On the warpath
After Andhra Pradesh where the bureaucrats were engaged in a rather public row with the state’s politicians, it’s now the turn of babus in Madhya Pradesh. The BJP Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been having a hard time fending off the opposition Congress MPs and his babus who have been slugging it out. The Congress netas, including state PCC chief Kantilal Bhuria and MPs Meenakshi Natarajan and Prem Chand Guddu have got into an ugly squabble with Rajeev Dube, the District Collector of Ratlam.
According to sources, Dube was threatened and bullied by the MPs for full 15 minutes in front of party workers, subordinate officers and members of the public. His crime? Arriving late for a meeting.
The incident has upset the IAS and IPS officers in the State. The IAS association has now met the Chief Minister and demanded action against the Congress netas. Will Chouhan act on their demand or will he parlay for peace?
Thanks to the Ashok Khemka episode, the Government has now been forced to confront the issue of transfer of Government servants. Sources say that a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Defence minister A.K. Antony will take a call on fixing tenures for each Government post.
The problem of course is a long, lingering one. More than a decade ago, former Cabinet Secretary T.S.R. Subramaniam had recommended giving fixed tenures to all cadre officers. Several committees on administrative reforms too have recommended having fixed tenures for all civil service positions, ostensibly to reduce political meddling. That may perhaps be the reason why the issue has not gone beyond this stage. Hopefully, the controversy over the Haryana IAS officer’s “persecution by transfer” could well provide the push required to make it happen.
Subrat Ratho, a 1986 batch IAS officer of the Maharashtra cadre, has reportedly opted for voluntary retirement in ‘protest’ against the decision of the State to buy power from private producers, which is more expensive than that offered by the State-owned Mahagenco. Ratho was heading Mahagenco until July this year and took strong exception to the State Government’s move. He claims that the company was asked to temporarily suspend power supply last two winters even as the state distribution company MahaVitaran bought power from private players.
Sources say that the babu wrote to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and also to Maharashtra State Electricity Transmission Company (MahaTransco) MD Arvind Singh on the matter but to no avail. Apparently, having failed to make any headway with the authorities Ratho has opted out of the service.