DEMOCRACY NEEDS THIS NUISANCE BE DEFEATED
A new tammany now targets KBK even as whole of Orissa is taken for a ride. It stares at us from the Ramparts of our Democracy. Take note.
The eighth session of Orissa Legislative Assembly began on July 31 and ended on August 12 generating an alarming impression that it has been degraded from a Rampart of Democracy to a bailiwick of Biju traders who thrive on his posthumous value by contriving ever newer advertisements to push him into the voters’ psyche.
This session witnessed two such advertisements. First: blocking businesses of the House by the treasury bench in the guise of protest against destruction of a statue of Biju Patnaik in a rural public place and Second: announcement of a state plan for KBK districts in the name of Biju Patnaik to be styled as “Biju KBK Plan” in the guise of protest against the Center’s decision to change its strategy in respect to this region.
I have discussed the motive behind the first one and have shown how he was being rejected by the people of Orissa time and again all through his life for his mafia manners, corrupt practices and treachery against the Country. In those discussions I had expressed apprehensions that the mischief of Biju statue was a neo-Nazi method to cow down opponents by cultivating him posthumously to a cult figure, so that the present pack of power-grabbers including and under his son Naveen Patnaik can go on bagging terrified votes to keep Orissa under their pernicious grip. The second one has confirmed this mischief.
When the Assembly was winding down its last session on August 11, Naveen announced in the House that the Central Government has refused to renew the Revised Long Term Action Plan (RLTAP) for KBK and asserted in the same breath that instead of going to the Center with a begging bowl, he will launch a new plan for KBK as “Biju KBK Plan” and allot Rs. 600 crores for its implementation. He declared that his father Biju Patnaik had created the KBK Plan which the central Government has now stopped. Therefore the State Plan for KBK will be named as Biju KBK Plan. The announcement was so sudden and shocking that the Opposition was at a loss to understand its mischief.
The next day, i.e. the concluding day of the Session, the Opposition, particularly the Congress, alleged that the Chief Minister has misled the Assembly by not placing the real fact before the House. But no sooner than that the House was dragged into controversies raised on individual members in such a fashion that this vital issue got sidetracked.
Therefore the question that still hunts is: Is the Chief Minister correct in claiming that his father had created the KBK Plan? Is it proper to name the KBK Plan as Biju KBK Plan? As annals reveal, Naveen Patnaik has tried to mislead our people.
When his father Biju was perishing under continuous rejection by the people of Orissa, and J.B.Patnaik was the Chief Minister, it was determined that the two most backward districts of the State, Koraput and Kalahandi suffer so acutely because of two basic factors: one, hill area backwardness and two, backwardness due to severe natural calamities like draughts and floods that ravage the area in quick succession.
Hence J.B.Patnaik took up the matter with the Center in 1986 vide Official Press Note dt. 11.11.1986.
Consequent upon this a Special Sub-Plan called Area Development Approach for Poverty Termination (ADAPT) to ensure poverty amelioration by provision of round the year employment to the rural poor and readjustment of cropping pattern keeping in mind the natural calamities was formulated and implemented in 1988. It covered fifteen Blocks in these two districts, 8 in Kalahandi and 7 in Koraput.
It was experienced that such target oriented special programs can bring out a change. Therefore, basing on this experience, attempts were made to expand the targeted area with higher quantum of funds.
Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi facilitated this by asking the Planning Commission to draw up a Special Plan for the area adding the adjoining as well as tribal dominated district of Bolangir to the two Districts already under ADAPT. He underlined that Orissa being inadequate in funds, the entire Special Plan must be cent percent centrally supported.
Thus came the KBK Special Plan.
Biju had no role in it at all. On the contrary, Biju was the man who was responsible for its staggering.
In fact, had there been no Congress Government in the Center, the KBK Plan would have been killed by Biju.
His priority was privatization of Public Sector, not poverty amelioration. So after Rajiv Gandhi resigned and V.P.Singh took over the Prime Minister Chair on 2 Dec.1989, the program got lost.
Allying with VP, Biju usurped Orissa on 5 March 1990. But during the entire tenure of VP, the KBK Plan remained abandoned. Chandrasekhar succeeded VP on 10 Nov. 1990 and resigned on 21 June 1991. Biju was continuing as Orissa CM. But KBK never came to his priority list.
When the whole Country was eager to hand over its reign to Rajiv again, he was assassinated by the stooges of privatization and P.V.Narasimha Rao, under whom Man Mohan Singh enjoyed immunity in destroying our Constitution’s commitment to socialism, became Prime Minister of India on 21 June 1991.
But the Country was so emotionally one with Rajiv Gandhi that it was impossible for Narasimha Rao to jettison any of his pet projects. Therefore, Rajiv’s order for formulation of a Long Term Action Plan (LTAP) for KBK Districts got official expression in 1993.
Due to want of appropriate cooperation from Orissa under Biju, it could not proceed.
When J.B.Patnaik took over the reign of Orissa from Biju Patnaik again on 15 March 1995, the LTAP for KBK got a seven-year-shape from 1995-96 to 2001-02 with an envisaged outlay of Rs.4557.03 crores. But Man Mohan Singh as Rao’s Finance Minister had unleashed a new phase of assault on our economic priorities and the County was subjected to scams of Harshad Mehta caliber and to market-economy of WTO genre. There were no funds for welfare-economic programs like KBK LTAP. So the LTAP failed to take off.
J.B.Patnaik fought against this odd and went on harping over the urgency of implementation of the KBK LTAP before the successive Central Governments. And, ultimately he succeeded. On advice of the Central Government, Orissa under his stewardship, submitted a Revised Long Term Action Plan (RLTAP) to the Central Government in 1998 and got it approved with an outlay of Rs.6251.06 Crores envisaged for a period of nine years from 1998-99 to 2006-07.
So, if any leader of Orissa can be given credit for creation of KBK Plan (be it Sub-Plan, Special Plan, LTAP or RLTAP) he is J.B.Patnaik, the present Leader of Opposition.
Biju Patnaik had neither conceived the program nor had any contribution to its formulation and implementation. So it would be an insult to our people if a KBK Plan to be funded from our public exchequer is named after Biju.
Naveen has tried to mislead our people through a mischievous propaganda that that the Central Government has refused to renew the KBK Plan. He has suppressed the reason thereof. J.B.Patnaik had relinquished office on 17 Feb. 1999 after framing the KBK RLTAP in 1998 and obtaining Central Government approval thereon. The State plunged into the chaos caused by the super cyclone, 1999 and went into Naveen’s hand on 5 Dec.2000. So implementation of the RLTAP was left at his disposal. It was a part of the program to put a very senior officer in charge of it as Chief Administrator with Headqrs at Koraput. But Naveen Patnaik never did it. The Chief Administrator of KBK remained at Bhubaneswar under the very nose of Naveen and maximum portion of the KBK fund was looted through remote control. When a Central Government suggested that the Chief Administrator should shift to Koraput, pet politicians as well as puppet journalists were pressed into action to impress upon the people that shifting of the office of the Chief Administator to Koraput will not make any difference.
Thus, unable to check corruption in KBK, the scheme being under administrative control of the provincial government, it looked prudent for the Central Government to salvage the RLTAP from the grip of Orissa Administration in best interest of the people for whose benefit the Plan was in operation.
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs decided to put all the Districts covered by KBK Plan in Backward Regions Grant Fund so that the Central Government can monitor the matters directly. The amount of the funds will not be reduced.
It is not a fact that the Chief Minister does not know it. But he is shrewd enough to divert public attention from his own failing by misuse of his position to impress upon the people that the scheme has been jettisoned by the Center. This is a wrong and crude mischief played against the federal system. This is an attempt to antagonize a section of Orissa against the Union.
Moreover, it is a method contrived to add posthumous value to Biju’s name and to make people in eight of the districts of Orissa believe that he was the man who was behind the Plan for KBK development. No better advertisement of Biju would be possible than brandishing his name in the context of KBK Plan.
We have witnessed how Naveen has dragged down the Assembly to the level of a bailiwick of his Biju traders.
But our Democracy needs that this nuisance be defeated.