Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): In Covid-19 crisis where image management has been a big crisis, a district collector in Madhya Pradesh transferred district public relations officer to contain the ‘image management crisis’.
The collector’s decision has been termed as undue usurpation of powers delegated to him as the district magistrate.
The incident took place in Khandwa district where collector Anay Dwivedi relieved his District Public Relations officer Brijendra Sharma on his own. The order in this regard was issued on Saturday, which stated that Sharma is being relieved from his duty with immediate effect. Soon after issuing order, Sharma was also instructed to surrender his official vehicle.
As per department officials, the right to relieve or transfer public relations officer remains with the state government. Interestingly, the department portfolio rests with Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Though state commissioner of public relations department Sudam P Khade couldn't be contacted even after repeated attempts, a senior department official said district collector has no power to transfer or relieve the district PRO. "This is a very serious matter. The district collector has set a wrong example," said the officer, wishing anonymity.
When contacted, collector Anay Dwivedi denied that Sharma has been transferred. “His services have been terminated in district following complaints by local journalists that he was not giving them proper information about different government departments. Departmental inquiry will be initiated against him,” Dwivdei told Free Press over phone.
Department officials have criticised the action, calling it unfair and lack of practical judgement on the part of district collector. In fact, the action has not gone down well with department as section of public relation officers has raised objection against alleged “high-handedness”of Khandwa DM.
Arun Rathore who heads the group of Public Relations Officers said the matter will be taken to higher authorities.