DMs cannot leave districts for next 4 months: Buddha

In a desperate bid to regain its sagging rural vote bank,Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has put a leash on the movement of district magistrates for the next three to four months.

Written by Sabyasachi Bandopadhyay | Kolkata | Published: February 23, 2009 3:01 am

With elections in sight,they can leave their stations only after the permission of the CM

In a desperate bid to regain its sagging rural vote bank,Chief Minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee has put a leash on the movement of district magistrates for the next three to four months.

Reason: With elections round the corner,the district magistrates are expected to focus on development work.

The district magistrates can only leave their respective stations after a clearance from the chief minister.

This administrative measure is clearly seen as a move to keep the movement of the district magistrates under political control.

In a circular issued on February 17 to all principal secretaries of the state government,Chief Secretary Ashok Mohan Chakrabarti said since Lok Sabha elections were not very far away the district magistrates will have to put up at the respective districts and concentrate on development work.

“You are requested not to call any district magistrate to Kolkata nor should you have any meeting of district magistrates as they are expected to stay in their districts for the coming three to four months,” read the circular.

“Taking the permission of the chief minister for a district magistrate who is barely five to six years old in the profession is a bit too much,” said a senior government official secretary.

Earlier this month at a review meeting of the departments of all CPM ministers held at Alimuddin Street,the ministers were asked to put stress on development work and ensure the speedy implementation of schemes like NREGA.

The circular,however,evoked sharp criticism from the Opposition. “I am shocked. If this is true it will be detrimental for the entire administrative setup,” said Manas Bhuniya,Congress Legislature Party leader.

“The district magistrates are under the control of the chief secretary,” added the Congress leader.

“Once elections are announced the whole administrative setup under the chief secretary goes under the control of the Election Commission,” he said.

Taking a dig at the government,Bhuniya further added how could the chief secretary issue such a circular?

The Trinamool Congress also expressed its resentment against the move and slammed the West Bengal government.

“Buddhadeb is trying to turn the state into a police state. That is why he is bringing the entire administration under him,” said Saugata Roy,Trinamool Congress leader.

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