For a state to develop and progress, it needs the dedication of the officers running it. If Odisha has lagged behind others, one of the main reasons is the lack of dedication among top officers, especially those who hail from outside the state. It is time Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik pay attention to this aspect and ensure that Odisha really marches ahead on the road to progress.

Administrative officials posted in a state are supposed to look after the welfare of that state. They are expected to take the state forward by executing the policies framed by the political executive. But non-Odia IAS officers posted in Odisha appear to be least bothered about state’s weal if one analyses the performance of their departments. They, in fact, appear to be behaving in a rather self-centric manner.

Principal Secretary, industries, Sanjiv Chopra, who also holds additional charge of chairman, OMC, CMD IPICOL on the face of it, seems to have done nothing significant to show that he has been trying to put the state on the fast track as far as industrialisation is concerned. In fact, ever since he has taken charge of the department, the only major activity has been organising investor conclaves which, though, have failed to produce desirable results. The hype surrounding the Make In Odisha conclave notwithstanding most of the promised projects are yet be grounded.As the chairman of OMC, too, he has failed to do anything significant that proves his credentials as an able administrator. Even OMC’s managing director, R Vineel Krishna, who is also the Chief Executive Officer, Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited, the special purpose vehicle executing the smart city project, has done anything worthwhile in the mining corporation which had performed much better earlier under Odia officers.

Another non-Odia officer, RK Sharma, Principal Secretary, steel and mines, also needs to pull up his socks. The department, one of the most important of the state government, is yet to do anything commendable under his stewardship. This, many feel, is largely due to his lack of concern for the state.

There are more such examples, one of these being that of Sanjay Kumar Singh, commissioner-cum-secretary, skill development and technical education. He also has the additional charge of IDCO; the organisation of which he happens to be chairman-cum-managing director.  In his case, too, there seems to be no special effort to ensure the progress of these departments and agencies in the larger interest of the state.  Had he been a little more pro-active, the results would have been much different but things continue in the same vein.

One should have a glance at the condition of tourism in the state to know that director, tourism, Nitin Bhanudas Jawale, an officer who hails from Maharashtra, had done precious little so far for the development of this sector in the state; though Odisha has tremendous potential for tourism development. The sector continues to suffer due to gross neglect and the failure of the state government to develop proper infrastructure for stay of tourists at most of the sites. Quite a few of these also remain to be beautified.

Sources attributed the phenomenon to lack of understanding of Odisha’s art, culture, economy and needs among officers coming from outside. Most of them appear not to have even made a conscious effort to understand the state, let alone think of strategies to develop it. “That being so you cannot expect to develop the state with their help. They seem to be least bothered about the welfare of the state which would do much better under the stewardship of Odia officers,” said an observer.

Some feel that Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik’s intervention might be required in this regard and that he should be more careful in posting officers in key positions. “After all it is the question of state’s development. If they don’t rise to the occasion then no amount of effort would compensate for them. The Chief Minister must choose his men carefully,” said an independent observer of state affairs. March 16-31, 2017