WHILE GOVERNORS get a limited stay in the Punjab Raj Bhavan, there are people in the gubernatorial staff who have been there for around 10 years, having seen three successive Governors come and go. Now they are working with the fourth incumbent, V P Singh Badnore.
The Principal Secretary to the Governor, M P Singh, an IAS officer, has been holding the charge for nearly nine years now. He holds this position as an additional charge as he is posted in the technical education department of the Punjab government. A Punjab cadre IAS officer of the 1986 batch, M P Singh has been promoted as Additional Chief Secretary with effect from Thursday and placed in the apex scale of Rs 80,000 per month after completing 30 years of service. At this high level, the assignment at Raj Bhavan now appears incongruous with the high rank he holds.
M P Singh claimed that he had never hankered after the job. “I have never gone to ask for any particular appointment, nor have I refused any,” he told Chandigarh Newsline.
Asked about his particularly long tenure in Punjab Raj Bhavan, he said that perhaps he was retained as he was doing a good job. “It is for the government to decide where they want my services,” M P Singh said, adding that he was full-time Principal Secretary to the Governor till the tenure of Shivraj Patil and only after that he was appointed in the technical education department of Punjab.
M P Singh took up the appointment in Raj Bhavan in 2007 when General (retd) S F Rodrigues was the Governor and has been there since then. After General Rodrigues’s tenure, former home minister Shivraj Patil came. Then Haryana Governor Kaptan Singh Solanki completed more than a year and a half holding the additional charge of Punjab. Now Badnore is the fourth Governor to hold office during the tenure of this officer.
Similar is the case with the Police ADC to the Governor, Raj Bachan Singh Sandhu. He has been the ADC for nearly 10 years. He is an ex-Army officer and joined the Punjab Police Service (PPS) as a Deputy Superintendent of Police in 1994. His seniority and length of service is at variance with the kind of appointment he is holding in the Raj Bhavan and now he wears the badge of a rank equivalent to Senior Superintendent of Police. His last active police appointment was as SP (Security and Traffic) in Mohali in 2006 before taking over as ADC to the then Governor Rodrigues.
Asked if he missed doing his police duties, Sandhu said that since he had an Army background, he found the job of an ADC neat and clean where duties and tasks were set to a routine. “This job is not sought after among the police officers as it is considered to be low profile. But I enjoy doing it,” he told Chandigarh Newsline.
In comparison to Sandhu, there have been three military ADCs who have completed their tenure and reverted to the Army and a fourth one, from the Indian Air Force, is now in the middle of his tenure. The average tenure of a military ADC is approximately three years but there seems no cap for Police ADC. Another previous ADC at the Raj Bhavan, P S Gill, too had spent nearly 10 years there before he had to be moved out because he was senior enough to be a DIG.
Punjab Raj Bhavan had also seen one of the longest serving Comptrollers of Governor’s Household. Deepak Ahluwalia, a retired PCS officer, continued as Comptroller for several years even after his retirement in 2007, getting extension after extension before he finally relinquished the charge in 2015.