As we bade a farewell to 2023 and set foot into 2024, it's time to reflect on the events and individuals that have shaped the narrative of Odisha over the past year. From groundbreaking achievements to socio-political developments, Odisha has been a hotbed of newsworthy stories that have captivated the attention of its residents and the nation at large. Let's delve into the key newsmakers that have left an indelible mark on the state in 2023.
Raghubar Das: Odisha Welcomes New Governor
Raghubar Das, the seasoned political stalwart and former Chief Minister of Jharkhand, was appointed as the 26th Governor of Odisha by President Droupadi Murmu on October 18 this year. Acting Chief Justice of Orissa High Court Justice Bidyut Ranjan Sarangi administered the oath of allegiance and office to him. Das replaced Professor Ganeshi Lal, who served as the Governor since May 2018. This strategic appointment underscores a new chapter in Odisha's governance, as Das brings with him a wealth of administrative experience and a reputation for transformative leadership. Odisha anticipates a period of dynamic growth and collaborative governance under Das' stewardship, as he takes charge of guiding the state toward a promising future.
VK Pandian's Meteoric Rise
In the political landscape of Odisha, one name that remained in the limelight throughout the year is V Karthikeyan Pandian. The former bureaucrat had become an eyesore for opposition for meddling with state politics by frequently visiting various districts in the name of grievance redressal. Not only from the opposition, he also felt the heat from within the party with a legislator of the BJD party questioning Pandian's direct involvement in political affairs. Amid the mounting criticisms, the 2000-batch IAS officer shocked one and all by suddenly opting for voluntary retirement from service in October this year. Soon after his retirement, the former aide to Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik was appointed Chairman 5T (Transformational Initiatives) with the rank of a cabinet minister. Recently, Pandian formally joined the Biju Janata Dal (BJD). Speculations were rife that he would throw his hat into the ring as a BJD candidate. However, he stunned all again and announced not to contest polls. He declared, "I have no ambition for any post. I will also not contest from any constituency." Rather, he said he would work towards taking Odisha to the pinnacle of development.
Kishore Jena: Odisha's Javelin Prodigy Made Waves on World Stage
This year saw a remarkable athlete in the heartland of Odisha redefining the trajectory of Indian sports. He is none other than javelin sensation Kishore Jena. Hailing from humble beginnings, Jena's journey is a testament to grit and determination. Kishore Jena, who hails from Puri district, caught the attention of all with his impressive performance in the men's javelin event in his maiden World Championships appearance. Later, the emerging star won silver in the Asian Games 2023 held in Hangzhou in China. The young prodigy's consistent performances have not only brought laurels to his state but have also caught the attention of the global sports community. With a javelin in hand and dreams in his eyes, Kishore Jena is not just an athlete but a symbol of Odisha's sporting prowess, poised to leave an indelible mark on the international stage.
International Recognition for Odia Scientist Jyotirmayee Mohanty
Jyotirmayee Mohanty, a distinguished scientist at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre in Mumbai, has etched her name in history as the first woman in India to receive the prestigious IUPAC 2023 Distinguished Women in Chemistry or Chemical Engineering award. The recognition bestowed upon Mohanty is part of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science celebrations. On February 11, IUPAC revealed the names of 12 exceptional awardees, highlighting the global impact of women chemists and chemical engineers. This annual awards ceremony, initiated in 2011, serves as a powerful platform to acknowledge and promote the significant contributions of women in the field. The news of Jyotirmayee Mohanty's accolade has ignited a wave of happiness in Titira under Balikuda block, her hometown. As the daughter-in-law of the village, Mohanty's achievement resonates deeply with the community, marking a milestone in their collective pride.
Madhusmita Jena: Odisha's Marathon Marvel Conquers Manchester
In an inspiring feat of endurance, Odia woman marathoner Madhusmita Jena left an indelible mark on the streets of Manchester. Running with unwavering determination, Jena showcased not only her athletic prowess but also the spirit of resilience rooted in Odisha. Her journey from the scenic landscapes of the state to the bustling streets of Manchester reflects the universal language of passion and commitment. Madhusmita Jena's stride through the renowned marathon exemplifies the convergence of cultures and the power of individual excellence. As she clocked miles in Manchester, she carried with her the pride of Odisha, leaving spectators in awe of her remarkable achievement.
Tirtol MLA Bijay Shankar Das Grapples with Controversies
Controversy swirls around BJD's Tirtol MLA Bijay Shankar Das throughout the year due to his personal life. Das finds himself at the center of controversies, facing the challenge of navigating through the storm of controversies that threatens to define his political legacy. The lawmaker's alleged relationship with Somalika Das remained a hot topic for discussion after the former skipped his own wedding at the marriage registrar's office. After the lawmaker did not turn up for court marriage, Somalika knocked on the door of the police. A volley of complaints followed with Somalika bringing serious allegations against Das. When the case was sub judice in the court, a fresh controversy erupted when Das submitted an application in the Cuttack marriage registrar's office for registration of marriage with another woman. Soon after the news broke, Somalika filed a counter-petition opposing the marriage. In a recent development, the Cuttack marriage registrar rejected the application of Das for marriage with Pratyusha Nanda.