Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

I have not seen anybody beyond his circle of sycophants to have praised Naveen Patnaik recently in public. But I will do.

I will do it because it was I who had put the comment captioned ‘Orissa is in the worst phase of her life’ on these pages on 28 August 05.

I am glad that the comment has clicked and he has tried to correct the wrong. He has intervened and used his prerogatives to stop opening of 1853 new retail wine shops through out the state.

On this occasion, the female folk, particularly the women in rural households, deserve the highest praise. Initiated by tribal women, the female folk in major parts of Orissa had raised the banner of revolt against the state government’s decision to grant so huge number of new licenses for retail sale of wine in addition to equal number of ongoing shops.

Quoting from the Excise policy that opening of ON shops of IMFL or Beer etc shall depend upon the “need” or “demand” of the people of the concerned locality, I had challenged Naveen Patnaik and his Excise Minister to place before the public the details of the “need” and/or “demand” they have been satisfied with before agreeing to grant of further 1853 licenses. I was sure that there was no such ‘need’ located or no such ‘demand’ received. The Right to Information Act having come into force, the State government was not in a position to avoid the answer. Naveen obviously understood this as well as the trick his excise minister was bent upon to play.

He has assured the public that he has dropped the idea of spreading wine shops for fetching revenue. To do a wrong is bad; but to rectify a wrong is good.

This is why I will praise him.