Senior Odisha IAS Officer V K Pandian Granted Voluntary Retirement Amidst Political Speculation

IAS Officer V K Pandian

The Central government has given its approval for the voluntary retirement of V K Pandian, a senior IAS officer from the Odisha cadre who has served as the private secretary to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik since 2011. Pandian, who has held significant influence in Odisha's political landscape, has recently faced criticism for his extensive use of the state helicopter to tour various districts.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) communicated its approval to the Odisha government, waiving the notice period for Pandian's retirement under Rule 16(2A) of All India Services (Death-cum-Retirement benefits) Rules, 1958.

While Pandian has not yet disclosed his future plans, he has been known for his impactful tenure as a district collector in Mayurbhanj and Ganjam, particularly catching the attention of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik with his work in Ganjam. He has remained in the role of the Chief Minister's private secretary since 2011, choosing not to opt for central deputation like his peers.

Pandian's wife, Sujata Karthikeyan, is also an IAS officer and his batchmate, currently serving as the commissioner of the Mission Shakti department. 

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Pandian's rise in the government was propelled by the fall of Naveen Patnaik's former advisor, Pyarimohan Mohapatra, and he played a pivotal role in maintaining the Chief Minister's stronghold over the BJD party.

He is credited with being the mastermind behind various government schemes and initiatives, including the widely recognized '5T initiative' that aimed to reform the administrative apparatus. His influence can also be seen in the significant infrastructure development projects in Odisha, such as the redevelopment of Puri, SCB Medical College in Cuttack, and the renovation of key religious sites across the state.

Interestingly, Pandian, once camera-shy, now travels with his own camera crew and boasts over 1 million followers on Instagram, his sole presence on social media.

Speculation is rife about his next move, with sources suggesting that he might venture into politics. A BJD leader praised Pandian's contributions to Odisha's development and stated that his potential entry into politics would likely be well-received by the people of the state.

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