‘Bureaucrats Reigning Supreme’: Opp Seeks Apology From Odisha Minister Over Meeting With Chief Secy

Bhubaneswar: The ongoing Budget Session of Odisha Assembly was adjourned till 4 pm on Saturday following uproarious scenes over alleged ‘officer raj’ in the state.

Referring to photographs of Handlooms, Textiles and Handicrafts Minister Rita Sahu with Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena, Congress Legislative party leader Narasingha Mishra said that the bureaucrats seem to be calling the shots in Odisha. “Should officers visit the government or the other way round?” he asked.

Recently, Minister Rita Sahu met the chief secretary to hand over a cheque of Rs 75,000 as a contribution to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF).

Stating the book circular 47 is being repeatedly violated, the veteran Congress leader demanded an apology from the minister and said that the chief secretary should regret the matter. “The Chief Secretary could have advised the Minister against it. Ideally, the Minister should have handed over the cheque to the CM,” he added.

The Opposition MLAs further alleged that Odisha is being run by bureaucrats while local representatives are being ignored.

When Finance Minister Niranjan Pujari tried to defend the ministers by saying that it was a one-off case, BJP MLAs created ruckus while showing a picture of him standing with folded hands in front of a secretary. Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramila Mallick said the Opposition’s allegations were aimed at trimming the powers of the ministers.

Earlier, in the day, the Speaker had to adjourn the House till 11.30 am amid pandemonium as Opposition demanded transfer of Koida BDO over his unruly behaviour. “Even as Speaker has ordered an inquiry into the allegation, BDO is going about saying he has strong connections. So, I would request the Speaker to transfer him within 24 hours,” said CPI (M) MLA Laxman Munda.

The BJP and Congress MLAs supported him as he went to the well of the House and the Assembly could not function. “The BDO’s gundaraj is concerning. We supported Laxman Munda for raising the issue in the House. We urged the Speaker to suspend the BDO by the end of the day,” said senior Congress leader Sura Routray.

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