Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Nov 6:
With incumbent Chief Secretary Gokul Chandra Pati all set to retire this month, the race for the coveted post has intensified in Odisha.
The 1978-batch IAS officer will attain superannuation this November 30. He had taken over as the chief secretary of the state in August last year.
A notificiaiton regarding Pati’s retirement has been published by General Administration (GA) department recently.
Though Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik would take a final call on this, names of senior bureaucrats are doing the rounds in the corridors of power.
If sources are to be believed, at least 10 senior Odisha cadre IAS officers are in the race for the coveted position.
Additional Chief Secretary to Chief Minister Aditya Prasad Padhi, who is considered to be a front- runner, is locked in a tough fight with Development Commissioner Upendra Nath Behera, both in the additional chief secretary rank.
As per a senior official of the state government, Jugal Kishore Mohapatra, who is on Central deputation now, is unlikely to return to Odisha. Two senior IAS officers—Ranglal Jamuda and S Srinivasan—will retire in January 2016. The following month, Jugal Kishore Mohapatra will retire and Anita Agnihotri will retire in October next year.
Though Alka Panda is set to retire in 2017, her name is unlikely to figre in the list of contenders. Senior bureaucrat I Srinivas, presently on Central deputation, is one of the contenders for the top post.
Among the four senior IAS officers in the state, Member, Board of Revenue, Ashok Kumar Tripathy is set to retire in August next year and 1983-batch bureaucrat Taradutt will retire in July the same year.
With panchayat elections in the state due next year, the chief minister is unlikely to make changes in the senior level. Considering this, the names of 1983-batch IAS officers Aditaya Prasad Padhi and Upendra Nath Behera are doing rounds.
Notably, Behera is scheduled to attain superannuation in 2017 whereas Padhi and Srinivas will retire almost 30 months after Behera’s retirement.
Keeping this in view, Padhi and Srinivas pose a tough fight to Behera.
While Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik is known for his uncanny habit of springing surprises, all eyes will be on him on the announcement of the new chief secretary who would replace Pati.