Much to the chagrin of Punjab and Haryana bureaucracy, UT cadre officers are increasingly calling the shots by holding important positions in the Union Territory of Chandigarh.
As per the past practice since the re-organisation of states and formation of Chandigarh UT in 1966, 60 per cent bureaucrats in Chandigarh used to come from Punjab and 40 per cent from Haryana. The post of the adviser was reserved for a UT cadre officer.
But this rule is up for a toss as both the Punjab and Haryana officers have been outnumbered in the recent past. At present, UT has as many as seven officers from Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territories (AGMUT) cadre, including UT Adviser to Administrator, besides one from Assam-Meghalaya cadre who recently joined due to medical emergency.
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Significantly, the UT cadre strength has recently increased after two senior officers — K Narsimha (1991 batch) and Vikram Dev Dutt (1993 batch) — joined here in the last one month. This has also pushed bureaucrats from Punjab and Haryana to lower ranks in terms of hierarchy.
A reverse trend is also witnessed. For instance, Vikram Dev Dutt was the replacement for much junior V Lalremthanga of 2004 UT cadre. Due to Vikram’s seniority, it also became a compulsion for the administration to give him ‘respectable’ portfolios. It become evident when in an administrative reshuffle on Monday, he was given as many as eight departments, including important transport portfolio, which was earlier with Punjab cadre officer Bhawna Garg.
While the number of officers from Punjab has been reduced to four, Home Secretary Anurag Agarwal is the only IAS officer from Haryana at present, after recent repatriation of DC Mohammad Shayin. However, his replacement is expected soon from Haryana.
This gap, according to some officers, began widening up during last Adviser K K Sharma’s tenure. During his time, the administration also gave extension in service to UT cadre officers even after expiry of their three-year terms.
Former home secretary Anil Kumar, who was from Haryana, had written a strongly worded letter to his state government, alleging how Haryana cadre officers were being sidelined in decision-making process in UT. He even sought intervention from the state government on this issue.
An official, seeking anonymity, said that both the state governments should be blamed for decrease in their strength here as they were not sending the panels in time as requested by the local administration from time to time.