Undue service extensions of Odisha Assembly secretary raise eyebrows

Bhubaneswar: Questions are being raised over the State government’s motive after Odisha Legislative Assembly Speaker Pradip Amat recommended the Governor for service extension of the secretary of the Assembly, Amiya Kumar Sarangi for the fifth time.

The matter came to fore when the Governor raised an objection to the recommendations of the Speaker asking on what basis the extension should be granted to Sarangi. Sources said, the OLA Speaker, in his reply to the Governor stated as the new Assembly will be formed soon, Sarangi has the required experience and his service tenure should be extended from April 1 to September 30.

The tenure of Sarangi has already been extended four times since his superannuation on April 1, 2013 till March 31, 2019.

Opposition hit out at the State government alleging that Sarangi has shielded the government on several occasions for which he is being awarded.

“When the government got into troubles, Amiya Sarangi, who is a knowledgeable person, offered help,” said Congress leader, Tara Prasad Bahinipati.

Toeing on similar lines, BJP leader Pradip Purohit said, “There had been discussions on Amiya Sarangi in the Assembly in the past. All the leaders cutting across party lines have been opposing his service extension. Moreover, when the poll process is on, his service extension is not right. It is a conspiracy of the government to use Sarangi as a shield.”

Responding to these allegations, BJD spokesperson Sasmit Patra said as the model code of conduct is in force the ruling party cannot comment much.

Other eligible staffs of the Assembly have been deprived of promotions due to the service extensions of Sarangi since 2013. Staffs of the Assembly alleged that five posts including joint secretary, deputy secretary and additional secretary have not been filled up and Assembly Recruitment Rules have been tweaked intentionally.

“The government is giving him extensions after amending the Assembly Recruitment Rules. When there are other eligible officers, what is the point of giving the same person extension repeatedly? ” said Ramchandra Mohapatra, retired deputy secretary, Odisha Legislative Assembly.

On the other hand, Sarangi refused to comment on the allegations.