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Raman Singh cracks the whip on officials to repair govt’s image

nation Updated: May 28, 2016 07:48 IST

RAIPUR: Facing allegations of high-handedness and stifling the media, Chhattisgarh’s BJP government headed by CM Raman Singh has cracked down on ‘inefficient’ and ‘corrupt’ officials to brush up its bruised image.

Some 110 officials were suspended and many others served with notices during a month-long drive to reconnect with the people. ‘Lok Suraj Abhiyan’ that began on April 27 saw the CM and other ministers crisscrossing the state, reviewing development work and cracking the whip on erring officials.

While Singh suspended seven officials during the drive, PWD minister Rajesh Munat suspended five senior engineers during a trip to Sarjuga district over irregularities to the tune of Rs 5 crore. Agriculture and water resources minister Brijmohan Agarwal suspended an agricultural officer and panchayat secretary in Mahasamund for alleged negligence while forest minister Mahesh Gaghda suspended three after their relatives were found to be illegally occupying government accommodation in Dhamtari.

Women and child development minister Ramshila Sahu chided the collector of Kanker, Shammi Abidi, for trying to defend some officials. Urban administration minister Amar Agarwal berated officials accused of unauthorised payments to contractors.” “Is the state your territory where you rule,” he angrily asked, before ordering the Balod district collector to suspend them.

The tongue-lashing and whipcracking, the government, hopes, will help in repairing its image that many believe has taken a beating. Singh’s administration has particularly come in for criticism for alleged police excesses and the jailing of at least four journalists. Activists say free speech is under attack in the state.

Political analyst Parivesh Mishra was more circumspect. “To ensure accountability on governance there has to be consistency. How the process…is going to impact the working of the bureaucracy remains to be seen”, he said.

The opposition Congress, however, dubbed the exercise as hollow. “The actions against the officials were to cover up the failures of the Raman cabinet”, state Congress president Bhupesh Baghel said.

First Published: May 28, 2016 07:48 IST