Despite strong objections from Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, the state government has sent a list of 65 IAS officers to the Election Commission of India (ECI), who would be deployed as observers in other states during the Lok Sabha polls.
The ECI had first demanded for 86 officials and the state, last month, had sent a list of 45 officers. However, after ECI sent another request seeking more officers, the state government sent another list of 20 officers.
“We have sent a list of a total of 65 officers and we don’t know if the ECI would ask us for more,’’ an official of the Home Department told The Indian Express.
At present 220 IAS officers are serving the state in various capacity. Mamata, who has rued the dearth of IAS officers in the state and always rooted for more officers from the Centre, had strong objections to ECI’s request for 86 officials.
“How will our administration run if so many officials are taken off from state service,’’ Mamata told the media. However, an admanat ECI pestered the government for officials who would be used as observers in other states. Meanwhile, the state has also sent a list of 47 West Bengal Civil Service (WBCS) officers to the ECI, who could be deployed as observers in other states.
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While IAS officers will be deployed as observers in a parliamentary constituency, the WBCS officers will be deployed in assembly constituencies. At present a total of 1,747 WBCS officials are working in various positions. The officers will have to leave the state after the expiry of the date of the last day of nomination.
“We have a shortage of 30-40 IAS officers, and if so many officials are taken then general administration will suffer. The CM has already voiced her concern about this, however, we are left with no option but comply with the ECI orders,’’ a senior official of the home department said.