Amid Row, WB Chief Secretary Retires, Made Chief Advisor to Mamata

Amid Row, WB Chief Secretary Retires, Made Chief Advisor to Mamata

Hummingbird News Desk

KOLKATA, 31 MAY: Amid the ongoing tussle between the Centre and West Bengal government over the repatriation of Chief Secretary Alapan Bandyopadhyay, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee today informed that Bandyopadhyay has retired today and the Bengal government has appointed him as chief advisor to the CM for the next three years.

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Mr Bandyopadhyay, a 1987-batch IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre, was scheduled to retire on 31 May after completion of 60 years of age. However, he was granted a three-month extension following a nod from the Centre to work on COVID management.

“I will not allow Alapan to leave Nabanna. We need his service for Covid pandemic. Our chief secretary retired today….. He didn’t ask for an extension, we asked for his service to the public during Covid and cyclone. It is up to Alapan to accept the extension. I could have forced him to continue as chief secretary. But when he requested me that he wanted to retire, I gave him permission. The Centre cannot force him to join without his consent,” Miss Banerjee said after the Centre issued a letter to Mr Bandopadhyay this evening asking him to report to North Block, New Delhi.

Notably, the Centre had first given Bandyopadhyay a three-month extension on the Bengal government’s request. However, in a sudden move on 28 May, it asked Mr Bandopadhyay to report to the Department of Personnel and Training in Delhi today. Earlier in the day, Miss Banerjee wrote to PM Narendra Modi refusing to release the chief secretary who was due to retire today. “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,” she wrote in the letter.

Mr Bandopadhyay will advise the chief minister on policy matters or areas assigned to him from time to time and will be entitled to Rs 2.5 lakh per month along with other allowances, said Miss Banerjee.

“They have given no reason. I am shocked. They have also not replied to my letter. If a bureaucrat is insulted after he has dedicated his life to his work, what message is the government and PM sending out? Are they bonded labourers? There are many Bengali cadre officers at the Centre. Can I recall them without consultation, Mr Prime Minister? Mr Busy Prime Minister? Mr Mann-ki-baat Prime Minister?” she further questioned.

Miss Banerjee appealed to all chief ministers, chief secretaries, IAS and IPS officers, state services officers, senior leaders, NGOs and intellectuals to fight for this cause together. “If the Centre moves the court then they would not be able to justify their move as being a lawyer myself I know that this order is unconstitutional and illegal,” she said.

Earlier this morning, in a five-page letter, Miss Banerjee urged the prime minister to reconsider the Centre’s decision to recall the chief secretary after giving him a three-month extension and said that she was shocked by the Centre’s decision, terming the order as “unilateral”, which was issued “without any prior consultation” with the state government.

“This so-called unilateral order is an unreasonable volte-face and by your admission, against the interests of the state and its people.

“I humbly request you to withdraw, recall, reconsider your decision and rescind the latest so-called order in the larger public interest. I appeal to your conscience and good sense, on the behalf of the people of West Bengal,” Miss Banerjee said in her letter to PM Modi.

However, the Centre replied to her letter asking the chief secretary to join North Block tomorrow, Miss Banerjee said today during the press conference. She then added that Alapan Bandyopadhyay has opted for retirement and will now serve the state government in the capacity of chief advisor to the CM.

Miss Banerjee said that the Centre cannot force an officer to join it without the consent of the state government. After Bandyopadhyay’s retirement, the Bengal government has appointed HK Dwivedi as Chief Secretary.

DoPT is the cadre-controlling authority of IAS officers and comes under the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).

The Centre has cited Section 6(1) of the IAS Cadre Rules in the communication to recall Bandyopadhyay, which states that a cadre officer may be deputed to the Centre with the concurrence of the state government.

Tags: #MamataBanerjee #NarendraModi #AlapanBandopadhyay #Nabanna #NewDelhi #CycloneYaas

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