The chief minister's office on Friday issues orders to transfer Moga chief agriculture officer (CAO) Darshan Singh Sandhu. He has been posted as deputy director (pulses) at Bathinda, while Sukhdev Singh, block agriculture officer, Guru Har Sahai (Ferozepur), has been promoted as CAO, Moga.
In the orders issued under the signatures of financial commissioner and chief secretary Navreet Singh Kang, 14 officers of the agriculture department have been transferred. While the applications of most of these officers were pending for transfers, Sandhu has been shifted owing to a rift between agriculture officials. Two days back, the state government transferred state award winner ADO Jaswinder Singh Brar to Zira.
Following Sandhu's transfer, the Agriculture Officers' Association (AOA) has called off its 23-day agitation. The AOA has also welcomed to the decision of the state government and declared the development as the victory of the struggle of the association. The agriculture officers (AOs) and agriculture development officers (ADOs) of Moga district had accused Sandhu of irregularities in distribution of farmer subsidy.
On the other hand, Bhartiya Kisan Union (Lakhowal) has announced that the activists of the union would start an agitation against the transfer of ADO Jaswinder Singh Brar from Moga to Zira (Ferozepur). Nirmal Singh Manuke, district president of BKU, has demanded that a special team should be constituted to probe the charges of corruption levelled by the AOA against former Moga CAO Darshan Singh Sandhu.
Earlier, the AOs and ADOs had complained to financial commissioner, development, (FCD) Suresh Kumar and the higher authorities of the agriculture department against Sandhu regarding alleged misbehaviour and consumption of liquor during the duty hours. The rift surfaced on May 22 after Jaswinder Singh Brar and Darshan Singh Sandhu came at loggerheads after the charge of government seed farm at Raunta was taken from Brar and handed over to ADO Manjeet Singh.
A probe was conducted by joint director (agriculture) Gurdyal Singh after visiting Moga and he submitted his report on May 24 to the FCD.
Dr Rachhpal Singh, a senior leader of the AOA, said, "We are thankful to the state government for transferring Sandhu. We have ended our protest."
When contacted, former CAO Darshan Singh Sandhu said, "I am not aware regarding my transfer orders. However, if such orders have been issued the state government should rethink about its decision."