Updated: June 4, 2021 7:32:21 am
In his reply to a show-cause notice seeking his explanation for skipping a cyclone review meeting held by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Kalaikunda on May 28, former West Bengal chief secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay told the Central government that he was scheduled to visit the cyclone-affected areas and was following Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s order, sources said on Thursday.
Chief Secretary Hari Krishna Dwivedi, meanwhile, also wrote a letter to the Centre and explained why Bandyopadhyay reached 15 minutes left for the meeting and left immediately.
Though Banerjee, accompanied by Bandyopadhyay, had skipped the meeting, she had interacted with the PM for a few minutes and submitted two reports.
After Bandyopadhyay skipped the meeting, the 1987-batch IAS officer was recalled and was asked to report in Delhi on May 31. The state government refused to release Bandyopadhyay, and on May 31, he resigned from the services and within hours he was made adviser to the CM.
According to sources, Bandyopadhyay told the Centre that CM Banerjee and he left the meeting after taking Modi’s permission. He also mentioned what he did after skipping the review meeting on May 28. He wrote that he visited the cyclone-affected areas and later attended an administrative meeting in Digha.
The notice was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) under the Disaster Management Act on May 31 for reporting 15 minutes late and leaving the meeting immediately. “By this act of abstaining himself from the review meeting taken by the Prime Minister, who is also the Chairman of National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), in the aftermath of cyclone Yaas as part of his visit to cyclone affected areas in the State of West Bengal, Sri Alapan Bandyopadhyay, Chief Secretary, Government of West Bengal has acted in a manner tantamount to refusing to comply with lawful direction of the Central Government and is thus violative of section 51 (b) of the disaster management act, 2005,” the notice had read, giving Bandyopadhyay three days to reply. Thursday was the last day of sending the reply.
The letter further wrote, “Now therefore, Bandyopadhyay is hereby called upon to explain in writing to this Ministry within a period of three days, as to why action should not be taken against him under section 51 of the Disaster Management Act, 2005 for the aforesaid violation…”
The notice under the Disaster Management Act and, if converted to a statutory case, could result in imprisonment extending up to two years.
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