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Deepening leadership crisis in Odisha: Media is failing to project 'genuine' leaders

By Sudhansu R Das 
There has been a sharp decline of the political environment in Odisha. The state has become a happy hunting ground for turncoat politicians who hop from party to party mocking at the verdict of people, democracy, party ideologies, judiciary, media and the intellectual class. The acrobatics of the turncoat politicians in the state should be stopped before they wreak havoc in the state’s economy, social and cultural life.   
Political leaders preach ideologies, patriotism, honesty and integrity in their speeches; but they hug the turncoat leaders with tainted image and contrasting principles to win the election. Today the biggest menace to democracy in Odisha is the turncoat politicians who have already created a leadership vacuum in the state for quite a long time.  People of Odisha have to pay heavy price for this dangerous khel of the Supremo leaders who want power through the turncoats.  
In this situation the media in Odisha should be informing the electorates about the adverse impact of the turncoats on the moral fabrics of this culturally rich state.  The media and each conscious citizen need to expose the turncoats in the election before they bury democracy in the state. The state cannot afford to allow turncoats to change parties and ideologies just before the election.
The deepening leadership crisis in Odisha, among other reasons, is attributable to the state media’s inability to project genuine leaders in the state from the grassroots level irrespective of parties.  There are many budding leaders who want to do politics through seva; they need media attention. Some of those small leaders have written their own success stories; they are too big for any political party.  
However, the candidates’ film star background, money and muscles take precedence over the candidates’ contribution to the society, economy and politics; this is a politico-moral hazard.  Politics is itself a profession. A cinema star can’t give justice to political career unless he or she totally gives up his profession of acting. Politics is not a pastime or a hobby.
On the economic front, the state media needs to inform people about the actual benefits of the mega projects.  Every newspaper and news channel should necessarily have an expert economic group who can safeguard the state’s economy; who can make thorough economic, social and environmental appraisal of mega projects and inform people whether the mega projects are beneficial for inclusive growth; whether the project will create employment and protect the livelihood of people.  
The environmental impact of the project should be examined by experts in media geoups. In Bhubaneswar, battery-run public transport, cycle tracks and town buses are more beneficial than an expensive metro rail, which has accumulated huge financial losses in Hyderabad. Metro rail is not suitable for many of the Indian cities; it has given lots of inconvenience to people.
Media should inform people whether the mega projects are demand driven or supply driven. If there is less demand for the projects it will create a heavy debt burden on the state. The infrastructure projects should be demand driven. The state should plant native trees, protect rivers, lakes and ponds; they should build quality government schools, colleges, hospitals, research centers, libraries and community playgrounds for people. 
There are hospitals in district places but there is less number of doctors and technical staff to save lives. People of different districts of Odisha still rush to Cuttack and Bhubaneswar for treatment; some land in government hospitals. The middlemen track the patients on the way and lead them to private hospitals where the patients spend huge amounts for treatment.
Media should be informing the electorate about the adverse impact of turncoats on the moral fabrics of this culturally rich state
Odisha has varied landscapes. Hill districts, coastal districts and forest covered districts have exclusive economic activities, culture and social life.  Human survival in Odisha is impossible without forest, healthy rivers, lakes, ponds and native crop diversity. It is the responsibility of the state media to protect and preserve the natural sector  in the state.
The hill and forest covered districts have immense economic potential. Hundreds of minor forest products, the tribal skill to add incredibly high value to organic substances, the tribal energy to win Olympic medals and organic agriculture produce need to be preserved. People in every district have the skills to make environmentally friendly utility and decorative items which have high demand in the market. Nature based micro economic activities can generate income and employment in the state.
Odisha is rich with mineral resources but over exploitation of it will bring disaster to economy and social life. Every part of the earth has some mineral deposits; that does not mean one will keep digging the entire earth and make it unlivable for human beings.
There are many ancient temples in Odisha. Precious idols worth thousands of crores have been stolen from those ancient temples; in many temples, original idols have been replaced by replicas. Media can create public awareness about the condition of those temples in the state. 
The mushroom growth of liquor shops has deteriorated the social, cultural and economic environment of the state. Free food, freebies and the distribution of cash to people have created massive idle energy in the state; the liquor shops have worsened the situation. 
The media should dive deep into the reasons for unemployment, labor migration, illiteracy, health, education, crop diversity loss, utilization of bank credit, societal behavior change and rise in crime rate.  The disappearance of Odia language in the border districts is a cause of concern. How to put the state on the right track is the biggest challenge before the media in the state.



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