Sajal Chakraborty at the news meet in Ranchi on Saturday. (Hardeep Singh)
Ranchi, July 26: Officiating chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty has demanded a regular appointment to Jharkhand’s top bureaucrat’s post, lending credence to rumours about bickering within the state machinery and his unhappiness with the current stopgap arrangement.
In a letter to chief minister Hemant Soren recently, Chakraborty suggested that the state needed a regular chief secretary to carry out important bureaucratic jobs. “An acting chief secretary carrying out the tasks does not convey a good message,” he wrote.
The state government named Chakraborty chief secretary in-charge on April 30.
Asked about reasons for his unhappiness, Chakraborty, without mincing words, said an acting chief secretary did not enjoy the same authority as a regular appointee. “Though you people (the media) project me as a hero. In reality I am a zero. People always see an officiating chief secretary with doubts and raise questions on his competence,” Chakraborty said during a news conference at Birsa Munda Airport in Hinoo.
He added apart from him, five other IAS officers were eligible for the job. “Being a 1980 batch officer, I am the senior most. But as far as I know, seniority is not the only criterion for selecting one for the job. Any chief secretary-ranked official can hold the post. Apart from me, Sudhir Prasad (1981 batch), A.K. Pandey (1982 batch), R.S. Poddar (1982 batch) and Aditya Swaroop (1982 batch) are at the chief secretary level,” he said.
Also, he added N.N. Pandey or B.K. Tripathy could be promoted to the chief secretary level on the recommendation of the departmental promotion committee (DPR).
When asked if he was getting support from the chief minister or his junior colleagues, the senior most babu strategically said, “The chief minister is the captain of the boat. Its condition is not good and he wants to bring it to the shore so that we can board a suitable boat and sail properly.”
Speaking about his colleagues, he said none of the chief secretary-ranked official was creating any problem but some junior bureaucrats were conspiring against him.
But if the chief minister does not consider his opinion, will he refuse to continue work on the ad-hoc basis? “The question of quitting does not arise. Giving suggestion is a part of my duty and I did my routine exercise,” he said.
Heat on DGCA
Sajal Chakraborty said the state was incurring a loss of Rs 1 crore annually due to a negative attitude of Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA), which has been posing hurdles for the government’s plan to provide training to youths in flying planes.
He said the government would file a money suit in court against DGCA if it did not give the nod to fly training planes in the state soon.