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Holy cow! DM leaves animal farm

Malda, Dec. 3: The big question in Malda now: will Godala Kiran Kumar sanction money for a shelter for his livestock and poultry before or after it is built?

An animal farm worthy of the district magistrate’s veterinary background has become the talking point in Malda after the IAS officer was sent on 15 days’ leave.

Kiran Kumar had been arrested and granted bail in connection with alleged payments to contractors for projects that were never completed during his tenure as the chief executive officer of the Siliguri Jalpaiguri Development Authority.

The “complete biodata” of “Dr Godala Kiran Kumar” on the Centre’s website says he is an alumnus of Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University, Hyderabad, and mentions veterinary science as his subject. He passed with second division, according to the website.

The DM has taken with him his two dogs but left behind a cow, a calf, one buffalo and its calf, hens and geese. The animals are being taken care of by the nine employees responsible for the upkeep of the DM’s bungalow. The animals are kept in a room on the three-acre estate.

Some of the nine employees, who cook and clean, used to look after the animals when Kiran Kumar was around.

Officials said the DM’s daughter used to come to his office, adjacent to his bungalow, with the dogs — a Golden Retriever and a Saint Bernard.

Acting district magistrate Nilkamal Biswas, who will function as the DM for the time being, said after a visit to the bungalow yesterday morning that the staff would continue to look after the animals.

“I visited the bungalow after the district magistrate left. There are some cows, buffaloes and poultry there. I have instructed the staff to continue tending to the animals. I know that the district magistrate is on 15 days’ leave and I have not seen any government order saying otherwise,” Biswas said.

“The bungalow is still allotted in the name of G. Kiran Kumar. We have not been informed by the government whether he will remain as the district magistrate,” he added.

Sources had said yesterday that three officials had been shortlisted to replace Kiran Kumar.