By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 20 Jul: As had been indicated by Garhwal Post, the Pushkar Singh Dhami Government finally affected a major bureaucratic shake-up, yesterday. Political analysts are calling this a course correction. In the previous four and half years, many very senior level bureaucrats had been sidelined to some extent and some comparatively junior ones had been given charge of departments that are expected to be in the hands of experienced ones. Some course corrective transfers carried out by this government include handing over charge of Home to Additional Chief Secretary Anand Vardhan and handing over the charge of Finance to Additional Secretary Manisha Panwar. Home was earlier under the charge of Secretary Nitesh Jha, who along with his IAS spouse Radhika Jha, were considered to be the most influential bureaucrats during the Trivendra Singh Rawat era. Anand Vardhan will be assisted in the Home Department by Secretary Ranjit Sinha. As had been indicated by Garhwal Post, the charge of power no longer remains with Secretary Radhika Jha, who had earlier also been shifted out of the Chief Minister’s Office. Radhika Jha has been given charge of School Education in place of Secretary R Meenakshi Sundaram, who has been given charge of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. Meenakshi Sundaram already has charge of Animal Husbandry and Fisheries. Principal Secretary RK Sudhanshu has been relieved of the charge of Rural Development but continues to hold charge of PWD which requires supervision and monitoring of a senior and experienced bureaucrat like Sudhanshu. There are some surprises too. Secretary level officer Brijesh Kumar Sant, who had been posted as Secretary in the Secretariat has been moved out as Vice Chairman of Mussoorie Dehradun Development Authority (MDDA). Deepak Rawat, a high profile IAS officer gets another plum posting after having served earlier as DM, Haridwar, followed by Mela Officer Kumbh. He has been posted as MD, Uttarakhand Power Corporation Ltd (UPCL) and also MD PTCUL.
It is after a long time that more than two dozen IAS level officers have been shifted at a go by the government. While some bureaucratic changes are expected with every new Chief Minister taking over, this major bureaucratic reshuffle is aimed to achieve three goals. One is course correction, the second is placing trusted bureaucrats in charge of key departments and, lastly, to create a narrative and perception in the public that the new CM means business. At the district level, only the Dehradun District Magistrate Ashish Srivastava was shifted out and replaced by R Rajesh Kumar. Ashish Srivastava probably has served longer than many of his predecessors as Dehradun DM.
Sources in the government claim that some more state level and many more district level transfers are in the pipeline and that orders in this respect are likely to be issued any day. District level Police officers are also likely to be transferred soon.
By Arun Pratap Singh