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IAS officers skip brief to beat the heat, sent home

Thursday 13 April 2006, by PI*Rajeev

KOCHI, APRIL 12 : The Election Commission has ordered out a couple of Maharashtra cadre IAS officers on Election duty here after they chose to beat the poll heat with spirit(ed) sojourns in the Alappuzha backwaters and resorts, rather than be cooped up in their nondescript offices resolving mundane poll issues.

State government sources say the duo, Niranjan Kumar Sudhansu, general manager of Pune Municipal Transport, and Bipin Bihari Mallick, now on deputation in New Delhi as director in the Ministry of Social Justice and Employment, have been making the best of the scenic backwaters and government resorts in sultry Alappuzha.

Accompanying them on one of the days were four other officers, who have however been spared. ??They spent their time on a government pleasure boat, and living it up at the government tourist resort across the lake, while six government cars and a retinue of minor local officials would wait all day at the Alappuzha pier for their return,’’ the sources said.

The sources insist nothing untoward would have happened if the IAS men had not made a nuisance of themselves. ??They went on to complain that they were not being provided comforts in keeping with their stature. The complaint was referred to the State Chief Electoral Officer, and things eventually reached the Election Commission. The EC asked for details from local liaison officials and was not very amused at the feedback. So out they went,’’ according to a senior state official.

State Chief Electoral Officer Nalini Netto, a senior IAS official herself, says she had no role in their ouster. ??The EC has its own mechanisms to know what’s going on. It need not seek the state CEO’s opinion on such things. I was not consulted on this at all.’’

When contacted, the EC spokesperson in Delhi says, “The step was taken to send across a strong message. The officers were categorically told in briefings not to accept any privileges from the state machinery and that they should not treat the assignment as an LTC tour.”

See online : The Indian Express

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