For many, his thrust on rules is the major issue

What might have angered the zilla panchayat members so much as to pass a resolution to urge the government to transfer chief executive officer Ujjwal Kumar Ghosh?

When contacted, the members cited many reasons. A few of them said that the officer was not treating the spouses of women members with respect and was against the practice of spouses standing in for women members in public functions and meetings. Some of them said, he was transferring some officials without consulting them (ZP members) and insisting on following tender process for all civil works getting the quality of work checked through third party inspection.

However, according to zilla panchayat sources, the reason for the unity among ZP members was the last issue. “They don’t want projectes to be decided through tender process. They want them awarded to contractors of their choice. They also do not want any work checked for quality by third parties,” a senior officer said. The statements of members have also proved the sources right.

Vasant Biradar, member, said that tendering for schemes worth less than Rs. 5 lakh should be done away with, along with the third party quality inspection. “It was not done before and why should it be done now?” he questioned. He was not convinced when the officers told that such norms were mandatory as per a Government Order.

Latha Shantkumar, vice-president of the ZP, said that Mr. Ghosh was always talking about rules.

“How can you show progress in development projects, if you keep on raising objections quoting one or the other rule? The zilla panchayat is a supreme body and no rule should be an obstacle to its decisions,” she contended.

History

The officers have faced resistance from elected representatives for implementing of rules earlier too. The history of Bidar Zilla Panchayat is full of such incidents. Niyaz Ahmed, Chief Secretary of ZP, was assaulted by students when one of their fellow students staying in a hostel run by the Social Welfare Department drowned in a well in 1992.

In 2004-2005, three ZP members tried to assault Naveen Raj Singh, the then CEO, for counter-checking and reducing the estimates pertaining to some civil works.

However, the sailing was generally smooth for non-IAS officers, who were promoted to the post of CEO. For example, Bidar ZP passed a resolution hailing the services of G.C. Prakash, thethen Deputy Secretary of ZP who was promoted as CEO in 2009.

Umesh Kusugal and other officers were also feted, similarly.

Reject resolution

Meanwhile, the Panchayat Development Officers’ Welfare Association has urged the Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Minister, H. K Pati, to reject the resolution passed by the zilla panchayat to seek transfer of Ujjwal Kumar Ghosh, chief executive officer. Mr Ghosh was adhering strictly to rules and regulations. He was working hard to ensure that welfare programmes reached targeted beneficiaries. He had several programmes for improving the standard of education, they said.

Mr. Ghosh had protected the panchayat development officers (PDOs) from harassment in panchayats. His decision to transfer a few PDOs had not done any harm to any PDO as it had been done in the best interests of the district.

False allegations

The ZP members were levelling false allegations against him. An officer like Mr. Ghosh was needed for a backward district like Bidar and therefore, he should not be transferred, they said in a letter to Principal Secretary T.M. Vijay Bhaskar and copy marked to different officers. They threatened to launch a protest if Mr. Ghosh was transferred. However, ZP members want Mr. Ghosh transferred because he was not allowing the misuse of public funds.

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