Bhubaneswar: Irregular meetings of 27 statutory committees which are headed Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has drawn opposition ire.

As per the allegations, corruption is rampant in the departments where the Chief Minister is the chairman of statutory committees.

Data presented by Planning and Coordination Minister, Usha Devi in the Assembly revealed that Odisha Skill Development Mission, State Science and Technology Council, high-level clearance authority of Tourism department, State Wildlife Board and Sagarmala Committee have not sat for a meeting for long time. Besides, the last meeting of the general council of the Odia Bhasa Pratisthan was held in 2007. Curiously, the CM chairs these committees.

BJP alleged that as the meetings have not been held for a long period, maximum number of corruption cases are reported in those concerned departments.

“Though he (Naveen) is aware of all the matters, he is not calling for statutory meetings. Same can be observed with statutory committees of OPEPA and tribal council. The maximum corruption is in those departments where the CM is the committee chairman,” stated Golak Mohapatra, BJP spokesperson.

PCC vice president Arya Gyanendra said, “It is an autocratic government in the State. As the ruling party has 117 MLAs, they believe no one can question them.”

Refuting the charges, BJD said the allegations are baseless.

“If the CM could not attend the statutory committee meetings due to his busy schedule, other officers usually attend the meetings and minutes are sent to him. If anybody makes this thing an issue, it is not appropriate,” said Pratap Deb, BJD spokesperson.

A few days back, senior legislator Damodar Rout had alleged “When OPEPA accounts officer is involved in Rs 6-crore scam, how come he (Chief Minister) does not know despite being the chairman of the committee. Besides, he is chairman of other committees including the one on Ratna Bhandar where corruption is rampant.”