Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
The preceding posting was a prelude to this presentation.
Scams in every sphere of administration have engulfed Orissa in the regime of Naveen Patnaik. His stay in power is also based on ‘election scam’ that he executes by stupefying the people under overwhelming impact of all the official welfare programs named after his father Biju. Gullible people fail to understand the difference between welfare projects named after Biju and the political party named also after Biju, and mistake the welfare programs as gifts of Biju Janata Dal, and this mistake helps the BJD win the elections. Naveen is in power for 15 years despite all his misrule because of this ‘election scam’.
Audits and Courts have stripped his government layer by layer for corruption and incompetency, embezzlements and such other offenses signifying scams of severe nature. State Crime Branch, State Vigilance, Central Bureau of Investigations, and various Judicial Inquiry Commissions are busy in investigations into various scams perpetrated in Naveen’s regime.
However, I am going to focus in this presentation on another scam that severely endangers human health and living environment; but continues unabated.
This not-yet-investigated scam may be called by us as ‘Gowala scam of Bhubaneswar’. This scam is suggestive of how Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is either corrupt or incompetent, crying for immediate judicial investigation.
At the moment, the scam possibly is of Rs. 16,000,000/- per month, because, according to a source in GA department, around 4000 milkmen are paying Rs.4,000/- each as unofficial fees against government plots they have encroached in prime locations.
Every milkman (gowala in Supreme Court’s language) knows the collection agent of his locality and faithfully pays the payola to him every month. The ruling party gets the benefit and manages the mandarins so as not to implement the Municipal Corporation Act, 2003, which bans cow keeping in the capital city.
This amount may be more or less. My source may be right or wrong. But, it is certain that, the milkmen are the most secured encroachers of prime plots in Bhubaneswar, more secured than even the present President of Orissa branch of BJP and former urban development minister K.V.Sighdeo, ill-famed for encroachment of government land in front of the Governor’s house.
To protect these milkmen, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has de facto killed the law his government had enacted in 2003.
I have discussed this phenomenon earlier and will repeat the discussion in this presentation to provoke the Chief Minister to place before the public his explanation, if any, over his government’s criminal silence, despite the the Supreme Court having fully endorsed the said Law in 2006, mandating the government to immediately oust the milkmen from Bhubaneswar and its periphery.
The 2003 Act and the Supreme Court
To save the city’s inhabitants and visitors from mosquito menace and from pernicious pollution, Orissa Legislature had made provisions in the Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, 2003 that had stipulated that cowsheds must stand obliterated within the limits of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) with immediate effect.
Orissa Milk Producers Association had moved the Orissa High Court against this new Law praying simultaneously that the Government be asked to rehabilitate them in suitable places in the city before eviction and not to impose prohibition on running of cowsheds. Orissa High Court rejected their plea.
They went to the Supreme Court of India against the order of the High Court. There they also failed.
The Supreme Court, in deciding Civil Appeal No.940 of 2006 arising out of SLP (C) Nos. 16362-16363 of 2004, made it absolutely clear that the milkmen must be evicted from the limits of BMC and must not be rehabilitated anywhere in the City and its periphery, as “Right to environment being a fundamental right, it is the duty of the State to make it sure that people get a pollution free surrounding”.
The milkmen had pleaded that the present Chief Minister’s father had assured them with rehabilitation and hence they should be given plots in substitute to run their business. Rejecting this plea, the Supreme Court had declared, “In view of the 2003 Act, even the doctrine of Promissory Estoppels will have no application”.
It had further ordered that the milkmen cannot even be allowed to put up cowsheds in villages bordering Bhubaneswar. “As by reason of the Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, within the periphery of the town, dairies or cowsheds cannot be maintained, the State cannot be entitled to adhere to its earlier plan of rehabilitating them in villages mentioned therein”, the Supreme Court had said while observing, “Not only filth, stench and unhealthy places have to be eliminated, but the (town planning) would be such that it helps in achieving family values, youth values, seclusion and clean air to make the locality a better place to live”
Thus the Supreme Court has not only rejected the plea of milkmen to have cow-buffalo-swine-sheds in Bhubaneswar, but also has fortified the provisions laid down under Sections 409, 543 and 548 of The Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, 2003, which prohibit keeping animals of cow category anywhere within and around the city limits.
The judgment delivered on February 2, 2006 is published in (2006) 3 Supreme Court Cases 229.
So, there was no legal problem at all over demolition of cowsheds and eviction of milkmen with their herds of animals to free the city from stench and flies and mosquitoes and malaria and filariasis and threats of cancer and tuberculosis.(ORISSA MATTERS, January 7, 2009).
But, for reasons best known to the Chief Minister, the milkmen, instead of getting evicted, are protected.
The following is a sample picture of demolition of roadside kiosks run by unemployed persons in pursuit of livelihood in the Unit 9 area of Bhubaneswar on October 30.
BMC has demolished many such kiosks of unemployed people trying to eke out a living. Another instance captured by camera in 2008:
It has demolished tiny temples established by people for social utility. Some instances as caught in camera:
It has used state terror in demolishing the slums where abjectly poor migrant laborers live braving inhabitable conditions, so that they can live for a day. The picture below presents how the evicted poor workers are helpless before the uniformed muscles of the State.
Shameful, yet real
It is shameful for the Republic of India that, when there was no instance of an Indian selling himself/herself in a market for a day’s bread during the Britishraj, Bhubaneswar is having several laborer-markets, called ‘Mulia hat’ where every morning daily laborers (Mulia) gather to sell themselves for money. Only a few of them get a day’s engagement, many return resigned to fate.
The picture below is of one such Mulia Hats, where slum dwellers gather daily for selling themselves to anybody who can engage them in work for a day.
In the labyrinth of misrule
Naveen Patnaik has misruled the State to such severe shrinkage of avenues of livelihood that Dadan (migration of laborers from Orissa to other States in search of work) is in constant rise. Dadan often ends in death of the worker due to non-payment of wages, slow starvation, and torture by the employer beyond endurance and resultant suicides. Whosoever fails to migrate to other states, tries his/her luck in the ‘Mulia Hat’ at Bhubaneswar. The picture shows this sordid reality.
These helpless people, resigned to fate, live in slums. Instead of giving them agricultural land, which, as excellent workers, they can use to earn their bread, the Naveen Patnaik government has been sacrificing thousands of acres of land at the altar of avarice of the ultra high rich people – mostly non-Oriyas – for industry and commercial hubs.
When so generous to the rich, he is demolishing slums after slums, as if poor people have no right to earn their livelihood at Bhubaneswar. More menacing is the cruelty shown in demolishing their slums. The picture below carries a sample of this cruelty.
But when demolitions of slums, of self-employment kiosks, of temples etcetera is executed without any mercy for the affected, the milkmen are the only people who never face any eviction from encroached prime plots in the heart of the City.
In the preceding article of October 29 that was a prelude to this presentation, a particular location has been highlighted with relevant pictures for ready reference. I have given in that posting the location map for any functionary or conscious citizen to reach there and see what havoc is being played upon the living environment.
Here below are some more pictures that would show how the capital city of Orissa has been infested with illegal cowsheds and unrestrained cattle.
The milkmen leave their cattle roam freely and rest on the road that causes severe disadvantage to vehicular traffic, particularly in the night. A sample picture may suffice in understanding the threat to human safety.
Threat to life on the road
The menace is widespread.
The above picture is just a sample of illegal cow-keeping in another location in Bhubaneswar.
And, how is city environment affected by these illegal cowsheds?
The above two pictures show, 3 to 4 ft high mount of cow dung has been heaped on a main road. And it has engulfed at least 5 to 6 ft of the road. Because of flowing cow dung and urine mixture, nearby slum houses are also very severely affected, as the picture below shows.
Severe danger to human health
As the corrupt government has protected this menacing danger to human health, the city of Bhubaneswar has become a den of nitrous oxide, methane and other greenhouse gases as well as noxious stinks produced by these illegal cowsheds.
It is established that ammonia (NH3) evaporating from cow dung and urine play havoc with environment. An adult cow emits 80 to 110 kilograms of methane gas over its lifetime. Four thousand illegal cowsheds in Bhubaneswar harbor at least 4,00,000 adult cows at the rate of 100 per shed in the average. So, one fears, Bubaneswar is forced to face 400, 000, 00 kg methane gas menace, because Naveen Patnaik’s government is in nexus with the milkmen.
The whole city is under layers of arsenic gas generated by burning of cow dung cakes by the milkmen for cooking and for repelling mosquitoes from their cowsheds and attached huts where they live. Arsenic is slow-poisoning the people residing near the cowsheds and specifically, the children. Cases of TB, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases and Pneumonia, Lung Cancer are increasingly hitting the Bhubaneswar Hospitals. Malaria, Filarial infection, Dengu and such other diseases caused by mosquitoes, various allergies, skin diseases, and cardiac problems are in the rise in the obstinately unhygienic environment the milkmen have created.
Most beneficial Act most brazenly killed
To save Bhubaneswar from this monstrous danger, the Assembly had laid down under Sections 409, 543 and 548 of The Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, 2003 that the city must be immediately made free of Milkmen. Their association, as already shown supra, had challenged it up to the Supreme Court and failed.
As my sources say, the milkmen were paying Rs.300/- as protection money to GA department Officials which after enactment of the Act of 2003 had reached Rs.2000/- per cowshed. After the Supreme Court rejected the milkmen’s case and fully endorsed the Act of 2003, giving a direction to the State government to oust the milkmen forthwith from the city limits and periphery of Bhubaneswar, the protection money has been increased from Rs.2000/- to Rs.4000/- well within the knowledge of the Chief Minister.
If Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is not involved with this scam, he should come forward to clear the doubts by explaining as to why his administration has not taken any step to demolish the cowsheds and to evict the cowherds and to free the government plots from their encroachments and to save Bhubaneswar from pollution, from the hazards of nitrous gases, from arsenic poison, from ammonia, from filth of cow dung and stench and from abnormal rise of temperature and collapse of its habitable climate under impact thereof.
The most beneficial Act has been most brazenly killed by Naveen Patnaik’s government. It is time, the Supreme Court should ask the CBI or appoint a special Commission to conduct an in-depth investigation into why the State Government has slept over its order passed in Civil Appeal No.940 of 2006 arising out of SLP (C) Nos. 16362-16363 of 2004, published in (2006) 3 Supreme Court Cases 229.
We may remind the Supreme Court that in the said order it had mandated that “Right to environment being a fundamental right it is the duty of the State to make it sure that people get a pollution free surrounding”.
We may remind the Supreme Court that in the said order, it had further said that. “Not only filth, stench and unhealthy places have to be eliminated, but the (town planning) would be such that it helps in achieving family values, youth values, seclusion and clean air to make the locality a better place to live”.
The pictures of filth we have given in this posting, as captured with the camera. We expect that the Supreme Court would appreciate that no camera can capture the stench.
The ‘Gowala scam of Bhubaneswar’ strongly suggests that Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is either corrupt or incompetent.
But the correct picture can come out only if the Supreme Court asks the CBI or appoint a Special Commission to investigate and report as to why the Orissa Government has kept its own Law – The Orissa Municipal Corporation Act 2003 – inoperative in matter of the milkmen and has rendered the above noted order of the Supreme Court inconsequential so far.
We do not expect that the Supreme Court shall fail to ensure that its orders are honored and implemented by a State Government.