Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa Government has placed a sum of Rs.123 Cr. on 09 November 06 towards its share in a package of Rs.1000 Cr. for rejuvenation of cooperative institutions gone astray.

This is nothing but patronizing loot in the co-operative sector. Like in Biju Patnaik’s regime, the cooperative sector is subjected to loot in his son Naveen’s time, modus operandi being the same.

The Government has earned public and institutional stricture including scathing comments in Legislative and Judicial forums over strangulation of democratic management of cooperative societies for years. Navin has not bothered to bring in any remedy. Like an idiot putting the cat in charge of dry-fish fry, he has put the cooperative institutes under charge of Surama Padhi belonging to BJP segment of the Cabinet, notwithstanding the ethical truth that cooperation movement is anathema to BJP, which is avowedly and unambiguously the party of private commerce. As is supposed to happen under a BJP minister, cooperative societies not only have been made bereft of democratic participation of their members, but also have been subjected to financial bungling leading to their ruins.

What has happened through out the State can be best judged from what has happened under the nose of the minister(s) in the headquarters of the Government. Only two instances, one each in the major and the minor segment, will suffice.

Urban Cooperative Bank in the major segment

Established in 1986 during the Congress ( J.B.Pattnaik ) regime, the Bhubaneswar Urban Cooperative Bank made a continuous profit reaching as high as Rs.38 cr. in 1990. This attracted attention of Biju Patnaik, father of the present Chief Minister after he grabbed the reign of Orissa. In 1992, the management of this most successful cooperative venture was taken over by the Government as Biju was keen in pleasing his followers. It was then plundered by followers of Biju Patnaik in nexus with obliging officials. Doomed due to continuous corruption, it ultimately became inoperative and its banking closed since 22 January 2004. Cash worth Rs.32 Cr deposited by 18 thousand depositors of low and middle income group has gone into the pockets of the yes-men of politicians in power.

Capital Cooperative Housing Ltd in the minor segment

In the minor sector Capital Cooperative Housing Ltd (CCHL) may be taken as an instance. A sure success housing cooperative, it was made bereft of members’ cooperation, as Surama Padhi’s predecessor, also belonging to BJP, Arvind Dhali, appointed a Board of Directors under Presidentship of a BJP activist T.Prasad Rao Dora. His extended term over, when members are keen in restoration of democratic norms, the Annual General Body (AGB) was fixed to 26 June 06. Dora stormed into the official chamber of the Joint Registrar of Cooperative Societies- cum – management-in-charge of the CCHL Mr. Bibhuti Bhusan Bhuyan on 23 June 06 and asked him to stop the AGB as he was sure of a fresh appointment within a short span of time. Bhuyan refused to honor his commands. He threatened him of dire consequences and declared that he will bring a hundred hooligans on the day fixed for the AGB and thwart it away if the Joint Registrar does not stop the meeting. So savage was Dora’s threatening, that Mr. Bhuyan had to inform the Chief Executive of CCHL in writing who in turn had to inform the Laxmisagar Police Station seeking protection. But why was Dora so eager to stop the AGB? The answer is obvious. During his appointed presidentship, besides suspicious land deals, funds of the organization had been illegally withdrawn by Dora himself. As for example, he had personally withdrawn through a Self-drawn Cheque a sum of Rs.3, 30,000.00 from the CCHL Accounts at Indian Bank, Bhubaneswar on 24 April 2003. This makes it clear that the BJP Parivarist, after being appointed by the BJP minister as President of CCHL was operating the official Accounts of the Cooperative Organization at Indian Bank through his self-drawn cheques. And, without any qualm.

These are only instances.

It is a shame that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Cooperation Minister Surama Padhi and Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadei have provided money from the State Exchequer to cover up losses of Cooperative Societies even while keeping their eyes closed to the blatant looting of their funds by the people to whom they had handed over the Societies by superseding elected bodies.

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