Five officers in race for chief secy post

Chief secretary Sudhir Tripathi is due to retire on September 30 and there is considerable speculation at Project Building over who will be appointed for the top job.

By Sudhir Kumar Mishra in Ranchi
  • Published 12.09.18
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Ranchi: Chief secretary Sudhir Tripathi is due to retire on September 30 and there is considerable speculation at Project Building over who will be appointed for the top job.

After considering seniority, availability and the issue of central deputation, the choice seems to have narrowed down to development commissioner Devendra Kumar Tiwari, planning and finance department additional chief secretary Sukhdev Singh, revenue board member Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi, water resources department additional chief secretary Arun Kumar Singh and chief electoral officer of the state L. Khiangte.

"Khiangte is a tribal Christian from Mizoram. He has never been associated with any controversy. But will he become the new chief secretary in the BJP-ruled state?" speculated a senior officer at Project Building.

Chief minister Raghubar Das will have the final say on the choice for sure.

"Ultimately, neither seniority on the gradation list nor being an IAS are mandatory criterion for becoming the state's chief secretary. But going by usual practice across the country, you may presume that one among them will be named chief secretary. However, no one knows what the chief minister is thinking?" commented an additional chief secretary rank officer.

On September 30, the day Sudhir Tripathi is to retire, another Jharkhand cadre IAS officer, Udai Pratap Singh, who is Delhi Development Authority vice chairman, will hang up his boots. Also, since personnel and administrative reforms department additional chief secretary K. K. Khandelwal's VRS application has been approved, sources said, he would be quitting on December 31.

If one goes strictly by seniority, the full list of contenders looks like this: Union home secretary Rajiv Gauba, NCR Planning Board member secretary B.K. Tripathi, Union finance services secretary Rajeev Kumar, information and broadcasting ministry secretary Amit Khare, development commissioner D.K. Tiwari, National Highways Infrastructure Corporation MD Nagendra Nath Sinha, revenue board member Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi, planning and finance department additional chief secretary Sukhdev Singh, water resources department additional chief secretary Arun Kumar Singh, joint secretary in the Centre's fertiliser department Alka Tiwari and state chief electoral officer L. Khiangte.

Gauba was chief secretary before he left Ranchi on central deputation. Both Gauba and B.K. Tripathi are due to retire on August 31, next year. It is anybody's guess whether they would like to end their innings in Jharkhand.

Amit Khare proceeded on central deputation in March after Sudhir Tripathi was named chief secretary. On Monday, Khare's wife Nidhi was posted as joint secretary in the Union home ministry. And since Alka Tiwari's husband D.K. Tiwari is among the front-runners for the top job, her own candidature is doubtful.

Earlier D.K. Tiwari was principal secretary to former chief minister Arjun Munda, B.K. Tripathi was with former chief minister Shibu Soren, while Sukhdev Singh was with former chief ministers Madhu Koda, Shibu Soren and Hemant Soren.

"On several counts, the principal secretary to the chief minister is considered to be handling a lot more than the state's chief secretary. Such officers are known for their clean image and hard work. But, will our chief minister repose faith in them since they were closely associated with his political rivals?" said a former chief secretary.

State food and civil supplies minister Saryu Roy admitted that none of the ministers had ever been consulted on transfer of bureaucrats or choice of chief secretaries.

"The chief minister has been appointing chief secretaries and ordering transfers of officials at his sole discretion. We have no say," he admitted.