Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Higher Education Minister Debi Prasad Mishra belongs to Narasinghpur and represents that constituency in Orissa Assembly and as a member of the Assembly, has become a Minister.
In Narasinghpur, his protégés rule the roost. Officials of all the departments, from top to toe, consult him off the records in every matter that matters in Narasinghpur context.
Debi’s representative Kishore Chandra Mishra acts as a conduit that officials depend upon for reading the Minister’s mind as the Minister has made them understand during interactions. In any matter that the officials fail to consult the Minister directly, Kishore’s instructions are complied with.
No official dares to do any work that Debi may disapprove. Hence all officials first collect intelligence on how he would be satisfied and then only they proceed to execute a work.
Work execution means corruption. Members of the general public openly and officials unofficially define execution of an official work as practice of corruption. I had an accidental opportunity to interact with an executive of the Block in a friend’s place. He confirmed the above definition and advised me to pay a visit to S. N. Pattajoshi’s landmark “palace” at Nukhapada square. It is such a landmark that every passerby looks at it and as owner of it, Pattajoshi is known to everybody. In the locality it has earned a distinction of being a place that Minister Mishra also visits during his visit to Narasinghpur. So, Mishra knows how valuable the building of Pattajoshi is. Who is he? He is a Junior Engineer of the Narasinghpur Block. The Block has three J.E.s. But Pattajoshi is in charge of majority of the Panchayats and the hariyali projects. He is in the Block for 19 years and his words act as commands on the Block Development Officer. Nobody knows how rich is he, but the locals know that he has a modern sedan car in service of his family and an aura of crorepati that dumbfounds them. Why it is so, is a question that has its answer in another question: why has he not been transformed from Narasinghpur despite many officials having come and gone during these 19 years? People look for the answer at Minister Mishra.
The same executive told me that Mishra’s rise in politics has transformed Narasinghpur into a specific purpose touchstone that has helped paupers metamorphose into men of crores at the cost of local public for whose welfare the Assembly allows appropriation of funds. As an instance of such metamorphosis, the local people indicate towards a man who was once nicknamed “Kandia-Bidi-Bhaina” (smoker of an used Bidi time and again unable to afford a new one to smoke).
However, the local officials, whom Minister Mishra is not readily available, are guided by his representative Kishore Ch. Mishra in dealing with the public fund for project purposes. The later Mishra has acquired public regards as a man of massive wealth that usually is perceived to have come to him during his association with the former Mishra.
So, in public perception, certain individuals, close to the Minister Mr.Mishra in Narasinghpur constituency in their official or political capacities have become unfathomably rich and are in possession of wealth disproportionate to their legitimate sources income.
Trade secret is corruption. Corruption is being practiced in many fronts. Misappropriation of public funds is one of them. For a sample of misappropriation one may look at allocation of funds to construct houses under the IAY scheme to one Padmavati Maharana of Bandhahuda on non-existent land and twice allocation of funds for the same purpose to a dead person, Dama Khatua, Khalisahi/ Kokalaba. Instances galore.
Narasinghpur had a lady Chairperson Indumati Nayak whom the BJD had planted.
She did not cooperate in the loot raj. She tried to bring discipline to Block administration. She failed.
She preferred two letters to the authorities; one to the Collector of Cuttack and the other to the Minister, Mr. Mishra on 10 June 2010 to inform them of the ongoing corruption in the Block.
In her letter No. 2405 dated 10/06/2010 to the Collector, she wrote about allocation of IAY houses to dead persons, service holders and individuals that have earlier been allotted with the same houses two repeated times. “In many cases, false bills have been prepared without construction of houses”, she informed the Collector with copies thereof served on the Chief Minister, Minister Debi Mishra, Secretary to Government in the Panchayatiraj department and to the Sate Vigilance Directorate. On the same day, she also preferred a direct communication to Minister Mr. Mishra with copy thereof submitted to the CM informing that she has come “to know that Mr. Kishore Chandra Mishra, Vice President of Zilla Parishad, Cuttack is unauthorisedly pressurizing the officials to select the beneficiaries in his illegal way”, in which “many dead beneficiaries are also included”.
Her report, though competent, was never investigated into.
On the other hand, members of the Panchayat Samiti, majority belonging to BJD and Mishra’s coterie, raised a “No-Confidence Motion” against her and she had to quit, politically defeated.
As she was ousted by the stage-managed vote of no-confidence, the reign of the Panchayat Samiti came to the grip of the younger brother of the Minister, Durga Mishra, who as Vice-Chairman of the Block, has been authorized to functioning as the Chairman-in-Charge and thus the people of Narasinghpur are left in the lurch.
Narasinghpur is an instance of how Ministers have patronized corruption in Panchayat level. The lady chairperson who attracted attention of the authorities to ongoing corruption had to be shown the door by her own party that on August 01, 2010, ousted her through a “No-Confidence Motion” .
Take note, this is Navin brand of administration.