Rajendra Prasad Mohapatra

Senior IAS officer Manoj Ahuja assumed charge as the new Chief Secretary of Odisha at the Lok Seva Bhawan in Odisha on Sunday. A 1990-batch IAS officer of Odisha cadre, Ahuja took charge from outgoing Chief Secretary Pradeep Jena.

After assuming charge, Ahuja visited Srimandir in Puri and had a darshan of ‘Pati Dian’. Puri Collector Siddharth Shankar Swain and SP Pinak Mishra welcomed Ahuja at the temple.

“After taking over the charge, I just came to have the blessing of Lord Jagannath. I feel happy after having the darshan,” said Ahuja.

“I have just assumed the charge. A meeting will be held tomorrow to review the preparations for Rath Yatra. I will give detailed information after the meeting,” he added.

After handing over the charge to Ahuja, Jena tweeted, “I relinquished charge of @SecyChief today at 3.30pm. I welcome Manoj Ahuja one of my good friends from 1990 batch (from my Kalahandi days) my successor Subcollector Dharamgarh & l’m happy to have been succeeded by him today to hold the post of @SecyChief. Wish him all the best.”

Ahuja will have his task cut out after assuming the charge as the New Chief Secretary of Odisha. As per political analysts, Ahuja will mainly face huge challenges like- removing bureaucratic bloats of the previous government, wiping out the bitter feeling between the Odia and non-Odia officials and fulfilling all the assurances promised by the newly-formed BJP government in its election manifesto.

As per political analysts, Ahuja, who has returned to Odisha from the central deputation, will have a herculean task in hand to provide a new identity to the Odisha administration by improving its image and lending a balance between the Odia and non-Odia officials.

After outgoing Chief Secretary Jena, Ahuja is the senior most IAS officer in the State administration. Apart from his vast experience, he is in the good books of Prime Minister Narendra Modi by working efficiently as a Secretary in the Agriculture Ministry. Under such circumstances, it is expected that Ahuja will be able to bring more assistance for the State from the Centre with proper coordination.

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