'Shunted' babu on protest leave

Written By Unknown on Selasa, 08 Januari 2013 | 22.23

MUMBAI: A month after he was unceremoniously relieved of the excise department charge and that too at the instance of an senior NCP leader, additional chief secretary Anand Kulkarni has proceeded on an indefinite protest leave. Further shocking is the fact that chief minister Prithviraj Chavan relieved Kulkarni of the charge when the latter was on a week-long official visit abroad.

For the first in the recent the state bureaucracy history, a high-ranking bureaucrat is on a protest leave.

While Kulkarni, an IAS of 1982 batch, confirmed he is on leave, he refused to elaborate on the reasonsfor his decision. I am on leave,'' Kulkarni, an IAS officer of the 1982 batch, said.

As additional chief secretary, Kulkarni was in-charge of the excise, tourism and cultural affairs departments. Bowing to the mounting

pressure from a senior NCP leader, Kulkarni was relieved of the excise department chargeand left with the insignificant tourism and cultural affairs charge. Until now, the state never had an independent secretary for the tourism or cultural affairs departments, as these portfolios were, by and large, always given to a senior bureaucrat as an additional charge.

According to a senior bureaucrat, Kulkarni invited the wrath of the senior NCP cabinet member over the posting and transfer of two district superintendents of the excise department. As per Kulkarni's recommendation, Chavan did issue the transfer and posting orders of the two officials, but later shunted him (Kulkarni) out. After relieving Kulkarni, the excise charge has been given to principal secretary Sumit Mullick. Now besides protocol, Mullick holds the additional charge of excise, tourism and culture departments.

The bureaucrat said a progressive state like Maharashtra needs a clear posting and transfer policy for bureaucrats

"It was unfortunate that a senior bureaucrat like Kulkarni was humiliated at the instance of a NCP member," the bureaucrat said.

Further, he pointed out, while a section of bureaucrats and more than two dozen additional collectors were awaiting new assignments, well over 18 bureaucrats have completed their two-to-three-year tenures, but have not been shifted yet. At present, eight bureaucrats are holding additional charges of different departments, while the Cidco City and industrial development corporation has been headless for nearly three years. Since G S Gill retired in March 31, 2010, a junior level officer is holding the additional charge. "We will soon ask knock at the doors of the IAS association for justice. We feel the IAS association to step in and hold a meeting with the CM," he said.

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