After two officials of Urban Development Department found absent at vital meet

For the second time in a fortnight, Uttar Pradesh Urban Development Minister Mohammad Azam Khan, whose anger has become the talking point in the corridors of power, on Monday vented his ire on officials of his department.

Mr. Khan lost his cool after he found that the Principal Secretary and the Secretary of the department were missing from a crucial meeting at Tilak Hall, where officials from all over the State had gathered. He left the venue in a huff and the meeting was called off, but not before an officer of the rank of Special Secretary bore the brunt of the Minister’s anger.

When Special Secretary Vishnu Swaroop Mishra tried to explain that Principal Secretary Praveer Kumar had been called by Chief Secretary Javed Usmani for a meeting in connection with a dairy project, Mr. Khan remarked, “To kya ab mukhya sachiv sarkar se upar ho gaye” [“Is now the Chief Secretary bigger than the government?”]. And when the Special Secretary tried to clarify further, Mr. Khan shouted: chup baithiye…badtameez kahin ke [“shut up you disrespectful fellow”], and walked out of the meeting.

The Minister later said indiscipline would not be tolerated. Asked what action would be taken against the officers, he said it was not within his means.

According to sources in the department, the Minister was irked that the officials had not informed him, or his staff about their absence.

Earlier, Mr. Khan angered at the filth on the roads had ordered the suspension of Municipal Commissioner N.P. Singh. But, Mr. Singh’s suspension was not ratified by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav.

Mr. Singh was present at the Monday meeting.