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Services dept a circus, L-G the ringmaster, says Manish Sisodia

Presenting the “outcome report” on the L-G’s office in the Delhi Assembly, deputy CM Manish Sisodia said L-G Anil Baijal has made a “mockery” of the services department by “shuffling” officers like “playing cards”.

delhi Updated: Feb 26, 2019 07:15 IST
Ashish Mishra and Sweta Goswami
Ashish Mishra and Sweta Goswami
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Manish Sisodia,Anil Baijal
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Monday alleged that lieutenant governor Anil Baijal was behaving like a “ringmaster” of a “circus” which he claimed was playing out in the services department under the L-G’s control. (File Photo)

Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia on Monday alleged that lieutenant governor Anil Baijal was behaving like a “ringmaster” of a “circus” which he claimed was playing out in the services department under the L-G’s control.

Presenting the “outcome report” on the L-G’s office in the Delhi Assembly, Sisodia said Baijal has made a “mockery” of the services department by “shuffling” officers like “playing cards”.

The deputy CM, who is also the finance minster of Delhi, alleged that frequent changes in bureaucracy in the Delhi government has “crippled” development works in the city.

Giving a department-wise account of the number of principal secretaries transferred and their tenure, some of whom were shifted in less than a week, Sisodia said Delhi has had four chief secretaries in the last 30 months.

The L-G’s office did not respond on the report or Sisodia’s comments. However, leader of the opposition Vijender Gupta said the outcome budget lacked “trust, honesty and transparency”. “In the outcome budget of L-G, he (Sisodia) devalued and insulted the constitutional head of his own government out of political ill will,” Gupta said.

At present, services department, which deals with transfer, postings and performance review of officers in the Delhi government, lies with the L-G.

The dispute over the control of the department is being heard by the Supreme Court, which after giving a split verdict earlier this month, referred the matter to a larger bench. Since the court order, the Aam Aadmi Party has renewed its focus on demanding full statehood for Delhi.

“Officers in key departments — environment, higher education, urban development, transport, health — are being shuffled like playing cards by the L-G on the directions of the Prime Minister (Narendra Modi). Secretaries and directors in these departments are changed every two-three months. There is a circus going on in the services department and the L-G is behaving like the ringmaster,” Sisodia said.

He also said senior officers, including principal secretaries, were allowed by the L-G to go on leave without informing the ministers concerned. He said shuffling of officers increased since August 4, 2016 — after the high court judgment ruled that the L-G was the administrator of Delhi.

Sisodia said the “dadagiri (rowdyism)” of the Centre began after it issued an “illegal” notification in May 2015, directing that services and the anti-corruption branch will be run by the L-G.

“There are a lot of vacancies in different arms of the Delhi government and there is no word on when these vacancies will be filled. The environment department has seen seven principal secretaries in the last 2.5 years. The longest tenure of principal secretary environment since August 4, 2016 has been eight months,” Sisodia said.

“How is a department supposed to sustain work on projects if officials keep changing? A new officer takes at least two months to adjust and learn about his department,” he said. Similarly, urban development department, the nodal agency for MCDs, DJB, DUSIB, development in all unauthorised colonies and implementation of MLALADs, has seen eight principal secretaries in the last 2.5 years. Seven directors were shuffled from the social welfare department in the last 2.5 years, the outcome report stated.

“The transport department saw four principal secretaries in the last 2.5 years at a time when the government is trying to procure 3,000 CNG-run and 1,000 electric buses. The training and technical education department has seen five principal secretaries in the last 2.5 years,” the deputy CM said.

First Published: Feb 26, 2019 02:10 IST