01 October 2019 ~ 0 Comments

Mysterious reshuffle

The sudden replacement of Coal Secretary Sumanta Chaudhari with A.K. Jain has set tongues wagging in the power corridors. The unexplained mystery is that the appointment order of Jain as Mr Chaudhari’s successor is silent on Mr Chaudhari’s future. He has neither been repatriated to his home West Bengal cadre nor appointed to another ministry or department at the Centre. The order does not even mention whether Chaudhari has been placed under waiting for further posting. There is also much speculation about the timing of the appointment since the order came when West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee was in the capital for meetings with the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. It was said that Ms Banerjee would request the Centre to send Mr Chaudhari to Kolkata to replace the outgoing chief secretary Malay Kumar De. But babus in West Bengal do not credence to this view, saying that neither Mr Chaudhari nor the state chief minister had shown any interest in pursuing this aim. Mr Chaudhari apparently has 16 months left before his retirement in January 2021. On the other hand, in recent times, the Coal Ministry has seen a quick turnover of secretaries. While Mr Chaudhari served as coal secretary for about 10 months, his predecessor Inderjit Singh spent barely five months in the position.

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