Every time the pavements are painted and white barricades are up by the road to Airport, which is like six times in a year, I grasp that the Capital City is yet to witness another “Event.” People have stopped noticing that the contractor assigned with such tasks rarely ever removes the barricades or just washes the muck off the paint, immediately before the Events.
Last week it was the grand biennial of what has come to pass as “Mock in Odisha.” Now in its 3rd edition, the Conclave would by now have at least brought in a million crores to the investment-starved state, instead it has resulted in a couple of Cement Plants by some southern companies. So much for non-polluting, knowledge-intensive industries. Ha!
Even then, the enthusiasm which the Govt promises concessional land, free water and tax rebates to the industries fades when it comes to generating local employment. Without getting any pledge from the investment companies that at least 50 pc of the employment will be local, the Govt instead presumes that local area development will happen if locals open more Tea and Gulugula shops and drive Share Autos.
So I decided to take a leisurely stroll around the Janata Maidan where a fancy Geodesic dome (not much different from my blob of poop if dropped carefully) had been set up and the blue-blooded mingled with the well-heeled and the noveu rich on the dais, while keeping the hoi-polloi content with pushing and shoving around the pavilions and relishing cheap Aludum-Dahibara at the gates.
Months of careful strategizing by the ex-C type Subald Bongojee, the much edu about nothing Suvict Kumar and the mighty Quickgun Murugan had succeed in bringing the likes of Mumbai Matani, the tricky Ta-tas, the Bauxite Birla, the Alumina Ghariyal and the Haiku ambassador. There were some “anonymous” FDI pledges as well, the names of investors we shall never know, as per the secretary of that deptt.
Of course, there was one announcement to cheer me up. Land would be provided at subsidized cost to multiplexes. Without money in people's pockets to fork out pricey tickets, I’m sure in a year these’d turn into posh public toilets for us! Hurray….
I looked on from beyond the highly fenced but lush green fields of Bhubaneswar Golf Course (sorry no stray cow free entry as in other parts of city) where the honchos teed off. I looked at their gleaming limos as record number of charter flights landed at the city airport. Bhubaneswar, they say, has particularly good weather in this season. So if a State Govt invites for a picnic with state guest paraphernalia, Why Not?
Mumbai Matani even found the time to quickly visit the Holy Trinity at Puri and present them the invitation card for his daughter’s marriage. This is called: Thakur Dekha, Kadali Bika!
Oh, lest I forgets, there were two couture designers too. Those who never shined here but made their marks elsewhere. While one showcased his Season’s Collection here with hot belles, another boasted he could make the land’s “Gamucha & Gudakhu” style popular. I’m sure this would have brought a smile to Tanka Bhaina, who daily crosses me for his open-air ablutions every dawn wearing Gamucha, brushing Gudakhu.
After all the brouhaha and the bullshit, the Queen finally announced the conclave closed with 4.19 lakh cr of “Investment Intent” received and 5.9 lakh jobs to be generated. This from the administration which has failed to generate 50,000 jobs in the last 5 years and notorious for not recruiting regular candidates in any of its own. The sectors in which these were received were primarily industrial and manufacturing with little focus on non-polluting, knowledge-intensive or eco-friendly, implying the direct intent is to make money and make PC.
No Conclave can shine on the after effects of POSCO eclipse, the largest ever FDI proposed and driven out by the Queen and her greedy minions. Shiny optics won’t bring back the lost glory of a state that once hosted the Odisha Textile Mill, Kalinga Refrigerators, Konark TV, numerous spinning meals and its sugar, sold in the hinterlands of South India, was simply called “Aska.”...