Thursday, February 22, 2024

Monday Mirchi : Bureaucrats can’t wait for the New Year

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In Telangana, babus itching for a transfer are hoping that the New Year would herald new beginnings for them, though not on January 1st. The Special Summary Revision of Photo Electoral Rolls with 01.01 .2023 as the qualifying date is going on across the State. As per the schedule released by the state Chief Electoral Officer, the final electoral roll would be published by January 5. A little bird told us that officials cannot be moved just like that when the Special Summary Revision is on. The intervention of the Election Commission is required for any such action. The idea is that transfers could adversely affect the revision process, since Collectors, as District Election Officers, are prominently involved in the task. So, they cannot be moved without the concurrence of the EC. Several Collectors are seeking change in posting. They cannot wait for January 5 when the final list is expected to be published.

Making MAUD glamorous
Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder; yet, even the underbelly of a happening city can be creatively packaged. TS Minister K T Rama Rao often says that the Municipal Administration and Urban Development is not a glamorous department and that they have to see sewage, garbage, debris and other ugly parts of life. However, thanks to the creativity quotient in the MA&UD Department, even the darker sides of the department are being painted in good light, breaking monotony and déjà vu. Every now and then, Special Chief Secretary Arvind Kumar has been posting pictures that highlight aesthetics in the city, juxtaposing before and after pictures of restored heritage wells, beautified nalas and lakes, among others. Bureaucratic circles are wondering how, Arvind Kumar’s profile, instead of mirroring overflowing sewage lines, clogged drains et al, reflects artistic, cultural and heritage enhancements in civic works. The corridors of power are surprised by the amount of out-of-the-box thinking that has gone into his profile, where he even shares music, concerts, and racing. Some draw a parallel with a wink: Is he MA&UD Secretary or Tourism & Cultural Secretary?

‘Didi’ of Telangana
With due regard to the apparent age, ‘Akka’ and ‘Amma’ are the most commonly used Telugu words in Telangana to address women. By default, Telangana today has a ‘Didi’ (elder sister). Although not in the same league as West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, she is an IAS officer from West Bengal. A little bird told us that a sizeable number of politicians and officials often refer to Chief Minister Secretary Smita Sabarwal as ‘Didi’. On social media platforms too many followers refer to her as Akka or Didi in place of Madam or ma’am. Officials are often addressed by their names with either ‘Sir’ or ‘Madam’ suffixed. Well the roots of Mamata and Smita are the same as both hail from West Bengal. For newbies, Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao in 2018 took along Smita, as part of a compact delegation, to meet Mamata when he was exploring a Federal Front.

Mahesh Baghwat farewell party
The grapevine is sometimes so plausible that farewells are planned much ahead of bidding goodbye to an official. Rachakonda Police Commissioner Mahesh Baghwat’s ‘farewell’ is widely being discussed in various circles. The top police official has been holding the same post since 2016. The buzz is that, once the DGP retires this month end, Mahesh could be moved, perhaps as the Commissioner of Police of another Commissionerate to fill a vacancy. Things have come to such a pass that officials, media and other circles are discussing how his farewell should be. Some took the liberty of advising him to avoid the trend of doing a procession a la V C Sajjanar or Tarun Joshi.

Inspiration from aspiration?
NVS Reddy is back with a bang. With the Airport Metro taking off, NVS perhaps cemented his own ascent by exalting a vote of thanks to a poetic tribute for the special one. Taking everyone by surprise at the launch function, he eulogized the Chief Minister: “Telangana Baghyadata, Sirula Panchu Jaladadratha, Kalvakuntla Kalaharam, Telangana maniharam Krantha Darsi KCR, Karyaseeli KCR” from a prepared text. Other ministers got only mamuli sa thanks. Media personnel, who had attended his presser the previous day, could not stop discussing if political aspirations inspired the panegyric account of KCR.

Making bakras out of babus
With the political scene heating up ahead of the eagerly-awaited TS Assembly elections, babus are getting caught in the crosshairs of pitched political battles. Some bureaucrats openly or covertly take sides, while others go strictly by the rule book. All said and done, adversarial politicians can pick holes in anything and everything. Recently in Warangal district, the Warangal Police Commissioner was transferred, not long after clashes between TRS and YSR Telangana workers. Whatever the reasons, people did not fail to notice that the transfer followed the clashes. So, the pervasive fear among a section of the babus is that, as the polls near, political parties will not flinch from making bakras out of bureaucrats with whom they do not see eye to eye.

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