16 April 2007 ~ 0 Comments

Babu churn in Punjab

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Babu churn in Punjab It is an accepted fact that when the political equations in a state change, the tremors are, unfortunately, rather severely felt in the babu clan as well. The newly formed BJP-Shiromani Akali Dal government in Punjab is no exception. In an unholy hurry to distance itself from tribesmen associated with its predecessor, the Badal government has hustled together its band of babus from different states and even the Central government. Among the new government’s first actions was the appointment of K.J.S. Cheema, a 1993-batch IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre, as special principal secretary to the chief minister, even before it could get a no objection certificate from the West Bengal government. The newly appointed state Chief Secretary Ramesh Inder Singh clarified that it was just a procedural issue and would be sorted out soon. Cheema is an old favourite of Mr Badal. He has been deputy commissioner of Muktsar, Mr Badal’s home district, and has served in the Badal CMO earlier. His appointment comes as no surprise. Another interesting but unexpected appointment was that of Darbara Singh Guru as the principal secretary to the Chief Minister, ousting the incumbent Suresh Kumar and another contender D.S. Bains. The bureaucratic grapevine has it that Suresh Kumar insisted on carrying on his official duties until a new PS was appointed, while an over-optimistic 1981-batch IAS officer, D. S. Bains, announced himself as the new PS to the CM and got down to work, creating a hilarious confusion in the CM’s office, until Guru emerged as the proverbial dark horse, and claimed victory. Suresh Kumar, whose efficiency and talents are worth harnessing by any sensible administration, is now Secretary, power and Irrigation while Bains has been asked to handle local governance. N.P.S. Aulakh, the new DG (Police) has been requisitioned from the Union government, while his predecessor, S.S. Virk, has been placed under suspension in a case of cheating and fraud. Mukul Joshi, the Principal Secretary, finance, excise and taxation, handed over the baton to Shivinder Singh Brar, another officer repatriated from the Centre, while he will have to bide his time as secretary of what must be a difficult post to justify at all, freedom fighters (Secretary, Freedom Fighters gets the Dilli ka Babu prize for the post with the most obvious half-life in a bureaucratic system that normally abhors such possibilities). Hopefully, the game of musical chairs is over now and the Badal government can get down to the serious business of governance.

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