Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR: Currently completing extension of 6 months to his service, Bharat Bhushan Vyas (IAS-1986) is likely to continue as Chief Secretary in the Government of Jammu and Kashmir for another 6 months as the State and the Central governments have failed to achieve consensus on any of the potential contenders.
Well-placed sources in Department of Personnel and Training (DOPT) revealed to STATE TIMES that Government of India was favourably considering the J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s recommendation to grant another extension of six months to the service of Vyas as Chief Secretary. According to these sources, Chief Minister has written a demi-official letter directly to Prime Minister and Minister incharge Personnel Narendra Modi without taking her General Administration Department into the loop.
Previously, on CM’s recommendation, Centre had granted extension of six months, in two parts of three months each, to the service of Vyas who was scheduled to reach superannuation on November 30, 2017. That extension is reaching its end on May 31.
According to these sources, an extraordinary arrangement of continuing Vyas as Chief Secretary for another 6 months could be approved and communicated to the State Government immediately after Prime Minister’s forthcoming visit to Jammu and Kashmir. On May 19, Chief Minister and Prime Minister could finalise this arrangement at an informal meeting.
“I am not aware of any such recommendation”, Vyas said in reply to a question when STATE TIMES attempted to learn if he was going to continue in his place for another six months.
Of the four potential contenders, Rakesh Kumar Gupta (IAS-1986) was cleared today by Chief Minister for his Central deputation as Secretary Union Public Service Commission. His NOC, according to top ranking sources, is being issued on Tuesday. Rakesh Gupta is currently posted as Principal Resident Commissioner, New Delhi. Not inclined to be posted in J&K for his final stint, Rakesh Gupta has still 21 months of his active service in IAS.
Dheeraj Gupta (IAS-1993), who was removed as Principal Secretary Power Development Department and appointed as Principal Secretary Coordination at Resident Commission in New Delhi on November 16, 2017, is likely to be appointed as the new Principal Resident Commissioner.
Second potential contender, namely L.D. Jha (IAS-1986), Financial Commissioner Revenue who is left with 13 months of active service was on Monday appointed as Vice Chairman and Director General of IMPA.
Of the two potential contenders senior to Vyas, B.R. Sharma (IAS-1984), has already served a term as Chief Secretary. Around his Central deputation in April 2017, Vyas had been appointed as Chief Secretary.
Sharma, who has the distinction of being the only son of the soil among the 10 senior most IAS officers of J&K cadre, has been lately empaneled as Secretary by the Union Government and he is currently serving as Additional Secretary in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs. He has still 23 months of active service but is reportedly being considered for a post of Secretary by the Centre.
The fourth potential contender, K.B. Agarwal (1985), who is left with 8 months of active service, is currently serving as Financial Commissioner Housing and Urban Development.
Sources insist that the State and the Central governments failed to achieve consensus on all the four potential contenders—two of them (B.R. Sharma and K.B. Agarwal) senior to Vyas and remaining two (R.K. Gupta and L.D. Jha) his batch-mates. Suresh Kumar (IAS-1986) is also Vyas’ batch-mate but he is already adjusted as Additional Secretary in the Union Ministry of Coal. He too is not reportedly interested in returning to J&K as he is in the last year of his service.
Of the two distant probable, P.K. Tripathi (IAS-1987) has been recently appointed as Joint Secretary in DoPT while as Sudhanshu Panday (IAS-1987) has reportedly a personal reason to be away from J&K. He has been on Central deputation for about five years and is currently posted as Joint Secretary in Department of Commerce. Both Tripathi and Panday are holding the rank of Principal Secretary in Government of Jammu and Kashmir.
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