BHUBANESWAR: Odisha will have a new Chief Secretary beginning 2021 with the State government on Friday appointing Development Commissioner Suresh Chandra Mohapatra to the post. Mohapatra will succeed Asit Kumar Tripathy who is set to retire on December 31. The 1986 batch IAS officer will also hold the post of Chief Development Commissioner. Outgoing Chief Secretary Tripathy has been posted as Chairperson of the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC), the Chief Minister’s Office said.
Mohapatra joined IAS in 1986 and had his first Collector posting in Bhadrak in 1993 after the district was hit by communal riots. His deft handling of the communal tension and the post-riot situation there saw him shifted to Kandhamal which also faced serious communal riots the same year.
When the district was again torn by riots following the assassination of Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in 2008, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik rushed him there to help the district administration tackle the situation effectively. Mohapatra has also overseen two Nabakalebar festivals of Lord Jagannath in Puri, first as Collector in 1996 and then as the chief administrator of the Shree Jagannath Temple Administration in 2015. During his stint as Puri Collector, he had undertaken wide-ranging development works including encroachment around Meghnad Pacheri.
Mohapatra also worked as Managing Director of Omfed for about six years. He was also entrusted with responsibility of Chief Executive Officer (CEO) CESU after the power company AES left suddenly. He had stints as secretary of different departments including Energy, Water Resources and Forest.
On the other hand, Tripathy will be the first bureaucrat to hold the crucial post of WODC chairperson. He will also be the Principal Advisor to the Chief Minister on Regional Development, Tourism, Agribusiness and Industry.
The government has, meanwhile, appointed Additional Chief Secretary, Rural Development and Special Relief Commissioner, Pradeep Kumar Jena, a 1989 batch IAS officer, as the new Development Commissioner in place of Mohapatra.