Orissa in Quagmire

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

The government may claim as they like, but it has failed to provide a good administration. Orissa is in a quagmire.

In the present regime, not a single project has been completed. Ministers have been dropped for corrupt practices. Portfolios have been changed in hope of improvement. Reshuffle in bureaucracy has been frequently resorted to. But administration has not changed from worse to better.

The State exchequer is being exhausted over pampering newspapers in the name of public relation. But open any page of them, you shall seldom find a story that credits any success to the government. We conducted a survey and found, 93 percent of reports and editorials on affaires of the State during last three months, highlighted the ongoing misadministration and malfeasances.

Dissidence is rampant in the treasury benches. The Chief Minister has used his powers as President of BJD to oust even founder members of the party on charges of anti-party activities as they criticised the government for discernible failures. Defying its significance, loyalists are also criticising the government for its failure to function. In the legislative wing meeting of BJD on December 1, 2002 at the eve of commencement of the winter session of the Assembly, a good many number of members including the government chief-whip raised acrimonious allegations against the government. It is not functioning at all, they said. The state has failed to produce even a needle during the last three years; they reportedly alleged and wanted to know as to who should be held responsible for such a defunct state. The Chief Minister had no answer.

The ‘super cyclone’ of 1999 had ushered Navin Patnaik’s government into Orissa. The new set-up was expected to manage the affaires efficiently. But as official audit reveals, only 34% of the cyclone relief fund has been shown as utilised. Even the department of water resources resting with the Chief Minister himself has been able to utilise only Rs.50 crore out of Rs.138 crore placed at its disposal. Departments held by BJP ministers are no better. Legislators belonging to this party wanted to know the reason of their ministers’ inability to utilise relief funds, also in their pre-session meeting. No answer was available.

No body knows how the government can extricate itself from the state of non-functioning. And how long the State shall stay put in the quagmire it has been thrown into.

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