Meenaxi first woman Haryana CS
Chandigarh, October 31
An IAS officer of the 1969 batch, Ms Chaudhry will be the first woman to assume the office of Chief Secretary in the state. The only other Haryana cadre officer from her batch, Mr B.D. Dhalia, had retired in April. Three Haryana cadre officers who are senior to Ms Chaudhry — Mr Dhanendra Kumar, Ms Komal Anand and Ms Reva Nayyar — are on central deputation and believed to be not interested in returning to the state.
Ms Chaudhry is scheduled to retire in April next year. However, there is a strong possibility of extension in her service beyond that period because the state government may like to follow the Central Government's new policy of giving at least two years’ tenure to key bureaucrats. In that case Ms Chaudhry's term will come to an end in October, 2007, and will effectively seal the chances of three officers of the 1970 batch— Mr K.C. Sharma, Ms Asha Sharma and Mr Prem Prashant — and Mr S.Y. Quraishi of the 1971 batch of becoming the Chief Secretary of Haryana.
Ms Chaudhry earned the reputation of being a courageous bureaucrat when she got into a heated argument with Mr Om Prakash Chautala, the then Chief Minister, in full view of other bureaucrats at a meeting of the high-powered purchase committee. As a result of the incident, she was removed from the posts of Principal Secretary, Power Department, and Chairperson, Haryana Power Utilities, and given an insignificant posting. Soon after, she left the state and was first appointed Principal Adviser, Planning Commission, and then Secretary, Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports.
A former Chief Minister, Mr Bansi Lal, who was upset with her unceremonious removal from the Power sector, criticised Mr Chautala in the sate Assembly for his action.
Two younger sisters of the new Chief Secretary, Ms Urvashi Gulati and Ms Kesni Anand Arora, are also Haryana cadre IAS officers.
While Ms Chaudhry's appointment as Chief Secretary has an element of surprise in it, there was no such thing about the state government's choice for the post of Chief Information Commissioner. It was widely speculated that Mr Madhavan would be given this coveted assignment having a tenure of five years.