The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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IAS officers bear Nanda brunt

Malda, Aug. 27: Bureaucrats in the state today came under fire from one of their political bosses with state minister Kiranmoy Nanda accusing IAS officers of being “hungry for power”.

Taking a potshot at the CPM, which claims that it owes its success to its power-to-the-people principle, Nanda, who is in charge of the fisheries department, said: “The IAS lobby has remained the source of power even though the Left Front has governed the state for the past 25 years. The people do not have any power in their hands.”

The Socialist Party leader, who was addressing a meeting of its youth wing at the Malda College auditorium, lashed out at the IAS officers for not devolving power.

“Work can be done only if the IAS officers feel so. If they believe it cannot be done, no one can question them. If they make any adverse comment on a file, there’s no way that the project can be started. Governments can change. Though power has been decentralised, its source has not changed,” Nanda said.

The minister said the government has failed to change the “attitude” of the bureaucrats. “The officers are not public-oriented. The people have to first please the bureaucrats. Only then, can any work be done.”

Criticising the finance ministry, which is under Asim Dasgupta, Nanda said if a file is sent to that department, it is returned repeatedly on some pretext or the other. “Why should this happen' What do we tell the people'”

The fisheries minister said development work in the state has come to a standstill thanks to the apathy of the officials.

“We are being told that there is no money. A bridge in my constituency is in urgent need of repairs that will cost Rs 35 lakh. But there are no funds. The image of the Left Front government has taken a beating as even our ministers do not keep the promise they make to their voters,” Nanda said.

He also scoffed at the claim that more jobs were on offer in the state.

“The (employment) exchanges are an eyewash. Where are the jobs' All government departments have been issued instructions not to recruit any more people.

“Vacancies in colleges are not being filled up. Educational institutions are being told to start new courses but they are also being told that they would have to make do with the existing staff strength,” Nanda said.

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