Odisha: Secretariat, ministerial corridor wears a deserted look

Bhubaneswar: With less than a month left for Assembly elections in Odisha, the usual buzz is missing at State Secretariat leaving the ‘Power Corridor’ wearing a deserted a look.

‘Third Floor’, the Chief Minister’s Office at the Secretariat too attracts no eyeballs as CM Naveen Patnaik has stopped coming to office since the announcement of election schedule for the State.

Patnaik, the President of the State’s ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD), spending most of the time in his residence (Naveen Niwas) meeting party colleagues, his supporters and attending meetings in order to make his party poll ready.

Likewise, the ministers’ chambers in the Secretariat, which often a buzzing place throughout the year, have become unpeopled as the ministers are busy in meeting people and brainstorming over the selection of candidates for the polls.

Ministers and secretaries are not able to take new policy decisions due to the model code of conduct for the ensuing polls.

Without ministers, the regular crowd at the Secretariat has also decreased.

Except routine work related to the establishments and clearance of the pending files, the Secretariat staff did not have much work on formulating new schemes.

With their bosses not present, the subordinate staff are now having a good time these days. “Now, we have got a two month-long vacation as the usual work will begin again from the first week of June,” said an employee from a minister’s office.

“Our summer vacation will be passed off smoothly,” he added, requesting anonymity.

But at the same time, a section of people are not happy with the current situation at the State Secretariat. Grade IV staff, who used to make extra bucks by facilitating meetings for some people with ministers, are missing the privilege these days.

“I don’t know to which minister I will be attached to in the new government,” said a fourth grade staff of a minister with a plump portfolio.

With the announcement of poll schedule, no one visits ministers’ office chambers, and therefore, the number of applicants seeking secretariat entry passes declined, confided an employee sitting at the reception counter.

Worth mentioning here that Odisha will witness Lok Sabha and Assembly elections simultaneously in four phases — April 11, 18, 23 and 29.

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