Sajal Chakraborty at the state guest house in Ranchi on Thursday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Ranchi, Aug. 14: Officiating chief secretary Sajal Chakraborty drove to the state headquarters at Project Building at 11am today, moments after he was released from Apollo hospital where he was being treated for viral fever and diabetes.
There he met Sudhir Prasad, who was appointed chief secretary late last night following months of uncertainty over the post, and went through the formalities of handing over charge.
Chakraborty will now be in the revenue department and continue to look after civil aviation, while Prasad will hold charge of the drinking water and sanitation department and also continue as development commissioner.
Ever since he took over as officiating chief secretary from R. S. Sharma on April 30, Chakraborty made it amply clear that his only intention was to get “Jharkhand express back on track,” referring to the sluggish pace of development in the state.
He began in right earnest, trying to instil a sense of work ethic among the state’s government officers. He sought to lead by example, conducting surprise inspections at government hospitals and police stations at night.
Chakraborty was his usual, no-nonsense self when he spoke to The Telegraph. Excerpts from the exclusive interview
TT: Are you angry?
SC: Well, I am definitely hurt. Not because I have been transferred. It is the prerogative of the government but because of the loose talk circulating about me. There is a gang (of officials) that thrives on ardhyasatya (half truths). I don’t have to show you the achievements of those people given Jharkhand’s situation in the last 14 years
Do you think your tough stance against the coal mafia or PLFI went against you?
All that I can say is that whenever I tried to fight against odds, no one stood by me. Even during the one-and-half decade-long battle, where I was wrongly framed in the fodder scam, no one stood by me. But I fought it and came out clean
Look, it is an open secret that our state is far behind on the development index. I was just trying to imbibe proper work culture by leading from the front, be it field visits, fixing roads or addressing the civic mess
Many questioned your style, saying a top bureaucrat should not speak out of turn.
Let them give once instance of me having violated service rules. I have always believed that the public have the right to know everything. That’s called transparency. Enunciating things with courage and with the right intention is what I have always done
Another accusation is that you held on to files
File an RTI application on file movements and find it yourself.
Do you regret any of your actions?
I have no regrets. It is the prerogative of the government to choose its officers. So rather than ranting, I gracefully headed to my office to hand over charge. I want to meet chief minister Hemant Soren and thank him for giving me this opportunity
I may go abroad for treatment in a few days time. After that it’s back to work again.