To mark the maiden Bhubaneswar-Dubai direct flight, the Odisha government organised a special programme-Odisha Dibasa in the Middle Eastern city. However, the celebrations sparked a controversy after senior IAS officer and Development Commissioner, Anu Garg’s wrong attribution to a cabinet minister in her speech at the event.
According to sources, the senior IAS officer attributed Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities minister, Ashok Panda as the minister of Odia Language Literature and Culture at the event.
Soon, questions were raised as to how a senior bureaucrat, who has been holding key positions in the Odisha government for long, can commit such a mistake. If it was a case of a slip of the tongue, why Garg did not make the necessary rectification during her speech?
“Such types of mistakes happen, but it cannot be termed as deliberate. She should have been alert during her speech,” said Sahadev Sahu, former Odisha chief secretary.
On the other hand, the Opposition BJP and Congress alleged that the ministers and MLAs were neglected in the event while the bureaucrats were given priority.
While Odisha Tourism and Culture Department minister did not attend the event, 5T secretary answered most of the questions during the interaction segment of the event.
“After such humiliation, the ministers, and MLAs should resign from the party. They should do something to safeguard their self-respect. If they are okay with putting their self-respect at stake, then it’s their choice,” said Mohammed Moquim, Congress MLA from Cuttack-Barabati.
Seconding Moquim, BJP MLA Nityananda Ganda said, “While the Development Commissioner was delivering speech on the stage, the MLAs and minister were sitting among the audience. This is an insult to the legislators. Officer-raj prevails in Odisha.”
Refuting the allegations leveled by the Opposition, BJD leader Debi Prasad Mishra said, “Newly-formed Odisha Parivar Department director and chief counsel of Dubai addressed the gathering. No one was insulted at the event.”
- Reported by:
- HARIHARA CHAND