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Enterprise Odisha

In: Social Issues

Submitted By devapeim
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Enterprise Odisha

Even after 62 years of independence, Odisha our beloved state is still developing. With thirty districts it is the 9th largest state in the country (155,707 Sq Km) and population wise 11th (36,706,920). It is a state which is rich with all kinds of resources right from minerals, fossil fuel and ores to rich history and culture. The land is fertile and has the capability to produce many Rabi and Kharip crops.

Now if we scan the country and try to name the prosperous states, we can count them on finger tips. Among which Gujarat, Haryana, Punjab and Goa may be the front runners. Odisha may not even appear in the first 10. So what makes these states economically better than us despite the fact that we are far wealthier than the others in terms of Natural Resources, history, culture and intelligent brains? To find out let’s have a closer look at the simple strategies adopted by the prosperous states.

My father always said, owning a gold brick does not make you rich. You will be rich only when you learn to make a fortune out of it. It is that simple. The prosperous states have done this. Only that in their case, the areas of their strength was their gold brick. Gujarat is strong in entrepreneurship and business sense, Goa is rich in natural landscapes and Punjab is rich with fertile agricultural land. These states have worked on their strengths to develop themselves. When I say the states have done it, I mean the contribution of both government and people alike in the whole process.

Call it my fortune or misfortune, I have had many chances of facing severe natural calamities while my stay in Gujarat, including earthquake (2001), Cyclone (1998), draught (1997 to 2002). But every time nature strikes Gujarat, I have noticed general public volunteering to set right their vicinity without even waiting for any Government aid. When the cyclone hit Jamnagar in 1998, people were seen helping each other in clearing their houses, streets and neighborhoods (of the dirt and debris) the very next morning. It took only two days for the Gujarat Government to restore water and electricity supply in the city. On the other hand, when I had a chance to visit the Erasama village (where the super cyclone hit Odisha in 1999) just after the cyclone, I was surprised to find an air of helplessness pervasive in the area. Tons of help and crores of rupees (relief) from all over the world was pouring in which was being distributed to the needy. But in a way that was the sense of pity because, everybody was waiting and relying only on the relief material to survive. I happened to ask a local as to why he was sitting idle there? Though he justified his idleness saying what else he could do, I was saddened at the very temperament.

One question kept bugging me. It is the greatness of rest of the world to have sympathized with your misery. But what has stopped you from getting up and mending your own house or look for better opportunities instead of wasting time in waiting for the next free meal? So what is it now that makes us different? I would say it is our lack of enterprising spirit. It is not that our Government has not being trying. They have tried to bring in industries. But it is us who have not allowed them. Frequent labour agitations and bandhs have driven away all venturing organizations who have ever tried to establish business in our state thereby shutting the doors for any development. Whereas, in states like Gujarat you will never see even one day bandh, due to labour agitation.

While in discussion, one of my friends argued that it is the work of some hand full goons which has affected the whole state. Then I ask what have rest of the people done about it? Has anybody ever bothered to stand up and raise a voice against it? Isn’t tolerating wrong is like appreciating the wrong? This is what my issue is. We are too comfortable ignoring things going on around us and rarely bother to come out of the cocoon of our comfort zone. We think that it is not our job to bring about revolution and reforms. But we have to understand one thing very straight and simple that nothing will move unless we get up and push. Sitting idle and waiting for the next free meal is only going to take us backward.

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