Jammu, Mar 1: In a piquant situation for the State, several top bureaucrats of J&K cadre whose repatriation to the State has been cleared by Government of India are lobbying hard to scuttle their return.
The state of affairs can be gauged from the fact that another senior officer, Umang Narula, who had been posted as Principal Secretary to Governor, N N Vohra has refused to join his new posting and proceeded on leave.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR, “after intense lobbying with Prime Minister’s Office, the State Government had managed return of four senior IAS officers including KB Aggarwal, Additional Secretary in Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Arun Kumar Mehta, Joint Secretary, Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change, Atal Dulloo, Joint Secretary in the Department of Rural Development and Umang Narula, Chairman and Managing Director, Indian Tourism Development Corporation”.
“Subsequently, the State Government issued order posting Umang Narula at Raj Bhawan. However, the official has refused to take over his new assignment and has proceeded for two months leave”, sources said, adding, “with the result, Raj Bhawan has refused to relieve the present incumbent P K Tripathi, whose deputation to Centre has already been cleared by the State Government”.
P K Tripathi, 1987 batch officer of JK cadre has been posted as Joint Secretary with Department of Personnel & Training, Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions.
“Even Rohit Kansal, Commissioner/ Secretary Public Works Department, who was earlier tipped to become Principal Secretary to Governor, had expressed his reservation to join Raj Bhawan. Though the State Cabinet had on February 14, in principle given its consent for his new posting, the senior official got his order ‘modified’ due to personal intervention of Chief Minister”, sources said, adding, “though Kansal was also interested in proceeding on Central deputation, the State Government was not keen to give its approval”.
Sources further elaborated, “the State was actually witnessing an official crisis, with senior bureaucrats on Central deputation not keen to return and several other competent officials keen to move out of the State”, adding, “even three senior officials — K B Aggarwal, Arun Kumar Mehta and Atal Dulloo were not interested in their return to the State and were trying their level best to scuttle their repatriation. K B Aggarwal had proceeded on leave, immediately after Centre accorded approval for his return to the State and would be joining only when his official leave comes to an end”. Aggarwal is the senior most IAS officer in J&K after Chief Secretary BR Sharma.
Pertinent to mention that Jammu and Kashmir Government has agreed to release four senior IAS officers for Central deputation.
They included Pradip Kumar Tripathi, Principal Secretary to Governor NN Vohra, Shantmanu, Chief Electoral Officer, Jammu and Kashmir, Ashok Kumar Parmar, who is awaiting further orders in Resident Commissioner Office at New Delhi and Sundeep Kumar Nayak, who is also awaiting posting in the General Administration Department.
While the State Government has cleared Central deputation of four IAS officers it has presently decided not to release Rakesh Kumar Gupta, Principal Resident Commissioner, New Delhi and Rohit Kansal, Commissioner/ Secretary Works, who also wanted to proceed on the Central deputation. The State Government was likely to consider releasing these two senior IAS officers for Central deputation only after two more IAS officers are returned by the Centre from the deputation.
With by-election to two Lok Sabha constituencies (Anantnag and Srinagar) due in March-April and the Government is also proposing to hold Panchayat elections anytime, if not delayed, the Central deputation of Shantmanu could even be delayed, sources said.
Jammu and Kashmir has 106 sanctioned vacancies of IAS officers. Of them, minimum 20 per cent and maximum 30 per cent can proceed on Central deputation at a given time, which means a minimum of 21 and a maximum of 31 IAS officers can be on Central deputation from Jammu and Kashmir.
Similarly, sources said the Government has to send a panel of three IAS officers to the Election Commission of India for choosing new Chief Electoral Officer of Jammu and Kashmir before Shantmanu is released for the Central deputation.
Moreover out of 106, nearly 40 officers are conferred IAS, who generally don’t proceed on deputation.
After return of four officers, five IAS officers of Jammu and Kashmir cadre will remain on Central deputation, including Suresh Kumar, Additional Secretary, Union Ministry of Coal, Sudhanshu Panday, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, MK Dwivedi, Joint Secretary in Union Ministry of Commerce, Mandeep Kour, Department of Revenue, Government of India and Pandurang Kondbarao Pole, who is on inter-cadre deputation to Maharashtra.
However, after four more officers join the Central deputation, the number will again rise to nine.