J&K Guv Satya Pal Malik shifted to Goa; Murmu to be first LG of Jammu-Kashmir UT
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has been transferred to Goa on Friday ahead of the state’s bifurcation into two union territories. Two senior IAS officers, expenditure secretary Girish Chandra Murmu and former defence secretary RK Mathur, will join as Lieutenant Governors of Jammu-Kashmir and Ladakh when the two union territories are created on 31 October. In Goa, Malik replaces Governor Mridula Sinha.
The changes were part of a minor reshuffle in gubernatorial offices. Kerala BJP president PS Sreedharan Pillai has been appointed governor of Mizoram. He replaces Jagdish Mukhi, the Assam governor who got additional charge of Mizoram after Kummanam Rajasekharan resigned in March 2019 to contest the Lok Sabha election against Shashi Tharoor in Thiruvananthapuram. Rajasekharan was also a former president of Kerala BJP. The government has also decided to appoint former Intelligence Bureau director Dineshwar Sharma as administrator of Lakshadweep.
Governor Malik’s transfer had been widely expected after Parliament split the border state into two union territories to be directly administered by the central government. A Lt Governor, the executive head of a union territory, is several spots lower than a Governor according to the government’s warrant of precedence, the document which charts the hierarchy of dignitaries and public servants and their status.
In appointing Murmu, the government has gone back to the practice of appointing an administrator to oversee affairs in Jammu and Kashmir. Satya Pal Malik, who took over as governor on August 23 last year, was the first politician to be sent to the state as a governor in three decades.
Expenditure secretary Murmu - he was slated to retire next month-end - is a 1985 batch officer of the Indian Administrative Service of the Gujarat cadre and has the prime minister’s complete trust, people familiar with the development said.
Murmu had worked closely with Modi during his days as Gujarat chief minister between 2010 and 2014. Murmu was an additional principal secretary to Narendra Modi. He was brought to the finance ministry in 2015 and moved up the ladder to become expenditure secretary in May this year. He brings in administrative experience to his new assignment that will be under greater control of New Delhi as a union territory but will also have a state legislature with truncated powers.
Former defence secretary Radha Krishna Mathur, a 1977 batch IAS officer of Tripura cadre, will take over as the Lieutenant Governor of Ladkah, a union territory that will be carved out of current J&K. After his retirement, Mathur had joined the transparency watchdog Central Information Commission and later became the country’s chief information commissioner.