Dilip Cherian | Ex-diplomat who was Kerala govt's Delhi OSD refuses 2-week extension

Ambassador Venu Rajamony’s two-year tenure as officer on special duty (external cooperation) for the Kerala government ended unexpectedly when he declined a two-week extension offered by the state government. The extension was slated to run until September 30, 2023.

According to sources, Mr Rajamony wrote to the Kerala governor requesting permission to terminate his services as of September 17, 2023. His decision appears to have stemmed from a belief that the extension might have been intended to complete an official task that was no longer relevant, rendering his continued role for another two weeks unnecessary. But speculation still persists about the circumstances surrounding this unexpected conclusion to his tenure.

Mr Rajamony played a pivotal role in promoting external cooperation for the state government during his tenure, notably facilitating the repatriation of students from Ukraine, establishing direct flight connections between Kochi and Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, and arranging meetings between chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan and foreign diplomats, besides the chief minister’s official visits to countries like Norway, the United Kingdom, the United States and Cuba.

Before serving the Kerala government, Mr Rajamony held several prominent positions in a career spanning 34 years. He was India’s consul general in Dubai, joint secretary overseeing World Bank and Asian Development Bank assistance to Kerala and, press secretary to then President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. He was also the Ambassador of India to the Netherlands.

IAS vs IPS: Roopa, Rohini resume work

In a significant development in Karnataka, IAS officer Rohini Sindhuri and IPS officer D. Roopa Moudgil have resumed their official duties after a highly publicised dispute that unfolded on social media earlier this year. The move to reassign both senior officers to new roles is aimed at restoring administrative harmony.

Six months after the heated exchange on social media, Rohini Sindhuri has taken up the position of chief editor at the Karnataka gazetteer department. Meanwhile, IPS officer D. Roopa Moudgil has been transferred to the post of inspector general of police (IGP) within the internal security division (ISD).

The public spat between the two officers erupted in February when Ms Roopa, serving as the managing director of the Karnataka State Handicrafts Development Corporation at the time, made serious allegation against Rohini Sindhuri, who was then holding the position of Muzrai department commissioner. Ms Sindhuri denied these allegations, dismissing them as baseless and suggesting that personal animosity motivated Ms Roopa.

While it remains to be seen how these two officers navigate their new roles, the dispute has escalated to the legal realm, with Rohini Sindhuri initiating a criminal defamation case against Ms Roopa. Recently, the Karnataka high court refused to quash the case, emphasising the need for a fair and thorough examination of the matter. Watch this space for updates!

From piped water to political tangles

Transfers are an essential tool for the government to maintain control. However, frequent transfer of babus, especially those who perform exceptionally well, is a recurring issue. The recent transfer of the district magistrate of Mirzapur, Divya Mittal, in Uttar Pradesh may be one such example. In the heartland of UP, where the political landscape is often turbulent and governance challenging, Divya’s tale is inspiring of hope.

In an attempt to transfer the lives of residents of a village which had never received regular water supply, she successfully facilitated the provision of piped water to their homes. The happy villagers celebrated the arrival of piped water with a ceremony. However, Divya was transferred to Basti district, and later put on a waitlist by the state government, leaving her work unfinished. Curiously, the precious pipeline was vandalised by “anti-social elements” and the villagers are back to their dependence on expensive private tankers.

Those in the know believe that the local political leaders did not appreciate Divya’s hard work and feared that she was stealing their thunder. Many people suspect political motivation behind the sudden transfer of their popular DM. It has not only disrupted the implementation of long-term projects underway in the district but also demotivated the residents as well as other district officials. Hopefully, the young DM will continue to do good work wherever she is posted.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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