Shimla: Newly appointed Chief Secretary of Himachal Pradesh, Vidya Chander Pharka on Wednesday seemed all prepared for the top administrative job, even as he passed the first day meeting officers and the people, who came to greet him from every corner. Pharka, however, dealt with important files on the first day. “I will try to fill the administrative gaps, wherever and would review the functioning of different departments in continuity,” he told media persons.
He said his priority would be to ensure that the public welfare schemes of the government are implemented properly. Pharka, a 1983 batch IAS officer, was elevated as Chief Secretary of Himachal Pradesh. He was picked up by ignoring three seniors to him, which included Additional Chief Secretaries, Deepak Sanan, Ajay Mittal and Vineet Chowdhry- all 1982 batch IAS officers. Ajay Mittal recently went on central deputation, getting a prestigious posting of Secretary, Information and Broadcasting, while Sanan continues to be on leave for long.
Reportedly upset over the development, ACS (Health), Vineet Chowdhry and his wife, Upma Chowdhry (who is ahead of Pharka in 1982 batch) proceeded on one month’s leave, however. Going by the general feeling, there was huge rush of people, who came to the secretariat to greet the two officers- new CS VC Pharka and new Principal Advisor to the Chief Minister, TG Negi ( a retired IAS officer). Both are from Kinnaur and are known as honest and humble officers having great connect with the ordinary folks that any ruling party would want in the last leg of the tenure. Some IAS officers were seen discussing in hushed tones about the Chief Minister’s office becoming a hub of retired officers—with Subhash Ahluwalia serving as Principal Private Secretary to CM and now TG Negi given the work of Principal Secretary.
But the political leaders associated with Congress party were happy. “The precedence is already there in the Central government as well. The government has to see the suitability also. Both the retired officers are committed and efficient,” they said.
Mitra is new State Election Commissioner
P Mitra (who retired as Chief Secretary) joined as State Election Commissioner today in place of TG Negi, who resigned from the constitutional post to take over as Principal Adviser to the Chief Minister on Tuesday evening itself.
Prabodh Saxena gets additional charge of Health
With Additional Chief Secretary (Health), Vineet Chowdhry and his wife, Additional CS (Animal Husbandry, Agriculture and Fisheries), Upma Chowdhry proceeding on one month leave from today (reportedly in the wake of VC Pharka’s elevation as CS), the government has given additional charge of Health and Family Welfare to Principal Secretary, Home and Vigilance, Prabodh Saxena. Principal Secretary, Technical Education and Transport, Sanjay Gupta has been given the charge of Fisheries department, Secretary, IPH, Anuradha Thakur will hold the charge of Agriculture department and Secretary, Rural Development, Onkar Chand Sharma has been given the charge of Animal Husbandry department.
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