Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Orissa administration has finally confessed that as many as 59 lakhs of families in the state are perishing under slow starvation and starvation deaths are imminent unless the basic food “rice” is made available to them at the lowest rate at their doorsteps. Therefore, it has launched supply of rice at the rate of Rs.2 per kg with effect from August 2, 2008 to 59 lakhs of families placed below the poverty line.

Navin’s entire regime is a loss to Orissa. He has squandered away valuable time in formulating methods to cheat the peoples of Orissa in the name of development when by development he has mostly meant progression of a single point agenda of satisfying non-Oriya profit mongers, even foreign firms at the cost of Oriya tribes and cultivators.

With a government absolutely indifferent to cause of cultivators, peoples of Orissa, admittedly 59 lakhs of agro-based families, have lost their power to purchase food.

Members of poor tribes were killed at Kalinganagar by state police to help private industries grab tribal lands. Navin did never think it prudent to console the wronged families by paying a visit to the spot. He could never be able to understand that those tribals bereft of their land and natural habitat would be pushed into starvation.

Cultivators of Kujang are being pushed into condition of landlessness as Navin has kept the state machinery engaged in organizing lands for foreign firm POSCO. It is a shame that the state administration is patronizing people who are busy in dividing the villagers by promoting vested interest groups like POSCO supporters and pitting them against peoples whose only source of livelihood is their land. Villagers are being rendered landless through out the state for industries to grow.

Farmers, who were earlier getting water for their crops through irrigation canals, are worried over lack of supply. In most of the cases, canals are not maintained. Peoples are protesting against water charges even though irrigation facilities are not available and/or not of any use to them. Therefore thousands of cultivators have time and again held rallies in protest against supply of water to industry. When the existing irrigation facilities are such inadequate to serve agriculture, within these years of obsession for industry, not a single instance of expanding watering provisions to agricultural fields has been executed by the state government. On the other hand rampant misappropriation of funds meant for irrigation has been carried out by officers pampered by the present regime as is unveiled in case of Himansu Sekhar Samantray, M.D. of Orissa Lift Irrigation Corporation (discussed in these pages on August 1, 2008), whose efficiency in looting the state was viewed as administrative efficiency by this government as a result of which, on its recommendations, he has been promoted to Indian Administrative Service from the provincial cadre.

Through out the high lands of Orissa, that comprise around 75 % of its limits, peoples have time and again taken law to their hands discerned in attacks on swindlers of welfare funds and the local stooges of the exploitation network. Navin has unleashed state terrorism on them describing them as Maoists. Had he tried to study the Nayagarh mayhem he could have known as to why not a single body of the victims of police bullets was traced out by the so-called super cops and then he could have clearly seen that the entire population of the locality had stood with the alleged Maoists and rescued them by foiling the combing operations conducted by the special police forces. Had he been able to understand this phenomenon, he could have known that his obsession with industry has ruined the economy of rural Orissa and has rendered peoples so frustrated that they have raised stray revolutions adopting Maoists, if at all so, as their comrades in arm. Had the villagers not been perishing under slow starvation beyond endurance, peoples of Orissa are so peace loving, so magnanimous and complacent by nature that they would never have preferred any violence.

Orissa has lost its vitality in Navin regime even as non-Oriya industrialists and traders have grabbed its splendid soil and natural wealth to the detriment of Oriya farmers and farm-workers. This has destroyed agro-based rural economy of Orissa and pushed peoples into continuous slow starvation.

Lest peoples punish him for this crime in election booths, he has contrived a new ploy to hoodwink them by providing rice at the rate of Rs.2 per kg.

If it is not a ploy, people may like to know: when rice is really so cheap why the state had enforced higher rates so far?

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