“Along with the name of advisor to former Governor, name of high rank bureaucrat is also on cards for the post of Lieutenant Governor”
Amid speculations of Assembly Elections in Jammu and Kashmir, the Union government is all set to install Vivek Bhardwaj as the new Chief Secretary of the Union Territory replacing AK Mehta. Reports also suggest a change of guard at Raj Bhawan, probably before elections in Uttar Pradesh.
According to highly placed sources privy to the development, Vivek Bhardwaj, 1990 batch IAS officer of the West Bengal cadre has been reportedly selected to be the new Chief Secretary of the Union Territory.
“Vivek Bhardwaj, IAS officer of the West Bengal 1990 cadre was brought to Jammu and Kashmir as Financial Commissioner (Additional Chief Secretary) Health and Medical Education Department replacing Dulloo and will now be new Chief Secretary of the Union Territory,” said sources, adding that incumbent Chief Secretary AK Mehta shall be sent on deputation to New Delhi.
Sources further said that besides change of head of the Union Territory (Chief Secretary), New Delhi is also mulling to replace the Lieutenant Governor.
“Before assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Bhartiya Janta Party led government at center is mulling to replace Manoj Sinha as the Lieutenant Governor,” said sources, adding that a couple of names are making rounds for the post of new Lieutenant Governor.
If sources are to be believed, New Delhi is contemplating to bring an advisor to the former Governor of erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir as the new Lieutenant Governor.
“Along with the name of advisor to former Governor, name of high rank bureaucrat is also on cards for the post of Lieutenant Governor,” said sources, adding that both bureaucrat and advisor to former Governor have been acknowledged for their role in maintaining peace in Kashmir, post abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.
With regard to the change of Chief Secretary, sources maintained that New Delhi has received negative feedback regarding incumbent Chief Secretary.
“Besides political grievances regarding inaccessibility of incumbent Chief Secretary, many officials have also expressed their objections over passive approach of the Chief Secretary,” alleged sources, adding that Vivek Bhardwaj has been attributed as a successful administrator and is often accused of being a hard master.
In May this year, the government had approved the appointment of Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta as J&K’s Chief Secretary. The Union Home Ministry had approved the appointment of Mehta, an IAS officer of 1988 batch, as J&K’s chief secretary after BVR Subrahmanyam was moved to New Delhi and posted as officer on special duty (OSD) in the Union Commerce Ministry.
A non-controversial IAS officer, Mehta has held key bureaucratic positions in Jammu & Kashmir and at New Delhi during his 33-year bureaucratic career. “He has held key field postings in J&K including deputy commissioner Baramulla, additional deputy commissioner Jammu and sub- divisional magistrate Basholi,” said sources, adding that he had served as deputy commissioner of Baramulla between May 19, 1994 to April 19, 1997 when militancy was at its peak in J&K.
He also served as power secretary of Jammu and Kashmir before proceeding on central deputation. He served as additional secretary in the Union ministry of environments, forests and climate change.
After returning to J&K in 2018, Mehta helmed the Finance department and took several initiatives to fast-track the development process and bring accountability and transparency in governance.