Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
We have in these pages shown repeatedly how slow starvation has destroyed common man’s immunity and because of that how cholera has taken toll of the poor persons in unprecedented numbers in post-independence Orissa. No rich man, despite presence of the deadly virus, has died so far in the affected area. This proves that only the poorest of the poor, who have lost their vitality due to slow starvation, are succumbing to cholera.
After a delayed visit to affected districts, the Health Minister of Navin Patnaik’s government, Prasanna Kumar Acharya, has admitted that people are dieing because of two factors. The first factor, according to him, is dependence of the poor villagers on unclean ponds and streams for drinking water and the second factor is unavailability of medical services to majority of villages due to total absence of negotiable roads.
Navin Patnaik is ruling the State as chief Minister for three terms. His father Biju, whose footsteps he claims to be following was the CM for two terms and the remote controller of administration for one term when his protégé Nilamani Rautray was commissioned by him as the CM. Now Navin’s Minister of Health admits that the people are succumbing to unrelenting cholera due to want of potable water and basic health care worsened by non-existence of negotiable roads. This is how the father and the son and their factotums in politics have ruined Orissa.
It must have been very difficult for the Health Minister to have admitted the misrule that has culminated in cholera. But here, the misrule is such a discernible reality that the man in the Minister has has at last risen to admit it.