The Telegraph
Saturday , March 26 , 2011
Since 1st March, 1999
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‘My relation with Jena is very good’

Whenever you have occupied a prime post, you have been able to attract the attention of the media and public. What is the mantra behind that?

It is the blessings of people and God. I have always tried to do my best for the people with absolute commitment. I put in a lot of sincerity, commitment and hardwork in whatever I do.

You have been nicknamed “Madam Angry”. Why is that?

I am angry for only those who don’t work. Whichever department I have handled, I have enjoyed tremendous affection from my colleagues. But I cannot tolerate a person who does not do justice to his/her job and does not fulfil the government’s expectation.

More than 4,000 students have been caught cheating in the matriculation exams so far. Even teachers and centre superintendents have been found guilty of encouraging malpractice. What is being done to improve the scenario?

A lot remains to be done. I am confident that if we work as a team and implement the policies honestly and diligently, things would definitely improve. The monitoring system has been made very stringent this time; so many students have been caught. We are also taking action against teachers and centre superintendents.

Last academic session, there was a huge delay in supplying textbooks to school students. Can you ensure that they would get their books on time this year?

They would get their textbooks before this academic session begins.

There are rumours that you do not get along well with school and mass education minister Pratap Jena? Are these rumours true?

It is absolutely fabricated and baseless. People love to say a lot of things and we do not have any control over what they say or think.

There have been allegations that you made policy decisions and announced schemes without consulting the minister. How would you respond to that?

There is no truth in these allegations.

But on several occasions, Jena told mediapersons that he was not aware of the policies and schemes announced by you.

Honestly, I cannot comment on somebody’s opinion. I am a rule-bound officer and have always adopted official procedures while working.

How would you define your relations with Jena at the moment?

My relation with Jena is very good. I would say it’s the way it should be between a secretary and a minister.

You have ordered government and private schools to ban screening procedure for admissions into Classes I to VIII. To what extent do you think you will be successful?

It is not my department’s order. It is part of the Right to Education Act (RTE). We are trying to generate awareness regarding the screening procedure. Only after people become aware, the enforcement and violation aspects would be looked into.

Did you give teachers enough time to understand the dress code concept when it was introduced?

We had discussed with them for about two and half months and had taken their opinion on dress code.

What steps are you taking to deal with English medium schools charging exorbitant fee for admissions?

We have received 10 cases so far and they are being examined. Necessary action will be initiated as per RTE rules. Awareness generation workshops are going on across the state and we have an RTE cell within the department to disseminate information regarding the same.

It has been alleged that you have initiated action against teachers and district inspectors as per your whims. What is your take on this?

Action was taken after proper enquiry. There have been corrective actions but we have also issued letters of appreciation to 15 teachers for their good work.

Do you feel upset that the city beautification drive that you undertook as BMC commissioner is not taking shape?

I should not comment on this. Once I leave a place, I do not think about it.

It is said that you were instrumental in the rise of mayor Ananta Jena, while he played a major role for your ouster.

You have so much to do that you never have time to think of negative things.

A firebrand officer

Innovative, tenacious and tough on corruption, Aparajita Sarangi is well known as one of the firebrand officers in the state government

Born to teacher-parents in Bhagalpur district of Bihar, Sarangi was an all-rounder throughout her academic career, and a topper in school and college examinations

She won the “Best Dramatist” award in her college for three consecutive years and was also adjudged the “Best Speaker” at an all-India debate competition organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs, New Delhi

She cleared the Civil Service exams in her first attempt in 1994 and joined as sub-collector of Hindol, Dhenkanal

She has also served as collector and district magistrate in Khurda, Koraput, Nuapada and Bargarh

She was the municipal commissioner of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) for three years. In this capacity, she undertook the city beautification drive and introduced the concept of vending zones. She took over the state school and mass education department as commissioner-cum-secretary in June, 2010

She is married to Santosh Sarangi, the secretary of the SC/ST development department. She met him during the IAS training at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration, Mussorie. She terms her husband as a “brilliant officer” who has “always guided” her


What would you have been had you not been an IAS officer?

I would have liked to be an interior decorator. I love to see beauty and create beauty in everything. But right from my childhood, I had a fixed ambition – to become an IAS
officer. There was no second thought about that and I was very confident I would get through. Because, by being in the administration, one gets the maximum opportunities to serve people and bring smiles on their faces. Despite hailing from a very conservative Brahmin family in rural Bihar, I was allowed complete freedom to chase my dreams. My parents were liberal and they helped me understand my potential.

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