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State names GTA principal secy VIVEK CHHETRI

Friday, 29 March 20131comments

VIVEK CHHETRI/ News Source:The Telegraph

Darjeeling, March 29: The state government has proposed the name of A.K. Singh, the divisional commissioner of Jalpaiguri, for the post of GTA principal secretary.

Sources in Writers’ Buildings in Calcutta today said a letter proposing Singh’s name had been sent to Bimal Gurung, the chief executive of the GTA Sabha, few days ago for approval.

“The letter has been sent and the chief executive of the GTA has to take a final call,” said the source.

The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leadership, however, said the party had not received the letter yet.
Morcha general secretary Roshan Giri, who is an executive Sabha member of the GTA, said: “As of now, we have not yet received the letter.”

Section 13 of the GTA agreement says: “There shall be a Principal Secretary of the GTA, who shall be of the rank of the Principal Secretary/ Secretary to the State Government and who shall be selected by the Chief Executive from the panel sent by the State Government and shall be paid from the GTA Fund such salaries and allowances as may be fixed by the State Government.”

It also mentions that: “The Principal Secretary once deputed to the GTA shall not be transferred for a period of at least two years without the consent of the GTA.”

The agreement, however, states that the state government has to send a panel of names to the GTA chief executive and he has to select one name from that panel.

Sources said the government sent only Singh’s name.

The Morcha leadership has often complained that the state had not given it a principal secretary as mentioned in the GTA agreement. It had also made public its displeasure with Saumitra Mohan, the Darjeeling district magistrate who also functions as the principal secretary to the GTA.

Bimal Gurung himself had said that Mohan did not inform GTA members about several matters.

Mohan was appointed the Darjeeling district magistrate in 2011 and last year after the GTA was formed, he was given the post of the secretary of the hill body and the additional charges of the principal secretary with Gurung’s approval.

The GTA’s administrative hierarchy consists of a principal secretary, secretary to the GTA and joint executive directors in charge of respective departments.

Giri had earlier alleged that the GTA agreement was not followed while appointing Mohan, who is of the rank of additional secretary in the state government:

“In the GTA Act, it is stated that the principal secretary of the GTA will be either of the rank of secretary to the government of West Bengal or of a rank of commissioner of West Bengal. However, this provision agreed upon in the GTA Act has not been followed,” Giri had said.

On March 25, Binay Tamang, an executive member of the GTA, had filed a writ petition in Calcutta High Court challenging the state government’s failure to appoint a senior administrative officer as principal secretary of the GTA.

The Morcha-affiliated Janmukti Asthai Karmachari Sangathan had stopped Mohan from entering his office in Lal Khoti, the GTA headquarters, for over a month alleging that the official had failed to take up their issues.
On February 6, the GTA Sabha passed a resolution not to consult to Mohan on GTA affairs although files are being sent to him as he is the drawing and disbursing officer of the hill body and his signature is needed for clearing cheques.

Singh, in his late 50s, is of the rank of additional chief secretary of Bengal, a rank higher than that of principal secretary.

The state’s administrative hierarchy has the joint secretary, additional secretary, secretary and principal secretary.
Singh was posted in Calcutta and south Bengal earlier.

Sources said this is the first time that Singh has been posted in the hills.

Mohan’s posting as district magistrate would not be affected by Singh’s appointment is approved.

Sources said the new appointment would probably make Gurung happy.

“The initiative by the state government will probably help iron out the differences. The Morcha is also looking for a way out of the present imbroglio. The letter from the chief secretary, Sanjay Mitra, (earlier this month) seeking co-operation from Gurung in running the GTA had eased the tension to some extent,” said a source.

The GTA agreement, however, does not state any provisions in case the Gurung does approve the appointment.

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