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In the backdrop of a series of unfortunate incidents including death of at least 100 children in Malkangiri district and killing of 30 persons in a hospital fire, the Odisha government today replaced health secretary Arati Ahuja while executing a minor reshuffle in the bureaucracy. Ahuja, a 1990 batch IAS officer, was embroiled in controversy after a series of incidents like a Kalahandi tribal carrying his wife's body on shoulder for 10 km after being denied a hearse by the hospital, and death of 100 tribal children in Malkangiri. Ahuja has been replaced by 1997 batch officer Pramod Kumar Meherda.
She has been posted as the principal secretary in the tourism and culture department in place of Gagan Kumar Dhal, a 1985 batch officer. Meherda was hitherto working as the commissioner-cum-director of agriculture and food production, a notification said, adding that Dhal will take the charge of agriculture production commissioner with supervisory charge of agriculture and farmers' empowerment department, cooperation department and fisheries and animal resources develop met department. Transport commissioner Chandra Sekhar Kumar, a 1992 batch officer, is appointed as the managing director of the state run Odisha Milk Producers Federation (OMFED). Vir Vikram Yadav, a 1996 batch officer, who returned to the state after a stint in the central government, is appointed as the commissioner-cum- secretary of Science and Technology department. Additional secretary in the agriculture and farmers empowerment department, Hari Ballav Mishra has been appointed as the director, agriculture and food production, the notification said.
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