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Secretariat coterie playing spoilsport?

 Staff Reporter

Guwahati, April 21: A coterie of bureaucrats in the Assam Secretariat seems to have its own way in dealing with the affairs of the State, even to the extent of keeping the Chief Minister in dark on certain issues. This cannot augur well for the administration in a State crying for team work and coordinated approaches to solve the diverse issues plaguing it.
When transfers, postings, promotions etc are effected to officers ranging from additional chief secretary to secretary, such as principal secretary and commissioner-secretary, it must first go to the Civil Services Board (CSB) headed by the Chief Secretary. After perusal by the board, it goes to the desk of the Chief Minister who may or may not alter the list. In general this is the practice as per directions by the Supreme Court.
According to sources, the CSB has been overlooked on a number of occasions in the last two years, with the said coterie of bureaucrats calling the shots in almost all matters pertaining to transfer and posting. The overlooking of CSB in general, except in some cases of arbitrary transfer and posting in emergency situation, is not a healthy sign for the smooth functioning of the State administration.
Sources said resentment has been growing among some honest bureaucrats over the role of the coterie as they have been kept at a distance from the Chief Minister.
The rule is that officers have to be transferred every three years during December-January except in emergency situations, not during any other part of the year, but this too has been flouted.
On Saturday, on the occasion of the Civil Services Day, a section of bureaucrats felt that the Chief Minister should have been present on the occasion to grab the opportunity, motivate them and give his outlook on the future roadmap, but, as sources said, such event was overlooked for unknown reasons. This has led to resentment among a section of honest bureaucrats who have a sense of attachment with local issues.
Since the Sarbananda Sonowal government will complete two years in office on May 24, it is incumbent on it to take on board those bureaucrats who have the interest of the State in their mind and who are attached to local issues. This could be instrumental in giving a new direction to the State.