Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
When Orissa Assembly had not cured the atrophy of democracy, with the Opposition staying away from its business, the Appropriation Bill has been passed, moved by the treasury Minister and supported by the treasury benches, on July 31.
The treasury side claims that it has a clean government. It is claimed that chief minister Navin Patnaik has given a corruption-free administration. How far the claim is credible can be gauzed from a single instance of amassment of property worth at least Rs.2 crore by a watchman of the Industrial Development Corporation as unveiled by Vigilance police on the same day the Appropriation Bill was passed. The unprecedented number of scams carried out in this regime is indicator to how the government runs. The ministers under Navin Patnaik have given their property lists while filing nomination papers for election. As the legal requirement to submit property list is complied with by members of the council of ministers, the matter has been closed after submission thereof. But no steps are officially taken as yet to ascertain as to where from professional politicians working under Navin Patnaik have amassed the fabulous wealth they have disclosed in their respective property list. Open any CAG report for any year since Patnaik has taken over and you will see umpteen instances of misappropriation of public funds described therein even though CAG conducts only sample audits. The worst part of operation is that the perpetrators of discovered misappropriation have not been punished. So this is a government where misappropriation of public funds goes on unpunished, unabated.
This Government has passed the Appropriation Bill in the Assembly in absence of the Opposition that has boycotted the House in protest against the CM’s continuous tryst with two tainted ministers of the coal scam category.
The Appropriation Bill is all right, because the demands for grants were adopted before that.
Whether or not adoption of the demands for grants unopposed in absence of the recognized Opposition in the House was proper in a democracy is debatable.
But after the demands were granted – even though unilaterally – there was nothing noteworthy in adoption of the Appropriation Bill in the same way.
The only concern now is to see that the funds thus appropriated are not misappropriated by the set-up that has got the Bill passed in absence of Opposition in blatant disregard to the health of democracy.
For Orissa it is essential that misappropriation be distanced from appropriation at any cost.