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Patnaik Puts BJP, Congress Leaders On The Backfoot, Justifies Extensive Use Of Helicopter By His Private Secretary

After listening to various charges levelled against his private secretary for months, the Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik finally decided to give it back to the state BJP and Congress leaders during the monsoon session. The Opposition leaders have constantly been raising the issue of how come an IAS officer VK Pandian is using the state machinery – helicopter — to travel across the state to meet the general public and understand their grievances. This should be done by BJD’s elected leaders, they said. Patnaik, who generally maintains a low profile, finally spoke his mind in the House stating that Pandian was going across the state meeting people door-to-door as he headed the CM’s Grievance Cell. He said as per his direction, during the last six months officers from the CMO visited all the districts covering over 190 locations and in the process collected 57,442 petitions. Of this, 43,536 petitions have been resolved or disposed of. Naveen clarified “this is one of the biggest and most effective peoples’ grievances redressal exercise undertaken by any government in the country thereby justifying extensive use of helicopter service by Pandian and his men. It would have taken one and half years to do the same exercise by road. The Odisha chief minister further clarified that his government was paying the usual market rate Rs 1-1.5 crore a month for hiring helicopters.