sub : Why Orissa was backward for almost 50 years ?

Date :Thursday, 03 January 2008 8:21 AM

Jaya Jagannath,

Instead of being the richest state in terms of mineral deposits, enormous fertile farming land, water abundance, huge man power, vast international coast line, centuries old rich cultural heritage, surplus underground coal and petroleum deposit, Orissa could not be properly utilized for years together. Out of sixty years of independence merely ten years were adequately governed instate and intellectually represented at centre. For the rest fifty years our economy was in bedridden, unconscious, as if in "coma". Fault can be credited to the lack of proper governance and inadequate & insufficient planning.

Only during the tenures of a great technocrat and industrial architect Sir Biju Pattanaik and his son Sri Naveen Pattanaik as chief ministers, that the state has received & is receiving a royal treatment. Hats of to the two most handsome chief ministers of Orissa, the father son duo. Father gifted Orissa a steel plant at Rourkela ( benefiting 10 lakh people and livelihood), Paradeep Phosphate limited - PPL, ALCO, HAL, REC, Nandankanan and many more. On the other hand the son gifted Orissa with 1,37,00,000 crores of foreign investment, 17 steel plants, 4 sea ports ( Dhamara, Gopalpur, Kirtania, New Paradeep ) and so many in line.

If we look back to find out why the same couldn't happen during other governments, probably here goes some of the facts and figures. Broadly visualizing the scenario, Orissa was treated like a step son of central government because of the insufficient governance at the state and ignorant MPs representing us at the centre, We lost 50 golden years. Orissa is now crowned as the third richest state of investment in India, the most favorite destination of industrialists, Excellent at progress report and thus a front runner among smart states. This couldn't happen for the rest 50 years, else Orissa could have been better than with Germany or Japan. The sharp edge injuries of political negligence, improper planning and lack of intelligent MPs at centre has certainly manhandled Orissa for 50 years. Looking at the facts of impact at a glance :

---- > Extreme negligence by South Eastern Railways paralyzed Orissa and revenue was looted from Orissa by other states.

---- > Ever seen the net like woven rail network in UP, Bihar and West Bengal. And in Orissa there is only two links ( Howrah - Bombay and Howrah - Madras ), that too non-electrocuted for decades.

---- > Western Orissa was kept like an Orphan for years. Never ever been taken care off by any Govt. The serious blunder which earlier governments have done may still take time for the recent govt. to compensate.

---- > Orissa Govt. was loosing 3600 crores per year of revenue to the hands of West Bengal Govt. due to mineral ore transportation via Haldia Port. Ores and minerals were looted from Orissa thru following five feeder rail links to Haldia port thru howrah - Bombay main line. These would have been the major vital revenue generating rail links for govt. of Orissa. Haldia port trust was doing major business with goods and ores from Orisa and our Govt. were sitting ducks. The five feeder links looting Orissa were

1. Rajakharasuan - Barbil rail link
2. Bandhamunda - Raxi rail link
3. Tata - Badam pahada rail link
4. Rajakharasuan - Bansapani rail link
5. Tata - Goru mahisani rail link

Imagine these 5 railway link lines were like 5 fingers of a hand that was put inside Orissa's pot and stealing sweets for years. These railway links were doing the same, looting our ores and minerals to a port in another state thus our state loosing export duties and customs worth of 3600 crores per year. Our Governments were sitting like ducks.

---- > MP Sri. Anant Nayak was the first person to raise an alarm on this issue in Parliament. In 1973 Sir Biju Pattanaik planned to rail link Bansapani with Jakhapura to reach Paradeep Port. During 1993-94 Railway minister Kanhu Charan Lenka executed the project and it got completed with the catalytic efforts of Sri. Naveen Pattanaik with a green signal from Railway minister Sri. Lalu Prasad Yadav ( Of course with another holy intension of connecting Bihar with Puri dham in a shortest possible rail link) followed by extension of several trains to Puri. Thus our main objective was partially achieved. Other potential revenue generating rail links like Bimalagarh - Talcher, Keonjhar - Badam Pahar, Keonjhar - Barsuan is still to be constructed and prioritized.

---- > In Howrah - Madras coast line Vijayanagaram - Kharagpur section that covers whole of Orissa was deliberately ignored till 1993. All trains have to run on diesel engines in this section inside Orissa and rest part of eastern railway was electrocuted. This was like an insult to Orissa. In 1993 then railway minister Sri. Kanhu charan Lenka under guidance and supervision of his majesty Sir. Biju Pattanaik planned and started Electric - traction work and completed the same in 2005.

---- > Mines were leased not to Industries, rather to relatives and cousins of ministers with complete leverage over tax and royalty. thus our state loosing a huge amount of revenue from mining.

---- > Paradeep Port was intentionally not connected to any of the mines or Industries in Orissa, to ensure Orissa govt. loose the custom export duties. Recently it got connected to Howrah - Madras main line ( after 30 years of the port been built )

---- > Internal rail links were neither connecting major cities of Orissa to each other nor to our only port Paradeep.

---- > Major city railway station were maintained like "C" grade stations due to lack of funding. Bhubaneswar being the capitol of Orissa, was having only 3 medium sized platforms, underdeveloped comparative to any rail junctions in AP or WB.

---- > Our MPs were neither sincere nor regular to Parliament. If few of them went to parliament they were sitting at far corners and sleeping for times. Back home they were kept ignorant of all these and were even in some cases told by party state head office not to raise such issues in Parliament. Even some MPs were unable to read and analyze the railway time table and map.

---- > Due to lack of proper rail line network inside Orissa, each day around 20 to 25 thousand heavy vehicles were running thru the state. Result was high risk to citizens and terrible condition of highways.

---- > Jagannath Dham, puri one of the most popular hub of world cultural heritage was not properly connected with other parts of India with rail and road lines. 20 pairs of trains run to puri on a daily basis, but surprisingly on a single line. Puri railway station lacks sufficient platforms, passenger amenities and even a central terminal facility. On the contrary Tirupati railway station is well connected to Chennai, Gudur, Hyderabad, Bangalore. As like Tirupati, Puttaparthy & Madurai, Puri neither has a helipad nor airport. Thanks to Naveen Pattanaik government at least that due to his repeated efforts POSCO is going to construct Puri - Konark - Paradeep rail line for 100 kilometer.

---- > Places of tourist importance like Udayagiri, Ratnagiri, Lalitagiri and thousands others were neglected to the core. Should have been procured like tourist hubs with well connected road and rail links, entangled with tourist resorts, amenities and security provisions. Rather these places were kept abundant and thus lost their heritage.

---- > Talking about education and IT, Orissa was having a mere three Govt. engineering colleges only out of which only REC was a bit well at infrastructure and standard at education and good at placements. This reasoned to absence of Oriya engineers in IT world. Thanks at least to the recent government for liberalizing technical and professional education which resulted in formation of private colleges like KIIT, NIST, RIT and many more. The result is amazing

1. Now in every software industries 10 to 15 percent are Oriyans.
2. Every tenth person coming out with a smile from Visa consulate is an Oriya.
3. Every 20th sale of a flight ticket for inland or to abroad journey is by an Oriyan.
4. Huge inflow of foreign currency streams in side Orissa.
5. Out side Orissa, every 50th owner of a flat in a pos apartment is an Oriya.

So on so forth ……Thanks to the recent liberalization policy of recent government. IT companies can also be established in Orissa as the state possesses all the eligible criterion for nurturing an IT hub. Govt. Representatives and experts should be sent across to other IT cities of India like Hyderabad, Bangalore, Pune, Noida to learn IT governance and management.

Wish if Orissa government can also put an attention over the following points.

1. While preparing for any project plans Orissa govt. should consult all researchers in the relevant line, Experts, Retired chief engineers, directors of major engineering colleges, bureaucrats, Eminent personalities like Dr. Radhanath Rath.
2. Central representatives for the state shouldn't be chosen on the scales of political influence, rather should be chosen on the merits of relevant expertise and technical proficiency. Technocrats, bravos of different communities. They should also be well fed by state experts in the same disciplines.
3. All govt. ministers and high ranked employees should have proper Email Ids and should be instantly accessible to Emails.