No DM, SP in Naxal-hit Sonbhadra
No DM, SP in Naxal-hit SonbhadraFaisal Fareed : Lucknow, Thu Dec 27 2012, 05:24 hrs
The mineral-rich district also does not have DMO, DFO
Sonbhadra district in Uttar Pradesh has a dubious distinction. For more than three months now, it has been without a district magistrate (DM).
Ever since IAS officer Suhas L Y, the last DM, was transferred on September 22, the government has not posted anyone. Instead, Chief Development Officer Ram Krishan Uttam, who is a PCS officer, has been holding the charge.
That is not all. Sonbhadra is one of the Naxal-affected districts of the state. It has the highest mineral reserves and the largest forest cover. Yet, it does not have a superintendent of police (SP), a district forest officer (DFO), and a district mining officer (DMO), although these posts haven’t been vacant for so long as that of the district magistrate.
Interestingly, Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav is home minister, forest as well as mining minister.
In the nine months since the Akhilesh government took over, Sonbhadra has seen a regular DM only for four months. For the remaining five months, some junior officer held the charge. Within 15 days of taking charge, the Samajwadi Party government removed District Magistrate Vijay Vishwas Pant, but posted no successor. It was after more than one and a half month on May 22 that Suhas L Y was posted as DM. Exactly after four months on September 22, he was transferred out.
Rajeev Kumar, Principal Secretary of Appointment and Personnel, said Sonbhadra was without DM because “we are short of IAS officers, now that several of them have been promoted from PCS, we will soon post one of them”.
However, he had no answer as to why Sobhadra was singled out for such treatment. “There were three-four such districts and now only Sonbhadra is left. A proposal for appointment of a DM will be sent soon to the CM’s office,” he said.
Senior officers do not recall an instance when a district was left without a DM for so long. Also, “this is the first time in my service of over three decades that a promotee PCS officer is acting as DM,” said an officer.
Sonbhadra also does not have a full-fledged SP after IPS official Subhash Dubey was transferred on
December 13. At present, ASP Lal Bahadur has the charge of SP. This is when the district falls in the Naxalite-infested region. Simiarly, Mining Officer S K Singh was transferred on December 20 without posting a replacement and the charge was given to Pradeep Kumar Singh, a mining inspector. Also, the district is without a DFO ever since P K Gupta was transferred in October; the post is presently held by Sanjay Chaurasia who is SDO in the region.
Sources said that the absence of a DM and other key officials in Sonbhadra had been the result of manipulation by influential people, who have links with the powerful mining and forest mafia in the district. “Since the DM is the head of the district, the vacuum, or a weak officer at the top suits them to carry on with their illegal activities,” said an official.
Roma, a social activist in Sonbhadra, alleged: “The contractors’ lobby wants a DM who can facilitate the illegal mining trade. This is the reason in the delay in appointment of a DM.”
The demand for appointment of a DM has been raised several times. On December 4, social activists and tribals staged a protest at the Collectorate in Robertsganj, demanding appointment of a DM. A tribal woman, Rajkumari Bhuia, was even anointed as DM by the protestors and she “took charge” outside the DM’s office. A yagna was also performed on December 13, praying that a DM is posted in the district.
NFFPFW / Human Rights Law Centre
c/o Sh. Vinod Kesari, Near Sarita Printing Press,
District Sonbhadra 231216
Tel : 91-9415233583, 05444-222473
Email : romasnb@...