Political Times

Humble but a Tough Minister : Captain Dibya Shankar Mishra

Soon after the oath taking ceremony, Mishra realised his plate is full.  He has won enormous trust of his leader who has saddled him with two most crucial ministries- that of industries and energy, at a time when Odisha is at the cross roads of reforms and development. Mishra has already exhibited early signs of vindicating the trust by calling an immediate meeting to appraise the status of the state’s power infrastructure after its coast was pummelled by Fani, a cataclysmic storm. Energy secretary Hemant Sharma apprised the minister on the colossal rebuilding efforts and how around 10,000 electricity connections are restored every day. The Minister also took stock of the budget requirement for Fani restoration works and asked officials to put up a proposal of the expenses, along with other ongoing schemes in the coming budget session. He also reviewed the total power availability of the state and gave suggestion to increase non-conventional sources like solar and bio-mass in Odisha.

The lone minister from the state’s abysmally backward Kalahandi zone which had stormed into national news for gnawing poverty and chronic starvation also took a quick review of the industries department. The concerned secretary Sanjeev Chopra ran the minister through a few slides, detailing the reforms initiated and the outcomes achieves at all levels. Chopra also briefed the minister on various initiatives undertaken by the department to facilitate industries including introduction of ease of doing business measures, creation of industrial infrastructure, skilling interventions and investment promotion activities. Additionally, the minister also reviewed the priorities and plans of the department over the next five years. He mentioned that the new industrial policy will focus on creating new job opportunities for the people of the state and the department should focus on creating best-in-class infrastructure facilities to attract higher investments in the identified focus sectors.

A former pilot with the Indian Air Force who served in the state of Chhattisgarh for 13 years, Mishra now faces an arduous task of handling ministries and simultaneously, working for exalting his economically impaired Junagadh region. Having clocked over 5,000 hours of flying time, Mishra is now far removed from the cockpit – on ground, but certainly not grounded. So why, did he relinquish a cosy job and jump into the detestable world of politics? “My roots are here in Kalahandi,” he says, adding that his father, an ex-army man now into farming, taught him how to be devoted to the region where his family comes from.

According to Mishra, politicians have drained the region for their own benefits – once an area possessing the riches, Kalahandi is now known for its backwardness. Local politicians haven’t done enough to develop the region and it is time the youth comes forward to regain the lost glory of Kalahandi, says the ex-pilot, now metamorphosed into a full-time politician. Hope his Midas touch and his new incarnate as the Minister of consequence turns the tide for Kalahandi.

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