Ruchika M Khanna
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, September 23
The new political dispensation in Punjab, headed by Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, has chosen Anirudh Tiwari as the new Chief Secretary. He was serving as the Additional Chief Secretary, Development.
Tiwari replaces Vini Mahajan, handpicked by former Chief Minister Capt Amarinder Singh in June last year. Mahajan, the first woman to be appointed to the post, has reportedly proceeded on leave.
While three other officers — Ravneet Kaur, next in seniority to Mahajan, besides Sanjay Kumar and VK Singh — were among the top contenders, 1990-batch officer Tiwari was ultimately picked by the Channi-Sidhu team. His role in the Agriculture, Finance, Power and Personnel departments over the past few years ultimately worked in his favour.
With this, Tiwari has superseded six officers — senior-most IAS officer of Punjab cadre Arun Goyal (on deputation to Centre), Ravneet Kaur, Sanjay Kumar, Anjali Bhawra, VK Janjua and Kripa Shankar Saroj.
The outgoing Chief Secretary, too, had superseded five officers. Other than Goyal and Bhawra, all others have been re-designated as Special Chief Secretary to Government of Punjab. Mahajan, too, has been re-designated as Special Chief Secretary.
While in principle, the senior-most IAS officer is to be considered for the top administrative post, for several years now, the government of the day has been picking officers of their choice to handle the job of coordinating between various departments. Tiwari, who hails from Patiala, was instrumental in putting Punjab on the national map for promoting renewable energy generation in the state.
Having served as Secretary, Power, he will be required to fulfil the promise of making electricity cheaper by either renegotiating or scrapping the PPAs with producers, coming up with a sand mining policy, besides helping the ruling political dispensation in settling the ongoing farmers’ agitation.
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