Dikshit to `fight` against `arbitrary` transfers

Dikshit resolved to "fight" against the "arbitrary" decisions of Union Home Ministry concerning transfer of a number of top officials of Delhi Govt.

New Delhi: In hardening of position against transfer of a number of top officials of Delhi Government, Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Thursday resolved to "fight" against the "arbitrary" decisions of Union Home Ministry.

The Chief Minister conveyed Delhi government`s strong position on the issue when a delegation of Delhi Andaman and Nicobar Island Civil Services Officer`s Association called on her to protest against transfer of 25 officials out of Delhi government.

"The Chief Minister told the delegation that she will fight against the arbitrary decision to transfer large number of officials at one go which will affect governance," a senior official, who was present in the meeting, quoted Dikshit as saying.

The Home Ministry on Wednesday transferred 25 DANICS (Delhi, Andaman Nicobar Island Civil Services) Delhi officials out of the city administration, notwithstanding strong opposition to it by Dikshit.

The transfer orders had come came a day after Dikshit met Home Minister P Chidambaran demanding consultation with her government by the Home Ministry before effecting transfer of senior officials.

Meanwhile, the DANICS association has sent a letter to Home Secretary R K Singh making a number of demands including putting in place some kind of mechanism for consultation with Delhi Government before taking decisions on transfers.

"Institutionalise some mechanism for consultation before taking unilateral decisions which adversely affect the service conditions of our service," said the three-page letter.

Noting that against sanctioned posts of 309 DANICS officer, Delhi currently has only 163, the association said transfer of large number of officers will make the Delhi administration short of officers at various levels.

In the letter, copy of which has been sent to Chidambaram also, the DANICS association said against the sanctioned posts of 24, the Andaman and Nicober Island administration now has 35 officials while Lakhshadweep has 17 officers against sanctioned strength of 14.

"The situation becomes alarming when we also take into account the fact that DANICS officers are also required to be posted to various municipal bodies and other allied organisation of Delhi Government," it said demanding posting of officers as per sanctioned strength.

The association placed a number of demands and said at times senior officers made to work much below their ranks in places like Andaman and Nicober Islands due to absence of suitable posts.

Sources said Delhi Government would not take the issue of transfer of so many officials lying down and would "forcefully" take it up with the Centre.

Chief Secretary P K Tripathi is likely to meet the Union Home Secretary on Friday to convey city Government`s position on the issue. He is likely to hand over a formal letter to Singh.

Chidambaram on Thursday defended the transfers saying laid down guidelines were "scrupulously" followed.

The Home Minister also dismissed the suggestion that there was a political battle going on with the Chief Ministers of Delhi and Goa, who have objected to the transfers, on the issue.

"There is no political battle. As I said these are imaginary political battles. These are normal administrative hiccups and with a glass of water, hiccups will come to an end," he said.

Sources said if the Home Ministry does not review its decision, then Dikshit may meet even the Prime Minister on the issue.

The Home Ministry has already indicated to the Delhi Government that it has started the process to transfer a number of top officials from Delhi Government including Chief Minister`s Principal Secretary M M Kutty, Industries secretary Chetan Sanghi, Delhi Jal Board CEO Debashree Mukherjee, Commissioner of South Delhi Municipal Corporation Manish Gupta, Food and Civil Supplies secretary Dharampal and Labour Secretary Ramesh Tiwari.

The Home Secretary on Wedesday had dismissed suggestions that the Ministry has "unilaterally" effected reshuffle in Delhi and Goa administrations and said all transfers and postings of senior officers of AGMUT cadre were done as per laid down rules.