‘Nabakalebara was a big challenge for me’

Bhubaneswar: Senior IAS officer Gokul Chandra Pati, who retired from his service as chief secretary of Odisha on Monday, said the Nabakalebara festival was his biggest challenge during his tenure.

“During my 16 month tenure as chief secretary, Nabakalebara festival was the biggest challenge for me. There were a number of projects earmarked for this mega festival of which some were completed before time while work of others were not completed. But these pending works were completed due to proper inter-departmental coordination”, Pati told newsmen at the State Secretariat here.

Praising chief minister Naveen Patnaik, the 1978 batch IAS, who had taken charge as the 41st chief secretary of Odisha on August 1, 2014, said the chief minister used to keep track of the ongoing project works and direct the departments at regular intervals to ensure timely completion of the project work.

“It was due to his constant monitoring and timely reminders, the project works were completed in time and the Nabakalebara Rath Yatra also concluded peacefully,” he pointed out.

Pati further said the other challenge he had was revival and reopening of industries and infrastructure projects which were closed down due to local disputes.

“While work in some projects and infrastructure like the Tata Steel at Kalinganagar and IOCL at Paradip has already started, there are problems in the remaining projects which needs to be resolved. I hope the work would continue in future and efforts should be made for successful implementation of various ongoing projects,” he added.

Congratulating his successor Aditya Prasad Padhi, Pati hoped that the new chief secretary would carry forward the unfinished work as per the directive of the chief minister.

Asked about the performance of the state administration, the former chief secretary said the state administration has a number of capable officers and employees.

“If proper administrative leadership is given on behalf of the chief secretary and secretaries, there would be better and quality administration”, he said.

But he said those having administrative ability should know the details of the work so that the people would be benefited by the various ongoing schemes of the state government.

Talking about Centre-State relationships, he said there is no such problem of the state with the Centre. “There is always difference of opinion. The need of the hour is to arrive at an amicable solution through mutual discussion,” he pointed out.

To a question on whether he would accept any offer from the state government after his retirement, he said it is the discretion of the state government to seek his service after his retirement.

To another question as to how he would spend his post-retirement life, Pati said he will live as a common man.

“All are not officers and government employees. I will spend the rest of my life as a common citizen,” he said and thanked all the staff for cooperating him in his work during his tenure.