5T Secretary’s Helicopter Tour Triggers Political Row In Odisha; BJD Says Opposition Misleading People

Bhubaneswar: The whirlwind tours of different parts of Odisha being undertaken by 5T Secretary V K Pandian has triggered a fierce war of words between the opposition political parties and the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) in the state.

A day after opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Congress stepped up their attack on the state government over Pandian’s chopper rides, BJD leader and Commerce and Transport Minister Tukuni Sahu hit back on Sunday.

She accused the opposition parties of being rattled by solutions to all problems being provided following 5T Secretary’s visits to different parts of the state at the instruction of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

Alleging that the opposition is trying to mislead the people by giving false information about money spent on Pandian’s helicopter visits, Sahu said in a post in X that some are claiming that Rs 300 crore was spent while others have put the amount at Rs 500 crore.

Stating that only Rs 50 crore has been spent during the last five years for visits in helicopter, the Minister said on an average, Rs 10 crore to Rs 12 crore has been spent annually and a detailed information would be provided in the next Assembly session to expose the false campaign launched by the opposition.

The BJD leader’s posting came after BJP on Saturday alleged that it is unethical on the part of the 5T Secretary’s to visit places within the state by spending around Rs 500 crore from the state exchequer.

State BJP spokesperson Anil Biswal had claimed in a press meet that Pandian attended a marriage function and a family function of an MLA without any official programme. He sought to know from the Chief Minister and Chief Secretary as to whether the 5T Secretary is entitled to helicopter services to attend marriage function feast.

The BJP leader further alleged that the government helicopter is being used for even 5 km long travel and for personal work, involving misutilisation of government money.

Veteran Congress leader Narasingha Mishra alleged that the officers are not listening to the ministers and they are only listening to 5T Secretary in utter disregard for democratic norms.

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