BHUBANESWAR: CHIEF Minister Naveen Patnaik on Saturday effected a minor reshuffle in the portfolios of five ministers. He also relinquished the works and water resources portfolios held by him since long and distributed those among the ministers. Both the water resources and works portfolios were with the Chief Minister since 2004.
The changes in the portfolios come days after the BJD’s resounding victory in the bypoll to Bijepur Assembly constituency. The Ministers, who played a key role in the party’s win in the by-election, seem to have been rewarded while two from coastal Odisha have been given charge of additional portfolios. Housing and Urban Development Minister Niranjan Pujari has been given charge of Water Resources which the Chief Minister held for a major period in the last 18 years. However, Industries Department has been taken away from him. Steel and Mines Minister Prafulla Mallik, who was the BJD’s Bargarh district observer in which Bijepur Assembly constituency falls, has been rewarded with the Works portfolio. Minister of State for Labour and Employment Sushanta Singh, who was in the news recently during the Bijepur by-poll, has been given prestigious portfolio of Energy, earlier held by Mallik.
Besides, Minister for Health, Family Welfare and Law Pratap Jena has been given additional charge of Information and Public Relations. Besides, higher education minister Anant Das has been given charge of Industries portfolio. Rural Development Minister Bikram Arukha was earlier holding the information and public relations portfolio. With the reshuffle, the Chief Minister will now hold home, general administration and public grievances portfolios.
In a twitter post, the Chief Minister congratulated the ministers on their new portfolios and responsibilities. “I am sure they will discharge their responsibilities ably and enhance administration with their verve and leadership to serve the people by ensuring fast-paced development,” he said. Thanking the Chief Minister, Mallik said he is committed to work for the people of Odisha. Health Minister Jena also thanked the Chief Minister. Pujari said he will deliver his duty with sincerity.