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WB Chief Secretary Refuses Extension, Retires, Appointed Advisor to CM

Centre had asked the Chief Secretary Mr Alapan Bandyopadhyay to report at DoPT in Delhi following his late arrival at PM's meeting with the CM last week.

Tension building up between West Bengal Government and the Centre over sudden transfer of state’s Chief Secretary Mr. Alapan Bandyopadhyay, diffused on Monday afternoon after he refused to take extension of services granted by the Centre and instead opted to retire from the IAS. The central government had asked him to report to New Delhi from Monday, his last day in service.

A combative Mamata Banerjee, the Chief Minister of West Bengal, had earlier ruled out relieving the Mr Bandhyopadhyay- as directed by the Centre on May 28. She instead bowled a googly by appointing Mr Bandopadhyay as her Principal Advisor for a period of three years. Mr Harikrishna Dwivedi will be the new Chief Secretary
of West Bengal while Mr B.P. Gopalika will be the new Home Secretary.

Interestinly, Mr Bandyopadhyay never served at the Centre. He was never sent on deputation and remained stationed only in West Bengal. With his resignation on the last day of his service, his record remained intact.

Earlier, in a letter addressed to Prime Minister Mr Narendra Modi on Monday, Ms Banerjee aid she was “shocked and stunned by the unilateral order dated 28th May, 2021, sent to us by the Government of India, asking us to release Alapan Bandyopadhyay, IAS, Chief Secretary, West Bengal, so that he may join the Government of India on 31st May, 2021, the normal date of his superannuation. The unilateral ‘order’ comes without any prior consultation whatsoever with the government of West Bengal, without any volition/option of the officer, without meeting any of the pre-conditions of the Indian Administrative Service (Cadre) Rules, 1954, and other applicable laws under reference. The unilateral order/directive is legally untenable, historically unprecedented and wholly unconstitutional.’’

Mamata’s refusal to relive the chief secretary is likely to draw fresh battle lines by the two parties.

Maintaining that she would not abide by the centre’s directive, Ms Mamata told the PM: “I therefore humbly request you to withdraw, recall, reconsider your decision and rescind the latest so-called order in the larger public interest.

The government of West Bengal cannot release, and is not releasing, its Chief Secretary at this critical hour, on the basis of our understanding that the earlier order of extension, issued after lawful consultation in accordance with applicable laws, remains operational and valid. The latest order is also clearly in violation of applicable laws and against public interest: it is in any case ab initio void.”

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