Home India News Patnaik’s grievance cell defunct since 2008

Patnaik’s grievance cell defunct since 2008


Bhubaneswar: The grievance cell of Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has been defunct since 2008, leaving thousands of people in the state to suffer in silence, an anti-graft group said Friday.

Biswajit Mohanty, a board member of the India unit of Transparency International, said he sought the details of the hearings held during the past years at the grievance cell of the chief minister at Bhubaneswar.

Replying to the information sought under the Right to Information Act (RTI), the state’s personnel administration department said there has not been a single hearing since September 2008.

“The chief minister’s grievance cell is an important avenue for people to convey their grievances. The poor, distressed and downtrodden people have little knowledge to identify and approach other appropriate forums,” Mohanty told IANS.

In a democracy, the public should be allowed to ventilate their grievances and the head of the government should hear them and redress their genuine problems and sufferings, he said.

“This would improve accountability of the field officers and also promote good governance,” Mohanty said in a letter to the chief minister seeking revival of the cell at the earliest.

Revealing the data he received, Mohanty said the cell hardly functioned even during 2004-2007 as only two meetings were held in 2004 and just one in 2006.

While 12,034 aggrieved people had approached the grievance cell during 2000, the number sharply fell to 408 in 2007.

He said the decline could be attributed to two reasons. “Either the state has truly made enormous strides in good governance and people do not have grievances, or people are not aware of the functioning of the cell.”

“To any rational person, the second reason would appear plausible as it is common knowledge that the common man, including tribals and the impoverished farmers, are suffering heavily in the state due to a corrupt and apathetic administration,” he said.