In Naxal zone, a crackdown on sunglasses

The Chhattisgarh government has issued a written warning to Bastar collector for wearing sunglasses while addressing PM Modi.

By: Express News Service Written by ASHUTOSH | Raipur | Updated: May 16, 2015 3:32:04 am
Chhattisgarh, Bastar collector, Bastar IAS officer, Chhattisgarh IAS officer, Amit Katariya, collector sunglasses, Narendra Modi Bastar DM Amit Katariya with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Chhattisgarh

The Chhattisgarh government has sent “warning letters” to the district collectors of Bastar and Dantewada for not following the official dress code while meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi during his visit to the region last Saturday, with Chief Minister Raman Singh saying, “It is necessary to teach new collectors about their protocol during a PM visit.”

The letters, dated May 13, were sent to Amit Katariya, who is in charge of Bastar, and Dantewada Collector K C Devsenapati.

“It is part of protocol for any collector to wear a ‘bandhgala’ when he receives an official dignitary. They did not wear the ceremonial uniform. It was a clear violation of the All India Service (Conduct) Rules 1968, hence they were sent this warning,” G S Mishra, Commissioner of Public Relations, Chhattisgarh, told The Indian Express.

Katariya was also reprimanded for wearing sunglasses while meeting Modi. When contacted, Katariya and Devsenapati said they would not comment as they were yet to get the letters.

The Indian Express examined copies of both letters — they were sent by D D Singh, Special Secretary (General Administration), and marked to senior IAS officers in Raipur — and found them identical in content except for the specific additional charge against Katariya.

The letter to Katariya noted: “It has come to the notice of the administration that you did not wear appropriate ceremonial uniform, instead had sunglasses on when you received the PM.”

Asked about the letters, Chief Minister Raman Singh said, “It is necessary to teach the new collectors about protocol during the PM’s visit.”

Both letters warned: “Your act violates All India Service (Conduct) Rules 1968… every member shall at all times maintain absolute integrity and devotion to duty and shall do nothing which is unbecoming of a member of the service… (the) government warns you not to do any such act in future which is not in accordance with the dignity of an officer of All India Services.”

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Katariya and Devsenapati are considered among the best young officers in Chhattisgarh, with both serving in districts most affected by Maoist violence, and the letters have left the state bureaucracy divided.

“It was 43 degree Celsius that day. If an officer who stands through the day in the sun arranging things for the PM’s visit is unable to wear a bandh gala, how can you make it a question of his integrity?” asked an IAS officer who did not wish to be named.

Another senior official said it was advisable to follow norms during VIP visits. “An officer is appointed a protocol officer by superceding several others. He must meet protocol,” he said.

Last year, the Raman Singh government had issued “reprimand” notices to two senior officers after they were seen dancing at a TV show hosted by Bollywood legend Amitabh Bachchan in Raipur.

Chhattisgarh, Bastar collector, Bastar IAS officer, Chhattisgarh IAS officer, Amit Katariya, collector sunglasses, Narendra Modi The copy of the warning order that was issued to Bastar collector for wearing sunglasses during PM Modi’s visit

The notice says that “the state government warns you that do not do any such act in future which is not in accordance with the dignity of an officer All India Services.”

Katariya wore blue shirt and had sunglasses on when he received PM Modi in Bastar.

Dantewada Collector KC Devsenapati has also been slapped with the same notice that his conduct “violated Service Rules”, was “unbecoming of an officer”.

The collector, however, wore white shirts and looked fairly obedient when he greeted Modi.

While in case of Katariya, the notice mentions “sunglasses”, the “warning” notice to Devsenapati doesn’t specify what was in his dress code that violated the service rules.

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