HOW DO YOU RATE THIS GOVERNMENT?

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Now I am not going to tell you how manufacturers of fake medicines have enjoyed political patronage when Navin Patnaik has been running the State Government.

I am not going to tell you how contractors have hijacked welfare projects under the umbrage of administration.

I am not going to tell you how with official help looters have ruined the Health System Development Project for which the State had obtained loan from the World Bank

I am not going to tell you how social auditors have held the State Government responsible for embezzling of public exchequer by persons in power.

I am not going to tell you how the Comptroller and Auditor General of India has unveiled massive misappropriation of official funds by functionaries in different departments under Navin Patnaik’s regime.

I am not going to tell you how Navin Patnaik has shown eager interest in handing over Orissa’s mineral and other natural resources to non-Oriya and even non-Indian business operators when about 70 percent of the children of this soil are perishing sans land and livelihood.

I am not going to tell you how underworld has built up nexus with the police and how mafia is ruling the roost.

I am not going to tell you of this; because, you know all this and much more.

I am going to tell you how Navin Patnaik Government is playing havoc with human life by willfully killing the Laws of the land. And, I will place only a few examples.

We all know that bio-medical waste is very harmful to human health. For its management and handling, a specific set of Rules, called The Bio-Medical Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 1998 has been framed and enforced.

Under Rule 4 thereof,

“every occupier of an institution generating bio-medical waste which includes a hospital, nursing home, clinic, dispensary, veterinary institution, animal house, pathological laboratory, blood bank by whatever name called, is to take all steps to ensure that such waste is handled without any adverse effect to human health and the environment”.

Bhubaneswar is the capital city of the State. The main hospital of this city is the Capital Hospital. It has overcrowded wards in almost all streams of human health. General Surgery to Orthopedics to Dental to Gynecology to Gastroenterology to Pediatrics to contagious diseases- every ward is overcrowded by indoor patients. It has Operation Theaters – general and departmental- minor and major; it has pathological labs and blood bank and it generates massive bio-medical waste everyday. It stands on the road traversed daily by Chief Minister Navin Patnaik between his residence and the Secretariat. His party headquarters stands adjacent to this hospital. How does it handle the bio-medical waste? The picture placed below should tell you that.

The hospital has kept broken the western side of its compound wall through which the waste is shunted out into the open space touching the public road and as rag-pickers jump on to it in search of used syringes and transmission pipes etc that find buyers in the recycling racket, the concerned staff sets fire to the waste deposits. The smoke spreads clouds of obnoxious smell all over the adjoining locality.

If this is how the bio-medical waste is handled by the Capital Hospital, I think, you can easily grasp what havoc Navin Patnaik government is playing with human health in other parts of Orissa.

But such mismanagement of bio-medical waste is not the only hazard that human society has been subjected to under the Navin regime. Deliberate massacre of civil health Laws such as the Municipal Solid Waste (Management and Handling) Rules, 2000 (hereinafter called the 2000 Rules) and the Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, 2003 (hereinafter called the 2003 Act) are some of the instances of how Navin has been running a nonchalantly anti-people administration.

The 2000 Rules referred to above stipulates under Rule 7,

“any municipal solid waste generated in a city or a town, shall be managed and handled in accordance with its compliance criteria and the procedure laid down in Schedule II”.

This Schedule has given elaborate instructions on how to manage and handle the waste.
But there are also prohibitions imposed by this Schedule.

In the Compliance criteria, the basic instruction in the matter of collection of municipal solid waste is stipulated with the words, “littering of municipal solid waste shall be prohibited in cities, towns and in urban areas notified by State Government”.

And, under criterion (vii), the stipulation is, “waste shall not be burnt”.

How this criterion is raped naked is discernible in the picture already placed above.

But the picture below, which is just a sample of what is happening, would show you how solid waste is littered in every busy lane of the city and allowed to lie like that sine die.

Would you like to know where the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) dumps whatever solid waste it collects?

See the picture below. It is a School premise.

See further.

In every open space between buildings of sophisticated colonies, solid waste is dumped like this by the BMC.

Obnoxious?

Leave the open space and come to the roadside. See the picture below. See how deliberately civil waste is deposited by the BMC on the side of a major road adjacent to the residence of the State Governor.

Who rules over BMC? It is the ruling coalition of Orissa, BJD and BJP. The capital city being the citadel of commission agents nothing else could have been possible specifically as at the time of election to this urban body, Navin Patnaik as Chief Minister had the advantage to use his might in favor of the coalition candidates.

To show how massive is the might of administration, the BMC, supported by the Government in the General Administration (GA) Department and Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA), has razed down hundreds of shops including temples alleged to have grown on government lands notwithstanding the facts that these lands have no suitability for any other use than for what they were being used and has smashed thousands of cottages in various slums.

That the slum clearance in certain cases was carried out with a motive to free the land for allocation to mafia under different guise is strongly suspected by the very fact that affected people have recaptured the concerned plots when concerned authorities had been looking at that act of retaliation but were keeping mum lest their hidden design gets fully exposed.

The pictures below would show how the shops have been razed down at different parts of the city.

These shops constituted the life-spring of the localities. The city being a nasty nest of the rich has no concern for the lower middle class and poor people who live here and/or visit this place from out side daily in search of livelihood. The star hotels and emporiums are too sophisticated for them to step in. For them the roadside shops are the only solutions.

If the authorities were sincere in their approach, they should have regularized the shops instead of demolishing them by subjecting them to beautification programs, if any, of the city.

But the purpose seems vitiated by unannounced motives.

Aggressively avaricious persons have golden days during the present days. Givers and takers of bribe know that money shall play the magic if authorities build up kiosks on the roadsides. Demolition of existing shops on the roadsides in the guise of termination of encroachments is therefore being suspected as a facilitator program. If extrication of government land from encroachment would have been the program of the authorities, the encroachment on the most sensitive plot of land in front of the residence of the Governor could not have been ignored.

The following pictures depict just a sample of the cobweb of encroachment that the rich and powerful weave around government plots in the capital city.

The land shown in these pictures is the most valuable land of the locality standing in front of the residence of the Governor. An IAS officer then in service had acquired the prime plot in front of the Governor’s house in a dubious way. This land, marked in a government document as land for a petrol pump, was in the area earmarked for government use. He had used his official influence to convert the land to a private residential plot and he was the only person to build up a private house in the official housing zone. In three sides of this plot, in east, west and north, there were vacant government lands surrounded by roads. He soon encroached upon the eastern side and built up an extended house. A powerful politician has allegedly acquired this land after demise of the retired IAS officer and soon has set his grip over the government land lying vacant in the northern side. The method used to tighten the grip is remarkable. Official staff surrounded the land with iron grills one day and then seedlings were planted to present a picture of official care of the vacant place. As the seedlings grew, the barbed wire fences of the existing house were removed and thus the cobweb of encroachment expanded. The authorities that have cleansed roadside shops and temples in the guise of extricating government lands from encroachment have never bothered to stop encroachment of prime plots by the rich and powerful.

But the way the government as well as the BMC have willfully raped the 2003 Act is indicative only of how badly anti-people a government has grabbed Orissa.

Thousands of milkmen flocking into the capital city with cows and buffalos having made human life very unsafe by putting up cowsheds on encroached government lands in every nook and corner of the city, specifically as a number of police personnel guarding the Assembly in session succumbed to brain malaria as a result of mosquito bite, the cowsheds being the main breeding centers of mosquitoes, the Orissa Legislative Assembly took a prompt but strong decision and enacted the 2003 Act, enforcing therein a blatant ban on cow/buffalo/goat keeping in and around the municipal area of Bhubaneswar.

The Milk Producers Association, Orissa (hereinafter called Gowalas) moved the High Court of Orissa seeking nullification of this Act in their respect, with expressed willingness to shift their sites if regular allocation of land elsewhere in the city is made in their favor for enabling them to continue their trade. The High Court rejected their plea and made it clear that the 2003 Act is just, proper, legitimate and substantive in context of urban management.

In Civil Appeal No. 940 of 2006 the Gowals moved the Supreme Court of India to intervene. The State Government, in response to this Appeal, had stressed on the thrust of this Act where it “prohibits keeping of animals in the premises so as to be nuisance or danger to any persons besides having other stringent conditions with regard to keeping the cows and buffalos within the city limits of Bhubaneswar” to which the Court had fully agreed and rejected the appeal of the milkmen.

Taking the 2003 Act as an Act that “aims at maintenance of health and hygienic condition amongst the residents of the town of Bhubaneswar” the Supreme Court recapitulated its 3-Judge Bench judgment in (2004) 9 SCC 362 where it had observed,

“the power under the Act cannot be treated as a power simplicitor, but it is a power coupled with duty. It is the duty of the State to make sure the fulfillment of conditions or direction under the Act. Without strict compliance, right to environment under Article 21 could not be guaranteed and the purpose of the Act will also be defeated”.

Citing Friends Colony Development Committee v. State of Orissa case, the Supreme Court relied upon its own 2004 decision therein where it had observed,

“Not only filth, stench and unhealthy places have to be eliminated, but the layout helps in achieving family values, youth values, seclusion and clean air to make the locality a better place to live”.

The 2003 Act having bestowed upon the State government a duty to ensure a safe environment free of filth, stench and unhealthy places, the Supreme Court not only appreciated the provisions therein prohibiting cow keeping in the city limits, but also ordered that the Gowalas cannot be allowed to operate even in the periphery of the town.

The Gowalas submitted that the State government had earlier proposed to rehabilitate them in places outside the core sector of the city of Bhubaneswar and so the State should be directed to rehabilitate them in the periphery of the city before eviction.

The Supreme Court also rejected this plea.

“As by reason of the Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, within the periphery of the town, dairies or cowsheds cannot be maintained, the State would not be entitled to adhere to its earlier plan of rehabilitating them in the villages mentioned therein”,

it ordered.

Even if they offer to pay for the plots, they cannot be rehabilitated in and around Bhubaneswar City, the Supreme Court decided. It decided,

“only because they are agreeable to pay for the plot which may be allotted to them, that by itself in our considered view would not clothe them with the legal right to be rehabilitated”.

The above decision of the Supreme Court was delivered on 02 February 2006. But till now the Navin Patnaik government has not evicted a single milkman form the Bhubaneswar City.

In every unit and locality of Bhubaneswar the milkmen have encroached upon lucrative vacant plots and have been playing havoc with the lives of the local public.

Now mark the two pictures placed below. They depict the picture of encroachment on a prime plot as large as half an Acre of land in the heart of Unit 6 by a single milkman. The picture taken on 15 Nov. 2004 shows that the milkman had built up two sheds, one for his family and the other for the cows. The picture taken on 19 April 2008 shows how the same milkman has expanded his empire by adding three more cowsheds to his earlier one.

Brilliant scribe Bibhuti Mishra and his equally bright wife Rubi, residing then in the government quarter close to the cowshed, succumbed to acute environmental pollution caused by accumulated cow dung, filth and stench generated by the cowshed.

After we discussed the devastation in these pages, the Government has constructed compound walls around the quarters standing at both the sides of the ever-expanding cowshed as you may see from the following picture.

Why the Government is protecting the milkmen and allowing them to expand their empires to the total impairment of hygienic environment of Bhubaneswar in blatant contravention of the Act it framed and promulgated in 2003, that too in stark disregard to the Supreme Court decision discussed supra?

As we have expressed our inclination to rely on hearsay information, the concerned functionaries of this Government are collecting bribe at the rate of Rs.2000 per cowshed every month and thus, there being 2000 milkmen in Bhubaneswar, there is a 2000 X 2000 = 4,000,000,00 of Rupees illicit income reaped every month by persons who are in positions to halt operation of the Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, 2003.

How do you rate this government?

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