Union Ministers’ chopper approval row: Revenue employees protest suspension

Koraput: Suspensions handed over the officials in connection with the delay in giving landing approval to Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan’s chopper’s landing in Borigumma on February 13 during Panchayat poll campaigning has pitted the revenue employes against the district administration.

Protesting arbitrary action, the clerks under the aegis of the Rajaswa Amala Sangh, have been on a cease-work stir since last five days. The Association has threatened state-wide agitation if the administration fails to lift suspension order with immediate effect.

Notably, after confusions pertaining to granting landing approval to Dharmendra Pradhan’s helicopter during poll campaigning in Borigumma, a clerk working in the district collectors office was placed under suspension. Besides, one ADM and an assistant collector were relieved of their duties following the incident.

Protesting the clerk’s suspension, the Revenue Employees Association has been on a cease work strike since February 23. In the meanwhile, the district administration had also suspended 10 employees and transferred the president and secretary of the Association on the pretext of dereliction of duty.

“I don’t know on what basis action was taken against me. I am a dealing assistant and my job is to put up files and follow the orders of our officers,” said Krushna Chandra Pradhan who was suspended after the controversy cropped up.

“All the highly-placed officials didn’t discharge their duties properly, however, the clerks have been made the scapegoats. In a bid to cover up the faults of the higher officials, the clerks are being victimised. If they don’t withdraw the suspension orders immediately, we will launch a state-wide stir,” said president of the Rajaswa Amala Sangh, Tirupati Balaji Sahu.

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The opposition political parties have strongly condemned the action of the district administration. While the State BJP which has raised its fingers at the bureaucrats, senior Congress leader and Opposition chief whip Tara Prasad Bahinipati has also termed the incident as grossly unfortunate.

“The district collector has been acting like Hitler. He is carrying out the decisions being taken from the secretariat. The manner in which the state government has politicised this incident is utterly condemnable,” said BJP leader Bhrigu Bauxipatra.

“This is a very unfortunate incident. I urge the state government to intervene in the matter. Besides, the district administration should convene a meeting with the revenue employees and find a solution immediately,” said Bahinipati.

Responding to the allegations, the spokesperson of the ruling BJD, Rabi Narayan Nanda, said “Such unrest is definitely unfortunate. I would request the parties to resolve any disputes at the earliest possible,” he added.

However, in a sudden turn of events later during the day, the Koraput collector reportedly withdrew suspension orders of all the 11 clerks but transferred them to various other block offices.