New Commissioner

HE IS the fifth Commissioner to occupy the hot seat at Ripon Buildings in less than seven months. Now the Chennai Corporation grapevine is abuzz with talk on how the new Commissioner, T.N. Ramanathan, is finding himself drawn in different directions.

Already the Commissioner has made clear his no-nonsense ways by refusing to accept gifts on his day of assuming charge. (This has miffed some of the powers that be). Some of the lower level staff of the civic body say that the official has also said `no' to several `requests' for transfers.

But the going might get increasingly tough for the official, who is a comparatively junior officer in the IAS cadre, observers say.

Compared to Mumbai and other major Corporations of the country including Kolkata, where IAS officers of Chief Secretary grade are appointed to the prestigious post of Commissioner, the post in Chennai has been reduced to a figurehead.

In the present case the Commissioner was appointed by the Election Commission itself. ``He is sure to stay, at least till the Saidapet elections,'' a source adds.

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