State officials feel insecure under LDF regime

via Pioneer News Service | Thiruvananthapuram published on October 18, 2007

Doing one’s duty is not sufficient enough to ensure permanence in job. This thought is disturbing top State officials after they have seen the cases of Jacob Thomas, MGA Raman and Upendra Varma. The fact is that none of them were inefficient in their job. Neither they worked against people’s interests nor against the State. On the contrary, their only crime was the sincerity towards their works.

When Jacob Thomas was shunted out of the Kerala State Civil Supplies Corporation (Supplyco) as its Managing Director to the Kerala State Film Development Corporation following a series of rows over irregularities, Minister in-charge C Divakaran said it was only a routine transfer. But, when Raman and Upendra Varma were shifted out of their offices, Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan was more accurate that they were not up to the mark. The meaning of this comment from the Chief Minister is not lost on anyone. “Not up to the mark. Yes. But whose mark?” asks a senior civil servant.

But when K Suresh Kumar, who created history among cold hills of Munnar by acting toughly against encroachers, was forced to go on leave after a series of humiliating reprimands, the sincerity of the LDF Government towards people’s interests came under suspicion. Here also Divakaran’s party, the CPI, was the villain. Suresh was, after several months in exile, posted to a relatively insignificant post of Managing Director of the Agricultural Development Bank. “That is Government’s stifle professional enthusiasm,” said the senior bureaucrat.

Suresh’s official companion in Munnar, Idukki District Collector Raju Narayanaswami, who even marred his family harmony for the sake of service integrity, was punished for being excellent and bold after he acted against some influential politicians who had grabbed people’s land. He was shifted to Pathanamthitta and the Collector there Ashok Kumar Singh was made Idukki Collector. Achuthanandan then said that a stronger bureaucrat was needed in Idukki as resumption of Mission Munnar was in store. But nobody asked him about how stronger Singh was than Narayanaswami and he, himself, did not care to comment.

Though Chief Secretary Lizzie Jacob’s decision to call it quits at the height of the scandal relating to the Merchiston Estate land deal was not seen as any kind of victimisation, the fact that Lizzie had gone out as a disappointed woman cannot be forgotten. She was in news for days as a victim, as a fake coin and even as a misinformer. Achuthanandan had not felt it inappropriate to tell her of her professional failures in the Assembly and outside. There was no space for her to stay. As a retired bureaucrat said, “In my opinion, she saved her honour.”

Now DGP (Prisons) Raman, a man with lots of huge experiences, has been shifted out of office to the world of print-ink smell at the Kerala State Books and Publishing Society, where Tomin Thachankery had earlier tried to establish a bridge between police professionalism and text-book production. Raman’s crime is known to all. He had not thought his submissions to Judiciary could annoy Home Minister Kodiyeri Balakrishnan.

The story of Upendra Varma, Director Vigilance, is not different. It was the LDF that defended him against anything and everything. But now there are many things an efficient IPS man like Varma should not look into. So, the best job for him is to research how administrative management could be improved as the head of Institute of Management in Government.

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