Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s admission that the agriculture, power and other departments of the government miserably failed to address the ongoing agrarian crisis has raised questions on whom the responsibility of the failure falls: the chief minister, who has been in office for the last decade or the bureaucrats?
While a former chief secretary holds the bureaucracy responsible, farmers and the Congress blame Chouhan.
“Bureaucrats remain confined to their rooms and hardly ever go out for inspections. Had they been doing this, they could have easily foreseen the crisis, and suggested and adopted means to control it,” believes KS Sharma, former chief secretary of Madhya Pradesh, who feels the chief minister’s dressing down of the bureaucrats was warranted. “I have seen the system deteriorating. Earlier, we all used to go on field tours and used to halt in villages. This helped us get the right picture of things. Today, the officials don’t prefer to move out for inspection and depend on their subordinates. The culture of field monitoring is fast fading away.”
Renowned farmer leader and chief coordinator of Bharatiya Kisan Sangh, Shiv Kumar Sharma too agreed that bureaucrats are no longer out in the field. “I haven’t seen any bureaucrats going to villages to know the ground reality. They prefer to remain in their cosy comfort zones,” he said, adding that it is also the failure of the chief minister.
“CM Chouhan has accepted what the Congress had been saying for the past several years. Now, when he is exposed, he is trying to shift the blame on bureaucrats,” said Congress spokesperson Pankaj Chaturvedi, adding that the Congress wasn’t the least bit surprised to the chief minister say that the power surplus-state wasn’t able to supply regular electricity to farmers and that farmers were committing suicide in a state that has won the Krishi Karman Award three years in a row.