Calcutta, May 22: When Gulam Sarwar was appointed controller of food and civil supplies in South 24-Parganas last July, little did he know about the woes awaiting him.
He had occupied the same post there for a year-and-a-half from May 1999 and carried out reforms in distribution of kerosene and other essential commodities. Sarwar was only happy to be back from his stint in Hooghly. But when he went to take charge on June 26, 2002, the then district controller of food and civil supplies refused to step down.
A stunned Sarwar went to the authorities and, armed with a special order, took over on July 8. Two days later, he was transferred back to Hooghly.
Sarwar had been accorded a “farewell” by colleagues in Hooghly and when the government order asked him to return there within days, he did not know what to tell them. But he did go back, only to be shifted back to South 24Parganas in months. On February 21, 2003, Sarwar was back.
Two months later, on April 23, he was transferred to the food and civil supplies headquarters on Freeschool Street as assistant director. This time, Sarwar was interchanged with the same Asim Mitra who he had replaced with the special order last July.
Harassed and “humiliated”, Sarwar submitted a representation to the food commissioner and moved the state administrative tribunal.
Early this month, the tribunal said he should have waited to know the fate of his representation but asked the food and supplies authorities to dispose of the case within a fortnight from the receipt of its order. “The decision arrived at (by the food and supplies authorities) shall be communicated to the petitioner within a week so that the applicant (Sarwar) may act upon. In the mean time, the impugned order of transfer will not be operated till disposal of the representation,” said the order.
But Sarwar could not join his post in South 24-Parganas. When contacted, food commissioner .K.S. Jhala refused to comment saying it was “subjudice”.
Sarwar’s lawyer threatened contempt proceedings against the tribunal if he was not allowed to return to South 24-Parganas. “Despite having specific knowledge of the order of the tribunal, you have not allowed my client to discharge duties as the DC South 24-Parganas,” he said.
Consumer rights activists feel Sarwar’s predicament is a result of his reforms in the public distribution system for kerosene.