‘Good books, good post’: To what extent Odisha bureaucrats enjoy govt patronage

Bhubaneswar: It seems that efficiency is not the sole benchmark for Odisha government while allotting departments to several IAS officers, rather some handpicked ones are now being given noticeable preference.

Be it Hemant Sharma, Vishal Dev, G. Mathi Vathanan, Ashok Meena or Krishan Kumar – these officers have been conspicuously bestowed with two or more departments.

There are several instances of some trusted officers holding concurrent charge while many other bureaucrats are pinned to single departments.

Many believe that such discrepancies and favouritism towards certain bureaucrats are directly linked to the ‘Third Floor’ which controls the entire functions and decisions of the State government.

The officers who are either close to the power corridor (third floor) or those indirectly favour the ruling party and the State government are given preference and are in the good books.

Experts believe that such politician-bureaucrat nexus might prove disastrous as favouritism and partiality in selecting IAS officers and allotment of departments has led to discontent among several senior bureaucrats.

Meanwhile, Opposition parties have targeted the Odisha government for such favouritism in government functioning.

“It appears that there are some IAS officers who without going by the rule book do whatever is being instructed by the government. Such officers who are blued eyed boys enjoy several privileges,” said Odisha Congress chief Niranjan Patnaik.

BJP’s Samir Mohanty stated “The government here is run by bureaucrats and officers through whom they can collect party funds have been given multiple charges.”

Finance Minister Sashi Bhusan Behera, however, refuted such allegations and said “As such allegations have no relevance; I do not want to comment on it.”

Speculations are rife that the functioning of the administration is getting affected due to such partiality by the Odisha government in distribution of responsibilities among IAS officers.

Apart from this, many believe that the officers are either getting over burdened or unnecessarily pressurized for which the workflow is getting affected.

“Certainly the efficiency of officers will be affected if they are burdened with work of multiple departments. But such arrangements should not continue for long,” said retired bureaucrat, RN Das.