Odisha News Insight

Bijay Patnaik joins Vedanta, Govt-Industry Nexus Proved

B. K. Patnaik joins Vedanta Group’s University as PresidentThe nexus between bureaucracy, politicians and industry, was being alleged for long in Odisha. The role of senior bureaucrats has been under the scanner when it comes to mega projects . It’s now proved beyond doubt, as former Odisha Chief Secretary Bijay Kumar Patnaik joined the Vedanta Group as the President of Vedanta University Project.

Bijay Patnaik was serving as a Member of Odisha Human Rights Commission (OHRC). But, he quit the post a few days ago to accept the lucrative offer he received from Vedanta. He will lead the Company’s University-cum-Smart City initiative as part of Anil Agarwal Foundation.

The latest development has set a bad precedent and exposed the bureaucracy further to the corporate money and offers.

Bijay Kumar Patnaik was the Chief Secretary when Lord Jagannath’s Amrutamanohi land to Vedanta Group for the purpose of university. He had denied any role in that, but now facts have been established.

Then Odisha Lokpal Justice PK Patra, in 2010, had recommended a probe against BK Patnaik over his role in the land acquisition process for Vedanta University, but the state government did not act on the Lokpal’s report.

Bijay Patnaik served as the Principal Secretary to CM Naveen Patnaik from 2004 till 2010. He then became the Chief Secretary. He pushed for the Vedanta Project from 2006 till 2010. The Orissa HC had termed the land acquisition process as invalid, but the decision was stayed by Supreme Court. The matter is sub-judice.

The Vedanta University was supposed to spread over 6,892 acres on Puri-Konark marine drive land. Vedanta had acquired 4,500 acres of those land. The Odisha Government had even passed the Vedanta University Bill in 2009 to facilitate the project, but it failed to get the Presidential assent.

BK Patnaik, who also served as the Principal Secretary to CM Naveen Patnaik, had retired as the Chief Secretary and then joined as the Chairman of Odisha Staff Selection Commission and subsequently appointed as Member, Odisha Human Rights Commission in July, 2014.

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