The former CS had proceeded on leave four days ago after Vini Mahajan took over as the new CS. The development comes a month after the Cabinet ministers and over a dozen MLAs had demanded his removal from the post.
Four days after Chief Minister Amarinder Singh’s political adviser Amrinder Singh Raja Warring took to social media to thank the CM for removing Karan Avtar Singh from the post of Chief Secretary, the bureaucrat was Tuesday appointed as chairperson of Punjab Water Regulation and Development Authority.
The former CS had proceeded on leave four days ago after Vini Mahajan took over as the new CS. The development comes a month after the Cabinet ministers and over a dozen MLAs had demanded his removal from the post. The ministers, led by Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal, had refused to attend any meeting with CS being its part. In a Cabinet meeting the government even had to ask Singh to stay away.
Raja Warring had initiated a battle of sorts against the top bureaucrat after the latter had a run-in with the Cabinet ministers over the issue of excise collections which were not able to meet the target in the state.
Warring had written on his Facebook page: I am thankful to the Chief Minister for removing the Chief Secretary. I had requested the Chief Minister a few days ago for his removal in view of Rs 600 crore worth shortfall in revenue collections. I had demanded an inquiry and Karan Avtar Singh’s name was also figuring in the list of those responsible for the shortfall.”
While the former CS, who was set to retire on August 31, has been re-employed in the government, and his term is likely to be five years, the move is being seen as a snub for political leadership by the Chief Minister. His premature ouster had lent them hope that he was being removed after their showdown with him.
Not only the Cabinet ministers and several MLAs but also PPCC chief Sunil Kumar Jakhar had joined issue with them and demanded his ouster as the top official. He had put forth his demand even at a luncheon meeting with the CM.
Karan Avtar’s adjustment in the government has caused a heartburn among the political leaders although nobody reacted openly. “I do not know what will happen now. We will have to go to him for several issues related to public as he is the chairperson of an important body. Everybody is concerned with water. This is too much of insult for us,”’a leader said.
Karan Avtar will have to resign as Special Chief Secretary before joining. The terms and conditions of his new job are being worked out. Two members have also been appointed in the authority. They are Sushil Gupta and Surinder Singh Kukal.
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