Power tussle in Uttarakhand as Secy refuses to obey minister’s order on transfers

The tussle over power intensified in Uttarakhand after Food Secretary Sachin Kurve sent Nainital District Supply Officer Manoj Varman on leave and transferred six District Supply Officers to the Food and Civil Supplies Department without the approval of departmental Minister Rekha Arya. On Thursday, the Food Minister summoned the original file related to the confidential entry of Sachin Kurve in this matter.

Food and Civil Supplies Minister Rekha Arya has written to the Secretary and directed him to submit the original file related to the confidential entry of Secretary and Commissioner of Food Department Sachin Kurve. The minister said that on June 20, the Food Commissioner sent the District Supply Officer of Nainital on compulsory leave without her approval. On this, she had summoned his reply to cancel this order and get her approval on it. Kurve, instead of following her instructions, transferred six District Supply Officers on the same day without her approval.

The transfers was made in such haste that the date of June 22, 2019 had been written instead of June 22, 2022 in the minutes of the meeting related to this. The officials concerned also signed it without seeing it.

Associated with the Food Commissioner’ office, Shyam Arya was shifted to Pithoragarh, Mukesh Kumar to Haridwar, Dehradun’s District Supply Officer Jaswant Singh Kandari to Chamoli, Haridwar’s District Supply Officer KK Agarwal to Rudraprayag, Nainital’s District Supply Officer Manoj Varman to Bageshwar and Rudraprayag’s District Supply Officer Manoj Doval to Nainital.

Rekha Arya said that the district supply officers in the department have been transferred without following due procedure. Neither the list of eligible officers for transfers was released on the website of the department, nor options were taken from the concerned officers for transfers.

Rekha Arya said that the Transfer Act has been made by the government for transparency in transfers. According to the Act, by April 30, the Head of the Department had to mark the workplace as per the standard, by May 1, transfer committees were to be formed at the Government, Head of the Department, Mandal and District level, by May 15, accessible and inaccessible places were to be fixed for every cadre. By May 20, options were to be sought from eligible personnel for 10 desired places for compulsory transfers. Applications were to be called on the basis of the request till May 31.

The transfer committee meeting was to be held from June 25 to July 5. After this, the transfer order was to be known by July 10, but according to the Transfer Act, the Departmental Secretary completed the entire action in just one and a half hours without following the procedure. The minister said that the secretary has violated the Act by not following the procedure. It is the responsibility of the departmental minister that if he/she suspects any personal interest and corruption in any decision of the department, then such orders should be cancelled with immediate effect.

“In this case, the secretary not only violated the rights of his subordinate employees but also violated the Transfer Act of the government. The orders of the departmental minister have been ignored,” the minister said.

Rekha Arya said that the Secretary has ignored her instructions in this matter. Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami has been apprised about it.

Even after the instructions of Rekha Arya, the transfers of the six District Supply Officers have not been cancelled so far. The minister said that orders are being ignored in the department.

According to Sachin Kurve, all the officers have been transferred under the Transfer Act. “The information that was sought from me in this matter by the departmental minister, it was conveyed in writing to the minister on Thursday,” he said.

According to departmental sources, people were being given ration without biometrics at many shops in Nainital district. The matter came to light in a recent meeting. It was told that the biometric percentage was zero in 26 ration shops, whereas, in 163 shops, the biometric percentage was only 15 to 17 per cent. On this, the Departmental Secretary had sent the concerned District Supply Officer on compulsory leave of 10 days.

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