Ramakanta Biswas

On December 31, 2021, Director General of Police (DGP) Abhay retired from service after completing two years in office and Sunil Kumar Bansal took over as new Odisha DGP.  However, within minutes of his retirement, Abhay was made the Chairman of the State task force for Narcotic drugs-related issues in the rank and status of chief secretary.

The reappointment of top officials is not new in Odisha. In the past 10 years, the State government has placed in a dozen of chief secretaries and DGPs in top posts after their retirement. The trend of reappointment appeared to have started after the State government made former DGP Gopal Nanda the Chief of the State Staff Selection Commission (SSC). 

Former DGP RP Sharma, who opted for voluntary retirement, was offered a crucial position as the member of the Lokayukta. Similarly, Satyajit Mohanty, who retired as the Home Guard DG is now the incumbent chairman of Odisha Public Service Commission (OPSC). 

Moreover, senior IAS officers like former Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, along with Rabi Narayan Senapati and Sanjeev Hota was made State Election Commissioner after retirement. While senior IAS officer R Balakrishnan was reappointed as advisor to CMO, former CS Asit Tripathy was made chief of Western Odisha Development Council. 

Speaking about the reappointment of the senior officials post retirement, former Chief Secretary of Odisha Sahadev Sahu said a particular category of officers are being reinstated by the State government.  

Former DGP Sanjeev Marik said, “I have come across many top officials who performed phenomenally well during their tenure, but were not reappointed after their retirement. In my opinion, top officials should not be reappointed because some of them could not function in a neutral way hoping for lucrative posts after retirement.” 

According to intellectuals, babus who developed good rapport with the government during their stint and helped bail out the administration from critical issues have been reappointed after retirement and given important positions. 

Senior journalist Prasanna Mohanty said, “Awarding those showing undue favour during their tenure has appeared to become a trend in the State. At a time when the unemployment crisis has reached an alarming stage in Odisha, reappointing the retired babus has set a bad precedent.”