Odisha shifts health secretary in midst of fight against COVID-19

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government on Wednesday shifted Health and Family Welfare Secretary N B Dhal in the middle of the state’s fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

Dhal, a 1993-batch IAS officer, was transferred and posted as the principal secretary in the energy department, according to a government notification.

Removal of Dhal midway of the war against coronavirus has raised many eyebrows as the state government’s COVID-19 spokesperson Subroto Bagchi in March had highly praised the officer for joining the duty within 24 hours of his father’s death.

Dhal had lost his octogenarian father in the second week of March, when the state had reported just one case of infection.

Though Dhal rushed to his native village in Jajpur district, he returned to the job within some hours and looked after the COVID-19 management, earning praise from all quarters for commitment towards the duty.

Earlier, the state government had given an indication when it appointed Additional Chief Secretary P K Mohapatra in charge of H&FW department last month. Though Dhal continued there.

Sources said Dhal could not properly coordinate with both senior and junior officers engaged in tackling the novel coronavirus crisis.

The coronavirus management needed team efforts, but Dhal could not fit in the system, they added.

Odisha has reported 538 confirmed cases of coronavirus, out of whom three died and 143 have recovered so far.


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