Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The Servants of the People Society (SoPS) has not yet been able to prove that it has not seized Orissa’s premier newspaper ‘The Samaja’ by forging a WILL of its founder Pandit Gopabandhu Das.
But on complaint from ‘Save the Samaja Forum’ (SSF), when the Registrar of Newspapers for India (RNI) asked the Additional District Magistrate (ADM) of Cuttack to enquire into and report on legitimacy of the claim of ownership by SoPS, the Chief Minister of Orissa was used by the illegal occupiers to create a climate for the ADM to abandon his enquiry midway and to submit a spurious report with no specific answer to the query.
SSF has written to RNI to discard the ADM’s report as spurious and to institute a fresh enquiry at his end, as the Law does not permit any newspaper to run under fake ownership; and, as any enquiry by any officer or agency of Orissa Government would not be reliable because of the illegal occupiers’ direct nexus with the Chief Minister.
A reliable document reveals that there was a deal of clandestine money amounting half a crore of rupees between Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and the then SoPS chief Manubhai Patel and the same illicit relationship between the both continues till date, as otherwise a huge land reserved for a very important public purpose by the State Government could never have been given to a protege of Patel for a Hotel at Bhubaneswar in the neighborhood of the State Forensic Laboratory at throwaway price and the State Government could not have sat idly so far over constitutional objection to this illegality by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.
When the SOPS is in such nasty nexus with the Chief Minister of Orissa, the occupiers of the Samaja have been enjoying immunity against inhumane exploitation of workers. The workers have been kept under such intimidation that seldom they object to their exploitation. When someone prays for fair pay he gets thwarted out of his job.
Let me give you a single instance. Gagan Parida is an employee of the Samaja for last 30 years. He works through out the night to make bundles of the paper for despatch to various destinations. This is a very essential job in the establishment and consumes his time from 5 in the evening to 5 in the morning. Though he has worked for 30 years and has become old, he has not been regularized and not been put to a time scale. Thus he is debarred from Dearness Allowance, Provident Fund benefits, Health Care benefits, House rent allowance during his employment period and would be debarred from all the welfare provisions including Gratuity and Pension after his employment, which the Labor Laws and specifically the Law for newspaper employees offer.
Parida is not alone in this category of employees of the Samaja. At least 14 of his type have moved the Labor Laws Implementation Authority to intervene. Their allegation is: They all have been debarred from entering into their workplace, as they prayed the management for regularization in service with retrospective effect and for regular pay as newspaper employees are entitled to. Thus they have been de facto dismissed.
But the political clout the illegal occupiers of the Samaja have, has stood a obstacle to admission of their allegation into conciliation even.
Gopabandhu was a paragon of all humane virtues. He was a personification of pity and concern for human beings. To save people from exploitation, he had been leading mass awareness campaigns and The Samaja newspaper was established by him as a part of this campaign. In his paper, the illegal occupiers have been perpetrating such inhuman exploitation.