Odishatv Bureau

Why the most powerful bureaucrat in Odisha VK Pandian took Voluntary Retirement (VRS) all of a sudden? At a time when such questions are creating ripples in the minds of people, a letter has added fuel to the political buzz in the state.

There are reports that VK Pandian has opted for voluntary retirement from service to avoid central training. Information obtained through the RTI application by advocate Nirvaya Samantray has substantiated the claims.

Samantray claimed that he had sought information through an RTI application regarding the inter-service training of three Odisha cadre IAS officers of 2000 batch- V Karthikeyan Pandian, Sujata R Karthikeyan and T Ao.

Replying to the RTI application, the Department of Personnel and Training in June 2022 revealed that both VK Pandian and his wife Sujata R Karthikeyan had not completed three inter-service training till date.

On the other hand, IAS officer T Ao, who belongs to the same cadre and same batch, has undergone three inter-service trainings. Both VK Pandian and Sujata R Karthikeyan had two more inter-service training to complete.

“In the larger interest of the state, I had issued a notice and asked Centre to send the officers for training. Subsequently, on September 15, 2023 the Ministry of Personnel and Training issued a memorandum to Training Division to take action and the last date was November 15, 2023. As a result, both VK Pandian and Sujata R Karthikeyan were supposed to undergo training. It is not clear how many days they would have gone for training. Hence, it appears that VK Pandian might have taken VRS to avoid leaving Odisha,” said Samantray.

Meanwhile, VK Pandian and Sujata R Karthikeyan could not be contacted over Samantray’s claims.

Former chief secretary Sahadev Sahu said, “Every officer needs to undergo refresher training and it would be compulsory if any officer repeatedly doesn’t go for training and it would reflected in CCR. Training is not at all mandatory but it is a just a refresher course.”

BJD leader Sashi Bhusan Behera said, “For CM Naveen Patnaik, the development of Odisha and its people is a top priority. VK Pandian has resigned and has been given a new role by the CM to take forward the ongoing developmental works across the state. Pandian has displayed his skills in the all-round development of the state. We hope that he will continue to work in this regard. Centre can answer on accepting his voluntary retirement application in three days. It is their prerogative, they can decide in 3 days or 3 months.”