Shimla, April 13
A day after the Himachal Pradesh Government ordered an administrative reshuffle, questions are being raised over four senior IAS officers posted in Shimla being given the additional charge of Adviser to various state departments in New Delhi.
The purpose, it is alleged, was to allow these officers retain official bungalows in Shimla as well as in Delhi. The Himachal Government currently has six houses in the central pool in the national capital. Of these, one has been allotted to an officer of the rank of Additional Chief Secretary and three to officers at the level of Principal Secretary. The Resident Commissioner to the Himachal Government too has been occupying a house while one is vacant. The officers have been appointed as Adviser in various departments, including Health, Regulatory Reforms, Industries, Urban Affairs and Infrastructure and Tourism. A senior official said the role of the Adviser was to coordinate with the Union Government on various projects and “pursue them vigorously”.
A senior official, however, alleged that the designation of Adviser had been created merely to help these officers retain their official accommodation in Delhi. “In no other service are officers allowed accommodation at two places. Why this special entitlement?” the official said.
Chief Secretary Ram Subhag Singh said all states had quota of houses in the central pool. He said the provision of allotting houses from state quota in Delhi was applicable in other states too. “The practice has been there for years and houses are allotted as per requirement. The officers reverted to the state are given accommodation in Delhi for some time and these houses are rotated from time to time, he added. According to rules, a government employee, upon transfer, can retain official accommodation only for six months, following which penal rates (almost 50 times higher than subsidised rent) are charged.