DM Vandana Singh Chauhan: Who Promptly Controlled Haldwani Violence
- Pallavi Priya
- Published on 10 Feb 2024, 4:07 pm IST
- 4 minutes read
- Ms. Vandana Singh Chauhan is at present District Magistrate of Nainital in Uttarakhand
- She is 2012-batch IAS officer who cleared the exam with AIR-8 in Hindi Medium
- She has said that recent violence is against the state and not any community
When dawn broke in Haldwani on 8 February, it seemed like the beginning of any other day in this part of Uttarakhand. However, as the day unfolded, six people were dead and over 100 injured (14 critically) in the violence that broke out after the demolition of a madrassa and an ‘mosque-like structure’ during an anti-encroachment driver being run by the administration in Banbhoolpura locality. Mobs even attacked the police and officers from the municipal corporation, leaving many of them severely injured. A curfew was immediately imposed and the situation brought under control.
The DM of Nainital (under which Haldwani falls), Ms. Vandana Singh Chauhan has claimed that since the mob attacked the state machinery, the violence is against the state not any particular community. She, thus, allayed reports of this being a communal riot.
Ms. Chauhan is an IAS officer of 2012 batch. She has faced such violence for the first time during her career. It is also the first such incident in the otherwise peaceful state of Uttarakhand. Ms. Chauhan’s leadership skills were put to the ultimate test during this time. But she proved once again why she is known as an efficient officer in all her postings. Indian Masterminds takes a look at her journey so far.
CRACKED UPSC CSE IN FIRST ATTEMPT
Born and brought up in a joint family of Nasrullagarh in Haryana Ms. Chauhan’s early schooling was in the same town. No one in family had been to college before her. She did most of her college studies through distance education as her family did not allow girls to pursue higher education.
She did her graduation in Sanskrit honours from Kanya Gurukul Bhiwani (Haryana) and LLB from BR Ambedkar University, Agra. During her college days, her brother helped her buy books online and she studied at home.
After the graduation, she started preparing for UPSC CSE while simultaneously pursuing LLB. Ms. Chauhan didn’t have much exposure to English so she attempted the exam though Hindi Medium. With sheer determination and a burning passion to achieve success, she proved all her detractors wrong by clearing the competitive exam in 2012 in the very first attempt with All India Rank (AIR) 8. This opened a whole new world for her, and, now, she is inspiring thousands of girls to not give in to family pressure while chasing their dreams.
CAREER AS IAS
After completing the IAS training, she was appointed as Chief Development Officer in Pithoragarh. With this appointment, she became the first woman CDO of the district. Between 2017 and 2020, she also became the brand ambassador of the ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign.
She was appointed as the DM of Rudraprayag in 2020 and then the DM of Almora in 2021. She has been serving as the DM of Nainital since May 2023. She was reportedly, appointed MD of Kumaon Mandal Vikas Nigam (KMVN), but she didn’t accept the posting, after which, she was appointed as DM Almora.
CALLING THE COVID PATIENTS
Ms. Chauhan was in Rudryaprayag when the first wave of Covid 19 came and lockdown was declared. It was a huge challenge for the administration to screen the migrants coming from Delhi, Mumbai and other areas, and making sure they were quarantined. To her credit, she handled the situation very efficiently and came out as a sensitive and responsible officer.
A video of her had gone viral that time, where she can be seen calling up people in the quarantine centres and asking about their well-being. She can be heard asking one patient, “Are you facing any problems in eating? Please let me know if you need something special and take care of your family.”
This was not the only call. She talked to hundreds of people in quarantine. This move endeared her to the people of Rudraprayag, and till today, they recollect her with fond memories.
The Haldwani fire may have been doused, but the embers are still burning slow, serving as a grave reminder that tempers are still frayed and the undercurrents are still very much there. The town needs a healing touch and Ms. Chauhan, given her past record at Rudraprayag, is the best person for the job. Let’s hope she passes this test, too, with flying colours, as she has been doing so far.
END OF THE ARTICLE