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Appointment of Chief Secretary: Which non-Odia last held the post?

Sarojini Bishi

Bhubaneswar: Various discussions about IAS Manoj Ahuja. The BJP won the election on the issue of Odia identity, but there is talk of appointing a non-Odia to the post of chief secretary. Naveen government remained in power in the state for 24 years. But during this tenure, Odia was the Chief Secretary. But now this trend is broken. After 4 decades, a non-Odia has become the chief administrative secretary of the state.

The now retiring Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena is a 1989 batch. Manoj Ahuja, a resident of Haryana but of Odisha cadre, is a 1990 batch. So those who are from Odisha cadre in this batch are Manoj Ahuja, Nitin Chandra, Sanjeev Chopra, Aarti Ahuja and G Srinivas. Aarti is Manoj’s wife. He has already retired. All others are on central deputation.

Recruitment has to be done as per All India Service Rule Cadre. When 1990 batch IAS is available, making 1991 batch IAS the secretary of the state can create confusion in the bureaucracy. It is being said that IAS Nitin Chandra did not want to return to Odisha. So the state government has trusted Manoj based on his experience.

Before this, the non-Odia who were the chief administrative secretary in the Odisha government were B. Venktarman (29-02-80 to 29-03-80), A.K. Mazumdar (18-02-77 to 28-02-77), J.A. Dave (01-03-77 to 21-09-77), K Ramamurthy (29-09-77 to 13-02-79), SM H Barney (14-02-79 to 29-02-80) etc. The first Chief Secretary of the state was P.T. Mansfield E. S. Q. (01-04-36). After that, all the non-Odia were chief administrative secretaries till Venkataraman.

The experts said that there is a lot of talk about it, Odia Asmita Card has arisen due to the fact that an Odia will become the Chief Minister of the state. Not with regard to District Collector, DG of Police and other posts. In many places in the state, the district governors and secretaries are non-Odia. There was never any dispute about them. After retiring as a non-Odia administrative officer in the previous government, BJD Sarveseba and Naveen Patnaik’s successor, the issue of Odia has been raised.

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