Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The Vigilance wing of Orissa has unearthed, this month, a multi-crore Rupees coal scam carried out by the state owned Orissa Small Industries Corporation (OSIC); but has left the two most relevant persons that were bossing over OSIC untouched, apparently because, they are close confidents of Chief Minister Navin Patnaik. They are Urban Development Minister Badrinarayan Patra and School and Mass Education Minister Pratap Jena.
The two Ministers have vehemently denied that they are not involved with the scam. But they have not said that the scam unveiled by the Vigilance is not real. They have also not said that they had not headed during their respective tenure the administration of OSIC. They have not said that when OSIC was left to their control by the Government, they had gone there simply for honeymooning, not for managing its affairs. Everybody knows, when political dogs are appointed to head public sector corporations by a political government, they are so appointed for the avowed purpose of vigilant management of the same and in fact, after they take over, only their writ runs there. So, Patra and Jena are not supposed not to have known the scam carried out during their respective regime. In other words it cannot be said that they are not involved with the scam.
Opposition in Orissa Assembly, specifically the Congress, demands that these two tainted Ministers be ousted from the cabinet. In view of political probity, these two fellows should have been dropped by the Chief Minister the moment his own government’s vigilance wing unearthed the scam. But by not doing that, he has given the opportunity to Congress, the recognized Opposition in the Assembly, to raise the demand for their dismissal.
The Assembly, as a result, had to stop its scheduled business on its resuming day on July 14, with sadly a marginal transaction of only 26 minutes, that too under pandemonium.
The Chief Minister’s cohabitation with corruption has taken the toll of the first day of the resumed session of the Assembly , though the rampart of democracy is under the massive load of majority in the treasury side.