Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Through eminent journalist Prasanta Patnaik, a serious syndrome that has afflicted the fire brigade in Orissa has come to my attention. 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, farmers, academia, media and other concerned, 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, Prasanta babu has supplemented that on his query the fire brigade officials informed him 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.
He has lauded the WIO for having focused on this misuse of fire fighting vehicles while attracting attention to “colossal misuse of drinking water for construction purposes, water parks and swimming pools in clubs and hotels”.
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 WIO and Prasanta Babu. 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.