Bhubaneswar, September 25: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Monday termed the ongoing opposition to the district visits by Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) officers to solve people’s grievances as ‘anti-people’.
Making a Statement in the State Assembly, the Chief Minister said, “Opposition members should be happy that so many grievances in their areas have also been resolved. I do not understand how someone can oppose the solving of people’s grievances. Such opposition is anti-people and people will give them a befitting reply for such an attitude. After all, we are in public service and peoples’ grievances are our topmost priority.”
“My Government has always given top priority to peoples’ grievance redressal. Before Covid happened the CMO used to hold grievance hearing in Bhubaneswar. People from all over the state used to come and submit their grievances and there was a robust system to solve them. It gave hope to the people to reach out to the highest office of the State,” said the Chief Minister.
When Covid happened the CM grievance cell was closed due to restrictions for almost two years. It was restarted after normalcy returned. However, post Covid we noticed that the average number of grievances and people coming to the grievance cell had come down, he said.
Two years of Covid disruption caused dislocation in grievance redressal and I thought of reaching out to the people, by taking the CM Grievance Cell to the door steps of the people to cover all blocks and urban local bodies of the state in the shortest period possible, CM Patnaik added.
Patnaik said, “CM Grievance Cell is handled by the CMO and as per my directions officers from the CMO conducted decentralised grievances cell in all the districts of the State.”
“This mammoth exercise was carried out in more than 190 locations over a period of six months. Every day three to five venues were covered and in the process 57442 petitions were collected from the people, and as on date 43,536 petitions have been resolved or disposed off. The entire exercise is transparent and technology driven. All the petitions and the action taken reports and the stage of disposal are available in the janasunani portal,” added the Chief Minister.
Legacy issues have been resolved in follow up meetings and within the next two to three months most of these historic issues pending for years together will be resolved, said Patnaik added that petitioners are given written replies and phone calls are made on feedback through Mo Sarkar. I would say with all conviction that this is one of the biggest and most effective peoples’ grievance redressal exercises carried out by any Government in the country.
“All of you may remember that during Covid, I had sent the same team along with senior officers to monitor covid management. When others were inside their homes, the CMO team with other senior officers risking their lives was visiting district after district getting feedback and monitoring covid situation. This helped us take quick decisions and save precious lives in our state and also help other states,” added the CM.
Patnaik said, “Now, coming to your political criticism of this whole exercise. CM Grievance Cell is always handled by CMO and Hon’ble Ministers are not required to attend the same in Bhubaneswar. Once petitions are received, they are sent to concerned departments. Where is the issue of Honourable ministers versus officers in this?.”
“Hon’ble Ministers have played a major role as head of the departments in resolving the petitions. It’s teamwork at the highest level and is professionally done in a democratic set up. The aim is to resolve people’s grievances in the best possible manner,” said Patnaik.
“If all these 57,000 petitioners (most are community petitions) had to come to Bhubaneswar to attend CM Grievance Cell, how much money would they have had to spend in travel and stay, how much wage loss would they have had? All this has been saved by the CM Grievance Cell travelling to the doorsteps of people,” asked the Chief Minister.
As regards chopper use, I would like to clarify that it would have taken one and half years to do the same exercise by Road vis a vis by chopper. Every day conducting three to five meetings in different locations is humanly impossible within a window of 10 am to 3 pm which is convenient to people, further said Chief Minister.
“In the last three and half years we have spent about Rs 40 crore on choppers. On an average Rs 1 to 1.5 crore is spent on choppers every month. In the past six months when choppers were used intensively to reach out to the people, the average expenditure was the same around Rs 1 to 1.5 crore per month. It’s completely false and misleading to say that excess expenditure has been made,” added CM Patnaik.
“CM grievance cell has been conducted in all the constituencies in a very professional manner. This exercise was also used to explain to people about the schemes of the state Government, the ongoing projects in their areas and the funds sanctioned for the same. It was my specific instruction to give timelines for resolving grievances,” said Patnaik.
Patnaik appreciated Ministers, the district administration, the CMO, the departments and all others involved in carrying out this mammoth exercise so professionally.