Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Away from the country, I had missed the Press Release of Water Initiative Orissa (WIO), datelined Sambalpur, 13 May 2012, that had condemned misuse of “Fire Fighting Water Tanks” of the Fire Department of Orissa to cause artificial rain in Bhubaneswar Club compound for its members to dance under the drizzle when Bhubaneswar was reeling under unbearable heat wave.
WIO is a State level coalition of civil society organizations and activists including academia, which has been working on climate change, water and environment since around two decades.
Bhubaneswar Club is the elitist conglomerate of life enjoyers in Bhubaneswar, which, originally known as the IAS club, is not only a combine of IAS, IPS and other high-powered civil servants, but also by extension has become a place where commission agents find a moorage.
When WIO has expressed deep concern over the use of fire fighting vehicles for “water dance” of the elite in this club, senior journalist Prasanta Patnaik in his facebook page, relying upon a fire-brigrade source, has informed that, the water used for artificial rain in the club was not drinking water, but was drawn from the river Kathjori.
So it is confirmed that fire brigade vehicles, bound to be kept ready with water tanks for any eventuality of fire at any moment, were used to create artificial rain for “rain dance” of high-powered civil servants and their families and their relatives and the other men who mingle with them.
Prasanta babu says, “As far as I know, Bhubaneswar Club is organizing Rain Dance every year for over a decade in which Fire Brigade is being used to create artificial rains”.
He further says that “such vans are frequently used by film producers during shooting to create artificial rains” as and when necessary. “Colossal misuse of drinking water for construction purposes, water parks and swimming pools in clubs and hotels”is done through frire-fighting vehicles, allege the WIO.
But sadly, Orissa’s media is conspicuous by its silence over such misuse of fire-fighting vehicles and drinking water.
The issue involved is quite serious. The government should take immediate steps to put a permanent ban on use of fire fighting vehicles for enjoyment and pleasure of private persons as informed by the WIO. And, departmental action against whosoever in fire brigade had pressed the water tanks to create artificial rain in Bhubaneswar Club for satisfying wild urge of the elite, must be a must, if Naveen Patnaik’s Government has an iota of concern for administrative discipline.
Newspapers and electronic media of the State must rise to the occasion and repeatedely inform the general public about this felony. Silence of Press is this matter is a serious syndrome and needs immediate attention. Freedom of Press doesn’t give freedom to Press to keep the people in dark about administrative offenses perpitrated against them.