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Pulling All Stops

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Sangram Keshari Mohapatra, Collector, Jagatsinghpur

As a bureaucrat of rare caliber, Sangram Keshari Mohapatra(Pulling All Stops) recently drew effusive applause from all and sundry for his adept handling of the public hearing done in connection with a mega steel mill proposed by JSW Steel.

Sample this- people evicted and shorn of their livelihoods by the Posco project were feeling indignant after the South Korean multinational mothballed the project and offered to cede the land.

Later, Sajjan Jindal controlled JSW Group evinced interest to install a steel mill of 13 million tonne capacity at the Posco site along with attendant infrastructure. But Posco walking out of the ambitious $12 billion FDI project had dashed the hopes of the affected people.

Besides, it had created a huge trust deficit between the aggrieved people and the local district administration. To amplify the people’s anguish, activists with vested interests were camping in and around the project site, sparing no effort to fan negative sentiments.

So, of late, when JSW Steel braced up for public hearing, the mood was putatively against the company. The atmosphere was surcharged with tension writ large on the faces of stakeholders. Uncertainty pervaded the air on the future of the JSW projects.

But the state government or the project proponent were not luckless in their expedition. They had an incomparable officer in Sangram Keshari Mohapatra(Pulling All Stops) who stoically faced the heat and ensured a smooth public hearing.

It was gratifying to note during the course of the public hearing how people endorsed the collector’s assurances and let things pass off without a whimper. Around 10,000 people from the nearby villages congregated for the public hearing at Gadakujang.

More than 300 people voiced their opinions on the impact of the project. The peaceful ambiance at the public hearing was possible largely owing to the initiative wrested by Mohapatra. He gave people space for both consent and dissent. Like any ideal officer, he shunned even a shred of bias.

“The public hearing was absolutely peaceful and many people were allowed to give their opinion on the proposed project. The district administration is aware about the people’s grievances and steps will be taken to protect interest of the locals”, Mohapatra said.

The success of the public hearing will have far-reaching repercussions on the local economy. Apart from large scale employment, the mega steel project is bound to have a  multiplier effect on the entire ecosystem. Only an administrator of a rare breed like Mohapatra(Pulling All Stops) endowed with a futuristic vision could map out and ensure a secure future for the people.

But for all his adroit administrative skills, Mohapatra(Pulling All Stops) has never been the staid bureaucrat. His creative imaginings have found abundant manifestation in his wide body of literary works. His literary achievements have been a confluence of both fiction and non-fiction, the latest being ‘Sundargarh Diary’.

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