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Tuesday, June 15, 2021

‘Stunned by unilateral order, won’t release chief secretary’: Mamata to PM Modi

The recall order came hours after Mamata Banerjee skipped a Cyclone Yaas review meeting with PM Modi, preferring to meet him briefly at the Kalaikunda air base in Bengal after his helicopter landed before leaving for another meeting.

Written by Santanu Chowdhury | Kolkata |
Updated: May 31, 2021 4:27:14 pm
There will be no Class 10, 12 board exams in West Bengal this year, said CM Mamata Banerjee (Photo: PTI)

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday wrote to Prime Minister Modi saying she was “shocked and stunned” by the “unilateral order” from the Centre and won’t be relieving Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay.

“I must confess that I have been shocked and stunned by the unilateral order dated 28th May, 2021, sent to us by the Government of India, asking us to release Alapan Bandyopadhyay, IAS, Chief Secretary, West Bengal, so that he may join the Government of India on 31st May, 2021, the normal date of his superannuation. The unilateral ‘order’ comes without any prior consultation whatsoever with the government of West Bengal, without any volition/option of the officer, without meeting any of the pre-conditions of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954, and other applicable laws under reference. The unilateral order/directive is legally untenable, historically unprecedented and wholly unconstitutional,” Banerjee wrote in the letter.

The chief minister added, “I therefore humbly request you to withdraw, recall, reconsider your decision and rescind the latest so-called order in the larger public interest. The government of West Bengal cannot release, and is not releasing, its Chief Secretary at this critical hour, on the basis of our understanding that the earlier order of extension, issued after lawful consultation in accordance with applicable laws, remains operational and valid. The latest order is also clearly in violation of applicable laws and against public interest: it is in any case ab initio void.”

The recall order came hours after Mamata Banerjee skipped a Cyclone Yaas review meeting with PM Modi, preferring to meet him briefly at the Kalaikunda air base in Bengal after his helicopter landed before leaving for another meeting.

The Centre had, on May 24, approved a proposal by the state to extend his tenure by three months till August 31.

On Saturday, Banerjee alleged that the Centre was pursuing “vendetta politics” and said that PM Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah were trying to create problems for her government at every step.

“Only a few days back, on my request, you had kindly allowed, and the Government of India had issued an order to extend his service for 3 months as Chief Secretary, beyond 31st May, 2021, for the purpose that he could serve the state severely affected by the second wave of the pandemic of Covid-19 (like the rest of the country) in critical times, which has further been devastated by an extremely severe cyclone,” Banerjee stated.

The chief minister also wondered whether the order had anything to do with her skipping the review meeting at Kalaikunda.

“I really do not understand what happened between your allowing extension to the officer as Chief Secretary a few days back on 24th May, 2021, after Centre-state consultation to enable him to serve West Bengal in these times, and your unilateral order (4 days later) issued in contradiction to the extension granted by you. The unilateral order also does not provide any details, reasons and/or particulars as to why Central deputation of Alapan Bandyopadhyay is required suddenly. Does it have something to do with our meeting at Kalaikunda on 28 th May, 2021?” Banerjee asked.

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