Guwahati: After the Mizoram government and the Centre appointed different people to take over as chief secretary of the state on October 28, the Renu Sharma vs. JC Ramthanga saga reached another level with chief minister Zoramthanga writing of his disappointment to home minister Amit Shah. In his letter, the CM also invoked his faithful support to the BJP’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA), saying the opposition parties would make a mockery of his faithfulness if his request was not accepted.
“After the retirement of my Chief Secretary Mr Lalnunmawia Chuaungo of Gujarat cadre, I requested my present Additional Chief Secretary Mr J.C. Ramthanga (Manipur cadre) to be the next Chief Secretary. However, the Home Ministry has posted Mrs. Renu Sharma as the new Chief Secretary,” chief minister Zoramthanga said in his letter to Shah dated October 29.
This, Zoramthanga said, was a problem as Renu Sharma will have to deal with a language barrier, which would, in turn, hinder smooth administration in Mizoram.
“The Mizo people, by and large, do not understand Hindi, and none of my cabinet ministers understand Hindi; some of them even have problem with English language. A Chief Secretary without the knowledge of a working standard Mizo language will never be an effective and efficient Chief Secretary,” Zoramthanga wrote in his letter to Shah, a copy of which was accessed by EastMojo.
A senior bureaucrat in the Mizoram government, on the condition of anonymity, told EastMojo that this was in clear violation of its own guidelines on transfer and posting of IAS or IPS officer of joint AGMUT cadre by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), as para 9 of the guideline mentions that “the chief secretary and the senior most police officer in a state may be decided with the approval of Union Home minister in consultation with chief minister of state concerned”.
The MHA guideline says that a panel of three names can be suggested to the chief minister of the state, who may convey their response with reasons thereof on the panel within a period of 15 days.
After considering the response received from the chief minister, the MHA may issue the order for posting of chief secretary or administrator or DGP. In case no response is received within a period of 15 days, the MHA may decide the matter at its own level.
The official alleged that the MHA has knowingly overlooked and ignored the chief minister’s concern over the post being held by someone without knowledge of a working standard Mizo language.
He said that the chief minister named Ramthanga for the CS, which was ignored by the MHA.
The Mizoram CM, in this letter to Home minister Amit Shah, highlighted the fact that the Indian Government has never posted a Chief Secretary who does not know the working standard of Mizo language since the creation of the state of Mizoram, be it the UPA Government or the NDA at the Centre.
“It is a well known fact that in other States of India, a Chief Secretary, who does not know even the basic working language of the respective state is never posted at all,” read Zoramthanga’s letter.
He added that the Congress and other opposition parties would make a mockery of him for faithfulness to the NDA partnership if his request was not accepted.
“I am the only one in the whole of North East states, who have been a faithful partner of NDA from the beginning upto this time,” said the minister requesting the Centre to make a special consideration for his faithful friendship with NDA.
The ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) headed by Zoramthanga is a constituent member of BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) and tied up with the NDA. The party, however, does not work with the BJP in the state, which has one MLA in the 40-member assembly.
The Centre appointed senior IAS officer Renu Sharma as the new Chief Secretary of Mizoram on October 28, and the appointment coincided with the Mizoram government’s decision to appoint state additional chief secretary J.C. Ramthanga to take charge as Chief Secretary.
The order issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had said that Sharma was transferred from Delhi and posted as the Chief Secretary of Mizoram with effect from November 1.
Renu Sharma replaced Lalnunmawia Chuaungo, who left the chief secretary office by taking a voluntary retirement on October 31. She assumed charge on November 2 and called on Governor Hari Babu Kambhampati at the his Raj Bhavan office on Monday.
Sharma, an AGMUT cadre IAS officer of 1988 batch, had already been posted in Mizoram and initially held Commissioner and Secretary in the finance and general administration departments between June 2011 and August 2012. She was again transferred to Mizoram in 2016 and posted as principal secretary in the state home and personnel & administrative reforms department.
Ironically, the Mizoram government’s notice of appointment for J.C. Ramthanga to take charge of the Chief Secretary with effect from November 1 was also dated October 28, and “until further order”. A Manipur cadre IAS officer of 1989 batch, Ramthanga is currently posted as additional chief secretary to the Chief Minister on deputation.
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