Properties of compradors in IDCO need be seized immediately pending responsibility fixation and punishment

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Report of Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) tabled in Orissa Assembly on June 23 exposes nasty facets of Orissa administration that patronizes private companies at the cost of the people.

Samples are galore. Private Companies have used the State Government to acquire vast volumes of land by misuse of Land Acquisition Act. Public Sector IDCO makes the acquisition under cover of ‘public purpose’ to hoodwink the law and on obtaining the lease of such land as well as government plots, subleases the same to private companies. 

Besides having located the illegalities in these deals, the CAG has come out with chilling information on how illegally the IDCO has helped some of the companies obtain thousands of crores of rupees from Banks by mortgaging the lands subleased to them.

According to CAG, on the basis of ‘no-objection-certificate’ (NOC) issued by IDCO, banks have sanctioned Rs. 52,423.50 crores to 12 industries against mortgage of 8489.828 acres of land that belong basically to the State Government, as IDCO is merely the lease holder. Issuance of NOC to help industries bag bank loans of such massive amount by mortgaging the land subleased to them by the IDCO is not permissible under the law, the CAG has said.

As far back as August 2010, a low-paid night watchman of IDCO was captured by the State vigilance for disproportionate property worth around Rs.2.6 crores. The vigilance is yet to tell the public as to what has happened to the said watchman Rajanikant Jena. A top functionary of the team that had raided Jena’s house then had confided in me that the watchman was witness to underhand transactions in land allocation and had amassed the wealth including cash amounting to Rs. 33,43, 960 seized during the raid, by blackmailing the compradors in official chairs of IDCO.

The unauthorized NOC that has helped industries cultivate sanction of Rs.52,423.50 crores bank loans against lands allocated to them in Orissa, are all compradors working for them from their chairs in IDCO.

This is a crime against the people of Orissa. it is incumbent upon the the State Government to act against these compradors. The night watchman episode made it clear that compradors are active in IDCO from top to lowest layer. Every position in IDCO that has attracted attention of CAG, should be subjected to prosecution for violation of rules and norms in eagerness to serve the interest of private industries in matter of allocation of land, grant of NOC to mortgage the same land for cultivating bank loans to the tune of around Rs.53 thousand crore,

To begin with, their properties should be sealed/seized till determination of innocence, if any.

And, vigilance should tell the people if Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has no role in this offense.

CAG Report on Land Acquisition: Naveen Patnaik’s anti-people administration stripped layer by layer

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

“Emergency provision was arbitrarily applied, contrary to the provisions of Land Acquisition Act and the land owners were deprived of the rights to contest the land acquisition and protect their property due to inappropriate application of emergency provision,” points out the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) in its performance report on ‘Acquisition and allotment of land for industrial purpose by IDCO for the period of 2001-12’, released on June 23.

CAG has stripped Naveen Patnaik’s anti-people administration layer by layer.

The LA Act has given people certain safeguards to people to protect their landed properties by objecting to acquisition. The same is rendered inconsequential by use of ‘emergency’ clause. The mandarins managing administration are so mismanaged by Naveen Patnaik that officers having no jurisdiction to approve land allocation to private industries have done it in blatant contravention of legal stipulations. As for example, it is stipulated that in cases of emergency, IDCO recommendation for allocation of land to private companies may be approved by officers of Deputy Secretary and above rank. But CAG has found allocation of as much as 2845.38 acres of land recommended for only 10 companies approved by lower rank officials, having no jurisdiction at all, like the Under Secretary.

Ever since Naveen Patnaik has started functioning as Chief Minister, many cultivators have been denuded of their land under the design of ‘public purpose’. It seems, the public sector IDCO is acting a comprador for private industries.

The Naveen Patnaik government is forcing people to part with their landed property for ‘public purpose’, but in reality the lands are acquired for private purpose of private companies by using their money for acquisition.

The CAG has noted, “Land for these industries should have been acquired under Part VII of LA Act, but was acquired under ‘public purpose’ to by-pass the legal provisions and procedures prescribed under Part VII of the LA Act sand LA (Companies) Rule 1963”.

Lands are allotted to private companies according to their preference at locations they decide, without care for how it would affect agriculture, irrigation and environment. Even the Revenue and Disaster Management Department (RDMD) has been used as an instrument in service of the private companies. It has approved acquisition of 14,296.56 acres of land for 33 non-government industries during the period from 2002 to 2012 under ‘public purpose’ clause. But, according to the CAG, “the circumstances did not permit the land to be acquired under ‘public purpose’ design”.

The RDMD had tried to justify its action under the cover of Section 31 (1) of OIIDC Act 1980. The CAG has rejected this mischief. “The reply is not acceptable since IDCO was acquiring land for private promoters and the entire cost of acquisition was borne by the promoters concerned” the CAG has observed while pointing out how the ‘public purpose’ clause has been misused to by-pass the law that provides for safeguarding the interest of land owners from the pernicious grip of private industries.

People should not be fleeced for the chit fund depositors

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

When a government creates a corpus fund for a specific purpose, the money deposited in the said fund does not come from the pocket of the head of that government. It comes from the State Exchequer.

Chit Fund operators in Orissa have allegedly cheated several lakhs of people, touted to be of 40 lakhs families whose monetary loss is claimed to be of the tune of Rs. 60,000 crores, though in this “scam”, the exact number of duped depositors and the money involved has not yet been authentically determined.

There is reason to suspect that many high-positioned persons including politicians, bureaucrats and judges were operating the chit funds through their frontmen, which, otherwise, could not have become so monstrous.

As the so-called duped depositors started filing FIRs against the cheating and the police smelled the enormity of the offense, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik attempted to lessen the wrath of the depositors by pronouncing a corpus fund for payment of their dues, just in order to keep the climate congenial to his interest in election.

The declaration of the Chief Minister, basically a stunt as it was to keep the so-called duped depositors somewhat assuaged before election-2014, the proposed corpus fund has not yet materialized. The budget placed before the Assembly is entirely silent on this score.

When media has no ethical role in cultivating funds for payment to chit fund depositors, it is intriguing that, media-mega-power Soumya Ranjan Patnaik, leading a delegation of the allegedly duped depositors has submitted a memorandum to Finance Minister P. K. Amat demanding formation of the corpus fund without delay and refund of deposits to the affected depositors.

As a sentinel of Orissa’s interest, we strongly oppose the proposal to create a corpus fund to refund the money deposited in the chit funds by the so-called duped depositors.

There are branches of nationalized banks and official organs all over Orissa that offer many saving schemes with assured interest. The so-called duped depositors could not have been duped had they preferred their deposits in such saving schemes. Their avarice led them into the trap of chit funds and deposit of their money in chit funds was an offense against the State inasmuch as the deposit in chit funds denied flow of funds to the State coffers.

Notwithstanding the size of deposits in chit funds, every such deposit was contributive to black money. And the same cannot be encouraged by the State with assured refund of their money avariciously stashed in black money coffers.

Depositing in chit funds was not made with State approval and hence, State should have no financial liability in misappropriation of the said deposits by the chit fund operators.

The State has only one role to play in this matter. That is, investigation into allegation of cheating and prosecution against the chit fund operators if the allegations are prima facie convincing. Beyond this, the State must not take any step.

The chit fund depositors must be held as willful allies of black money syndicate and for their benefit, the people of Orissa must not be fleeced by the Chief Minister through his proposed corpus fund as every pie to be used in that fund would come from the money of the tax-payers.

Minister wants mass education roadmap on the matrix of P. K. Patnaik’s Vision

In an attempt to kick-start the habitually malfunctioning department of Mass Education into expected activities, its new Minister Mr. Debi Prasad Mishra has asked the mandarins to promptly prepare a roadmap on the basis of P. K. Patnaik’s vision document 2001 and to keep themselves addressed to its implementation.

Every officer who matters in the department was called to a State level convention held for the purpose in the Secretariat conference hall on June 11, where the Minister made it clear that there shall be zero-tolerance to negligence in implementation of mass education programs.

He called for flawless execution of the Rastriya Madhyamic Shiksha Abhiyan scheme in the State and directed to demolish dilapidated school buildings in urban areas with immediate effect for safety of the students and to take quick steps to come up with safe structures. By 25th this month all the limping projects must be estimated, he underlined.

The Minister disliked the delay in implementation of Kasturba Gandhi Valika Vidyalay scheme and directed that sites for 40 schools under the scheme must have to be finalized in remote rural areas by the month of September this year.

He asked the officers to ensure that by 25 this month, monitoring of departmental programs in the format of Computerized Project Scheme Management System is materialized. Amongst other items, the minister also stressed on inclusion of physical education and environment in school curriculum.

CM must stop this reckless splurge

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Squandering away Orissa’s rare natural wealth has remained the idiosyncrasy of Naveen Patnaik’s three-term-long administration.

Those who, without any suffering for the cause of the people or without any sacrifice for them, occupy ministerial berths in a pattern of inheritance or in the name of the father or the mother or as a reward from the boss for being loyal factotums, never bother about how unnecessary spending for their pleasure may ruin the State/Exchequer. In such cases, though in power as representatives of the people, the power-holders tend to imagine that they are born to rule. And, this syndrome ruins the public assets and exchequer like in Orissa where it has been done these years.

Proteges suggest that Naveen was thus far in an environment where he was unable to work freely. In the first two terms, he was under compulsion to keep the BJP pleased. In the third term former secretary of his father Pyari Mohan Mohapatra had architected his victory by salvaging his party from coalition with BJP and till finally parting ways, was the controller of administration. When Pyari withdrew his blanket, for a shocked Naveen, managing survival in the chair was so challenging that, he had no strength to act freely. Fellows like his secretary took advantage of that and in his own office, a super chief minister got grown out of a paid government servant. So, during the entire period of his three previous terms, Naveen had to depend on others, to be precise, from one super-CM to another and hence, had not a free hand to handle the affairs. But this time Sri Patnaik has come to power all by himself and hence, one should expect that he shall be in a position to impose discipline in administration. He may begin with why his ministers are not functioning in their respective offices in the Secretariat. They are not functioning, because their rooms are not ready.

He may enter into the Ministers’ corridors. The entrances look like this at the moment.

ministers' corridor

Why so? He may enter into a corridor and look into a suit of rooms where a minister should have been holding his office after oath taking.

Like in the picture below, he would see his own photo hanging on the wall. And, he would see the floor dug up, office table and furnitures absent and the entire office space full of debris.

NP's photo yet on the wall

What has happened? The ministers are taking reorientation training in squandering away public money for personal pleasure on being elevated from people’s representative to rulers of the people.

Naveen’s photo on the wall in the above picture is witness to the fact that the room was the office of a minister of his previous term and being the office of a minister, it was certainly most meticulously maintained a room with excellent marble tiled floors and costliest fittings. There was no problem for a minister to have his office there in the allotted room. But, if the representative is to act as a ruler, his room must be renovated to a more gorgeous condition, whatever that may cost to the exchequer. Floor tiles are to be changed, old furnitures to be replaced with new ones, and all the other fittings must be new.

The pictures below are of similar rooms.

renovation goes onyet another room

Such squandering away of public money must be stopped.

Esteem visitors to this site would appreciate if the Chief Minister comes out from staying the preening prince of Bijudom and react to this exposure with samples of action taken against this reckless splurge.

Addresses of the new Ministers in Orissa Secretariat

Old wines in new bottles, Ministers Dr. Damodar Rout, Lalbihari Himirika, Bikramkeshari Arukh, Bijayashree Routray, Badrinarayan Patra, Rameshchandra Majhi, Usha Debi, Deviprasad Mishra and Arunkumar Sahoo will continue in their previous Secretariat Chambers notwithstanding different departments allotted to them.

However, when Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik will have his earmarked office in the third floor of the Secretariat, the 2nd floor will have the offices of Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak, Dr. Damodar Raut, Pradeep Maharathi, Pushpendra Singhdeo, Lalbihari Himirika, Jogendra Behera, Bikramkeshari Arukh, Prafullakumar Mallik, Bijayashree Rautray, Badrinarayan Patra, Pradeepkumar Amat and Rameshchandra Majhi.

Offices of Usha Devi, Snehangini Chhuria, Sanjaykumar Das Burma, Pradeep Kumar Panigrahi, Asok Panda, Sudam Marandi, Pranabprakash Das, Debiprasad Mishra and Arunakumar Sahoo will be on the 1st floor.

Orissa Cabinet: Some Random Thoughts

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The first meeting of the new cabinet has resolved to implement the manifesto for which the people of Orissa have given it the mandate.

But wishful thinking will not help.

The first Cabinet has resolved to implement the manifesto in phased manner. This looks like a political jargon to hoodwink the people. If the manifesto is to be implemented in phased manner, priority should have been clearly spelt out simultaneously. It has not been done. People have a right to know which item in the manifesto would be the item for implementation in the first phase.

When vultures rush

Like vultures rush at the carcass, mega Industries that are noted for their acts of empire building at the cost of Orissa’s eco-systems and indigenous people’s living environment, have already made their commanding presence felt in the office of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on the very day of commencement of his new phase.
So, it is necessary to know how the Cabinet is fixing its priority, which business is to be transacted in first phase and which later and in the last phase.


The ruling party that has bagged the mandate is marked for its peculiarity. It is a combine of persons who in attire appear like leaders, but in reality, loyal to a single person, whom they call ‘Supremo’ (the Supreme boss).

Being thus a boss-based party, its ministers are not made with the ingredient to go against the whims and caprices of the boss, who is marked for his eagerness to help mega industries, even if that harms the people with enforced displacement, elimination of their permanent sources of earning and assets that keep them self-employed and over and above these debacles, infests them with industry-induced killer diseases that destroys their economy and hampers their future generations.

This cabinet is undoubtedly a new incarnation of cabinets of sycophants like the preceding one. If its boss Naveen Patnaik wants the entire Orissa to be handed over to mega industries, not a single member of the Cabinet is supposed to stand up and say ‘no’ to that design. So, the new phase of the government has commenced with clouds of the mega industries’ hegemony shrouding over the sky of administration.

A new syndrome called super chief minister

Most of the members of the last cabinet, who were taking “orders” from the Chief Minister’s private secretary, are also in the present cabinet. We had warned the Chief Minister about rise of a super CM in his office; but that was ignored. If the BJDians have the honesty to tell the truth, from their mouths only it may emanate that all ticket-aspirants were submitting their application with bio-data for ticket to the said private secretary only, when in real life he is a government servant, not expected to play any role in party-politics. Unless this super-chief-minister syndrome is not removed, the new Cabinet may fail to deliver, howsoever well-worded be its resolutions.

The Chief Minister should gather intelligence on the staff of his own office to know what really is happening behind his back, in his name.

The scheming bureaucrats have reduced the CM’s office to such a fort that the Press is not allowed to enter into it in pursuit of information.

Since independence, in no Chief Minister’s time, accredited journalists were denied entry into the CMO, as is happening in Naveen’s tenure.

Accreditation is granted to experienced journalists under a set of Rules to grant them access to sources of information. But, this provision is of no prevalence as far as the Chief Minister’s office is concerned.

Have the bureaucrats reduced the CMO to a den of secret deals? Is it so under orders of the CM? If not, who has devised this trick of keeping the CM de facto distant from the Press?

Intelligence wing of the police is under the CM and available to serve him with correct reports on how power-centers had grown in his preceding tenure in his own office and can enlighten him on ongoing activities of bureaucrats in his office even now.

Let him wake up to the issue and keep under leash the officials of his own office, if he really wants to honor the mandate given to him by the people.

Prerogative needs application of mind

If his fourth term should be a successful one, he is to reshuffle his cabinet in matter of portfolios. Allocation of portfolios is prerogative of the CM. Yet, it needs application of mind, in State interest.

Orissa has the labyrinthine predicament in areas of Mines, energy and industry.

I am not mentioning about Works and Water resources, Home and General Administration, because the CM has kept these portfolios with him.

But senior ministers, who are placed in cabinet rank, should have been given the responsibilities of the departments of utmost public importance like Mines and Energy.

When a junior minister in MoS rank Prafulla Mallik has to administer the Mines department, energy is given to Pranab Prakas Das. Without any prejudice to their capabilities, one may deem it proper to wish that serious thought should have been given to these departments as they are so full of intricacies that need highly experienced hands.

Better to be compatible

Allocation of portfolios to ministers is the prerogative of the Chief Minister. But the Chief Minister represents all the people of the State. He should hear if any fellow citizen advances any well meaning advice. One such advice is based on improvable allotment of departments.

Experienced and capable Debi Prasad Mishra has been given the Industry portfolio; but he is also saddled with the department of School and Mass Education, which many people believe never-to-be-normal. The School and Mass Education department, from bottom to top, is in such a mess that a highly experienced and commanding cabinet Minister should have been put in its exclusive charge, as Industry needs an exclusive Minister. Debi Prasad is fit to lead each one of these departments, but not the both; because they are not compatible.By putting both of these departments under the charge of Debi Prasad, Naveen has done injustice to both the departments. Debi babu should be divested of any one of these two departments, so that he can give proper attention to the other one.

Similarly, veteran Dr. Damodar Raut has been put to incompatible portfolios, such as Co-operation and Excise. How Excise is relevant to Co-operation? He could have been given Agriculture and Co-operation or Revenue and Excise, if his services are necessary for more than one department.

Bikram Keshari Arukh has been given Environment and Jungle with Parliamentary Affairs and Usha Devi has been put in charge of Women and Child Development and Planning where as Snehangini Chhoria has been given Handloom and Handicrafts and Mission Shakti. Should it not have been better to give Parliamentary Affairs and Planning to Arukh and in place of planning, the department of Mission Shakti (Women empowerment) to Usha Devi?

Arun Sahoo has been given Panchayatiraj and Law. Are they not heavy enough to be kept under the care of two Ministers?

Sanjay Das Burma has been given Food and Consumer Affairs and Technical Education and training; whereas Pranab Prakas Das has IT and Energy and Prafulla Mallik is given Steel, Mines and Labor. For making the charges compatible, Law and Labor should have been given to any one of them, IT should have been tagged with Technical Education and Training along with Industry.

Unless different departments a minister is to handle are compatible, ministers not being subject matter specialists, the burden will give enough scope to the executive to mislead or hoodwink the minister. I am afraid, the Chief Minister has not applied necessary mind to this phenomenon. He has just done a political exercise to distribute departments, but not a foresighted exercise.

To make the Cabinet the master of administration, the CM will do better by reallocating the portfolios.


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