An already overburdened chief minister will soon be left with fewer administrators to do the job for him.
Three Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers are scheduled to retire by the end of this month, adding to the shortfall of bureaucrats.
The state has at present 268 serving officers against the sanctioned strength of 326. Among them, 33 officers are on deputation.
However, the shortfall of the officers in the cadre was reduced to 54 from 92 after 38 officers of the state service were promoted to IAS-rank in November last year.
The situation would aggravate next year when more than a dozen senior officers are scheduled to retire after attaining the age of superannuation. Among them is incumbent chief secretary A.K. Sinha, who is due to retire in June next year.
The race for the coveted post is likely to gain momentum in the days to come.
C. Ashok Vardhan, chairman-cum-member of the revenue board, and Bipin Bihari Srivastava, secretary, land resource department, Union ministry of rural development, would be retiring on November 30 this year.
Another officer Iftehar Hasan, currently holding the post of additional secretary-cum-chief executive officer of the Bihar State Haj Committee, is also due to retire on the same date.
Sources in the general administration department said eight IAS officers have already retired from their service since January this year Raj Kumar Singh, A.K. Updahyay, Vijay Kumar Verma, Anil Kumar, B. Bhamthi, H.R. Srinivas, U.K. Handa and Shiv Shankar Verma. R.K. Singh held the post of Union home secretary at the time of superannuation while Srinivas was posted as special secretary in the Union education department. Sources said that the shortage of officers has forced the government to entrust additional charge of three to four departments to several serving officers. For example, Brajesh Mehrotra is posted as secretary, information and public relations.
But he has been given additional charge of cabinet secretary, state advisory board and the secretary to the governor.
Similarly, Deepak Kumar is holding four key posts.
He has been entrusted to look after environment and forest department, Bihar Foundation, Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (Biada) and the Bihar State Infrastructure Development Authority.
Biada is the sole agency in the state to look after land acquisition and allotment to entrepreneurs.
Energy secretary Sandeep Poundrik, entrusted with the job of improving the power sector, also holds the posts of secretary, excise and prohibition, and chairman-cum-managing director of the Bihar State Power Holding Corporation Limited.
N. Vijay Laxmi, secretary, backward and extremely backward commission, has been assigned to look after the Bihar State Child Rights Protection Commission, Bihar State Road Transport Corporation and Bihar State Backward Finance and Development Corporation.
A senior officer posted in the general administration department said at least 10 officers in the rank of secretary are looking after the affairs of more than two departments. Many officers in the rank of principal secretary have been entrusted additional charges of different departments.
Prominent among those scheduled to retire next year (2014) are Kumaresh Chandra Mishra, Jai Ram Lal Meena, K.P. Ramaiah, Vinod Kumar, A.K. Malik, Arun Dhedgave, Rajendra Prasad, Parsumran Mishra, K.K. Verma, Ghanshyam Daftuar, Arun Kumar Singh, Ramanand Jha and Raj Narayan Lal.
The officer said the state was allotted nine officers each in 2011 and 2012. We have urged the Centre to increase the number of officers to fill up the gap arising from the retirement of the officers, he said. The officers of the 2012 batch are posted as additional collectors in Patna, Muzaffarpur, East Champaran, Darbhanga, Gaya, Vaishali, Nalanda, Madhubani and Bhagalpur.