Bhubaneswar, Jan 3:
The Odisha chapter of India Against Corruption (IAC) today demanded an unconditional apology from Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik for misleading the people of Odisha while announcing enactment of a strong Lokayukta Act in the state within one month.
“We condemn the misleading statement of Chief Minister addressed to the public and the media. He had promised that the Lokayukta Bill in Odisha would be passed within 3 months after the process of Panchayat election is over on 28 December 2011. But to our utter dismay, Patnaik now says that he had earlier stated that Lokayukta Bill for Odisha would be passed within 3 months after the passage of the bill by the Central Government,” said Malay Kumar Tripathy, an IAC volunteer.
He, however, appreciated the step of the government for enacting a Lokayukta Act and urged to pass a strong Lokayukta Bill to curb corruption in the State in the interest of the public.
The anti-corruption organistaion had demanded convening of a special Assembly session for that purpose on the day the Centre passed the Lokpal Bill in Parliament.
It is to be noted that Patnaik had promised a ‘strong’ Lokayukta Bill in three months’ time way back in December 2011.
“We will do our best to bring the Lokayukta Bill shortly. We will bring the Bill hopefully within the next three months after the panchayat polls are over,’’ he had told reporters on December 28, 2011 while reiterating his party’s stand on a ‘strong’ Lokpal for the country and bringing the CBI within its ambit.
Meanwhile, the political leaders expressed doubts about the enactment of the Act within one month as the draft report is yet to be prepared.
“I doubt the intention of the Chief Minister. How can the Chief Minister, who could not prepare a draft report on the proposed Bill even two years after his promise, pass the Bill within one month?” asked Congress chief whip Prasad Harichandan. Civil society and other organizations must be taken into confidence before passing of the Bill in the Assembly, he said.
Lokpal had submitted as many as 30 special reports to the Governor since the BJD Government came to power. However, the Government had not tabled 20 of these reports.
Odisha has a Lokpal and Lokayukta Act since 1971 and the office of Lokpal continues to exist. But, the government is yet to appoint a Lokpal, a post that is lying vacant for almost one year.