Report by Badal Tah; Rayagada: Today was the height of disrespect towards all the scribes of Rayagada district when it was announced from the dais that they were not allowed to take photographs of the event. Adding salt to the injury, the press gallery was shifted near the dais to a place near the urinal. Nobody was available to explain the reasons of this deviation. The working journalists consider this event as a part of the development process in the district and showcase the growth of the region.
Like previous year, the press reporters assembled in the Gobinda Chandra Dev(GCD) High School ground, the venue of celebration. Many of them did not receive the invitation extended by the Collector-cum-Chairperson of the District Independence Day Celebration Committee. In spite of this they peacefully assembled; but the way they were told to keep off and given a non-descript place near the stinking school urinal, they unanimously resolved to boycott this one of the important celebration of the district. They all marched towards the Gandhian Thakkar Bappa’s statue and sat on dharna.
Afterwards they reached the circuit house to submit memorandum to Sri Bikram Keshari Arukh, I&PR Minister who unfurled the flag in the GCD ground as chief guest. The memorandum included streamlining and finallising the process of health insurance for media persons, issuing identity cards from DIPRO, Rayagada, action against erring officials for today’s mismanagement, etc. Arukh assured the scribes to initiate action within seven days.
“We, the media persons, are basically responsible for administration’s unruly behavior towards us. Some of us are too egoistic because we being part of established media houses. Some of us are also skilled to speak against each other before a govt officer, who takes advantage of the situation and strives hard to create cleavages among us and become successful. If this process continues, it will be a severe blow to the media fraternity of Rayagada”,said Sri Ajaya Rath, a budding scribe of the district.
“We have already given hint to the Ms.Guha Poonam Tapas Kumar, Collecotor, Rayagada regarding the mess in office of DIPRO. She is yet to act upon this. And the outcome today is outburst of of anger by press reporters piled up for last few months”, said senior journalist Sri Jogesh Dash. According to Sri Bapi Pattanaik, an emancipated citizen of Rayagada,”If the District Administration is so indifferent to scribes and behave this way, the condition of general public can only be imagined.” Bapi has appealed to the denizens of Rayagada to ally with the journalists.
Sri Ramdas Lima, a senior journalist of the district and the editor of “Prajabarta”, a popular fortnightly of the district, fumes with anger and questions the real motive of distributing plat saplings to school students by the minister during the independence day celebration. “If for some reasons best known to the administration itself, the grown up trees are chopped of near collectorate and residence of PA-ITDA, then distribution of saplings during an auspicious day like this is a mockery and farce”, Lima said.
“The spirit and fervor of Independence Day are getting eroded. This has been reflected through disrespect towards the media, the fourth pillar democracy. Celebrating these days have become rituals by the district administration. The democracy can thrive by strengthening all its pillars; but the violation by the executive has been an administrative abuse in Rayagada as far as media is concerned”, said Badal kumar Tah, Executive President of Rayagada Nagarika Mancha.