision for them. The House was also unanimous that corporate house, businessmen, apartment owners, haves of the society and occupying government land with the motive of making money or accumulating property should be firmly dealt with. The bill was called a draconian law so far as poor and downtrodden of the society are concerned. The views of the Supreme Court on the issue was also placed before the House where the Apex Court has held that a poor man coming to the urban area in search of a living and occupying a Government land as he has not able to afford a rented house amounts to his livelihood and right to livelihood is a fundamental right which shall not be violated.

While replying to the consideration of the bill the Hon’ble Speaker firmly said that the poor, landless, homesteadless persons would be protected and all amendments to that effect would be accepted. He also admitted that there are mistakes in the bill which needs to be corrected. In view of his assurance, a motion for referring to the bill to Select Committee was withdrawn. The House was then adjourned for clause by clause discussion to specific date. Because major amendments to the Bill was required, the Hon’ble Minister took time to study the same and examine various amendments. It was also decided in the House to call all party meeting in the Chamber of the Hon’ble Speaker to find out a correct formula so that passing of the Bills may be unanimous.

While taking all clause by clause discussion, again these matters were discussed in the House. Amendments moved both by the Opposition and the Ruling Party to clause2(c) of the Bill was accepted by the Minister with certain changes. But finally draft of the amendment suggested by the members and accepted by the Minister was read out several times in the House and thereafter it was adopted in the House and the Hon’ble Speaker made a declaration to that effect. The House was then adjourned for 27th August, 2015. Then the bill was taken for further discussion. The Hon’ble Minister moved a motion to withdraw the amendment adopted by the House amending clause 2(c) of the Bill. No writing motion was tabled in the House nor was it circulated among the members. The Opposition therefore demanded that this being an unprecedented subject taken by the Minister, the motion should be circulated and the member should know which portion of the bill for amendment to the bill was proposed to be withdrawn. But, neither a copy was supplied nor it was circulated. The Hon’ble Speaker insisted that, the motion should be taken up and in a hurry the motion was adopted. This was strongly protested by the opposition on the ground that the Rules of Business do not permit such thing and in fact, it is an unprecedented subject. It was also contended that the move of the Minister and the procedure adopted by the Hon’ble Speaker was unconstitutional, illegal and contrary to the rules.

Even though, it was vehemently opposed the motion of the Minister was adopted while the House was not in order. The Leader of Opposition standing on the seat wanted to move his other amendments to the bill. But an opportunity was not given to him even to move the amendments. By the time, other amendments were called, there was a pandemonium in the House and nothing could be heard. Even though, the Leader of Opposition was ready to move his amendment, he was not allowed to do so. The result was that he had to go to the well of the House and sit on dharana along with other opposition members. The Hon’ble Speaker had earlier ruled that if the Leader of Opposition is on the well, sitting on dharana, proceedings of the House should not be carried. But, violating his own ruling, the Hon’ble Speaker rushed through the bill in absence of the opposition and practically without any discussion, the bill was adopted. The opposition had no option, but to protest and walk out of the House. Passing of the bill, therefore, is unconstitutional, illegal, contrary to the procedure prescribed in the Rules and Procedure and Conduct of Business in the Odisha Legislative Assembly and highly democratic. No important bill should be passed in absence of the opposition. It may not be out of place to mention that, the Leader of the Opposition repeatedly requested the Hon’ble Speaker to adjourn the House for some time, call an all party meeting and find out a solution. This did not impress the Hon’ble Speaker and he decided to transact the business of the House while the House was not in order and in absence of the opposition. Not only, this bill, but several other important bills such as; Odisha Police Bill, 2015, Odisha Municipal Amendment Act, 2015, and the Odisha Municipal Corporation Amendment Act, 2015 were also passed hurriedly in absence of the opposition. Such a fact is bad for democracy.

In earlier occasion also, the Hon’ble Speaker refused to give the opposition a chance to discuss about the indictment of the Chief Minister by the High Court in a case relating to the Ex-D.G.of Police. In all party meeting it was decided that the adjournment motion could be moved on law and order position of the State and in that motion those matters can be discussed. Accordingly, the opposition moved an adjournment motion relating deteriorating law and order situation in the State. Though the members were allowed to participate to discuss into about the observation of the High Court, in the case of Prakash Mishra and the Supreme Court judgment arising out of that case, at the end of the day, the Hon’ble Speaker all of a sudden expunged that part of the discussion though the wording of the ruling of the Hon’ble Speaker was not very specific, it was not known to anybody, to which portion of the proceeding was expunged. In view of that, the members did not carry anything about that discussion and the result was people could not know what discussion actually took place inside the House and what the Government stand was.

This again was contrary to rule-222 of the Rules of Business and it was protested in the next date. The Leader of Opposition requested the Hon’ble Speaker to provide him a copy of his speech recorded during the adjournment motion showing which portion of his speech was deleted and in spite of the assurance of the Speaker, it is not yet been given. This only shows that the Hon’ble Speaker did not know which part of the speech was expunged.

The adjournment motion was discussed relating to the teachers strike on 27th August, 2015. Half an hour before the motion, the adjournment motion was taken up. The visitors’ gallery meant for the media and all the visitors to the gallery were asked to go away. When the Leader of the Opposition asked the Hon’ble Speaker as to why the visitors were being driven out there was no answer.

The aforesaid conduct of the Hon’ble Speaker and the role of the Government clearly shows that an undeclared emergency has been in force in the State and all the rights being the fundamental rights or statutory rights or rights agreed by convention all the members of the House have been withdrawn and the business of the House is being transacted undemocratically and unconstitutionally at the whim of the leader of the House and the Hon’ble Speaker. This is bad for democracy and one can say democracy is dead in the State. It also appears that pressure has been put on the media by giving threat or otherwise to censure the proceedings of the House and thereby preventing the media from carrying the message of the House to the people. Unprecedented situation therefore has arisen in the House. Anything talked against the Government or which impress the Government are expunged. Anything which will expose the Government and impress it is not allowed to be discussed and if by chance something discussed and expunged it is not allowed to be circulated in the press.

This being an extraordinary situation intervention of Your Excellency is urgently required. Your Excellency has to protect the law and the constitution and protect the members of the House.
Please intervene and take appropriate action.

Child Mortality in Shishubhavan: TV Channels worsen the situation

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Shishubhavan, Orissa’s topmost tertiary centre of pediatric treatment has all on a sudden emerged as a child mortality centre because of irresponsible TV hubbub that has led to demolition of public confidence in this super-specialty institute, which has the history of putting back smiles to at least 98 percent of parents by curing their critically ill children.

There is no abnormal rise in mortality rate in the period under television focus. But the TV channels have behaved very abnormally irresponsible. They have created panic in public by reporting on how many children have died, but have never revealed how many critically ill children have been cured in the corresponding period. And they have never reported under what condition and in what stage and manner the children who died were brought to Shishubhavan.

I have studied the situation. The death rate is as usual – 1 to 2 percent.

I have studied the report, which the CDMO, Cuttack has sent to the Government basing upon the result of enquiry conducted by three senior most physicians namely Dr. Ramesh Chandra Panda (ADMO, FW), Dr. Abani Kumar Pattanaik (ADMO, Medical) and Dr. Bhaskar Kar (Spl.Paediatric, DHH,Cuttack). This report, covering the period from August 20 to 24, 2015 as referred to the CDMO clearly says that “adequate treatment was given to all the patients as per requirement” and “all the babies were critically ill at the time of admission“.

The enquiry team should have reported how many babies were admitted in the hospital during the period under reference and/or how many babies were discharged from the hospital on being cured in that time. Sadly, the reference was deficient in this regard and resultantly the enquiry did not cover this aspect. Another enquiry is being conducted by the DMET as the above report has suggested for investigation into “the cause of death” by “a panel of experts (Prof. of Paediatrics)”. We shall wait and watch what the experts would say.

But at this stage we may say that, Shishubhavan is receiving baby patients in critical / terminal stage when survival chances are almost nil.

Due to political and bureaucratic mismanagement the Health Mission has almost failed.

Under the mission, there are 682 Delivery Centres (DC) all over the State, where rural and semi-urban mothers are supposed to be helped with “trained” personnel. The mission is to help expectant mothers reach these Centres through free ambulance service under the care of ‘Asha’ assistants and get physicians’ help in delivery. In any case of complications, the patient is to be taken care of in First Referral Units (FRU). There are 49 such FRUs. Yet, if complications continue, Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICU) established in every district headquarters hospitals would take care of the newborns. There are 24 NICUs in Orissa.

When all these centers fail, the child is referred to the Shishubhavan, where, obviously it reaches in terminal stage. Despite this, 98 to 99 percent children survive by treatment in this hospital.

The TV channels are intriguingly silent over this splendid achievement. They have never let us know in which of the centres like DC, FRU or NICU, in what stage and condition, the child suffered wrongful treatment and why it took turn towards the worse. They have only irresponsibly focused on the Tertiary Centre – Shishubhavan – in a way to project it as a centre of child mortality.

Had the TV Channels done a bit research, they could have easily marked where the defect lies in child care that leads to death even after admission in the Shishubhavan. They have done nothing of this sort, except scathing attack on Shishubhavan. It helps only the private clinics.

I would like to point out two aspects of death, which the noising TV channels have not bothered to deal with.

In respect to the first aspect, I will cite two instances of neonatal deaths occurred during the focused period (20 to 24 August 2015). One is, a 3 days old baby of Anjulata Das of Kultia, Bhadrak who was a case of ‘Birth Asphxia’. The other is, a 4 days old baby of Sebati Bibhar of Mahulpali, Bheden, Bargarh, who succumbed to ‘Septicemia DIC’. In such critical stage, they had undergone long tedious journey on dusty roads in severely unhealthy vehicles from Bhadrak and Bargarh districts respectively. They were at the verge of death, but were not denied admission; because the tertiary centre cannot do that. They were admitted into the Intensive Care Unit (NICU) where despite all available super-specialty treatment, they succumbed to ‘birth asphyxia’ and ‘septicemia DIC’ respectively. The TV channels bent upon to defame the Shishubhavan have never discussed the environment of death the babies were subjected to before reaching the tertiary centre.

The second aspect is that, all the 30 children, who died during the focused period, are of economically weaker class. Not a single one of them was of the wealthy class.

So, the political economy of neonatal and child mortality was the most important aspect on which the TV channels – if they are truly concerned about baby deaths – should have focused. But they have not. Because of them and other wings of rich irresponsible media, the only most efficient and dependable tertiary centre of Paediatric treatment in Orissa having severely been defamed, parents would not dare now to bring their babies to this hospital. Resultantly, avaricious private clinics would get massive flow of patients and child mortality will stupendously rise, though there shall be no reports on that, as ill equipped private clinics mushrooming all over the State are mostly not reachable to luxuriously living TV journalists who have the notorious ability to interfere with thinking process of their viewers.

In such circumstances, it is incumbent upon the government to put TV media under leash in public interest. TV channels must not be allowed to make journalism anarchic.

Non-Oriya Health Secretary Sabotages the Minister: CM Ought to Know, His Party is spreading AIDS

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

When on July 7, in presence of Panchayati Raj and Law Minister Mr. Arun Kumar Sahoo and Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare, Employment, Technical Education and Training Minister Mr. Sanjay Kumar Das Burma, the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Information and Public Relations Mr. Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak told me on his own accord, in his Secretariat chamber, that, the issue I had raised has been ordered to be implemented immediately, I was very happy and was sure, Orissa shall be saved from a great disaster.

But I had no idea that his Secretary – a non-Oriya IAS officer – would sabotage him and continue infecting people of Orissa with AIDS through unsafe blood supplied by Red Cross Blood Banks without proper screening.

I had stumbled upon a case of AIDS caused to a 3 year old boy in 2012.

He was a victim of blood transfusion on operation table.

The blood he was given was infected with HIV.

He was a native of a village of Baramba adjoining my birthplace Tigiria. His father had given me the details of how the misfortune engulfed him and had requested me to take such steps that no child should be such a victim of medial mismanagement. His sobs and tears are still alive in my heart.

I investigated into it and found that in 2011 the Orissa High Court, on awarding a cash punishment to the State to the tune of Rs.3 lakhs, had directed that the Orissa Government must immediately adopt NAT method of blood screening as the prevailing method of ELISA was not competent enough to detect HIV in its “window Period”. The Government was sleeping over it.

I exposed the malady repeatedly with updated input. It attracted attention of Sri Prasad Harichandan, then the Opposition Chief Whip, who moved an adjournment motion on the topic. On September 1, 2012, the then health Minister Dr. Damodar Raut answered the motion with an emphatic YES to the NAT method and announced to adopt the method in all Blood Banks “in phased manner”, which would start with four major Blood Banks serving the 3 Government Medical Colleges and the Capital Hospital.

He could not see his announcement implemented because the health secretary and a few mandarins were interested in continuance of the ELISA method.

I continued to expose the apathy of administration in this particular matter, as a big population of transfusion dependent patients were sure to be affected by the dreaded virus. Taking the cue, almost all newspapers of Orissa used their spaces time and again in this mission; but the mandarins did not buzz.

After election 2014, the portfolio of Health came to the hands of the young dynamic Minister Atanu Sabyasach Nayak.

I raised the issue before him, cries of the unfortunate man of Baramba still vibrating in my heart.

He took two days to study the matter and sent the following “Note” (No.23, Dt.19.9.2014) to the Secretary:

“This is regarding implementation of NAT screening method for blood in four centres catering to 6 major blood banks of the State.

The Hon’ble High Court in 2011 on one PIL case filed before it had passed an order for earliest implementation of NAT. The then Hon’ble Minister, Health and F.W., Odisha had assured on the floor of the House for implementation of NAT in phased manner while answering an adjournment motion in the subject on 01,09,2012. A Technical Committee constituted by the Government had visited two States i.e. Karnatak and Uttarpradesh and inspected various centres where NAT was implemented and had given their report.

I am told, the SBTC was directed to go ahead for implementation of the project. The major procedure involving Financial and Technical formalities are also over. The Technical Expert Committee has also given its views on the Request of Proposal received.

It is a matter of concern, why the important decision to implement the direction of Hon’ble High Court has not been operationalized till date.

A detail report in this regard is to be called for at the earliest. A meeting in this regard may also be convened at your level as early as possible to expedite the process.
Sd.
A.S.Nayak,16.9.14

One year has passed away since then. Implementation is hanging under many pretenses.

This is a classic instance of how incompetent or ill-motivated mandarins in the Secretariat have been playing tricks upon the political Government.

It is an instance of how a non-Oriya IAS officer has continuously kept the Minister in dark, while pushing at least two Oriyas into AIDS everyday by forcing unsafe blood upon them.

Yesterday, the Chief Minister addressed a workshop of his party in matter of Jivan Sindhu, a project of BJD to make the party appear concerned for the people. It transpired from his speech that since commencement of this project six months ago, its collection of blood has reached 37,232 units.

Medico-scientific surveys have established, and the High Level Technical Committee held under the chairmanship of the Health Secretary on 17.10.2014 had held that, “NAT yield (ELISA Negative & NAT positives) is around 500: 1” which means, NAT method detects one case in every 500 units as HIV positive and ELISA detects none.

All the blood units in Orissa are being screened in ELISA method. This prompts us to suspect that out of the 37,232 units of blood collected and supplied by BJD during this six months under the banner of Jivan Sindhu under guidance of the Chief Minister, AIDS causing viruses have been pumped into at least 76 unsuspecting patients.

This is a very serious situation.

Jivan Sindhu is a political program of the ruling party aimed at appearing pro-people as it is increasingly being viewed as a server of avaricious industries at the cost of indigenous population. The CM wants that, before the next election, its blood collection should exceed 5 lakh units.Vote bank politics can go to any extent.

If NAT is not immediately implemented, the said 5 lakh units would be forcing at least 1,000 Oriyas into AIDS by way of blood transfusion.

Health Minister Atanu babu should immediately wake up as the concerned Minister and foil the foul game of the non-Oriya IAS officer, who, as Commissioner-cum-Secretary has been presiding over the horrific delay in implementation of the already approved program, is playing; or if he is unable to administer his Secretary, the attention of this Chief Minister should immediately be drawn into this malicious conduct of the mandarins.

Human life is more precious than the lady IAS officer, whose negligence and incompetency is pushing unsuspecting Oriya patients into the pernicious grip of HIV.

Any further delay must not be allowed.

Apartment Bill should be improved upon in the Assembly before being passed

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

A few days ago, while talking with a top functionary. I had mentioned of Prava Apartment situated in Unit IV, Bhubaneswar, where my Samudi Dr. Asoka Mishra resides. I am unable to go to his house since around three months as the ‘Lift’ is not working. Nobody knows whether it is really damaged or rendered defunct. But, according to the belief of my Samudi, it is damaged, because that is what he has been informed by the Association they have formed.
Non-functioning of the Lift for months together is drastically hampering human rights of the legitimate residents of Prava Apartment, as aging or senior residents of upper floors are unable to come out even for medical checkups. Their regular life is severely affected because of non-functioning of the lift.

“What do you mean by legitimate residents?” he had asked me. I had explained that apartment owners are giving outsiders, unknown to all owners, their houses on rent and these people having no concern for safety of the Apartment building, are misusing the lift that is precipitating its malfunctioning, pushing it often and finally to collapse, as has happened in the Prava Apartment.

“The owners must have formed a society to manage the common utilities and to maintain the structure. What that society is doing?” he had queried. I confessed that I had no knowledge, except knowing that my Samuduni is leading almost an incarcerated life in her own house, because only of the non-functioning of the Lift. She is unable to come out for daily walking, marketing or meeting the relations for months together, because the society has failed to repair the lift promptly, when the apartment is fitted with only one lift by the builder.

I am glad to note that, the executive government has formulated legal provisions to save such disadvantaged residents of multi-storied apartment houses. A new Bill, named and styled as ‘The Odisha Apartment Ownership (Amendment) Bill, 2015’ has been moved in the Orissa Legislative Assembly. It aims to amend the Act of 1982.

In proposing an amendment in section 14 (1) of the Act, it wants the Competent Authority to be empowered to “direct the Association of Apartment Owners to repair or replace damaged property within such period as may be specified in such direction failing which the Competent Authority may undertake the said work and expenses incurred for undertaking such work shall be recovered from the Association of Apartment Owners”.

If the Assembly adopts the Bill, a great relief to residents like that of Prava Apartment would surely come.

But I feel that the draft Bill has areas to be improved upon by the Assembly while adopting it. I suggest the following improvements:

1. there should be blatant ban on letting out of apartments by their respective owners to any outsider to eliminate misuse of utilities and threat to common safety. Suppose an unsocial element occupies an apartment on rent and indulges in secret making of bombs and during the manufacturing process, a bomb accidentally blasts and destroys the entire structure over and above damage to and loss of life. In the prevailing environment of criminality, such apprehension cannot be ruled out. The authorities know of the misuse of an apartment in Krishna Towers for women trafficking involving even IAS and IIS officers. Laxity of law in allowing renting out of apartments to outsiders is the cause of such illegalities. Therefore, the proposed amendment Bill should be improved upon by the Assembly to provide for a total ban on renting out of any apartment by any owner without express agreement of all the owners as all of them co-possess the entire building and surrounding free space within the compound, subject to police verification by the Competent Authority on the person or persons to be accommodated on rent;

2. the residents of upper floors of Prava Apartment are suffering, because the Lift, which is the single Lift, has become defunct. The law makers should get educated from this experience and proceed to provide that every apartment building must be equipped with at least two Lifts before the builder is allowed to sell any apartment. The proposed Bill should be improved upon in this respect before adoption.

3. A case study of Prava Apartment shows that there is a sort of mafia raj in action through the owners association. As for example, the association has rented out the roof of the building to a mobile phone company that has erected its heavyweight tower directly on the apartment of an owner who is a lone and senior lady. Under impact of the tower, her roof is cracking and leaking. She is feeling unsafe and her protests are not heeded to. It is suspected that, the association has deliberately kept the Lift defunct to teach her a lesson, as it is most unbearable for her to entirely depend daily on stairs of the five floors. Keeping this in view, the tabled Bill should be improved upon to the extent of banning any such construction on any roof top of any apartment building and demolition of any and all such constructions prior to enactment of the introduced Bill.

But this depends upon legislative environment of the house and individual and collective concern of our MLAs for the people.

Assembly in Session // Has Mining helped Orissa? The question is directly put to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, history will certainly note, has squandered away Orissa’s mineral wealth in the name of earning for the State Exchequer. I have written on the subject so many times in these pages. Without going to any further elaboration, I will prefer to place here what his Minister of Mines Sri Prafulla Mallik has put on records in answering a query from Sri Dillip Ray (BJP) in the Assembly.

According to the Minister, the State has earned Rs. 5305.58 crores in the last financial year (2014-15) against mining worth Rs. 54,491.69 crores. In the preceding year (2013-14) the revenue earned was Rs.5,519.57 crores against mining worth Rs.54,556.73 crores. In 2012-13, the State had earned Rs.5,679.35 crores while Orissa was denuded of minerals worth Rs.34,994.28 crores.

Thus, according to the government, Orissa has been denuded of minerals worth Rs.143,940 crores and 70 lakhs during only three years from 2012-13 to 2014-15, while earning for its exchequer a sum of only Rs.16504 crores and 50 lakhs.

Orissa government is deliberately not examining the cost of health hazards to which people are dragged into by the mining and related industries.

A single case study, which is the only research on the subject available so far,  covering a small patch of Anugul and Talcher years ago, gives us a chance to imagine to what unfathomable extent of damage mining and related industries are subjecting us to.

Scholar Dr. M. Mishra had conducted a case study of environmental economy in a micro level, under the head “Health Cost of Industrial Pollution in Angul-Talcher Industrial Area in Orissa, India”. In this research done a decade ago, Dr. Mishra has quantified the”health cost of pollution” to be Rs.1775 per annum in the average, only in the small patch of area under his research. This was when cost of health care was 200% less that the prevailing cost.

Just imagine what the cost of health damage management would be at the present rate all over Orissa!

Minerals are not created in a day. They take millions of years to be formed. Naveen and his likes, voted to power for a term of five years only, are finishing our mineral wealth oblivious of the needs of our future generations, obviously for private payola, when, as admitted in the above noted answer of the minister, the money earned for public exchequer is too marginally little to meet the cost of health damage, as the above cited research has indicated.

Will the Assembly in session note of it?

And, if the Assembly takes note, will the Chief Minister reveal, by way of study results, the cost of the health damage caused to whole of Orissa by mining?  The question is put to him directly in public interest.

Bill Introduced in Absence of Legislative Environment

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Land grabbing prohibited under an ordinance promulgated on May 26 will collapse if not evolved into enactment by the Assembly this session. Therefore, in absence of the Revenue Minister Bijayshree Rautray, the minister of Parliamentary Affairs Bikram Keshari Arukha introduced Orissa Land Gabbing (Prohibition) Bill, 2015 in the Assembly on Wednesday , despite absence of Legislative environment, as both the Treasury and Opposition (Congress) benches were not allowing the Speaker proceed with the scheduled business of the day. The situation was such that the whole day passed away with the House acting only for about 9 minutes. Introduction of the Bill by Sri Arukh was the last transaction of the day lost to repeated adjournments.

The Bill is addressed to provide for penal prosecution against encroachment of government or public sector land. The concept has its origin in the government’s anxiousness to escape the public wrath generated by exposure of illegal land grabbing by ruling party heavyweights, top bureaucrats and also fellows in judiciary.

Establishment of Special Courts for speedy determination of offense with deterrent punishment to offenders in land grabbing cases is a major object behind the Bill. If enacted, it would make land grabbing punishable with imprisonment for minimum one year which may extend up to seven years with fine up to Rs.20,000/-. Such courts will be deemed as Civil Courts and Courts of Sessions for complete coverage of the offenders.

Being a welfare law, it should have retrospective effect. Unless serious attention is given to its text, it may end up in defeat of the people’s desire to punish and retrieve from whosoever has grabbed public lands in the State, where landless people constitute more then 70% of the population, in the sense of remunerative land-owning.

What treat the Assembly would give the Bill depends on legislative environment which is conspicuous by its absence since commencement of the session.

OBSS shifted proposed agitation agenda as governance of Orissa in Oriya is on anvil

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Governance of Orissa in Oriya language being already put on the anvil, Orissa Bhasa Sangram Samiti (OBSS) shifted its re-agitation agenda which was to commence today.

OBSS Press Meet, 17.8.15

OBSS convener Sankar Parida told the press that on evolution of a Joint Action Commiittee (JAC) comprising five ministers representing the Chief Minister and seven language activists representing the OBSS has decided to promulgate a set of Rules for working of the Orissa Official language Act, 1954 along with a Language Policy.

Program is accordingly drawn to discuss the Language Policy and the proposed Orissa Official Language Rules in the next meeting of the JAC to be held in the last week of this month. The minutes of the JAC would be placed before the Chief Minister under whose desire the JAC has been formed and thereafter, official steps shall be taken to accord necessary status of law to the Policy and the Rules.

OBSS is in frequent touch with the Ministers of the committee in this matter and on August 15, in an informal discussion with OBSS leadership, the Industries, School and Mass education Minister Sri Debi Prasad Mishra, who heads group of Ministers in this specific matter, has also indicated the government’s positive mind.

In view of this, the re-agitation agenda of the OBSS has been shifted sine die, Sri Parida informed.

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