Cassian Baliarsingh

IAS officer Pradeep Kumar Jena on Wednesday officially assumed charge as the Chief Secretary of Odisha. The 1989-batch IAS took charge of the office from Suresh Chandra Mahapatra.

However, the journey won’t be a path of roses for the top bureaucrat. With the 2024 General Elections inching closer and the deterioration of the law and order situation in the State, it will be a tough road ahead for Pradeep Jena.

Prior to assuming office on Wednesday, Jena, who earlier served as the Chief Administrator of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration (SJTA), visited Puri Srimandir and sought the blessings of Lord Jagannath.

Jena along with his wife visited Srimandir for the darshan of the Holy Trinity and also reviewed the construction work of the Srimandir Parikrama Project.

“Honourable Suresh sir, Anu Garg, the new Development Commissioner and I met the Chief Minister and had a brief discussion on Uniform Policy regarding the sale of land. We will make sure that no one faces any kind of loss due to the policy and all the pending works are completed as soon as possible with the blessings of Lord Jagannath,” said Jena after paying obeisance at the holy temple.

Apart from the Parikrama Project, several other challenges await the new Chief Secretary who also served as the Development Commissioner of the Planning and Convergence Department and the Special Relief Commissioner (SRC).

Other important challenges include ensuring that the Odisha government’s schemes reach every nook and corner of the state ahead of the 2024 General Elections, preparing a roadmap for proper implementation of 20 new schemes pronounced by the government during the 2023-24 Odisha Budget, bringing back the normalcy to the law and order situation, ending bureaucratic rule in the state, maintaining co-relation and coordination between departments and officers, ensuring a good relationship between government officers and the representatives of people, making sure of good governance, maintaining a good relationship with Centre and ensuring all the schemes from the Centre reach Odisha and most importantly completion of the all the major projects on time.

“Going by the present scenario, the Centre and the state government do not share a very good relationship due to political issues. This will further deteriorate as the elections inch near. There will be a lot of bickering between political parties. It will be a challenge for the new CS to maintain good relations with Centre and ensure all the government schemes are properly implemented in Odisha,” said senior journalist Akshay Sahu. 

(Reported by Chandan Paikray, Madhusudan Mishra, OTV)