Caught in political crossfire, West Bengal Chief Secretary Alapan Bandopadhyay opted to retire under Mamata Banerjee’s patronage on Monday rather than report at North Block in the national capital, as directed by the Modi dispensation.
He will now take over as Chief Advisor to the West Bengal Chief Minister in his personal capacity and possibly on a retainership. However, that will not shield him from Centre’s wrath and he may be slapped with a charge sheet as part of disciplinary action. The Centre is miffed with him for disregarding its recall order.
Addressing the media, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that Alapan had retired from his post on the last day in office and will be her chief advisor from June 1.
“Just because the BJP-led central dispensation doesn’t like me they are harassing my bureaucrats. Such an incident has happened for the first time in the last 74 years,’’ said Mamata, adding that HK Dwivedi will be the new chief secretary and BP Gopalika the new home secretary of West Bengal.
Citing the good work done by Alapan, Mamata Banerjee had written a letter to the Central government in May seeking a three-month extension of his services. On May 24, despite initially affirming the extension, on May 28 the Centre had recalled Alapan, asking him to join at Delhi by May 31.
He was also served a show-cause notice by the Centre following which he had decided to retire.
In his new position as Chief Advisor, Alapan will get Rs 2.5 lakh per month as salary along with other benefits. However, he would have to vacate the government quarters in South Kolkata. But the CM is expected to make special arrangements for her man Friday, said sources.
“The Centre did not have any reason to recall Alapan. The central government couldn’t cite any reason and it was only because of political vendetta that they took such a step,” claimed the Chief Minister. The bureaucrat has a reputation of being a hard task master and had endeared himself to the Left Front government as well.