Rising law and order problem giving Naveen Patnaik sleepless nights
by Ashok B Sharma on 01 Sep 2015 1 Comment

After the ritual row over Lord Jagannath’s Nabakalebara including the Brahma Paribartan fiasco, and the matter of the alleged involvement of ruling party leaders with the fake godman Sarathi Baba, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s sleepless nights are not over. The state is faced with a breakdown in the law and order and security situation. 


Maoist insurgency is rearing its ugly head. Three jawans of the Border Security Force were killed when they accidentally stepped on a landmine planted by Maoists near Sarjubandh in Chitrakonda in the southern part of the state. Admitting the situation, Naveen informed the State Assembly that the situation remains challenging in the districts of Malkangiri, Koraput and Nuapada.


To resolve the resurgence of Maoist activity in this part of the state, connectivity is a major problem. About 253 locations have been identified for setting up new towers for connectivity through mobile phones and the state government is eagerly waiting for the release of money by the central government from the Universal Service Obligation Fund. Road connectivity is still in bad shape. Construction work on Gurupriya bridge that would connect about 100 villages was delayed. 


Crime against women is on the rise. As many as 245 gang rape incidents were reported in the state out of which victims were killed in eight cases, in the last three years. Crimes against women per one lakh population in the state is as high as 70.4, as per official estimates. This apart, the rate of registration of IPC offences per lakh population in 2014 alone was 199.9. 


But Naveen has pointed accusing fingers at the central government for “substantially reducing funds under police modernisation”. But the state government needs to ensure more funds to the police from its own Budget.


As many as 167 Indian Administrative Service (IAS), Indian Police Service (IPS) and Indian Forest Service (IFS) posts are lying vacant in Odisha. Out of the total 555 sanctioned posts, 167 posts are lying vacant in the state. There are 182 IAS officers against the sanctioned strength of 226 in Odisha, 106 IPS officers against 188 sanctioned posts and 100 IFS officers against the sanctioned strength of 141. About 71 officers are out of the state due to their central deputations and inter-state postings. Similarly, 310 posts are lying vacant against 1,416 sanctioned posts in the Odisha Administrative Service (OAS). Against the total sanctioned 582 Odisha Police Service (OPS) posts, 94 are vacant. As many as 101 posts have fallen vacant out of 709 posts in the Odisha Finance Service and 494 posts out of 979 posts in the Odisha Forest Service are vacant. 


A petition was filed in a local court against Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and vigilance director KB Singh, alleging criminal conspiracy by them against former state police chief Prakash Mishra. The petitioner alleged that the Chief Minister had directed the vigilance department to file a “false” case of corruption against Mishra with mala fide intent of scuttling Mishra’s chances of being elevated to the post of CBI director. Both the Congress and the BJP created ruckus in the State Assembly demanding a discussion on the issue.


Infant death toll reaching 35 in seven days in the state-run Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics has become a major worry. The state government decided to rope in at least seven doctors from the reputed SCB Medical College to man the beleaguered paediatric hospital.


Against a sanctioned strength of 48 doctors, Shishu Bhawan, were five deaths occurred in a single day, taking the overall toll to 35, has been manned by only 20 doctors for several years.  The biggest paediatrics hospital in eastern India, Shishu Bhawan receives more than 300 patients on an average daily at its OPD and nearly 50 of them are admitted in critical condition every day.


After the sudden surge in casualties last week and an outcry of “negligence in treatment”, the state government has ordered multiple probes to ascertain the causes of the deaths. Even as a technical team led by the Directorate of Medical Education & Training (DMET) is verifying each case of recent deaths individually, all other probe teams have denied allegations of negligence in treatment.


Close on the heels of a pension fraud, alleged irregularities in allotment of Indira Awaas Yojana benefits have come to the fore in Naveen Patnaiks’s home district, Ganjam, following which the district administration has cancelled 13 work orders in Kukudakhandi bloc. Thus, the Chief Minister’s sleepless nights are not yet over. He needs to tone up the administration. But there is one solace for him - the Congress and the BJP are too weak to take him on. 

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