Senior babus’ workload hikes as govt battles shortage of officers

Gandhinagar: Confronted with the perennial shortage of Secretary-level officers, Vijay Rupani government has been compelled to hand over additional charge of various departments in the State Secretariat to over a dozen senior IAS babus.

The senior IAS officers, who have been asked to hold additional charge in addition to the regular charge they are holding in their respective departments, apparently feel “stressed” running from one office to another and coping with the extra job assigned to them.

Sources in the General Administration Department (GAD) concede that the additional assignment  not only “adversely affect the social life of these senior IAS babus, but also slow down the pace of file disposal in the departments they are heading”.

Among the senior IAS officers holding the additional charge of some key departments include : GAD chief Kamal Dayani (1990 batch), ACS, Urban Development, Mukesh Puri (1988 batch), ACS, Forest and Environment, Rajiv Gupta (1986 batch), ACS, Home, Sangeeta Singh (1986 batch), PS, Panchayats, A K Rakesh (1989 batch),Vice Chairman and MD, GSRTC, S J Haider (1991 batch), PS, Social Justice and Empowerment, Manoj Aggarwal  (1990 batch) and Secretary, Narmada and Water Resources, Dhananjay Dwivedi (1998 batch).

While Dayani and Puri have been asked to hold additional charge of Ports and Transport Department and Gujarat Pollution Control Board respectively, Gupta is also the MD of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam and Singh the State Vigilance Commission Chairperson.

Rakesh has been given extra assignment of the Rehabilitation and Resettlement in the Narmada Department, while Haider is looking after the Climate Change Department besides holding the regular charge of GSRTC.

Manoj Aggarwal has been given additional charge of Rural Development Commissioner and Dwivedi also looking after ART in the GAD, while nominated IAS babu B A Shah has been asked to hold the additional charge of Chief Town Planner besides his regular assignment as the Director of Gujarat Energy Department Agency.

Shah’s additional charge of Chief Town Planner has raised many an eyebrow in the Secretariat as this position is traditionally held by a senior babu having special qualifications of a Master in Urban Planning besides being a civil engineer or an architect, according to knowledgeable sources.

With the State Education Department already drawing a flak from the opposition for its poor performance, P Bharathi, a 2005 batch IAS officer, the Project Director (Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan), has been given additional charge of Commissioner Schools  and also the State Textbook Board. The government transferred two officials as Commissioner Schools in the short period of six months before handing over the additional charge to Bharathi.