Bhubaneswar: Odisha Chief Secretary Suresh Chandra Mohapatra has been granted a second extension in service for six more months, officials said Wednesday.
Mohapatra’s extension was granted by the Centre at the recommendation of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, they said.
The communication was sent to the Odisha government by Kuldeep Chaudhury, undersecretary in the ministry of personnel public grievances and pension through a letter on August 23, 2022.
Mohapatra, whose first extension is to end on August 31, 2022, will now remain in office till February 28, 2023, the officials said.
The extension of his service indicated that the state government is not keen on any of the seven Odisha cadre officers in the rank of the additional chief secretary rank, barring P K Jena, the special relief commissioner and Rajesh Verma, who was appointed as secretary to President Droupadi Murmu.
Mohapatra was earlier tipped to become the new chairperson of Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission, a post lying vacant since January 16, 2022.
He had got his first extension due to the announcement of the panchayat poll by the state government in February. He had succeeded Asit Tripathy as the Chief Secretary on January 1, 2021.
He is not the lone IAS officer to get extension of service as the chief secretary of Odisha. R N Das was the last chief secretary who had got three extensions of six months each during the tenure of Biju Patnaik between 1990 and 1995.
Mohapatra, who hails from Keonjhar district, is known for his deft handling of the caste riot in Kandhamal district during the chief ministership of Biju Patnaik. When communal riots took place in the tribal district in 2007 and 2008 Naveen Patnaik rushed him to it to control the situation.
He also handled the Nabakalebar festival of Lord Jagananth in 1996 during his stint as a collector of Puri. He was appointed the chief administrator of Shree Jagannath Temple Administration in 2015 for the second time during another edition of the festival.