The Telegraph
Thursday , April 29 , 2010
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bureaucratic bottleneck
Projects, polls stuck in limbo

Ranchi, April 28: The bureaucracy is once again at crossroads as the volatile political situation in the state threatens to scuttle development initiatives undertaken by the Shibu Soren government.

With the BJP deciding to withdraw support to the JMM-led coalition, babus are in a fix. Their present and future political mentors will now get busy cobbling numbers for power and push projects to the back seat.

In a nutshell, no new sanctions will be issued.

Earlier, the government was planning to release the majority of sanctions by April 30 so that development projects could be carried on smoothly throughout the year.

“It is like taking one step forward and four steps backward. A sense of negativity prevails. No new scheme can be executed now while the ongoing ones will also suffer,” said a senior IAS officer, holding charge of an important government department at Project Building.

According to another senior IAS officer, an “indecisive situation” arises every time there is a change of guard. “It affects development. Any file, which is to be routed through a minister, gets stuck. Things get delayed inordinately. It takes time to understand a new boss (read minister),” said the officer.

Another bureaucrat in charge of two important departments said it was ironic that yesterday only, he was attended a meeting in Delhi where they spoke in detail about the unstable governments in Jharkhand.

“The talks focussed on many projects remaining non-starters for years due to frequent change of guard and lack of political will power,” he said, adding that political leadership was more important than bureaucratic leadership.

At what can be called the last crucial meeting chaired by Soren to review progress in execution of Centre’s flagship schemes like NREGA and NRHM among others and panchayat polls on April 19, a majority of bureaucrats, including deputy commissioners, had taken part.

At that meeting, deputy chief minister Raghubar Das gave a 35-minute speech to one of the senior IAS officers, stressing that Soren was an honest person under whose regime the state would witness all-round development.

“The meeting was dull and drab, more so in the wake of speculations whether Soren would continue as the chief minister. Our apprehensions have been proved true,” said a deputy commissioner of Palamau commissionary area.

At that meeting, newly-appointed chief secretary A.K. Singh had conceded that the state needed qualitative change in implementation of Centre’s flagship schemes, whose progress cannot be termed satisfactory at all.

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