Acharya gets finance, Himirika untouched in Odisha expansion

Bhubaneswar: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday revamped his three-year-old BJD ministry by reshuffling portfolios of all ministers except one while effecting a ministerial expansion.

Retaining key portfolios such as Home, General Administration, Works and Water Resources, Patnaik elevated Prasanna Acharya by giving him the Finance portfolio, earlier held by Prafulla Ghadai. Apart from Finance, Acharya was given Public Enterprise, also held by Ghadai.

Ghadai, the Sukinda senior MLA who had presented nine annual budgets in a row, was dropped from the ministry in a surprise move.

ST & SC Development, Minorities and Backward Class minister Lal Behari Himirika was the only minister whose portfolio remained unchanged in the entire exercise.

Three other senior leaders – Revenue and Disaster Management minister S N Patro, Higher Education minister Badrinarayan Patra and Rural Development minister Bikram Arukh – were partially hit in the exercise. Patro was divested of his additional charge of Information and Public Relations, Arukh of Law and Patra of Sports and Youth Affairs.

Damodar Rout, who was dropped in May 2011 as Agriculture minister, has got Health and Family Welfare department. Rout was also given additional charge of the newly created Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises department.

Forest and Environment minister Debi Prasad Mishra was shunted to Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Resources Development department, while Panchayati Raj went to Kalpataru Das, who took oath as a cabinet minister earlier in the day.

Maheswar Mohanty was shifted from the Panchayati Raj department to Tourism and Culture, Planning and Coordination.

Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare minister Niranjan Pujari was made new Industries minister in addition to holding the Excise portfolio.

Bijayshree Routray, who took oath as a cabinet minister, was given Forest and Environment, Labour and Employees State Insurance.

Raghunath Mohanty was moved to Housing and Urban Development along with Law and Information Technology departments. Mohanty earlier held key departments such as Steel and Mines, Industries and Parliamentary Affairs.

Textile and Handloom, Science and Technology minister Usha Devi was shifted to the more important Women and Child Development department, earlier held by Anjali Behera before she was dropped from the ministry in June.

Arun Kumar Sahu, a first time minister who was earlier deputy chief whip of the ruling BJD in the assembly, has been entrusted with the crucial Energy department along with Patro`s Information and Public Relations department.

Pratap Keshari Deb was given Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare, Employment & Technical Education & Training, while another new minister of state Rajanikant Singh has been given charge of Steel and Mines.

Former minister Rabi Narayan Nanda, who was earlier dropped from the ministry during Patnaik`s previous tenure, returned to the ministry and was given charge of School and Mass Education department.

Sarojini Hembram, a tribal and a woman, got Textile, Handloom and Handicrafts, while another new entrant in the ministry Subrat Tarai was given the Commerce and Transport department.