Over a month after he was transferred out of Health Department after Cabinet ministers gunned for him in a Cabinet meeting, Additional Chief Secretary, Power and New and Renewable Energy, Anurag Aggarwal was given the additional charge of coveted department of Home Affairs and Justice.
A 1990 batch IAS officer, Aggarwal replaces incumbent Home Secretary Satish Chandra, who retires on September 30.
His new posting is likely to create heartburn among a few ruling party leaders, who were gunning for him. He also holds the position of Power Secretary which is considered an important position in the state. The government has promised a white paper on controversial power purchase agreements with private thermal plants.
Aggarwal’s transfer had come after Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu had demanded his ouster from the department alleging that he had embarrassed the government by putting on file the disappearance of deaddiction tablets. Both the minister and the secretary were not on the same page. Later, Sidhu had raised the issue in a Cabinet meeting.
Sidhu and Aggarwal had a feud for the past couple of months. Their differences had come out in the open when Aggarwal had dismissed 22 lab technicians posted in Amritsar district hospital citing “VIP culture” and use of “influence to staff transfers” two months ago. He had stated that these lab technicians were putting influence and getting their transfer orders stalled. A day later, the Health Minister had intervened and revoked the dismissal orders stating that the state needed manpower to combat Covid-19 and this was no time to take such an action.
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