June 17, 2020 10:50:28 pm
Amid an ongoing tussle between bureaucracy and leaders in the ruling Congress, Punjab government’s move to notify the Civil Services Board (CSB), providing for fixed tenure rules for bureaucrats, has riled several party MLAs and ministers. Miffed at “all powers being given to Chief Secretary for transfers”, over 30 MLAs and ministers authorised PPCC president Sunil Kumar Jakhar on Tuesday to take up the issue with Chief Minister Amarinder Singh and lodge a protest with him over notifying the board that was hanging fire for over a decade.
The notification, issued on June 2, provides for at least two years of fixed tenure of IAS officers and a board headed by the Chief Secretary would examine any transfer, if recommended, before the fixed tenure of a cadre officer ends.
Former Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had declined to adhere to the Centre’s guidelines not once but twice. But the incumbent CM signed the file regarding setting up of the board at least seven months ago.
The notification, however, was delayed considering that the political leaders will raise a hue and cry. The government finally notified it on June 2. Sources told The Indian Express that the issue of fixed tenure was raised by none other than Jakhar himself, in Tuesday meeting to launch a protest against amendment in Agricultural Marketing Act. Jakhar told the MLAs that they should protest as none of the governments of northern states had notified the board but Punjab was in a hurry to do so.
Jakhar has been vociferous in criticising the bureaucracy in the state on the plea that they have been ruling the roost and the political leaders have not got their due. The protest against Chief Secretary Karan Avtar Singh recently was also a manifestation of this feeling among the Congress leaders.
It is learnt that Jakhar told the party leaders that it was already difficult for them to get the bureaucrats transferred and the board would make it impossible for them to get the bureaucrats to listen to the elected representatives.
The party MLAs are learnt to have told Jakhar to take it up with the CM. A few of them have even been learnt to have advised caution saying during all battles between the bureaucrats and elected representatives , the CM had backed the former and this had belittled them on ground and in the eyes of the officers.
The party leadership has already been feeling that in the state’s fight against Covid-19, the bureaucrats were given all powers while the CM had asked the ministers and MLAs to sit at home and follow the curfew restrictions. The Deputy Commissioners of the state had also conveyed to the CMO that the ministers presence during their fight against Covid-19 was proving to be a decelerator. This had caused a heart-burn among the ministers who have been privately saying that they are answerable to people and in less than two years they would be facing the elections.
Prominent among those who attended Tuesday’s meeting included Cabinet Ministers Tript Rajinder Singh Bajwa, Gurpreet Singh Kangar, Balbir Singh Sidhu, Sukhjinder Singh Randhawa, MP Dr Amar Singh, and MLAs Amrik Singh Dhillon, Barindermeet Singh Pahra, Darshan Singh Brar, Dharamvir Agnihotri, Dr. Raj Kumar Chabbewal, Gurkirat Singh, Gurpreet Singh GP, Harminder Singh Gill, Harpartap Singh Ajnala, Kulbir Singh Zira, Kuljit Singh Nagra, Lakhvir Singh Lakha, Pritam Singh Kotbhai, Rajinder Singh, Sangat Singh Gilzian, Tarsem Singh DC, Surinder Singh, Navtej Singh Cheema, Sukhpal Singh Bhullar, Amit Vij, Sukhjit Singh Kaka Lohgarh, Hardyal Singh Kamboj, Davinder Ghubaya, Raj Kumar Verka and Inderbir Bolaria.
There have been instances when the MLAs and ministers have been pushing for transfers of their local officers on the plea that they did not listen to them but their requests were not answered. In the backdrop of all this, it remains to be seen whether the PPCC president takes up the issue with the CM or not.
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