The Punjab government is set to appoint a lieutenant general-rank officer as chairperson of the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC). The appointee will succeed Lt Gen MS Buttar (retired), who demitted office in May after a nine-month stint.
Two in-service officers, Lt Gen TS Gill and Lt Gen Balbir Pama, and Lt Gen NS Bawa (retired) have been shortlisted by the three-member search committee headed by chief secretary Rakesh Singh which held a meeting on Tuesday, sources said. This search committee set up by the Punjab government comprises principal secretary (home affairs and justice) Jagpal Singh Sandhu and Lt Gen BS Dhaliwal (retd), who is adviser (technical) to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal.
The committee has recommend this panel of three army officers to the high-powered committee comprising CM Badal, speaker of Punjab Vidhan Sabha Charanjit Singh Atwal, and leader of opposition Sunil Jakhar. The high-powered committee will shortly recommend the name of one candidate to governor Shivraj Patil for final approval.
Sources said Lt Gen TS Gill was emerging as the frontrunner due to various factors, including his age, as any officer if appointed would remain on the PPSC post for about two years. The chairman and members of the commission hold office for a fixed term of six years or until the age of 62.
Six top-ranking ar my officers — three in-service and three retired — were among those vying for the coveted post of PPSC chairperson. Among the serving officers, besides Lt Gen Pama and Gill, there was Maj Gen CP Singh; while the rest were Maj Gen Karan Amol Singh Bhullar (retd) and Maj Gen KS Thind (retd), besides Lt Gen Bawa (retd).
The state government had invited applications from “eminent persons of impeccable integrity, caliber and administrative experience from all walks of life”. At least 25 people, ranging from a Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) leader to two matriculates and a recently retired bureaucrat, had sent in their applications for the constitutional post.