The Balangir district administration on Thursday said it has ordered a probe after a video clip showing BJD’s Patnagarh MLA Saroj Meher forcing a government engineer to perform sit-ups in public surfaced on social media.
While Opposition leaders condemned the incident, Meher blamed local residents, saying he was forced to act because the “situation was out of control” as people were angry over the ongoing road construction in the constituency he was inspecting. “I am an MLA elected by people. I have to listen to my constituents,” he said.
“When we reached the spot, people complained that the roads under construction were of poor quality. The engineers were also present and we saw that no concrete work was done. People were agitated. They blamed the JE (Junior Engineer),” he said. “People asked me to punish him then and there. The situation was out of my control. I was forced to take action. But I am very upset about what happened,” the MLA said.
The video shows Meher asking the junior engineer of PWD in-charge of road construction in Belpada area to perform 100 sit-ups in five minutes. The official is seen performing the sit-ups.
Balangir Collector Arindam Dakua said, “Humiliating a government official in public is not a good thing. The sub-collector will be asked to submit a report.”