A ‘social worker’ of the ruling Akali Dal and a Punjabi University official ‘close to the BJP’ are set to become state information commissioners, dashing hopes of nearly two-dozen ‘retired’ bureaucrats and a top-ranking army officer aspiring for another ‘sarkari’ stint.
Decks have been cleared for appointment of Tarn Taran resident Alwinderpal Singh Pakhoke---from Akali Dal quota---and Dr Pawan Kumar Singla---- controller of examinations at Patiala varsity --- as information commissioners, government sources told HT. A committee comprising chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal has okayed the appointments, they added.
However, Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader Sunil Jakhar — whose consent in the capacity of Leader of Opposition was sought — gave a strongly-worded dissenting note on names cleared for the post. “Yes, I have refused to give my consent as both candidates have been selected purely on political considerations, ignoring much-deserving candidates,” Jakhar told HT.
As per the Right to Information Act, the state chief information commissioner and state information commissioners “shall be persons of eminence” in public life with wide knowledge and experience in law, science and technology, social service, management, journalism, mass media or administration and governance.
Every state information commissioner holds office for a term of five years or till the age of 65, whichever is earlier.
As per official records, Pakhoke, 63, has a work experience of nine years —four years as member of Amritsar zila prishad, two years as member of cooperative society and three years as chairman of Punjab warehousing. And Dr Singla, of Punjabi university, has 27- year teaching experience.
Sources say seven retired Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officers, eight Punjab Civil Service (PCS) officers, three Indian Police Service officers and two journalists were among total 92 applicants.
Ashok Kumar Gupta, IAS, who retired in September as secretary local government and was seen making desperate attempts to make his presence felt in the “darbar” of deputy chief minister Sukhbir Badal topped the list of aspirants from the bureaucracy.
Other IAS officers aspiring for the coveted post-retirement post were Suresh Kumar Sharma, Tilak Raj Sarangal, VK Sharma, Raminder Singh, Paramjit Singh, Arvinder Singh and Prithi Chand.
Interestingly, 60-year-old Lt Gen Sanjeev Madhok, who retired as general officer commanding in chief, was too one of the applicants.
Also, in the race were 16 lawyers, including Hoshiarpur resident Jived Sood, 27, son of BJP leader Tikshan Sud.
Up for grabs
The Parkash Singh Badal government is set to park six people in Right to Service Commission, while three posts each in the regulatory authorities of education and health department will be filled shortly. Bureaucrats have started lobbying for the Punjab state electricity regulatory commission chairperson’s post as the incumbent Romila Dubey will complete her term in February 2016.