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Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has instructed government officials to refrain from violating code of conduct during interaction with media, a letter regarding the same has been written by Principal Secretary to Government, Sanjeev Chopra, to the additional chief secretaries, principal secretaries, special secretaries, district collectors and other higher officials.

Chopra has reiterated that Odisha Government Conduct Rules, 1959 restricts government servants from indulging in any kind of communication or publication to the effect that bears criticism to the government and compromises the relationship between the State and Centre or any foreign state for that matter, unless specifically authorised.

Disciplinary action will be taken against any government official found flouting the rules.

"The deviation of the Conduct Rules by Government servants may be reviewed from time to time followed by appropriate disciplinary actions to deter deliberate misconduct," the letter reads.

Calling the decision unfortunate, BJP's Odisha in-charge Arun Singh said, "Such restrictions are put to prevent officials from giving true facts. It is unfortunate and should not happen; government officials must speak to media on important aspects."

"This is definitely an attempt by the Odisha government to hide its weakness. If officials are regulated it will not be a good sign for the State," alleged senior journalist Prasanna Mohanty.

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