DGP Anoop Jaiswal loves to go on treks. He criss-crossed a part of the elephant- and gaur-infested Western Ghats once

It did not come as a surprise to many when the Election Commission chose director-general of police, Anoop Jaiswal, to oversee the Lok Sabha elections. Not many know, however, that the honest and no-nonsense officer is also a naturalist.

Eight years ago, his wife and he were part of a trekking expedition in the Western Ghats. On day two of the trip, the team had to trek across a 33-km stretch comprising slippery slopes, mountain streams and small peaks.

It was a 12-hour trek that began at 5 a.m. The trek crisscrossed elephant- and gaur-infested areas. The first batch reached the destination at about 6 p.m. The night was growing. Mr. Jaiswal, accompanying his wife all along, arrived at the camp at 9 p.m., to a warm round of applause. From what we heard last, he continues to go on trekking expeditions.

Mr & Mrs. Chunkath

There is another nature lover in the State bureaucracy. He is none other than the new chief secretary Mohan Verghese Chunkath, who has published a book, ‘Nature Rambles’, on urban biodiversity. No one could be happier for his new posting than his wife, Sheela Rani Chunkath, also his batchmate.

Both of them were in queue, with bouquets, to greet Chief Minister Jayalalithaa when she took over the government for the third time in 2011. Sheela took charge as home secretary immediately but has fallen out of favour since. The choice of Mr. Chunkath, who likes to keep a low profile, is in line with the State’s welfare-oriented governance, as opposed to the aggressive type of governance Mrs. Chunkath is known for, goes the buzz in officialdom.

Not many know that she, as chairperson of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board a decade ago, had almost, only almost, got the government to ban plastic in Chennai.

For a select few

It is election time and IAS officers here are eagerly awaiting their new assignments as poll observers. They are posted in various States and it’s a perfect opportunity for them to get away from the tedium of reading and signing hundreds of files.

Most of them are happy as they get to travel. “Apart from ensuring free and fair elections, we get to travel to new places and learn of a different culture. I really wish to go,” said a senior woman IAS officer, who, for some reason, has not been chosen as an observer, so far.

Another IAS officer, known to be upright, and who takes his job very seriously, has also not got the opportunity to travel as a poll observer. They continue to remain in their offices and sign files.

The city that never grew

For long, Coimbatore has had this feeling of being a foster child. There have been promises and promises but the city’s infrastructure has never really taken off, especially a mass rapid transport system.

Now, the government has proposed a feasibility study for monorail in the city and the Coimbatore Corporation plans to introduce a bus rapid transit system.

Tired of waiting, the local industry wants the feasibility study to be conducted at the earliest. It wants the best public transport system, suited to the city with a population of 2.5 million and expected to grow by another million by 2020, to be selected.

Industrial associations have jointly prepared a vision document and presented it to the Lok Sabha candidates in Coimbatore.


Waiting to write ‘history’ April 28, 2014