Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Chief Minister Navin Patnaik will be ill remembered for incomparable misrule; but what is the severest harm he has done to Orissa?
He has ushered in the environment of creation of cleavage amongst the Oriyas, would be the answer.
His patronization to POSCO is an instance of misrule. Whosoever gets elected to rule may misrule. In a democratic society misrule is not totally ruled out.
Legendary leader of Freedom Movement, Orissa’s former Chief Minister Nabakrushna Choudhury had made such a public statement that Navin’s father Biju Patnaik was to eventually succumb to public demands for action against him for corruption. While addressing the inaugural function of Gandhi Tattwa Prachar Kendra on 14 July 1963 at Balasore, when Biju was the CM, Choudhury had exposed how the person in power was collecting money clandestinely from the mine-owners and other operators of the underworld and helping them profusely compensated at the cost of the public. His speech was widely covered by local, national and international media. This had encouraged investigative journalists to work on Biju. In July 1964, G.S.Bhargava had brought out a series of his investigative reports on corruption of Biju in The Indian Express. How the students, the youth and general public of Orissa had become one in demands for action against Biju and how that forced him to quit behind the face-saving screen of Kamraj plan is well on records in the political history.
The same pattern of nexus between politicians in power and industries/ mine-mongers/underworld that we call misrule is yet in vogue everywhere in India.
So Navin’s misrule in matters of POSCO is not unexpected.
But it is never expected of a Chief Minister to stay nonchalant if people of the area pledged by him to POSCOO are divided into two groups such as Bipakshavadi and Sapakshavadi. The first group is the people that have been living peacefully for generations in the environment that has nourished them through out through cultivation and healthy climate that the local forests have ensured. They do not want to leave their living environment for benefit of a foreign firm. The second group, though abysmally small in number, insists that the locals leave their living environment. Obviously this group is cultivated to support the foreign firm. The people, who, till Navin’s arbitrary imposition of POSCO on the soil, had been living like a united family, have now been divided. As if this is not enough, a minister, such as Damodar Raut, who represents the POSCO area in the Assembly, has been used to divide the locals on caste line, as is evidenced in his cliquish chiding of Harijans (Scheduled Caste Persons) in a public meeting, when these traditionally exploited people constitute the majority of frontline obstructers to transfer of their living environment to the foreigner from Korea. Retention of Rout in the cabinet despite this dastardly anti-democratic conduct makes clear the Chief Minister’s hidden role in creation of cleavage amongst the people for benefit of POSCO.
The same tactics of division of Oriyas in interest of industries, specifically of non-Oriya origin, has been in use in Niyamgiri. The unique and ancient tribes indigenous to the Hills are threatened with displacement from their living environment. To pave the way for Anil Agrawal to destroy the eco-system, betrayers are selected from the tribes, brainwashed and planted to start internecine war amongst the hill dwellers. Police is pressed to prosecute the peaceful tribes opposing displacement from their living environment as Maoists and Corporate Media is used to sing glory to the brainwashed betrayers in order to demoralize the rest of the tribes who oppose industrial rape of Mother Nature and desecration of their sacred Hills.
The tactics of division of Oriyas started aggressively in organized manner from Kalinganagar for the benefit of the Tata empire is being applied everywhere in Orissa in the regime of Navin Patnaik to suit the design of non-Oriya land-grabbers.
Navin’s love for Anil Agrawal’s “commercial hub” project, touted as Vedanta University, is so effusive that when the Lokpal directions in the matter are being buried under its force, lobbyists of this project of so called world class education are shining bright under the arch of administration.
This is happening when textbooks – nationalized in Orissa – are not being supplied to students despite lapse of several months of the academic year. Thousands of Schools are roofless, thousands of Classes are teacherless and around a lakh of faculty positions in Lower to High Schools are vacant. Teaching in post-high-school stage is in such disarray due to want of faculties, laboratories, libraries and study atmosphere that medical and engineering seats are lying vacant in their majority as the products of Orissa Colleges are found absolutely deficient for entry into techno-institutes despite most liberal entrance tests. The Government run by Navin Patnaik has thus ruined education in Orissa. Instead of salvaging the State’s undergraduate education from prevalent atrophy, he has been hoodwinking the people for Vedanta University. And in its nefarious design to help Anil Agrawal grab multithousand acres of precious coastal land at Puri, his government has encouraged internecine quarrels amongst the locals while pressing the police to prosecute the people that are against land allocation to the Ratnakar posing as Valmiki. In this attempt, certain non-resident Oriyas are also being used to divide the State’s intelligentsia so that the rapists of their precious eco-systems appear like benevolent heroes.
Industries may come and industrialists may go. But it would be hard for Orissa to be salvaged from the cleavage Navin has already created amongst her children to help corporate houses divide and rule the land.