Race hots up for next Chief Secy

Bhubaneswar: With a notification was issued by the General Administration department (GA) regarding retirement of current Chief Secretary of Odisha Gokual Chandra Pati on November 30, buzz on who will be the next Chief Secretary has gained momentum.

In the race for the top bureaucrat post of the State, names of Chief Minister’s Additional Chief Secretary Aditya Prasad Padhi, Development Commissioner Upendra Nath Behera, KBK chief and member of Board of Revenue Ashok Kumar Tripathy and senior IAS officer I. Srinivas, who is on Central deputation, are doing rounds in the power corridor.

However, among those four, Aditya Prasad Padhi and Upendra Nath Behera are being touted as favourites for the Chief Secretary post.

Development Commissioner Upendra Nath Behera, who has been playing very important roles in the State administrative system for the past two years, is retiring in 2017. He had handled major responsibilities with Forest and Environment, Home, Finance and General Administration departments.

He had also played a vital role in the safe release of two abducted Italian tourists and the then Malkangiri collector Vineel Krishna from the captivity of Maoists.

Meanwhile, Aditya Padhi is having remaining term of four years.

As per the seniority list of officers of the GA department, Ashok Tripathy is ranked at the eighth position whereas Aditya Padhi is placed at the 10th position. I. Srinivas and Upendra Nath Behera are ranked at 12th and 14th positions, respectively.

Former chief secretary Sahadeb Sahu opined the main criteria for the top bureaucrat post is for the person who is preferred the most by the chief minister.

Echoing the similar views, another former chief secretary Sudhansu Bhusan Mishra said, “Selection for the Chief Secretary post is done from the officers who are drawing salary at the Chief Secretary grade. The officer gets the job who is chosen by the Chief Minister.”