Saturday, December 14, 2019
 Jeypore police plan to implement STV scheme for better traffic control  Puri Jagannath Temple ‘pandas’ to visit shrines for tips on hygiene, good conduct  
Editorial
Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.
BJP ignores veterans
With Union Minister and senior BJP leader Dharmendra Pradhan trying to spread tentacles in the party much to the chagrin of some veteran leaders like Bijay Mohapatra, Dilip Ray and Giridhar Gomango, the disillusioned ones are likely to leave the party making it weaker in the bargain.
Educating India
Emphasizing on the importance of teachers and education, Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu recently said Google can never replace a ‘guru’ because a “guru gives not mere” academic knowledge but “insights as well”. What the VP said is worth thinking about, especially at a time when search engines and social media have a vice-like grip on our lives these days.
Kalinganagar report
The Justice PK Mohanty commission on police firing incident at Kalinga Nagar has been placed on the last day of the Odisha Assembly’s winter session. The report has blamed the local leaders, political parties and NGOs for instigating the villagers against land acquisition for Kalinga Nagar Integrated Industrial Complex.
Mahanadi & Polavaram
With the Centre showing its unwillingness to constitute a tribunal for resolving the Mahanadi water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh, the issue has replaced perception by precision.
MSP tangle
The Minimum Support Price (MSP) issue in Odisha has once again occupied the centre stage. Not only the two principal political parties - BJD and BJP - but fringe elements like Navnirman Krishak Sangathan (NKS) have been quite vociferous.
Package politics
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced a special package for the drought-hit farmers of the State. Agriculture input subsidy would be provided to small and marginal farmers who have sustained crop loss of 33% and above at the rate of Rs 6,800 per hectare in the rain-fed areas and Rs 13,500 per hectare in areas under assured irrigation.
Vedanta University
The recent announcement of resignation by Odisha’s ex-Chief Secretary BK Patnaik from his post as President of Vedanta University comes as no surprise to those who have been following the progress of this ill-fated and jinxed project.
Rice war
The rice war going between the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the BJP is not only uncalled-for but is misleading as well. What started with Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar’s statement - that the BJD Government is taking credit for giving rice at Rs 2 per Kg is actually a Centrally-sponsored scheme - has now grown into a full political war.
Fuel funda
Petrol, diesel prices have hit 3-year high. But, the government has refused to disrupt daily price revision. Since the revision was introduced in July, petrol prices have been slowly creeping up and cumulatively have gone up by a substantial Rs 7.32 to reach Rs 70.30 while diesel rates have risen by Rs 5.36 to Rs 58.72.
Shah Visit
Even as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has sought to downplay the visit of BJP president Amit Shah saying it was unlikely to have an impact on the 2019 poll, the visit and the consequent aggression shown towards the ruling government was something unanticipated.
Musical chair
In a sudden move the Naveen Patnaik government appointed Director Vigilance Rajendra Prasad Sharma as the Director General of Police (DGP). Sharma replaced Kunwar Brajesh Singh, who had been holding the top post since November 2015. Singh got redeployment as Chairman and Managing Director of Odisha State Road Transport Corporation (OSRTC).
Bijepur outlook
With the untimely death of senior Congress leader and three-time MLA Subal Sahu from Bijepur Assembly constituency in Bargarh district, a political void has been created and race has started among three political outfits in the State -- BJD, BJP and Congress -- to grab the political space in this important western Odisha constituency.
Mining verdict
The Supreme Court’s ruling on Odisha’s mining scam undoubtedly is a big respite for the Naveen government. But the mining companies are into a big squeeze. The long-awaited judgment has dealt a body blow to the companies that unlawfully raised huge quantities of iron ore and manganese ore.
Bonhomie
After the BJP’s dramatic return to power in Bihar that brought Nitish Kumar back into the NDA fold, political circles are abuzz with talk of its plans for Odisha. Will BJP go for the kill or woo old ally Naveen Patnaik back in its camp? Seems, time is ripe for the BJP to strike it hot in Odisha or vice-versa. BJP president Amit Shah has been criss-crossing Odisha and the state is now in BJP’s focus.
Prez election
In the just concluded presidential elections all the members of the state legislative assembly voted along expected lines barring one or two. While the ruling BJD legislators voted for the NDA nominee Ram Nath Kovind as per the party supremo Naveen Patnaik’s decision, the opposition Congress stuck to its guns and voted for the UPA-Opposition combined candidate Miera Kumar.
Sharecropping law
Whither Odisha’s draft Bill on sharecroppers? It may be recalled that the Naveen government had proposed a legislation which aims to recognize and protect the rights of sharecroppers across the State as they are deprived of Government assistance at the time of natural calamities.
Bitter feud
With the factional feud in the State Congress intensifying and turning bitter in the midst of party’s Assembly Chief Whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati slamming PCC President Prasad Harichandan and senior leader Suresh Routray, the oldest party in Odisha’s political firmament is only going downhill.
Recalcitrant MPs
Even if BJD president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is all on his way to repair the damage caused to the party in the Panchayat elections, some of his party MPs have become so recalcitrant that it is difficult on his part to control them. What is worrying are the statements being issued by these leaders in form of signed articles, TV sound-bites and newspaper editorials.
BJP overkill
What have medicine and politics in common? Pretty much. Just as drug over dosage has a severe side effect, so also political overindulgence. This is broadly applicable to the Odisha unit of BJP. Call it over-enthusiasm or overconfidence, the state BJP leaders appear to be losing the benefits accrued from the recent Panchayat elections.
Temple row
Controversy has become the in-thing for the servitors of Lord Jagannath temple in Puri. The latest one happened when decorative pieces adorned by Lord Jagannath and his siblings during Snana Yatra were taken away by the unruly servitors.
Mahanadi row
The row between Odisha and Chhattisgarh over the Mahanadi river water has entered another phase of tragic-comedy with the ruling Biju Janata Dal organising a four-hour ‘hartal’ on Saturday in four western Odisha districts - Bargarh, Jharsuguda and Sonepur and Sambalpur.
Political violence
Odisha is of late witnessing political violence of weird proportions. Interestingly, it is more within the party than with opponent political outfits. Three years ago, no one would have imagined the ruling Biju Janata Dal workers being in the throes of violent behaviour. The recent attack on Member of Parliament Baijayant Panda is an eye-opener and there is no hesitation in saying that the ruling party has lowered the threshold of tolerance to ugly and violent incidents involving its own members.
Benefit Odisha
As the NDA government at centre completes three years in office, it is time to analyze how far Odisha has benefitted in these years. How has been the State treated by the centre, how much money has come in comparison to the UPA government and what has been the centre-state relation?
Development roadblocks
It is well known that, over the decades, Odisha’s industrialization efforts have hit two major roadblocks. On the one hand there is this vociferous anti-industrial brigade of the so called Green activists while on the other there is this blood smeared violent Red corridor perpetuated by the Maoists that infest the mineral rich belt of Odisha. Together they have held the State’s development agenda to ransom.
Revamping Odisha Congress
Even as Congress leaders in Odisha keep waiting with bated breath to know what decision Rahul Gandhi will take to revamp the State unit of this national party, the role of BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik in this exercise, many feel, appears to be vital. Two of the former chiefs of Odisha Congress – Jaydev Jena and Niranjan Patnaik – have already gone on record saying that Naveen Patnaik used his influence over power that be in Congress to dislodge them from OPCC President posts earlier.
Modi wave impact
There has been an unprecedented and hitherto-unseen churn in Odisha’s politics for the last couple of days. And, all the three major players have become hyperactive-the motive being to grab the electoral pie in 2019. What started with BJP has now afflicted the other two parties. The BJP has of course been setting its agenda since the Modi government came to power. But it is only after the party’s national executive held in April in Bhubaneswar that the ‘Look East’ policy of the Modi-shah combine has gained momentum. The party’s success in the February Panchayat elections has emboldened the cadre and leaders have been quite optimistic of their performance in the next elections. PM Modi’s road show in Bhubaneswar and party president Amit Shah’s careful election strategy and planning - his emphasis on penetrating into the booth level –are all positive developments for the party aspiring to unseat Naveen Patnaik.
Naveen’s ambivalence
What’s up in the ruling Biju Janata Dal, or more specifically its supremo and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik? Where is BJD leading to? Is the leader in command as he used to be so far? These are the pesky questions that are certainly begging for answers. Over the past few months, the BJD and its lone leader seem to have been caught in a bind.
Puri temple
Justice BP Das Commission, formed to suggest reforms in Jagannath Temple at Puri, has recommended the State government to act tough on temple servitors (sevayats), who misbehave with devotees inside the shrine.
Vote Bank Politics in Bhadrak
While it is disturbing to know that rioters belonging to a particular community in Bhadrak shouted pro-Pakistan slogans during the recent communal flare up there, what is more disquieting is the fact that those who did this were allegedly supporters of the ruling BJD.
Bhadrak conflagration
The Bhadrak communal tension, coming as it is on the eve of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s five-day trip to Delhi, has not only dented the image of the government, it has also raised several questions relating to safety and security of the people. On the one hand the district administration is clueless as how to handle the situation that erupted after Rama Navami and still refusing to calm down.
Odisha @ 82
As Odisha celebrates its 82nd birthday today as a separate province, there are more nagging questions today than when it was formed. Odisha is a test case of perpetual paradox: rich land but poor people. Given its natural advantages, it always had the potential to consolidate on these gains.
BJD’s equi-distance
Post-Panchayat elections Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik recently said in New Delhi that his party will maintain equal distance from both the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress. To be sure, the ruling BJD has been maintaining this stand ever since it parted company with the BJP on eve of the 2009 Assembly elections and the subsequent win by whopping numbers. But this equi-distance theory has somewhat been unconvincing if not totally hopeless.
Assembly results
The results of the much-awaited five State assembly elections have clearly demonstrated that there is no one who can stop the Modi juggernaut. Proving wrong the fears of a hung assembly, the BJP swept back to power in Uttar Pradesh after 15 long years.
IMR reduction
While very few words were used to scotch rumours about his own health, a visibly elated Naveen Patnaik could not hide his happiness to announce the findings of the latest National Family Health Survey-4 (NFHS) report showing significant fall in Infant Mortality Rate (IMR) in Odisha.
Pradhan shines
If the outcome of the first three phases of Panchayat election in the State is of any indication, one can easily say that with BJP emerging as a pan-Odisha party, the saffron party’s youthful leader Dharmendra Pradhan under whose leadership the party fought the election has grown in stature.
Mahanadi issue
Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh’s statement that there is no dispute over sharing Mahanadi water except for politics by the Naveen Patnaik government carefully exposes the doublespeak and hypocrisy of the BJD dispensation. What Singh said is rather more accommodative: “There can't be a dispute over Mahanadi. It unites the people of Odisha and Chhattisgarh.”
Mahanadi row
With all non-BJP political parties including the ruling BJD rejecting the Centre's latest decision of setting up a negotiation committee to assess the availability and utilization of waters in the Mahanadi River and its tributaries, the issue has once again snowballed into a hullabaloo.
CBI Vs State Vigilance
A day after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) conducted raids on the premises of Naveen's one time close confidante Saroj Sahoo along with those of two other prominent faces in BJD, Cuttack Choudwar MLA Pravat Biswal and Balasore Lok Sabha MP Rabindra Jena, the State Vigilance sleuths swooped on the business establishments of Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan's brother, Soumendra in Angul.
Panchayat poll
Given the bad blood that was flowing over advertisement blitz in the local media over the past few days, Panchayat elections 2017 in Odisha will have altogether a different connotation compared to the earlier ones.
Sexual slur
With the Odisha Students Congress leveling sexual slur charges against Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) Mayor and BJD leader Anant Narayan Jena, the ruling party’s cup of woes have only multiplied.
Naveen govt slights Biju!
Nothing could have been more insolent to the legendary Biju Patnaik, especially amidst the much-hyped birth centenary celebrations going on all around, when the State government spearheaded by his son Naveen Patnaik proclaims in the Assembly that it has no information on the contributions of this great leader.
Make in Odisha conclave
Even as opposition parties call it much ado about nothing, by all account, the three-day ‘Make in Odisha’ conclave was a triumphant happening and the Naveen government has every reason to smile. The conclave was go-getting and at the same time it saw so may top-notch industrialists rubbing shoulders with each other.
Factionalism
Strange are the ways the Congress in Odisha. While state president Prasad Harichandan has preferred to own responsibility for the intra-party rift saying efforts are being made to bridge the gap between the warring leaders, he himself is one among them.
Show cause to Mahtab
In looking for an explanation from the party's Lok Sabha leader Bhartruhari Mahtab for his alleged statement of a possible BJD alliance with the Congress, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik seems to have recalibrated his threshold of tolerating intransigence and indiscipline in party.
Polavaram & Mahanadi
With Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik starting his party's mega plan for second round of agitation on Mahanadi and Polavaram issues - opening with a signature campaign in Cuttack - the twin contentious issues have only nosedived further. For the past six months or so the BJD government has virtually been playing to the gallery without making any substantial headway in resolving the problem.
Mahanadi battle
With the ruling Biju Janata Dal deciding, in its latest bid, to draw the attention of President Pranab Mukherjee to the Mahanadi water dispute with Chhattisgarh the issue is snowballing into a full-fledged war.
TV war
In tandem with SUM Hospital's owner Manoj Nayak getting arrested in connection with the unfortunate deaths of 25 patients and the circumstances leading to Monday's fire tragedy, a sort of channel war has erupted in Odisha. The unkindest cut is that almost every local news channel has some grudge to nurse and is seen taking sides: either in favour of the arrest of the business tycoon or against it.
Student vote
In the recent student union polls, the BJD supported candidates have emerged victorious and the Biju Chhatra Janata Dal (BCJD) contenders have won almost 95 percent of the seats in campuses across the State.
Pandemic Odisha
With Japanese Encephalitis claiming at least fifty lives in Malkangiri, it has assumed epidemic proportions. It is ‘alarming' as the BJP fact-finding team has pointed out. There is no second thought in saying that the Naveen government has bungled.
Polavaram tussle
Even as the Supreme Court on Friday admitted a petition filed by Odisha government challenging the national project status accorded to Polavaram multi-purpose irrigation project of Andhra Pradesh, there doesn’t seem to be any solution to the issue almost immediately.
Mahanadi row
Even as Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharati pleaded with right earnest all stakeholders to desist politicizing the Mahanadi water dispute, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik does not seem to be in a mood to let this opportunity go, at least till the ensuing Panchayat polls.
Sakhigopal occurrence
The recent incidence of one student dying and several others getting injured when a compound wall near a private school collapsed in a village in Satyabadi block in Puri district brings to the fore the awful lack of infrastructure in the State.
Invest Odisha
‘Odisha is going to be one among the top three start-up hubs in the country by 2020,’ thundered Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik at Odisha Investors’ Meet in Bengaluru on Friday.
Mahanadi row
By now it is almost clear that there is much more politics than water in the ongoing feud between Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra is not entirely wrong when he says the BJD government is doing “petty politics” on the Mahanadi river water issue.
Mahanadi row
Just as the Orissa High Court has asked the Standing Counsels of the Centre and the State Government to submit their positions over the Mahanadi river issue within ten days, the subject is getting only messy day by day.
BJD tactics
Is Odisha turning gradually out to be a violent state? Is the state sliding into a vicious cycle of hostility between two ruling parties? A disturbing trend can be seen over the last few months with the ruling Biju Janata Dal workers led by a couple of leaders taking the law into their hands.
Mahanadi feud
Politics over the Mahanadi water dispute between Odisha and Chhattisgarh has now assumed sinister proportions with the ruling BJD raising the issue in Parliament and moving a privilege motion against the Union Water Resources Minister. Not only that, the ruling party is staging protest demonstrations and organizing rallies in various parts of the State including near the Bargarh District Collector’s office where the protests turned violent.
‘Tragedy’ tourism
It has almost become a pattern in Odisha for politicians to visit the places after some tragedy has struck. Such beeline by the netas can splendidly be termed ‘tragedy tourism’. Two recent tragedies – Gumudumaha in Kandhamal and Nagada in Jajpur – witnessed scores of central as well State leaders of every political party making it to the area and issue statement after statement.
Kandhamal firing
The wave of outrage sweeping across the State over the killing of six innocent tribals, including a 15-month-old baby, in alleged crossfire between security forces and Maoists at Kurtamgarh in Kandhamal district is a grim reminder of the 2007 communal riots and the killings after the murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in 2008.
Sharecroppers’ bill
Albeit lately, the Naveen government has risen to the occasion of safeguarding the interests of the sharecroppers. The government will bring a new legislation in the monsoon session of the state Assembly. Two reasons are touted for this belated step: one, since sharecroppers do not get compensation during natural calamities, the Bill will enable them to get compensation; two, the sharecroppers will get input subsidy, insurance and loan on the leased land.
Intransigent Daitas
If Nabakalebar 2015 went down in history as one of the most controversial episodes in the history of Sri Jagannath temple, this year too it does not seem to be a smooth affair if the showdown between the Daitas, the Shankaracharya of Puri, the Gajapati Maharaja and the Sri Jagannath Temple Administration is any indication.
Chit-fund scam
Much of what the Opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress have demanded – detaining the four actor-turned-politicians from the ruling Biju Janata Dal for promoting a chit fund firm – may have a political overtone. Yet, the arrest of Prabhas Rout, chairman-cum-CMD of Oscar group, in New Delhi recently is sure to open a Pandora’s Box in the ongoing probe against the companies.
Groundless
With the Economic Offences Wing of the Odisha Police arresting Oscar Group of Companies chairman Prabhas Chandra Rout in Delhi, yet another ugly side of the multi-thousand crore ponzi scam has been unlocked.
On toes
Prime Minister Narendra Modi flying down to Balasore to address the Vikash Gaurav rally celebrating two years of his government was unquestionably a record of sorts. In the last two years, Modi has visited Odisha four times – something unusual for a PM.
Unconvinced
Chief Minister and BJD president Naveen Patnaik has announced the names of his party’s three candidates for the forthcoming Rajya Sabha polls scheduled for June 11.
Unconvinced
Naveen’s Rajya Sabha gamble
Deflect
Apparently not finding way to defend its minister Arun Sahoo who brought down parliamentary discourse to a new low by calling Leader of Opposition Narasingha Mishra senile, the ruling BJD has taken recourse to deflect the matter by raking up issues like Polavaram river project, more rice and less wheat in PDS and Central neglect etc.
Judge remark
With the Odisha assembly witnessing noisy scenes over the statement of the retired High Court Judge MM Das, head of the probe panel into the multi-crore chit fund scam, the issue is now on centre stage. Justice Das has landed in controversy as he not only attended a programme organized by the BJD Lawyers' Forum; in his address there he made some controversial remarks regarding chit fund investments.
Dasburma imbroglio
With clamour for posturing by senior BJD leaders on the issue whether Minister Sanjay Dasburma should resign or not in the aftermath of CBI summoning him in connection with getting favour from the head of a tainted chit fund company not dying down notwithstanding diktat from party supremo Naveen Patnaik, as it seems all is not well in BJD.
Aahar
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday launched 100 more 'Aahar' centers that will provide cheap meals to the poor, covering all districts of the State. Under 'Aahar', the government provides a meal of rice and 'dalma' at just five rupees. The scheme was launched last year on Odisha Foundation Day on April 1 in Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Berhampur, Rourkela and Sambalpur.
Sharecroppers’ plight
Even as the State government in Odisha has made tall claims that it is genuinely serious about resolving a plethora of problems sharecroppers encounter from time to time, such claims make little sense especially when not much has happened in bringing forth any legislation to ensure them their legal status.
Traders’ agitation
Traders in Odisha are on the warpath. They are protesting Odisha government's delay in withdrawing 5 per cent VAT on certain food items. Traders’ body Federation of All Odisha Traders' Associations (FAOTA) has even threatened to stop import of essential commodities like pulses, wheat and wheat products, sugar and edible oil from other states beginning April 1.
Foul-tasting
Even as the ruling Biju Janata Dal sought clarification from Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan over the 'donkey' remark he made during the Bargarh farmers' convention last Sunday, this comment is in bad taste.
Odisha Police
The recent arrest of five fugitives linked to the Students Islamic Movement of India in Rourkela may have elated the Odisha Police, but there is hardly anything to be euphoric about it. First, it was a joint team of Odisha and Telangana police which nabbed the suspects.
Odisha investment
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is in Mumbai to sell Odisha to industry bigwigs at the Odisha Investors' Meet. As part of the Make in India Week, Patnaik is showcasing the efforts that the State has made to attract investors.
Modi in Odisha
With Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicating Rs 35,000 crore refinery at Paradip, a new chapter has been added to Odisha’s development saga. Despite a slugfest between all three major political parties seeking credit for the project, the much-discussed and much-delayed project has finally seen light of the day.
Poster brawl
The BJP-BJD confrontation over pictures of Union Petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan in IOCL propaganda vehicles is nothing but a tragicomedy. Whether it is a tragic play with comic elements to lighten the people’s mood or a serious play with a happy ending only the two players can delineate.
Urban polls
With the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) registering a massive victory in two urban local body (ULB) elections, the message is clear and crystal: that elections in Odisha are a one-party affair. Out of the total 13 wards in Baliguda NAC, BJD won nine while Congress in three places followed by BJP in one ward. Similarly, in Champua NAC, BJD registered win in nine wards and remaining four were pocketed by independent candidates.
Repulsive
The Supreme Court last week came forward and stayed Centre's notification lifting ban on controversial bull-taming sport Jallikattu during the festival of Pongal in Tamil Nadu.
Naveen’s Pitroda card
No matter how loudly Naveen defends his appointment of telecom czar Sam Pitroda as Technical Advisor for development of Information Technology (IT) sector in Odisha, the latter’s close proximity with Gandhi family and alleged complicity in National Herald issue cast doubt on the intentions of Naveen who not only claims to have maintained equal distance politically from Congress and BJP, he never forgets to boast of zero-tolerance to corruption as the USP of his record breaking stint as Chief Minister of the State.
Ration card scam
Many must have forgotten the painful episode when Jayanti, a Class VII girl student in Ganjam district committed suicide as her parents could not provide her a pencil and note books she so very desperately needed for her studies.
Temple reform
The Jagannath temple in Puri is once again in the news. The servitors are on the warpath protesting the government’s decision to implement the Justice BK Patra Commission's recommendations. The bone of contention is the abolition of hereditary rights enjoyed by the servitors for generations.
Rahman arrest
With the arrest of a suspected Al-Qaeda operative by the twin-city Commissionerate of Police, the worst fear has come out to be true. Intelligent agencies sure have busted a module of the terror group's Indian sub-continent wing operating out of the country and this is a big catch as far as the terrorist operation is concerned.
Medico strike
With the Orissa High Court asking the State government to relocate the students of Sardar Rajas Medical College by December 23, one expects that the issue will get resolved once for all.
Rama Devi Incident
There couldn’t be more disturbing times than this for the Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and his fifteen-year rule as an admired regional satrap. For the past few months the ‘undisputed’ leader has been in trouble for one reason or the other.
Barabati fiasco
Even as Ranchi gained at Cuttack’s loss, neither the Naveen led BJD government in Odisha nor the so called mighty cricket body of the State, Odisha Cricket Association (OCA) dared challenge the decision of the Board of Control for Cricket (BCCI) which stripped Barabati Stadium of the Test playing venue status.
Bihar lesson
Lessons from Bihar for BJP are a legion. One of it is not projecting any from among state leaders as the face of the party and the chief ministerial candidate vis-à-vis Nitish Kumar.
Banning bar dancers
Even as Bhubaneswar police in last couple of days has gone hyper in swooping bars in the capital city to intercept girls dancing before patrons there, this action has triggered an interesting debate questioning the validity of such outrage.
Farm suicide
Admissions never come. Even if they come, they come late. This has almost become a pattern for the Odisha government if one looks at the handling of the serious issues in the past couple of months.
Odisha BJP
Even a good eighteen months after the mercurial Narendra Modi lead BJP to a historic victory in 2014 general elections securing absolute majority in the Lok Sabha, the Odisha unit of the party without accomplishing anything substantial to cheer about is still grappling with leadership crisis.
BJD’s Jansampark Yatra
The 10-day mass contact movement - Jansampark Yatra - launched by the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) on Father of Nation, Mahatma Gandhi’s birth anniversary, October 2 appears more intended for self-aggrandisement than to achieve anything substantial for the people of the State who have stood rock solid behind the party since 2000.
Government schemes
For quite some time now, there has been a raging controversy in Odisha over various government schemes. The dispute relates to taking credit for the different welfare programmes. The state BJP leaders claim that the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government in the State is hijacking its schemes and takes credit for them. Contrarily, the BJD leaders spare no occasion to proclaim that money spent for various developmental programmes is their own.
Luring Investment
Even as the Naveen-led BJD government armed with its new Industrial Policy Resolution (IPR)-2015 embarks on an ambitious plan to lure both domestic and overseas investors offering them a very conducive atmosphere here, the depressing ground reality vis-à-vis some big ticket investments in the State sends down conflicting signals.
Skirmishes in Congress, BJP
Much to the amusement of BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik, the drama of the absurd continues to unfold with leaders of opposition parties in Odisha, Congress and BJP, trying to prove their supremacy in succeeding acts.
Rahul’s jibe
The two-day Odisha visit of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi has not turned out to be a non-event as it was assumed prior to his trip. The Yuvraj has definitely made some smart moves and has quite been able to put the Naveen government on the mat.
SVPPGIP deaths
Politicking over alarmingly large number of deaths of neonates at Cuttack’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics (SVPPGIP) hit a new low when on Friday a BJP Union Minister and BJD spokespersons kept themselves busy in trading charges and counter charges without coming out with any concrete solution to the crisis.
Monsoon session
While Parliament’s recently concluded monsoon session witnessed some new lows like 25 Congress MPs suspended for five days and continuous disruption of proceedings in both houses stalled much crucial legislation, a similar tumultuous session in Odisha Assembly which came to an end on Saturday has left many serious questions about holding of purposeful sessions of the house
Assembly disruptions
While brazening out the shame their leader Naveen Patnaik earned from the highest quarters of country’s judiciary for over-attempting to falsely implicate an honest top cop Prakash Mishra on graft charges, BJD lawmakers did something on Friday that brought an all-time low in Odisha Legislative Assembly.
Uncanny
With the State Crime Branch arresting the controversial god-man Sarathi Baba in the wee hours on Saturday, yet another episode of erotic escapades of the so called holy men has come to light. Bowing to public pressure Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik ordered a Crime Branch probe into the shenanigans of the self-styled god man
Odisha Congress
Much to the delight of ruling BJD, amusement of other opposition party in the State BJP and chagrin of many, Congress leaders keep engaging relentlessly in senseless scuffles even as their party is pushed precariously to the edge of the cliff.
Politicising Nabakalebar
Amid the ecstasy of century’s first Nabakalebar (replacement of old idols of the Trinity with new ones) celebrations, a very significant development has taken place on the eve of Rath Yatra with the Orissa High Court admitting for adjudication a Writ Petition demanding imposition of strict restrictions on recognized political parties for shamelessly engaging in an ugly competition among each other to scrape together as much mileage as possible from some human errors purportedly occurred during conduct of some rituals during this big religious carnival.
Posco jinx
With Posco putting on hold plans to build the $12-billion steel plant near Paradip, the project is once again back in the news. According to CEO Kwon Oh Joon, ‘business conditions at home and abroad have changed due to a drop in global steel demand, growing deficit of subsidiaries, which have led us to come to a conclusion that we must step up our reform efforts’.
Emerging Saffron design
Even as the chief of BJP Amit Shah, to the utter disappointment of his lieutenants refused to go bellicose against Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik last year, the saffron party seems to have prepared the war plan the unfolding of which is evident from the recent actions and posturing by its leaders including some Union Ministers.
Nabakalebar
Nabakalebar 2015 will go down as one of the most controversial episodes in the history of Jagannath temple. Never in the past was such an important ritual - which occurs once in about two decades – abused physically and religiously while hurting the sentiment of crores of Odias living across the globe.
Bandh and after
Two happenings in quick succession – the Prakash Mishra disgrace and the Brahma Parivartan mess – followed by a successful bandh called by the opposition Congress. Is Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik in deep trouble?
Prakash’s bombshell
No sooner had Justice SC Parija of Orissa High Court pronounced the historic judgment absolving former DGP Prakash Mishra of the serious graft charges brought against him by State’s Vigilance Directorate than the explosive comment of the top cop went viral, which, many felt, contained enough substance to weaken the Naveen magic, that has held the State’s politics spellbound for last fifteen years.
Uncontrolled
Where is the twin-city police heading? This is the question in everybody's lips over the past few weeks. Not only the commissionerate police have failed to contain law and order problems in Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, it seems to have lost the direction.
Nabakalebar 2015
While Lord Jagannath's Nabakalebar is less than two months away, the State Government has begun to show its desperation. On Friday, it placed an executive engineer under suspension for delay in completion of infrastructural work. Project engineer Saroj Das of Odisha Water, Sanitation and Sewerage Board has been suspended for what the government calls 'dereliction of duty'.
Lonely Pyari
Three years after the so-called ‘midnight operation’, BJD’s erstwhile ‘Chanakya’ has acknowledged – somewhat discreetly – to a private news channel that 5/29 was a wrong line of attack.
Naveenspeak
While addressing the meeting held on the completion of one year in office of the fourth term, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik asked his council of ministers not to go by the feedbacks of the bureaucrats alone but cross check from the people while reviewing welfare schemes. “Do not always go by the feedback of the bureaucracy alone.
Plan Odisha
Consequent upon the suggestion of the NITI Aayog, the Odisha government has decided to submit by the middle of next month its recommendations on integrated development of agriculture in the State. The task force appointed for the purpose held its first meeting on Saturday. Six sub-groups have been formed and each will submit its report to the task force.
Ratna for Biju
Even though no one else from modern Odisha deserves country’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna more than the mercurial Biju Patnaik and the recognition is far overdue, the recent clamour for it raised by many including leaders of the ruling BJD — named after the great leader — seems like a deferred outcry that lacks genuine sincerity.
Urban growth
The Rupees one lakh crore cleared by the government for both smart cities as well as rejuvenating existing ones seems very impressive. But, it doesn’t even scratch the surface in terms of what India’s urbanisation drive needs.
Shankaracharya slighted

Nalco disinvestment
The Nalco disinvestment plan has been opposed by several quarters including Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik. The central government has plans to offload 10 per cent stake in this Navratna company.
Capital talk
Yet another foundation day celebration of Bhubaneswar is approaching. The day will end with all sorts of events - inaugurations, stone laying ceremonies and certainly elongated speeches. Sixty seven years ago when it was decided to shift the State’s capital to Bhubaneswar, no one had envisaged such exponential growth as the capital city has witnessed over the past few years.
Climate Plan
The Odisha government will shortly come out with a new action plan on climate change for the next five years.
Mini lunch scheme
Dirty politics over a square meal
Nabakalebar 2015
The Naveen administration in Odisha seems to be on an overdrive more in appeasing the demanding ones than trying to complete the basic infrastructure required for the big religious jamboree, Nabakalebar festival, during which the new idols replace the existing ones of the deities, Jagannath, Balabhadra, Subhadra and Sudarshan in this famous twelfth century Hindu shrine.
Sacred, not hygienic
While Hindu believers throughout the world cherish visiting the venerated shrine in Puri to worship the trinity - Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra – their pilgrimage is generally not considered complete without partaking the Mahaprasad, the sacred food cooked inside the temple kitchen.
Unbundled tangle
With OERC revoking power distribution licenses to the Reliance Infra controlled three discoms, Wesco, Southco and Nesco, the much hyped power reforms in Odisha is back to square one. T
Jaitley’s budget
Much like the Rail budget, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley put together a Budget which sets the stage for a new economic order in India. By taking the route of pushing public investment he is found moving away a bit from the fiscal consolidation path.
Chinks in Naveen's security
Even as the excuses offered by the opposition Congress for the egg attack its youth and student activists carried out at the motorcade of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik as part of democratic protest are grossly untenable, the ease with which the protestors could get away with the aggression from such a close proximity has exposed the chinks in the so called multi-layered security cover surrounding the Chief Minister.
Child birth at Govt. schools
Why do the parents send their daughters to government school hostels: to get the safest accommodation and care for acquiring knowledge or to become easy prey to lecherous elements in the system? If reports available on public domain are of any indication, the latter is, unfortunately, the bitter reality.
NFSA tangle
Two weeks ago Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the process for the identification of PDS beneficiaries under National Food Security Act (NFSA) at Chakeisiani, Ward 5 of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC). Expressing his happiness, Chief Minister said, "The State Government has taken several initiatives for streamlining Targeted Public Distribution System in past years. Rice at one rupee a kg is one of our flagship schemes covering about 60 lakh families every month."
Jayanthi exposé
Jayanthi Natarajan, no doubt, has turned out to be a trouble multiplier for Congress, but the startling revelations she made just before bidding sayonara to the grand old party left Rahul Gandhi as a big villain so far as Odisha was concerned. Although many seriously doubted Rahul’s sincerity when he proclaimed in August 2010 to be the soldier of Dongria Kondhs, rarely any one could muster courage to label his posturing as hypocritical.
Terror threat
Odisha police whose hands are already full with its more than a decade old fight against Maoists is now exposed to international terrorism, a new challenge to deal with. The arrest of one Ishwar Behera, a casual cameraman in Interim Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur on Odisha coast barely a day after the Intelligence Bureau forewarned the State government of possible terror strike by terror groups in Pakistan has amplified the threat perception.
Mining Ordinance
Odisha, a major mineral bearing State that contributes to almost 60 percent of country’s iron ore production has responded to the Mines and Mineral (Development and Regulations) Amendment Ordinance 2014 promulgated by the Union Government on January 13, 2015 with a pinch of salt.
Legislative council
The Odisha government in an unexpected move has initiated the process for setting up a Legislative Council in the state. A five-member committee of five MLAs has been formed for this purpose. Given the strength of the assembly (147), the Council can at most have 49 members.
BJP’s Mahasangram
Even as BJP announced its Mahasangram, the final onslaught on the Naveen-led BJD ruling the State relentlessly since 2000, the latter seems to be least disturbed by the war cry of the saffron party.
GST
Even as the Centre seems heading towards a breakthrough on getting states on board for a rollout of the goods & services tax (GST), there are still some trouble areas. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley swung into action after state finance ministers rejected the draft GST Constitutional Amendment Bill.
Congress dilemma
Indian National Congress, the oldest party holding the enviable record of ruling the State for maximum period of time finds itself knee-deep in dilemma. Remaining out of power for nearly a decade and half and with no hope of regaining it in near future, its cadre, a crestfallen lot, desperately look forward to some miracle which can salvage the party’s lost glory.
BJD rattled
No matter how stoutly its spokesmen keep parroting that their party has no hesitation in debating the chit fund scam in the State, the sequence of events including those in the ongoing winter session proves point by point that the ruling BJD is shying away from a full discussion over this issue which has brought bagful of embarrassment for it.
Chit Fund heat
For the first time in Naveen’s fourteen year plus tenure as chief minister of the State, opposition has turned the heat on him questioning his personal integrity. The allegation is indeed shocking. While raising the pitch for his resignation, opposition Congress and BJP in State Assembly pointed accusing finger at Naveen for presiding over the gargantuan chit fund loot involving the hard earned money of a poor multitude.
Cash for scribes
Ruling BJD’s Puri MP Pinaki Mishra recently hugged the lime light for wrong reasons. In an attempt to defend the indefensible, Mishra went on ferreting out inane arguments when all and sundry including his party colleagues found fault in distribution of currency notes in the press conference at Puri he convened in the capacity of the Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Urban Development.
CBI nabs BJD MP

Corruption in Odisha
In a move that seems to justify the dictum ‘hit when the iron is hot’, BJP announces its bigger plan of targeting Naveen dispensation in Odisha for the latter’s alleged espousal of corrupt practices. Raising the pitch, BJP’s national spokesperson Sambit Patra told media on the sidelines of ‘Run for Unity’ programmes at Bhubaneswar that his party will step up campaign against corruption which is rampant in the State under the administrative control of Naveen Patnaik since 2000.
Exodus from BJD
Has Arun Singh heard it louder than anyone else the rumblings of a possible collapse in BJD? Arun, BJP’s central emissary in Odisha, surprised one and all by making a statement that many tall figures in ruling BJD as well as in Congress have queued up to join the saffron party especially after its stupendous electoral performances in recent times and unusual upsurge in Narendra Modi’s popularity.
Odisha mining scam
Close on the heels of indictment of Naveen Administration by Justice MB Shah commission, the Supreme Court-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC)’s revelations on irregularities perpetuated in Odisha’s mining sector will prove too hard for Naveen Patnaik, the chief minister to defend.
A by-election to watch
With Naveen Patnaik engaging eighteen out of his twenty one ministers for the by-election to Kandhmal Lok Sabha seat, himself splitting time between holding review meetings for Hudhud cyclonic storm and hitting campaign trail and the entire top brass of State BJP including two union ministers, Jual Oram and Dharmendra Pradhan pitching tent in this nondescript constituency, one can guess how important this otherwise insignificant poll is to both the political rivals in Odisha, BJD and BJP.
Doctor killed brutally
What, amidst explosive headlines these days including the Advocate General of the State a couple of days before landing up in the lock up for allegedly misutilising his official position to help a chit fund scamster, gets lost is the gruesome murder of Durbadal Mishra, a dedicated doctor in a rather sleepy town of Subarnapur.
Pressed for reform
No incident had ever bruised the image of media in Odisha to the extent the recent few instances have done. During the last couple of weeks media scene has been shaken up by arrests by CBI of owners of three media houses, namely Bikas Swain of Suryaprabha, Madhu Mohanty of Odisha Bhaskar and Manoj Dash of Kamyab TV in connection with chit fund scam.
Constituents betrayed
The way skeletons are tumbling out from the grand cupboard of BJD with each passing day in the Ponzi scheme probe by CBI, Naveen Patnaik, the chief minister of Odisha and the President of BJD, seems to find himself knee-deep in doubt as to whether his confidantes have well and truly betrayed his electorates who stood solidly behind him in his political journey thus far since his debut in 1997.
BJP’s mind churning at Puri
Even as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) claims its three-day conclave at Puri to be a mere brainstorming exercise to find out why Modi magic did not work in Odisha in the recent elections, the real motive appears to be taking a step forward in giving concrete shape to Modi’s ‘look-east’ policy intended to unsettle Odisha’s Naveen Patnaik and West Bengal’s Mamata Banerjee.
Naveen’s fresh century
When Naveen Patnaik celebrates in his own personal way, the successful completion of the first hundred days of his fourth successive term in office as the chief minister, there is a distinct pattern emerging in Odisha politics.
Snubbing the Seer
Barely hours after the State Government anointed him as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) for Nabakalebar festival, Suresh Chandra Mohapatra, a very senior bureaucrat who also holds the post of Principal Secretary, Energy, made a statement almost justifying the slight meted out to Puri Seer Swami Nischalananda Saraswati during the last Rath Yatra.
Jan Dhan Yojana
Even as the Prime Minister, Narendra Modi announced Jan Dhan Yojana, a new nomenclature for the much talked about Financial Inclusion programme; and despite State heads of many nationalised banks assuring aloud at PBD-Odisha Economic and Banking Conclave held recently at Bhubaneswar to achieve the targets given for completion in next five years, questions about the success of the scheme linger.
Mamata’s eccentricity
Even when the State machinery is struggling to come to grips with the widespread deluge caused by the Mahanadi river system, an arbitrary and eccentric decision of Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of neighbouring West Bengal has made people of Odisha suffer an uncalled for crisis of potato.
Put an end to deification
Even as the Director General of Police, Sanjeev Marik finds clinching evidence on the complicity of Sabyasachi Panda with Nayagarh arm loot and mayhem as the revolver seized from him was the one from same armoury and Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik made an emotional appeal in State Assembly asking those who are spreading the message that arrest of this dreaded red rebel was a stage managed affair, to stop making such baseless accusations, deification of the hardened criminal in some quarters is most disturbing.
Tata’s skulduggery
In a queer design, Tata which is accused of adopting a strategy of taking-more-giving-least vis-à-vis Odisha, has been successfully trying to win over politicians, bureaucrats and journalists by organising fun jamborees where cocktails take precedence over other things. Organising football and cricket competitions among these three major groups appear to be the facade to keep the alleged swindling under cover.
Shame returns
Whether it was by design or by quirk of unfolding of events that the shameful news of parents in Bhubaneswar selling off their off-springs got drowned in the brouhaha of police laying its hands on the once-dreaded Maoist-turned-a toothless tiger, Sabyasachi Panda.
Banita decides to die
If Hindu backlash following the gruesome murder of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in 2008 had brought international shame on Odisha and its leader, Naveen Patnaik, the shocking incident of self-immolation of the ten year old Banita on June 26, 2014 after her parents denied her Rs10 that she needed to buy note books and pencils for her studies at school, is much more reprehensible for the Chief Minister who makes tall claims about poverty eradication and improvement of the living standard of common people.
Govt lacks spunk
117 MLAs in a house of 147 and 20 out of 21 MPs, yet the Naveen led BJD government lacked the spunk to stand up and deliver on the contentious issue of chariot climbing of devotees during Rath Yatra.
BJD Govt's "Maha papa"
By allowing people to touch the images of Gods on Ratha during Rathayatra BJD government is committing 'maha papa' if the verdict of the final arbiters of religious matters is to be given credence.
Servitors hold ransom
Prominent in the long list of the unscrupulous individuals and groups who besmirch the reputation of the pilgrimage city of Puri, the abode of the revered Lord Jagannath, is a section of servitors of the twelfth century shrine.
Changing Postures
Few politicians in India have enjoyed the phenomenal electoral success on a sustained basis as has Naveen Patnaik of Odisha. Not any of the so called negative factors, commonly propounded by poll pundits, namely anti-incumbency, unearthing of scams, saffron wave, rising crime against women have failed to dent the soaring popularity of Naveen.
Flag bearers of Odia cinema
Lipika Singh Darai, Nihar Ranjan Samal, Alka Sahani, Shrabani Das, Abhilash Nanda and Ranjan Rath who have made Odisha proud by winning laurels in the recently concluded 61st Annual National Film Award (NFA) ceremony are yet to be applauded by either the Odia film fraternity or the sarkari babus holding the responsibility of development of cinema in the State.
No Change in sight
There appears to be no end to speculations about the outcome of the elections to State Assembly and Lok Sabha, with leaders of Congress and BJP forecasting victories that will enable them to form the next government. The ruling BJD, however, is cooling heels expecting a comfortable, if not emphatic, win.
What endures Naveen?
As the whole nation is caught in the grip of election frenzy, speculations are flying thick and fast as to who will capture power and who will be thrown to the dustbin of history. But one person who seems immune from this brouhaha of crystal-gazing is Naveen Patnaik.
All’s well that ends well
Naveen’s BJD party seems to be the frontrunner in throwing propriety to wind while trying to register an impressive performance in the just finished polls for Parliament and Assembly. Patnaik who has broken the record of JB Patnaik of Congress by becoming the first chief minister to rule the State for three terms on trot and is all set to step into his fourth was found to be in a bundle of nerves in the run up to 2014 polls probably seeing his ability to pull crowd on the wane.
‘Treachery’ to rescue Naveen?
In response to the allegations that tickets in his party had a price tag, the BJD supremo, Naveen Patnaik probably thought it better to keep quiet than to dignify such rubbish. But when he disgorged the ‘betrayal of Biju’ episode during the election rally at Mahakalpada recently, he exposed his self-doubt about people’s unflinching confidence in him and in his party that has left all other political outfits way behind in Odisha
Name your partner
While Naveen Patnaik, the BJD supremo these days has stepped up his efforts to dispel the confusion over his party’s role in government formation in Centre, the two Jenas of Congress, and KV Singhdeo’s BJP brigade are burning midnight oil to get through the stress test 2014 election has brought for them.
Ticket Bazaar
With ticket distribution exercise mimicking the demand-supply-dynamics driven transactions of bazaars, coloured by dubious business deals, undercutting and skulduggery; political parties in Odisha who seem to champion the cause of party hoppers and non-political characters leaving loyalists high and dry, dump with impunity scruples, propriety and ideology.
Modi’s Rancour
Narendra Modi’s jibe at Naveen Patnaik during February 11 rally at Bhubaneswar surprised many as no other senior central leader of BJP in recent past had been so bitter in posturing against the most successful chief minister of Odisha
Naveen tastes defeat
Rarely does one get to see glumness in the camp of victors. Not for nothing it is glaringly visible in the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) bloc where its lieutenants are found licking the wounds inflicted on them by ace cricket manager Ranjib Biswal.
Odisha BJP's Likely Saviour
In spite of a number of rejigs at the top echelon of the party and repeated image makeover attempts, BJP’s Odisha unit refuses to make any headway in reasserting its space in the political spectrum of the State.
Commission omission
Even as Justice MB Shah’s report on illegal mining especially in iron and manganese ore sector in Odisha has stirred a hornets’ nest, many in the know strongly feel that it has let some big fish to escape the dragnet.
A dominating theme
Theme Naveen in Odisha politics which has its genesis in a quirky serendipity in 1997 after the death of mercurial Biju Patnaik, has got so entrenched in the collective unconscious of the electorate that nothing else comes to the minds of the voters of the State when they prepare themselves to press the button in the Electronic Voting Machine.
Damning Report
The damning Justice MB Shah Commission report on the relentless mining loot in Odisha during the regime of Naveen Patnaik as head of the State government is bound to spoil the Naveen’s party and have strong political ramification.
Naveen Changes Gear
With the principal opposition party in the State, Congress fraying around the edges on a fast clip, and BJP reducing itself to the status of minnow comparable only with other regional outfits such as Odisha Jana Morcha, Ama Odisha, Utkal Bharat, Samrudha Odisha etc., BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has every valid reason to look beyond the itsy-bitsy and assert himself in the national political centre stage.
The bully survives again
Odisha’s Finance Minister Prasanna Acharya seems to have acquired a special power of survival in spite of being indicted twice in recent past. Justice AS Naidu Commission, inquiring the hooch tragedy of 2012 that claimed as many as 41 lives in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar, blamed it on the Health Department for its failure in controlling free availability of a contaminated medicinal preparation that was used as intoxicant.
KBK healthcare issue
Strange are the times and more strange is the way the government functions in Odisha. ‘Bizarre’ can only be the word when a minister in the Naveen Patnaik’s government says on floor of the Assembly that he can’t do anything in the matter of scarcity of doctors.
Big investors in a quandary
While Naveen Patnaik government continues with its laid-back approach towards providing the right kind of environment for industrial growth, big ticket investments in the State are in a quandary, wondering if choosing Odisha as their business destination was a right decision.
BJD does it again
While the results of the second phase ULB polls in western part of the State went on expected lines, culminating in a resounding victory for the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the public utterances of two of its senior ministers, Prasanna Acharya and Damodar Rout appear to have spoiled the party.
Yet another lapse
The tragic accident that occurred inside the plant of Bhusan Steel Limited (BSL) in Dhenkanal on November 13 is yet another fatal mishap to rock the industrial unit which is accused of deliberately not learning anything from the long list of tragic incidents.
Tikiri teacher death
Itishree Pradhan, a lady teacher in the Upper Primary school at Tikiri in Rayagada district, who succumbed on November 1 to burn injuries inflicted on her by some unidentified miscreants, has left behind a sad story of apathy which government officials including the top political executive of the state, the Chief Minister will find hard to defend.
Naveen promises and delivers
For some people, nothing can go wrong, not even natural disasters. It is as if the nature, the stars and the cosmic powers conspire to shower all the glories on their heads. Naveen Patnaik has proven himself to be one such fortunate man right from the day of his political birth till today when he finds himself inundated with praise for his deft handling of the Phailin crisis.
Caught in a bind
Even when the results of urban and local bodies (ULB) poll have gone on expected line, with the ruling BJD registering a landslide victory reducing the opposition to insignificance, the political parties are yet to divulge as to who is in cahoots with whom.
Odisha Investment
With Odisha emerging as the hottest investment destination for new projects and investors—domestic and foreign—showing more than average interest, it must be a good piece of news for the beleaguered Naveen Patnaik government.
Danse Macabre in Niyamgiri
The invitation of Congress spokesperson, Bhakta Charan Das to Rahul Gandhi to come and celebrate the great “victory” achieved in Niyamgiri defies all reason, especially at a time when the contracting GDP, widening Current Account Deficit (CAD) and panicky investors have crippled Indian economy.
Demystifying Poverty
In their eager pursuit for ensuring food to the multitude, both the UPA government at the Centre and the BJD government in Odisha have succeeded in remaining oblivious to the anomalies in identifying the poverty-stricken families, rechristened as ‘priority households’ under the Food Security Bill, to get the benefit of free food grains of 5 KGs per person every month.
Soumya Tangle
The disciplinary committee of Odisha Pradesh Congress Committee issuing a show-cause notice to former MP and AICC member Mr Soumya Ranjan Patnaik asking him to explain his conduct in holding a ‘Sankalp Yatra’ without permission from the party has unleashed a sort of internal war within the Congress.
Delayed firmness
Naveen Patnaik, the chief minister ruling Odisha on the trot for the last fourteen years, succeeded in building up an image of cleanliness, the so very unique quality seemingly endearing him so long to the millions in the State, appears to be tough against the erring ones, may it be in politics or in administration.
Failing the God
The servitors of Lord Jagannath's temple have come out with a diktat that no foreigner will be allowed access to the chariots of the Trinity from coming years during the annual sojourn known popularly world over as the Rath Yatra.
Treasure Trove
Besides many metaphysical attributes of Lord Jagannath, Lord Balabhadra and Devi Subhadra—the Puri Trinity—one aspect which has baffled sociologists, economists (chartered accountants included), and to a smaller degree, rationalists is the enormous stash of valuables worth billions of rupees.
FIR Politics
How politicians can go to ridiculous lengths to take on a ruling government can be imagined from the FIR politics of the Odisha Congress. This not only smacks of desperation, but also shows that the beleaguered party wants to perform in a manner that will get the approval of only the lower elements in the audience.
Mining loot
The issue of mining scam in Odisha is fast assuming the shape of a hydra headed monster: chop one head here, another one crops up elsewhere. What is more intriguing is the inexplicable indolence the officials of the government departments have shown in allowing safe passage to millions of tons of minerals especially iron and manganese ore extracted from mines without any clearance.
Ambivalent Naveen
Front politics for its very nature suffers from ambivalence and it is only a fragile arrangement. This is more applicable in case of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik who is unable to decide whether to go or not to go with any front in the run up to the 2014 elections.
Federal Front
The way a rather reticent Naveen Patnaik became extra loquacious during his recent sojourn in New Delhi where his party, Biju Janata Dal (BJD), organised a massive rally to lay stress on Odisha’s claim for a larger share of the cake from the Centre and national media zoomed him in, it will not be out of place to predict that he is all set to do what his father, the mercurial Biju Patnaik did in 1996 to help establish a third front government under the leadership of HD Deve Gowda.
Confused Congress, indecisive BJP
With both opposition parties in the State—Congress and BJP—suffering from a self-destructive syndrome, the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) appears to be easily cruising through the forthcoming elections thereby setting a record of any party ruling the State for so long without interruption.
Fund Probe
With the Odisha government ordering a judicial probe into the mega chit fund scam, it is to be hoped that the truth will someday come out and the scamsters involved in swindling public money will be punished.
Montek Missive
Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia’s letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik declaring that Odisha does not satisfy the criteria fixed for grant of Special Category Status is not only untimely, it wasn’t even needed. First, the reply was belated.
Niyamgiri crisis
Even after the Supreme Court pronouncing a rather unambiguous verdict on the contentious issue of bauxite mining from Niyamgiri hills in the case between Odisha Mining Corporation (OMC) and the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF), the friction between the State Government and the Union Government does not seem to be dying down.
Posco Pointers
With the Supreme Court setting aside the Odisha High court order which had quashed the state government's petition to allot iron ore license to South Korean steel major Posco in Khandadhar hills in Sundergarh district for its proposed Rs 51,000 crore steel plant near Paradeep, there seems to be a ray of hope at last for the beleaguered project.
Incorrigible Congress
The lot in Congress in Odisha appears to be determined in allowing Naveen Patnaik the fourth term without interruption. As elections draw nearer, fissures in the party’s hierarchy are becoming more prominent, which has been the recurring theme in last thirteen years during which Congress leaders have conceded defeat after defeat to the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD).
An Electoral Ploy
The ardour with which both the ruling party, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the opposition Congress are competing with each other to create the hype of the fight for Special Category State status to Odisha smacks more of a vulgar political stunt than real seriousness of purpose. With the announcement by the Union Minister, Rajiv Shukla in the Parliament that the Planning Commission was contemplating with all seriousness to change guidelines for according special category status to three states,
Vedanta Verdict
The Supreme Court Judgment has evoked a mixed and emotional response. While the Congress and the NGOs see this as a victory because it would lead to a ban on bauxite mining in the Niyamgiri area, the OMC and Vedanta see this as a positive development as it has opened a window of opportunity to herald industrialization in Kalahandi - the most backward district in the world.
Pyari’s Odisha Jan Morcha
The launching of Odisha Jan Morcha (OJM) by the irrepressible Pyarimohan Mohapatra appears to be one of the significant developments in the State where political dynamics keep changing at a brisk pace with each passing day in the run up to the ensuing poll to the Odisha Legislative Assembly and to the Lok Sabha.
Alarm Bells
On the face of it, the results of the three newly carved out NACs were too small a sample size to reflect a general pattern about the voting preferences of the people. The Congress can justifiably be accused of hyperbole when it reads the results as a sign of ‘the beginning of the end’ of the Naveen Patnaik raj in Odisha politics.
Special Category
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar's demand for a special category status to Bihar has suddenly brought the issue centre stage. Much politics seems to have gone into the issue ever since the Delhi rally in which Kumar made the demand. As things stand at present, Bihar may end up getting more funds under the Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF).
Growing trust deficit
The cobweb in which Raghunath Mohanty has got entrapped has sullied the image of Naveen in equal measure. The episode has raised questions about the latter’s so-called clean dispensation as well as his efficient ways of managing his lieutenants.
Enemy & Friend
There may be delay, but not darkness. That is what is one can see happening to the BJP’s state unit. KV Singhdeo’s appointment as BJP state president is not only timely; it is also a wise decision in the current scheme of things.
Shameful nude protest
Nothing could have been more shameful, sickening and nauseating than what one discovered on the front pages of newspapers on Mach 8 when the whole world was observing International Women’s Day to reiterate the universal resolve to remove all gender biases against women.
Mining Enquiry
The Shah Commission investigating the mining scam in Odisha is getting nebulous with each passing day. The Commission, appointed by the Centre to probe the huge mining scam in Odisha running into thousands of crores, the Commission headed by Justice MB Shah, former Supreme Court judge formally began investigation sometime in December 2011.
First Agri Budget
Prasanna Acharya, the finance minister, created history on February 19 when he stood up in Odisha Legislative Assembly to present the first agricultural budget of the state.
Odisha to test Rahul magic
Rahul Gandhi, the prince charming of Congress is all set for his maiden visit to the state after coronation as the vice president, number two position in the party which happens to be the oldest political out fit in the country.
What Ails Banking in Odisha?
During the recent visit to the state SBI’s Chairman Prateep Chaudhary had announced that his bank would soon take its tally of branches to 700 from the present total of 690. True to his words a new branch has been inaugurated last week at Puri.
Rice @ Re1 gambit
Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Odisha, landed in one of the poorest districts of Malkangiri on Saturday morning giving effect to his bold and politically deft announcement made in his Republic Day speech to make available to the members of the families under Below Poverty Line (BPL) in the state twenty-five kilograms of rice every month at a ultra subsidised rate of Rs 1 per kg.
Speaker’s Call Now
In the matter of constitutional validity of the four MLAs of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) switching allegiance to the ruling Biju Janta Dal (BJD), the Speaker of Odisha Legislative Assembly (OLA), Pradeep Amat is accused of obfuscating the issue raised by Utkal Keshari Parida, the President of the state unit of NCP.
New Hope in City Sky
Nothing could have been a better piece of news for the people of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack than the decision by the state government to conduct a pre-feasibility study for starting the monorail in the capital region soon. Although at a very nascent stage, this is a step in the right direction, considering the fast deteriorating condition of the twin cities’ traffic system.
Jayanti returns
Jayanti Patnaik’s sudden reappearance in the political arena has raised many a speculation. Wife of former Chief Minister, Janaki Ballabh Patnaik (now Governor of Assam) and a Member of Lok Sabha for three terms, she has surprised many by announcing her return to active politics in the State.
Braveheart Dies
Not many, including the doctors attending on her at the Safdarjung Hospital, gave the Delhi gang rape victim much of a chance of surviving the horrific ordeal that she underwent in a moving bus on January 16. But notwithstanding the inevitability of her death, when news trickled in early on Saturday morning that Nirbhaya (as she has been called by sections of the media) had succumbed to complications arising out of the injuries sustained on that fateful night, it left the nation stunned.
Bridle the bureaucrats
Bureaucracy, a formidable part of the ‘Executive’ enshrined in our Constitution, is always expected to act as the guiding force for the political executives in carrying out the decisions made by the Legislature, besides ensuring clean governance in the country.
Cash-for-hostage
Disgraced BJD leader Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, it seems, would not stop at anything that gives him even the remotest possible chance to have a go at the party president and Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, even if it sounds like a cock and bull story.
Flavour of the Season
Literary Festivals seem to be the flavour of the season in Odisha. Only yesterday, the ‘Think Literature’ festival concluded its two-day jamboree inside the plush confines of a luxury hotel in Bhubaneswar.
Bhubaneswar’s Bodyshops
Unabated infiltration from Bangladesh through India’s porous borders has remained a contentious issue for long. Assam and other north eastern states have often flared up in sectarian violence over the politics of Bangladeshi infiltration.
Odia cinema snubbed
Odia cinema, which is almost as old as the Hindi talkie, appears to be competing with other facets of the Odia race to remain in obscurity. The sooner the fact that 'Sita Bibah', the first full length Odia film, was made barely two years after 'Alam Ara', the first Hindi talkie to hit silver screen in 1933, is forgotten, the better. 2012 will go down in the history of Odia cinema as yet another blank year with no representation in the International Film Festival of India (IFFI).
Pyari booted out
Little did the poor king maker know that the price of aspiring to become king will turn out to be so costly. Barely six months after being slapped with the suspension order, the Rajya Sabha member of Biju Janata Dal (BJD), Pyari Mohan Mohapatra finally was shown the door on Friday by the party supremo Naveen Patnaik for transgressing the limits of discipline.
Hoping against hope
The plight of Congress in Odisha has gone from bad to worse and seems unlikely to improve as long as Naveen Patnaik continues to dominate the political scene of the state. No matter how much the Congress leaders try to sway the common man’s mind about Naveen’s follies and transgressions and assert their confidence about rising public support for them, the utter despondency writ large on their faces is hard to hide.
Mining Holes
The recent spate of hyperactivity in the Department of Steel and Mines of Odisha Government raises more doubts about the department’s sincerity in curbing illegal and unlawful mining in the state.
Inexplicable indolence
Nachika Lingas and Abhaya Sahoos of the world are having a field day in the state as the Naveen led Biju Janata Dal government has chosen the path of appeasement towards these so called leaders of oppressed masses in their own regions. Nachika Linga, leading the Chasi Mulia Adivasi Sangh (CMAS) in Narayanpatna of Koraput district and Abhaya Sahoo, heading Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) in Jagatsinghpur are passing fiats as if they are the ruling monarchs of the area.
Whither BJP?
Where is the state unit of BJP bound? There may not be a straight cut answer to this weighty and vexed question, but if one goes by the happenings in the past couple of days, one is sure to draw the conclusion that the party is today a sort of a halfway house.
Bully Naveen
NDA leader Lal Krishna Advani, while addressing the Surajkund conclave of his party, minced no words in chastising UPA for misusing Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to garner support for it, especially after maverick Mamata opted out of UPA crying foul against drastic subsidy cuts on diesel and domestic cooking gas.
Beyond Statistics
Odisha’s ruling party politicians and bureaucrats never let go of any opportunity to boast about the eight plus rate of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in real terms achieved by the state during the 11th Plan Period (2007-12).
A Matter of Interest
The Panchayati Raj department of Government of Odisha is praising itself no end for having 'discovered' a source of higher revenues: from bank interests.
Black Thursday
While the Congress leadership in Odisha is bracing itself for the proposed Odisha Bandh on September 10, civil society is being haunted by the barbaric images of the first round of the showdown on September 6.
Weird Degrees
Recently when Cuttack’s Ravenshaw University scrapped its decision to confer an honorary PhD degree on industrialist Shobhana Bhartia, eye brows were raised. This wonderment was not for the scrapping but the selection itself.
Saving Skin
For once, the Odisha Government can hold its head high, take the moral high ground and cock a snook at the Centre for its indecent hurry in allotting coal blocks in the state – as in other states – to private companies.
Polavaram polemics
The lassitude with which Odisha government is handling the Polavaram hydro-power project issue makes one suspect that it has already made up its mind to wash its hands off the matter.
Spineless Odisha Congress
Congress in Odisha ever since it lost power to the regional outfit Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the first year of 21st century, 2000 seems to be relying less on its own abilities and waiting endlessly for other factors such as weakening of BJD and growing acceptance of Rahul Gandhi as a mass leader to return to power in the state.
A Deserving Claim
After securing his invincibility in Odisha politics with an uninterrupted run of twelve years, it was natural for Naveen Patnaik to look beyond the boundaries of the state in the political firmament.
Naveen-Pyari Split
It is an age-old riddle that has perplexed generations: what came first, the chicken or the egg? The Naveen-Pyari crack is an analogous political mystery which is difficult to unravel.
Killer Apathy
The conscience of the people of the state has been badly shaken by the loss of seven young lives due to collapse of a wall of a dilapidated Anganwadi building at Suansia village in Nayagarh district. The place that was supposed to be the cradle for shaping the future of the innocent children, nurturing them physically and mentally, turned out to be their graveyard.
Naveen’s Allegations
Even as the 2012 Presidential elections are turning acrimonious day by day with the opposition candidate PA Sangma threatening to take shelter in the court of law, the recent Supreme Court judgment should open the eyes of those who do not take key elections seriously and go to the courts with pesky allegations.
Deceptive lull
An unusual lull has descended upon Odisha’s political scene in recent days as the warring factions in the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) appear to have gone for a self imposed ceasefire.
A Political Project
No party exploits emerging political or socio-economic situations like Congress party does, may be because being the country’s oldest political outfit, it knows better than others in the trade the trick of hitting when the iron is truly hot.
Sangma in Prez Poll
The flutter created in the run up to this president election is perhaps the queerest possible for the election to the highest office in India. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik was the first politician to take direct plunge into the race for Raisina Hill by announcing support of his party, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) for Purno Sangma.
Exorcising Pyari’s Ghosts
The attempted coup against Chief Minister Naveen Pattnaik by his erstwhile mentor Pyari Mohan Mohapatra appears to have ended not with a bang but with a whimper. Naveen must have felt that foiling the takeover bid was one of the easiest tasks he had achieved in his political career, even easier than winning back to back general elections in the state.
Brutus Vs Frankenstein
In the ongoing high voltage drama the first scene of which was unveiled on May 29 in Bhubaneswar, the ruling Biju Janata Dal leaders on the one side and the beleaguered Pyarimohan Mohapatra, popularly known as just Pyari in political circles here, on the other, have been trading charges against each other and calling each other names.
Imaginary Fears
The attitude of Union rural development minister Jairam Ramesh behind his comments about Odisha government's handling of the Maoist problem can be dubbed as cavalier at best and grossly irresponsible at worst.
Misplaced priorities
Large scale public sector undertakings are set up in various parts of the country with the avowed objective of their becoming leading drivers of growth in the respective fields. Another expected outcome of their establishment is the all round development of the area where they are located.
Countering Maoists
The Centre's recent pulling up of the Odisha government for increase in Maoist activities in the State has to be seen in its proper perspective. Not only the Centre, even security experts have subscribed to the view that there has been a lackadaisical approach on part of the government in tackling left wing extremism in the State.
Tasks Ahead
The recent reshuffling of top police officials in Odisha could not have come at a more opportune time. The spate of high profile kidnappings in the last few months brought to the fore a well known fact that police activity was almost non-existent in the districts worst affected by Maoist extremism.
Avoidable Conflict
The friction between the lawyers and the district collector of Sambalpur which took an ugly turn on April 23 is getting murkier with both sides hardening their stand.
Design defect
A big irony of the Naveen Patnaik government is the gap between action and statement.
Devil's Advocate
The release of Paolo Bosusco, one of the two Italians abducted by Sabyasachi Panda led Maoist outfit on Friday, has definitely brought much relief to both the Naveen Patnaik led BJD government in Odisha and the Manmohan Singh led UPA government at Delhi, which remained red faced all these days due to diplomatic embarrassment. The other Italian Claudio Colangelo was released earlier but not before the state government was brought down to its knees. One abduction drama has ended without any bloodshed, but the other one continues with the Laxmipur MLA, Jhina Hikaka still in the custody of the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee (AOBSZC) of the CPI (Maoist).
Mediator Blues
The ongoing hostage crisis in the state has brought into sharp focus the role of the interlocutors chosen by the Maoists in the resolution (some would say prolongation) of the crisis. The talks between the two negotiators named by the Maoists - Dr. BD Sharma and Dandapani Mohanty - and three senior officers designated by the state government - Home Secretary UN Behera, Panchayati Raj Secretary Pradeep Jena and ST/SC Development Secretary Santosh Sarangi - for the release of Bosusco Paolo, the Italian tourist being held hostage by the Maoists have been on for more than two weeks now.
Naveen Govt lacks the spunk
The ongoing Odisha hostage crisis has thrown up several questions. The most obvious one is whether high profile abductions are the newest strategy of Maoists to make good the losses incurred due to the steadily intensifying anti-Maoist operations in the three states worst affected by Left-wing extremism. There is a sound basis for such a surmise.
Misplaced praise
Naveen Patnaik got a big pat on his back from World Bank President Robert B Zoellick, who was on a two-day visit to Odisha to gain firsthand view of how the State was faring in the developmental front. A positive certificate from any lender about proper utilization of the loaned money gives a big moral boost to the beneficiary; it also paves the way for newer funds in bigger doses. With the endorsement coming from the head of World Bank, world's most significant lender for combating poverty in different countries, for the good work done by Naveen and his government during the last decade in the area of economic development, the satisfaction for the Chief Minister must have been huge.
Dangerous if true
The opposition parties in Odisha Legislative Assembly brought forth a serious allegation against the Naveen Patnaik led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government that the latter was hand in glove with Maoists operating in the state. This allegation was hurled at the treasury bench by the entire opposition camp that fumed in anger at the sensational abduction by Maoists of Laxmipur MLA Jhina Hikaka early on Saturday morning. The united opposition went hammer and tongs in expressing their utter disgust and deep anguish at Maoists as soon as the Speaker took to his chair. The ultras' latest spree of abductions has rattled the lawmakers like never before.
Pranab’s Budget
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s seventh budget came at a time when political rather than economic compulsions were up in his head. The Congress losing/not doing better in the recently held Assembly elections, Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi's unceremonious egress immediately after the presentation of the rail budget and the tantrums thrown by the coalition partners were all ominous signs for the FM.
A Political Ruse
The spat between Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh, over suspension of funding to select panchayats in Maoist affected districts, has all the elements of a political ruse, to undermine Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik’s image in public eye. After the resounding victory of BJD in the local body polls, spin doctors in UPA worked overnight to find some blemish in Naveen’s absolute hold over the electorates.
Raja strikes back
The Raja Swain story has few equals in the annals of Indian political lore. From the day his nomination for the MLA candidature for Athgarh constituency was cancelled over a trivial formality till the day Supreme Court verdict was pronounced, his protracted campaign for reclamation of power has seen many twists and turns. But the dramatic turn of events over the last two and a half years has exposed the political expediency and opportunism that characterise BJD culture today.
Bane of Banking System
Recently Odisha had the privilege of hosting two top bankers of the country within a span of a week, namely Pratip Chaudhury, Chairman of the largest commercial bank, State Bank of India and Dr DS Subba Rao, Governor of Reserve Bank of India. Both these bankers touched upon various aspects of banking during their interactions with the functionaries of government and the media. The common refrain that stood out in their interactions was the grave concern for the rising Non Performing Assets (NPA) position in the state.
Naveen's alacrity
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has shown unusual alacrity this time around while taking on the rather moribund opposition in the state in the ongoing Panchayat poll. It is indeed hard to comprehend the compulsion for a chief minister who enjoys absolute majority in state assembly with the undiluted support of more than 110 out of 147 MLAs to crisscross the length and breadth of the state for campaigning.
Incredible assertion
Addressing the annual Nalco Foundation Day Lecture Series recently chief secretary BK Patnaik claimed that Odisha's economic growth has consistently been 9% over the past decade, and sometimes ahead of the national rate. Such an impromptu claim raised quite a few eyebrows, especially coming after a reasoned recap of the growth story of the national economy by deputy chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia in the same meeting. Ahluwalia said that India's economy was poised for a growth rate of 9 per cent in the 12th five year plan. But he cautioned that there were challenges to be overcome by the Government for which political cooperation was needed during the transition period.
Premature Dismissal
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has ordered a judicial probe into the sensational Pipili gang rape case, which has already claimed the head of a minister and resulted in the transfer of the district SP. Around the same time, state Director General of Police dismissed the former IIC of the Pipili police station from service for alleged negligence in duty. Justice PK Mohanty, a retired judge of Odisha High Court, will head the inquiry commission. The commission is expected to submit its report within a period of three months. Curiously, even the decision to conduct a judicial probe into the gang rape case was taken belatedly and only after the home secretary submitted a report on the incident and the Chief Minister confabulated with the top mandarins after his return from Delhi.
Naveen & women
Unflinching support of women is considered to be the prime reason for Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s successive electoral triumphs in Odisha. Women in this backward state, according to many, are simple and at the same time illiterate, hence they turn out to be gullible. The general perception of women about Naveen is coloured with the conviction that since he is a bachelor leading a simple life he cannot afford to be dishonest.
Behind a smokescreen
One of the reasons for the astounding electoral successes of Naveen Patnaik in successive polls happens to be his image of a ruthless destroyer of corruption. The almost regular incidents of officials being trapped in the vigilance net, raids conducted on the houses of tainted officials and the seizure of assets disproportionate to the incomes of the accused have strengthened Naveen’s image in the public eye.
Status War
Odisha seems to be destined for a longer wait for earning its special category status. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been clamouring for earning this distinction from the centre under the alibi that his state figures in the lowest rung of the development ladder of the country with its sizable number of population languishing in impoverishment for ages. Odisha’s low resource base impedes its development needs.
Status War
Odisha seems to be destined for a longer wait for earning its special category status. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been clamouring for earning this distinction from the centre under the alibi that his state figures in the lowest rung of the development ladder of the country with its sizable number of population languishing in impoverishment for ages. Odisha’s low resource base impedes its development needs.
Status War
Odisha seems to be destined for a longer wait for earning its special category status. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been clamouring for earning this distinction from the centre under the alibi that his state figures in the lowest rung of the development ladder of the country with its sizable number of population languishing in impoverishment for ages. Odisha’s low resource base impedes its development needs.
Status War
Odisha seems to be destined for a longer wait for earning its special category status. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been clamouring for earning this distinction from the centre under the alibi that his state figures in the lowest rung of the development ladder of the country with its sizable number of population languishing in impoverishment for ages. Odisha’s low resource base impedes its development needs.
Relief Politics
It took the centre full three months to put its seal of approval on its flood relief for Odisha, which at Rs 918 crore is touted to be its biggest humanitarian aid for the natural calamity prone state. Not even the 'super cyclone of 1999 that razed many coastal areas to the ground could elicit aid of this size. But despite the hype created by centre about the largesse, the fact remains that what has been sanctioned barely covers one third of the assessment of relief requirement made by state government officials.
Where's consistency? Dillydallying harms industry
OdishaChief Minister, Naveen Patnaik always vouches for peaceful industrialisation.Violence, bloodshed, killing of innocent people for industrialisation isanathema to him. This should be the right approach of a chief minister whoshould not allow any project or enterprise to flourish without the activesupport of the people of the state and by putting the life and comfort of thepeople in jeopardy.
Trust deficit
Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik wants industrialisation in the state only and only through peaceful process. The Kalinga Nagar incident in which thirteen tribal people were killed while protesting against the proposed Tata steel plant is still alive in his mind. He has been making it loud and clear in his directions to the government machinery that people’s protest against any proposed industrial establishment should be dealt with peacefully. Such a stand has endeared him to the electorates of the state, who have returned him to power for the third consecutive term. But while implementing this mantra of the Chief Minister, bureaucrats who provide the ultimate push to the vehicle of development of the state, seem to be in a state of great confusion.
Naveen still shining
If results of Umerkote Assembly bi-election and Kendrapara Municipality election are of any indication, one can safely conclude that Naveen’s charisma even after ruling the state uninterruptedly for 11 years is refusing to wane. Naveen led Biju Janata Dal (BJD) candidate romped home with a resounding victory defeating his nearest rival from BJP with more than 21,000 votes. Both the principal opposition parties in the state, Congress and BJP, wasted no time and energy in telling the electorates of Umerkote that Naveen, embroiled in a number of scams, carried the ignominy of heading one of the most corrupt regimes of Odisha. Even some poll pundits predicted BJP victory calling its candidate more popular than BJD’s. Naveen’s BJD which is sitting pretty with 103 MLAs in 147 capacity Odisha Assembly, could not have been much affected with loss of one seat. But Naveen took up the challenge and proved it beyond all reasonable doubts that he is invincible in Odisha. A few days before election results came out in Umerkote, Naveen’s party BJD silenced its critics in Kendrapara, known as the strongest bastion of Bijaya Mohapatra, one of Naveen’s bête noire in Odisha, with a resounding victory notwithstanding both opposition parties, Congress and BJP exhausting all their might there.
Gubernatorial Discomfort
The CONSTITUTION of INDIA ensures that Governors enjoy the status of heads of the federal states of our country. They are the first citizens of the states, too. It is therefore expected that the head of the state should be given precedence over others in any event organised in the state if he or she is present. It is therefore not surprising that the Governor of Odisha felt slighted when an MP of the ruling party was allowed to take the center stage during the award distribution ceremony following the completion of the ODI against the touring West Indies team at Cuttack recently. This is particularly unfortunate in view of the fact that the Governor of Odisha, unlike some of his counterparts in other states, has endeared himself to the people of this state by his relaxed, humane and gentle approach to his office. Moreover, he has consistently maintained the dignity of his high office in the face of difficult and delicate situations. The office of the Governor has done the right thing to summon the top functionaries of Odisha Cricket Association to Raj Bhavan to explain why the Governor was reduced to a mere spectator as Pyarimohan Mohapatra, a Member of Parliament of the ruling Biju Janata Dal, felicitated Sehwag, the captain of the Indian team for winning the first match in the India-West Indies ODI series.
Special status eludes Odisha
Odisha has been demanding status of Special Category State for the last thirty years. Centre is somehow not convinced by the pleas of this eastern state that it has a sizeable population of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes with most of them languishing in an impoverished condition below poverty line. A couple of years ago, Ashwini Kumar, Union Minister for Planning, reiterating the position of the Centre turned down Odisha’s request for the same triggering an animated debate over the issue in the state. The demand for Special Category State status was first raised by former chief minister Nilamani Routray at a meeting of the National Development Council (NDC) in 1979. Since then, all the subsequent governments have been pleading with the Centre for this status for Odisha. It is interesting to note that governments whether formed by Congress, Janata Dal, BJP or BJD have been unanimous on this demand of the poverty-ridden state. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik too pressed for it at the recently concluded 56th session of NDC in New Delhi. The matter has been raised by state MPs in Parliament several times and resolutions passed in Odisha Assembly in this regard were also communicated to Union Government on a number of occasions.
Naveen’s naïvety
Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik’s recent public utterance that he alone was the decision maker of his party has not gone down well with his fans, let alone the critics. No matter how painful or uncomfortable the pushing and prodding from his detractors, he should have resisted the temptation of making such a statement after winning elections after elections and continuing to rule the state for as many as 12 years on a trot.
Dama damned!
Dr. Damodar Rout, known popularly as Dama in Odisha’s political parlance, is left high dry by the leadership of Biju Janata Dal (BJD). The senior Vice President of the most successful regional party of Odisha is finding his armory too inadequate to counter the barrage of attack from his adversaries.
Digesting the disdain
Better learn it from Congress workers of Odisha the art of shamelessly digesting the disdain. No matter how much the central leadership keeps slighting them, they behave like organisms sans adrenalin. The recent reshuffle of the union ministry by the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh is a case in point.
Dama & Debasis on cribbing spree
Dr. Damodar Rout and Debasis Nayak seem to be foolishly confident of creating awareness among the rank and file against Pyari Mohan Mohapatra. According to this cribbing duo, the megalomaniac septuagenarian bureaucrat-turned-politician is implementing with impunity his sinister design, hijacking the party agenda of Biju Janata Dal (BJD), the regional party formed after the demise of Biju Patnaik
Silver lining in 75 years old cloud!
One only gets solace from the silver lines of this dark cloud by seeing the political stability the state has achieved with the advent of Naveen Patnaik. The success of Naveen Patnaik, who has been effectively guiding the state of affairs here for more than a decade now, is definitely the high point of the platinum jubilee of Odisha. Naveen Patnaik has not looked back ever since he held the rein of the political outfit, Biju Janata Dal (BJD), soon after the demise of his mercurial father, Biju Patnaik in 1997. He has proved his critics wrong by becoming Chief Minister of Odisha for the third time in a row, guiding his party to win three elections to Odisha Assembly in succession.
Police morale down with collector's abduction!
There is nothing wrong in negotiating with someone, whosoever he may be, for the safe release of a sincere and diligent district magistrate. But has the state government after succumbing to the demands of the Maoists ensured any commitment from the left wing ultras that they would not cause any harm to any government functionary who is working for the development of the impoverished lot of Odisha? Most probably the answer to this question is a big ‘No’
Is Naveen’s clean governance a façade?
A cursory look at the long list of scams Naveen’s dispensation is plagued with since 2000 when he took over the reins of Odisha politics forces one to assess the tall claim he makes about the clean and corruption free governance he has been providing to the people of this poor state.
Poor Odiya farmer confused in dirty politics over his crop loss plight
Now the illiterate farmers of Odisha are convinced beyond all reasonable doubts that the leaders in almost all parties have come to politics after successfully completing a crash course in acting.
Will NDA rejoining split BJD?
The recent invitation from NDA has onset a process of fresh conflict in the think tank of Biju Janata Dal (BJD). Some call it a ploy to bridle BJD’s other power center that has started daring the leadership in the party, while others go with the view that this will be the right option to counter the recent Congress onslaught.
Is Naveen on his way out?
Naveen Patnaik who ordered to delete the word ‘corrupt’ used in his speech against his predecessor J.B.Patnaik considering that bit too discourteous is now so much labeled with the same ignominy that no matter how much he ventures out to free himself, the cobweb of it refuses to leave him alone.
Center-state fight on Vedanta and Posco is in whose benefit?
There is very little confusion in concluding that the recent tussle between center and Odisha government on two of the very significant investments in India, Posco and Vedanta, is purely an ostentatious show for the galleries.
Odisha's renaissance man Gopabandhu
Mahatma Gandhi called him the noblest among the sons of Orissa, the land of sorrows and tears. On his death Gandhiji further added that ‘the country is poorer for his death. Let that noble spirit guide the workers of Orissa, let his death result in a large dedication to service, greater effort, greater self effacement and greater unity among the scattered workers who are too few for the national requirement’.
Is Rahul misled about Odisha affairs?
The prince charming of Congress party, Rahul Gandhi, who has of late put Odisha higher in his agenda, seems to have erred in computing his home work while zooming on to this Godforsaken part of the world.
Vedanta and Posco paying the price for BJD-Congress political fight!
The UPA government at center until very recent past was too keen to see both the mega projects of Posco and Vedanta, one steel and the other aluminum, overcome the hurdles for commissioning. It is indeed very hard to reason out center’s volte face on these very big investments in India’s federal state of Odisha.
Naveen metamorphosed!
What Naveen Patnaik, the Chief Minister of Odisha and the President of ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) is doing right now with regard to the relentless opposition demand to throw away two from his council of Ministers on charges of their complicity in the much hyped coal scam may be not very inappropriate from the political maneuvering point of view. But when this particular action is put against the canvas he himself has created in last decade old rule of Odisha, it forces his admirers to hold him in contempt deserving extreme reproach.
Congress and BJP on regressive mode in Odisha
The defeat of the independent candidate, Tara Ranjan Patnaik, in the recently concluded Rajya Sabha poll in Odisha has pushed both BJP and Congress deeper in to the abyss where they were languishing following their lackluster performance in the 2009 elections to Lok Sabha and to the Odisha Legislative Assembly (OLA).
Is Naveen so much wary of Pyari?
Naveen appears to be more comfortable with the option of sending Pyari to Rajya Sabha than accepting other options Pyari showing interest for.
ORSAC bullying filmmakers!
Orissa Space Applications Centre (ORSAC), an autonomous organization under the administrative control of the Department of Science and Technology of Orissa Government, has recently terminated the empanelment of 28 filmmakers under the alibi that the film production assignments undertaken by them were highly substandard.
All Naveen’s men
Apart from Pyari, there are a few advisers of Naveen who have succeeded in remaining faceless notwithstanding wielding power when needed.
Perfect 10 for Naveen
Naveen Patnaik is ten years old today as Chief Minister of Orissa. When he held the reins on this vary day in 2000, many murmured that this gentle man would not survive long in the cobweb of politics. He has proved them all wrong.
Pyari, the unstoppable General in Naveen's army
Pyari has proved it point by point thus far in his short but memorable stint in Orissa politics that although age is not with him, in political calculations one can only ignore him at his or her peril.
EU delegation's visit ignites inter-community rancor in K’mal
Many a question has been raised on the recent visit of the delegation of European Commission to Kandhamal to oversee the post-ethno-religious riot situation there.
Are there takers for suggestions to help revive Oriya film industry?
There is no dearth of suggestions and hands of cooperation to resolve the present impasse in Oriya film industry, but where are the takers?
Platinum Jubilee of Oriya Cinema
In April, 1936, “Sita Bibaha”, the first full length Oriya feature film, got released for public viewing. Few know that this great adventure was made by Mohan Sundar Dev Goswami barely three years after the first Indian talkie, ‘Alam Ara’ (H), hit the silver screen.
Can Juel resurrect the moribund BJP in Orissa?
BJP has reposed faith and confidence in the popular tribal leader and a former Union Minister, Juel Oram to help revive the prospects in Orissa.
Dama lambasts Communists, calls them opportunists
‘Communists are opportunists and they are out and out anti-Orissa in setting their political paradigm here’, says Dr. Damodar Rout, the Secretary General of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and also Orissa’s Minister for Agriculture & Cooperation and Fisheries & Animal Resources Development.
No margin of error to Naveen in illegal mining
Who is Orissa Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik, trying to beguile by saying that his administration only came to know about illegal mining very recently? There is a plethora of official records to show that Naveen is only feigning ignorance. He deserves no margin of error as ignorance is no bliss especially while administering a federal state with rule of law.
Is Lalu also involved in Orissa mining scam?
Lalu Yadav and Orissa mining scam seem to have something in common. If information available with www.sainews.com is true, then the former maverick Railway Minister Lalu Yadav will find it tough to stay clear from the multi thousand crore rupees Orissa mining scam being investigated in to by the Orissa Vigilance.
Is the dragon ogling at Posco?
Ever since the MOU was inked between Orissa Government and the Korean Steel major Posco on 22nd June 2005, clouds of troubles rained in to stop this biggest ever Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) taking off.
Naveen's worried over inter power centre friction
Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s savouring of the stupendous victory in the hustings has not lasted long.
Mineral scam in Orissa: Naveen’s in a fix!
Deeper the drill of vigilance goes more disturbing things emerge from the mining scam inquiry. Both ruling party and opposition having some of their functionaries involved in mining business are trying to divert the needle of suspicion when it gets pointed at them.
End is bizarre and the means preposterous
Who on earth can forgive Jagadananda who has killed himself after killing his wife, father, two sisters and shooting at his own son who is gasping for life?
BJP-Congress bonhomie in OLA intriguing
Politics makes strange bedfellows and necessity knows no law. Gullible electoral multitudes in India continue to get deceived by the skullduggery of these unscrupulous politicians who remain ever ready to sacrifice everything including ideology, morality, propriety and some times patriotism even to protect their own interest.
Congress on rebuilding mode in Orissa
Congress which ruled Orissa for a considerable period of post independence India has suddenly found clueless about its position here. It has turned in to a quintessential divided house refusing to come out of self destructive mode.
Raja ambushed!
Ranendra Pratap Swain, Raja, is cornered in his own party.
Selfish agenda of BJD outweighs developmental expediency in Orissa
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) has maintained its pre poll stance by not joining UPA government in Delhi. It may be recalled here that BJD’s numero uno Naveen Patnaik after severing eleven year long ties with BJP made it abundantly clear that his party would not join any dispensation in Delhi durbar if it is headed by either BJP or Congress.
Yes, Pyari can not call wrong.
In our last editorial on 7th May, 2009 an analysis was made to see whether BJD super ego, Pyari Mohapatra’s assertions would come true. Pyari, as he is popularly known in the political spectrum, had made a prediction that his party, Biju Janata Dal (BJD) would easily win in at least 84 Assembly and 12 Lok Sabha seats respectively.
Will 16th May prove Pyari infallible?
There appears to be much credence in the assertions of BJD's super ego, Pyari Mohan Mohapatra, who sees no difficulty at all for his party to come out with flying colours in the recently held elections. Pyari has never called wrong, this time too his predictions will come true, said a political analyst. And let us analyse the basics to see why he will not be proved wrong.
Isn’t blaming it on centre tantamount to taking the gullible electorates for a ride?
Biju Janata Dal (BJD) the regional political out fit in Orissa taking shape following the demise of the maverick Biju Patnaik in 1997 has been firing salvoes at Government of India for ignoring this poor but mineral rich state right royally since independence. It has raised the pitch of this out cry of center-blaming during its campaign for the on going 2009 general elections which is coinciding with the election to the state assembly too.
Red corridor in Orissa impregnable!
The red corridor in Orissa is becoming more and more impregnable and at the same time the state government appears to be determined not to learn anything from its mistakes and from the growing number of red rebels’ renewed offensives.
Sura Nayak, more sinned against than sinning
Orissa Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has pulled the rug from under Sura Nayak's feet dumping this trusted lieutenant in to political wilderness.
Will BJD MPs be mere sentinels in Lok Sabha?
Naveen has multiplied the dilemma of the electorates of Orissa. He started with snapping ties with BJP. Then he announced that his party, BJD, will not support any government at centre if it is formed by either Congress or BJP. The over confident Orissa Chief Minister went a step forward announcing that his party would have nothing to do with the under construction ‘third front’, he will not join it nor makes anything clear about pre-poll alliance with any of its constituents.
Parting of ways by BJP and BJD created political bizarrerie in Orissa
Signal from BJD was loud and clear much before. BJP read it late.
BJD’s CMC Mayor Candidate selection, a clear signal of Pyari to BJP
There is no gainsaying in the fact that BJD in Orissa will dictate the proceedings in the run up to the ensuing poll to the state Assembly and to the Parliament. The bitterness between the ten year old allies, BJD and BJP, has grown manifold.
Congress politics in Orissa: Change of guard or a paradigm shift?
Congress machine in Orissa overhauled with changing of the President and introducing of three Working Presidents.

Editorial

Précis 2017
From asking his party men to ‘live a simple life and serve the people’ to taunting the BJP for its ‘crocodile tears’, Chief Minister and BJD supremo Naveen Patnaik has not only become politically invincible, he seems to be so in the coming years too.

National

* India successfully test-fires supersonic interceptor missile

International

* Support for terrorism to be stopped: India at UN

Business

* Dalmia DSP launches new TV campaign

Entertainment

* Sudhir Mishra's 'Daasdev' set to arrive on February 16

Interview

* “Nalco to invest Rs 35,000 cr in Odisha, good governance key to company’s success”

Leisure

* Tata Steel Bhubaneswar Literary Meet from Jan 11
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