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IAS officer transferred for spending ₹70 lakh to repair official residence

Rashmita Panda, IAS

Rashmita Panda, IAS   | Photo Credit: Website of Sundargarh District Administration

Rashmita Panda accused of deliberately bypassing tender process

The Odisha government has transferred Rashmita Panda, District Collector of Sundargarh, who was accused of splurging ₹70 lakh on the renovation of her official residential quarters within a period of six months.

Ms. Panda has now been appointed as Director of Employment-cum-Chief Executive Officer of the Odisha Skill Development Authority.

According to information obtained by RTI activists, the 2010 batch Indian Administrative Service officer, as the then Vice-Chairperson of the Rourkela Development Authority, Commissioner of the Rourkela Municipal Corporation and CEO of the Rourkela Smart City Authority had her official quarters renovated by spending ₹68.57 lakh.

No tender

No tender was called for renovation of her quarters in Rourkela, and the project cost of each head of expenditure was deliberately kept below ₹5 lakh to avoid the tender process, alleged Pradip Pradhan, convenor of the Odisha Soochana Adhikar Abhijan, a forum of Right to Information activists.

According to the expenditure details available, ₹4.04 lakh was estimated for fixing mosquito nets; plastic emulsion painting work was valued at ₹4.45 lakh; external and internal electrification of the quarters was estimated at close to ₹10 lakh; and construction of drains and a portico was estimated at ₹4.44 lakh.

Works such as construction of a guard room, raising the height of the boundary wall, construction of an additional dining room, and fixing of aluminium sliding windows were estimated at a little above ₹4 lakh each. After the issue attracted media attention, the government shifted her to the Employment Directorate.

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Printable version | Feb 23, 2020 6:24:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/ias-officer-transferred-for-spending-70-lakh-to-repair-official-residence/article28235916.ece

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