Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Nothing new I am going to say. I am going to repeat what I have said repeatedly earlier.
To save the city’s inhabitants and visitors from mosquito menace and from pernicious pollution, Orissa Legislature had stipulated in the Orissa Municipal Corporation Act, 2003 that cowsheds must stand obliterated within the limits of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) with immediate effect.
Most of government lands in important areas of Bhubaneswar are illegally occupied by the milkmen who do lucrative business by keeping hundreds of cows in sheds erected on the encroached lands. The 2003 Act was to clear the encroachments and free the capital city of pollution and mosquito menace.
They formed an organization styled ‘Orissa Milk Producers Association’ and moved the Orissa High Court against this new Law, praying for its nullification or in the alternative, direction to the Government 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 dengue 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 by the department directly under his charge.
Another 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, Dengue 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.
Offense against the Assembly
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. Yet it is not implemented. If anything, it is a naked offense against the Orissa Legislative Assembly.
Scam that possibly funds the CM
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 mosquito menace, from mosquito induced calamities like dengue, 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.
Supreme Court verdict goes barren
The most beneficial Act has most brazenly been rendered inconsequential by Naveen Patnaik. And in this, we see, the Supreme Court verdict has gone barren.
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 further remind the Supreme Court that in the said order, it had emphasized 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 given here are captured with the camera near about the State Secretariat. Minister Sanjay Das Burma is staying about 50 meters from this spot. many ruling-party heavyweights and IAS officers are living around this spot. This is the picture of a very important nerve center of Bhubaneswar. What is happening in the interior of the City can easily be imagined. As already said, there are 4000 such spots where cowherds are keeping hundreds of cows in illegally built up sheds, filling the entire area with filth. The Supreme Court as well as you dear visitors may please appreciate that no camera can capture the stench. Just imagine, how is Naveen Patnaik managing the affairs.
I call upon every responsible person, who peruses this posting, to ask the Chief Minister of Orissa to explain as to why he has kept the 2003 Act inconsequential if he is not involved with the Rs.1.6 crores monthly scam generated by his perceivable nexus with the milkmen.
These pictures would show how slums and kiosks, even temples are razed down in course of retrieving public premises from encroachments. But, despite the specific Act of 2003 and orders of the Orissa High Court and the Supreme Court of India no cowshed has ever faced the eviction crew.
Dengue is taking heavy tolls of human life and all other hazards as noted above are pushing people into death’s pernicious grip. But the milkmen are protected, possibly because around 4000 milkmen are greasing the palms of fellows empowered to implement the Act and the verdicts with at least Rs.4000/- per month. Shame!