Adivasi Welfare Vs Green Hunt in Odisha

Opinions are often driven by ideologies and there are two broad categories for such opinions. Most of the democratic countries have got at least political parties and two sections of people, who believe in two such approaches.


one party believes in taxing heavily the middle class and rich, to pay for the poor - they are the Liberals and when they come to power, they go in a spending spree to better the life of the BPL (Below Poverty Line)  people, irrespective of the financial health (deficit and debt) of state. They least bother, from where the Government would arrange money for such socialist schemes. They just want their demand to be met, even is they have to borrow heavily from any where.


The other party believes in spending based on tax collection and affordability - They are the Conservatives.


Now please refer to the following news item [1] and read Mr. Patnaik's question - "Why Govt. failed to carry out developmental activities in those districts when there were no Naxal activities at all ?"


My answer is - Even if the Naxlite activity is spread to all the 30 districts of Odisha, the Government can't create any development activities of its own ?" Primary education across the state has got higher priority than the Tribal welfare and from the reported teacher vacancies, you may note that, it doesn't have got the money to recruit full-time CT/B.Ed teachers at regular salary.


So, Tribal Welfare, have to be accomplished with private sector money. For the same reason, POSCO is welcome because SAIL either doesn't have 40000 crores money or not interested to start a new steel plant in Odisha


Now, there are lots of hue & cry regarding the Supreme court judgment regarding Odisha Government's favoritism to Vedanta, who violated some environmental rules.


All the arguments of activists fell apart in court room with 1 argument of Government. Government argued that - The Vedanta, Lanjigarh Plant will create local jobs which will trigger various peripheral developments and eventually tribals will become middle class. The environment concerns were addressed where they (Vedanta) have to create forests else where to compensate for the forest cover loss because of the project. The liberal activists, who believes that Government should tax us heavily and route the money to tribal regions for tribal welfare because Vedanta and its likes would spoil the environment. They didn't address the "Niyam Raja God" issue because Congress doesn't believe in God; they even bent on demolishing the Ram Sethu and Hindu Organizations are fighting their belief in court. I agree that there is no substitute to beliefs but  private sector projects are the only way to cange status quo in underdeveloped areas at the cost of environment.



I just ask one simple question to all Liberals - How much additional debt you want to add for tribal welfare to the existing Rs 36,366 crore debt of Odisha Government.


54000 school teacher posts are vacant in Odisha because the Government doesn't have the money of  972 crores/annum (@Rs. 15000/- per month/teacher)


Are not the tribals already the  beneficiary of the Rs. 2/- kg subsidized rice scheme ?


Now, I have request activists and supporters to define or list the tribal development ? They usually run away when asked to list and present a budgetary  estimate for their  proposals/plans before driving our Vedantas and POSCOs. The companies are in money making business and not for charity. So, harping on their  intention would not change any thing ? They may spend Rs. 5/- on local development for every Rs. 100/- they profit and if they are driven out, no doubt that the environment would be saved but the aforesaid Rs.5/-  is also lost. So this is a trade off because unfortunately the money is not hanging in trees.


If some X or Y company is not trust worthy because of its past records elsewhere; be skeptical and document their to-do list in a contract. Request the court to enforce such an contract as Governments will always go with corporates - it is a known fact because corporates finance the election costs and you can't change it.


Here is my list and feasibility list. I would appreciate, if activists and supporters of tribals would give a point by comment on this in stead of their two word rhetoric "Tribal development". 


1. jobs - not possible in Government sector. If the resist private investment, then they have to migrate to metros, like most of us  have been doing.

2. Health care: State Government is paying/ready to pay doctors @ 10000/- consolidated pay. Plus the health care budget is low. So, they have to bear  their own health care expenses. That means, they have to first find out where is a MBBS doctor and go to him in Bi-Cycle/Bike/Bus/Bullock-Cart, pay Rs. 50/- fee to get the prescription and spend own money in buying medicine.


Reason: Your Government's health care budget is low and don't expect  30% rich/middle class to pay for the health care expenses of 70% poor. We will go bankrupt. So one has to arrange money for his own health care. Government is responsible for vaccines.


3. Primary education: this is pathetic across the state as the state's idiotic CM and Ministers didn't prioritize this. Both the developed and underdeveloped areas are equally affected by this stupidity.


4. Agriculture: Depends on irrigation and farm lands.The Government has made it difficult for non-STs to buy land from tribals, which is fine. So, if they don't want to give their land to Industry, The Government shouldn't force them but they should understand  and free the Government from its obligation to develop their area. If I were a CM, I would have gone there to explain this expecting a rotten eggs from public. But, such unpleasant truths  will hardly be told by current CM and in stead they will keep doing promises without any budgetary allocation.


If tribals prefer the Naxal way, so be it. They will be dealt with according to law as the Government has no money. Think, your father doesn't money for your career ambitions. If you ask him, from where he will arrange money. He can borrow up to a reasonable amount from private lenders but after a while, they won't lend him any more, when his loan burden is high.


5. Roads and Infrastructure: In developed countries, the Municipality is responsible for local roads and bringing businesses to their city . There will be hardly any sales/Octroi  tax collection from tribal areas by their Municipal bodies. Tribals can't pay for toll-roads either. So, they have to demand and wait until it happens based on Central and State Governments fund allocation.


6. Higher Education Institutions of National Importance: Because of their backwardness, tribal areas are not qualified for such institutions.


7. Forest rights: The state can't give license to cut trees/hunt animals for bread and butter because of environmental issues. So tribals have to alter their way of living and adopt themselves to this change - i.e. earning bread & butter with out forest.


Finally, on Naxal Hunting.. The state is obliged to protect its citizens from terrorism or Naxalism , who use illegal weapons and indulge in hide&attack tactics. For these kind of people, encounters are legally justified, even though they are Indian citizens.


Just because such encounters would bring some collateral damage in tribal areas, the Government can't wait forever (The liberals prefer this approach) , while these pinheads continue their COP killing and train-jacking. So, there has to be hunting and the question is - "waiting period" ? Most of you will agree that the Government has given them enough time and in stead of surrendering, they are spreading to more and more districts. So, the time has come to hunt them down by using both ground forces and drones.


The bottom line is, if they are not hunted down, you will be riding a train with fear to be train-jacked. The COPs can't live in peace out of fear.


The Naxals will obviously won't run to an open field to be hunted down at will by Government forces. As a deliberate strategy to minimize their causality, they would hide among gullible tribals, which may lead to some collateral damage. But, this also can be minimized, if proactive tribals can inform our COPs regarding Naxal activities, in stead of treating them as their well-wishers.


Manoj Padhi


[1]  Orissa's debt burden mounts to Rs 36,366 crore


Bhubaneswar: Orissa government was contemplating to take a loan or Rs 4,463.84 crore this fiscal though the state's total debt burden has mounted to Rs 36,366.01 crore by January, 2010.


This was stated by Finance Minister Prafulla Ghadai while replying to a question in the Assembly.


"Of the proposed loan, the government has planned to raise Rs 1,890.26 crore from open market borrowing", he said.


During the last nine years, Ghadai said, the state government had talem a loan of Rs 15,428.64 crore.


The state's debt burden was Rs 9,219 crore in 1996 and Rs 21,001.90 crore in 2000-01, the minister said.


The government said it paid Rs 2,889 crore towards interest during 2008-09 which resulted in bringing down the rate of interest payment in subsequent years.


In response to the opposition allegation that the Naveen Patnaik dispensation had almost doubled the amount of loan during its 10-year-rule, Ghadai said the previous Congress government left a debt burden of Rs 21,001.90 crore during five year's of its rule from 1995 to 2000.


Stating that taking loan was a sign of progress for a developing state like Orissa, Ghadai claimed other states had taken more loans.


Ghadai also claimed that the state government had provided jobs to 1.5 lakh youths during last nine years.


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