Category Archives: Editorial

Bhubaneswar Traffic Chaos; Not Cops but Administration to Blame

Driving through the roads in Bhubaneswar during peak hours can be a nightmare for any sane driver. On the contrary it can be a sail through for those who don’t follow traffic rules. But this is reality so far as the traffic of the capital city Bhubaneswar is concerned.

Though the traffic police are supposed to streamline the traffic but it is not possible for them since there are more rule breakers and offenders than those who follow the rules.

Zebra crossings at intersections are nowhere to be seen. If at all it is present one would find motorists on them while the signal is red. Lack of basic infrastructure such as foot over-bridges at busy intersections or for that matter proper footpaths for pedestrians are missing.

Footpath is either under encroachment by illegal street vendors or illegal parking contractors. Evident from the prevalent circumstances it shows the lack of co-ordinaton between various government departments. Though the traffic police are mindful of their duties and work diligently but the city administration with a lack luster attitude adds more to the woes of the daily commuter. The sincerity of the cops has been countered by physical attacks from offenders which has been worst form of unruly behavior.

Over all that too much of interference by politicians in the free functioning of various administrative departments has led to the disorderly behavior among motorists. The sooner the government realizes it the better.

Odisha: SUM Hospital Fire; Inability to Act Against Illegality has become the Norm of the Day

Lessons have not been learnt after various fire tragedies in hospitals and cinema house that has taken lives of hundreds in the country. Latest being the most tragic incident which happened in Odisha state capital Bhubaneswar. SUM hospital located in the outskirts of the city was on fire which claimed 20 lives.

Unfortunately the fire started due to a short circuit on Monday evening at the dialysis ward and spread to the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) located adjacent to the ward. Most unfortunate part of the incident is that all deaths occurred due to asphyxiation (suffocation). And post-mortem on the dead confirmed it. Eyewitness accounts claim that the deaths were due to negligence and delay in evacuation of the patients by the hospital authorities.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday night itself had ordered for an RDC enquiry and had rushed to the spot after the incident occurred but his office has maintained a stoic silence after ordering the enquiry. The Director General of Police (DGP) Fire Services, Binay Behera conducted a preliminary enquiry and submitted a report on Tuesday after which four arrests have been made so far in the incident. The report said to have cited lapses by hospital authorities. On the contrary the State health minister who should have be pro-active in dealing with the situation seems to have gone into hiding and it raises serious doubt in the minds of the ordinary citizen.

Though various lapses have been identified which resulted in the fire but the sense of urgency seems lacking of the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) government in handling the issue.

While Manoj Nayak the chairman of the trust which owns the hospital remains evasive the action of the government and the police department seems to be under scrutiny for the slow progress over the incident.

Intellectuals have started questioning over why no action of criminal negligence has been taken against the trust chairman Nayak? Even reports in the media have surfaced that a relative of the health minister of Odisha is an employee of one of the educational institution run by the trust. The National Human Rights Commission is said to have issued notice to the Odisha government in this matter.

Since enquiry report has thrown light that the hospital was running without a fire safety no objection certificate (NOC), many eyebrows are being raised as to how a medical college and hospital continues to run which doesn’t fulfill basic safety norms.

Health, education, city planning and crime — inability to act against illegality has become the norm of the day in Odisha.


Odisha: “Familiarity Breeds Contempt”; Fix Responsibility Mr. Chief Minister

Bhubaneswar: Poverty, illiteracy and belonging to the last strata of the society, an individual was almost deprived of basic human rights in the state of Odisha. The government apathy lay thread bare from the sight, which swelled the eyes of many with tears, as a man carried his dead wife on his shoulders alone for 10 kilometres while his daughter walked by his side crying aloud mourning her mother’s death. The visuals could be seen even on many national television channels in the country.

Human life has no value? Does a dead person not deserve a decent cremation? Many pertinent question arise after the incident happened at district headquarter Bhawanipatna, Kalahandi district in the state of Orissa.

The 42-year-old deceased wife Amang Dei died at the district headquarters hospital at Bhawanipatna while undergoing treatment for tuberculosis. Due to poverty her husband Dana Manjhi from Melghara village under Rampur block requested for an ambulance or mortuary van to transport his dead wife back to village. But denied help from the authorities he decided to carry his dead wife wrapped in bed sheet for over 10 kilometres before journalists belonging to a local TV channel passing by happened to meet Manjhi. Seeing his plight the journalist informed the district collector. After the intervention by the district collector an ambulance was arranged for the transportation of his dead wife.

On being enquired about the incident by media later the Kalahandi district collector Brunda D. expressed grief over the incident and she said “we have arranged an ambulance after speaking to the Chief District Medical Officer. The Tehsildar has also been asked to provide assistance under Harishchandra Yojana. And the Block Development Officer (BDO) has been asked to provide assistance from Red Cross fund and CMRF”.

From Nagada malnutrition deaths of children to the present one it seems there is severe lack of administration at various levels in the State. When an ambulance could be arranged with the district collector’s intervention confirms that there was vehicle available for transportation but it was deliberately not provided. The lackadaisical approach by the district hospital shows that it fears nobody in the hierarchy. Lack of shouldering responsibility and government apathy towards the poorest strata of the society in a tribal district of the state unmasks the hypocrisy of the government.

Politics of inaugurating schemes without proper implementation does not ensure that the facilities rendered always reaches the right recipient. It becomes the duty of the government to ensure it. And it should not be forgotten “familiarity breeds contempt” it has been over 15 years since the government is in power.


Govt Fails to Act Now after Rewarding the Puri Servitors during Previous Year’s Rath Yatra

Bhubaneswar: After the recent unruly behaviour of the servitors during the Niladri Bije return of the three deities from the chariot into the Jagannath temple the government seems reluctant to act against the erring persons.

It becomes more evident after media reports suggest that the state government has been on the back foot and avoids a confrontation with the Jagannath temple servitors. Payment of Rs 2 crores as compensation to the servitors for the loss incurred by them due to the ban on devotees climbing the chariots during the annual Rath Yatra in 2015 is a glaring example that the government wants to keep the servitors in “good humour”.

Now the pertinent question arises why do the servitors need to be kept in “good humour”?

It raises suspicion even in the minds of the common man. Does the government benefit in some manner from the servitors by keeping them in “good humour” or there is some kind of benefit which the temple administration or politicians draw from the servitors.

Misbehaving with the district collector of Puri or the media persons present there on the night of the incident has been condemned by all sections of the society, yet the state government preferred to keep mum over the incident.

Strict or stringent action against the servitors is expected to discipline the system. Appointing a Judicial commission and putting the commission report in the cold storage has been the normal practice to pacify both sides in the recent times.

Even during the Nabakalebara fiasco one of the two suspended servitor belonged to a political party and just before this year’s Rath Yatra their suspension was revoked. Was this decision taken to keep them in “good humour”? Raises doubts in the minds of the people.

Unless the government acts now it would suggest that neither the government is protective of its officers nor does it care for the media.

If the government acts now the servitors may try and obstruct daily rituals. But they should not forget that it would also draw the wrath of common man.

Now the ball lies in the court of the State government. To act or not?


Jagannath Temple Administration Lacks Courage to Act against Servitors

Bhubaneswar: After Sunday night’s fiasco during the niladri bjie delaying the rituals till late night and the servitors of deities of Jagannath temple, Puri also misbehaving with the Collector & District Magistrate Arvind Agarwal has raised eyebrows among intellectuals and members of civil society in the State.

Climbing of the Lord Balabhadra’s chariot by a girl alleged to be a daughter of a servitor or misbehaving with the District magistrate or assaulting the media persons covering the rituals of the closing of Rath Yatra seems that rule of law has failed to prevail.

Utter chaos and unruly scenes were clearly visible by one and all present near the chariot and the minister, officers and policemen seemed to be onlookers of the entire incident.

Chief administrator of Shri Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA) Suresh Mohapatra, whose responsibility is to maintain the smooth functioning of the event on Monday claims that all Sevayats have not broken the law.

Lack of respect for the courts or religious leaders or the Gajapati of Puri in the entire turn of events was evident from the episode which unfolded last night.

Arrest of a servitor or a few others later and then releasing them with a warning demonstrates a weak administration and also a lack of will of the ruling political class.

The incidents during navakalevara last year or not abiding the Court order does not make much of a difference as the servitors seem to be the rule of law.

Assault on the journalists by the servitors is deplorable and is condemned by all sections of media and society. It is expected that stringent action is taken against the perpetrators and exemplary punishment will send the right signal so that such incidents don’t recur again.

And an advice to the administration through what Chanakya once said “The disgrace of one’s people brings sorrow to the Nobel minded.”